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New Tech in Old Places

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Our environments are made up of the places we frequent throughout life.  Most of us have a home, a job, and have gone to school.  With the advent of the internet, many of these classic environments are evolving to accommodate a world that is becoming evermore interconnected.  Here’s a look at how everyday spaces are integrating new technologies.

At Home

Like the vacuum cleaner and microwave, kitchen appliances were slow to evolve after their domestic debuts in the fifties.  Only now with the advent of appliances being “smart” are we seeing new innovations in the kitchen.  Everything at home from the fridge, security system, to the tv now come in “smart” options allowing devices to connect with each other and be accessed remotely.

Homes now have options to be built or retrofitted into being more sustainable.  It is already common to see homes fitted with solar panels, providing power not only to homeowners but also providing excess power to their cities.  New innovations in material science are creating solar panel “film” that can adhere to existing windows, providing homes and buildings more more aesthetic ways to capture clean energy.

In the Classroom

Education is an area that has infinite benefits to reap since the dawn of the internet.  Less than three decades ago it was rarity for a school to have a computer.  Today, it is a rarity for a school not to have one.  Learning is no longer limited to books and chalkboards. Creative new channels for learning are now being found through virtual and augmented reality, 3D printing, and game-based learning.

Virtual and augmented reality adds a dimension of interactivity that is previously unprecedented.  Instead of simply looking at a page of a history book, students will soon be able to virtually visit different places and times.  Similarly, 3D printing offers the ability to add tactile experience when studying complexities such as molecules.  A 3D printer also gives students the opportunity to learn about custom manufacturing and design.

Game-Based Learning is a brilliant new technique in teaching that combats student’s ever shortening attention spans.  This method concentrates on interactivity and “gameplay” in learning.  By incentivising students to “win” better grades, school will be less like pulling teeth and more like playing while learning.

Cloud computing is an important next step in optimizing how students do their work.  Although a futurist classroom is on the cusp of reality, kids today can still use excuses like “my dog ate my homework”.  With cloud computing, students can efficiently turn in work, check into classes, and have discussions without their dog’s hungry involvement.

Building Efficiency into our Infrastructure

Many changes are not only happening inside but outside as well.  Our infrastructure is due for a technological makeover.  Many cities have begun to offer hubs for free wifi.  Many parks now offer charging stations and wifi.  In New York passengers can now take advantage of free internet service in select subway stops, increasing productivity for workers during their commute time.

Building materials themselves are going through their own evolutions.  Solar Roadway is a company manufacturing solar powered hexagonal road panels.  This year, the first road of this kind will be installed into a section of route 66.

Innovators such as Elon Musk are introducing concepts such as a completely solar roof.  Creating an option for solar panels as a permanent fixture as opposed to temporary modular panels is the first step of many to building efficiency and sustainability into our environments.

Many more advances in every field are beginning to grow in coevolution with our age old environments.  Increasing efficiency and connectivity is making the world a smaller and more convenient place.  Like archeologists admiring the engineering of Roman aqueducts, we will one day look back at this time and marvel at the progress and creativity our ingenuity has brought to fruition.  The world we live in today is literally, ‘the state of the art’.

What's up!? I'm Katrina. I'm wandering, collecting, witnessing and learning. I'm drawn to all things found at the intersection of art and technology. If I could go back in time, I think I'd be best friends with Mark Twain, Nikola Tesla and Cleopatra. When I'm not obsessing about the human endeavor or the nature of time, I'm probably cooking or dancing.

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5 Behaviors That Separate The Successful From The Average

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Many of us wish to be Bill Gates, Warren Buffet or even Mark Zuckerberg. These people are some of the most successful Americans today. They are worth billions of dollars and are at the helm of successful companies. Aside from wanting to be like them, many are also asking what they did to become successful. We want to know what behaviors and characteristics they have that helped them succeed. Here are behaviors of successful people you will want to emulate to help you become triumphant.

1. They Initiate

Successful people are not happy with the bare minimum. They like going the extra mile. For example, aside from knowing how much an item costs to acquire, they also want to learn about better products, discounts or how they can save. They do not wait for other people to tell them information. They initiate and ask questions because they want to learn, make recommendations, pitch ideas or offer to help. This is because success requires people to become proactive. Successful people are on the offense not defense all the time.

Initiation takes risk. By putting yourself out there you could fail. Conversely, you can also fail by not doing anything.

2. Thrift

Frugality or thrift is defined as “the quality of using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully”. They don’t live beyond their means or try to keep up with the Joneses because they know that there will always be other people who are more successful than they are. Successful people also know the value of money which is why they are not too keen on burning it quickly. They know the hard work they put in earning that money and wasting it on frivolous items is counterproductive.

Successful people like Mark Zuckerberg do not flaunt what they have. He drives a $30,000 Acura and Michelle Obama wears Target and recycles her wardrobe.

3. Persistent

Thomas A. Edison said he did not fail 10,000 times. He just found 10,000 ways it did not work. Many people are willing to accept failure, but successful people embrace these failures and learn from it. They use it as a stepping stones that can help them reach that “aha” moment. Successful people are adaptable and do not give up immediately which is a big reason for their success. These behaviors help you progress as you try to reach your goals.

The same is true for bestselling author JK Rowling. She got 12 rejection letters and was told “not to quit her day job” before the daughter of a Bloomsbury editor demanded the rest of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The series is now the fastest selling book in history and has a combined sales of $450 million.

4. Intuition

Successful people listen to their gut instinct. Even if other people told them not to do it, they did so anyway because it felt right to them. Intuition goes hand-in-hand with fearlessness and not doubting yourself which are traits that keep people in low-paying jobs. So listen to your instincts. Do what you think and feel is right.

5. Passion

Passion is believing in something that is sometimes impossible. Successful people are passionate and they use this drive to do things other people have not thought of. They love what they do and it is this drive that pushes them to become the best in their field which in turn makes them financially successful. When you don’t love what you’re doing it shows in the results of your work which in turn affects your pay.

People who are inspired and passionate create new opportunities which can open new doors that lead to success. Steve Jobs for example, was often labeled as “crazy” or “eccentric”, but there is no doubt to everybody that he is passionate in what he did which in turn made him a very successful and wealthy man.

The difference between successful people is not just old fashioned luck. Successful people have behavior that helps them tackle mediocrity and stay on top of their game while other people complain about money. Success is the result of hard work; dedication and gratitude for people who helped them achieve it. Hopefully you can nurture these behaviors and let them grow to help you become successful in your own right.

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8 Bad Career Tips That Keep You From Being Successful

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Every human strives for success in his or her respective fields. Achieving success is not magic. You need to work sincerely to achieve wealth, respect, and security for the entire life. Anyone can attain success, but you need to make wise decisions for your career. Some successful people can give you some valuable tips, but all may not be effective for your career path. So, be cautious about what you hear. Accept the right career tips, and you can be a winner.

1. Asking for a raise and promotion

Do not believe that if you work hard, you will be noticed by the management. However, this is not the reality. No matter how many hours you spend at the office, that does not necessarily promise you a reward. You need to take the initiative to show your performance to the management. Make yourself visible to the authority. Ask for the raise you are worth.

2. Too much useless information

You may receive many kinds of career tips that you may think may come handy. Check the source of information you receive and then decide if it is worthy for you. There are many kinds of training programs available in the market. Some of the training are useful for a section. It may not be useful for your career. So, choose wisely.

3. Resisting change

It is an old school of thought that any kind of change is bad. If you want to be successful, you need to go with the flow. Flexibility is the key to success. Accept what is in front of you and improvise per your requirement. Do not get stuck with old theories. You need to be balanced when you accept your responsibilities at work.

4. Do not underestimate yourself

‘Below the line’ thinking is the greatest barrier to achieving success. Never lose your confidence. People will not always encourage your high thinking, but you should not doubt your capability. Overcome the challenges and move forward. You need to see study the obstacles in the true light and find ways to overcome it.

5. Manage your emotions

Challenges and pressures are a part of work life. Your attitude towards life can make or break the situation for you. You need clear thinking. You should act objectively to challenge the obstacles. Fear can make you weak. Fear makes you accept wrong advice. You suffer when you make rash decisions. Keep calm and evaluate the situation rationally.

6. Increase your productivity

People always advise to overwork. Too much work makes you dull and exhausted. The harder you work, the less productive you become in the long term. Losing one hour of sleep every day can noticeably decrease your productivity. Proper rest is very much required to get rid of work-related stress. If you want to reach the pinnacle of success, take frequent breaks.

7. Do not say ‘yes’ too often

The more you deliver, the more people expect from you. Everyone believes that if you accept all the duties, the management will notice your efforts. However, that is always not true. You know your limits and do not go beyond that. One of the best career tips is learning to say ‘no.’

8. Do not yearn to be a perfectionist

Perfectionists spend more time on every work to make it perfect. If you put too much effort on smaller things, you miss out the bigger perspective. It reduces your productivity. Be sincere towards your work. You have limited time to finish your work. So, do not waste time to make it perfect.

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Why Your Monday Emails May Be Ignored

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Are you click-throughs and open rates declining? Are your recipients not responding to your emails? Many people are wondering what is the best day to send emails and if Monday is the wrong day to send them. While there are many studies showing that Monday emails are the worst, there are still people who feel that Monday is the best day to do so. So, why is Monday the worst day of the week to send emails?

Busy Start

As the first day of the work week, Monday is usually the busiest day for most people. This is usually the day when meetings for the week are scheduled, tasks delegated and reports regarding the past week come in. If you’re a supervisor, you need to wade through scheduling, reports, meetings and correspondence first thing so that your week can be productive. Sometimes, Monday emails get lost in the shuffle especially if the person wants to hit the ground running. This is especially true if the email is not headlined correctly. It can fall through the cracks and be forgotten. If you want your email to be opened, make the subject attractive and compelling to catch the recipient’s attention and to make them click your email open.

You and Everybody Else

Monday is the worst day to send emails because people who want to be noticed immediately usually send their emails during the weekend. This means that you and everybody else are vying for the recipient’s attention. For many people, Monday is usually the day where your mailbox is full especially if you tend to go off grid during the weekend. This means that when you open your email on the first working day of the week, it is full of messages from all kinds of people including those from the office, marketers, relatives and your boss. Monday is when you to compete with everybody else.

Urgent First

People like to schedule their work week on Mondays. This means prioritizing work that needs to be done immediately and delegating the less important tasks later in the week. The same is true with Monday emails. You need to open and answer the most important emails and then do the rest when you’re not too busy anymore. But you can’t control how your email is “important” to the recipient since they are the ones that decide what is and is not important to them. So if they feel that they can schedule to read your Monday emails later in the day or week, you have tough luck reaching the recipient unless they feel that you are important enough to be given first priority.

Weekend Hangover

If there are people who want to hit the ground running on Mondays, there are people who have weekend “hangovers”. They are sluggish during Monday and like to procrastinate in their work for later in the afternoon or on Tuesday (or when they want to). These people do not really feel the need to be rushed like other people on Monday so they like to take their time not only in opening emails but also in responding to them. Luckily, there aren’t many people who have weekend hangovers, unless they’re the boss of course.

Error Prone

According to a study conducted by software company Boomerang, people on Mondays tend to be error prone. The company analyzed 250,000 emails sent on Monday and they discovered that there are a lot of spelling errors and poor subject lines which resulted in low click and response rates on this day of the week. This may be because Monday is the most harrowing day of the week for most people (see above examples). They are rushed, busy, have a weekend hangover or are prioritizing emails and those with poor spelling and subject lines are usually the last to be opened.

Generally, there is really no best day or worst day to send emails. Many people dread Mondays and Tuesdays because these days are usually full of activities that need to be accomplished for the week. As the week winds down, people are generally more responsive to emails and will click and open them. The best way to get clicked on busy days is to construct an attractive subject line to entice the reader to click open and read the email.

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