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Trash + Technology = Money… It Really Does Pay To Go Green!

Secrets From The Recycling Plant: How A Used Bottle Becomes A New Bottle from Planet Money on Vimeo.

We go inside a recycling plant and a bottle factory to see the technology that turns used glass into new bottles.

For more, see the story with animated GIFs on our blog:


Trash + Technology = Money… It Really Does Pay To Go Green!

Why Keyboarding Is Important When Looking For Job Opportunities

Bachelor’s in Business Administration? Check. Transferable skills? Check. Touch typing efficiency? Uh-oh.

You might be unwittingly sabotaging your job prospects if you lack basic typing skills. In today’s highly competitive labor market you must ensure you have all essential skills to stand out from the crowd of fellow job hunters, and good touch typing skills is one way to do it!

But why is keyboarding so important?

Gain an essential 21st-century skill

Just consider how much technology has advanced in the last 15 years. Today, even the smallest businesses have computers, laptops, and tablets to run their business.

More and more new companies and startups are first launched online. The digital marketplace is becoming more ubiquitous with every passing second, so learning how to touch type will help you be more appealing to potential employers.

A substantial percentage of today’s jobs and professions are tied to a desk and a keyboard. Web developers and programmers, editors, administrative assistants and executives,marketers and salespeople all need above average typing skills to be considered efficient and productive at what they do.

Expand your career path opportunities

The more skills you have, the better your chances of success in a variety of fields.

Several skills like teamwork, leadership, management skills, communication, and good listening can be transferred from one job to another with ease. They’re desirable skills most employers look for in job candidates.

Thankfully, one other easily mastered and transferable skill is touch typing. You can use this in virtually any job that requires you to use a keyboard. Most importantly, it will help you be more professional and responsible as it jump-starts your productivity.

Boost your professionalism

A person who’s an efficient touch typist makes a good impression. Technology is a concept that’s advancing fast and people often fear it, especially older people. That’s why seeing that you easily master technology – in this case in the form of touch typing – makes employers feel reassured of your competency and job suitability.

It’s easy and quick to improve your touch typing record. Take an online typing test to determine your current words per minute rate, and then use typing games and activities to start improving your keyboarding skills. Remember, those skills will enhance your job prospects!

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Why Keyboarding Is Important When Looking For Job Opportunities

Forty Types of Fruit Make This One Tree A Work of Art

Blogging Wizard Founder Adam Connell Provides Honest Opinion For Success & Passion

James Barham

INTRODUCTION: “If at first you don’t succeed …” is the start of a well-known maxim. How have you finished that phrase in the past, when faced with failure? One of the hardest things to do is discover how to use what seems like a completely negative outcome and find the positive aspects, applying that new knowledge to future efforts as you try and try again. One person who transformed failure into success is Adam Connell, blogging wizard and internet entrepreneur. We asked him to tell his story.

UT: You’ve written about how a failed record label led you to develop a successful business model in the online music industry. Can you share this story with our readers?

Back when I was in college, I was studying music technology.

My friends and I produced all sorts of crazy electronic music.

Then, one morning a friend of mine brought in some new tracks he’d been working on. They were incredible. On a par with the music Warp Records was releasing at the time.

A few days later, I heard how one of our lecturers was able to setup his own small record label.

This gave me the idea to start my own record label to help showcase other artists from my college and to keep it lean, it would simply exist online to minimize overheads.

After months of planning, looking into the legal side of things and building a website – we were ready to go live.

The problem was I missed a seriously important factor – selling music is damned hard work these days! And after launch we struggled to drive any traffic to the website, or create any buzz.

Our launch was a complete failure from a financial standpoint but the real truth is that it did something wonderful.

It pushed me to discover the power of free content.

Here’s why:

I wanted to expose our music to more people, the other artists on my label agreed to have their music released for free to make it happen.

We had no idea how well it would work, but we wanted to try it. We had nothing to lose.

6 months later, my label had released more than 10 albums which had reached over 100,000 people.

12 months later, we hit 500,000 downloads.

To this day, we’ve released 67 albums from artists all over the world. And we’re closing in on 3 million downloads.

We closed the label a few years ago as we didn’t have the time to maintain it, but all releases are still available for download. We get around 700+ downloads each day.

I wouldn’t say it was a successful business model as the label never made any money, but with what I’ve learned in the years since, it could have done.

One of the key takeaways for me was the power of free content. Another takeaway was how effective free content can be when you understand your target audience and put that content directly in-front of them.

Above all else, the learning experience changed everything for me.

The last web design we rolled out was based on WordPress, and we used the blogging functionality to let our audience know about new releases.

So while no money was made, working on this project has been an important stepping stone that has enabled me to get to where I am today.

UT: How can people discover what they’re truly passionate about? Can a person be successful without drawing on that passion?

Good question and it’s a difficult one to answer.

We all find our passion in different ways, but above all else you have to put aside all fears and doubts, then go out and try new things.

The truth is that when we’re young, we need to experience more because if we don’t, we may never find something we’re passionate about, and which inspires us.

Growing up, music was a big part of my life – Everything from playing guitar in a band to creating my own electronic music, and the technical side of things.

And because my life revolved around music, I never experienced anything else.

My passion is marketing, but if I ignored everything else apart from music, I’d not be where I am today.

It’s strange when I think about it, that a combination of two events is responsible for discovering my passion for marketing.

Around the same time that I was working on my record label project, I went to a lecture at college from a guy who taught at a local university.

That lecture peaked my curiosity, and showed me what solo artists could do on the web with the right platforms.

This led me to write my final year project on music marketing, where I recorded a 2 track single and showed how bands could get their music on the likes of Spotify and iTunes.

Our single is still on Spotify actually!

And because of writing this project, I got the opportunity to work with David Lowe on his last website redesign (he wrote the catchy jingle used on the opening of every BBC News broadcast).

At the time, I didn’t realize it but all of these events were just small stepping stones that gave me the inspiration I needed to pursue my passion of marketing.

Can someone be successful without passion? Sure, it’s possible with the right motivations (or the wrong motivations, depending on how you look at it).

My advice would be to do what you love – find your passion and go for it!

That way you’ll have no regrets, you won’t look back and wish you’d done things differently.

UT: As you’ve noted, knowledge, skills, and being able to use the appropriate technology are needed to make the most of any opportunity. Ultimate TypingTM helps people learn how to efficiently use a keyboard interface by teaching touch typing skills, something that most people need to add to their skill set in today’s marketplace. What is another crucial skill that you recommend people learn?

Good question and the truth is there are so many valuable skills.

As a marketer, there’s one particular skill which has served me well – the ability to take a problem you’ve never faced before and find an answer even if that answer doesn’t exist.

If you can take an obstacle that you’ve never faced before and tackle it, you can do anything.

So each time you take the initiative and solve a completely new problem, you’re expanding your horizons and developing valuable skills.

What you know matters and it can unlock the doors to opportunities you may never have even considered.

As time goes on, you’ll learn faster and you’ll tackle new problems in more creative ways.

Working at a regular job, there’s usually someone who you can go to in order to get answers but when it comes to blogging and being a solopreneur, sometimes you have no choice but to figure out things for yourself.

And ultimately, that’s a great thing.

UT: A lot of people who have blogs didn’t necessarily start those blogs with the idea of making money from them. Is it possible to turn a personal blog into something that creates some income?

The truth is that some niches are just far more difficult to make money in than others.

It may be an overabundance of competition or there could be another factor at work, so it helps to consider this when you start your blog.

But, if it hasn’t been a consideration from the start, you can still generate some income!

Let’s say for an example, you’ve been blogging for a while and after trying to make money – you haven’t been able to.

What can you do?

You can offer what you’ve learned as a blogger, as a service.

The truth is that if you’re running your own blog and you have some readers, someone will be willing to pay you to do the same for them.

You could do freelance writing, social media management, blog management or something else.

Now, there are low quality gigs floating about the web which pay peanuts. You’re worth more.

The cool thing is that it’s possible to completely replace a full-time income or even get a full-time income by working part time hours as a freelance blogger.

A great example is Elna Cain; in 6 months she has built up a full-time income from freelance writing and works part-time hours. Elna can earn up to $250/post – incredible right?

There are job boards around the web like Problogger’s job board which list freelance jobs and next year I’m launching which aims to connect bloggers with brands who need their help.

The great thing is that more brands are investing in digital marketing, which includes everything from writing and social media to building entire websites.

And they need people who know their industry inside out – it’s a prime opportunity to leverage what you know and use it to grow your blog’s income.

Once you have a solid base of clients, you could scale up and start employing other bloggers. This will allow you to gain more control over your workload and take on even more paying clients.

UT: You run a popular website called Blogging Wizard, and you also reach out to people using other platforms, like Facebook and Twitter. Do you recommend that every blogger use multiple media channels, or can they concentrate solely on their blog?

If you concentrate solely on a blog, it’s going to be difficult to grow an audience.

Using platforms like Facebook and Twitter is essential to get more eye-balls on your content.

But, there’s a lot more out there than just Facebook and Twitter to consider.

You’ve also got platforms like Triberr, Reddit, StumbleUpon and other niche specific communities to consider.

Ultimately your blog is at the heart of what you do, you then need to go where your target audience hangs out online and put some impressive content in front of them.

The key to doing this is in identifying the problem(s) your audience is facing, then using the content you publish to provide a solution.

Once more people are on your blog, you then need to make sure they keep coming back – encouraging your readers to subscribe to your blog is a great way to do this.

Adam Connell is the Founder of Blogging Wizard and Marketing Director at UK Linkology. He spends his time helping others get more visibility online.

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Too Much Sleep? Not Enough Sleep? This 3-Minute Video Answers Important Health Questions

Too Much Sleep? Not Enough Sleep? This 3-Minute Video Answers Important Health Questions

Why You Should Learn To Touch Type

Touch typing is an essential tech skill. The great news is that you can quickly and easily learn to touch type, if you have the right tools. Reaping the benefits of touch typing is only a step away.

Boost your productivity at work

Touch typing can literally save you dozens of hours every month. When you can touch type accurately and with above-average speed, you end up doing more in less time.

This is especially important if you’re a student or a professional whose daily work life revolves around some sort of data or content input. Any person in a field that involves a computer keyboard can get a boost in productivity by learning how to touch type.

Boost your career prospects

A recent survey by Change for Education revealed something astonishing. Digital natives and millennials, despite their obsession with social media and technology, are in fact lacking basic tech skills.

The research showed that people lack basic tech skills such as solving multi-step problems using technology. This is a huge surprise; one would expect millennials and digital natives who were practically born with smartphones in hand to have at least a certain level of tech-related competency.

58 percent of millennials are having trouble solving problems using technology, the study confirms, even basic tasks such as sorting email invitations.

Where am I going with this?

While the facts may be negative, these findings also have a positive slant, and suggest that despite the competition, you can stay ahead of fellow job-hunters by mastering simple tech skills like touch typing and get a head start in your career.

Increase your career advancement potential

Touch typing is not just about getting you a good entry level job, it also helps you advance into higher positions much faster.

Overall, touch typing positively impacts many aspects of your work, because you save time and are able to create reports and other content professionally and correctly. You’ll impress people with your hyper-productive work style when you touch type simply because you have outstanding keyboarding speed!

Enhance your self-esteem

Technology is scary sometimes. It advances so quickly and it has become so intensely part of our lives, and yet it is still a struggle to learn to use.

Being able to touch type improves your self-esteem and makes you gain a sense of control over the tech paraphernalia that surrounds our social and professional lives.

Build your professionalism

Touch typing improves your professionalism. Touch typing is one hard skill under this umbrella term, and it’s one that you can apply in a number of situations.

Touch typing makes you productive and helps you seem dynamic as a person, two rather flattering characteristics that make you stand out among dozens of job hunters and even colleagues.

Where do I start?

Touch typing today is as essential as learning to read and do basic math.

Learning to touch type is easy. You can get an all-around practice routine just by using a single resource like Ultimate Typing™.

Gone are the days when you have to go through several resources to get a complete education in typing. Today, you can improve your typing speed and accuracy through customized lessons and interactive activities as well as through typing games that make practice feel fun and less hard work.

Start practicing today. Improve your touch typing efficiency and enjoy the benefits of more free time, increased productivity, higher self-esteem, and improved career prospects.

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Why You Should Learn To Touch Type

Earthquake Preparation 101: Will You Be Ready When Disaster Strikes?

How To Increase Your Typing Speed

Have you ever tried to get a faster touch typing speed, only to lose accuracy and cover the page in typos? Have you ever watched a coworker’s fingers flying, and thought, “I wish I could type like that!” – but were too embarrassed to ask how they gained their skill?

Don’t worry. Learning to touch type and increase your typing speed is easier than you think. In fact, you can improve your touch typing in a matter of weeks while having fun at the same time. Just follow these simple tips.

Don’t overlook technique

Many people think that speed is more important than technique, but technique is 80% of the process, and focusing on speed is just 20%.

Any good typing course will first focus on improving your touch typing technique and accuracy, and only then move on to helping you improve your speed. Spend a few days learning the basic touch typing techniques before you start worrying about speed. Include ergonomics as well as hand and finger placement.

Perfect your touch typing accuracy

Typos are signals of what techniques you still can improve on, and you can use these to concentrate on those techniques.

See which keys give you a hard time and identify which of the two hands is weaker or sloppier than the other. Then focus on strategic practice targeting these issues to take your touch typing to the next level.

Make speed improvement practice fun

Touch typing is one of a handful of tech skills that can be surprisingly fun to master.

With a modern and well-designed typing tutor, you’ll find it hard to be bored while you’re practicing. There are also many fun and addictive touch typing games that can help you improve your typing speed. We love TypeRacer and Typing Club,  but there are hundreds of other typing games and fun activities you can play that will improve your typing speed right now. (Of course you can download a software where tons of fun games and engaging activities are included)

Practice while learning

A fun way to improve your typing speed is to practice with text that is familiar and/or interesting to you. For instance, touch type your favorite poem, or excerpts from your favorite book.

By practicing your touch typing while engaging with an activity or subject matter you find enjoyable, it makes the process much more pleasant. You will improve your typing speed without even realizing the effort you’re putting into it!

How To Increase Your Typing Speed

See What Happens When Technology Lends A Helping Hand – Literally!

What Keyboarding Software Can Do For Your Students

It’s well established by now that keyboarding is a skill that’s essential in today’s technology-driven society.  Without touch typing skills you cannot effectively work, communicate, connect, or collaborate. It’s not that you’re incapable of doing all of these activities without a keyboard, but you’ll end up falling far behind your online competition in the workplace. However, with efficient touch typing skills, all these daily activities are a breeze.

Integrating touch typing practice in your classroom with the help of typing tutor software means you have a ready-made curriculum, designed just for you. All you need to do is set up your students’ account, give them a little e-tour of the software, and the rest is practice, practice, practice.

Choosing the right keyboarding program for your classroom can be tricky and time-consuming, though. There are a lot of promising product options out there, but how do you know which one to pick?

One easy way to sort through products that will help you make a decision quickly is to steer away from any typing software that’s stuck in the 1990s. You know which ones I’m referring to. They have a Windows 95 kind of feel to them, they look old-fashioned, and they’re not user-friendly at all.

User-friendliness Equals Effective Learning

One of the most important criteria for a software’s effectiveness is its user-friendliness. If a program has a counter-intuitive interface, and its appearance looks poorly structured, then the user will immediately be put off. They’ll be less interested in using the software.

What you want is something modern and up to date – think of next-generation typing tutors like Ultimate Typing™ EDU. These offer a sleek, user-friendly interface that’s inviting and friendly, something that attracts users of all ages. A practice session will be more effective if the user finds the program appealing, and they’ll be more likely to keep coming back for more practice sessions.

Effective Learning Requires Flexibility

A poor typing program will generally use late 80s technologies and implement only one or two learning strategies. On the other hand, a cutting-edge typing tutor in 2015 will be capable of integrating the latest, most effective learning strategies and methodologies, and will offer these through interesting exercises, games, and activities.

The gamification of learning and education at large has truly advanced in the last few years. Learning shouldn’t feel like learning at all, the theory goes, it should feel more like play. The process of studying shouldn’t be difficult; it should be a pleasant pastime that leads to greater knowledge and skill development. Games are especially important for children and teens, because it removes any sense that they’re working hard. Even adults like to have fun while they learn.

In addition, a typing tutor needs to be intuitive. It should adapt to every learner’s needs and mastery goals, and offer pertinent activities. Make sure the typing software you choose doesn’t rely on the “one size fits all” philosophy.

Opt for typing software that offers a library of ebooks for independent practice, to provide your students with the widest range of options. To minimize expenses related to setup and hardware, also make sure that it uses wi-fi connectivity and allows more than one user to create practice sessions.

Companies who create good typing software that’s been proven to be effective will offer a money-back guarantee or some other reassurance of quality to the buyer. The software will let the user track their progress and goals to keep them on track. Most importantly, good typing software teaches the whole spectrum that is keyboarding: not just typing accuracy but also ergonomics, typing techniques, and speed.

Social, Personal, and Cloud-based Connections

Older typing tutors relied on cumbersome files you had to download on your computer. Next-generation typing software is cloud-based, linked to social networking, and fully customizable. Students learn more quickly if the program is tailored to their learning needs, style, and goals. Even better, when they can share those goals and their successes with other on social media, students will challenge each other as well as themselves, and the whole group will advance more quickly.

These 21st-century features aren’t found in older typing software, but they are supported in advanced software like Ultimate Typing™ EDU, a cloud based typing program that’s been exclusively designed for the classroom. This typing software caters to all the requirements of a classroom context, from easy set-up and administration to a user-friendly interface. and practice material that’s relevant, fun, and results-driven.