Lately, artificial intelligence has been very much the hot topic in Silicon Valley and the broader tech scene. To those of us involved in that scene it feels like an incredible momentum is building around the topic, with all kinds of building AI into the core of their business. There has also been a rise in AI-related university courses which is seeing a wave of extremely bright new talent rolling into the employment market. But this is not a simple case of confirmation bias – interest in the topic has been on the rise since mid-2014.
The noise around the subject is only going to increase, and for the layman it is all very confusing. Depending on what you read, it's easy to believe that we're headed for an apocalyptic Skynet-style obliteration at the hands of cold, calculating supercomputers, or that we're all going to live forever as purely digital entities in some kind of cloud -based artificial world. In other words, either The Terminator or The Matrix are imminently about to become disturbingly prophetic.
Should we be worried or excited? And what does it all mean?
Will robots take over the world?
When I jumped onto the AI bandwagon in late 2014, I knew very little about it. Although I have been involved with web technologies for over 20 years, I hold an English Literature degree and am more engaged with the business and creative capabilities of technology than the science behind it. I was drawn to AI because of its positive potential, but when I read warnings from the likes of Stephen Hawking about the apocalyptic dangers lurking in our future, I naturally became as concerned as anyone else would.
So I did what I normally do when something worries me: I started learning about it so that I could understand it. More than a year's worth of constant reading, talking, listening, watching, tinkering and studying has led me to a pretty solid understanding of what it all means, and I want to spend the next few paragraphs sharing that knowledge in the hopes of enlightening anyone else who is curious but naively afraid of this amazing new world.
Oh, if you just want the answer to the headline above, the answer is: yes, they will. Sorry.
How the machines have learned to learn
The first thing I discovered was that artificial intelligence, as an industry term, has actually been going since 1956, and has had multiple booms and busts in that period. In the 1960s the AI industry was batting in a golden era of research with Western governments, universities and big businesses throwing enormous amounts of money at the sector in the hopes of building a brave new world. But in the mid seventies, when it became apparent that AI was not delivering on its promise, the industry bubble burst and the funding discharged up. In the 1980s, as computers became more popular, another AI boom emerged with similar levels of mind-boggling investment being poured into various enterprises. But, again, the sector failed to deliver and the inevitable bust followed.
To understand why these booms failed to stick, you first need to understand what artificial intelligence actually is. The short answer to that (and believe me, there are very very long answers out there) is that AI is a number of different overlapping technologies which broadly deal with the challenge of how to use data to make a decision about something. It incorporates a lot of different disciplines and technologies (Big Data or Internet of Things, anyone?) But the most important one is a concept called machine learning.
Machine learning basically involves feeding computers large amounts of data and letting them analyze that data to extract patterns from which they can draw conclusions. You have probably seen this in action with face recognition technology (such as on Facebook or modern digital cameras and smartphones), where the computer can identify and frame human faces in photographs. In order to do this, the computers are referencing an intense library of photos of people's faces and have learned to spot the characteristics of a human face from shapes and colors averaged out over a dataset of hundreds of millions of different examples. This process is basically the same for any application of machine learning, from fraud detection (analyzing purchasing patterns from credit card purchase histories) to generic art (analyzing patterns in paintings and randomly generating pictures using those learned patterns).
As you may imagine, crunching through intense datasets to extract patterns requires a LOT of computer processing power. In the 1960s they simply did not have machines powerful enough to do it, which is why that boom failed. In the 1980s the computers were powerful enough, but they discovered that machines only learn effectively when the volume of data being fed to them is large enough, and they were unable to source large enough amounts of data to feed the machines.
Then came the internet. Not only did it solve the computing problem once and for all through the innovations of cloud computing – which essentially allows us to access as many processors as we need at the touch of a button – but people on the internet have been generating more data every day than has ever been produced in the entire history of planet earth. The amount of data being produced on a constant basis is absolutely mind-boggling.
What this means for machine learning is significant: we now have more than enough data to truly start training our machines. Think of the number of photos on Facebook and you start to understand why their facial recognition technology is so accurate.
There is now no major barrier (that we currently know of) preventing AI from achieving its potential. We are only just starting to work out what we can do with it.
When the computers will think for themselves
There is a famous scene from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey where Dave, the main character, is slowly disabling the artificial intelligence mainframe (called "Hal") after the latter has malfunctioned and decided to try and kill all the humans on the space station it was meant to be running. Hal, the AI, protests Dave's actions and eerily proclaims that it is afraid of dying.
This movie illustrates one of the big fears surrounding AI in general, which what will happen once the computers start to think for them instead of being controlled by humans. The fear is valid: we are already working with machine learning constructs called neural networks which structures are based on the neurons in the human brain. With neural nets, the data is fed in and then processed through a vastly complex network of interconnected points that build connections between concepts in much the same way as associative human memory does. This means that computers are slowly starting to build up a library of not just patterns, but also concepts which ultimately lead to the basic foundations of understanding instead of just recognition.
Imagine you are looking at a photograph of somebody's face. When you first see the photo, a lot of things happen in your brain: first, you recognize that it is a human face. Next, you may recognize that it is male or female, young or old, black or white, etc. You will also have a quick decision from your brain about whether you recognize the face, although sometimes the recognition requires deeper thinking depending on how often you have been exposed to this particular face (the experience of recognizing a person but not knowing straight away from where ). All of this happens pretty much instantly, and computers are already capable of doing all of this too, at almost the same speed. For example, Facebook can not only identify faces, but can also tell you who the face belongs to, if said person is also on Facebook. Google has technology that can identify the race, age and other characteristics of a person based just on a photo of their face. We have come a long way since the 1950s.
But true artificial intelligence – which is referred to as Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), where the machine is as advanced as a human brain – is a long way off. Machines can recognize faces, but they still do not really know what a face is. For example, you might look at a human face and infer a lot of things that are drawn from a hugely complicated mesh of different memories, learnings and feelings. You might look at a photo of a woman and guess that she is a mother, which in turn may make you assume that she is selfless, or indeed the opposite depending on your own experiences of mothers and motherhood. A man might look at the same photo and find the woman attractive which will lead him to make positive assumptions about her personality (confirmation bias again), or conversely find that she resembles a crazy ex girlfriend who will inevitably make him feel negatively towards the woman . These richly varied but often ilogical thoughts and experiences are what drive humans to the various behaviors – good and bad – that characterize our race. Desperation often leads to innovation, fear leads to aggression, and so on.
For computers to truly be dangerous, they need some of these emotional compulsions, but this is a very rich, complex and multi-layered tapestry of different concepts that is very difficult to train a computer on, no matter how advanced neural networks may be. We will get there one day, but there is plenty of time to make sure that when computers do achieve AGI, we will still be able to switch them off if needed.
Meanwhile, the advances currently being made are finding more and more useful applications in the human world. Driverless cars, instant translations, AI mobile phone assistants, websites that design themselves ! All of these advances are intended to make our lives better, and as such we should not be afraid but rather excited about our artificial intelligence future.
Basic Knowledge of Machine Shops
Machine shops continue to grow in number with the increasing volume of things that render the machine shops' service. It could have a room, office building or open space where machining is done. Machining is the conversion of certain material with the aid of tools and equipment into a more useful product. Machine shops commonly contain tools and materials that are typically used by the machinists.
The machinists are the ones performing the transformation materials. Being a machinist is actually not an easy task. It requires not only knowledge of the tools but the skills needed to properly perform the job.
The basic machine tools needed are lathes, mills, drill presses etc.
The machinists should have relevant knowledge on how to operate and set up the said tools for safety precaution. There are various materials working on lathe which include collets, chucks, mandrels, faceplates and centers.
The lathe does several works including sanding and drilling, cutting and knurling, and other deformations to produce an object that has symmetry on rotational axis.
- Lathe is often applied in woodturning, glass works, metalworking, and metal spinning, Several objects can be made from lathe, for example: baseball bats, candlestick holders, table lags and cue sticks.
On the other hand, mills or milling machines serve for the purpose of painting metal and other solid materials. Horizontal and vertical milling machines are used for orientation of the cutting tool spindle. Milling machines could be manually-operated, mechanical, automated or digitally automated such as the computer numerical control (CNC).
The drill place could be mounted on a stand or fixed at the floor.
- The basic portions of the drill are base, column, table, spindle and drill head.
- Some of the types of drills are geared head drill press, radial arm drill press and mill drill.
The geared head type of grill is operated through electricity wherein transfer of power from motor to spindle occurs by spur gearing which is found inside the head of the machine.
The head of the radial arm drill could be moved from the machine's column. Mill drill is a lighter alternative to a milling machine.
Machine shop covers a spectrum of discipline based on what the shop is specializing on. However they all have primary machining processes which are turning, drilling and milling. The secondary activities are shaping, planning, boring, broaching and sawing.
The primary process will be described here. In turning, a cylindrical object is generated by cutting.
- The rotating work part provides the turning and the feed motion occurs by slowly moving in a direction that is parallel to the axis of rotation. Drilling is just the creation of a round hole.
- The drill is placed in a parallel direction to the axis of its rotation.
- Lastly, the boring enlarges the created hole.
The people that will greatly benefit in the machine shop owning are the machinists, industrial prototypes, car restorers, R & D lab technicians, instrument makers, product designers, gunsmiths, engineers, inventors and people making one-of a kind repair parts. A beginner should always be cautious of his action to avoid injury.
Root Cause analysis (RCA) is the formal search for an individual or group of interacting true causes of a problem. The difficult part of professional problem solving is to identify the right tool(s) capable of identifying the true root cause(s) of a problem and not just the symptoms. It is common to find more than just one root cause to a problem, so be skeptical if you just find one root cause to any problem. RCA can be pointed at any simple and complex problem but the designated problem solver has to know what technique to use for different types of problems. For example, let’s look at two different issues in need of solutions:
1. Fast food drive-through window customers complain that their orders take too long to get filled.
2. You cannot produce good quality plastic parts made from your new machine that has 25 knobs on it for the control settings.
You would hopefully apply different techniques to find out the root causes for each of the above problems but often, in business, that is not the case. Too often, the same tool is applied to solve every problem. In the worst case scenario, the ever popular “GOFAAT” Problem Solving Method (Guessing One Factor at A Time) is used to attempt resolution for both problems.
Using the GOFAAT method to solve problem #1 would look like this: The restaurant manager would run around after each customer complaint and scold employee Joe one day, then employee Mary or Larry the next day and then scream at the slow cooking french fry machine the day after that. GOFAAT problem solving is a common but ineffective way to attempt problem solving but this fact does not dampen its popularity. It is certainly not called GOFAAT by any of its fans but it needs to be labeled as such to expose some organizations to their shortcomings in their problem solving efforts.
Using the GOFAAT method to solve problem #2 would look like this: mold machine operator Terry would spin dial number 7 (lucky 7) a little to the right when things go wrong in the hope that this will make the quality problem go away. Mold machine operator Jerry would spin dial number 13 a little to the left when things go wrong, hoping for a miracle. The Clever mold machine Operator Tito would spin dial number 3 and 5 far to the right when things go wrong in hopes of solving the problem. By the way, Terry, Jerry and Tito never talk to each other because they work on different shifts and management does not allow this group the time to discuss their issues. Unfortunately, this is a common situation that many professional problem solvers encounter when they investigate certain serious problems in a business.
There are roughly 18 different families of Root Cause Analysis Techniques used today. They are listed below. The lower numbers generally depict simpler and more unsophisticated techniques and the higher numbers generally require more training and experience to apply those methods correctly. There are 3 groups of problem solving techniques: Groups A, B and C. Group A techniques can be used by a small team of would-be problem solvers with little training. Group B and C techniques require more training and even software to solve the problems.
Group A Problem Solving Techniques include Methods #1-5, which include:
1. GOFAAT method (Guessing One factor At A Time)
2. “Whack-A-Mole” Problem Solving method
3. Total Quality Management (TQM) > other Basic Brainstorming Techniques
4. Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) > Disciplined Gap Analysis > Closure
5. Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) continuous improvement techniques
Problem Solving Technique #1 listed above is the previously mentioned GOFAAT method (Guessing One factor At A Time). This method requires no training to apply and can be used by an individual or a small team to attempt resolution of a problem. The use of this tool as the primary way of solving problems would be at the bottom of the scale of sophistication when it relates to competency in problem solving. It would be a matter of luck if the GOFAAT problem solving method actually solved any problem anywhere.
The second most undesirable Problem Solving Technique is what I call the “Whack-A-Mole” method. It is very popular amongst professionals and managers but it is unproductive and it generates a lot of wasteful and useless action. Here is how the Whack-A-Mole method works: A certain manager runs a large factory with 550 people who sew and glue pieces of material together to make purses. The manager of this factory lives a complicated life with several disasters erupting in his/her business every few days; sometimes a few disasters erupt each day. Using the Whack-A-Mole method, this purse factory manager moves his/her best people to fight a problem in one corner in the business where the big problems are creating chaos. Everything else in the factory gets a much lower priority while this “Whacking” goes on. A few days later, the Manager moves these problem fighters to fight another disaster that erupted in another corner of the purse factory. The manager does not have time to worry if the last fire was fully put out, he/she only cares that it was tamed down and off of his/her radar screen of the top 3 issues.
Whack-A-Mole efforts often address the symptoms of a problem and not the true root causes. It is used by frantic, stressed-out, untrained and unenlightened professionals who believe that any intense group of activities will always yield good results. Unfortunately, only logical, efficient and effective actions get results. Professionals need to learn how to work smarter and not harder.
The GOFAAT and Whack-A-Mole methods can lead to chaos and unresolved issues in business.
The rest of the Group A Problem Solving Techniques on the list are more professional types of problem solving techniques that individuals or ad-hoc teams can use after a certain amount of specialty training. The root causes for low complexity problems could be identified with methods #3-5 with the use of friendly debate, team consensus and the democratic process of team voting. Hard statistics and data verification of root causes are usually not used for this group or problem solving techniques. These techniques can be effectively used on simpler problems. They might not always get it right but most of the time their efforts will pay off, if these methods are used correctly in a disciplined way.
Group B Problem Solving Techniques #6-11 include:
6. Lean Manufacturing > Lean Office
7. Time > Motion Studies / Spaghetti Charting
8. Seven Basic Tools of Quality
9. Lean Kaizen Events
10. Process mapping with 10 layers of Analysis
11. Six Sigma and/or Lean > TRIZ
Most of these techniques require very accurate information and/or data to be successful. These tools could be used to address the Not-So-Fast drive-through window customer complaint problem mentioned at the start of this article. A Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, Black Belt, Lean Master or other highly skilled professional has the ability to solve these types of problems by using the right tools at the right time. Specialized training is required to correctly execute these techniques. These Group B problem solving techniques have a higher probability of identifying the correct root causes compared to Group A techniques. Group B techniques should be used for problems that are more difficult to solve. These methods should be applied when simple team brainstorming will not yield the true root causes.
Group C Problem Solving Techniques #12-18 include:
12. 3D > Multi-stratification-level graphing
13. Statistical Hypothesis Testing
14. Simple Regression Analysis
15. Multiple Variable Regression
16. Neural Networks > DOEs
17. Off-The-Chart DOE Optimization
18. Artificial Intelligence
These techniques require a certain amount of accurate data about the problem that will be analyzed with specific software to enable the problem solving technique to be successful. These tools could be utilized to address the bad quality plastic parts story mentioned at the start of this article. The skills required to use these problem solving techniques would be possessed by Lean Six Sigma Black Belts, Master Black Belts and other highly skilled and trained professionals. These techniques are typically applied when all other efforts have failed to get to the root cause and solve the problem.
If you are just starting out, the world of slots can be very intimidating. Everywhere you turn, there's a different type of slot machine and it looks like every one offers a different set of features. In reality, there are only a few basic types of slot machine games and I am going to take you by the hand and walk you through in detail each of them, so you can increase your chance of winning and enjoyment.
The first type of slot we will discuss is the straight slot.
Some people refer to them as classic.
The straight slot pays out jackpots based on a table that is visible on the machine.
These types of slots usually stand on their own, and do not interact in any way with jackpot machines that may be nearby.
Next, we will discuss the multiplier. This type of slot is much more advanced because it offers many more combinations to win a jackpot. With the multiplayer slot, the more you bet, the greater your chance at winning. For example, if you only bet a single coin, you might only win with a matching combination in the middle row. However if you bet the maximum amount of coins, you can win using multiple combinations that are listed on the machine. With multiplayer slots, you need to be very careful and make sure that you read the instructions. On some machines for example, you can only win with multiple combinations if you bet the maximum amount of coins.
Progressive slots are a relatively new type of slot machine that increases the odds of winning in brick and mortar casinos. These are typically joined together within an electronic network to slowly increase the jackpot as people place bets. So as people more bets in the network, the jackpot gradually increases. This creates a sense of community, as gamblers place bets in the hopes of winning a life-changing amount of money. These types of games are very popular and normally function as the main attraction at brick and mortar casinos. You will commonly find a group of people gambling together in order to increase their chances of winning.
The final type of slot is the bonus game. These were created to help add an element of fun into the slot machine process. When a winning combination is played, the slot machine will present you with a short game that is unrelated to the slot machine. These short games normally require no additional bets, and help liven up the repetitive nature of slot machine game play.
Slots are a great way to spend bonus cash and hopefully win some extra money. Now that you know the different types of slot machines available, you'll be better prepared to pick the perfect game for your needs.
CNC router desks are utilized in cutting wood, metal or plastic, which depend on the piece of equipment. They are used in sign making or common routing works. The routers function as engraving device. This adaptability allows you to get more benefits from the machine.
The awareness in these machineries for use at home and little shops has developed rapidly in current years. Since people happen to be conscious of the versatility and correctness, the demand for the machines also increases. Several people are selecting used equipment in order to save some amount of money, while possessing the machine.
Even though they are still costly for majority of users, there are strategies available in the internet to create your individual table. These save some money and will allow you to select sizes from 15 x 15 to 50 x 60 inches, in accordance to your needs.
Advantages of using a CNC router
With the help of CNC router, you may create projects that are too difficult to complete or takes too much effort and time to finish the work. This entails the cutting of complicated designs and making metal inlays in a wood. Intricate designs appear accurate and smooth. You may do things which you can not be able to do with your hands.
These equipments are great in making furniture. You can be able to get specialized results all the time. The software will allow you in programming the depth for every pass for even improved results. You may engrave everything from big signs to very little lettering. These equipments are extremely versatile and simple to use, after you have been taught regarding the software.
Smaller equipments function on 120 current and may run on usual household current. These machines are the finest choice to be used in home workshops. The motors are usually either 1 or 2 horsepower. The smaller, table top forms are less costly, costing around seven thousand dollars if new, as compared to bigger machines costing twenty thousand dollars. A second-hand machine is less expensive, costing around three thousand five hundred dollars.
Buying a Used CNC Router
Buying a second-hand CNC router is a big worth for your money. You may save around fifty percent or more as compared to the price of a brand new machine. Do some research before buying, you may find the best machine if you take time in shopping. Always remember that used machine can not be able to work fast as compared to brand new machines. However, this will not matter in small shops.
Several used equipments were reconditioned. The piece of equipment is examined and all damaged parts are substituted. You have to ask regarding the work done by the router. You must find out the repair done and what parts were replaced. Ask regarding the warranty; some come with a warranty of one year which is a great advantage to you.
You must find out also about the aid that the company will offer. Some companies will offer support in the installation and will train you in the use of the software. This is essential if you were not able to use any software before. Search for professional suggestions and support. If ever possible, opt for a dealer which offers continues support. Ensure that you can get a copy of the manual for the router. You will surely need the information enclosed in the guide for maintenance and operation of the machine.
All about the Book
This is the first ever book on educational leadership, published in Pakistan. Dr. Jan-e-Alam Khaki and Dr. Qamar Safdar are the editors of this book. The book consists of a series of empirical studies undertaken by qualified educational researchers in Pakistan, associated directly or indirectly with AKU-IED. There are various thought provoking and insightful topics in this book; each complements our learning experiences. The book is divided into four sections and fourteen chapters; each section and chapter is intertwined with each other and illuminates issues and its remedial measures. Section one describes the development of education leadership in Pakistan. The second sections deals with the Diversity of Leadership: perceptions and practices of leadership in Pakistan. The third session looks at the role of the educational change agents, and the fourth sections explores the future prospects of educational leadership in Pakistan. In order to get in-depth insights from the book, we decided to focus on first two sections and reviewed initial six chapters.
In first chapter, Dr. Sajid Ali and Muhammad Babur highlight the issues and nature of governance during pre and post independence. Structure of education during British and after independence is analytically compared. Chapter indicates that involvement of educational leadership is missing in both periods, causing various issues in education system, ineffective management and indistinct teaching methodologies, etc. In the second chapter, Zubaida Bana reflects upon the understanding of effective leadership. Using the Katha (storytelling) approach, she starts the discussion pints of a headteacher who imaginatively discovers the meanings in allegories and metaphors in order to understand the roles and responsibilities of an effective education leader in his/her school. Katha of leadership described in this chapter stimulates our minds that every person has the capacity to lead. Some may lead in wider space; others may lead in smaller landscape.
The third chapter is all about of a female pedagogical leader’s journey in a traditional context in Pakistan. The writer reflects upon the critical incidents, she came across in her personal to professional life, which helped or impede her way to become a pedagogical leader. The notion of ‘leader as a bridge between management and stakeholders’ and ‘leader as a life-long learner’ is evident from her story. In the fourth chapter, Qamar Safdar explores the roles of two effective headteachers of early years in two private schools. The writer reflects on the capacity and ability for the overall development of children. The chapter 5, deals with an ethnographic study conducted by Mola Dad Shafa in a rural context of northern areas of Pakistan. The author discusses the challenges the headteachers faced and the way addressed them. The chapter six, ‘Effective School Leadership Practices’ is a doctorial research of Dr. Jan-e-Alam Khaki. In this case study, Khaki explores the roles and beliefs of three effective secondary school headteachers and their influences on the teaching and learning practices in schools.
Key Learning from the Book
Being a student of Teacher Education, I was very unfamiliar with different kinds of leadership and its characteristics. The very first time, in our PL course, I heard the terms instructional, moral, transformational, participative, managerial, contingent and pedagogical leadership. But these terms were not much clear to me; I mostly thought them as just theories with no connection with practical life of a leader. This book review provided me with access not only to understand and differentiate in different kinds of leadership, but also relate it with real-life situations.
I have learnt many new things about effective leadership from this book, but due toe limited word limit I will describe some crux of it. While analyzing the first chapter of the book, I feel the same that governance and planning has the role in deteriorated education system in Pakistan. It takes a lot of time in planning and framing the policy, then sending it to the national assembly and senate for debate and translating it into the law. Then piloting of the policy takes long time and when it comes to be implementation, the government gets changed and so the policy. It creates the environment of despair, but when I go through the second chapter (Katha of Leadership), it gives a hope. Here, I learnt that nothing is unachievable in this world. Every person is capable to contribute in the process of change and everyone has capacity to lead. We should not stay waiting for any cosmos power to come to help us; it is high time for everyone to come forward and lead.
The third chapter of the book was the most inspiring and learning factor for me. Here, I learned that how a person (particularly a woman), with her/his strong will, sincerity and zeal breaks the chains of traditional rules. While reading that article, I was deeply thinking that someone has to initiate and take the first step toward the collective development. This article took me in my own context, where female is still considered as the property of the man and only the reproductive machine. Education, even the good food is the sole right of male child. Here, my elder sister (who could not get education herself) by sending her daughter into school, proved herself as traditional rule breaker. Some of other females start following her foot-steps by sending their daughters to the schools. Ten years back, there was no single literate girl in my village, but due to that small step, more than forty to fifty girls have completed their primary education so far. Besides it, I also learnt that leader is life-long learner. He/she learns through self-reflection and negotiating and discussing the issues with others and seeking guidance from them.
Overall, this book serves as a pioneer of exploring our thinking about our own role as a leader and proves to be a best resource for the policy makers to develop alternative approaches to deal with school and teaching and learning practices.
This book very obviously describes the role of leadership and management in an educational organization. A leader being a role model should motivate and encourage the staff because performance and commitment of people employed in any organization makes it effective. Through critical analysis of the book, I came to know that this book possesses stories and cases from Pakistani context so many of the ideas suit my own. So, it would be easier for my future role as a teacher educator to deal with the school management and leadership related issues in an effective manner.
Webster’s defines learning as “To gain knowledge comprehension or mastery through experience or study.”
I have a question that I would like you to consider. The answer has to be very honest. How many books have you read in the last month? The last three months? The last year? To show you that I practice what I preach – I can tell you that I read four books per month, twelve books a quarter and about 48 to 50 books a year. It may not seem like much but in a twenty-year period that is over 800 books! Here is the point- some of that knowledge has to sink into my brain.
Unfortunately, many people in our society once they have graduated from high school or college just quit learning. They say to themselves “no more homework” and “I never have to read another book again!” They are done. Interestingly, commencement doesn’t mean “finished” it means “to start.” At some point these people get stagnant and eventually may lose motivation. Why? They aren’t staying fresh and giving the brain of theirs the old workout.
What is a Learner?
What is a learner? To me a learner is someone who has an incredible thirst for knowledge. I think that learners can be identified by the following activities and characteristics:
oThey read books As a continuous learner, you must read constantly. I have a rule that I have made for myself. During the year I only read books which are non-fiction, mainly “how to” books and books on motivation and success. When I am on vacation or during time off and holidays, I read fictional novels and enjoy the “mind candy” they provide. As a suggestion, you may want to set up a plan for your reading. Decide on how many books you are going to read every month and mark them in your planner. At the end of each month take out the planner (or P.D.A.) and check your progress. Part of your plan should also be to decide on a reading strategy. Decide what areas you need to improve in and then create a list of books that could possibly help in those areas. If you don’t know of any books on that topic, go to Amazon.com and do a search, or search the computer at your local library by topic.
oThey ask others Ask other people that you know and respect about what books they are reading or have read that have had an impact on them. Write down their suggestion and head to your nearest local bookstore.
One of the barriers to reading a large amount of books, is the fact that they are just so darned expensive. There are some creative ways around that:
oBudget for it I am sure that you budget for other items- it would be reasonable to budget for your own self improvement.
oGet a library card Most towns have a local library where books can be checked out, for little or no cost. You will then have the ability to check out books by the dozen.
oWatch for sales My local “big chain” bookstore has a whole “bargain book area”, where books can be bought for amazingly low prices.
oFind your local used book store Most communities have a local used book store, In my area there are two great used book stores and I can buy 5-6 books for the price of one new hardcover. One other bonus these stores have, character that the big book chain store can’t create.
oFlea Markets and Thrift Shops I have found many great titles for my library at Flea Markets and thrift shops. I have bought many classic books for ridiculously low prices.
oBuying Online There are several great web sites where you can buy books. Sites like Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com are easy to use and the best feature are their search capabilities. You can search for books by subject, title and author. Lastly the prices are fairly competitive and shipping is fairly quick.
We have determined that learners read, but there are other activities that learners embrace on a regular basis:
o They Search the Net You can use the Internet as a source of information and research. By using many of the search engines and meta-search engines, you can locate tons of valuable information on the net. The Net is an amazing mix of websites, research, magazine articles, and commercial services that you can subscribe to for a fee. The only frustration that I have found with the Net, is knowing exactly where to find the information. Because of the overwhelming amount of information, it makes sense to learn how to search the web as efficiently as possible. There are many great books on the market, which teach you Internet search strategies. For example the way a topic is entered on a search engine can change the results. The topic with quotation marks around it can change the results from the search, with no quotation marks. The rules are different with each search engine. Crazy isn’t it?
oAsk Questions I want you to think of A.S.K. Ask So you will Know. When a subject comes up and you don’t understand something, ask! I have worked with many people in the world who will not ask a question and will pretend that they know. The only way that you can get smarter is by seeking out information, which you do not understand. Seek out S.M.E.’s (subject matter experts) and tap into their expertise. My uncle, Scott Camp is the consummate “asker.” He is always asking questions. We don’t see each other often, but when we do he wants to know what is going on in my life and work. When I tell him about my work and life, he then asks tons of questions. He is a human sponge who soaks up information at a rapid rate, and he is very smart. Why? Because he is a non-stop continuous learning machine. He understands that the more questions he asks, the more he will learn.
oRead Periodicals and Magazines Continuous learners subscribe to and read many different magazines every month, on many diverse topics. I highly recommend reading the magazines of your industry, magazines about business and magazines that are about success and motivation. I also would encourage you to read magazines that relate to topics that are hobbies, or you are passionate about. You should be reading about what cutting edge companies are doing and what leading thinkers are thinking about. Reading about other people’s success stories is very uplifting and motivating because when you read about people like you who have accomplished amazing things, it confirms the belief that anything is possible. You will read it and then say to yourself, “If they can do that why can’t I?”
oWatch Videos/CD ROM’s I don’t think there are many topics available that don’t have CD/ROM’s, that can help you learn about a topic or even gain new skills. For example if you want to learn how to type or even how to type faster, there are many computer programs and CD/ROM’s that are on the market. These programs work well because they allow you to practice and even give you feedback. I hear people say at times “well I couldn’t do that I don’t know how to …” well come on wake up world! If you don’t know LEARN NOW. You cannot allow the limitations of the knowledge you have now to stand in your way.
oListen to tapes Every year in our country, people drive thousands of miles, literally hundreds of hours and they listen to the radio. I have a question. How much will you learn by listening to one hundred hours of your favorite radio “shock jock”? I would say not much. I also think radio won’t help you get motivated, or stay motivated because radio can be the opposite; negative, mean spirited, and depressing. The old garbage in, garbage out, formula applies. As much as your local morning DJ is entertaining, in my opinion you are wasting precious learning time. Decide what topics you want to learn about and find audiotapes on that topic. Some people have referred to their cars as their “rolling classroom.” There are many different types of audiotapes. There are “how to” audios, motivational titles featuring well known speakers and biographies, just to name a few categories. Maximize your time by taking advantage of your driving time.
oSeminars There are many great companies that travel around the country. They conduct one, two, and three day seminars. Keep an eye out for these seminars as they are offered publicly. The seminars are generally high quality and reasonable in price.
oTraining Programs Many corporations and organizations offer training programs as part of employee development. If your company offers training, sign up for as many courses as you can. In general these programs are well developed, tested and are conducted by training professionals. Take advantage of these great programs.
oEmployee Education Assistance Many corporations also offer educational benefits for employees. These programs often offer reimbursement for educational courses and often will pay for a percentage up to 100%. Find out if your employer offers this benefit.
oCommunity Schools There are many schools in various communities that offer many non degree classes. They have a great variety of classes in many subjects. Find out what is offered in your town and find out how to enroll. The other advantage of these kinds of programs, is that they are often very inexpensive.
Why You Should Keep Learning
The bottom line is that the world is going through rapid change and you should be willing to reinvent yourself every year. Because the world will not stay the same, you can’t stay the same.
Let’s take the example of Warren Sapp, a defensive lineman for the world champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In the 2002 season, Warren Sapp was the sharpest that he had ever been and helped take his team to the playoffs. The year before Warren had had a bad season, he was trying to figure out why. He studied tapes in the off season and made a determination, that he had gotten “fat and lazy” (his words) and apathetic. He decided that he had to get better. In the off season he dieted, worked out, lost weight, and was in the best shape of his life. If a Pro Bowl quality level player is willing to reinvent himself each year, shouldn’t you?
Every year you have to be a better, faster, smarter version of yourself. Just like new computer software, every year you have to upgrade to a better version of you. You have to be a You 1.0, and then a You 2.0 and then a You 3.0. be willing to upgrade!
Remember if you are not growing you are slowing!
If you are wishing to learn programming and you want to be an expert by learning the basics and develop a better understanding then you must get the Python Book of programming language. This book is perfect for those people who want to self-teach without enrolling themselves in a class for learning what programming is.
The book has got a flexible script which makes it easier for the person to understand the basics. A programmer can start from scratch and become a pro with time with the help of this book. Those who want to get a good grip of what programming language is should get the Python books. Even a beginner can get a good grip of the fundamentals of programming with this book as it covers all the aspects of the language in depth. All areas that are essential for a beginner to learn have been explained. Those who know programming can also be benefited from this book as they can polish their skills and revise the concepts. A beginner would need to go through all the content but if you are an experienced programmer, you can also skip the sections that you already know.
Apart from just the "how to" approach the book also contains tricks and productive coding techniques that can be really time saving for the programmer. With this book in consultation, you will not have to go through other books in order to understand the concepts in details. The book is thorough in itself. There is not just plain text in the book, it also contains charts, graphics and picture references for developing a better understanding of the concepts.
The book has got strict instructions for the readers. Traditional as well as operational perspectives of programming are not the only subjects that are covered, the book also includes improvements as well as changes in these perspectives. It also includes recommendations for debugging and there are also notes at the end of each module.
Reading the book is comfortable enough as it has got all the references that one might need. Although there are many programming books available in the market but there is one thing that is not going to change and it's the trend of reading the Python book of programming. This book is certainly the must haves for all those programmers who wish to keep some reference while programming. It is not just meant for the beginners but also the most experienced programmers can need it as a reference material. Whatever you need will be easy to look up and it will prove to be a really great hand book for you. Look for the book on the internet and purchase it now to make it a helping hand in programming.
If you are dealing with a lot of reports and papers every now and then or you are someone itching to learn a few book binding techniques so you can restore your old book or your magazine collection that are now starting to shed its pages.
Indeed, a knowledge on book binding and learning several practical tips in binding a book is a useful skill. In fact, you can even make money out of your knowledge in bookbinding. Not just only in restoring old books and compiling your reports and similar documents, but you can also offer bookbinding services to earn money from it.
To help you get started, it is important to learn every thing you can on bookbinding. Also make sure you know what are the materials that you will be needing in a certain type of bookbinding. You don’t have to get yourself some complicated binding machines especially if it is your first time in learning some book binding techniques. You can settle by learning few do-it-yourself book-binding projects to help you master this useful skill.
Stitching is one book binding technique where the edge or spine of the book is stitched to join the pages together. This is commonly used in bookbinding, as it can be durable and lasts longer.
Aside from stitching, you can also staple the folds of the pages that you are to bind. This is one of the simplest and easiest book binding techniques that you can use especially in not-so-thick pages such as pamphlets and notebooks. Comic books are often bound this way as well.
Spiral binding is also one of the good book binding techniques which are suitable for books with pages that need to be opened wide without damaging its spine. It is also suitable for thick pages such as atlas, flip charts, calendars and notebooks.
Comb binding is also one of the book binding techniques that is fast, easy and ideal for office use especially those that require fast bookbinding. This technique is often used for books and compilations that need constant refilling of pages. This punch and bind technique in binding books is also made easier and convenient with a comb binding machine where punching and binding is done in just a few minutes.
You can also use thermal binding for your book making or repairing needs. Thermal binding uses thermal covers to bind pages together without even punching holes in it. Heating is also done in this process to make the pages stick together.
Indeed, there a lot of ways to help you bind your documents and papers. You can have a choice of doing it by hand, sewing or stitching it, or you can also do it through a machine. Especially if you are trying to restore an old book and you are fixing its pages or its spine, it is important to learn a few bookbinding techniques that will allow you to make your books looking new.