“…As free as the wind blows”

My sister lives high on a hill in Ireland. When the wind blows, there is no escaping it. She has to go inside or let it toss her around. She’s toying with the idea of getting a windmill for her yard so she can take advantage of the wind by reducing her electric bill.

Windmills are a common sight on the hills in Ireland. You can look up and see hundreds of them churning away when the wind is blowing. In the US, wind farms are popping up and making their mark, too. The governor of Colorado is in favor of wind energy and has tossed out green incentives to encourage this alternative. Vestas Wind Systems has moved to Colorado and will employ almost 2000 people in 4 different communities.

Wyoming is also an excellent place to generate electricity because there is a dip in the Continental Divide and the wind blasts are the highest in the country. Wyoming’s population is about 500,000 people which mean there are millions of acres of open space for wind turbines. Cities and towns on the east and west coasts are jumping on board to harness wind and turn it into cash.

Now, I’ve taken it upon myself to do some research and give my sister the pros and cons of having a windmill on her property.

Pro: (Windmills are good.)

If the wind blows she will be happy:

She will hear a ‘ka-ching’ each time the blades rotate and power is created.  As the cost of electricity rises, her bill will go down and she will probably make money.

Affordable and practical:

Wind is clean, renewable power.

Wind is non-polluting.

Wind is a free resource.

Cons: (Bad, bad windmills.)

There is a social cost associated with owning a windmill:
You may not mind having a windmill in your backyard; however you must consider how many others in the area will be affected. Some neighbors have complained about headaches, nausea and anxiety because of the constant noise.

Kill Zone:
Another drawback to owning your own windmill is the sound is attractive to birds that tend to fly into the blades. If you ever visit a wind farm, take a walk along the base and see how many lifeless birds are strewn about. Do you want that in your yard or in your neighbor’s?

There is a distinct noise that a windmill makes:
As the wind ebbs and flows, the sound varies.  Sometimes it sounds like a washing machine, sometimes like a train and other times like a low flying airplane.  The sweet sounds of a windy evening have been drastically altered.

Huge Footprint:
The land area is much larger than the base of the generator. A windmill can be over 5 stories tall, affect cell phones and cause electrical shortages when the turbines start up (after the wind dies down).

[People, is this information true? Have you noticed these types of disturbances?]

Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune …?

Do you know anyone that has a windmill in their yard, neighborhood or community? If so, I’d love to hear their opinion on this topic (for my sister, of course!)

“The Practical Business Guide: How to develop long term clients”

Small organizations and large companies alike have a huge opportunity to turn their business around by treating customers as if they were the product, according to Greg Goettsch at TeamBTS.

People want to be acknowledged, listened to and treated with respect. When you treat the customer as the ‘product’ and give them your full attention, it shows. In essence, your customers hire you to take care of them in the best way possible.

Businesses that pay attention to people succeed because their customers brag about them. They tell others about the good (or not so good) experience they had with you. What you sell is secondary to the service you give.

What can you do to give better service?

  • Be yourself – Greet each person with a smile and take time to chat.

    Photo of 2 children eating ice cream
    Be yourself and welcome your customers with a genuine smile!
  • Hire friendly people – They can learn the necessary skills on the job.
  • Follow through – Call your customers to tell them their order is ready. Jot down notes if they comment on their purchase or experience.
  • Acknowledge when a customer shares something with you- Is this purchase for a birthday? Home repair? Trip abroad?  Integrate you customer’s information into your next conversation with them.

Speaker Greg Goettsch is with TeamBTS (www.TeamBTS.com)


Say goodbye to Marion

My haven is in danger. The physical book, according to Nicolas Negroponte at a Techonomy conference is dead.  Digital books will be replacing paper books just like film was replaced by the camera chip and vinyl albums were replaced by cds then again converted to .wma and mp3.

If that happens, then my havens … libraries and bookstores will be a thing of the past. Books will be created and downloaded instead of stacked on shelves. As people listen to music on the go, books will also become more mobile. Readers will not be tied to a time and place to locate and purchase a book. Nor will they be sent in the mail through Amazon or other online stores.

Having digital books will be better for students who have laptops and can download the required texts. Teachers can select certain chapters from several books and create their own specialized textbook using data from several different authors.  Digital books will be more affordable and can be accessed from anywhere there is a connection.

Marion the librarian will soon be replaced by a server.   Change is in the air ..

The physical book is dead in 5 years …

Bill Gates: In Five Years The Best Education Will Come From The Web

Online education replacing land based universities in 5 years! You bet!

I believe that land based universities are already doomed. They charge too much and deliver too little. The faculty is not up to par with the technology level of the student and they get bored with static classes. An online education can incorporate graphics, links, webcams, podcasts, videos, discussion boards, chat rooms and Skype. The IPod, IPad and IPhone has opened the online classroom to anyone that can get internet access.

Excellent seminars from passionate people can be found on Ted.com. The range of topics includes entertainment, science, technology and more.

Go learn something for free!

Forum Network is a national collaboration of public television and radio stations offering online lecture webcasts created in partnership with cultural and educational institutions in their local communities.

You can get online peer-reviewed books for free. They can be also be purchased in softcover, audio, and self-print versions. They are open-source so you can modify them to fit your course. Faculty receives great books and control over their content. THEY get to decide when to move to a new version… not the publisher.

Education is changing. And in 5 years it will look entirely different. Those students who choose to get a degree will find an affordable online university and will leave immediately if it doesn’t deliver. As more and more students choose online learning (which will include interactive activities and internships), those at land based universities will be paying higher tuition to cover the football teams and all the other activities that do NOT add value to their degree.

Bill Gates: In Five Years The Best Education Will Come From The Web

Job-Hunting Online

Another book that crossed my path this week is Job-Hunting Online.

Job-Hunting OnlineThis books is a collection of information and links to online resources. Instead of wasting time on the internet trying to locate newsgroups,  counseling and career tests, directories, companies, social networks and other job related sites – the writers have collected them for you. The books explains the sites and why they can be beneficial in your job search.

One section in the book is about the ‘Underweb”. The Underweb or Deep Web is beyond the reach of search engines. The sites exist and are loaded with useful information but they are under the radar of the search engines. Some links to Underweb sites include:

LibDex – http://www.libdex.com – this site is an index to over 18,000 libraries with online resources and data we can access.

Technical Communications Library: http://tc.eserver.org/sitemaps/categories.lasso – this site is a must see. Filled with categories and subsections you could get lost in here if you don’t have an agenda and a clear focus.

At http://www.academicinfo.net/subject-guides go to Subject-Guides and start clicking. You’ll never need to go to a library again!

If you’re looking for a company, go to Yellow.com.

Get nagging calls but not sure who they are from? Go to Yellow.com and select Reverse calling — www.yellow.com/reverse.html and enter the phone number (this probably won’t work for cell phones).

As you job hunt, you want to be up to speed in the literature in your field. BizJournals: www.bizjournals.com/. If you’re a small business, be sure to click on the Small Business tab and look around at the treasure chest of information.

Another excellent resource for small businesses is Startupbusiness.com. This site offers free templates and forms and tons of articles to answer some of your start up questions.

This book is filled to the brim with resources for job hunters, current employees and employers, academics, students, teachers and you. Yes– you.  Get the book and then be sure to send the authors a note to tell them how great it is (they love that!).  I checked my book out of a library but it is one that I will purchase in the near future.

Job-Hunting Online (Bolles & Bolles, 2008)

I Went Walking – Book Review

I Went Walking by Sue Williams is a sweet book with few words and wonderful illustrations by Julie Vivas. The words have a cadence to them that allow little readers (this reader will be 2 years old in October) to follow along and chime in.

The video shows Chaz reading along with the book during lunch. He already knows the words, the animals and when the book is ready to end. Since we only have the book checked out for 3 weeks, this child is enjoying every minute of it while he has it!