So you’re vegan and have this passionate love of food. You would like to pursue this passion further, but you’re not sure what the vegan cooking school options are out there. Happily, there are plenty! There are quite a few schools that focus on plant-based meals, and many that aren’t exclusively vegan can be geared toward you, so you won’t find yourself chopping chickens and preparing fish if you’re not into that.
There are many casual plant-based cooking classes around the world if you’re looking for something just for fun without any fancy certification. In this article, though, I focus more on professional programs that have varying degrees of intensity. Some require only a little time and money if you don’t want to be a professional chef; others will take you the full distance to running your own kitchen.
Without further ado and in no particular order, here’s a list of some popular schools around the world, with some information about each.
Living Light Culinary Arts Institute
Where is it? Fort Bragg, California
What do they offer? 100% vegan and raw food instruction
When do the programs run? Multiple times a year, depending on the program
The Living Light Culinary Arts Institute is located in a small coastal community on the Mendocino coast. If you love the ocean, temperate weather, and raw vegan cuisine, you’ll love this school. Run by Cherie Soria, the “mother of raw food”, this is THE raw foods institute. This is the one that draws people in from all around the world and produces top-of-the-line celebrity chefs of all kinds.
There are several types of courses, including a Gourmet Chef Certification Series (6 weeks), Advanced Instructor Training Certification Series (4 weeks), Raw Food Nutrition Educator Series, and the full-out Professional Chef Series, which runs almost an entire year, including a 250-day internship at the school.
Many of the well-known raw food chefs around the world went to Living Light for their training, including Chad Sarno and Jennifer Cornbleet.
The Natural Gourmet Institute
Where is it? New York, NY
What do they offer? Public classes and professional chef training that are plant-based and vegan-friendly
When do the programs run? Inquire by e-mail on their website
The Chef’s Training program they offer is an intensive, professional course which can be taken part-time or full-time, but runs 619 hours. This school does teach people how to prepare seafood, chicken and eggs, but if you’re vegan you can opt out of that. This school teaches a wide range of cooking styles, including how to ferment, prepare raw foods and macrobiotic foods, and even Chinese medicine and medicinal cooking. The emphasis is on whole, plant foods.
The Natural Gourmet Institute offers a fun Friday night dinner, where the people enrolled in the school prepare a fine-dining experience for the general public at big, communal tables (with candlelight!), so if you’re in the area, you could swing by and see what it’s all about.
The Matthew Kenney Academy –formerly the 105 Degrees Academy
Where is it? Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
What do they offer? Chef certification program in raw foods
When do the programs run? Monthly, or several times a year for the more advanced classes
Matthew Kenney offers very small and personal raw food chef’s training classes (typically 4-8 people). It’s designed for beginners and chefs alike.
There are two 4-week training sessions – Level 1: Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine, and Level 2: Advanced Raw Cuisine. The Level 1 courses run every month and is Monday to Friday, 9am – 3pm. The Level 2 course runs 4 times a year and is the same hours as the Level 1 classes.
Cordon Vert School
Where is it? Altrincham, Cheshire, UK
What do they offer? Vegetarian leisure classes and workshops, a diploma program for professional chefs only
When do the programs run? Several times throughout the year; programs are short
The Cordon Vert School offers classes at their Vegetarian Society headquarters, and they even have rooms for lodging. They have a variety of vegetarian courses, ranging from 1 to 2 day workshops, classes for leisure, and professional classes. Their professional diploma class, a week in duration, is only available to professional chefs. However, their workshops and leisure courses are open to the general public, and occur frequently throughout the year.
Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts
Where is it? Austin, Texas
What do they offer? Full professional chef program that is vegan-friendly, public classes
When do the programs run? Begins every August and February
This school specializes in vegetarian, vegan, macrobiotic, ayurvedic and raw food preparation and cuisine. They offer a full 900-hour professional chef training program. All of the training takes approximately a third of a year, if you jump straight from training into internship. This is an intensive course that will fully prepare you to work in a natural kitchen.
They also offer public classes, though they’re sparse and seldom due to the emphasis on the professional chef training program.
The School of Natural Cookery
Where is it? Boulder, Colorado
What do they offer? Professional training as a foundation course, with the option to go further
When do the programs run? Most are in the Fall and Spring
The foundation course at the School of Natural Cookery is a 16-week diploma course where you learn fundamentals, bread making, gastronomy, nutrition and more. If you achieve a very high mark in this course, you may take a 4-week personal chef course or teacher training course. However, in order to pursue the teacher training course, you must have finished their classes as well as have five years experience with natural food.
Courses are typically offered for a spring semester and a fall semester and run the duration of a typical school semester.
Vegan Culinary Academy
Where is it? Anguin, California
What do they offer? Online courses and a 1000 hour professional apprenticeship
When do the programs run? Anytime
There are two major highlights of this school – first, someone who is looking for a professional apprenticeship opportunity will find it here, and it can be completed in six months to two years depending on how much you work, and second, they offer a distance learning program. The online program requires only that you have a camera and a computer with internet, and each student gets personal attention from the instructors in addition to all of the class materials and lessons. The apprenticeship is geared toward those who are already chefs, dietitians or food service directors.
Heaven on Earth Vegetarian Institute
Where is it? Hamilton-Stoney Creek, Ontario
What do they offer? A vegan, macrobiotic and ayurvedic 3-module program
When do the programs run? Mid-October to mid-March for all 3 modules
This institute offers a Holistic Health Consultant & Cooking Certification program that runs in 3 modules and goes far beyond cooking. It delves into many aspects of holistic health, including yoga, pranayama, diet and lifestyle changes for preventing diseases, and of course healthy food preparation. All of the cooking is vegan with the exception of one class, where fish is included.
Natural Kitchen Cooking School
Where is it? Mercerfield, New Jersey, Haddonfield, New Jersey and New York City
What do they offer? A natural chef training program
When do the programs run? October to May, one weekend each month
This school has several locations and occurs during weekends, making it more accessible. The class sizes are kept small (12 or less) so personal attention and assistance can be given.
This list is by no means comprehensive, but it does cover the major vegan-friendly cooking schools out there. Every year, more and more small classes pop up in different cities, so if you’re just looking for some basic instruction and have no interest in pursuing a career in cooking, check out what your city (or nearby city) has to offer. If you are looking to get serious with preparing that awesome vegan food, there are a few great choices on this list that could help you achieve your dreams.
Food Safety – FAQ Tips and Tricks
Food Safety is very important and knowing about it can help keep you and your family healthy. Here are some answers, tips, and tricks, to frequently asked questions that you may have about food safety.
“What is the safe holding temperature for foods that are already cooked?”
If you have any potentially hazardous foods which are not served immediately after you are done cooking them, then they must be either cooled down to a temperature of less than 40 degrees, or held at 140 degrees or higher.
Food safety is all about keeping the foods you cook at the right temperatures, and not in the danger zone.
“What Happens if I do not hold the food at temperatures under 40 degrees or above 140 degrees?”
Foods that are held at a temperature that’s either under 40 or over 140, it is in what is called the Danger Zone.
This is not a good thing because if the food doesn’t get take care of in less than 2 hours, you run the risk of causing a food borne illness outbreak.
The amount of time spent in the danger zone does not reset if you decide to take it out again and return it to the danger zone.
This is because when it is in the danger zone it is growing bacteria and refrigerating your food doesn’t kill them, it just slows them down.
“What are foods that are considered to be potentially hazardous?”
This would include high protein food items such as poultry, milk, milk products, gravy, fish, shellfish, etc. These will all gladly support the growth of harmful bacteria causing a food borne illness.
“What is the difference between a food borne intoxication and a food borne infection?”
Certain bacteria under certain conditions produce chemicals and toxins in food which when ingested by a person, will cause a food intoxication.
A food borne infection is caused by the ingestion of food containing a bacteria, virus, or parasite that must multiply within the gastrointestinal tract before causing symptoms and problems.
This is why food safety is so important!
“What causes a food borne illness?”
Most of the time, the majority of food borne illnesses can be traced back to one or more of the following:
Food that has been cooked too far in advance to serving.
Food had poor refrigeration.
Food was not held at the correct temperature.
There was a lack of adherence to personal hygiene standards.
The person responsible was careless in the preparation of the product and the application of what was recommended to them.
“What is the best way to thaw frozen foods?”
If you have frozen food you are trying to thaw don’t use methods such as exposure to excessive heat, hot air, or hot water. Instead, thaw the frozen foods in the refrigerator.
This will take a little more time, but you will have a much better final product. For perfect thawing, 36-38 degrees is perfect.
You can even use their original wrappers and packaging to enhance uniform thawing and also reduce moisture loss.
“Is there a problem with pastries?”
Yes, cream puffs, custard filled pies and cakes, eclairs, and all products similar to those must be prepared and cooked under sanitary conditions, covered, cooled quickly, and refrigerated until they are served. They also must remain under refrigeration when serving.
“How should ice be handled when used as part of the meal being served?”
Ice that is intended to be served for human consumption in food or drinks must be made from potable drinking water only.
Ice should definitely be handled carefully like anything else and should be protected from contamination.
“Why are pastries so important to keep refrigerated?”
Pastries filled with dairy products and/or eggs, are highly perishable and provide ideal culture platform for pathogenic organisms to grow on. Only the quantity of food that will be consumed for the day should be prepared.
“What is the best method of freezing cooked foods for serving at a later date?”
Before you start freezing food that you’ve cooked, it’s important to cool it down quickly and as fast as you can so bacteria don’t grow.
A great way to do this is to place the containers of warm food into an ice bath, or another container filled with ice cubes and water. Wedge the containers into the ice and keep stirring the food occasionally.
Stirring ensures that the center of the food cools as well. As the mixture cools, a great way to find out the temperature is to use a thermometer.
This is the best way you know exactly when it gets to the right temperature to be wrapped labeled and placed in a freezer.
The art of photography has grown greatly. From those old pictures that were black and white and some images were even blurred to what the modern society has, which is defined through clarity and detail, the art of photography has certainly suffered great changes. Actually, so grand have the modifications been that today, people have something called aerial photography to refer to. Although the entire technique seems to be specific for the modern society, it is worth knowing that this people made use of aerial photography in 1858. The first person to have taken photos from impressive heights was balloonist Gaspard-Félix Tournachon. If you want to get an idea of how aerial photos looked like back in the 1850s, then you could look at one of the vintage postcards, because this is how this technique functioned.
Of course today, things have changed greatly and photos taken in this manner, as well videos performed through aerial cinematography. Much has been invested in the development of the right technology and for good reason. It is truly surprising to see all the ways one can make use of aerial filming, as well cinematography. Here are a few examples of domains, which have a constant need for these techniques that will surely convince you of the fact that investing money in this direction is a very profitable plan. Aerial photos are relevant in the making of topographic maps, archeology, movies and commercial, even in the promotion of certain location for touristic purposes. Looking at the environmental concerns, which are increasing in number, it is relevant to mention that indeed aerial filming can be used in different related analysis. So far, anyone can tell that such photographing techniques are needed, making possible for several tasks to be handled appropriately. However, what might seem as a mystery to most is the actual manner in which these photos are taken. In some cases, this is performed by means of a highly equipped, professional camera, handled by an expert, situated in a plane. Still, there are some photos that present locations, which are impossible to enter by means of a plane. This certainly leads to the following question: how were these photos actually taken?
Well, at this point, you have to allow your imagination to fly, because this is what scientists did for a brief moment and came up with the following method. They have managed to develop plenty of platforms that can be used to take surprising pictures. Some are controlled drones. These are actually small devices on which a photo or filming camera is place, its mission being to enter some of the hardest to reach locations and take photos or make videos. Of course out of the many photos such a device can take, the photographer will start editing the pictures, to give them a proper professional appearance and the final result to be the expected one. Thanks to technology, the world has changed greatly and in some areas for the better. When it comes aerial photography and filming, much can be said, but the bottom line is that it can lead to spectacular results.
Aerial photography has been developing rapidly in the past 3 years. If you have followed this trend and purchased a camera drone, you are about to have a lot of fun. But after a spending a while with the drone you’ll realise they do not look like the AMAZING photos you have seen on Instagram. Don’t be surprised, because many of those photos were probably shot using some extra accessories. All photographers depend on additional accessories to make their life easier and to take their photography and video footage one step further. Rest assured, you can do it as well. Listed below are among the most useful drone accessories I’ve had the chance to use and test. These accessories can assist you with enhancing your overall drone experience, improving video quality, flight adventure and safety.
1) Additional Propellers and Propeller Guards: Propellers (also known as fans or blades) are the most fragile part of a drone. You should always have extra propellers with you when you are going out to fly your drone. If you crash your drone propellers are the first parts that will get torn apart. I’ve got enough drone experience, and I’ve had over 20 different drones. But even I crashed initially when I first received my DJI Phantom 2. Prop guards are yet another story. They are not necessary, but they come in handy if you fly indoors or hovering in limited spaces. During the past six months, I have used propeller guards only once or twice, but a majority of people use them day-to-day. If you’re crashing your drone often and breaking your propellers a lot, then you should definitely get prop guards.
2) Additional Battery: Drone technology have come a long way in the past few years. The latest DJI Phantom 4 Pro offers 30 minutes flight time according to their website. For the majority of non-commercial drone pilots, this will never be enough. Considering the time spent on flying up and landing, you will have 20 minutes for recording footage. So make sure to purchase an additional battery pack or even more to get a reliable backup anytime you need. If you own the Phantom 4 Pro, you may want to want to upgrade to the quick battery charger instead of the one that comes with the package. It’s going to charge the P4 Pro battery in 40 minutes instead of 65 minutes on the regular charger.
3) Additional Battery Charger: Additional battery power makes much more flight time possible, nonetheless they also need to be charged. Once you have 2 or even more batteries and each and every battery requires sixty minutes to charge, the waiting time period can rapidly increase to hours with extra batteries sitting down idle. So it’s best to purchase additional battery charger or better yet, you might want to get the multi-charger, that allows you to charge your batteries simultaneously.
4) Vehicle Battery Charger: When you’re away from on a road trip and also the only electrical power source you have may be the auto’s battery, That’s why it is important to get a car battery charger for your drone. So if you have 1, 2 or maybe 3 electric batteries, even then when you’re out on trips, you’re most likely to use up all your power juice at some point, so what you certainly require is the ability to charge your batteries when you’re not anywhere in close proximity to a mains power point.
5) Tablet Or iPad: Controlling a drone whilst handling it along with the online video feed from the smartphone, it gets uncomfortable, to say the least. The display is too small to get a distinct look at what is happening up there. So you better buy a trusted tablet PC which has a display large enough to provide a reliable video clip feed. Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tablet or some other equivalent tablets with enough processor speed are generally great possibilities based on your financial budget.
6) ND Filter: To manage the amount of light that goes into your camera lens, and manage tiny shakes, while increasing motion blur, getting an ND Filter is a smart choice. ND filters really are a must, in my opinion, they make the video on Phantom series drones look more cinematic and are they great because they increase no considerable weight to your drone’s gimbal. The new gimbal on the P4 Pro is extremely light and fragile, I also would wait to include any weight to the front of that camera lens.
7) GPS Tracking device: When flying your drone in remote areas, like mountains, or on the sea, it’s going to be very hard to find your drone if you ever crash it. A drone GPS tracker attached to the legs of your drone might come in handy when you go on a mission to rescue your drone. Using the GPS tracking app on your smartphone, you will be able to locate your drone on your smartphone’s maps, with an accuracy of up to 2 meters.
8) Storage Space: Additional electric batteries will not be any practical when you lack sufficient space to store the footage you record. The default 16 gigabytes micro SD card that is included with DJI Phantom 4 pro could only store about 50 minutes of video footage. Consider buying 64 Gb micro SD card if you do not wish to transfer the video clips to your PC after each 2 flights.
9) Backpack or Travel Case: If you are planning on taking your drone along your journeys, camping, bicycling or road trip you will realise the default packaging that comes with drones will not last for very long and not comfortable to carry along, to say the least. To get a more comfortable and safe solution, get a specifically created drone backpack or travel case; you will find loads of available options. In my opinion, hard-shell backpacks are the most functional and steady backpacks for the value.
Photography and videography tools have always depended on accessories and so do drones. You should consider spending on accessories if you are trying to shoot amazing drone videos.
An e-commerce web design has its own unique character and is indeed designed to lead the online shoppers to make purchases from the site. When a business designs an e-commerce website, it needs to consider the chief principles of designing e-commerce website. An e-commerce website has to be attractive and must use the right color combination. Only a well-organized website can help you convert. The best e-commerce website design company follows the latest trends in e-commerce website designing.
If you are looking to have an online store or redesign the site, you must choose only an e-commerce website design company which follows the latest trends in web designing. Let us check out the latest 6 trends.
· Bigger background to redesign your site: When it comes to designing the website, companies are looking to incorporate video backgrounds and large images. If the background is large, the company can convey the story of the business and talk about the products and services in details. The more convincing the story sounds; the more chance of conversion is there. Buyers will be attracted towards the products and end up making purchases.
· The use of animations to engage the customers: If you want to engage the customers in the best possible manner, it is great to use attractive animations. A reliable and experienced company will use rich animations into the design to make the shopping experience enjoyable. It is only animations that can make your customers feel that you care for them.
· Cleaning off clutter: Nowadays, when it comes to creating an e-commerce website, the more focus is upon having a clean design. Among the designers, the hidden menus are extremely popular. It helps in cleaning clutter from the site and this is why it is so popular. Initially meant only for the mobile devices, now hidden menus have established their presence in the desktop design as well.
· Long scrolls: Now everyone is used to long scrolling web pages. This is all due to the coming up of mobile friendly websites. If the website features long scrolling, it will allow more of visuals, storytelling and also permit easy navigation. If the scrolling is permissible, the users will like to stay to the site for longer periods. This will promote interaction and open the door for more sales.
· The layout is responsive: More and more web designers focus on creating responsive websites featuring a responsive website design. The design of the site must be such that it is displayed well on the mobile device or any other device. Your site must be accessible from multiple devices.
· Pleasant browsing experience: Ecommerce web design companies in India focus on giving your users a pleasant browsing experience. Thus, they can shop comfortably without any delay in page loading. Professional designers include only relevant content and thus help your brand establish trust relationship with the customers.
If the e-commerce website design company follows all the latest trends in e-commerce website designing, your site is sure to succeed and gain an edge over the competitors.
Everyone wants to make a success of their internet business. But there are millions of web site businesses and very few of them make a healthy profit. Let’s look at the structure of a successful internet business and see how we can use it to make our own business successful.
Products: Every good business needs a group of products. You can find these from three areas:
* Make your own
* Buy in products and resell them
* Sell other people’s products as an affiliate
Potential: There is a very famous saying in advertising “You don’t sell the steak – you sell the sizzle.” What this means is that you sell what your products can do for your customers. In other words you sell the potential for a better life/career/business/income that your product can provide. Please be careful not to over sell your products. Your sales letter and web copy must be accurate and reflect the actual benefits of your products and services. This does not mean you should be unduly modest, by all means make big claims, but make sure you can prove and demonstrate anything you promise.
Promises: What guarantees do you offer? Be they price, return on investment, return of purchase price etc. People are understandably wary of purchasing unknown items from web sites – so provide a secure process with a return guarantee. Similarly when asking people to sign onto your ezine promise them that you will not spam them.
Pricing: Pricing is important – too expensive and you will lose purchasers. Too low and people will think that the product is worthless or too good to be true. People are unlikely to purchase a product at above $100 without knowing you and your business quite well. This is generally believed to be the cut off price for an impulse buy.
Perception: You must take time to ensure that your potential customers see you as both an expert in your field and trustworthy. You can do this with your web site and sales copy and by ensuring that your name is well known around the internet.
Consistency: Ensure that wherever and whenever your potential customer comes across your name, web sites or products that are always consistently the same. Look at how MacDonalds does this worldwide. Build yourself a good brand image by using the same design functions and the same product naming conventions – hence our PowerPacks.
Confidence: Make your customer feel safe to purchase from you by using a secure environment, a well known payment processor and autoresponder service. Don’t spam your list and don’t send to many emails. Ensure that you do not come over as needy or aggressive in your interaction with your customer. Never ever ask for financial or personal information that you do not need.
Credibility: Build your credibility by offering samples of your work, pointing out past and current achievements and printing honest and checkable testimonials.
Communication: In order to show that you are a real living person behind your products and web site it is important to keep up regular communication with your customers and potential customers. You can do this by:
* Using an autoresponder service with regular and relevant messages.
* Having your contact details such as email and telephone number on your site and correspondence.
Competition: Always keep in touch with your competition, what they are doing and what new products are being sold. Ensure that you keep your prices and products up to date and continue to seek out niches and market demands that you can soon fill.
Keep your P’s and C’s in mind and your business should be a success! Good Luck.
Ready to see your website on top search engine returned pages? Introducing … Search Engine Optimization Website promotion (SEO).
Before we start, Do an exercise- type "Click here" keyword in Google and see the 1st page that pops up. You'll find Adobe Reader within the top 5 positions, now go to their website and try searching for "Click here" on the whole website ..
What do you see? Is there even a single instance where they mentioned "Click here" on the entire webpage? Amazed? Want to know the secret?
Just stay connected and you will get it!
Before moving on, for those of you who do not know, when we type a particular keyword in Google search box, it shows us two kinds of results;
A). Organic Search results – that essentially depends on how important and useful Google thinks that site is for the keyword typed in. (This is based on certain factors discussed later).
B). Sponsored Results – These are the ads provided by the users.
Now, let me present to you some stats that will give you an idea of the power of SEO; The traffic that the second search result gets is around 20% lower than the first search result. The largest fall percentage wise is going from search result 10 to 11 (moving to second SERP). It sees 150% fall in traffic! 77% of users prefer Organic results over sponsored results while searching and around 67% users prefer Organic search results while purchasing. 50% of SEO campaign saw around 500% ROI, while just 22% of the paid campaigns were able to achieve this figure.
What say? Now suddenly SEO looks important to you, does not it?
There are around 200 factors that can affect your rankings in SERP with Google changing its algorithm like 300-400 times a year. It changed around 500 times in 2009! However the most important factors are as summarized below;
Content Creation: This is the most important factor affecting your search visibility. Google is now giving more importance than ever to your contents. With growing sophistication level of Google search algorithms, (mark it, italicize it, underline it); Content creation is most important factor for any increase in your search visibility.
Your content should be unique and original. Plagiarism is highly penalized by Google.
Keyword Optimization: As the video explains that Google carries on a search for the keywords typed in, the results shown are in order of how your website appears to be relevant to Google for that particular keyword. Remember you are competing with millions of other similar WebPages, so to appear among the top results, you should display the importance of that keyword to your website. How to do this? Simple.
-The keyword density should be optimal around 15-20% for 200-300 words. However DO NOT stuff your content with keywords or Google will mark it as spam. -Underline, Italicize, bold your main keywords from which you hope to be found. -If you upload an image make sure that it should be named as one of your keywords. -The spiders start analyzing the pages from top leftmost word so it is always a good idea to start off with your main keyword. -Choose the keywords carefully do not just go based on number of search per unit time but do consider the competition involved with the keyword. You can do keyword research on Google AdWords Keyword Tool. (It's free!). -Use your keyword as your Anchor text. -Add meta tags (meta tags actually appear as snippets on the SERP – refer the 1st figure).
Site Architecture: Recently Google launched a search algorithm known as Caffine. It has improved the search speed manifolds plus now Google lays more emphasis on each and every Webpage of a particular website. So, each page of your website should be well optimized, should be linked with one another and most essentially with pages getting the highest amount of traffic.
So if you have a page getting high traffic, do not just rely on that, optimize each and every page of your website. It becomes more important if you are an ecommerce website, while advertising a manufacturers' product you should modify it so that it looks unique, as amazon is doing. It used to put the exact ad on its deep buried down pages and used to draw a huge traffic to its landing page (Landing page is the page that appears when a potential customer clicks on an advertisement.) But now it has not only started to Optimize each and every page but also changes the content as already stated; Plagiarism is highly penalized.
Link Building: This is another very important factor; Remember I talked about Adobe getting a high rank in SERP for the keyword "Click here" even when it does not use the word even a single time on their own webpage. Well, here's the reason; You must have seen many times, to read a particular file or to view certain video you need to install Adobe reader or player respectively, the website specifically mentions "to download Click here" and this happens in most of the websites having high page rankings And search visibility themselves, what happens is that they actually link to Adobe through the Anchor text "Click here".
So, your search visibility depends on the importance of the sites that links you. When a website links you, Google considers it to cast a vote in your favor, greater the importance of the site and greater the number of votes you get, more reliable is your website to Google and hence your search visibility increases. WebPages linking to the websites linking you directly also have an impact on your search visibility. Moreover, you should always link the pages of your website with one another.
This was all about SEO, hope you enjoyed it.
When you first buy a computer, even after the first few programs are installed it remains blazingly fast! However after a few years of use your computer operation will slow down – imagine a partial blockage in a hosepipe that can not be seen. It's such a gradual process that you hardly notice, but the more you use that hosepipe the more blocked it will get. This analogy could have taken further and you might consider the hosepipe's connection to water which is not clean an added cause for blockage (= pirate programs? / Viruses / adware etc) or leaving the hosepipe outside for ages and not being hurt up (= no Maintenance / housekeeping), but as I do not do analogies …
So here are the top 8 ways to counteract everything that slows down a computer for FREE! Applicable to Windows XP or windows Vista, ignore this if you do not know what it means.
Defragment Your Hard Drive (s)
If you do not do this your hard disk (s) becomes fragmented by general use and when you new programs are installed. When you install a program the file is generally placed on one part of the computer but after a while bits and pieces of data are spread across the hard disk. By using Windows 'Disk Defragmenter' the software moves all the bits of data into roughly one place. You can get to the file by clicking:
Once the program has fully loaded click on the top drive and work your way down.
Disk cleanup steps 'housekeeping'. When you load most programs, often bits of data that may have been used while the program was running are left behind. Those programs do not generally bother deleting those, which can slow the computer down. You can easily and safely delete those bits of data by clicking:
If it comes up with a list of boxes make sure all are ticked.
Uninstall Unused Software
Uninstalling unused software speeds up the computer by freeing up space on the hard drive, cutting down on all the 'data sludge' that it has to wade through for normal use. To do this click the following:
Add or Remove Programs
Scroll thru the list and find the programs that you wish to remove
Click 'Add / Remove' or 'Remove'
If it requests you to confirm removal click 'Yes' or 'Confirm'
Run Windows Update
Windows update is a service update offered by Windows (surprise surprise). The updates
Are generally security related but they can also include patches for added
Stability. To run the update simply click:
And then complete the following
Check the circle next to 'Automatic (recommended)'
On the left is 'Change Settings'
Check 'Automatic (recommended)'
Disable Indexing Services
Windows Indexing Services is a service that categorizes all the files and folders on your hard drives. The problem with this is that it also slows down the computer considerably. To disable it click the following:
Right Click 'Local Disk (C :)'
Uncheck 'Allow Indexing Service'
Stop Unwanted Start-up Programs
When you start the computer and other programs automatically start that you do not need want at that time. Another problem is that it also slows the computer down. To remove the programs from start up (this does not remove the programs permanently) click:
XP – C: Documents and Settings All Users Start Menu Programs Startup
Vista – C: ProgramData Microsoft Windows Start Menu Programs Startup
(Note – this directory is hidden by default) Delete the programs you do not want in loading when the computer starts up.
RAM stands for Random Access Memory and your RAM helps to process all the information that goes through the computer. Broadly speaking the more RAM you have, the faster your computer. Unfortunately it does cost but prices are reliably cheap.
I use a website called 'Crucial' and they have a nifty little tool to help you sort things out.
Crucial – Homepage
Crucial System Scanner
Error Checking can help diagnose and even correct a wide range of hard drive errors. It helps stability, speed and may even fix a few errors. To do it click:
Open 'My Computer'
Right click on one of the Hard Drives (usually C 🙂
Click the 'Tools' Tab
Click 'Check Now'
Click both the boxes
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Music in the Workplace
Over the ages, music has held a place in the working environment. From it’s use in the earliest of times until its near extinction during the Industrial Age to the present day, music has played a vital role to employees.
A Brief History
Music is a universal language that transcends boundaries. In Victorian times, handloom weavers sang as they worked. When the loud machinery of the Industrial Age came along, music in the workplace was nearly lost. During World War II, music was once again introduced to employees via radio.
Employees, often children, would lose fingers to the looms while attempting to remove something that was blocking it. Child laborers would sing to keep themselves awake.
Railroad workers and farmers sang to relieve monotony and to stay alert to dangers. With the advent of machines in the Industrial Age, singing was literally drowned out. In quieter factories, women or orchestras were hired to sing and play among the workers. Music all but died during this time. (le Roux, 2005, vol. 7)
Radio was mainly used as a means to convey news, but in 1940, the British Broadcasting Corporation began running a radio program called “Music While You Work.” It ran twice per day and was geared especially for the factory workers. The bands for the show were instructed to play medleys in order to keep the workers’ attention. Also vital was for the music to keep a rhythm that would keep productivity up.
In 1942, the song “Deep in Heart of Texas” was banned due to the handclapping section that encouraged workers to momentarily stop and participate. (le Roux, 2005) Even in these earliest of times, the benefits of music in the workplace were recognized:
o Increased productivity
o Fewer accidents
o Improved alertness
o Team interaction
In response to the positive reaction, the company Muzak was founded in the 1950’s to provide music to companies. The company is still going strong today.
Modern Study of Music in the Workplace
In modern times, studies have been conducted to gauge the benefits of music in a work setting. These studies have proved much of what was already known, mainly that music improves productivity.
One study indicates that “positive affect and quality-of-work were lowest with no music, while time-on-task was longest when music was removed.” (Lesiuk, 2005, pp.173-191) On the other hand, “positive mood change and enhanced perception of design” (Lesiuk, pp.173-191) were complemented with the addition of music.
Additional studies have shown that music in the workplace promotes positive mood, sense of team, improves alertness and can lessen the event of accidents. Music “motivates workers, decreases boredom and leads to increased productivity perhaps because people work in time with the beat.” (le Roux, 2005)
Employers do need to consider the type of music played in a workplace. The mood and style should fit the business. Experts suggest all-instrumental soundtracks so that workers don’t become distracted by the lyrics. (Guess, 1999, p. 42)
Personal Headphones in the Workplace
Today, there is some movement toward personal stereos for employees. A study by researchers at the university of Illinois shows listening to music may increase the output of employees in all types of jobs. (Oldham, 1996, p. 95) The idea of personal stereos is that when a worker is allowed to listen to the type of music he or she enjoys, the better the quality of their work. While this idea is fairly recent, it does show promise.
Music has been the soundtrack to humanity undoubtedly since time began. It speaks to people on a primal level. Before researchers even began to study the effect of music on workers, people were weaving, working in their fields or and other jobs while humming or singing along. Now, researchers are proving what these people knew all along: music makes work go by faster and keeps spirits up.
Can personal stereos improve productivity?, Oldham, Greg, 1996
Work to the music, Guess, Terri P., 1999, blackenterprise.com
“Whistle While You Work”: A Historical Account of Some Associations Among Music,
Work and Health, le Roux, Gordon Marc, 2005, ajph.org
The effect of music listening on work performance, Lesuik, Teresa, 2005, pom.sagepub.com