Category Archives: Continuing Education

Podcast – Manager Tools

I was riding to an IEEE meeting a few years ago with a friend. The trip was going to be about 45 minutes long so he turned on a podcast he regularly listened to, Manager Tools, to help pass the time. After listening during our trip, I was hooked and subscribed to the podcast myself. I regularly listened to it until I retired.

This is a weekly podcast begun in 2005 and presented by Michael Auzenne and Mark Horstman.  It focuses on how managers can be more effective and provides career planning suggestion. There are now over 500 episodes in their library. Each episode of this award-winning podcast is between 30 minutes and one hour in length.

I found this podcast to be very informative and useful. I recommend it to anyone in a leadership role. They can be subscribed to in iTunes.




IEEE Central Texas Section Newsletter Published


IEEE – I finished putting together the October issue of the IEEE Central Texas Section newsletter, The Analog, and posted it to the Section web site where you can read it now.

Included in the newsletter is items of interest to area engineers and others interested in technology. Technical meetings for the various Chapters are open to the public. Please join us to learn and network.

Attendance at technical meetings qualifies as Continuing Education credit required for the annual renewal of the Professional Engineer License.

What is Your Learning style?

I came across the article “There Are 7 Types of Learners: Which One Are You?” recently. Those of us in technology and engineering face life long Continuing Education (CE) to keep current with the state of the art. However as we consider the various means of satisfying our CE needs, we need to understand that there are different styles of learning, and what works well for one person, may not for you.

The styles that have been identified are (from The Seven Learning Styles):

  1. Visual (spatial): You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
  2. Aural (auditory, musical): You prefer using sound and music.
  3. Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
  4. Physical (kinesthetic): You prefer using your body, hands.
  5. Logical (mathematical): You prefer using logic, reasoning, and systems.
  6. Social (interpersonal): You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.
  7. Solitary (Intrapersonal): You prefer to work alone and use self-study.

We each probably have an idea of which styles are best for us, but we can find out for sure by taking an easy on-line test at Memletics Learning Styles Questionnaire. The results can then guide you to the most effective types of CE content for your learning style.

macOS New Tutorial Plan – Noteboom Tutorials

Product AnnouncementNoteboom Productions, Ltd. of Holland, Michigan has announced Pay What You Want Pricing for their membership site, Noteboom Tutorials. Noteboom Tutorials has over 50 tutorials with over 1,500 easy-to-follow video lessons on the Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch designed to give users a better understanding of how to effectively use Apple devices.

Membership is subscription based and includes instant access to all the tutorials. Membership also includes access to new tutorials as they are released. Users can watch the tutorials on any device – Mac, iPad, or iPhone. The site tracks the tutorials users are enrolled in as well as a user’s progress by tracking individual lessons as they are viewed. Select tutorial can also be downloaded in the iBooks format for members.

Mac tutorials include:

  • Tutor for Mac: The Basics
  • Tutor for Mac: Beyond The Basics
  • Tutor for Photos
  • Tutor for iMovie
  • Tutor for Mail
  • Tutor for Calendar
  • Tutor for iCloud
  • Tutor for Safari
  • Tutor for Contacts
  • Tutor for Preview
  • Tutor for Final Cut Pro
  • Tutor for Filemaker Pro
  • Tutor for Pages
  • Tutor for Numbers
  • Tutor for Keynote
  • Tutor for Word
  •  Tutor for Excel
  • Tutor for tap Forms 5

iPad tutorials include:

  • Tutor for iPad: The Basics
  • Tutor for iPad: Beyond the Basics
  • Tutor for iMovie
  • Tutor for Photos
  • Tutor for Calendar
  • Tutor for Safari
  • Tutor for Contacts
  • Tutor for Mail
  • Tutor for Office

iPhone tutorials include:

  • Tutor for iPhone: The Basics
  • Tutor for iPhone: Beyond the Basics
  • Tutor for iMovie
  • Tutor for Photos
  • Tutor for Calendar
  • Tutor for Safari
  • Tutor for Contacts
  • Tutor for Mail
  • Tutor for Apple Watch with watchOS 2

Membership is subscription based and includes instant access to all the tutorials. Users decide what they want to pay for membership. Membership also includes 14-day free trial.

Reading a Productivity Booster


I came across the article “These Startup Founders Swear By The ROI Of Reading” this morning. The net of the article is that by spending time each day reading books that address concerns of their business, these entrepreneurs are able to perform better.

This just reinforces the fact that to be successful and be at the top of our professions, we must be life-long learners. Continuing Education, whether it be from books, on-line courses or at a traditional brick-and-mortar university is essential to staying competitive.

There are so many business and self improvement books available now that a reader will be able to find several in their area of interest. A good way to quickly review a book to see if it merits your full attention is the Blinkist App I reviewed a short time ago.

How ever you approach selecting your books, reading can make a huge difference in your life.

Blinkist Enables You to Read Several Books Per Day


I am a big proponent of Continuing Education. I saw a Tweet recently by a IEEE colleague (@DevonRyan) extolling the virtues of Blinkist. Blinkist provides insightful summaries of non-fiction books (1000+ and growing) that can be read in about 15 minutes each using your web browser. These can also be read use their mobile App (available for both Android and iOS) and you can listen to the audio versions.

These allow the reader to read and absorb a tremendous amount of information without dedicating too much of our increasingly scarce free time. Now this is a service that does not come free (well, it does sort of).

If you check the available plans, there are three:

  • Blinkist Free (Free), read one pre-selected book per day, browse the catalog
  • Blinkist Plus ($49.99/yr)- any title, read off-line
  • Blinkist Premium ($79.99/yr) – All features of Plus as well as ability to listen to audio

I joined a few days ago and have read their summaries of two books. I can see where it is helpful, but clearly condensing a full book into what can be read in just 15 minutes must skip over a lot of material. However I can see where reading the summaries would be useful to point you at which books you might want to devote more time to.

If you are trying to improve yourself or wanting to learn, but have limited time, this may be the perfect service for you.


Unix/Linux SysAdmin Tutorials


As part of their celebration of SysAdminDay coming up on July 29, Linux Foundation Training  will email you a different eBook tutorial each week over the coming 22 weeks. You MUST sign up by the end of July

Each eBook will give a short overview of one topic that SysAdmins or interested users should know. Topics will include using the command line (CLI), filesystems and storage, RAID and Swap, and Security.

You macOS users should keep in mind that much of this applies to you as well.

Highbrow a new CE Alternative


Education is important, particularly continuing education. I am always looking for new ways to keep up and learn. I came across Highbrow a short time ago.

Highbrow offers relatively short (10 lesson) courses on a variety of topics. The lessons are short (about 5 minutes in length) and they are emailed to you over a 10 day period. Obviously these are not in-depth courses, but they do offer a quick overview of a subject.

The short lessons and short duration of the courses means that you can try several without the effort significantly encroaching upon your busy schedule. While I would not recommend this avenue if you seek expertise in a subject, I do think that Highbrow offers a unique offering.

I have finished one course and I am in another now. I have also identified a few others that I plan to take in the future. Fortunately, Highbrow seems to be adding a handful of new courses each month so I will not soon exhaust their offerings.

If you are interested in continuing education, this is a great way to expand your knowledge without committing a large amount of you time.

Classes for the Engineer

Classes for the Engineer

I came across this article today “What classes should you take to become an electrical engineer?“. I was surprised that so little had changed in the 40 years since I was an undergraduate Electrical Engineering student at the University of Houston. Certainly the programming languages have changed. All we had available was FORTRAN. The math classes and the fundamental theory classes are much the same though.

I applaud the statement in that article “a good rule of thumb when establishing one’s personal course of education is to take on abstract / theoretical classes at the beginning, and focus on the applicatory courses toward the latter half of the program; this, as opposed to taking numerous classes that specialize in discussing such things as specialized design solutions for today’s EE, which will most likely phase out over the next five to 10 years.

Being an Electrical Engineer, as with most technical degrees, means that you have entered upon a life-long journey of learning. Technology does not stand still, nor can the EE simply stand upon what they learned while in college. That is one of the reasons that I am an active member in IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers). The monthly periodicals, conferences and local Technical Society meetings provide an avenue for keeping up with advances in technology.

I feel fortunate to live in the IEEE Central Texas Section area as we have a dozen or more meetings each month that I can attend. These meetings are open to the public so any interested in technology and wanting to broaden their social network are welcome to attend. You will find IEEE groups active in most large cities around the world.

So Now There are 118


So now there are 118 . . . atomic elements that is. I just saw an article talking about four more elements (“Periodic table’s seventh row finally filled as four new elements are added“) being added to the periodic table. How chemistry, along with the rest of technology has changed. Reading over that article made me dig out my college chemistry text book. The periodic table at that time (early 1970s) only contained 103 elements. When I took chemistry in High School a few years earlier, there were even fewer.

So what does this mean? Knowledge is fluid and to maintain currency means life-long education. Whether that education is formal or informal, now, more than ever before, continuous learning is essential just to keep up. Fortunately the Internet has enabled many fine continuing education opportunities.