The Advantages and Disadvantages of Transcribing

As a Virtual Assistant, one of the services you may want to consider offering to your clients is transcription. While it sounds easy enough (you listen to an audio tape and just type what you hear), it’s much more involved than that.

There are advantages and disadvantages you should consider before making your decision to offer transcribing services.

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, the official definition of transcribe is “to make a written copy of” or “to make a copy of (dictated or recorded matter) in longhand or on a machine (as a typewriter).” Now before you drag out your trusty old typewriter, you will need to make sure you have a few things first. Most importantly, you will need a good computer with a high speed internet connection and both transcription and word processing software installed on it because that old typewriter just isn’t going to do the trick anymore. Some other equipment you will need is a quality headset, a comfortable chair in a quiet room, and if you’re serious about doing transcription, a foot pedal (preferably the USB kind). Depending on the format used (DVD, mp3, cassette, micro-cassette, etc), you may need additional equipment for audio playback. Of course, to be an efficient transcriptionist, you must also have a pretty decent typing speed, good listening, spelling and grammar skills.

Here are some of the points you will want to take into consideration before you decide to offer transcription services:

Advantages:

Pricing is pretty straightforward (by the word, page or audio minute/hour)

Sharpens your listening and typing skills

Opportunity to learn about new and interesting topics

Can turn into a long-term client as transcription can easily lead to other projects (editing, proofreading, article writing or creating an ebook)

Pre-recorded audio gives you the flexibility to transcribe anytime (excellent for those who are trying to juggle a 9-5 job too)

With some additional education, you have the ability to specialize (i.e. medical or legal transcription) and charge a higher specialized rate

Disadvantages:

Some equipment and/or software may need to be purchased (headset, foot pedal, etc.)

You must have a decent typing speed or you are not going to make much of a living doing transcription

Sound quality, multiple speakers, accents, people talking over each other, and audience interaction can significantly slow down the transcription process causing frustration and reducing productivity

Templates provided by client may be difficult to work with

Transcription is not multi-tasking friendly; you will need to concentrate so no telephone calls or tweets

Real-time transcription requires that you and the client are available at the same time. This does not allow time for editing, or breaks

As with any task you perform for your client, you will need to ask some important questions before you get started.

You should be ready with a checklist of some kind, because finding out certain information ahead of time will save you time and aggravation. Some questions you should ask your client before transcribing:

What will the client ultimately do with the transcription (i.e. create an article or ebook)?

What form is the audio in (DVD, mp3, cassette, micro-cassette, etc)?

How will you receive the audio (mail, email, etc)?

Does the client want a hard copy or just the electronic file?

What form do they want the final product in (Word, PDF, etc)?

Do they want verbatim or do they want umms and other unfinished thoughts edited out?

How many speakers are there?

Do any of the speakers have accents?

Are they just looking to have the words put on the paper or are they looking for something that is proofread, edited, and in the final draft stage?

Does the audio include any confidential information?

o Will the client require a Non-disclosure Agreement in addition to the Virtual Assistance Agreement?

o If it is medical transcription, will there be HIPPA compliance issues involved?

If you do decide to venture into the realm of transcription, make sure you have all the necessary tools in place to make your journey a positive experience. Take your time when creating your proposals and make sure you understand all the details of each transcription project. If you are not sure of the terms of the project, contact the client for clarification.

You don’t want to get in over your head and disappoint your client and yourself.

Consider taking on a couple small “trial” project before officially offering transcription services on your website.

Volunteer to transcribe a meeting or two for a church or civic group to gain some experience. You might even suggest a trade and get a client testimonial for your business! Either way it is an excellent opportunity to try out transcription, and see if it is worth adding to your business.

If you have the typing, spelling, and grammar skills that transcribing requires and you are willing to invest in some equipment to get started, then transcribing may be for you. Transcribing can be frustrating and tedious at times, but it can also be a rewarding, interesting, and flexible service that you can offer to your clients. While it has advantages and disadvantages, always keep in mind transcribing is a perfect springboard to additional services you may want to market to your clients to keep your business flourishing.

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What Are the Advantages of Electric Bikes?

"In a systematic energy flow comparison, a grid-charged battery driving an electric motor will provide mechanical energy about ten times more efficiently than a human eating a typical diet. lowest environmental and personal monetary cost, usually without increasing urban travel time "
From Energy, Global Warming, and Electric Bicycles Energy Flow Analysis with an Emphasis on Personal Transportation

1. Hill Climbing
That may sound obvious, but it's the primary advantage. A good electric bike effectively flattens hills, increasing your average speed and eliminating the 'groan' factor when a gradient comes into view. Provided you supply a reasonable amount of effort, you can expect to climb hills of 1 in 10 (10%) on an electric bike with ease, and clear a maximum gradient of 1 in 7 (14%), or much more. In hilly country, the effect is nothing short of miraculous.

2. Safety
It sounds illegally, does not it? But the mathematics is compelling. Think of a steep and busy road, with cars climbing at 30mph. If you previously slogged up the hill at 6mph, but can tackle the same gradient at 12mph with an electric bike, you will see 33% fewer cars, and they will pass you at 18mph rather than 24mph. Or at least, we think that's correct.

Whatever the figures, there's no doubt that an electric bike helps to keep you out of danger. The same general principle applies to road junctions – the faster your acceleration, the sooner you can get out of trouble. And with no need to rush the hills, you will not be tempted to ride downhill at breakneck speed … another useful safety feature.

3. Personal Fitness
Surely a conventional bike will keep you fitter? That, of course, depends how much – if at all – you use it. Research (b) has found that 46% of conventional bikes are used only once or twice a week, with a further 30% being used once a fortnight or even less. By contrast, a recent survey of electric bicycle owners reveal that a third ride their bike at least once a day and 81% use the bike at least once a week (c).

The figures confirm our experience that an electric bike typically gets used at least twice as often as a conventional machine.

Because riding an electric bike is a great deal more enjoyable in hilly country, into strong winds, or when carrying heavy loads, users tend to make better use of them. The motor provides up to half the effort, but more regular use means more exercise for the rider.

4. No Sweat!
Sweat may not be a serious issue when you're out for a leisure ride, but it's more important if you're cycling to work. Although some employers are rather grudgingly providing showers and other facilities for cyclists, the great priority has no intention of doing so. An electric bike eliminates the problem at source. In hot weather, it's possible to maintain a normal schedule by transfering a bit more load to the electric motor. In colder weather – or if you feel in need of exercise – just throttle back, or turn the motor off.

5. Clean & Green

Electric bikes obviously consume energy, where a conventional bikes does not (provided we ignore the environmental cost of growing and processing food – see below). However, the amount of energy used is very small compared to a moped, motorcycle or car. Beside fuel, the only consumables are the batteries, and these can normally be recycled when life-expired. As for energy use, electric bikes typically consume fuel at an average rate of 100 to 150 watts of electrical energy, against 15,000 or so for a car (admittedly traveling much faster). In terms of fuel consumption, an electric bike achieves about 800-2,000mpg (290 – 700 liters / kilometer) (d). No other commercially available vehicle can match figures of this kind.

If it's hard to place these numbers in your own lifestyle, think of a 100 watt electric light bulb burning for an evening – that's enough energy to propel an electrically-assisted bike for 20 to 40 miles …

6. Genuinely Sustainable
There's a lot of nonsense talked about sustainability in transport, but an electric bicycle can be made genuinely sustainable. Purchase electricity from a 'green' supplier, or generate your own with a roof-mounted windmill or solar panel array (see Solar Power facts), and the vehicles' fossil fuel consumption will be zero. Surely a conventional bike does that already? Only if you grow the food you consume whilst driving it. Unfortunately, most modern food production and distribution is so fuel-intensive that the consumption of a typical cyclist is not terribly good.

7. Faster travel
In theory a car can average a high speed, but in practice speed often falls below 10mph in cities. The problem is congestion – motorcycles get around this to some extent, but they're still bound to the road network. An electric bike can maintain a higher average speed than a bicycle but take advantage of the same network of cycle facilities, giving access to routes that cars and motorcycles can not reach. The result is often a faster door-to-door journey time than any other mode. And by taking advantage of the uncongested cycle network, but eliminating hills and headwinds, electric bikes are often the most consistent mode of travel.

8. High Resale Value
Electric bikes are new technology, and it's early days yet, but the evidence points to a much better resale value than a conventional bike. True, a typical electric bike costs more to buy, at £ 400- £ 1,000, but it seems you'll get most of that back if you sell the machine on.

9. Motorized, Without The Red Tape!
You know how it is … MOT due, log book missing, insurance costs rising year on year. Electric bikes are treated just like ordinary bicycles for legislative purposes, so there's absolutely no registration or legislation to worry about. You are of course free to insure the machine if you wish, but there's no compulsion to do anything but enjoy yourself!

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Cable TV

Cable TV has been facing increasing competition from other communications types like satellite television and even such computer sites as Netflix. With all of these options now available, it is a good opportunity to look at the pros and cons of cable television. In this article, I will examine three positive and three negative points about cable television, to help you make an informed decision.

Advantage #1: Stability

Cable television is especially stable in its service. Both traditional air-wave broadcasts and modern satellite television can and will cut out on you during any serious storm (and often during some not-so-serious storms). Cable, on the other hand, will only go out if there is some flaw in the overall system, like a broken cable or router. This will happen far less often than rainstorms, so cable television will provide far more consistent service.

Advantage #2: Bundling

Often specials are available by bundling your cable television with other services in a single package, usually internet and phone, but sometimes services like cellular phones. These bundles can actually save you quite a bit of money, especially if you bundle all three typical services together. It also provides the convenience of having a single bill.

Advantage #3: Price

Cable television can actually be fairly inexpensive, if you don’t add too many options. The initial hardware costs are fairly inexpensive when compared to satellite, and the FCC requires that all cable companies provide a basic cable package consisting of broadcast channels and a few local channels. As a result, cable television can be the cheapest form of television aside from buying an antenna.

Disadvantage #1: Annoying Monopolies

Many areas only have a single cable television provider, and this creates a monopoly. While the competition from satellite is increasing, the corporate culture of these monopolies is especially poor. Customer service can be terrible, if not non-existent in many cases, and consumer satisfaction with cable TV companies is consistently some of the worst among any companies in the United States.

Disadvantage #2: Confusing Price Packages

Many cable companies are very confusing when it comes to how much their service will actually cost in the long run. Many require you to sign up for two years in order to get a one-year introductory deal. However, you have to really dig on their websites to find out how much the second year will cost. In other cases, there are hidden fees, rental charges and taxes.

Disadvantage #3: Privacy

If you are bundling your cable television with your internet (and many people do), you will have less privacy on the internet. Cable internet works with a stable IP address that doesn’t change, so people will be able to easily track your visits to their sites. Compare this with DSL, where you can easily reset your IP by turning your modem on and off.

With these advantages and disadvantages in mind, you will be in a better position to make a decision about whether to choose cable television.

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How To DIY Solar Battery Charger



http://www.EnergyBrainiac.com – How To DIY Solar Battery Charger
The DIY Solar Charger | Popular Science
Jul 6, 2007 … The DIY Solar Charger. Keep your gadgets powered even when the grid … and build frames to hold the DC charger controller and the battery. …DIY: Solar Powered Battery Rechargers
In their latest catalog, several solar battery chargers are offered but one is particularly useful. The small Multi-volt Output Solar Panel (Cat. …Get Prepared Stuff – DIY Solar AA Battery Charger”
Most of the AA solar battery chargers available wouldn’t charge two AA 2000 mAh batteries in 4 days let alone 1 day of 4-5 hours of sun.Solar Battery Charging – Solar
Jul 30, 2007 … One of the simplest DIY solar projects is to make your own solar battery charger using a small Photovoltaic (PV) solar panel. …DIY Solar Battery Charger – Solar Energy How-to-Guide Directoy
DIY Solar Battery charger. Build your own solar battery charger for all of your electronic gadgets.Design Solar-Powered Computing Device – Hacked Gadgets – DIY Tech Blog
DIY projects describing how to build electronic projects. … Solar Battery Chargers – Cheap Solar Battery Chargers and Battery Charger ..
How To DIY Solar Battery Charger

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Alternative Medicine

There are reasons why people chose alternative medicine and reasons why they avoid it, preferring conventional medicine. Alternative medicine is safer than standard health treatments and usually works. It’s true that it can’t be used in severe conditions like car accidents or other severe emergencies, but be that as it may, there are enough situations in which alternative medicine is recommended. When it comes to emotional and spiritual needs, non-conventional medicine may come up with the solution. Furthermore, it’s better for preventing illnesses than standard medicine. More and more physicians nowadays agree upon the benefits of alternative medicine and also even advise their clients to choose the best natural treatment for them.

One of the advantages of alternative medicine is that it encompasses a broad range of therapies, treatments and products, thus the search for obtaining positive results doesn’t flow on a narrow path at all.

A pretty important disadvantage states the idea that, even though the expenses of using acupuncture or chiropractic are sometimes covered by health insurances, the majority of alternative treatments are not reimbursed.

There are certain risks that come along with the usage of natural remedies. Despite the use of herbs throughout the years and even ancient times, not all of them have been studied regarding their safety and efficiency. There are issues concerning their purity and their possible interaction with other substances related to conventional therapies. The majority of information regarding herbs have been perpetuated throughout history and with the help of tradition. Many people assume that herbal medicines are better than synthetic drugs simply because, well, they are natural and not synthetic, therefore present no risk. But they are not risk free; they can do more harm than good if taken without having the details of their effects over the body.

People might abuse of natural medicines the same way as they do it in the case of synthetic drugs. They have the misconception that if unconventional medicine consists of herbal products which are natural, then there is no harm done if they triple the dosage or more. This is totally wrong and can have serious consequences. Take vitamins for example. They are just vitamins, right? They can’t possibly do any damage inside the body. But they do. Vitamin overdosing or vitamin toxicity can lead to unpleasant effects depending on the vitamin that has been taken one too many times. Vitamin A over dosage can cause liver problems, osteoporosis, hair loss and other dangerous effects and Hypervitaminosis D leads to dehydration, vomiting, anorexia and even kidney stones.

An advantage of using herbal remedies concerns the effectiveness related with chronic health issues that don’t respond well or even at all to traditional medicines. If long term medication is needed, then herbs are pretty much safer than conventional drugs. The alternative medicine industry takes advantage from this and keeps evolving and developing due to the constant need for natural remedies.

Another advantage is the low cost of herbal products compared to synthetic drugs which are highly priced for the simple reason that researching and testing the products is expensive. Furthermore, herbal products can be bought without a prescription and are easy to procure. The availability of natural remedies is outstanding; chamomile for example can be easily picked out from a nearby field.

The advantages of using herbal medicines are numerous, but so are the disadvantages. The best idea would be to consider modern medicine according to the severity of the illness, to consult a physician upon the proper medication and dosage and if you do chose the alternative medicine, try to gather enough information upon both kinds of treatments, natural or synthetic, so you may reassure yourself that you took the right decision to balance your health situation.

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Activity Diagrams – Advantages, Disadvantages and Applications of Use

Activity diagrams describe the actual work flow behavior of a system in Information Technology. These diagrams are very similar to state Diagrams because activities are the actual state of doing something. These diagrams describe the actual state of activities of a system by showing all the sequence of activities performed. Also, these diagrams can show activities that are conditional or parallel.

When to Use: Activity Diagrams

Activity diagrams should be used in alignment with other modeling techniques like interaction diagrams and State diagrams. The main reason behind using these diagrams is to model the work flow behind the system being designed. these Diagrams are also useful for analyzing a use case by describing what actions need to take place and when they should occur, describing a complicated sequential algorithm and modeling applications with parallel processes.

Activity diagrams’ advantages:

  • UML modeling language included that these diagrams are normally easily comprehensible for both analysts and stakeholders.
  • In UML for the IT Business Analyst, “The activity diagram is the one most useful to the IT BA for depicting work flow [because] it is simple to understand-both for BAs and end-users.”
  • Since they are among the most user-friendly diagrams available, they are generally regarded as an essential tool in an analyst’s repertoire.
  • Additionally, as stated above, activity diagrams allow an analyst to display multiple conditions and actors within a work flow through the use of swimlanes. Swimlanes, however, are optional as a single condition or actor is normally displayed without them.

Activity diagrams’ disadvantages:

UML modeling language include that these diagrams have the potential to become overly complex because their user-friendly nature may lend itself to an all-inclusive description. In other words, since it is so simple to display the information related to the project, why not include all of it? When an analyst has a large project, creating a single, overly complex diagram can be a temptation.

However, as one author notes, “if you are using activity diagrams to define the structure of a work flow, you should not attempt to explore several levels of activity graphs down to their most ‘atomic’ level”. Instead, an analyst should try to present a new diagram for each work flow, or if more applicable, to use swimlanes to present different actors within the same work flow.

Another aspect of these diagrams is that they may not be used in lieu of a state diagram or sequence diagram because “activity diagrams do not give detail about how objects behave or how objects collaborate.” This is not a disadvantage per se, but it is important for an analyst to keep in mind when applying diagrams to their work.

In conclusion, activity diagrams are fairly easy to get the hang of, and will be useful for most projects because they plainly and moderately clearly demonstrate how things work.” Unlike many diagramming techniques, these diagrams also enable the depiction of multiple choices and actors within a work flow, and they are easy for even non-technical users to follow

Applications of activity diagram:

This diagram has been extended to specify flows among steps that transmit physical matter (e.g., gasoline) or energy (e.g., torque, pressure).

  • Additional changes allow the diagram to better support continuous behaviors and continuous data flows.
  • The UML 2 specification significantly prolonged the features and scale of activity diagrams beyond their earlier classification as a special case of state diagrams.
  • Today, activity diagrams can be thought of as flow charts for the 21st century, and UML modelers use activity diagrams to describe it.
  • Also, these diagrams are useful in following methods:
  • Business Rules
  • Functions that occur in parallel
  • Complex chain of multiple use cases
  • Software flows and logic control configurations
  • Procedures with judgment points and alternate flows
  • Single use cases
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