Monthly Archives: December 2015

Hey, So What’s New With You?

It’s easy these days to get too busy with life in general, or waiting in line for the new Star Wars movie, and forget to connect with old friends and colleagues. In that spirit, and because I don’t have a tent that could hold up to 16 days of queuing in Minnesota, I wanted to tell you what’s been happening with us!

We’ve been busy writing new content, filming and releasing new courses, and preparing for our 6-month-long ice fishing season (dontcha know).

Fishing ShackFun fact; we actually have entire cities that pop up on the ice each year, and they are so established that stores follow suit and mail is delivered on a daily basis. Have you seen Grumpy Old Men? That’s it. There’s even a Grumpy Old Men festival each year, with ice fishing and ice shack contests. Why? We tend not to ask that question when trying to stay warm & entertained during the arctic freeze. Hey look, Paul Bunyan!

Speaking of freezing (prepare to have your mind blown by this segue), personal security on your computer has always been a top priority for users. No one wants to deal with a slow computer, infected with various viruses and malware, so we do everything we can to protect ourselves from that unfortunate situation; though, attackers have larger and more valuable game in mind these days. As more and more embarrassing headlines continue to pop up, everyone from small business owners to fortune 500 companies are looking for the perfect way to protect their user’s confidential information.

Allow me to introduce our brand new “Security” library! Queue the music!

LearnNowOnline has just released a Security library, full of the training you’ll need to effectively protect your company and applications from the tech world’s evildoers. Among other things, this library includes 3 robust OWASP training courses:

OWASP: Forgery and Phishing

OWASP: Threats and Session Security

OWASP: Misconfiguration and Data Encryption

The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) is a global nonprofit organization devoted to improving security for web applications. The Top 10 Project, first created by OWASP in 2003,
is among its most popular and widely known tools. The Top 10 Project is a lineup of the 10 leading web application security risks affecting users and companies worldwide; illustrating each vulnerability, as well as recommending examples and approaches to avert them. LearnNowOnline’s OWASP courses will turn you into a Jedi master of security (too many Star Wars references?), covering the full Top 10 Project list.

Hot off the press, and also part of our new Security library, are 4 fantastic courses on Certified Ethical Hacking (CEH):

CEH: Intro to Ethical Hacking

CEH: Operating Systems and Hacking

CEH: Threats and System Hacking

CEH: Malware and Social Engineering

Looking for more?  Stay tuned as many more security courses are in the works and coming soon!

Well, that there’s about all the time I have for today. Time to sharpen up my crampons and ready the sled. See you on the lake? You betcha!

About the Author

zach2-300x225Zach Young
 manages the LearnNowOnline customer support department. In addition to making strange but surprisingly delicious smoothies, Zach divides his time between the LearnNowOnline recording studio, providing sales demos for new and existing clients, and ensuring that each customer is taken care of. In his spare time, Zach enjoys globetrotting with his wife, playing and recording music, and attempting to get the required 1.21 gigawatts for Doc Brown’s DeLorean.


Why Sleep When You Can Drink Coffee? (Part 2)

Sleep is one of the biggest mysteries … why do we need it?

Although we still can’t really answer that question properly, scientists have made strides in understanding what it does, how it works, and what happens to our bodies and brains when we aren’t getting enough of it.

My last post discussed coffee/caffeine and how it affects our brain.  Following this blog post, I will look at how coffee and caffeine overlap with sleep, and whether caffeine can actually help to replace sleep.Getting Sleep

Before looking at that relationship, however, let’s look at how sleep works so that we know what we are dealing with.

Here’s some of what we know: (a snoozer for you if you don’t like facts)

Sleep is comprised of two different stages: NREM (non-rapid eye movement) and REM (rapid eye movement). A majority of our time sleeping is spent in NREM (roughly 75-80 percent) which has four stages of its own where we move progressively deeper into sleep. After these four stages, we move into REM (the other 20-25 %), where we get some of our deepest and most restorative sleep.

NREM begins with a very light stage 1 sleep where we drift in and out of being awake and asleep for about 10-20 minutes. After this, we enter stage 2, which is deeper and more stable. We spend about 50 percent of our total time asleep in this stage.

Once we move to stage 3 and 4, we enter SWS (slow-wave sleep), or “deep sleep.” Our blood pressure and body temperature drop, as does our breathing rate. Our muscle tissue and energy begin to be restored, partially because of the release of different hormones. During these stages we have little-to-no eye movement or muscle activity. Our brain also begins to consolidate memories, which is an essential function for not only remembering and recalling information later on, but also for making room for new memories to be stored.

After the 4 stages of NREM sleep, we finally enter into REM sleep. Here, true to its name, our eyes move rapidly as we dream vividly. Our breathing becomes quick and irregular and our muscles often become paralyzed, although our heart rate and blood pressure rise. REM sleep, along with stage 3 and 4 of NREM, is essential because of its physical, mental, and emotionally restorative powers.

Even though we don’t know why we need sleep, it is clear that it is incredibly important. Sleep’s restorative functions facilitate much of our mental and physical health, including our ability to learn efficiently.

But, the real question is, is sleep essential for learning? We already know that coffee allows our brain to fire more neurons when it is consumed because the caffeine blocks the chemical adenosine responsible for slowing down nerve activity. Firing more neurons allows for higher brain activity/efficiency and more capacity for performing tasks.

Isn’t that enough to facilitate learning?

Sorry for the teaser but… Stay tuned for part 3.



About the Author

craig-photoCraig Jensen
 is the President and CEO of LearnNowOnline. Craig has led the company’s change from instructor-led classroom training, to self-study CD/DVD training, to the award winning online learning solutions offered today. Craig is passionate about helping individuals and businesses of all sizes solve their problems through practical learning and technology. He is involved in setting direction for the company, including selecting training content for development with resources to support all learning styles. He is also involved in The CEO Roundtable organization in the Twin Cities as well as the Minnesota High Tech organization. In his spare time, Craig loves to travel, golf, and partake in water sports of all kinds.