Getting Ready for Football Season

Getting Ready for Football Season

By Troy Lambert

It’s time for NFL football, and fans in the United States are gearing up, doing everything from ordering single game tickets to hats, jerseys, and foam fingers declaring that their team is number one.

This year, there are a few other things fans should be doing to get ready. Here is a short checklist for you.
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Is This Just Fantasy?

That’s right, training camp and pre-season is the time to pay attention to just who you want to add to your fantasy roster. Whether you are looking for bragging rights in the office or winning the fantasy pool every week and banking some skrilla, the draft is right around the corner, and you don’t want to be that guy whose starting running back is benched for the first four games of the season.

Place Your Bets

Okay, it is true that unless you live in Nevada, Oregon, Montana, or Delaware sports betting is technically illegal in the United States. Two things: that might change this October when the Supreme Court will rule on whether the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act is unconstitutional or not; and even former President Obama said he would pardon himself if he were caught betting on sports.

So go ahead and lay your wager down. According to the NFL is the most gambled on sport worldwide, and if your state has a lottery, it might finally be legal for you to join the action this football season.

Get Your Healthy Snack On

No one wants to enlarge their team’s fan base by simply eating too many Cheetos and increasing the size of their own backfield, but it is hard to avoid during football season, when you really want to just sit and watch your team succeed.

So if you are going to snack (and you are, trust me), you need to choose your snack foods wisely. Reach for healthier choices like veggie trays and low-fat, low-calorie snacks rather than an extra-large stuffed crust pizza with a side of three bean nachos.

Besides the fact that even Febreeze and the best-filtered HVAC system in the world can’t fix the end results of that, and you might be watching the game alone if you keep that up.

Over to You, Gym

Most people who actually drink the beer depicted on beer commercials don’t look like the actors in the commercials. The reason? They haven’t seen the inside of a gym since high school PE class.

Unless you want to find yourself on People of Walmart when your fan jersey and your sweats can no longer keep up with your NFL expansion, you need to make time to work out during the season. It’s tough, because it’s winter and cold outside, but remember your reluctance to go to the gym when you are making fun of Miami playing in Green Bay in January

Football season is just around the corner, and it is past time to get ready to enjoy the great American pastime. (See what I did there?). So gear up, get ready, place your bets, get your snack on, and don’t forget your friend gym. It’s going to be another great season.

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Too Many I’s in Your Team? Bring Them Together Now

Too Many I’s in Your Team? Bring Them Together Now

By Jerry Mooney

Managing a team is something that many people end up doing if they want to progress through their career. Eventually, you end up in a leadership position, responsible for other people, among other things. Although you might have leadership experience already, being a manager isn’t always a walk in the park. If your team doesn’t seem to be working well together, you need to find ways to get them gel more effectively.

Be a Strong Leader

A strong team needs a strong leader. Although it’s not entirely up to you how well your team works together, you are the one who provides guidance and support. If you think your leadership skills need some improvement, consider taking a course.

Encourage Learning

You might not be the only one who still has things to learn. Perhaps your team members are ready to get some work done, but you notice they’re lacking in some of the skills they need. Encourage them to keep learning and plugging their skills gaps too, and you can improve their performance.

Give Your Team Members Responsibility

Encouraging your team members to commit to what you’re doing can sometimes be hard. One of the keys is to make them care more about their work. Giving them more responsibility can help with this because they feel like they’re trusted to do a good job.

Improve Your Communication

Poor communication is at the heart of many a team’s productivity problems. Finding ways to communicate better could make a huge difference for your team.

Infographic Design By USC Online Master of Communication Management

Small Tech Solutions That Can Make You BIG Savings

Small Tech Solutions That Can Make You BIG Savings

Image by Pexels

Consumer technology is a wonderful thing. Even the most self-proclaimed technophobe is dependent on some sort of technology. It’s technology that enables us to travel dozens of miles to work, to wake up to a warm home and to communicate with friends, colleagues and loved ones all over the world.
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While many of us use technology liberally, we all too often associate it with cost. Sure, any technological advancement usually comes at a cost to the consumer, and early adopters generally find themselves paying top dollar to get in on the ground floor, but there are a great many ways that technology can help you make big savings at home and in the office.

Here are some tools, apps and devices that can save you money at little to no upfront cost.

Put down the phone, use VOIP!

For decades, phone companies have been profiting from the pay-per-minute costs of talking to people all over the country, and Heaven forbid we should want to talk to someone overseas. If you’re still paying over the odds for overseas calls, then you could save a small fortune using Voice Over Internet Protocols (VOIP). At home you can use Skype, FaceTime or Google Voice to talk and video conference with people all over the world. At work you can scythe down costs by choosing from a range of VOIP suppliers.

Prevent pipe freezing without paying a fortune in heating costs

Heat tape for pipes prevents water from freezing in them. Most heat tape solutions use a built in thermostat so there’s no need for external controls or monitoring. This means that metal and plastic pipes can be protected from both freezing and overheating. Prior to the advent of electrical heat tape technology, heat traced water pipes could not be insulated as it would increase the chances of overheating and create a fire risk so the only alternative was to waste a huge amount of heat energy to prevent the pipes from freezing. Self-regulating heat tapes can be used for single pipes or networks of identical pipes, that can be used in virtually any environment or temperature.

See your spending with smart plugs

Ever wondered how much your devices cost to run? Well wonder no more, thanks to the miracle of smart plugs. These babies sit in your wall and as you plug your devices into them, they transmit the energy cost data to you, which you can view through a free downloadable app. This can enable you to determine which devices may be wasteful while allowing you greater control over your energy budget.

Light your home with energy saving CLF bulbs

If you’re still using old-fashioned incandescent bulbs simply because they’re cheap then you may not be aware that this is complete false economy. Incandescent bulbs work by heating the filament inside to an extremely high temperature to provide heat and light. The trouble is that the energy produced is 90% heat and only 10% light. The effectiveness of a bulb is based on its wattage which is a unit of heat energy. Since incandescent bulbs are only 10% efficient it makes sense to replace them with Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs which can save you up to $50 a year per bulb.

Possible PASPA Repeal

Possible PASPA Repeal

By Troy Lambert

Technically, sports betting is illegal in the United States except in four states: Nevada, Oregon, Montana, and Delaware. This is thanks to a law called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act passed in 1992. Much like bans of other “vices”, the result has been an increase in illegal betting activity and a shadow industry that makes millions a year.
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Although gambling can be a problem, most people do it for fun. Even former President Obama joked that if he were caught betting on sports he would simply “pardon himself” something now President Trump seems to think is a good idea, although for much different reasons. By the strictest interpretation of the law football pools and other simple “bets” between friends are also illegal.

This law has also created an issue for sportsbooks online. To stay in business and not face government sanctions or fines, they have to follow these laws implicitly, and even block IP addresses and users from certain areas from creating accounts and logging in.

Thanks to a lawsuit started by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the Supreme Court will hear a case on the repeal of PASPA this October. The decision will affect other laws applying to state’s rights, but it seems fairly likely PASPA will be repealed, and pretty much every state that has a lottery will also allow sports betting in one form or another.

New State Revenue

New Jersey already has casino gambling, and has been pushing for legalized sports betting for a long time. States like Arizona, California, and others are waiting to legalize gambling.

A large part of the motivation for this is of course financial. The taxes the states could collect on the new revenue and new businesses created could be a great boon to many budgets already stretched thin.

New Methods of Betting

Online sportsbooks, just as other online gambling options would expand their businesses into states that legalize sports gambling. Some may even open physical sportsbooks or offices in those states, again increasing tax revenue and creating jobs.

Of course, the caution is that not all sportsbooks are created equally. Some are more reputable than others, collect a more reasonable vig, and have fewer transaction fees. Determining which sportsbook is the most reputable. Sites like inform users about the structure of modern sportsbooks, what kind of betting lines are available, and even how to get started on using legal sportsbooks. Such sites avoid illegal sites and those that use questionable methods or are not secure.

The key, of course, will be research by the gambler themselves. What sites are legal in the United States, and where are they located? What is the fine print, and what do fees mean to winnings? Are my winnings taxable?

While these may seem like basic questions, they create the need for an intermediary that lists and explains the rules, legal sites, and what to be cautious of.

New Methods of Payment

Digital currency is not new. In fact, most credit and debit cards, PayPal and Square Cash are all digital methods of payment, and vary in the level of security they offer.

With the rise in popularity of bitcoin, new methods of payment and withdrawing winnings have become available. Because bitcoin is not centralized and the security and privacy offered by the block chain system, it has become much more prevalent with gamblers over the last few years.

Using bitcoin is cheaper for gamblers and for sportsbooks: transaction fees are lower, and the transfer of funds happens much faster than with conventional currency.

Political Changes

PSAPA is simply one step in several changes that will come if it is repealed. The legal precedent it sets for states could be important in several other areas as well.

This could mean that many things states might have agreed to under other Federal laws that no longer make sense at a state level can be appealed and repealed as well. Marijuana legalization is another area where this same battle may be fought.

A PASPA repeal in October may mean many things to many people and states, but especially to the gambling industry and the tax base it would create. Many states are gearing up for the likely repeal, and sports fans are waiting with anticipation to see what happens next.

See Troy at Unbound Northwest

Engineer The Right CV And Land Your Dream Job

Engineer The Right CV And Land Your Dream Job

By Nigel Hilton

The engineering industry is one of the fastest growing out there, and there are so many great job opportunities for people with the necessary qualifications. Employees in the engineering sector are amongst the highest paid in the country with an average entry level salary of $57,591. Civil engineering is one of the best areas to get into. Although it’s hard work getting there, it’ll definitely be worth it. There are so many different avenues into the engineering trade so whatever your situation, you should be able to find work. However, the competition is fierce out there and you’ll have to make yourself stand out from the crowd if you want to land that dream job. If you’re considering a move into the engineering industry, here are your routes in.

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Get Qualified

Unfortunately, there isn’t really a shortcut into the engineering industry. You’ll have to put the time in if you want to get the necessary qualifications. The majority of people go to a four-year college to get the degree that they need, which is why engineering has become one of the most popular majors out there. The better the college that you attend, the easier it will be to get a job in future so really your hard work needs to start before you apply for college. MIT is the best college out there so you should be aiming for that, but other places like the University of California and the University of Illinois are both good contenders. Once you’ve completed your four years, you’ve made a good start but there are so many others out there with the same qualifications, it’s the extras that will land you that job.

Start Early

If you wait until you’ve finished college before you start thinking about job applications, you’ll already be behind. Crafting a brilliant CV and job application takes a lot of work so you need to start working on it early on. If you apply for a job with a CV that has your degree and not much else on it, you’re not likely to get to the interview stage, let alone land yourself a job. Most employers like to see extracurricular activities that demonstrate valuable skills. Leading an engineering club for schools in the area is a great way to show that you have a passion for your field, as well as good interpersonal skills. The 4-H organization offers a wide range of outreach programs for kids, one of which is based on science and engineering. They work with over 100 universities across America so it is likely that you’ll be able to volunteer. Not only does it look good on your CV, it’s also a great opportunity to push the engineering industry forward and help shape the next generation of innovators. The Afterschool Alliance is another organization offering similar programs if your university doesn’t work with 4-H.


If you can’t find any relevant volunteering programs in the area, don’t give up. Start your own. Reach out to local schools and other authorities and gather a few of your peers from college to create your own opportunities. It will have all of the benefits of working with an existing group, but it will also show good leadership and organizational skills.

Once you start adding these extra-curricular activities to your CV, it will look a lot healthier and you’ve got a higher chance of getting your foot in the door.

Learn Beyond Your Degree

In your four years at college, you’ll learn a lot of the basics, but there isn’t time to teach you everything. Anybody that’s serious about getting a job as a civil engineer needs to keep up to date with the latest software and ensure that they know how to use it. When it comes to applying for jobs, this will be a huge advantage because it means that your new employer won’t have to dedicate as much time to training if they give you the job. This is going to put you streets ahead of your less knowledgeable competitors.

3D Modelling software is going to be one of the most important weapons in your engineering arsenal, so you need to know it inside out. You will have learned some at college, but there’s always ways that you can improve. HEC-RAS is one of the best pieces of 3D modeling software out there at the moment so it’s worth buying a copy and making yourself familiar with it. There are plenty of online tutorials that you can go through at home to really improve your skills.

If you’re particularly interested in structural design, then you should be looking into STAAD Pro. It’s the most common structural design software in use at the moment and so you won’t be relevant in your field if you can’t use it.

Microsoft Excel doesn’t seem like the kind of high-level software that engineers are going to be using, however, it plays an important role in the planning stages of most engineering projects. You’re probably thinking that you already know how to use Excel, and you’re right. Most people know the basics, but there are a huge amount of advanced features in there.

Pricing is another integral part of the planning process, especially if you are a civil engineer working for a government organization. CCS Candy software is the leading program that engineers use to cost projects. When you’re interviewing, you want to be able to show that you are knowledgeable about all aspects of the civil engineering trade, right from planning and costing, all the way up to design and construction. By learning all of these programs, you can add them to your CV and match up to some of your more experienced competitors.

Get Some Experience

The biggest complaint amongst college graduates entering the job market is the focus on job experience. Employers are asking for a decent amount of experience, but when you’ve been at college for four years when are you supposed to get the chance to work in your chosen field? While a lack of experience can be a hurdle, there are ways that you can get some during your college years.


You aren’t going to land a full-time position but you can always use your summers to get some work experience. Some universities include a one-year placement as part of the degree. This is your best chance to move into full-time work because you get a whole year of real job experience and if you do well, you’ll make valuable connections that you can capitalize on once you’ve finished your degree.

If you’re attending a college that doesn’t offer a year long placement, don’t give up hope. You can find your own summer placements out there, however, lots of them still ask for some kind of experience. That means you’re going to need to be proactive. Get in touch with any local engineering firms and ask if you can come in for a few days just to see how things work. This should make it easier for you to land a placement and get the experience you need.


It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. It may be an old cliche, but it’s true. When employers are sifting through massive amounts of job applications, they’re more likely to pick out people that have made the effort to get out there and meet them over somebody that they’ve never heard of. The American Society Of Engineers puts on regular conferences which are a great place to meet industry leaders and potential employers. You should be able to get into some of these conferences through the university so speak to your department about it.   

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