CAMRA consultant

My name is Mark Biernat and I am an expert level CAMRA consultant. If you would like to hire me for a CAMRA implementation, or project management connected to a CAMRA, Crystal reports, Investment Accounting, process improvement.

  • Please write me at: CAMRA consultant contact
  • My resume is here : CAMRA Consultant resume
  • My rate for both consulting and project management is relatively cheap for the role: $70/hr no middleman or fees for investment accounting and trading systems consulting.
investment accounting CAMRA consultant
Mark Biernat living in historic St. Augustine – CAMRA investment accounting system conversion consultant.

I was a consult at SS&C technologies, and the hired by a client to Investment accounting department for a large Insurance company with ten billion dollars of assets under management. I have worked with CAMRA, PFS and every type of investment accounting, back office and trading front end. I have done complex system integrations with time constrains and data purification.

If you are looking for a PAM PFI consultant, also I do data conversions with Princeton Financial – State Street Software and Blackrock Aladdin. These front to back systems keep the back office, regulatory and reporting numbers in line.

Since that time I have been a freelance consultant in IT as my life (actually my wife) moved me to Europe, and now I am back in the USA with my family consulting. I am based in St. Augustine, Florida and will travel anywhere.

What is CAMRA?

It is an investment accounting software program that insurance and financial companies use to keep track of their back office activities. It is software that is written by SS&C – investment accounting software company.

This includes GAAP, STAT, TAX and other bases, investment trading analysis and analytical reporting.  I have even used European and custom basis for accounting; the latter being useful for mergers, spin off and other accounting situations you see in the real world of asset management.

CAMRA review

How does Securities software and consulting software and products compare with other back office systems out there?

I believe they are the best. I have use every software out there from PFS to homegrown systems based on Excel and SQL.  I think SS&C products are superior products hands down. I have used them myself for years and have not found one situation they could not handle. What does anyone use investment accounting software? I could go into more detail but, it is mostly about calculating book values on Fixed income assets but also other securities like equities and MBS as well as derivatives.

  • If I personally ran a fund or Insurance company I would use SS&C. Ask me questions if you have any regarding any financial software or investment products.
  • I ran a back office with ten Billion dollars under management and my first choose was SS&C.
  • CAMRA has front end trading interface capabilities as well as custom reporting. Portfolio managers find it easy to use to track their asset’s performance, investment compliance rule as well as other functionality.
  • Mergers, spin offs and system conversions can be handled in CAMRA by running parallel.
  • All regulatory reporting including Schedule Ds can be handled with ease with standard reports

Complete Asset Management Reporting and Analytic software was set up by a visionary entrepreneur Bill Stone and  who is actively involved in the company while it is currently run by Norm Boulanger.

If you would like to hire me for a project, please write I can transform your company into an efficient front and back office for accounting and trading. I am a duel US and EU citizen so I can work anywhere in Europe and the USA (and yes CAMRA can handle multi-currency).

Am I good with IT? From all the CAMRA consultants out there, and investment accounting and GAAP freelance experts and companies (consulting and proprietary software firms) out there you found this page did you not?

 

 

 

 

 

 

English lessons by Skype

Are you looking online for English lessons by Skype? I am a native speaker in English and have taught the English language to foreigners for ten years with excellent results. I have countless hours of experience in class and private instruction.

I can help you learn English fast without leaving your home. No driving to classes or rigid schedule. I can focus on business English or to help you prepare for something specific.

If you think you are not good with languages or English, believe me you are. I teach and learn languages. I know how hard it seems. But with me you will make real progress.

Why am I the best teacher of English for you?

  • Students make real progress with my lessons.
  • I can focus on what you need. If you need help with a job interview or just grammar and conversation I can help. I can focus on business, medical, legal, IT English or your specific needs. Why? I am just not an English teacher but have had years of experience in business, as well as being well read and versed in many subjects.
  • We can do the lessons with the video on or off. I think off is better in most cases, as it is about verbal skills.

What is the price of your English lessons on Skype?

  • My price is $20 dollars for 60 minutes. For a native speaker with this much experience I think you will find this – cheap English lessons online.
  • When you are ready – you just reserve a time and pay by PayPal.
  • Write me at markbiernat@yahoo.com – Ask questions or anything you need.

More stuff to know about learning English online

  • I like Skype because it is free and if used in the right way is as effective as meeting in person.
  • Focused conversation is a very good way to practice grammar. I learned English by speaking, writing and reading and this is what you will do with me. Unless you love to do grammar drills you will make better progress with my method of ESL teaching.

Business English online

Although I teach on all levels from beginner, intermediate , advanced and proficiency and also children, I specialize in real world business English. I have a Masters in Economics and work in management for some of the largest companies in the USA and Europe. I know accounting, investing, IT to a very in-depth level as well as management, sales and negotiation skills. All these can be refined.

Poland SEO consulting

Search engine optimization in Poland

How do I know about SEO in Poland?  I am an American that lives in Krakow, Poland, I am also Polish. Do I do Search Engine Optimization in Poland? Sometimes, I do not do this directly, its more of a hobby for me. Therefore, I have a pretty good idea of the SEO  consulting scene in Poland.

I have a pretty good feel for the effectiveness of using a firm that does search engine marketing Poland and the cost. I know both languages and I know the market and prices as well as the effectiveness of the different types of marketing and IT companies in Poland.

There are three types of SEO firms in Poland

  • Artistic Polish marketing firms
  • Advanced coders
  • Polish SEO firms that know both

Kraków, Poland for example is a techy hub.  It has over 100,000 students from all over the world and many study IT.  Poles are very good with IT for some reason, I think it comes from the fact that the communist governments always pushed technical universities or Eastern Europeans are just gifted in such things.  The founder of Google.com of course was Russia. Therefore, Kraków SEO is pretty advanced, but you have to know who to choose.

Polish marketing

Living in Krakow, I see many traditional online marketing firms. The best artists in the world in terms of flash and design and conception are in Poland.  These are very talented people with innovative ideas. However, the issues is these artsy firms are traditional marketing companies, that is if you want a business card or brochure or even a cool flash site, then your all set, but they are the worst when it comes to SEO in Poland. Do not use artists and marketing companies for search engine optimization in Poland or Krakow.

These firms are organized by young artists, many in Kraków or Warsaw and their art and websites looks fantastic. However, from a search engine spider perspective they are weak.

Sometimes behind the flash search engines can not even find text or content.  This is so basic yet I see many marketing firms in Krakow not understand this. However, for design they are second to none. I have tried to explain it to them but they have artistic minds and do not want to listen.

Coding geeks in Poland

On the other hand, I see companies that are very techy and code oriented. If you want an ecommerce shop or anything very complex, these are the guys who can do it, in any strange computer code or language you need it done in.  Polish programmers are better than anyone you might find in the west for the lower price. But again they do not directly understand the SEO market in Poland. This is the main problem.  They understand how to write code but not the big picture even if they tell you they do. Further, from a design perspective they are just ok. However, for functionality they will do the job. Some how the artists and the coders are like from two different worlds and they do not understand

Poland SEO that is effective

The firms that know and use WordPress or other CMS systems in Poland for SEO are pretty much in the know.  They do not try to trick search engines rather they build a framework where users can drop content in it.

If you want some consulting I can help, just write me.

If you are looking for CSS work: One of my friends Adam optimized the code for onet.pl (the largest portal in Poland).  I teach him English and he in my opinion is a power guru.  But he is more a CSS guru.  He can also work to set up a beautiful theme if you are looking for a CSS expert with lower Polish prices.

I am not in the Polish SEO business directly but write me if you need help. Let me know if you ever meet some who has a website that gets 5-10 k visitors on it a day, I do not think there are many. This is what I g and I can help you.  Write me at markbiernat@op.pl  or I can set you up with someone I trust.

The problem with pricing and Polish SEO

On one hand the firms are very cheap or at reasonable for the amount of work they do.  They will not rip you off at all.  I do not feel confident about many SEO firms around the world, but Polish firms are honest.

However, a lot of their pricing is based on per keyword on a month to month basis for ranking high.  That means they do not do flat fee consulting too often.  It is

not worth it to them. They are very reasonably priced, but you do have to pay every month.  They would rather make a little every month than take large fees.

WordPress and Polish SEO

WordPress is popular in Poland but I would say not as popular as in the the USA for example.  I think a lot of Polish guys use other platforms from CMS Made simple to Drupal and Joomla. But if you ask them to do it they will work with you with WordPress no problem, they are not as mesmerized by WordPress as I am.

SEO in Poland, Ukraine and Russia compared

Poland is your best deal.  Why? Russia is as expensive as the USA or the UK.  They market to the west with western prices. In Ukraine SEO is developed but I think like in Russia you do not get your best value. Poland has Polish prices (non Euro, but rather Polish złoty), EU and western laws and way doing business.  SEO in Poland is the best deal all around.

How to explore a city

Exploring a city

Do you think this post is about exploring a foreign city when you travel? Think again. I want to get you lost.  If you get lost you grow. Here is how.

One of my favorite things is to go to a city in a foreign country where I do not speak the language and walk around with no map. Not just go there, but try to get lost. I have traveled to countless countries and cities and I have never gotten in real trouble. I have had many adventures and misadventures though. Therefore, I think the best way to explore a city is to go there and walk around and absorb it from a sensory level.

Exploring a city
Even though I moved to Krakow, I have not stopped exploring it. I have not seen everything after living here seven years.

Why I do not use a city guide-book

The reason I developed the habit on exploring a city without any guidebook is because before the trip I am usually so involved with the logistics of planning and packing of that I have no time to read the important sites to see.  Further, when I’m traveling to the location I am usually a bit stressed out and more focused on just getting from point A to point B.

Therefore, even if I have bought a guidebook I rarely read it.  I think the best value of using a guidebook is reading it on the return trip or when you are home.  This way you’re more relaxed and can relay of your trip and say, yes I was here.  However in my opinion the best part of traveling is the adventure and discovering something on your own rather than relieving somebody else’s experience.

I have found many guidebooks giving opinions and advice about are totally incorrect.  They might review a place to go and it turns out opposite of my opinion.  Further it is a well-known fact that many of the writers of the guidebooks just recycle information and have never been to the actual city themselves.  This is shocking but true.

A better strategy is simply to go to the city and if you want something written of a small journal and write your own impressions about what you see.  The reality is you’ll get more there any drive facts and figures and dates that might be found in a city information book.

Another thing that is all cities have some sort of tourist information and free literature.  I guess I am cheap.

If you really want to learn more after you are done getting lost in a foreign city, most metropolitan areas have free walking tours in English. Why pay for a guide-book or even a guide when you can do this for free.

What about a foreign language phrase book while traveling? I teach and learn languages and find phrase books useless. Why? The phrases in the books are fine at a for ordering something  a cafe (most waiters speak English of course), but if asked a question, which you always are, you will be lost. Better is to learn about 200 verbs in a foreign language and you will have some level of communication as nouns are often similar.

Exploring a town with a map

Don’t you think it is more interesting to engage your senses and use latent parts of your brain by trying to navigate without a map? I rarely use one, I do not have a cell phone and certainly not a GPS. Why do you need all those things to take away the pleasure of exploration on your intuition?

If you want to take a map, sure, take one.  I have a passion for maps, but that is to look at when I am at home, not on the road. You can print them out form the Internet and put it in my pack just in case.

What if you get lost? Who do you ask?

I ask college age girls. If I speak the language old ladies. The first group is the most likely to speak English and the second (and first group) is the most trustworthy and friendly. If you ask some middle age guy, he might not like you because you are a foreigner and give you wrong directions. This has been my personal experience. I guess I am partial towards the fairer gender.

Good shoes are the most important part of travel

Unless you can not walk, I would not take a cab. I think trams and buses are also only if you really need to. I can think of very few cities you can not walk from top to bottom. If you are only hitting the tourist areas, that is one thing, but the best parts of a city are those you discover on foot or by accident.

The one thing I spend money on is good walking shoes. I buy running shoes as they are the only things that really work for the amount of distance I cover. I do not mind spending over 150 dollars on a pair. If you want to know more about what to pack for a trip read my post on what to pack for a trip.

Oh by the way, if you walk a foreign city you can enjoy more of the food as you will burn more calories. Since I moved to Europe I do not work out and in great shape. My legs are toned and I feel great. If I was not an explorer I think I would be over weight like my friends back home. I was heading in that direction.

What is the point of exploring a city?

If you have made it this far I think you understand my point. I am trying to get you to get lost. I am trying to encourage you to step outside your boundaries when you travel.  I did and it eventually changed my life. I moved to Europe . Taking small risks in life lead to you taking bigger risks. You will learn you can do anything you put your mind to.

I found that travel is one way to start stepping out of your comfort zones and build your self-confidence. If you have any questions about living off the beaten path or at least travelling there, please ask.  I have a lot of experience with travel and live as an expat with dual citizenship and a few languages. I used to be an accountant. No matter what your life situation, you can change it and live your dream.  I have traveled to Asia, South America, Africa, Europe and North America and been lost many times. However, those were always the best days.

Packing for a long trip

Packing for a long trip is something that I have perfected. Learn from my experience, less is more.  The purpose of this post is to tell you how I pack for a trip when I am going overseas.

Why I know how to pack my suitcase?

I would say I am an experienced traveler. I am an American that has lived or traveled to about 3 dozen countries, have a couple of passports and speak a handful of languages.  I now live in Poland.  It is not that I am anyone special. I am not. I just love to travel and have a sense of adventure. And yes I am married and have a family and a job. How do I do it? I make it work some how and my family does not seem to mind. They go along as we are a team.  Am I rich? No, or at least not yet. You can travel the world on a shoe string if you really want to.

How to pack for a long trip
Pack light and you will enjoy your trip more.

What I pack when I pack for a long trip

When I started to travel my packing was based on how much I could put into two suitcases. I remember when I traveled to Russia I even jammed a protein bar with 34 grams of protein for every day I would be there, if I could not get enough to eat. Boy I was a rookie.

travel light
Life is an adventure pack light and your will enjoy your trip

This is what I pack for anything over two weeks. Lets say I could even move to the country I am traveling to if I had to.

  • Laptop
  • Electrical adapter as  modern laptops only need the prong head not a full converter.
  • Copy of all travel documents and credit cards etc. or you can just write the information down on one sheet.
  • About 500 dollars cash and about 50 dollars in the local currency. I also use a bank machine and have not had a problem on the five continents I have traveled to.
  • seven pairs of underwear, that t-short, boxers and socks.
  • one bathing suit – I do not bring gym clothes anymore as when you are travelling you do enough walking and can do push ups and sit ups in your under wear if you really want to in your room.
  • two pairs of jeans, one of which I wear. You can replace this with one pair of shorts if you are going somewhere warm.
  • Digital Camera
  • Vitamins. I think something like the Vitamin shoppe daily 3 is good. Before the trip I take about two weeks worth of probiotic.  I have only taken antibiotics in my once in my whole life and I really did not need it, I wanted to try it. I use probiotic and in emergencies I eat a couple of bulbs of garlic. I would take it, just never needed it, thank God.
  • Sunblock SPF 50+ for my face
  • One bar of natural soap from Whole Foods, something that will last and I can use for my hair and body and it strong but natural.  Since I cleaned up my diet I have not needed deordorant. Really.
  • Dental Floss and tooth-brush and natural tooth paste, nail clippers. If your a woman you need a couple of girly things.
  • One pair of high quality running or hiking shoes, I wear this and do not take a second pair. I would rather spend a few hundred dollars on the best pair and use it all the time then two pairs of discount shoes.
  • A couple of climbing shirts. These are shirts that breath in summer and keep you warm in winter.
  • A real map, not twenty print outs from Google maps or a GPS. Keep it simple a map.
  • Good hat for protection from the sun. And sun glasses if your glasses do not have UV protection.
  • I can not think of anything else
  • packing for a trip
    Pack light and you will have more fun

What I do not bring when traveling

  • Anything you have back home you can buy in your traveling country and at a fraction of the price in many cases so do not worry.
  • Cell phone. Do not need it, I have Skype on my laptop and can call the world. What about in emergencies? No such thing. It is easier to deal with people face to face than try to talk on a cell phone. If you are travelling to meet people, such as if you are single, then OK. But I do not like to be plugged in on vacation.
  • Dress clothes. Jeans and a nice shirt, if you are a man or woman does fine. You can substitute one pair of jeans for a pair of khakis
  • Creams and lotions and beauty stuff that fills my bathroom back home. I think it is good to take a break from your normal routine, even if its three months.
  • Razor, I just do not shave on vacation, its more fun.
  • Books – well maybe one good one, but I prefer to see and experience more than read.
  • Travel guides. A lot are pure junk written by people who sometimes have not been there or at least in years. I live in Krakow and I read reviews on restaurants that do not make sense. When you get there it is a lot more fun to use your wits and brains and figure out and explore by yourself. You can read up on it when you get back home to fill in the gaps.

How do you pack for a trip? What does your checklist consist of? Do you think this is packing light? With the above mentioned I can live away from the USA indefinitely. In fact when I came to Poland for my vacation, that is all I had and I have been here for years.

What is the fastest browser

Every year and with every release the question comes up what is the fastest browser on earth? Many websites like Safari or Opera claim this on their home page. However, what is the truth? Everyone has their own opinions and you will see threads of arguments and comparisons and reviews on the web. Also you will see different browsers for different operating systems have different speeds.

  • At this point on my speed tests of just opening pages (nothing objective) Firefox feels that fastest.
  • Firefox has made an effort to increase speed and if you look at browser speed tester (I know it is not the sun spider test etc)  www.speed-battle.com it seems to back this up.
  • There is a derivative of Firefox called Pale moon browser,  this is even faster.

The problem is all the professional testing of speed makes me feel empty. No definite answer on the quickest web browser, just a lot of details on the features and standards and tech jargon, talk about bench marks for browser quickness under different conditions. But what if you’re an average guy running some version of Windows and does not have loads of special needs and you have a reasonable Internet speed and a modern computer, not something from the dark ages like 2001, what is the best browser for speed?

The speed experience

Forget the Sunspider or any other fancy benchmark. Load a heavy page and clock the seconds. This will give you a better indication of load time than anything else. You can run three or for tests.

Clear your cache and try to load large clunky pages like Huffington Post. Pick your favorite three. Time them based on in the lower right hand corner when it stops loading (it says ‘waiting for or looking up or connecting to example.com).

  • Cold start tests are again not as important as most of the day most people are online. It is more about loading a page.
  • Cold restore is just not that important, nor is DOM/CSS.
  • Java Script and Memory usage is important and Firefox wins compared to Opera, Chrome Safari and IE.

Browser speed will depend on:

  1. Browser
  2. Browser version
  3. Configuration, options, preferences
  4. Operating system
  5. Plug-ins
  6. Add ons and tool bars
  7. Skins
  8. Other programs running in the background
  9. Firewalls and Internet connection really does not determine intrinsic speed but rather overall speed.
  10. Download accelerators that are part of the whole experience.

Type of pages you go to:

  1. Imagine rich
  2. Java rich
  3. Text rich
  4. Flash pages

It begs the question, what is speed. Is speed the pieces that load that you want to see or is it when the page stops loading even if they are not relevant parts. The latter I feel Firefox does particularly well.

Therefore, no test will tell you definitively which browser is the fastest as there are too many variables. However, generally Chrome and Firefox in the technical tests are neck and neck but the opening page tests Opera and Firefox seem a little faster. In the old days a few years ago there was a difference. However, at this juncture it is either/or when it comes to noticeable differences.

  •  Text browsers like Dillo of course will be faster but the user experiences is limited.

In the number of speed tests I run I have found a faster experience with Firefox.

I also like Firefox because it is truly free and not tied to a company (even though I respect Google). The plug-ins are richer in FF and the community is more robust.

I have tried most Browsers and tested them on the gamut of different OS. I have a two strong opinions.

  • Although you will not notice any huge difference between the latest and greatest versions of  web browsers as they have all come a long way, one is fastest.  In fact, these tests for me depend on the speed of my Internet that day and exogenous variables from test to test. I tested the browsers and got different speeds so many times that I decided the best way to test it was just see how they feel to me. Come on the differences now are in milliseconds.
  • I have one browser that performs the best for me, and that includes speed.

Here is my ranking of speed tested on my DSL Internet connection. It is a comparison of browsers for speed when you strip off all the plug-ins and add-ons and just run the browser for Google searches.

Fastest browser

  1. Mozilla Firefox – I have  tried to dethrone this but it still is the fastest. Maybe I am emotionally tied to this one but it is fast. Try it yourself.  If I load it with plug-ins and it is a cold start then, it takes more time but Firefox, is the fastest browser. It works best on Linux but on Windows it is still king. It is of course open source free. If you do not use this just try one search and you will see.
  2. Opera – the newest version is fast and free. It is really good. It might be even as fast as Firefox. I have to recheck this again. I would highly recommend a comparison between these two browsers.
  3. Chrome – light weight and uses less resources than even Firefox, somehow I am still on Firefox. I have Google everything already.
  4. Safari – I like it but I think it is best optimized for the Mac and lots of Apple whistles and bells on it.
  5. Internet Explorer – on Windows 7 this runs like the rest of them with the newest release but I am still using Firefox as it seemed faster

There are others like Lunascape (I like the look and speed of this but did not give it enough chance to see if the claims (JavaScript tests) were correct, but on my test Firefox still was faster) and Konquerer (more Linux) that are also good.  Netscape is gone, why do people still talk about it. Therefore, I would give the world’s fastest browser award to Mozilla Firefox, with Opera close behind. I purposely kept this article short as if you are looking for speed, I imagine that you are looking to browse without waiting, you do not want a 3 page article.

I invite you to try this yourself. Try it with your own computer. I use Firefox and in terms of speed there is no comparison. Let me know your thoughts

How to teach English

I have taught English for years. I never really learned to teach ESL other than by experience. If you think experience is the best teacher than you will appreciate this post. It is a quick no-nonsense guide on what you need to know to teach a language. I recommend, if you are a native speaker, you do not go to a ESL teaching school to learn how to teach. It is a waste of money and time.  It would be better if you developed your own teaching style.

You can not teach anyone a language

The biggest mistake teachers make is assuming the responsibility is on them. Wrong. The student has to teach themselves. This is why so many people complain they never learned anything in language classes. They have this expectation that someone will put a language in their brain while they sit back.

You must tell your students this on day one. You must tell them clearly that it is their responsibility alone to learn English or any other foreign language and that it will take patience and work. Also tell them that there is no such person as a language genius. Only people who have an interest in studying.

You are not writing an English language book

Do not feel you have to hand prepare every lesson and print everything you can from the Internet for your special student. Why? There are people who write books for a living, grammar, vocabulary and all. If you think you can do a better job, than you should write a book, but do not waste your energy making special lessons for your students. You are here as their private English tutor and not to create a tutorial with full lesson plans and write a book for them.  I know this sounds hard but I know what I am talking about. Students have huge expectation and will drain you.  First day tell them they have to buy this book.  Make them buy a book.  I like Murphy’s grammar for English language students.

Give lots of homework

If you want students to learn pile on the homework. If they do not do it during class give them a really disappointed look and do it during class. Waste their time because they are wasting yours by not doing what you asked. They all have lame excuses. Simply say do these 3 chapters. During the start of the class do not go over every exercises only the ones they look like they do not understand. After which you must make them explain the rule to you, not you explain the rule to them. Them teaching you is more effective.

If they complain they are not learning, give them more homework. Almost all language students are like to whine. They have to understanding teaching and learning come down to the student studying. Class is just cream and fun where they can practice what they taught themselves.

If they speak advanced or upper intermediate English then teach them like you learned English in high school.  Give them reading and writing assignments from classic literature and have the discuss it in class.

If they need help achieving comprehension make them listen to the radio in English one hour a day. I use to make free English MP3s for download on my website for each student on the words they are learning.  But I do not as the students start to get demanding and needy and expect you to do it. Therefore, I just refer them to a professional disk or the radio. And yes I think radio is better than movies.

Learn English by teaching

You are a native speaker. Do not expect to know every rule. If you do not know the rule ask them to research it. In fact I make my students teach me grammar. They learn by teaching.

English language conversation lessons

Most of your lessons should consist of fun English language conversation. They could pay a non-native speaker to teach them useless things like the perfect tense. You as a native speaker should ask them about 25 questions during your hour with them.  I give my students an hour not some lame 45 minute or 50 minute class. You should just fire them off and let them speak. You should not speak too much, they should.

Speak slowly and clearly and relaxed, not like a NYC fast slangy talker with idioms they will not understand. You want to build their linguistic confidence. You are really a language coach.

Again you are not teaching them, you are having conservation and fun with them and correcting every or almost every mistake they make. They are really looking for practice as they had enough grammar on the perfect tenses in school. Find everything you can from movies to radio programs and video games to get them engaged in learning English. Your role is to build their confidence and make them enjoy learning so they are motivated to do their homework and keep studying with pleasure.

Keys to teaching English

  • tell them they have to teach themselves the English language
  • make them get a book and do homework about 1 to 3 chapters a week
  • class should involve about 20% grammar and 80% fun but corrective conversation
  • make them listen to the radio one hour a night if they need help with pronunciation or comprehension

If you have any questions let me know.  I also wrote this guide if you have not seen it, how to learn English fast. I teach English now only for fun.

Why YouTube is good for learning

In this post I will argue that YouTube is a great resource for learning about how to use for certain things. This post is more conveying my personal experiences with using YouTube as an avenue for learning.

What subject makes a good tutorial on YouTube – languages no, programs yes

I am a language teacher and a tech consultant and teacher. This is my perspective based on my experience.  I think YouTube is great for learning computer software programs. However, YouTube is horrible for learning languages. In fact, it mildly annoys me when someone creates a basic video for say learning French or Spanish. In almost all cases the instructional Spanish video will be basic words and not systematic enough or put in the whole context of the languages. It will not teach you anything and is just for marketing something else to tempt you to get people to go to their website. Therefore, for languages YouTube is not the place to learn, but for techy things it is.

Computer software videos are produced by techies. In the tech world there is a big spirit of open source. Programs from WordPress to Open office are professional programs produced for free. This mentality extends to the tutorial world.  Even me I make tech tutorials for free but I sell language programs.

Cost of learning

I am a techy geek. One of the things about being into technology is you need to constantly keep up to date.  The problem is computer books are usually about 34 dollars, taking a programming class costs about 800 dollars.  In my opinion this is a lot of money. Further, I have a lot of books on programming I have not read. I like the idea of reading compared to the Internet, but it does not seem to happen, I do not read much except for fiction at the end of the evening. Therefore, to learn how to use a new software application or anything, whether it be how to create a iPhone app or something connected to CSS, I usually turn to YouTube to learn most efficiently.

YouTube more interesting than class

The Internet has an addictive quality to it. In theory attending a class or reading a book is the best way to learn, however, most techy geeks are somewhat hooked on the Internet, and to leave this brick and mortar enviroment to learn a new programming language.  I think YouTube is much more interesting than class. Further, you can take breaks whenever you like or skip ahead to parts of tutorials you might already know. You can further go back and play a part over and over.

Searching YouTube videos for learning

One of the biggest issues with YouTube is that it takes time to find a good usable tutorial. Many YouTube videos are very lame, even the ones that are professionally produced often are not well done as they have too long introductions or not enough meat. He is my screening criteria for finding a YouTube programming lesson.

  • Image of the video is my first determinate criteria. In the quality and lighting is anything less than high quality, then I will not consider it.
  • Length of the video. If it is long it is usually good. It sounds to simple but this is my experience. Further you can skip over the parts you do not like. It irritates me when a video is in 14 small parts. I prefer one long quality production.
  • Who does the videos.  People who are not selling anything produce the best videos. They might be selling something very subtle like a service on their website, but not overtly. Also something not produced by a professor, but a common sense useful practical study on your subject by users.

How fast can you learn using videos

I am reviewing two Android developement videos, each about 45 minutes in length. This is enough to get be started on Andriod development. I think with about 90 minutes of any videos on YouTube you have a good introduction to your target subject. In my opinion you could sit in the bath and watch videos in this time and it is one of the most painless methods of learning something fast.