FREE – Security engineering training by SAFECode

FREE – How can you beat it?  Once again, another excellent site has training that is Free.   While we have found Rackspace’s Cloud University,  Free Microsoft Training and virtualization this site adds an additional form of training that can help you supplement your training programs.

“Security engineering training by SAFECode is an online community resource offering free software security training courses delivered via on-demand webcasts.

Covering issues from preventing SQL injection to avoiding cross site request forgery, the courses are designed to be used as building blocks for those looking to create an in-house training program for their product development teams, as well as individuals interested in enhancing their skills. All courses are free and published under a Creative Commons license and open, non-commercial usage of the content is encouraged.

SAFECode will be adding new courses to the site on an ongoing basis. Our goal is to create a diverse catalog of security engineering training courses for all expertise levels as a community resource.”


“While registration is not required to view the courses, registered users of the site will benefit from the ability to:
–Download courses for offline viewing
–Post comments to provide feedback on the courses and ideas for updates.
Your feedback will be used to help keep the material up-to-date and ensure it best meet the needs of the community it aims to serve.
–Receive email updates when new courses and resources are available”


Learn cloud computing with Rackspace’s CloudU

Ever wonder what cloud computing is?  Rackspace has an excellent program that you can take for free.   Cloud University offers ten detailed modules along with a exams for each module.    A final exam reviews each of the modules and with a score of 80% you can earn a certificate in cloud computing from Rackspace’s CloudU.   This detailed program is the work of Ben Kepes.   Ben is the curator of CloudU.    Through his arduous work, you can download a detailed curriculum, listen to webinars and take exams as many times as you need to in order to understand cloud computing.    In today’s  world of virtualization and cloud computing, Rackspace leads the pack by educating anyone who wants to learn about these exciting technologies.

After contacting Rackspace so that my students could benefit from the cloud university curriculum as a supplement.   I was met with open arms and personally talked with Greg Alfaro, Michael Ferranti and Ben Kepes either by phone or email.     Ben sent us this video as a statement.    (Thank you Ben!)

Confused about the cloud? Have no fear, CloudU is here. Whether you are simply searching for more information about cloud computing, or are looking to boost your resume with a formal certificate, Rackspace Cloud University, known as CloudU, is for you. CloudU is a vendor-neutral cloud computing curriculum designed by industry analyst Ben Kepes. It’s also completely free.

The extensive CloudU library and certificate program contain all that you need to learn how to take advantage of the biggest technology innovation since the Internet.     Boost Your Resume. Gain New Skills. Enroll in CloudU Today.

“CloudU is an excellent resource for anyone wanting to learn about Cloud Computing. As an instructor of information technology, the certificate provides a great learning tool for the planning, deployment and logistics behind cloud computing.”    ~ Ben Kepes

Sometimes you travel the world to get to where you are going…

Jay, one of our students,  was using a visual trace route on his iPad to see how many hops it took to go from Shelbyville, Tn.  to a business in Ohio.

Amazingly he went from – 

Shelbyville, TN
Murfreesboro, TN
Nashville, TN        x3
Los Angeles, Ca    x2
New Orleans, LA
Atlanta, GA
ST. Louis, MO
Atlanta, GA
Los Angeles, CA
Broomfield, IL
Newark, NJ
Munchen, Germany – That’s right Germany…
Detroit, MI
Arrived in Ohio at the Business

21 Hops – How long does it take to go this distance?  About a second.

The internet finds the fastest route.  This doesn’t always mean the shortest.   Which as you can see doesn’t mean the shortest.



What makes TCAT Shelbyville’s IT program different?



Exams include Windows 70-680/70-687, Windows Server 2012 70-411/70-640.  The MTA (Microsoft Technical Associate is associated with other certifications in the same curriculum.

The Information Technology program at TCAT Shelbyville offers one of the best programs in the nation for IT professionals.  The amount of resources and curriculum that cover all major operating systems (Linux, Apple and Windows) is delivered by certified and industry leading experts.  With this curriculum, and the round robin method of teaching,  junior students work with senior students and instructors.  A major advantage students have are resources that are available 24/7/365.

Students spend 30 hours each week in lecture, labs and real world hands on for approximately 15 months.  Winning national awards and recognition, the program offers one of the best learning environments in the industry and continues  with a placement rate of over 90% and a retention rate of 96%.


Students can earn up to 10 certifications along with multiple diplomas and certificates.

For more information -
Visit the CIT program at

Note:  The Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Shelbyville is an accredited institution.  

A Geography game using Google Street View – Geogessr

Think you really know Geography?  Geoguessr is an online game that uses Google’s Street View.   With a small map in the corner of Google’s Street View, you pin where you think the Street View scene is.   You then submit your guess and the distance from the real location is measured.     It’s an excellent way to travel and view the world.

G1 G2 First Guess

Give it a shot.  I just couldn’t bring myself to show one of the answers.  Visit GeoGuessr.


  • License plates
  • Signs?
  • Traffic on Left or Right lane?
  • Look at vehicles
  • Flags?
  • Mountain ranges?
  • Trees?  Bushes
  • Coastal?  Think of waterways, look at ships
  • Winds? Look at the trees.
  • Buildings (look at roofs)
  • How are people dressed?

Highest score so far 9800 points….

Cannot find data record in database table course_modules.

The error that you may see if you are currently using Moodle may be seen after cron runs or when heavy access occurs.  The error,

!!! Can not find data record in database table course_modules. !!!

The error is related to heavy transactions and what we believe is caching corrupting the database.

To fix the error, you can run this query:

select modinfo from mdl_course where id = PutYourCourseIDHere;

Below, we use MySQL Workbench to run the query on a course id of 2

mysql workbench




There is also a Moodle plugin that rebuilds all of the site’s cache.

Information Technology isn’t baking a pie, it’s running a whole bakery.

One of my students who is an IT Manager for a government entity said young IT personnel (including herself when she was new in the industry) often think that information technology is as simple as baking a pie, when in reality they find they are running a whole bakery.

She found out she wasn’t just fixing computers, she was fixing networks, managing domains, working with dozens of proprietary software packages, managing access points, working with security, web pages, portable devices (laptops, netbooks, ipads) and a ton of other tasks.

Information Technology is a skill that takes years to learn.

Teachable moments, from IT consumerization to the cloud

2012 Interview with Steve Mallard – TechTarget’s SearchCIO-Midmarket

The biggest thing is IT consumerization. It’s consuming the time and the challenge of learning in all areas of IT, because the IT professionals have to adapt. Those students who bring their devices expect full access to resources and technology throughout our institution. That’s happening in business. That technology keeps you moving, and it keeps you learning. Security and BYOD go hand in hand. Security on the Internet has become a challenge. Primarily, IT consumerization and security are the most challenging.

Can you give us an example of how a technology project created value for the center or for its students?
About three to four years ago, we were looking at industry as a whole, because of the economy and what was taking place. Of course, you know we had 10% unemployment rates. The IT sector went flat, or jobs actually fell and hiring wasn’t really taking off. You struggled to get those jobs for your students. We had to make our students élite. We put an open source [LMS] together that now offers over 3,000 different things on the inside, from videos and PowerPoints. When we put this LMS in place, we wanted to make sure the students had 24/7, 365-day access. It had to be accessible year-round.  
Read more

- ShareThis

Surface Pro vs. iPad vs. Android

So we played with the Surface Pro and the iPad and measured each for productivity.   What did we find?

After using an iPad for a year and having the Surface Pro for just under a week, the Pro far out shines the iPad tablet and our Android we’ve had for two years; no comparison.  Why?  Here’s what we found.

With the Surface Pro 128 Gb,  you have a stylus, USB and every application that a laptop has.   The critics say the 128 Gb is wrong because you get less than you pay for.   Part of this is used by the OS.     Have you ever purchased a laptop?  The Pro can be used with every application you ever had and with the VGA adapter, you can hook it to a full size monitor ($39.99).   The USB can be hooked to a cheap USB hub ($1.99) and guess what?  External hard drives can be used for storage (and don’t forget you have an SD slot), flash drives, external DVDs, a full size keyboard and 127 other USB accessories including printers.   The same as Windows 7.   The speed is much faster and the reliability and new features are an excellent addition to this OS compared to Windows 7.  Why aren’t critics looking at that?  Another great mystery of American consumerization.  So there you go.  You can have a full desktop by laying your tablet on your desk and plugging in two things.   When you are ready to go, just disconnect and you have a tablet or with the keyboard, a laptop.   So the $900+ price tag is a bargain.

Also navigation is NOT hard.   All you have to do is remember corners…touch any corner and you have menus.  Is that really hard?  Nope.  Are we overlooking a great OS?  I truly think so.  Thanks Kenny for bring the Pro to school.  Mine’s on order.

Surface Pro

The Surface Pro and what Microsoft is not telling you – it can replace your laptop and desktop.

For the IT Professionals – join it to a domain and use the policies you have to further control this device on your network.

Middle Tennessee Cyber Summit

Middle Tennessee Cyber Summit: Building Partnerships and Understanding the Threat

Date: May 7 and 8

Location: MTSU New Student Union Building

Registration: March 1, 2013

Middle Tennessee Cyber Summit: Building Partnerships and Understanding the Threat will be held on the MTSU campus May 7 and 8. This event will address criminal, intelligence, disruptive, and information cyber threats and be of particular interest to city/state/federal governments, healthcare, education, transportation, financial, utilities, and business industries.

Presentations from Department of Homeland Security, TN Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and private sector cyber security.   Registration information can be found at beginning March 1, 2013.

MTSU Cyber Summit

Microsoft Virtual Academy – Free Microsoft Courses

Frequently Asked Questions about Microsoft’s Virtual Academy

  • What is Microsoft Virtual Academy?
    It is an online portal for IT professionals that offers a vast amount of information about Microsoft products and technology.  Designed with whitepapers, videos and reference materials, MVA gives the modern IT professional materials on topics that are found in IT today.  The MVA program gives rewards for completing programs.  There is also a points and rating system.   You can track your point progress and you will see ratings as follows – Bronze (0-99), Silver (100-499), Gold (500-2,999), and Platinum (3,000+).
  • Do the course count towards certifications?
    No.   But taking the courses familiarizes and helps the IT Professional understand current and evolving technologies.
  • Do you receive a transcript that you can use professionally?
    Yes.   You can download your transcript at anytime.   Course completion does not take place until the assessments are complete.
  • What is the value of Microsoft’s Virtual Academy?
    Not only do you learn some of Microsoft’s technology for free, you can use these type of courses for career advancement.
  • Are the assessments easy?
    No.  Microsoft offers challenging questions and a curriculum designed to be informative and educational.   You can retake the assessments as many times as you want.   Remember, with online courses, taking assessments just until you pass does not add value to your education.   Study the material  take notes and take the assessments when you are ready.
  • Are the courses really free?

Microsoft Virtual Academy

Unable to fetch available updates data – unexpected cURL error

When working with PHP and Moodle’s LMS, sometimes you have to dig for answers.  The error “Unable to fetch available updates data – unexpected cURL error” actually has a fix that is easy to implement.   Finding the solution was a challenge.

Moodle 2.4 updates using SSL and now you should place a certificate in the Moodledata folder.  Dawn was on this two weeks ago but the documentation was missing something.  (She can find anything on the web!)  Following up on what she had found, I found the solution here:

Here’s the answer:

“It needs the ca-bundle.crt available at – Just copy the contents into a text file and rename it to moodleorgca.crt and place this in the root of the moodledata directory.”   This is a comment found here MDL-36903 on

cURL CA Certs (referenced in the link above)