Learn SQL with these Online Emulators

SQLCourse has been around for sometime.   With Microsoft’s DreamSpark, students can download SQL Server to build databases and to learn how to retrieve data by performing queries  (basically asking the database for specific data).   SQLCourse gives you step by step instructions on how to run these queries.

SQLCourse

Network Access Protection

Windows 2008 Server has Network Access Protection which is also known as NAP or NPS. This tool serves an administrative purpose to help organizations compare the security level in a computer on the network to the Server 2008′s policies. This comparison helps to determine if the computer is safe enough to join and use the Server. This is another way to help find if the computer’s ‘health’ is adequate as far as policy and the NAP can also analyze both the anti-virus program and if the firewall is installed. In an upcoming series, Windows 2008 Server will be reviewed.

Information on NAP from TechNet

Microsoft’s Deployment Guide

nps

Why the Value of Certifications Can Drop

In a technology driven world, IT Professionals are defined by certifications, skill and worker ethics.  Certifications are designed to give ranking to IT Professionals.  With a collection of simulated exams that are too close to the real exam, the real exams lose value and respect in the IT community.  I’ve watched people test and come back to a testing center continuously and hold up their final exam to say they are an ‘Engineer’ in a highly respected area of expertise, yet as they hung around for a lecture, they didn’t know the basic fundamentals of Networking/CIDR, Domain policies, basic security information, virtualization or other topics.

Certifications are earned through hard work, studying and ‘hands-on’.   The motivation behind getting as many as you can in the past involved promotions, salary increases and time in the field.    While many young IT Professionals ‘think’ they know it all, someone like myself will tell you that it is impossible to know it all.   Information Technology is changing daily.  Daily.   Hmmmm.  Hourly.

Companies promising Cisco or Microsoft in a week or two are looking for candidates that pay extraordinary amounts of money and who can memorize an exam.   These boot camps should be limited to IT personnel who have worked in the field for a certain amount of time.    Exams should also be limited for students who have ‘x’ amount of time in a classroom and lab.

Where we teach topics that have certifications, students spend 432 hours in the classroom and labs at a minimum before the first exam.   More advanced exams that are layered (curriculum that overlays) on these certifications usually result in the student spending two to three times this amount of time in the classroom and labs before earning a second or third exam.

I’m not saying our methodology of teaching is better than others, I’m saying that their is a big difference in the quality of a candidate from our classroom and other places that have the same practice compared to facilities that have students memorize exams.

Our students even in this economy have been acquiring jobs with large corporations and the government.    I do believe the value of their certification is greater than someone who has memorized an exam.  Not only is it an understanding of the materials, it is the ‘hands-on’ that makes a candidate stand out.

I can’t imagine going to work and not knowing the basics – yet holding a handful of certifications.

IT Managers have their work cut out for them when hiring from a pool of ‘certified’ individuals.  Certifications have value if you earn them.

Windows 7 VPN Setup

A Virtual Private Network is used to encrypt data from one computer to another.  If you need to setup a VPN in Microsoft Windows 7, create a user and shared folder on the host computer.  Once this is done, follow these steps-

On the Hosting Computer

1. Go to Control Panel and open Network and Sharing Center.

2. Click on Change adapter settings

3. Press Alt+F and select New Incoming connection…

4. Put a check mark by the user who will have access to this computer or configure a new account by clicking on Add someone… Click Next.

5. Put a check mark on Through the Internet. Click Next.

6. Select the protocols for this connection. Click Allow access.

USE IPV4

7. Make note of the Computer name as this will be used by the client to connect to this computer. Click Close.

8. An Incoming Connections icon will be in Network Connections. Your computer is now ready to accept incoming VPN connections.

On the Computer Dialing In

Open up network and sharing center from the Control Panel, and choose Set up a new connection or network.

Use My Internet Connection (VPN)

Type in the IP Address of the Hosting Computer – Click Next (leave the user information blank to be safe)

You will now have a small icon on your network icon (by the time) that will show the connection.  Clicking on this icon allows you to enter your username and password to connect.

What to do after Windows 7 SP 1 Installation

What should you do after you install Windows 7 SP 1 and it has ran well for about a week or so?

Open a command prompt as an administrator. (Go to search, type CMD, hold Ctrl-Shift and hit enter)

type the following -

DISM /online /cleanup-Image /spsuperseded

This will remove files needed to uninstall (backed up files) SP 1.

You can also open the disk cleanup tool and check the Service Pack Backup Files and run disk cleanup.

Here’s a view of Rhett’s (student) hard drive before and after.

                

Microsoft Surface Pro-ready for manufacturing, business and industry

The Microsoft Surface Pro has proven to be versatile in the workplace.  Mr. Arnold our Industrial Maintenance instructor uses the Microsoft Surface Pro to connect to nearly a hundred PLCs, motors, robots and other industrial components.

So why is this tablet perfect for business and industries?

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External DVD Attached through USB port

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USB EasyLINK to transfer files from one computer to another

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The Windows below shows the USB EasyLINK software (loaded on the USB device)

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Many industrial components require a floppy disk drive – (Above and Below)

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What if you need to expand your USB with a USB hub or two?

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IT personnel can attach a Wireless Spectrum Analyzer or multiple wireless cards for site surveys or other wireless needs.

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Four Wi-Fi Nic cards shown above

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Multitasking (above)

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Joining a domain (above)

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Connect an external drive, card reader or multiple USB drives at the same time.

Use all of your Windows based software…now why was the Surface a bad idea?  It’s not…

SVCHost Viewer – Find out what program is using it!

Anyone who has hit Ctrl-Alt-Del understands they may have several svchost.exe ‘s running.  What are they?  They relate to networking and some programs use svchost in groups.  This tiny download (14 kb) shows exactly what this file is doing.

Link to Download.

svchostviewer

Best IT Professional sites on the web

It’s hard to find great quality information that can be used by IT professionals.  One of the best sites on the web is GEGeek.  This site offers information that is updated often and covers a wide range of IT resources and troubleshooting.  This versatile site offers answers to IT questions covering a plethora of topics from legacy to modern day resources.

No where on the net can you find this amount of information.

GEGeek

 

Rick over at What’s On My PC has another site that is one of the most resourceful sites on the web.
Bookmarks 4 Techs links to over 700+ sites and blogs on the web.  The site offers links, RSS Feeds, news and hundreds of other links.

Bookmarks4techs

Free Microsoft ebooks

Want to learn a new skill?  Collect a library of technical books?  Microsoft offers free ebooks and updates their give away often.   I forgot to post this fall but Rick over at What’s On My PC reminded me when I reviewed his blog and saw Microsoft’s latest - “Introducing Windows 8.1 for IT Professionals”.

Download this free ebook here and see their lineup over here.

Ebook mini

While you’re surfing the web, go visit Rick at What’s On My PC and Visit his other blog that is one of the best resources of hundreds of blogs and how-to sites over at BookMark4Techs.

What you may not know about Microsoft

Here’s a few links to things you may not know about Microsoft Corporation -

Voted number 1 – most inspiring companies – source -Forbes   Why?

Free Products for Teachers
Teacher Resources

Free software classes – Microsoft Virtual Academy

Free Classroom Tools

Free Software for Classrooms

Free Ebooks

Free software (Windows, Server and more) for students) – Dreamspark (TCAT Students login here)

Free Office 365 for Education

Free Products and Services

Free Second Shot Exam Vouchers