We’re putting the finishing touches on our training materials for the new CompTIA Network+ exam. Mike’s new All-in-One 6th edition book is in the warehouse. You can access updated TotalSims, Total Tester practice exams, and Mike’s new video series right now. Click the Network+ tab at the top of the page.
Also check out Mike’s Introduction to the NEW Network+ N10-006 video:
Maximum PC just posted an article about Razor’s new positional-audio system. Razor claims that you can transform stereo headphones into 7.1 positional audio. And they’re so convinced of the awesomeness of the new system that they’re making it available for free through the end of 2013. Here’s the link to the full article:
Adding color to printing enables you to do a lot more with a document than simply printing in black. You can add emphasis to specific text, for example, or add small graphics. When it comes to printing a chart, on the other hand, color pretty much makes the chart come alive.
For years, the only cost-effective color-printer choice for the SOHO environment has been ink jet printers. Those of you who have taken our classes know my opinion about the ink jet rip-off market, with replacement cartridges costing upwards of $1000 per gallon. (Seriously. Do the math.) But the primary alternative, color laser printers, have been so expensive that most families and small businesses simply couldn’t afford the initial cost, even if the lifetime cost was substantially less than for an ink jet printer.
Dell just broke that paradigm with the announcement of the Dell C1790nw at a whopping $134.99. Blink. Close your mouth. It’s on sale today, so if you’re in the market for a printer, go here:
Or, if that long link is broken in your browser, try here:
My immediate thought was that, like ink jet printer manufacturers, Dell would fleece consumers with the cost of toner cartridges, but that appears not to be the case. Dell offers two levels of cartridges for the C1790: the 700-page and the 1400-page. (There’s also a 2000-page version, but only for black.) Prices:
- Black (700) – $50
- Magenta (700) – $56
- Cyan (700) – $56
- Yellow (700) – $56
- Black (2000) – $70
- Magenta (1400) – $70
- Cyan (1400) – $70
- Yellow (1400) – $70
Where: Acme Soft Works HQ, Anytown, USA
Who: Baffled Employee, Bill; Network Tech, Jill.
What: Content filters and user policies
Bill: Jill, something’s wrong with the network. I can’t get to YouTube.
Bill: Jill, I’ve been watching several YouTube channels for two years at lunchtime and now I can’t. Something’s wrong with the network. You have to fix it.
Jill: It’s in the User Policies, Bill. The Internet is working just fine.
Bill: User Policies? What’s that? Like a User Manual?
Jill: It’s the guide that tells what users can and cannot access at work. Management had a meeting and decided that watching K-pop videos on YouTube isn’t the best use of your time.
Bill: Wait, I’m a user. I haven’t seen any User Policies book.
Jill: That’s because it’s only for techs. It tells us which sites to block with the content filters.
Bill: What? When did . . .
Bill: No! No! Give me back my Internet! I have to watch the latest Psy video or I’ll scream!
Jill: Man up, Bill. Geez.
It seems that every time I think it’s safe to ditch content from my CompTIA A+ classes, CompTIA resurrects a zinger. One of my students recently (on the 801 exam) got a question on parallel ports, or more specifically, on LPT1. Here’s the scoop on these long-dead ports.
Early PCs offered only one built-in port, a round DIN connector for a keyboard. All other expansion devices (mouse, printer, joystick, speakers, etc.) plugged into ports of various types installed via expansion cards. The two most common ports were serial ports and parallel ports.
We used serial ports for mice and modems, primarily, and parallel ports for just about everything else. Both types of ports required assignment of specific system resources that were standardized throughout the IBM PC universe and thus got names associated with them.
It was assumed that each PC would have up to two serial and two parallel ports that would get assigned resources as COM1 and COM2, and LPT1 and LPT2, respectively. Most technicians and users called the serial ports and parallel ports by their resource names, so “serial port 1” was “COM1,” for example.
Both serial ports and parallel ports have gone away from modern PCs, but a few old devices that need them refuse to die. My office still has an HP LaserJet 4, for example, that was made before printer companies realized the money was in toner and ink. It just keeps working. And it connects to a parallel port.
If you find yourself with a legacy device that needs a parallel port, you can find a few expansion cards at my favorite store, Newegg.com. Chances are you’ll assign LPT1 resources for the port. (Just in case you get asked about such things on a CompTIA exam in your near future.)
• Parallel port = 25 pin female D-sub
• LPT1 = I/O address 378 and IRQ 7
One of my students ran into a question on the CompTIA A+ Certification 801 exam the other day that had me scrambling for a Web search. The question asked about the type of memory used on a SIMM. What? SIMM? I haven’t talked about SIMMs in class or in print for a decade.
Historical scoop: We used single inline memory modules (SIMMs) back in the days when the fastest processor was an Intel 486 running at a whopping 66 MHz. Seriously. Today (read: since Intel came out with the Pentium CPU) every computer uses some kind of dual inline memory module (DIMM). A SIMM has identical electrical contacts on both sides of the stick; a DIMM has contacts that are unique on each side.
When my student mentioned the SIMM question, my response was historical: fast page mode (FPM) or extended data out (EDO). Those were the two memory technologies used on SIMMs. He just shook his head.
The SIMM question gave as possible answers only modern RAM types, like DDR or RDRAM.
An extensive Google session later revealed an obscure (to me) printer-only memory module on a SIMM . . . and it uses SDRAM. Here’s a link, in case you’re curious:
Don’t miss this question when you take the CompTIA A+ exams!
So, Microsoft releases Windows 8 in just a few short weeks. What’s been the response from your IT department to potentially rolling out this new OS? For that matter, what do you think about it?
If your people are anything like the Total Seminars folks, the response to Windows 8 has been decidedly mixed, with almost no feelings somewhere in the middle. People love Windows 8 or they hate it. The interface formerly known as Metro is a radical departure from the Windows desktop we’ve used since Windows 3.x, so it’s a big change.
Mike and the crew at Total Seminars plan a series of video episodes to help migrating users navigate the new OS. If you have suggestions for topics your users need, don’t be shy. Let us know!