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Ramblings about the world of technology and certification.

Scott Jernigan’s on YouTube Fire!

0 April 22, 2015 in CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ by

Hey readers,

If you haven’t checked out Scott’s A+ and Network+ videos, do yourselves a favor and check them out at our YouTube channel. Here are three of my favorites:



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IT Workers in Hot Demand

0 January 26, 2015 in IT News by

“The IT industry as a whole has experienced remarkable growth within the last decade, actually growing faster than the number of qualified professionals available to fill positions. This current shortage of IT talent combined with our strengthening economy presents talented IT professionals with exceptional opportunities to not only find positions, but positions that pay well,” said Anthony Curlo, CEO of DaVinciTek, an IT recruiting and Staff Augmentation firm. The same statement cited research conducted by Robert Half, which said salaries for newly hired IT professionals are expected to increase 5.7 percent this year.

What’s interesting is that IT workers are in demand across all industries, not just technology companies. Corporate budget allocations for IT are expected to rise 3.2 percent and are a reflection of IT’s increasingly integral role in maintaining competitive operations for any business in any industry, according to statistics cited by DaVinciTek.

DaVinciTek points out four important trends for IT job seekers:

  1. Job seekers need to be open to various opportunities and position titles as they search for jobs, and should be willing to explore all offers, rather than take the first one that comes their way.
  2. Jobs in the mobile IT sector are particularly in high-demand. IT professionals with experience developing mobile applications can expect to find jobs rather easily in this market.
  3. Companies seeking IT professionals should be ready to make competitive offers; strong candidates will likely have multiple options, so the terms of an offer should not appear to undervalue the candidate’s talent.
  4. For those working towards an IT degree, consider specializing in specific IT positions projected to still be in high demand in 3-5 years, such as business analysts and cloud computing software engineers. For those still considering a degree in IT, know that the industry is predicated to continue to grow until at least 2020.

All this bodes well for solution providers and everyone involved in the IT industry. However, there is always a catch. With increasing opportunities, companies will have to make it more appealing to keep their current IT workers if they don’t want them to jump ship.

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Google to Boost Encrypted Websites in Rankings

0 August 7, 2014 in Uncategorized by

Move Aims to Prod Developers to Adopt Technology That Protects Against Hackers

Google Inc. wants to reward websites that are more secure.

The world’s most popular search engine said it is now giving bonus points in its ranking algorithm to Web pages that are encrypted. Google hopes the move will prod website developers to adopt technology that protects against hackers breaking into their websites and stealing users’ information.

“We hope to see more websites using HTTPS in the future,” Google said in a blog post, referring to the protocol for securing communications over digital networks.

The move is the latest, and among the most significant, steps Google has taken to make the Web more secure, efforts it has accelerated in the wake of disclosures about Internet snooping by the National Security Agency.

“This is a huge deal,” said Christopher Soghoian, a principal technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union. “This is the ultimate carrot for websites” to use encryption.

Encrypting data transmitted over the Internet adds a barrier between Web users and anyone who wants to snoop on or steal their data. That can help protect users even when they connect through unsecured Wi-Fi networks in airports and coffee shops, for example.

“If you were sending a letter with your credit-card information and Social Security number, would you send it in a secure envelope or a clear envelope?” asks Kevin Mahaffey, chief technology officer and co-founder of mobile-security company Lookout Inc. With encryption, users are, in effect, putting their data in a more secure envelope to better protect it in transit.

The desire among websites to rank highly in Google search results means Google can use its search algorithm to encourage and discourage practices among Web developers. Sites that load slowly are penalized in search rankings, for instance, while those with higher quality content get a boost. In all, Google uses more than 200 “signals” in its search rankings, most of which it doesn’t discuss publicly.

“This is a lot like consumer reports saying that the overall rating of a car is higher because it has airbags,” says Lookout’s Mr. Mahaffey.

Google said it had begun favoring encrypted sites over the past few months. Up to now, it has been a “lightweight” signal, affecting less than 1% of global searches. But it plans to boost the weighting over time.

The Wall Street Journal reported in April that inside Google, executives were discussing taking encryption into account in Web rankings.

Historically, website operators have shied away from encryption because of concerns about cost and slowing response times. Messrs. Mahaffey and Soghoian said the cost of encryption has declined, while its use by Google and Facebook Inc. suggest it doesn’t have to slow a website.

To protect its own users, Google encrypts user searches as well as email sent via its Gmail service. It has also raced to encrypt data flowing among its data centers world-wide, an effort that it accelerated following reports that the NSA had spied on that traffic. In June, Google also published a new report disclosing data about email providers that don’t encrypt emails.


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Keeping the Internet Free—for Now

0 April 14, 2014 in Uncategorized by

The Commerce Department has second thoughts about surrendering America’s online oversight.
From the Wall Street Journal

By
L. Gordon Crovitz

April 13, 2014 6:51 p.m. ET

Less than a month after announcing its plan to abandon U.S. protection of the open Internet in 2015, the White House has stepped back from the abyss. Following objections by Bill Clinton, a warning letter from 35 Republican senators, and critical congressional hearings, the administration now says the change won’t happen for years, if ever.

“We can extend the contract for up to four years,” Assistant Commerce Secretary Lawrence Strickling told Congress last week, referring to the agreement under which the U.S. retains ultimate control over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, known as Icann. If the administration makes good on that reassurance, it would punt the decision to 2019 and the next president.

Mr. Strickling originally linked the end of U.S. control to the September 2015 expiration date of the current Icann agreement. He backtracked at a Hudson Institute conference last week: “We did not intend that to be a deadline after which ‘bad things’ would happen. There has been some misapprehension that we were trying to impose a deadline on this process. We weren’t.” Fadi Chehade, Icann’s CEO, agreed. “There is no deadline,” he said. “The U.S. has many years on the contract.”

In an interview, Mr. Chehade assured me that he understands why supporters of the open Internet want the U.S. to retain its oversight role, which keeps countries like Russia and China from meddling. “I’m worried, too,” he said. “There’s no question that governments like power and certain governments will always try to take control of the Internet, so we will have to be careful.”

The Commerce Department tasked Icann to come up with a plan to invite authoritarian governments to participate while still keeping the Internet open. This is likely impossible—and wholly unnecessary. Nongovernmental “multi-stakeholders,” such as engineers, networking companies and technology associations, now run the Internet smoothly. They are free to do so because the U.S. retains ultimate control over Internet domains, blocking authoritarian regimes from censoring or otherwise limiting the Internet outside their own countries.

The Obama administration proposal would have treated other governments as equal stakeholders, turning the concept of private-sector self-governance on its head. Robert McDowell, a former commissioner at the Federal Communication Commission, pointed out at the Hudson Institute event that “‘multi-stakeholder’ historically has meant no government,” not many governments.

Mr. Strickling tried to deflect criticism in his testimony: “No one has yet to explain to me the mechanism by which any of these individual governments could somehow seize control of the Internet as a whole.” The senior State Department official involved in Internet governance, Daniel Sepulveda, similarly claimed at the Hudson Institute: “Governments can no more take over Icann than Google GOOGL +1.38% can take over Icann.”

These are false assurances. Steve DelBianco of the NetChoice trade association gave this example in congressional testimony: Under Icann rules, a majority of governments can simply vote to end the current consensus approach and switch to majority voting. China and Iran are already lobbying for this change. Russia, China and other governments switched to majority voting to outfox the U.S. at a conference of the International Telecommunications Union, a United Nations agency, in 2012. Mr. Sepulveda called that an “anomaly,” but the result was an 89-55 vote for a treaty giving U.N. legitimacy to governments cutting off the open Internet in their countries. This division of the Internet into open and closed networks goes into effect next year.

The Obama administration somehow thinks sacrificing U.S. control of Icann will satisfy regimes eager further to undermine the open Internet. Mr. Strickling argues: “Taking this action is the best measure to prevent authoritarian regimes from expanding their restrictive policies beyond their borders.” The opposite is true. Granting these countries access to Icann and the root zone filenames and addresses on the Internet would give them the potential to close off the global Internet, including for Americans, by deciding rules for how all websites anywhere must operate.

The letter sent by Republican senators identified a dozen criticisms of the plan. They asked why it’s in the U.S. interest to cede control and how control could be regained once lost.

The senators also asked to see the legal opinion claiming the executive branch has the power to transfer control of the Internet without congressional approval. A bill called the Internet Stewardship Act was introduced in the House to mandate congressional approval before any change is made. Unanimous congressional resolutions starting in 2005 have called on the U.S. to retain control over Icann.

If Mr. Obama still thinks giving up U.S. protection of the open Internet and its multi-stakeholder community is such a great idea, he should ask Congress to vote on it. He won’t, because there is zero chance that an Abandon the Internet Act would ever pass.

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How Do I Know if I Need an A+ Certification?

0 February 24, 2014 in CompTIA A+ by

[Posted 24 February 2014 by Kathy Yale]

An A + certification can open many doors for those pursuing careers in the field of IT. Considered vendor-neutral, an A + certification provides people with the qualifications needed to repair PCs, work as a computer technician, troubleshoot, and perform a variety of other duties.

An A + certification can qualify a person for a number of jobs. This type of certification allows individuals to work for someone else or begin their own business and work on a consulting or independent basis. Whichever route a person chooses to pursue, an A + certification allows people to work as field technicians, as computer repairmen, as part of a company’s help desk, as a network or system administrator, in information security, in desktop troubleshooting, or in the area of software and operating systems. This type of training also transcends a variety of industries; any industry that uses computers (from healthcare to police work, from education to advertising) may be in need of someone with an A + certification.

The Benefits of an A + Certification

The A + certification offers its holders several career and financial benefits. Those with an A + certification on their resume tend to be more effective at problem solving, are more confident, and are viewed as more capable of handling large projects or difficult tasks. This is in part because pursuing a certification demonstrates dedication and a higher level of aptitude.

One of the largest benefits associated with the A + certification, and arguably the most important, is the increase in salary. Professional certification often results in a 10 to 20 percent increase in a person’s salary. This typically amounts to a person earning between 14,000 dollars and 15,000 dollars more a year. For those who don’ have a set salary and instead opt to own their own business, an A + certification can help finances by allowing people to charge more for their expertise.

Perhaps just as important as a financial boost, an A + certification can also open the doors to certain careers. For people who are happy in their present job, an A + certification may give them the qualifications they need to climb higher in the company. For those who are unhappy in their present job, an A + certification can make it easier to find work elsewhere.

How to Get an A + Certification

To begin the path to a better career, interested parties should visit Total Seminars for a list of training courses (sample questions are also available online). Total Seminars will offer test takers the information and materials needed to pass the examination. In addition to books, Total Seminars offers online tutorials, practice tests and tech forums that will assist test takers in successfully passing the exam on the first attempt. Total Seminars also offer exam vouchers when you are ready to take the A+ certification test.

While the A + certification was once open-ended, it now must be renewed every three years in order to stay valid. It is necessary to study with the proper material beforehand in order to successfully pass the exam and get started opening doors to your new career.

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How to Study More Effectively for the A+ Certification Exam

0 February 11, 2014 in CompTIA A+ by

[Posted 11 February 2014 by Kathy Yale]

If you are looking to pass your A+ Certification exam, vital to all computer technicians, look no further than Total Seminars. Total Seminars is the essential study guide provider that has ushered an entire wave of IT workers into the industry. Their modern approach to teaching gives you the chance to succeed in passing the exam on the first attempt and find a position in your field.

Purchasing the Book

Total Seminars’ A+ Certification Exam Guide has helped hundreds of thousands pass the test already. It has been updated to its current eighth edition to reflect changes to the test and implement new methods of explanation. Along with covering the material on the exam, this textbook also helps test takers by making the material approachable and easy to learn.

Practice Tests

What better way to prepare for a test than to take the test beforehand? That is the strategy Total Seminars uses with their unique software which interactively engages the learner. Total Seminars’ practice tests let you experience the test before the actual test day, a critical advantage that will give you confidence when you take the actual exam. Test takers are able to figure out what areas they need to perfect, focusing study efforts in optimal areas.

Users get quick feedback on their progress, creating a better learning experience for a subject that isn’t easily taught.

Training Videos

Fully subscribing to Total Seminars’ A+ Guide also gives you access to a series of training videos hosted by the author of the book, Mike Meyers. Total Seminars’ approach in their book and practice also serves as a foundation for the teaching method found in the training videos. With over 24 hours of content, you will be allowed study for the A+ Certification, by watching the material be applied by a professional. This will give test takers the opportunity to ensure the material they are learning is being processed correctly.

Overall, Total Seminars gives you all of the best tools for passing your A+ Certification so you can start applying for a new position, get up-to-date with your current company’s policies or become promoted within the company where you are currently employed. The A+ Exam Guide is a great reference and challenges your knowledge of computer technology with a basic approach that is also engaging. The A+ practice tests serve as a great assessment of information learned, and challenges your test-taking ability as well as illustrating areas you may need to pay more attention to. The training videos relay the information visually and auditorily. Together, these three methods target your knowledge in unique ways, giving you the best chance for success on test day.

There is nothing that compares to any of these three invaluable teaching resources. Total Seminars allows test takers to purchase these items as a bundle, or separately. In addition, they can even package test vouchers if you decide choose one of the larger bundles. There is no better way to study for you A+ certification.

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Looking for the Best Way to Demonstrate Your Tech Prowess? Consider the A+ Certification Exam

0 February 6, 2014 in CompTIA A+ by

[Posted 6 February 2014 by Kathy Yale]

The A+ Certification is an entry-level certification obtained by PC computer technicians. People who pass the exam are certified in installation, maintenance, customization, and operation of personal computers.

In the past, an A+ certification was considered a lifetime certification; however, in 2011, the certification was changed to one that needed to be renewed every three years. This is typically done by retaking (and passing) the A+ Certification test. Another option is to obtain CEU units: certification holders may maintain a valid certification by paying a CEU (Continuing Education Units) fee.

The Benefits of A+ Certification

Obtaining the A+ Certification is highly beneficial from both a career and financial standpoint. Some of the benefits associated with this certification include:

Offers Career Advancement

An A+ Certification can open the door to a new career or allow you to advance at a present job. The certification can also allow you to go after other job opportunities. Many open computer positions now require – or at least prefer – those with certifications; by having one, you won’t be limited to where you can apply. This gives you the chance to pick and choose until you find a job that will be both challenging and satisfying.

Those with professional certifications typically see an increase of 10 to 20 percent in salary. The A + Certification can also allow you to pursue jobs that are higher paying and perform consultant work on the side.

Demonstrates Commitment

Obtaining an A + Certification demonstrates commitment to a profession. It allows your employer (or your clients) to see you are dedicated to your work, willing to go the extra mile, and in for the long haul. This can make you appear dedicated in the eyes of those who you work for as well as those who are considering hiring you. The A+ certification also provides a morale booster, giving you the confidence and skills to pursue career options you might not otherwise pursue.

Offers More Flexibility

For those who desire to start their own company and work for themselves, an A + Certification can help in a few ways. By being certified, contractors and consultants are able to charge more that companies with no certifications to their name. The more clients you amass, the more successful your company will become. This, ultimately, can result in a schedule that is highly flexible, allowing you to set your own hours, choose your own projects, and answer to only yourself.

The A+ Certification is an excellent way to further an already existing career or gain new prospects and be hired for better, high-paying positions. It is an internationally recognized certification and will ensure you are up-to-date with the latest technologies in IT. Because technology is constantly advancing, CompTIA makes sure that the A+ Certification exam is always updated with the latest information. By initially taking the exam and making sure your certification is updated, you can demonstrate your tech prowess and become a force to be reckoned with in IT industry.

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The Keys to Being Prepared for Your A+ Certification Exam

0 January 28, 2014 in CompTIA A+ by

[Posted 28 January 2014 by Kathy Yale]

The A+ Certification is required by many employers, and it gives applicants an important edge when they’re applying for jobs. There are two parts to the exam, and test-takers have reported that the exam can be difficult. Whether an individual is getting certified before entering the job market or to meet the changing demands of their employer, most people want to pass the test and become certified on the first attempt.

Updates Done Regularly

Technology changes rapidly, and the A+ Certification exam is regularly updated to remain current with the changing times. While there are several exam preparation systems available, it’s important to choose one that actively reviews the exam and the preparation material to ensure that they’re still compatible. Preparation packages that are only updated once every few years aren’t as effective as a plan that updates regularly to remain current with the certification exam. Packages purchased through Total Seminars will ensure that all materials and information are up-to-date with the most recent information on the exam.

Customized to Learning Needs

Some individuals prefer to read the information while others like to see examples in a video format. There’s no right or wrong choice when it comes to preparing for the exam and there are a variety of study options available through Total Seminars. The material is comprehensive, and available in a range of formats to help test takers prepare themselves for the examination.

Relevant and Interesting

Most people retain information better when it’s presented in an engaging and interesting way. Some of the information on the A+ exam can be dry, but the material found at Total Seminars will help test takers apply the information in real time which will make it easier for them to understand. Learning the steps along with real-world applications increases retention and the chances of a test taker passing the exam.

Practice Tests

Taking the time to sit down and go through a practice exam can help test takers prepare for what’s coming. When they know how questions are phrased, they’re more likely to remain in control during the test and work their way through in methodical manner. Total Seminars offers a variety of practice tests, online courses and seminars that can help individuals study.

Teach to the Test and Beyond

The point of the A+ Certification is to show employers that a job applicant is prepared for the world of information technologies. The test covers an extensive range of knowledge, but Total Seminars won’t just focus on what’s in the test. While they go to great lengths to help test takers prepare, they also offer information that goes beyond the test. They’re looking at what employers want, so test takers don’t have to worry about being ill-equipped for the work place.

The A+ Certification is an investment in an employee’s future. It’s a great way to advance a career and make a great impression on management. However, test takers don’t want to take this test more than once if they can avoid it. With the Total Seminars by their side, they can walk into the testing center with confidence that they’ll earn the certification.

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Your Career as a Computer Technician Begins with an A+ Certification

0 January 21, 2014 in CompTIA A+ by

[Posted 21 January 2014 by Kathy Yale]

Computers aren’t just here to stay; they’re becoming a dominant feature in modern life. Computers are used in almost every field from car repairs to home improvements, and the individuals who know how to effectively use and work on them are in high demand. Most employers want people who are computer savvy, and they’re looking for evidence of these skills before they compile a list of possible applicants to interview. One way to make a strong first impression on potential employers is to receive an A+ Certification by working with Total Seminars.

Save Time

The A+ Certification exam is intensive. The test is broken into two parts, and each one lasts 90 minutes. It can take months to prepare for the exam, and there is a fee to sit and take this valuable test. While candidates are rewarded with better job prospects, most people don’t want to spend more time studying than necessary, and they certainly don’t want to pay to take the test multiple times. Total Seminars offers an effective way to study and prepare for the exam. The skills are mastered faster, and increase an applicant’s chances of passing the test on the first attempt.

Avoid Frustration

Total Seminars is committed to helping their customers prepare for this test. They update their information frequently based on how the test changes to keep up with technology, and they know how the questions on this test are phrased. Test takers can better prepare for what they’ll find on the test, and that helps them succeed when the time comes. Rather than spending months feeling frustrated by practice materials that aren’t as effective or taking a test that seems foreign, test takers who invest in the Total Seminars method are better prepared and can avoid the frustration.

Be Prepared for the Market

The great benefit of the A+ Certification is that it prepares job applicants for a demanding market. This is a popular credential among employers because they don’t have to waste time administering their own tests or risk hiring someone who isn’t qualified. The certification is becoming a requirement for anyone in the user-support arena of computer technology, and most companies are now requiring that all of their technicians and support staff carry A+ certification. Having it on your resume ensures that you’re ready for the demands of the job market.

Make the Right First Impression

Employers are busy, and they often don’t give a resume more than a cursory look. Applicants who can add the A+ Certification at the top of their resume will get more attention. It entices hiring agents to look beyond the initial paragraph of a resume and see what else applicants have to offer. It makes a great first impression, and it can make the difference between getting a call for the interview and having a resume tossed in the shredding file.

Anyone who’s in the computer field can benefit from this certification, and it’s a requirement for those working on the support side. The certification is valuable because the exam is comprehensive and can be difficult for many test takers. This is why it’s important for test takers to prepare ahead of time by investing in practice materials. Total Seminars is dedicated to helping test takers reach their goals by offering high-quality materials, effective training aids and the most thorough system available.

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Haven’t Taken a Test Recently? Tips for Your A+ Certification Exam

0 January 14, 2014 in CompTIA A+ by

[Posted 14 January 2014 by Kathy Yale]

The thought of sitting down and taking a test can be terrifying for some individuals. Knowing that the results of a test can drastically affect your life will only increase the anxiety level. However, there are ways to prepare for the test and ensure that the test results come back as high as possible. With the right preparation materials, most people can walk into the A+ certification exam feeling ready and confident. 

Learn What is Required

The key to succeeding is setting appropriate goals and working towards them. With the A+ certification exam, that starts with knowing what to expect and what’s required. This exam is broken into two sections, and testers are allowed a maximum of 90 minutes for each one. There are multiple choice and performance-based components. The passing score for the 220-801 is 675 out of 900, and the passing scale for the 220-802 is 700 out of 900 possible.

Work with Updated Information

It’s also important to keep up with changing information on the exam. This is a technology based certification, so it’s updated regularly to keep up with changing technology. One example would be the removal of Windows 2000 and the incorporation of Windows 7 and various mobile devices. The most updated preparation information is required to ensure that people are ready to take this test and perform well on it.

Practice Problems

Knowing the information is important, but it’s also important to know how information will be presented. It’s possible for someone to be confident with all of the details and still answer incorrectly because they read the question wrong. With quality practice materials, potential test takers can work on problems that are very similar to what they’ll see on the test. They’ll make a few mistakes in the practice sessions, but they’ll go into the actual examination ready for the types of questions and scenarios that will be presented. 

Flexible Learning Materials Suit Every Test Taker

No two people are exactly the same, and one test taker will learn the material more quickly by watching a video while another will prefer to read the information. The top preparation materials understand this simple fact and offer flexible materials that are ideally suited to each test taker. The best systems will allow individuals to choose between written materials, videos and practice tests that are based on the actual examination. They’ll also have instructors standing by who can answer questions and provide test takers with the extra assistance they need. The materials will work together seamlessly and allow test takers to prepare in the way that best suits their learning style and needs.

The A+ Certification is required by the Department of Homeland Security, Dell, Ricoh and Lenovo all require technicians to have this valuable certification, and it gives job applicants an important edge when they’re applying for any job that uses computers on a constant basis. The test itself is not terribly expensive, and taking it can make a difference in how far someone is able to take their career. The stress level associated with this test can be high, but test takers can decrease that stress by investing in preparation materials that will help them pass this test the first time around. It’s a small expense to pay to ensure that test takers are ready for the test and will handle the examination with the minimal amount of stress.

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