July 27, 2010 3:22 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
a break from the routine
, making the most of vacation time
OK, so I’m on vacation this week and I’m learning how not to be at work most of the time, and how to be relaxing and enjoying my family and my freedom instead. To some extent, this is a challenge all by itself because I’m so used to hunkering down by myself in my office, immersed in a world that’s more virtual than real, chasing interesting phantoms of thought and technology.
This week, my challenge is of a completely different order. I’m out of the customary routine, now responsible for finding things to do, places to visit, and sights to see not just for my own family, but also for my sister’s family (herself, her husband, and their 11-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter). Of course, I’m not in this alone — there are three other adults around to provide input, exert leadership, and guide choices, and the kids are never shy about making their wants and wishes known, either.
But so far we’ve managed nicely to enjoy ourselves and our surroundings. We’ve hit the local beaches four times, have visited a nifty museum or two, and have taken several lengthy hiking excursions into nearby local attractions. It’s always interesting getting a bunch of people moving, and keeping them moving at enough of the same pace to make satisfactory progress between points A and B (or as Tolkien put it as the subtitle for The Hobbit: “There, and Back Again.”
In the meantime, I’m observing that many of the same skills I’ve developed in setting up, configuring, and troubleshooting technology have some small value in helping to manage family affairs and activities. More humorously, my tendency to make assumptions about causes and solutions can also lead me away from the truth just as well in this sphere as it can in my more customary haunts. But gosh, it sure it fun to turn my hand (or more appropriately, to lend that hand) toward steering “rough consensus” about what we should do today, and helping to foster a situation where everybody gets to have fun, and enjoy themselves.
Now, if only I could figure out how to bring this spirit and attitude to work, too!
July 20, 2010 2:41 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
Work. Work. Work. Go all day, deal with the rest of life as busy schedules permit, catch a few Zs, then get up and do it all over again. That’s the typical rhythm of life for most of us working stiffs, most of the time. Every now and then, though, it’s a good idea to make a break from the dull routine and go do something else.
That’s why I’ve found myself singing “I’m on vacation. I’m on vacation. I’m on vacation.” over and over again during the past few days. The family and I have broken with the usual routine and are spending our days together right now, exploring places and activities we’d never normally undertake during the week. And though the new routine has its own rhythm and I still fall into bed exhausted (or at least, pleasantly tired) each night, it’s different enough for me not just to recharge my batteries, but also to get some perspective on working life as well.
Summer is a traditional time for vacations. And although it’s hot and sometimes difficult to be outside wandering around, it’s a terrific break and a positive and pleasant change. I’m off for the next week, which I hope will be long enough for me to regain my balance, refresh myself, and to feel good about jumping back into the workaday routine by the time I officially return to my desk next Tuesday (June 27). In the meantime, I’ll be sharing some idle but hopefully also productive thoughts about working life and plans from the “different place” that is the vacation mindset. Please stay tuned for more, and I hope you too get the chance to change your venue and perspective in the same way soon, if you have recently done so already!
July 15, 2010 3:48 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
pointers to career tune-up advice and book
, summer career tune-up
It’s summertime and the dog days are here. I live in Texas, where it’s HOT, HOT, HOT and where cool ideas can provide some welcome relief from the blast furnace that we call “the great outdoors” at this time of year. Maybe it’s not so bad where you live — and for your sake, I certainly hope that’s true — but nevertheless, I find myself thinking this morning that some cool career makeover ideas might be welcome, no matter where you might hang your hat. So here goes with three pointers to interesting, thought-provoking, and (hopefully) cool ideas on a career makeovers:
1. Joyce Schwartz at SelfGrowth.com has put together a nice article entitled “How to do a Career Tune-Up Every Season” where she provides tips on personal and professional development that target the summer season in particular.
2. Pat Van Haste offers some breif and interesting suggestions for your resume in “It’s Past Time for a Resume Tuneup” where pruning out the old and adding in the new (or recent) is the order of the day.
3. Rusty Weston from gargantuan jobsite Monster.com offers up his suggestions to take on the world in his article “Is It Time to Tune Up Your Skills to Compete Globally?” Actually, AFAIK, it’s *ALWAYS* time for an exercise like this…
Not enough for you, yet? Think about picking up a used copy of The Mid Career Tune-Up: 10 New Habits for Keeping Your Edge in Today’s Fast Paces Workplace from Amazon (pre-owned copies start there at a whopping $0.01, plus shipping, for a true price floor of about four bucks). Full of more exhortations on how to examine possible causes of a mid-career slump or loss of enthusiasm, and some good advice on how to deal with same. Comes from the American Management Assocation press (AMACOM) and takes the whole job/working thing pretty seriously, and thus also gives some serious advice and information to ponder, too. Combine business with pleasure, and read it on the beach if you like. It’s cheap enough that if you don’t like this book, you can give it to somebody else or Goodwill, even, without incurring too much out-of-pocket expense along the way. Enjoy!
July 12, 2010 9:27 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
, link to Windows 7 SP1 beta at TechNet
, Windows 7 SP1 beta released July 12
The TechNet Evaluation Center released the combined Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 beta package today. Check out this warning that advises end users to steer clear:
Here is the blurb from the TechNet download page
Anybody who wants to grab the beta can do so, however, but the usual restrictions apply. To me the most onerous typical restriction is that the machine upon which such a beta gets installed usually has to be wiped and a clean base OS installed against which to apply the final version of the service pack when it becomes available. Thus, this isn’t for production machines by any stretch of the imagination, and I can readily understand why MS wants to discourage home or casual users frm attempting giddy experimentation with this code without fully appreciating what kind of work will be involved when it’s time to replace the beta with the final release.
That said, enterprise and other Windows 7 admins looking to evaluate the impact of SP1 — who usually have test machines at their disposal — will probably want to grab this update and get going on installation and impact analysis. SoftPedia has a pretty nice summary of SP1 available, including a useful overview of the changes that SP1 will bring to both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. It’s worth checking out, if you want to understand better what’s under the hood here.
July 12, 2010 9:09 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
Microsoft SharePoint certifications
, new SharePoint Exams for MCTS and MCITP programs
As of today (July 12, 2010), Microsoft has 4 more new SharePoint exams on its slate, two each that count toward Technical Specialist (MCTS) and IT Professional (MCITP) credentials:
- 70-573: TS: Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Application Development
- 70-576: PRO: Designing and Developing Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Applications
- 70-667: TS: Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Configuring
- 70-668: PRO: Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Administrator
SharePoint is gaining momentum and marketshare as a Web-based collaboration plus content creation and management system, and these exams should help to raise its credibility among enterprises and organizations interested in putting it to work as part of their day-to-day IT infrastructure.
There are a total of 6 MCTS exams on SharePoint currently available, and the two described in the preceding paragraph for MCITP also represent the complete collection of MCITP SharePoint certs currently available as well. Four MCTS SharePoint exams, plus substantial, documented OTJ (on-the-job) SharePoint experience is necessary to qualify for the SharePoint track in the Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) program. So far, a “SharePoint flavor” for the Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) credential is still under development.
July 7, 2010 4:00 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
, Cisco certification "virtual fair" aims at military and dependents
, Cisco to offer half-day webinar on IT certification
, Cisco virtual certification seminar to focus on wireless
, data centers
Tomorrow, July 8, from 8 AM until 2 PM PDT (GMT/UCT -08:00), Cisco is providing a free online educational event to provide active and retired military personnel and their families (and other “interested parties,” so I guess that means it’s open to all comers, with an emphasis on folks with some kind of military connection). The topic is IT certification and training with a special emphasis on information security (or “information assurance,” as it’s known in milspeak), and an eye toward establishing or further IT-related jobs and careers.
The hosts include Tejas Vashi, Cisco’s Senior Manager of Global Market Development, and Michael Adler, the Program Manager for Applied Intelligence at Cisco. The aim of this virtual shindig is to provide resources for individuals currently working in networking or communications roles, or who may be interested in pursuing careers in IT and networking areas. Fast-growing technologies that include wireless, voice, data centers, and (information) security will receive special focus and attention, and you can bet that how those subjects map into Cisco certifications such as CCNA and CCNP (and various flavors for ISP, voice, and security subject matters) will get lots of attention as well, along with relevant Cisco specialist level credentials.
Register today for this event at http://events.unisfair.com/index.jsp?eid=619&seid=31. There should be plenty of opportunity to learn more about Cisco training and certification, and possibly also to hear about special offers and discounts available for same to active and retired military personnel and dependents.
July 2, 2010 2:39 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
June 2010 employment situation summary
, June employment descrease comes from US Census completion
, June employment numbers mostly flat
, small rays of sunshine amidst June employment number dips
For the first time this year — or, for the first time in six months, if you prefer a calendar-agnostic reference — employment numbers are down from the reporting month vis-a-vis the preceding month. But for once, this isn’t such terrible news, though the numbers could be stronger, and nobody would mind at all. That’s because while the June 2010 Employment Situation Summary reports that nonfarm payroll employment declined by 125,000 for that month, that number reflects the departure of 225,000 temporary US Census workers and is at least partially offset by a very modest private sector payroll increase of 83,000 jobs in June. Overall, the number of unemployed persons edged down to 14.6 million and the unemployment rate also dipped ever so slightly to 9.5 percent. At the same time, unemployment dipped for women to 7.8 percent, while rates for adult men, teenagers, whites, blacks, and Hispanics remained more or less unchanged.
IT numbers for June were also down across the board, but not by very much. Total losses were only 8,000 jobs for the month, where publishing (except Internet, at -2,000) and telecommunications (-2,300) suffered the biggest losses overall, and wehre other sectors varied losses between 500 (Broadcasting, except Internet) and 1,500 (Data processing, hosting, and related services) jobs overall. See Table B-1 for more details. On a brighter note, numerous other sectors showed modest gains, with Professional and business services at +46,000 jobs, Leisure and hospitality at +37,000 jobs, and even manufacturing showing some slight increase (+9,000 jobs).
What does all this mean? The recovery, such as it is, continues to eke out modest and very slow growth. Given the recent tumbles on stock and other financial markets (major indices are down as much as 10% for the current week, as I write this blog), it will be interesting to see what the July numbers will have to tell us. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see essentially flat results, or even another slight dip in employment across all market sectors. We’ll see!
June 25, 2010 9:16 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
check out MS exam 70-544
, MS releases Bing Maps exam
, MS Technology Specialist certification on Bing Maps now available
Check out the Bing Maps Developer Center
OK, Bing is now more than just a search engine, or a particularly sonorous syllable from an ill-fated night spot often featured on HBO’s The Sopranos. Bing is also now the subject of a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist credential — at least, the Bing Maps Platform is, anyway — and the focus for Microsoft Exam 70-544: TS: Bing Maps Platform, Application Development.
So far, no training materials or classroom training are yet available for this subject matter, but that should pop up some time in the next 30 days if prior history is any guide. Usually, Microsoft Learning has this stuff ready to go on or before the date that an exam goes live and if they don’t, it invariably hits within a month of the exam’s go-live date. That’s why I imagine we’ll see some training materials and possibly also classes associated with this credential some time very soon.
In the meantime, those panting with lust to get started on this material would be well-advised to visit the Bing Maps Developer Center (depicted at the top of this blog), where they’ll find SDK’s, developer datasheets and articles, forums, and licensing information, among lots of other stuff. Enjoy, but please remember Alfred Korzybski’s famous dictum: “The map is not the territory!”
June 22, 2010 4:00 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
, CCIE program extended
, Cisco provides program to retain veteran CCIEs
In recent phone conversations with Fred Weiller and Angela Mendoza of Cisco (Mr. Weiller is the Director of Marketing for Learning@Cisco, and Ms. Mendoza is the Marketing Manager for Cisco Certifications), I learned that the company plans to extend and build upon its always-popular and highly esteemed Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert, or CCIE, certification, starting today (6/22/2010). While active CCIEs must recertify every two years come heck or high water, given that job responsibilities and professional portfolios change over time, Cisco divined from its certified professionals and customers that some way to keep experienced CCIEs in the community would be a good idea, even for those who might not be interested in or able to keep up with the regular recertification requirement. This has now led to the introduction of an “Emeritus” designation for CCIEs with10 or more years of active status in that certification.
In general, the term “emeritus” refers to someone who’s retired from a position, but whose abilities and distinction in that position allow the person who holds the title to retain and continue to use it in a professional context. This designation is most commonly encountered in academia, where a professor who attains emeritus status may continue to teach, do research, and maintain an office and a presence on-campus even when he or she may no longer be actively involved in the everyday routines of the academic life and calendar. The word comes from the past participle of the Latin work emerere, which means to “serve out, earn, or deserve.”
In this same vein, obtaining the CCIE emeritus designation allows individuals to keep calling themselves CCIEs — albeit “emeritus CCIEs” — even when their credentials may no longer be completely current. At or after their 10th anniversaries as active CCIEs, individuals can apply for emeritus status and file an application with the CCIE emeritus team. Upon approval, emeritus status is granted for one year, and re-application is required each following year to maintain that status. Applications must also pay an $85 application fee (yearly) and file valid application paperwork to achieve and maintain CCIE emeritus status. In exchange for keeping up with program requirements, CCIE emeritus professionals are permitted to use the CCIE Emeritus logo, and can append that designation to their CCIE number (which is kept active and registered as long as Emeritus status stays current). CCIE Emeritus holders can continue to participate in the CCIE community online (forums, blogs, groups, and so forth), and will continue to be recognized for technical proficiency and veteran status in the CCIE program. After attaining emeritus status, a CCIE can return to active status at any time within 10 years of joining the emeritus ranks by passing any written CCIE exam (no lab exam required).
However, the Emeritus status for CCIEs is not an active certification. Thus, it does not count toward Channel or Partner requirements for the organizations that employ emeritus CCIEs, nor does it apply to maintaining staff certification status levels for channel partners either. Nevertheless, the CCIE Emeritus promises to be a great way to keep CCIEs who are advancing into more business and less technical aspects of their careers active in the CCIE community, and to extend the recognition and value of this already formidable IT certification.