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Archive for January, 2010

CompTIA Lifetime Certification Change Creates Controversy By: Don E. Sears

Posted by Rubel Khan on January 27, 2010

CompTIA faces backlash from technology certification holders after informing those with supposedly lifetime A+, Network+ and Security+ certifications that they would have to retroactively pay for renewals. CompTIA has since retracted the changes for anyone who receives one of those certifications in 2010, but come 2011 the renewal process will be in place.

In December, the Computing Technology Industry Association decided lifetime A+, Network+ and Security+ certifications were going to retroactively require renewal every three years. The response from the IT community was particularly thorny, and rightfully so. Why the changes? According to Ars Technica, CompTIA was getting its accreditation process evaluated by several larger accreditation organizations, including ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and ANSI (American National Standards Institute), which were helping evolve requirements.

It’s not uncommon for many certifications to require renewal, but you certainly affect a lot of people when you ask them to pay to continue something they were told would last as long as they did. Lifetime is lifetime, people said. Many comments about CompTIA were negative, though the organization has taken down its original post that received a harsh response. Here’s one reaction (from Phillyman’s Blog):

“According to Wikipedia, over 800,000 people are A+ certified! So you just expect 800,000 people to hand over $220 every 3 years??? Before you pulled this little stunt of yours, I had planned on getting the following certifications… Network+ ($220), Linux+ ($220), Security+ ($240). Do you know how many CompTIA certifications I plan on getting now? ZERO!!!!!”

CompTIA appears to have been listening to the uproar and has changed its tune for certifications earned in 2010 or earlier, but after this year, these lifetime certifications will need to be renewed every three years.  Here are the latest details from Ars Technica, which led the reporting on the controversy:

“Holders [from 2011 and beyond] who wish to maintain their certification will then have to pay an annual fee to CompTIA of $25 or $49 and will need to rack up sufficient continuing education credits to renew their certs.

The initial decision to retroactively invalidate certifications generated considerable anger among cert holders, which we described in today’s story on the fiasco. An hour after our original report went live, CompTIA contacted us with news about the change.

CompTIA president Todd Thibodeaux, announcing the policy change, said, “We do not wish to disenfranchise any of the individuals who have supported our certification program. The right thing to do is honor our past commitment to those certified under our original ‘certified for life’ policy.”

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Cisco Revamps CCNP Certification, Adds New Track

Posted by Rubel Khan on January 27, 2010

The changes reflect Cisco’s desire to map certification and training skills more directly to proving capability in a given individual’s job role rather than simply exercising technical acumen in specific products.

Cisco this week revamped its flagship CCNP certification requirements and added a new certification option aimed specifically at network service provider operations.

The changes reflect Cisco’s desire to map certification and training skills more directly to proving capability in a given individual’s job role rather than simply exercising technical acumen in specific products, according to Cisco.

“We did rigorous, externally focused job-task analysis in coming up with the new guidelines and exams,” said Christine Yoshida, manager of learning and development for Learning at Cisco. “We met with partners in detail to understand their roles as network engineer.

The result? The deep dive into job roles has enabled Cisco to devise a new certification testing methodology that validates expertise on specific job tasks and scenarios its partners face every day.

“We’ve evolved from simply a multiple choice test,” Yoshida said.

The revised CCNP certification track is designed for network engineers with at least one year of professional experience who are looking to elevate their skills to more complex networking solutions. The new coursework features hands-on labs, e-learning lessons— meant, Yoshida said, to ease the travel burden and out-of-office cost associated with classroom coursework—and a series of self-paced demos. There are three new courses being introduced that relate to network engineers implementing and maintaining routing and switching networks.

Passing three 120-minute exams, which will be held in April and May, is required to achieve the new CCNP certification.

Meanwhile, Cisco has introduced a new certification track for network service providers specific to managing and maintaining a network operating center—either on-premises or in a managed services environment, Yoshida said.

“Our older programs were not focused on network operations engineers, but on those people that set up the network initially,” she added. “This new track is really called out for the network operations folks.”

Yoshida said that final details of this track, including coursework requirements and exams, are not yet in place, but that partners can qualify individually or as an organization for this certification when it’s live.

DATE: 2010-01-26 | By Carolyn April 

Source: http://www.channelinsider.com/c/a/Cisco/Cisco-Revamps-CCNP-Certification-Adds-New-Track-558067/

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Google Voice finally on iPhone, in the browser – CNN.com

Posted by Rubel Khan on January 27, 2010

Google Voice finally on iPhone, in the browser – CNN.com.

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48 best free software downloads from Microsoft | News | TechRadar UK

Posted by Rubel Khan on January 26, 2010

48 best free software downloads from Microsoft | News | TechRadar UK.

When it comes to free software, the open-source community certainly has a monopoly on high-minded posturing and puffy rhetoric. Just take a look at the Philosophy page of the GNU operating system’s website:

“Free software is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of free as in free speech, not as in free beer. Free software is a matter of the users’ freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it means that the program’s users have the four essential freedoms.”

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What makes a good boss? By Jeff Wuorio

Posted by Rubel Khan on January 25, 2010

Everyone tells tales of the bad boss from hell. But what about the angels of the workplace? Have you ever considered what makes a good boss good?

The answer to that question is admittedly mercurial, as one person’s view of a top-notch employer will differ from somebody else’s. However, there are a number of traits, attitudes and abilities that are common to all good bosses. Moreover, the need for solid leadership skills is especially telling with smaller businesses.

“Being a good boss is important in any organization, but it’s particularly important for small business,” says Rob Sheehan, director of executive education at the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership at the University of Maryland. “With smaller businesses, you really have the opportunity to set the tone for the entire company.” Bearing in mind the importance of good leadership to business, consider the following lineup of skills, strategies and attributes:

Be inclusive. With a smaller operation, it’s essential that everyone feels like an equal and involved part of the team. A good employer is certain to treat each employee fairly, not only in terms of salary and other forms of compensation, but also in how that employee is involved in the daily function of the business. Encourage feedback, innovation and creativity so employees feel genuinely engaged.

“You need to create an environment of integrity, trust and respect to make absolutely certain that everyone is treated fairly, regardless of the differences they may have,” says Sheehan. “It’s essential to be inclusive, because that keeps everyone on the same page when it comes to the business’s long-term goals.”

Mission, not just money. Very few businesses operate out of sheer altruism, but that’s not to say that turning a profit is the primary philosophical and practical focus. Rather, an effective boss establishes a genuine business mission. How that takes shape depends both on the business and on the overriding focus the boss wants to set. For instance, a restaurant owner may push speedy lunchtime service as a way of serving the time-strapped business community. By contrast, a medical supply outfit may emphasize how its products improve customers’ health. Not only can a clear mission serve to motivate employees, it can also infuse a sense of importance in their jobs.

“The point to be made is that there’s something bigger than money,” says Sheehan. “That can really help in keeping employees from feeling as though they have some mundane, day in and day out job.”

Nothing to fear but fear itself. Many of us have had bosses who would be right at home with a guillotine next to their desk calendars. Make one mistake on the job and feel free to slip your noggin right in beneath the blade. Conversely, an effective boss encourages his or her employees not to be gun shy about an occasional snafu along the road toward better job performance.

“This requires a mentality that encourages learning rather than a fear of making a mistake. Try something new and different, but know we’re not going to kill each other if things don’t work out,” says Sheehan. “I was a swimmer in college and I swam fast when I imagined a shark was after me. I swam just as fast when I imagined I was in the Olympics. It’s a question of what you want to focus on “fear or opportunity.”

Don’t just lead — coach. It’s common to hear a sports reporter observe that one coach out-coached another in a particular game. The same dynamic holds true for your business, in which you view your position both as a leader and a coach who teaches, encourages and, if need be, corrects employees.

“A coach sees things very differently than the players,” says Sheehan. “It’s important to use that different perspective to educate and encourage. But it’s also important, like a good coach, to lead your team by example. For instance, while you should point out mistakes by your employees, be sure to admit when you yourself make a mistake.”

It’s their careers, too. Don’t forget that the people who work for you are looking to you to help them navigate and advance their careers. As I said, it’s not all about money. But it is all about making your employees see how to improve and create meaningful careers for themselves. If an employee has a goal of becoming a manager or running his or her own business someday, nurture that goal. Tell them the traits they need to work on to achieve their ultimate plans.

Made, not necessarily born. One final aspect of being a good boss is recognizing that much of what goes into being an effective leader is, in fact, learned behavior. Of course, there always have been and will be bosses who seem to have a flawless touch in leading and motivating. But for every natural, there are just as many top-flight bosses who got that way by attending management classes and seminars, reading books on effective leadership and, just as important, understanding that a good employer naturally attracts first-rate employees.

“People can definitely develop good leadership capabilities,” says Sheehan. “To a certain degree, we all have innate traits that make us good bosses. All you really have to do is work to develop those traits to their utmost.”

Jeff Wuorio is an author and consultant who writes about small-business management issues, and publishes a monthly newsletter.

Jeff Wuorio is a veteran freelance writer and author based in southern Maine. He writes about small-business management, marketing and technology issues, and can be reached at jwuorio@adelphia.net.

Source: http://www.connectitnews.com/usa/story.cfm?item=4013

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ConnectIT USA – The 10 questions change leaders must answer first

Posted by Rubel Khan on January 21, 2010

ConnectIT USA – The 10 questions change leaders must answer first.

Two or three years ago I read a news story about an executive who had been hired to turn around the fortunes of a business that was on the rocks. The product was bad. Morale was awful. Management appeared to be confused about what to do. And customers were staying away in droves.

Clearly, this fellow had been hired to make changes, and here’s what he said: “We gotta shake this place up and keep shaking until we get it right.”

He was a change manager, to be sure. He had been brought in because things were not working well and somebody had to make miracles happen quickly. And our guy did that in spades, firing middle managers with abandon, reversing policies that had served the organization well, and establishing immediately that he was King.

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10 Tips for Better E-mailing in 2010

Posted by Rubel Khan on January 20, 2010

Making that Office Productivity Resolution a Reality: 10 Tips for Better E-mailing in 2010

19 January, 2010 By Marsha Egan

At the beginning of the last decade, e-mail use was already mainstream. Businesses had integrated it into their daily affairs, and periodically checking our inboxes was part of our quotidian routine. Over the next 10 years, e-mail use continued to grow. But unlike before, when we actually maintained control, e-mail started to rule our lives. Wi-fi made checking e-mail at the airport terminal irresistible, and now we awake from our slumber when our smartphones ding in the middle of the night.

Now, in 2010, entrepreneurs, executives, and those working from home offices struggle with the overwhelming number of e-mails they receive each day. Since my 12-Step Program for E-mail E-ddiction received international attention in 2007, I’ve heard thousands of stories from office employees around the world who struggle with e-mail overwhelm. Their stories are all unique, but the bottom line is always the same: their inboxes stress them out. In today’s world, where e-mail is an inevitable part of our work (and personal) lives, stress caused by our inboxes sets the tone for much bigger problems.

But, there’s hope! Instead of letting excessive amounts of e-mail control you, recognize that you have a problem with the way you manage your e-mail, and then do something about it! For the third year in a row, I have declared the last week in January as “Clean Out Your Inbox Week.” January is an excellent time for new beginnings, and as we advance into a new decade, Clean Out Your Inbox Week 2010 is the perfect occasion to incorporate healthy e-mail habits into your life so that the next decade is less hectic.

Here are 10 sure-fire tips to sending more effective e-mails. By following these tips, you will begin to regain control of your Inbox and set the example for others.

1. Be very clear. By making sure that the content of your e-mails is very understandable, you can avoid people e-mailing you with questions. Taking a small amount of time on the front end to read through the e-mail you are about to send can go a long way in avoiding a return question.

2. Make the subject line detailed. By including detailed information in your subject lines, your recipients will be able to sort and respond to your message with the right priority. The detailed subject line will also help you sort and handle responses.

3. Use only one subject per e-mail. The reality is that most people skim over their e-mail. If you put two requests in one e-mail, there is a strong likelihood that only one of the requests will be given attention. It is more effective to send two e-mails with different subjects than to incorporate two subjects into one e-mail. This practice is also helpful for people who want to file their messages.

4. Place the main point, assignment, or request in the first two lines of the e-mail. People have a tendency to build up to a conclusion when they write. At times, this tendency makes it very difficult for e-mail readers to figure out what the main issue or request is. By putting your main point in the first two sentences, you can avoid misinterpretations and get readers focused on exactly what you want, right from the get-go.

5. Copy only the people who need to read the message. For every extraneous person you copy on an e-mail, there is potential to receive a response from each. Now, you’ve just created more unnecessary e-mail for the both of you!

6. Send less e-mail. While this may seem a no-brainer, e-mail begets e-mail. Consider your alternatives. In many cases, it is better and easier to pick up the phone, visit the would-be recipient’s desk, or simply not respond.

7. Have a detailed signature line. Make sure that all of your contact information is in the signature line of every e-mail you send. This way, anyone who needs to contact you will not have to e-mail you asking for your address, fax number, etc.

8. Keep e-mails short. When you send short, easy-to-read messages, people will respond in the same manner and you save incredible amounts of time sorting through your inbox.

9. Avoid controversial or argumentative e-mailing. When you engage in an emotional discussion via e-mail, the e-mails will spiral out of control. Emotional issues should never be handled by e-mail; a phone call or person-to-person handling of the situation is best, both for the sake of your inbox, and the health of the office dynamic.

10. Purge! Purge! Purge! People don’t realize that too many megabytes can cripple, slow, or even crash their hard drives. Systematic deletions of out-of-date items, saving e-mails without large attachments to the hard drive, and purging your sent mail can help you stay ahead of the curve and protect your computer.

While each one of these tips may save only a small amount of time or reduce your e-mail only by a few, collectively they have enormous potential to help you control the number of the e-mails you receive. E-mail is here to stay, so the sooner you develop productive habits with its use, the more time you will have for what is really important in your life. Here’s to a more productive and less stressful decade!

For more information, please visit http://www.EganEmailSolutions.com. And to start your own Clean Out Your Inbox Week campaign, visit http://EganEmailSolutions.com/ekit.html.

Marsha Egan, CPCU, PCC, is CEO of the Egan Group, Inc., Reading PA. An ICF-Certified Professional Coach, she is a global authority on e-mail productivity. She works with companies who want to recover lost time and money due to wasteful e-mail practices. Her newest book, Inbox Detox and the Habit of E-Mail Excellence, released in 2009, is available on Amazon. Her ebooks “Help! I’ve Fallen into My Inbox and Can’t Climb Out!,””Five E-mail Self management Strategies that Will Add Hours to Your Week” and “Reclaim Your Workplace E-mail Productivity: Add BIG BUCKS to Your Bottom Line” can be found at http://EganEmailSolutions.com.

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Press Releases > CompTIA Announces Plan to Help IT Professionals Keep Skills Up-To-Date

Posted by Rubel Khan on January 18, 2010

Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., January 11, 2010 – CompTIA, the leading provider of vendor neutral skills certifications for the world’s information technology (IT) workforce, announced today it will offer CompTIA certified professionals a range of ways to keep their certifications current without necessarily having to take a new exam.

The new certification renewal program will be open to individuals certified in the most current versions of CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Security+ certifications. Candidates who qualify for the program will be able to earn continuing education credits to maintain their active certifications.

via Press Releases > CompTIA Announces Plan to Help IT Professionals Keep Skills Up-To-Date.

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Second Shot is back: Get a SECOND SHOT at Certification and Advance Your Career

Posted by Rubel Khan on January 14, 2010

   

Second Shot provides a free retake when you fail your first attempt at an IT Pro or Developer Microsoft Certification Exam, reducing concern and fear of not passing your exam.

  • Buy a Microsoft IT Professional, Developer, or Microsoft Dynamics certification exam and get a Free Retake if you fail your first try.
     
  •  This promotion is valid from January 13, 2009 – June 30, 2010. Customers must register, obtain a voucher code, schedule, pay, and sit for both the first and (if necessary) second retake exams before June 30, 2010.
  • Eligible Exams: All 070 and 083 exams. Offer available worldwide.

Click here to get your Second Shot!

Why Certify? 
Whether you are currently unemployed, looking for a promotion, or trying to become indispensible in your existing role, Microsoft Certifications can validate your training and knowledge for skills applicable for some of the top IT and Developer jobs in the industry.

To find out more, visit: www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/offers/Career.aspx

 

 
Offer Good until June 30th 2010. Customers must register, schedule and take the first and second shot by June 30, 2010. One second chance exam per customer.

Note: You must wait one day after taking your initial exam before you can register for your retake exam. This time is required to enter test results into the system.

Microsoft does not guarantee that candidates that take exams will pass.

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Information Assurance more important than ever

Posted by Rubel Khan on January 14, 2010

Information Assurance more important than ever.

Certification key in keeping military IT systems secure
Tech certification for military personnel, such as the CompTIA Security program, is viewed as critical by U.S. military leaders for ensuring the security of the Global Information Grid. “The integrity and information superiority of the GIG is directly dependent on the assurance of secure, universal information and the interoperability of information exchange,” Navy IA specialist Javon Burden said. Navy Compass (San Diego)

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