Enjoy Memorial Day, and a Special LearnKey Offer

by Colin - May 30, 2011


As with most holidays, Memorial Day originally had a more serious and specific meaning than typically observed today. Memorial Day was first meant to commemorate those that had died in military service during the Civil War, but was later changed to include all wars. It was also originally known as Decoration Day, named for the practice of honoring fallen soldiers by decorating their graves.

Today, because of most Monday-Friday workers receiving a 3-day weekend, the holiday is usually celebrated with family vacations, cookouts, and shopping. Most stores have large sales during this weekend, as many people will be looking for somewhere to go or something to do on their holiday.

Which leads me to my next point – now through May 31, in honor of Memorial Day, you can receive 10% off all LearnKey video courseware (that means no MasterExams, Workbooks, or Exam Guides) purchased through learnkey.com.

LearnKey offices will also be closed through the weekend, and will re-open again on Tuesday May 31, which means that all sales, support, and shipping staff will be available again starting Tuesday morning.

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day!


Tech Hiring Drastically Improves California’s Economy

by Allacyn - May 28, 2011


In the first quarter of 2011 California added 90,600 jobs, which was an increase from 82,600 over all of 2010. Just a few weeks ago California’s deficit was an astounding $26 billion, but the state recently cut $11 billion. If this trend keeps going, it could potentially shave off another $6 billion. The added jobs in the state are making it a reality that one day, California might actually be able to get out of debt – and it might be sooner than everyone thought.

This drastic improvement comes largely from the tech industry. Information technology jobs grew by 5.3% in March, outpacing all other industries. This is affecting the San Francisco Bay area and the Silicon Valley with many local companies doubling and even tripling their workforce. This is good news for the technology industry, and for California.

To read the full article visit The Wall Street Journal.


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The Power of CSS3

by Trevor - May 27, 2011


I just stumbled across one of the coolest sites demonstrating of the power of CSS3 – css3please.com. For those of you who don’t know what CSS is, its simply the language web developers use to put style and color into an average web page. CSS3 has taken style to the next level by allowing designers and developers to not only be able to add a color to an object, but be able to have it display a gradient from any specific color to another. You can also add drop shadows, rounded corners, custom font faces, and even rotation to an object. These features take a lot of pain out of website development by making objects much easier to work with, and quicker to customize and create. Any good developer can tell you of the hassle of trying to make a box with rounded corners without CSS3 – having to first create the image in Photoshop, then cut the image into several smaller pieces, and then get them all to behave and fit tightly together to look like they never were cut up. That can take quite a bit of time. Compare all that with this CSS3 code:

Read more »


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The New Office, Moving, and Other Happenings

by Colin - May 21, 2011


LearnKey's new office - the lobby

Over the past week, everyone in our St. George, UT office has been moving into our new office space. We’re currently occupying the theater area of the Main Street Ballroom and Theater, which has been converted into a modern office space over the past few years. (Check out the photo album on our Facebook page to see the completed office.) It’s quite a big change from our previous space, which was the ballroom area of this same building. No dance floor lighting or chandeliers this time around, but I think we’ll manage.

With most of the current Marketing department at LearnKey being fairly new here (2 years or less in a 24-year-old company), there tends to be a lot of stuff around that was left over from our predecessors. I personally go by the “If you don’t know what it is, don’t touch it” rule, so over time, things started to accumulate.

As you can imagine, cleaning out drawers and taking down cubicles lead to finding some pretty random stuff.


Pictured: boat catalogs, font books, a Star Wars audio book, a classic iPod Video, ear plugs, a rubber spider, and a plush squirrel. Don’t ask, because we don’t know either.

We’re all moved in by now, but it’s still taking us a little while to get settled and used to our new routines. For instance, apparently this new office gets quite warm when nobody turns on the air conditioning. Who knew?

Regardless of our comfort, we have some cool stuff going on. Our (sort of) Quarterly Newsletter is coming soon, and if you’re not already a subscriber, you can sign up here. We have a SQL Server webinar coming up on June 3 featuring expert Wayne Snyder, which is free to attend. Our Client Services department is a currently a finalist for Support Department of the Year in the 2011 American Business Awards (read the full press release here). We were also recently notified that our Server+ video training course has achieved CompTIA Authorized Quality Curriculum status (more on that next week).

We are also always looking for new ideas. Are there any specific topics you would like to see us cover in the blog? Do you have an idea for a course you would like to see LearnKey release? Let us know in the comments!


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New SQL Sever Webinar Featuring Wayne Snyder

by Colin - May 20, 2011


We have once again partnered with noted Microsoft SQL Server Expert Wayne Snyder and Mariner, a leading Microsoft Gold Partner, to provide a free SQL Server webinar.

Management Data Warehouse & Utility Control Point

Friday, June 3, 2011 1pm ET/10am PT.

Register now!

Direct from Wayne Snyder, MVP

SQL Server 2008 introduced the Management Data Warehouse (MDW). MDW will automatically collect information about Query stats and index usage, resource locking and blocking and disk usage. We can use this information to improve performance troubleshooting.

SQL Server 2008 R2 added the SQL Server Utility and Utility Control Point (UCP). UCP automates some of the MDW functionality and provides additional reporting for Data Tier Applications, Database Files, storage volumes, and CPT utilization.

Register for the webinar to learn more about UCP.

Already have questions about UCP?
Email them to info@mariner-usa.com by June 1, 2011.


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Friday The 13th

by Allacyn - May 13, 2011


Today is a seemingly innocent but quite interesting day – Friday the 13th. There are a lot of superstitions and supposed bad luck surrounding this day, but how much of it is true and how much has been blown out of proportion?

Friday has traditionally been thought of as an unlucky day (to me it is the best day of the week – start of the weekend) and 13 has been considered an unlucky number (my lucky number). The combination of the two has even led to a phobia paraskavedekatriaphobia – the abnormal fear of Friday the 13th.

Read more »


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Federal Funding for Job Training

by Allacyn - May 12, 2011


The Department of labor recently announced the availability of $240 million of funding for the training of U.S. workers in high tech and high skill jobs. The H-1B Technical Skills Training Grants were announced on May 2, 2011 and have two closing dates: June 2, 2011 and November 17, 2011. The grants are aimed at providing training, education, and job placement assistance in different fields including information technology, with the goal to provide workers with the opportunity to update or gain new job skills that will help them get higher paying jobs.

The Department of Labor expects to fund 75-100 grants. Training grants will be awarded for those that provide On-the-Job training to all participants totaling $150 million. Applicants that propose to start training for occupations in the health care industry are expected to receive $45 million. $60 million is expected to be awarded to applicants that serve long-term unemployed individuals.

If you are working toward providing more training for your employees and are interested in finding more information on these grants, read the full announcement to find out how to access a webinar with more information.


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Lack of Management Training

by Allacyn - May 09, 2011


A recent survey from CareerBuilder.com showed that 26% of new managers said they were not ready to become leaders. That’s a high percentage of people in positions they don’t feel ready for! Some of the weaknesses pointed out in the survey are:

Dealing with issues between co-workers on my team – 25%
Motivating team members – 22%
Performance reviews – 15%
Finding the resources needed to support the team – 15%
Creating career paths for my team – 12%

The solution to this problem is to properly train employees, open lines of communication, and provide support. If you are handling the promotions at your company, take note of this, make sure that your human resources department is setting up training for new managers, and is providing them with the resources they need to be successful.

If your company is looking for training for new managers, check out LearnKey’s Leadership & Management category to see what we have to offer.


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Happy Cinco de Mayo!

by Allacyn - May 05, 2011


Many of us in this country think of Cinco de Mayo as just another day to throw a party with great food, but here is some history behind why we celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

There is a common misconception that Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day, but September 16, 1810 is actually the day that Mexico declared its independence from Spain. The fifth of May is celebrated because it is the day that Mexico won a key battle in the fight to stop France from taking over their country. On May 5, 1862 4,000 brave Mexican soldiers fought against the French army of 6,000 just outside Mexico City.  Although the French did not withdraw until five years later, the Battle of Puebla forced the French back to the coast and was a turning point for Mexico, becoming a symbol of Mexican resistance to foreign domination. This was the first loss Napoleon’s army had suffered in 50 years.

France was interested in stopping the United States growth because the world powers felt threatened by the power the U.S. had. It is thought that if France had taken over Mexico they would have marched north to give aid to the Confederate Army so that they could divide the country into two less powerful countries. President Lincoln and the United States depended on Mexico to hold the French troops off until the Confederacy was defeated and troops could be sent south to help Mexico.

So with all that said, have a happy Cinco de Mayo, and be sure to party responsibly!


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Thank You Teachers!

by Allacyn - May 03, 2011


Today is the day to celebrate and appreciate the educators in our country that work so hard to make sure that each student receives a quality education. Teachers play a key role in our development and growth, impacting us in ways that often times they will never know. The lessons they teach impact us personally and professionally, and we carry them throughout our lives.

We want to say Thank you, for working hard and striving to improve our country, one individual at a time.  We all have teachers that influenced us in ways we will never forget, and stand out in our minds as not only incredible teachers, but incredible people.  For some of us, you are the biggest influence in our lives, and your actions will model positive behaviors that we will emulate.

To the teachers that go above and beyond, and make it clear that they have a passion and dedication to their jobs that far exceeds what is required and expected of them, you are priceless.  Every lawyer, doctor, athlete, astronaut, business person, cop, firefighter, pilot, writer, artist – everyone has an educator or educators that encouraged and challenged them to strive to do better and be better, and in large part because of you and your hard work, they did just that.

So today we tip our hats to you, and congratulate you for the difference you are making in so many lives.


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