Computer Forensics the CSI of IT

by Nathan Darling - Nov 11, 2009


Have you ever been hit with a computer virus?  MyDoom, Melissa, ILOVEYOU, Sobig.  There is some seriously dangerous software out there, and when it hits, it seems impossible to track down where it began.  That is unless you are highly skilled in the knowledge of Computer Forensics and Digital Recovery.

The discipline known as Computer Forensics has many uses beyond law enforcement.  You may have had a hard disk fail and not be willing to part with the information you neglected to back up.  There may be an employee that you suspect of misusing company equipment.  You may simply be interested in a better understanding of how computers work for debugging, performance optimization, or reverse-engineering.

Whatever your reason, LearnKey has the course for you.


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Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)

by Nathan Darling - Nov 09, 2009


As companies grow they enevitably reach a point of saturation from which further growth is impossible.  Whether it be a restaurant that suddenly needs a larger kitchen, or a grocery store that needs more parking, or even a website that just needs more bandwidth.

ITIL is a system of standardizing IT Infrastructure so that as companies grow and merge, and splinter and such, there infrastructure continues to function in a flexible, functional format.  There is a standard set of instructions for how to deal with a problem, even down to the definition of what a problem is.   There are in depth detailed methods of proper Configuration Managment, Change Management, Release Management…etc, all put together with the design of helping folks take care of things in the simplest most standardized way possible.  Some of the provisions are meant to minimize downtime by ensuring that upgrades, backups, and virus scans are run at the least busy time of day (or over the weekend if possible).

The ITIL framework is simple enough to be applied to a single server environment, but it is designed to handle the complexity of companies that are growing from having an IT person to having an IT department to having an IT division etc…


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VMWare Certification Requirements

by Nathan Darling - Nov 05, 2009


 As stated on the product page for our Virtual Infrastructure Administrator Course; “This course will provide students with the knowledge needed to take the VMWare Certified Professional Exam VCP-310.”  A question has been raised regarding a requirement VMware insists on for certification.  It is required of candidates who wish to certify that they attend a VMware authorized course.  Generally a VMware authorized course runs around $2,400-$2,900 and is a four day intensive hands on experience.  Research shows that many students fail the exam after attending only this course. 

Why then does VMWare require you to take a costly course with such a low success rate?   The following excerpt from a vmware forum explains the reasoning behind this requirement :

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Dreamweaver MX 2004

by Nathan Darling - Oct 30, 2009


Adobe’s newest version of Dreamweaver is CS4 (Creative Suite), which is sometimes unofficially identified as the 10th version of Dreamweaver.  Dreamweaver MX 2004 would be the 7th version, so it clearly is a little behind the times.  If you don’t have a version of Dreamweaver by all means spend the $399 to get the new one.  But if you are on a budget and happen to still be running your old Dreamweaver MX 2004, you may be happier with a $34.95 price to help you make the best use of the software you are already using.

Dreamweaver MX 2004 Comprehensive CourseBook

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How Great is Your IT Department?

by Nathan Darling - Oct 26, 2009


For a tax preparer, it is an audit.  For an athlete it’s the big game.  For a chef, it’s a food critic.  Many jobs have an ultimate test of strength and skill.  A test to prove you have what it takes to continue doing what you do.  For the IT department it is a server upgrade.  What does it take for an IT department to change and move services to ensure that customers have adequent and reliable services when they need them?    To the IT department it means they’ve got work ahead of them to do.  Work that cannot fail, that has to be implemented in the best timeline, with a perfect failover in case it doesn’t work and the time set aside to make sure that the mission critical server upgrades are seemly transparent to implementation.  This is when the super heroes really shine, where all the IT skills and learning pays off.

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Applying leadership principles at home.

by Nathan Darling - Oct 02, 2009


Many times over the course of my life I have heard the phrase, “That man is a born leader”, but never have I heard “that person is a born manager”,  nor a “born supervisor”, nor even a “born boss”.

Ordinarily such a thing would be of little to no interest to me, but my wife was out of town for a couple of weeks, and as I struggled with the complexities of getting my children to school on time, and cleaning the house, and making food, and generally not destroy anything, I found my leadership skills called into question.   I watched a training video from our Management and Leadership series titled Quality Focused Supervision.  It trains on “influence-style leadership”, which focuses on influencing your employees with praise and good listening skills.  This I had to try.   After watching the video a couple of times I went home and called a family council with my 3 sons.  I set them down and calmly explained that the house was a filthy disgusting rat hole of doom and decay, and that a change was needed.  They didn’t much care, but seemed ok with the idea.  Then I suggested that they would each be responsible for part of the process.  This didn’t go over well.  I tried to address their concerns, but it turned out their concerns were that they did not want to do anything, but hang around in their underwear all day and play guitar hero.  We were at a bit of an impasse.  Had I followed the advice of the training module, I would have had no choice left but to fire them.

guitarheroboyx

This is when a stroke of brilliance struck me.  I turned to my oldest son (who is 18) and pointed out that if he was not on board with the family cleaning, cooking, and caretaking schedule he was certainly old enough to find lodging elsewhere.  It was heartwarming how quickly he remembered his familial obligations and volunteered to pitch in; truly heartwarming.  Unfortunately my other sons are 10 and 8.  Legally I cannot make the same offer to them.  I bought them a couple of pack of Yu-Gi-Oh cards and taped them to the ceiling and told them they could have them as soon as the chores were done.   (The training does not specifically suggest offering your employees Yu-Gi-Oh cards.)

Anyway, the news is the children pitched in and a semblance of order was restored, and when my wife came home….well I guess my cleaning standards don’t really match up to hers, but that’s not the point.  The point is that I found a way to influence my children to do what was needed without having to threaten them.

(except for the part about kicking out my 18 year old.)…  Ok maybe I need to watch the training again.  I’ll let you know if I learn anything new.


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Are You Leadership Material?

by Nathan Darling - Sep 29, 2009


There is no direct correlation between being appointed to a position of authority and having leadership skills.  In fact, as you think over your previous job assignments you may recall a number of people who you would have followed even though they were not appointed over you.  You may also recall a number of supervisors that you had no desire to support.  Leadership is a skill.  Do you have it?


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A+ 2009 Webisode Part 4

by Nathan Darling - Sep 22, 2009


The Saga Continues :  Consider this question as you watch.  Did Ammon shoot this entire scene just to justify getting a replacement phone?


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Vote for the tagline.

by Nathan Darling - Sep 21, 2009


t-shirt artwork


Honorable mention goes to the guy who suggested : Making Brains less appealing to Zombies.

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A + 2009 Webisode Part 3 : Mike Meyers take

by Nathan Darling - Sep 17, 2009


First we had an introduction, then Ammon showed what he goes through to get things rolling.  Now it’s Mike’s turn.


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