Full Payload for December Patch Tuesday

Microsoft's monthly advance security bulletin shows lots of RCE and elevation of privilege exploits being fixed this month -- lots, as in there are 14 bulletins, but only three of them register as critical fixes.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 12/08/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments


IT Pros and Career Longevity

Will you be in IT long enough to start withdrawing from your 401k? Matt Heusser in his Uncharted Waters blog at IT Knowledge Exchange makes a not very scientific observation when he interviewed for a job at Google, that there seemed to be an absence of employees older than 30. His observations came with obvious caveats -- that Google was expanding quickly, it tended to hire the best and brightest right out of the most prestigious schools, and so on. Naturally, those new hires would be young, bright eyed and idealistic.

The pat theory, if you can call it that, is that tech workers tend not to last that long in the profession -- about 15 years -- with many either moving on outside of tech to management or to something non-tech-related at some point by their late 30's/early 40's. I'm sure some of them get burned out by all the quickly changing tech and being in constant learning mode as well as the politics. His theory, of course, applies to just about any white collar profession.

Do you feel you could remain in this career well into your retirement years or do you have a plan to get out before your golden years? Agree or disagree here.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 12/08/2011 at 11:59 AM6 comments


Certification Tidbit: Free Virtualization-Related MCP Exam

A tip of the cap to Kurt Mackie, Redmond's Online News Editor, who alerted me to this blog post from Ruth Morton, a technology advisor for Microsoft Canada, wherein she talks about the evolving role of IT professionals due to cloud computing and virtualization. From Ruth's blog, she links to a new offer that's available worldwide from Microsoft that might grab the attention of those on your team who have been wanting to get a grip on virtualization: a free chance to take Exam 70-659 TS: Windows Server Virtualization. As well, there's also a relatively inexpensive virtualization course that comes with a free voucher toward that or any other exam. The offer runs to May next year.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 12/08/2011 at 11:59 AM1 comments


Certification Tidbit: Certified IT Workers Paid Less (With Exceptions)

A few weeks ago, I blogged about an article at NetworkWorld that showed some correlation between IT certification and higher paying IT jobs. And then there's this Foote Partners research that shows IT jobs with a certification attached to them paying less. There were some notable exceptions, namely those jobs that required specialized certifications from Microsoft, Oracle, and others. (Coincidentally, the story comes from NetworkWorld's sister pub, InfoWorld.)

Posted by Michael Domingo on 12/01/2011 at 11:59 AM2 comments


IE Still Rules Among Browsers

There's a browser war going on among Microsoft, Google, Firefox and also-rans like Apple and Opera and Microsoft sill continues to claim the top of the heap at more than 40 percent global usage. Google, according to StatCounter, recently pushed ahead of Firefox when it comes to worldwide usage, eeking out 25.69 percent of the browsers in use, edging FireFox's 25.29 percent. On a related note, Microsoft is on its fourth platform preview of IE 10, which may provide a boost for the Redmond company by the looks of it.

Is the browser war still relevant? Comment here.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 12/01/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments


Microsoft Would Rather Place Dead Last on This List

Microsoft topped a recent survey of great places to work. But it also tops another list it probably would rather have nothing to do with: Most Hate Software Vendor.

I honestly don't understand consumer ire against the company. Products and the hardware partners who supply the boxes that Microsoft's software resides in are relatively inexpensive. So, for the sheer number of boxes out there with Windows on them, there's bound to be hundreds of thousands of complaints. (Top that off that you often don't hear from the many millions more who love or at least find their products mildly tolerable). I don't expect perfection, and there are times I curse and groan because of malware or Flash crash, but I still manage to get lots of work done. And even though Microsoft encourage upgrades to the newest thing, I'm still able to ply away on my laptop sporting XP safely because they've been supporting it for much longer than they really should have. And this laptop is on the Windows 7 compatibililty list, so I don't expect too many obstacles when I eventually upgrade. I could go on....

Microsoft's placement on this list is undeserved: agree or disagree here.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 12/01/2011 at 11:59 AM10 comments


Clint Huffman Wants to Solve Your Windows Performance Issues

Microsoft Premier Field Engineers are the top-level troubleshooting experts at the company, usually taking on customer problems that can't be solved by looking up solutions on TechNet or getting MVP help on the various Microsoft community forums. MCPmag.com is lucky to have one PFE, Clint Huffman, who has offered to help explore our readers' most vexing Windows performance problems. Write to me at mdomingo@1105media.com with "Help Us, Clint Huffman!" on the subject line of your message if you want some help.

To see some of Clint's work on MCPmag.com, click here and here. Another nifty piece where Clint compares physical vs. virtualized server performance is coming soon.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 11/17/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments


Certification Tidbit: Certification Can Lead to Jobs, Better Pay

An article at Network World shows that there is a very direct correlation between IT certification and IT jobs. (Tip of the hat to Devon Musgrave at Microsoft's Born To Learn blog for pointing us to it.) IT certification, goes the survey, often leads to new work, more pay, or an increase or promotion over having no IT certification. If you've been reading out own salary surveys here at MCPmag.com, you already know this.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 11/16/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments


Malware Mischief with Duqu

Reports that Duqu might be just an information-gatherer make the worm seem benign. What Duqu does with that information might be of more concern, so catching and stopping it from striking might require more attention than Microsoft or anyone else seems to be giving it.

The thing is, a Symantec report believes its intelligence gathering targets industrial controls, which is not your run-of-the-mill hack to mess with your FIG files or rewrite hard drive data. Rather, at some point that information might be used to disrupt or even take over operations at your local water district, utility or nuclear facility. Not that I'm panicking just yet, but that's what is running through my mind as I read on about it more. Am I just being alarmist?

Microsoft has been concerned enough to issue a work-around for some of its software, but that temporary fix already is driving some graphics cards bonkers. A fix is not included in the latest November patch cycle, but may come at a later time.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 11/10/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments


Certification Tidbit: Have You Used a Brain Dump Site?

I don't know how many readers of MCPmag.com remember when we used to shun anyone coming into our corner of the certification universe who claimed to use a "brain dump" site to pass a Microsoft exam. I suspect it still holds true for the most part, but times change and desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures, especially when a certification can give a job seeker the edge against thousands for the few hundred IT jobs available. It has Redmond columnist Greg Shields wondering aloud if brain dumps might be "legitimate" learning tools in this day and age.

Give Greg's column a quick read, but come back here and answer me these questions: Have you ever used a brain dump to pass an exam? Are they acceptable methods for training and certification? Comment here.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 11/10/2011 at 11:59 AM4 comments


Microsoft on Recertification, Exam Integrity, Brain Dumps

Is the Microsoft News Center a new code name for the Microsoft Press Pass site? Almost sounds like it. The MNC has a Q&A with Microsoft Sr. Director of Certification and Training Don Field on a host of topics, including recertification, the integration of new technologies such as virtualization and the cloud into its training and certification programs, as well as its recent successes in taking down some "brain dump" certification sites online. It's worth a read.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 11/10/2011 at 11:59 AM1 comments


How Hot Are Microsoft Developer Skills?

Business Insider's Matt Rosoff blogs about a study Dice.com did of the job listings posted on its site and the stats are pretty eye-opening: .NET skills top all the Microsoft solutions with it being mentioned in 10,000 listings, with C# and ASP.NET right behind it. SharePoint is also growing. Overall, Java skills are the hottest, with more than 18,000 listings; JavaScript appears in 10,000 listings, which is on par with .NET.

Take those numbers for what they're worth; most of the listings on Dice.com and other tech jobs sites are written by recruiters who seem to be using a template for hiring IT workers.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 10/13/2011 at 11:59 AM1 comments


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