3 Strategies for Passing any IT Certification (Your Employer will thank you)

3 Strategies for Passing any IT Certification

Employers currently require new hires and now incumbents to have or get IT certifications.  Despite the pain of getting a cert, it's worth it for a few key reasons:  

  • Landing a new job/keeping the one you have
  • New knowledge gained
  • Identifying what you don't know
  • Pay raises 

The top certifications that I've seen being required in order are:

  • CompTIA Security+
  • Microsoft MCITP
  • Oracle Solaris (OCA)
  • Microsoft MCSA
  • VMware VCA
  • CompTIA Linux+

In order to pass any IT test with Prometric/Vue, you must have knowledge of the material, and - and this is key - you must have an understanding of the test. 

Bottom line: if you don't know the material, you have next to no chance when it comes to answering a question if they requires you to synthesize new information.  Memorization alone, is a recipe for disaster.

Memorization alone, is a recipe for disaster.

My 3 strategies for passing any IT certification:

  1. Buy the best USED book on the topic and read it cover-to-cover.  Be careful not to but the oldest/cheapest edition from Amazon, but the current book, just used, because...it's cheaper than new.
  2. Study for no longer than 1 month, and take that test!
  3. Use Visual CertExam for Desktop or Mobile (I use Mobile, I find it way easier to study from, and I always have my Andoid phone).  Use the the best VCE file to study from.  My criterial are newest and most votes.  Here's how:
    • Search for your test on ExamCollection.com - note this is a pay site, so just search for the test here.  We'll locate the Security+ page for example: http://www.examcollection.com/SY0-401.html.  
    • Now find the CVE study test with the most votes, and copy the file name only.  (Example: CompTIA.Actual-Exams.SY0-401.v2014-05-06.by.Whitney.245q.vce).  
    • Next, search for that file on Google, and download it from a free site, and scan for viruses.  (Google returned 31 hits) 


25th Annual Blackberry Festival

25th Annual Blackberry Festival

May have blackberry overload...just returned from the waterfront in Bremerton at the 25th Annual Blackberry Festival.  Had the blackberry pie & blackberry swirl icecream served by the local Bremerton Kiwanis, the Hummingbird Hill blackberry soda, and blackberry wine, but also a juicy pulled pork sandwich and washed it all down with a cappuccino.

Picked up a handmade pen of turned bloodwood fro DJ's Pens, and some blackberry wine from Pasek Cellars.

There was a little drizzle, but that didn't seem to bother the band or the old timers dancing to the music.

Hack your Hotel Coffee Maker to Brew Starbucks (Hint: Results without the cost)

Hack your Hotel Coffee Maker to Brew Starbucks (Hint: Results without the cost)

In this video, I'll show you how to hack your hotel coffee maker to brew Starbucks.  I'm using the Cafe Valet by Courtesy Products coffee and maker.  I use a Melita filter #2, with ground Starbucks. 

The Case of the Failed VCM Crate Push

The Case  of the Failed VCM Crate Push

So we pushed out a VCM (VMWare Configuration Manager) crate to a number of clients from the VCM web console, and the result?  

-About 1/2 failed to install the crate...

What happended?

A ping of all clients and a follow up to each unresponsive client showed, nearly all the failures were due to not being cabled to the network or not powered on...

OK, got that fixed, 2nd attempt...

-Marginally better, now about 1/2 the failures installed, and 1/2 of the problem children, still failed to work.

Visited the "trouble makers" and did a check of the repositories available with:

     wasp listrepository

Next showed available crates with:

     wasp show all

That proved to show too many, so I looked for my crate file let's call it MyApp like this:

     wasp show all | findstr MyApp

After seeing MyApp in the list I then did a command line wasp install with:

     wasp install MyApp

All but one client installed...the one that refused, showed the following error:

     Certificate invalid for crate MyApp
     Signature Failed
     Error: MyApp cannot be found

So back in the VCM web console, we did a full clean uninstall of the VCM client, then a full client VCM install, then retried the manual wasp install, and it worked!

Ref: https://www.vmware.com/support/vcm/doc/help/vcm-572/Content/PackageManager/PkgMgr_GS_Ref_Commands.htm


The Case of the Failed SMB Share

The Case of the Failed SMB Share

The situation: we performed Windows Updates on Windows 2003, and poof!  Our Windows/CIFS/SMB share stopped working...

The event logs showed:

     SMB invalid or Null SPN hardening level 1. Event 2028


Luckily, a follow on patch fixes this...we just had to wait for a WSUS update to trickle down that installed KB2345886.

Ref: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2345886


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