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Free – Brocade Ethernet Fabric course and exam

I’ve been pretty busy lately, so unfortunately there haven’t been as many blog posts as I would have liked.

I did want to share this opportunity however for a free course and exam on “Brocade Ethernet Fabric”:
http://info.brocade.com/DC-GDG-14Q2-CERT-SM-EF-Cisco-CCIE-LP.html?cn=DC-GDG-14Q2-CERT-SM-EF-Cisco-CCIE

I hope it is useful for you and that you’ll share it so many people can benefit from it.

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2014 in Hardware, ICT, Learning, Network, Storage

 

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Games – Left 4 Dead 2 is free today on steam (PC)

Just wanted to let you know that Valve decided to give away Left 4 Dead 2 for free today on steam (PC):
http://store.steampowered.com/app/550/?snr=1_7_7_151_150_1

It is a great shooter, that is especially fun while playing with friends in co-op mode.

Merry Christmas everyone and enjoy this great game.

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2013 in Entertainment, Games

 

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Microsoft – Preparing for free exam 74-409 Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center

Exam dumps

Unfortunately I’ve received numerous requests for an exam dump of 74-409 which really upsets me.

For those that are not aware of it, you are not allowed to share or use exam dumps. “If Microsoft learns that a candidate used a “brain dump” site to prepare for an exam, this candidate will be permanently banned or prohibited from taking any future Microsoft Certification exams and may be decertified from the Microsoft Certification Program. In addition, test scores and certifications, if applicable, may be revoked. These actions may be taken even if the candidate did not intend to defraud the Microsoft Certification Program.”

For more information, see:
http://borntolearn.mslearn.net/btl/b/weblog/archive/2013/01/02/why-brain-dumps-are-bad.aspx

Preparing to take the exam

This is generally what I do for preparing to take the exam:

  1. Determine the skills that are measured in the exam 74-409
  2. View the online course Server Virtualization with Windows Hyper-V and System Center at Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA)
  3. Reflect how confident you are that the online course has provided you with sufficient skills to take the exam.
  4. Optionally enhance your knowledge using:

Specific topics and resources I used while studying:

Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Greenshot – a free screenshot tool optimized for productivity

Lately I’ve been teaching some classes and I saw many people using many different methods to create, store and share screenshots. Most of them took too much time and effort  in my opinion and were actually distracting from the learning itself.

Since I also had the need to create many screenshots, I was looking for a tool that provided a lot of functionality without these drawbacks. I didn’t really care very much whether the tool would be free or paid, as long as it made my work easier and faster.

Below I’ve included some of the options I’ve explored:

Windows 8 / Windows 8.1 print screen options

With Windows 8 or 8.1 it’s now possible to use windows key+PrintScrn and then all screenshots will be stored in my “Pictures” folder in my documents. And even though it’s a nice addition if you sometimes need to take a screenshot, it still requires a lot of manual work for processing the screenshots and adding them to your desired location.

Windows Snipping Tools

Included in Windows Vista and above, it provides a bit more options than the regular print screen, but it is still very limited.

Irfanview

In the past I also used Irfanview, which is a great image viewer. Since I didn’t have to make many screenshots the workflow would then be:

  1. Press (alt +) print screen.
  2. If I needed to crop something, CTRL+V in Irfanview, select the area and CTRL+Y to crop, CTRL+C
  3. CTRL+V into application I want to use.

As you can see, this is still quite a lot of work if you make a lot of screenshots.

OneNote Screen Clipping

With OneNote you can create a Screen Clipping to be stored in your OneNote notebook, but it requires too many actions in my opinion and is also fairly limited.

ScreenShot Captor

I then started using ScreenShotCaptor which provided me with even more options, but it still wasn’t quite what I was looking for with regards to productivity

Greenshot

Then however I came across Greenshot which is free and really makes it so much easier for me to accomplish creating documentation. I especially like the ease with which you can capture and output to many different locations:

greenshot

And if you’re working on something where you need to save to a specific output, you can (temporarily) configure it to save to a specific location to make your workflow even more efficient.

If you have the need to, you can also use the Greenshot Image Editor to include shapes and arrows, etc.

For me, Greenshot is a product I’ve come to love even though I haven’t used it for that long yet. I hope they’ll also add support for OneNote as well, because that would make it even better for me. Also if you’re not using a Windows system you’re out of luck.

Snagit

I’ve heard a lot of positive things about SnagIt in the past and I was planning to give it a try even though it is not a free product. But since Greenshot met my needs, there was no use in trying Snagit. If you’re not using a WIndows system it might be worth looking into.

Also if you’re interested in capturing videos of your screen, you might want to try Camtasia.

ScreenPresso

Immediately after I published this blog post, someone suggested I’d take a look ScreenPresso as well, so I did. The free version is more limited than Greenshot in my opinion and steers you towards the paid version (http://www.screenpresso.com/features). For me, the only reason to buy the ScreenPresso Pro version (29 Euros) would be the video recording ability.

Also be sure to check out my list of other tools I find useful. It is updated on a regular basis:
http://bjornhouben-web.sharepoint.com/Lists/Applications/Summary.aspx

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2013 in Tools

 

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VMware – Free VMware Certified Associate (VCA) exam vouchers for a limited time

Free certification information

For a limited time only, you will be able to get free VMware Certified Associate (VCA) exam vouchers and get certified by taking the exams from the comfort of your own home.

Update 06-12-2012 : Rasmus Haslund added a new method: http://www.perfectcloud.org/certification/vmware-vca-exam-experience-plus-free-exam-voucher/

Update 24-11-2013 : Rasmus Haslund provided a new code on his site : http://www.perfectcloud.org/certification/vmware-vca-exam-experience-plus-free-exam-voucher/
Give code VMRT9B503121 a try.

Update 22-11-2013 : Apparently the codes are not working anymore, see the comments. You could give code VMRT1B01791B a try.

Update 19-10-2013 : Apparently Global Knowledge provides a code as well. Can be used until January 31st: http://www.globalknowledge.com/training/generic.asp?pageid=3596

Update 09-11-2013 : Eric Sloof from ntpro.nl provides a code as well. Can be used until January 31st: http://www.ntpro.nl/blog/archives/2471-Free-VMware-Certified-Associate-Certification-Extended.html

The currently available tracks which you can do for free are:

VMware Certified Associate – Datacenter Virtualization (VCA-DCV) – Exam blueprint
VMware Certified Associate – Cloud (VCA-Cloud) - Exam blueprint
VMware Certified Associate – Workforce Mobility (VCA-WM) - Exam blueprint

Free online e-learning modules are available that take about 4-5 hours to complete and that are sufficient to pass the exam. The registration process is a bit cumbersome in my opinion, but this blog post contains some instructions to help you with that.

From what I can see, this offer is valid until the end of October, but I might be wrong so it’s best to take the exams as soon as possible. I also think you’ll also be able to use the same voucher code to re-take the exam should you fail, but again I’m not really sure. Once I have more information, I will update this blog post.

Future additions

In the future a new track VMware Certified Associate – Network Virtualization (VCA-NV) will become available. It is not clear when it will arrive and if you’ll be able to use the voucher on this exam as well, but using the link you can at least have VMware notify you when it becomes available.

Usefulness

I think these free e-learnings are a good way to become familiar on a high level with VMware products, terminology and use cases. The VCA certification is proof you have this knowledge and might give you an advantage.

Being able to certify for free now can come in handy for:

  • People that are still studying.
  • People that are in between jobs.
  • People that are working in other parts of the ICT that are interested in VMware, but cannot get their employer to pay for VMware training/certification.
  • People and companies that want to stimulate certification, but also have to save costs.
  • People that are interested in virtualization and are considering doing more with it, but don’t know yet if it’s something for them.

There are of course more possible situations, but I think these are very common.

Thanks

Thanks to VMware for making this possible and Rasmus Haslund (@Haslund) for sharing the information and the voucher on his website http://www.perfectcloud.org, If you decide to use this offer, please also leave a comment at his website.

Also, as always … sharing is caring, so share this with others.

 
66 Comments

Posted by on October 11, 2013 in Cloud, ICT, Learning, Private cloud, Public Cloud, VMware

 

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Games – Pinball FX 2 available on steam with 1 pinball table for free

Ever since I’ve been young I enjoyed playing pinball, both physical ones and virtual ones on PC and consoles.

One of the in my opinion better pinball games is Pinball FX (2) / Zen Pinball (2). At first these games were only available on consoles. Afterwards they also became available for Mac, smartphones and tablets. And with the release of Windows 8 it was also for PC/Windows tablet through the Windows 8 store. Now it is also available for PC gamers without Windows 8 through Steam with the free table called Sorcerer’s Lair:

Additional tables cost about 3 euros from the Dutch Steam store, but prices may vary depending on where you’re from and which platform you’re using.

I personally prefer Pinball FX2 on steam instead over the Windows 8 store version because:

  • Steam is less platform dependent. For games you bought on steam if they have versions for Mac, Linux, Windows you’ll often be able to play it on these platforms without having to buy it again. Also the Windows store is relatively new, so it is unsure how long it will be supported.
  • Steam often has sales which might allow buying additional tables cheaper.
  • I already have a lot of games on steam, so it is easier to have all my games in one library.
  • With steam it is easier to play your games on other systems. You only have to install steam, logon with your own account and download the game.

Even though Pinball FX is a great game, there are still some things I’d like to see improved:

  • Currently you have to buy the pinball table over and over again for each platform you want to play on.
  • Being able to play all tables on all platforms. Now some tables are simply not available on some platforms.
  • Being able to have a consolidated view of friends and their high scores independent of the platform.
  • Have achievements be applied on all platforms you use. By example Xbox Live achievements, PS3 trophies and Steam achievements.

I hope you enjoy the game. If you’re interested to see a compilation of available pinball tables on all platforms, take a look at this video:

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2013 in Entertainment, Games

 

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VMware – Free ebook of “VMware vSphere 5 Clustering Technical Deepdive 5.0″ and “VMware vSphere 4.1 HA and DRS technical deepdive” today and tomorrow only

Duncan Epping is offering his books vSphere Clustering Deepdive 4.0 and 5.0 for free, but only today and tomorrow.

For more info take a look at his great blog:
http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2013/05/28/free-kindle-copy-of-vsphere-5-0-clustering-deepdive/

 

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The Flickr photo service now provides 1000 GB of free storage to backup and share your photos and short video clips

I’ve been using Flickr Pro for a couple of years now and I’ve always been really happy with it. With the newly added changes I think it has become more appealing for many people so I decided to dedicate this blog post to it. I hope it is useful to you.

What is the Flickr photo sharing service

Flickr is a photo sharing service that allows you to store, sort, search and share your photos and short video clips online. You can keep your photos private, share them just with friends and/or family or share them publicly. The service is accessible through the website, but also using apps for all platforms.

Flickr can also be considered a social photo platform because there are a lot of photographers sharing their photos and forming communities by taking part in groups and discussing and giving feedback on photos.

Last week’s changes to the Flickr service

Last week Flickr.com announced some major changes to its online photo service. The biggest changes are that:

  1. The service and website have been redesigned.
  2. Flickr Free accounts get 1 Terabyte of free storage, but ads are shown and there are no detailed statistics.
  3. Flickr Ad Free accounts cost 50$ a year. This gets you 1 Terabyte of storage, but no ads are shown and you get detailed statistics.
  4. Flickr Pro accounts will not be offered anymore. Existing pro accounts can renew or switch to free and get a refund.

For more information including pictures, take a look at their blog and their website:
http://blog.flickr.net/en/2013/05/20/a-better-brighter-flickr/
http://www.flickr.com/new/
http://www.flickr.com/pro/

Why you might want to use Flickr

Some of the reasons for using Flickr include:

  1. Easily viewing, uploading, searching and sharing photos and short video clips with all kinds of devices.
  2. Having an online backup of your photos.
  3. Participating in the community.

In the past I’ve seen many people who lost precious photos from PCs, smartphones, photo cameras and storage devices. Now with the free Terabyte of storage and app integration on all platforms (including WiFi photo cameras) losing photos due to broken/lost/stolen devices should be very minimal.

Keep in mind though that it is a best practice to keep multiple backups. Also you have to know that there is always a chance that photos will become visible if Flickr gets hacked or if they have a bug in their website even though you configured them as private. So if you are really concerned about this, don’t upload these kind of sensitive photos.

If you have a lot of other data to backup (non photos), you might want to take a look at other backup services like by example CrashPlan.

Comparison of account types

Flickr free account

  • Free.
  • 1 Terabyte (1000 Gigabyte) of storage.
    • An additional Terabyte of storage costs 500$ a year (doublr).
  • Shows ads
  • No stats

Flickr Ad Free account

  • 50$ a year.
  • 1 Terabyte (1000 Gigabyte) of storage.
    • An additional Terabyte of storage costs 500$ a year (doublr).
  • Ad free.
  • Detailed stats.

Flickr Pro account (no longer available for purchase)

  • 25$ a year or 48$ for 2 years.
  • Unlimited storage.
  • Ad free.
  • Detailed stats.

Since the Flickr Pro account is no longer available for purchase. People who had a Pro account before before May 20th 2013 can:

  • Convert their old Flickr Pro account to a Flickr free account and get a refund.
  • Keep paying the old subscription fee of 25$.
 
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Posted by on May 25, 2013 in Backup, Cloud, ICT, Public Cloud

 

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Microsoft – Recordings for “Using Microsoft VDI to Enable New Workstyles Jump Start” available on MVA

The recordings for “Using Microsoft VDI to Enable New Workstyles Jump Start” are available now on Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA).

These Jump Starts are a great way to quickly get up-to-date about a subject. Also there’s a great team of people working behind the scenes to answer questions and provide more detailed resources. Other attendees often also share their experiences and provide valuable insights. So be sure to check out the Q&A log as well.

 

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Microsoft – Free Windows Azure for IT Professionals Jump Start

Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) is hosting the “Windows Azure for IT Professionals Jump Start” at May 16th. Information and registration is available on the website: https://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/liveevents/Windows-Azure-for-IT-Professionals?CR_CC=200206715

I’ve attended a couple of Jump Starts and I think it’s a great way to quickly get up-to-date about a subject. Also there’s a great team of people working behind the scenes to answer questions and provide more detailed resources. Other attendees often also share their experiences and provide valuable insights.

Also it’s only been a couple of weeks since Windows Azure IaaS is live in production backed by an enterprise SLA, supported by Microsoft Support, and ready for your production applications. Therefore it is a great time to start learning more about it.

I hope to see you there.

 

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