Friday, 31 August 2012

CompTIA Linux+ is making Changes to Exam Objectives

CompTIA has announced that they will be making minor changes to the CompTIA Linux+ Powered by LPI exams by the end of the year.

CompTIA Linux+ Logo“The objective changes are reflected in the current exam objectives available for download and will be reflected in both CompTIA Linux+ exams, LX0-101 and LX0-102, by the end of August 2012.”

The updates to the CompTIA Linux+ exam objectives are listed below: 
  • Adding objectives pertaining to systemd, Upstar, LVM, GRUB 2, and ext4;
  • Deleting LILO from list of terms; and
  • Adding bash_history to list of terms.

 The updates to the CompTIA Linux+ exam objectives: 
  • Adding Environmental Variable TZ to list of terms, and
  • Adding an objective pertaining to IPv6

“CompTIA Linux+ Powered by LPI is a high-stakes, vendor-neutral certification that validates the fundamental knowledge and skills required of junior Linux administrators.”

Webinar: How to reduce cost of network security by 30-70%

Sapphire Logo

Sapphire and Altimate are hosting a webinar to demonstrate the increased security, productivity and cost savings that an organisation could achieve by installing Stonesoft network security.

Stonesoft Mass Security is a range of network security products that offer:

    STONESOFT Network Security
  • Multiple security functions
  • Comprehensive, centralised and easy to operate administration
Stonesoft solutions are said to reduce network operation expenses and total costs from 30% to 70%.

  • Lowest total cost of ownership on the market with Stonesoft
  • Administration cost savings
  • Save up to 50% on appliances with our competitor trade-in scheme
The webinar will be taking place on Monday 24 September and offers a unique insight into how Stonesoft operates within an organisation

For more information, follow this link:
To register for the event, follow this link:

Cisco offered Government Agencies IPv6 Training

World IPv6 LogoCisco hosted it’s free one hour webinar yesterday which was designed to help government agencies meet the September 30, 2012 deadline for compliance with the latest IPv6 Internet protocol.

The World IPv6 was launched more than a year ago, officially released on June 8 and the deadline is about soon to arrive. Despite this, according to data by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), only 1% of federal websites are supporting the IP on their email, web services and DNS.

Cisco Marketing manager, Amy Blanchard stated that “We at Cisco understand the urgency and difficulty of this change, therefore have partnered with the Digital Government Institute to host a free one-hour webinar on Aug. 30 (2 p.m. ET) that will give attendees the tools, as well as outline five steps, to help your agency move quickly toward compliance as the clock ticks down”.

The Webinar, called “5 Steps to Meet the September 30 IPv6 Deadline,” included the following topics: 
  • How to get your agency on the road to compliance
  • Where to find agency help in the federal government
  • How to get the best services from the GSA schedules
  • About the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) IPv6 standards and how IPv6 has been integrated into a long list of USGv6-certified products
  • How five federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, have already made the transition.

Twitter Certified Products Program

Twitter is releasing a certification program for third-party business applications.

Through the new program, Twitter will evaluate third-party applications which are built for its website and that are designed to help businesses better understand and communicate with their customers.

Twitter LogoA few weeks ago, twitter announced that included in the latest version of its API (application programing interface) is changes made to encourage developers to create applications.

Seth Bindernagel from Twitter blogged that "with this program, we've identified areas where we see huge demand for innovation on Twitter's platform”

Twitter is awarding certification in the following areas, Engagement, Analytics and Data Reseller. Applications in these areas are mostly designed to help businesses monitor, filter and analyse tweets that have something to do with them.

MCSD Certification to be released in October


The second qualification for the new MCSD line-up is about to be released. MCSD: Web Applications is designed for developers who use Azure, MVC, CSS3, and most importantly HTML5; the language Microsoft is pushing the most for its ‘Metro-style’ apps.

  • 70-480: Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3
  • 70-486: Developing ASP.NET 4.5 MVC Web Applications
  • 70-487: Developing Windows Azure and Web Services

70-480 (HTML5 with Javascript and CSS3) is part of the MCSD: Metro Style Apps track and is going to be available on 20 August. The others are said to be released during October this year.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Seminar: Improving Business Performance

Sapphire and their partners are hosting a seminar on “Improving Business Performance”.

Pomme D'or Hotel, Jersey
Pomme D'or Hotel, Jersey
The seminar will cover the latest edition of ISACA’s globally accepted framework: COBIT 5, the challenges surrounding secure information sharing and how to protect information in today's mobile society.

The seminar will be taking place on Thursday 20 September in The Pomme D’or Hotel, Jersey. Registration will take place between 13.30 and 14.00.

To download the agenda and view the presentation synopsis, please click on the link below.

After the seminar attendees will be invited to join the presenters at The Blind Pig Speakeasy for networking and for “a couple of cocktails and canapés”.

For information, follow this link:
To register for the event, follow this link:

For any other questions contact Tina Deighton ( on 0845 58 27001.

Microsoft unveils its new Logo

25 years have passed since the last change in Microsoft’s logo, and it is a good time for its change.

It has been quite a year for Microsoft; they have and are releasing new versions of nearly all their products. Office 2013, Xbox services, Windows phone 8 and the big release Windows 8. In all these new updates you can feel a similar feel, and similar experiences and it all comes from the implantation of the ‘Metro-style’ desktop seen in Windows 8. So what is Metro? It’s simple, easy and smart which has been used in the simple but elegant new logo for Microsoft.

“The symbol is important in a world of digital motion (as demonstrated in the video above.) The symbol’s squares of colour are intended to express the company’s diverse portfolio of products.” – Microsoft Blog

CCNA training through Cisco’s Aspire game

Students studying for the CCNA certification can now come across a new game offered by the Cisco Learning Network. The game is called Aspire and is designed to help you train for the CCNA. The game is free but in order to complete the game, you have to buy tokens from Cisco.

Cisco CCNA Aspire
Once downloaded and installed, you create a user. You are then presented with a map of a small town with potential clients as seen in the image above. There are also several people that you will meet who become a part of your network of clients and employers who also can also help you with practice questions.

Hitler And The Downfall Of Silverlight

As most of us know, it was announced that the Metro-style bowser in Windows 8 does not support plug-ins.

Dean Hachamovitch stated last year in September For the web to move forward and for consumers to get the most out of touch-first browsing, the Metro style browser in Windows 8 is as HTML5-only as possible and plug-in free. The experience that plug-ins provide today is not a good match with Metro style browsing and the modern HTML5 web”

So what does this mean?
No Silverlight, no QuickTime, no Flash and no PDF.

Simply put, the Metro-style browser cannot support the plugins. However, you can still argue that Windows 8 has “desktop” mode, but is being positioned as something that should be used for more complex applications such as Photoshop, etc…

This also means that certified Silverlight professionals are not a happy bunch. Here’s a video we found that pretty much sums up how they feel.

Typical day for the IT professional

Almost every IT Professional has been there, when that computer illiterate calls you up and ask questions which are as simple to solve as turning a page in a book. But as this video shows, it seems that it has been a problem for centuries…

Neuroelectronic comments “The humour here is the idiot’s fear of trying anything. He knows how to use a scroll and he feels that means he shouldn't have to learn to use a book, so he flat out refuses to learn. Notice how he says well the scroll is faster.”

IT Professionals

Government proposes new ICT curriculum

Last month, the Department of Education announced that it is going to remove the current programmes of ICT study in schools, starting in September 2012.

It was confirmed that the subject will remain compulsory for all pupils, but more demanding IT classes can now be delivered more freely.

ICT (Junior - Academic Curriculum)

St Benedict's School
The plan is being welcomed with many stating that the move has been much needed. The regional VP for Hitachi Data, Stephan Ball stated that “the current curriculum, which revolves around Microsoft Office, has done more to teach people basic office skills than it has to encourage a career in technology,”

He added that “for one of the most exciting global industries (which is growing and in need of talented youngster) we should all be aiming to do much more than teach the basics".

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Demand for IT staff at all time high

According to a study by e-skills UK, during the next 8 years, IT employment will grow at almost twice the national average.

The ‘Technology Insights’ report shows that almost 130,000 new recruits a year are needed to fill the IT and telecoms sectors in the UK, which is at a record high. The report also found that the most significant growth in the IT industry was in the following areas:
e-skills UK logo
  • ICT managers
  • Software professionals
  • IT strategy and planning professionals

In addition, it shows that the number of advertised job vacancies have increased from 82,000 per quarter in 2009 to over 115,000 per quarter in 2011.

The most advertised jobs are as follows:
  • Design
  • Development
  • Support roles

The most common technical skills required and looked for are C, C#, Java and SQL.

The CEO for e-skills UK Karen Price stated that “with IT employment set to grow at such a pace, it is vital that we continue to invest in the skills of those working in technology, and create new routes for young people to enter exciting and challenging careers in the industry”.

Hotels moving to the cloud

Kempinski Hotels are moving from the traditional on-site IT to cloud storage and computing offered by Amazon’s AWS (Amazon Web Services).
Kempinski Hotels

Kempinski Hotels, said to be Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group created in 1897, is migrating to the cloud in order to improve staff productivity and reduce costs.

The hotel chain operates 73 five star hotels in 31 countries and previously relied on its 140 servers all managed at its Geneva headquarters.

Following a review, Cloudreach’s director and co-founder Pontus Noren stated that it created a “business case” adding that “many are anxious about migration. By provding a business case for companies, Cloudreach aims to dispel concerns”


Three in Four companies embracing the cloud

Many are suggesting that cloud will take over as the new platform for storage, and many studies are now supporting it. A recent study shows that over three in four are going to embrace the cloud.
Cloud Technology

In a recent study by RHT (Robert Half Technology) it was found that only 23% of CIOs and IT directors around the UK have said that they are not planning to migrate their IT systems to the cloud.

Medium & Large companies leading the charge
In addition, although many previous surveys suggested that smaller companies were among the first to migrate, RHT’s research shows that 38% of them are not likely to migrate. 92% of medium companies and 88% of large companies are embracing cloud.

The research also shows that the main barrier to migrate is still security. 45% of the respondents not embracing the cloud said that it was their key concern. Other concerns included Data integrity, costs, speed of service and continuity of service.

RHT senior Manager Neil Hedges stated “It’s surprising that so many heads of IT appear to have not embraced the value of cloud technology, although this may be partly due to the lack of understanding of the benefits and how it can be applied to their organisation”.

What concerns do companies have when migrating to the cloud?

Manchester academies to improve IT security

Three Manchester academies are having their internet security services improved by Imerja, a Boltan based IT solutions specialist.

Three year contracts have been signed the cities Health Academy, Enterprise Academy and Co-operative Academy in their recent partnership in order to gain purchasing power and shared knowledge. This has helped the three academies to reduce the costs.

Imerja It Security
The managing director for Imerja Ian Jackson stated that “with the current financial pressures, it is often a challenge to balance security with costs for many public institutions.”

Imerja offers anti-virus software, web filtering and spam protection to protect staff, students and valuable data. The company will also offer the academies a team of Imerja engineers on hand 24 hours a day to help with more complicated IT issues. 

Cloud storage system used at CERN

Huawei Cloud
Huawei’s cloud storage system is now being used at the CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research) after passing its performance test.

 It will be used to explore heaps of petabytes of data which is generated in the search for the Higgs Boson and the fundamental building blocks of the universe.

LHC CERNThe massive increase in data storage space was needed for the growing 20 petabytes of data per year. CERN was only using its global computing resource, the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid Tier-0 for its storage and analysis but has now set up the CERN openlab, which holds the Huawei cloud in order to develop advanced IT systems for LHC scientists.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

SuperMUC: Most powerful supercomputer in Europe

The most powerful supercomputer in Europe SuperMUC has been released in Germany. It uses SUSE Linux Enterprise Sever and is currently the fourth most powerful in the world, behind the U.S, Japan and China.

It was unveiled in July by IBM and will be used to solve difficult scientific questions in physics and fluid dynamics.

It has over 155,000 processor cores which is said to deliver an impressive peak performance of over three petaflops of computer power. A single petaflop is a thousand trillion floating point operations per second, equivalent to the work of more than 110,000 personal computers.

One of its special features is its new form of hot-water cooling technology also invented by IBM. It allows the system to consume 40% less energy than the comparable air-cooled machine, allowing to be built 10 times more compact.

Big Data, the big thing to happen to the internet

To first talk about big data, it is important to understand what it is. The term ‘Big Data’ is usually used to define a Big Data Platform. This is a data set that can handle sizes much larger than the average software tools can. 

Hadoop Big Data LogoAn example of a Big Data tool is Hadoop (mentioned in a previous post) which is used to handle large quantities of data to capture, manage and process. 

This year, Gartner updated the definition of 'Big Data' to the following "Big Data are high-volume, high-velocity, and/or high-variety information assets that require new forms of processing to enable enhanced decision making, insight discovery and process optimization."

Why Big Data is a Big Thing
Big data is changing what computers can do. Without it, Google would have not been what it is today as the sheer quantity of information has grown significantly. It is changing things for three reasons:
        1.    It handles huge amounts of information in all types of formats
        2.    Its fast, almost instant
        3.    It uses low cost hardware making it affordable
For these three reasons it’s solving several problems companies would normally face.

Pat Gelsinger, the Chief Operating Officer of the storage giant EMC stated that big data is a $70 billion market and is growing at a massive 15-20% a year. Almost every tech company is interested and are investing heavily in ‘Big Data’ products and services. 

Office 2013 Customer Preview

Microsoft has announced a preview Office 2013 which you are now able to try. The Office 2013 preview has the desktop versions of Access, Excel, InfoPath, Lync, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher and Word, all with the Metro-style interfaces.

One of the big changes with the new Office is in its enhanced integration with the cloud system. All work is now available through the skydrive which gives all users involved access to the latest copy of a document. Watch the preview to see some of the latest features.

Click here to try the customer preview:

What do you think of the new Office? comment below.

Hacker Halted 2012 | Information Security Conference

Hacker Halted 2012

Hacker Halted is an Information Security Conference presented by EC-Council. It puts together the world’s top information security experts in order to raise awareness towards increased ethics and education in IT security.

This years conference will take place on the 25th to the 31st of October at the Intercontinental Hotel in Miami, Florida. The conference is looking to be one of the best information security conferences of the year. The Keynote speakers include:

·         Winn Schwartau (Top expert on security, privacy, infowar, and cyber-terrorism)
·         Richard Thieme (Acclaimed Infosec speaker and author)
·         Philippe Courtot (Chairman - Qualys)
·         Matt Watchinkski (Expert vulnerability researcher)
·         Jeremiah Grossman (CTO - WhiteHat Security)
·         Jeff Bardin (Renowned Cyber Jihad expert)
·         Jack Daniel (Expert on network security)
·         Among many others…

“This event will feature presentations that revolve around topics into various security issues plaguing the world today. In addition to highlighting current digital security threats, renowned speakers and industry experts will also discuss the various means of protection and countermeasures in dealing with these threats. This global conference is the perfect platform for information security professionals to enhance knowledge and exchange views, as well as network with other security professionals.” 
 - EC-Council.

The event is now on its 14th year and in addition to the conference, it holds workshops and training programs led by the EC-Council trainers. Among the courses will be the well-known CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) course, and many other Infosec and advanced security training courses led by world class instructors.

EC-Council is also offering a free iPad3 to all conference or academy registrants. Click here for information on this amazing offer:

Register here:

Hacker Halted 2012

Highest Paying IT Skills

IT professionals with the right tech skills are netting a £50,000+ salary and are high in demand. One issue many face with the fast developing digital world is the need for new skills. But older technology is highly in demand and many companies are competing for those who can deal with the tasks.

Here is a list of 5 top paying tech skills which companies are looking to get their hands on:

            1.    J2EE Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition
The Java computing platform by Oracle is one of the most popular languages used for writing web apps.

       2.    Hadoop
Hadoop LogoHadoop is an important up-and-coming "big data" technology. Hadoop is designed to gather huge amounts of information, store it, and then analyse it. One example of this is using it to analyse customers buying patterns.
      3.    Unified Modeling Language (UML)
UML is a visual language and is used to construct and document intricate software designs. It turns a complicated software process into a diagram.
      4.    PowerBuilder
PowerBuilder is a software development tool owned by Sybase. It is used to develop custom Web apps on Microsoft's .Net platform. It is one of the older tools, released in the early 1990’s so not that many know the language, making it harder to find.
Silverlight Logo          5.    Silverlight
Silverlight which we all know is a Microsoft technology. It is used to create media apps for the Web. It's Microsoft's solution to Adobe Flash. One issue with this skill is that it is soon going to be made redundant. Microsoft is now putting its attention on HTML5. Windows 8 for instance, does not support Silverlight. On the other hand, many companies that have Silverlight apps are still on the lookout for these skills.

How do you feel about the change from Silverlight to HTML5? comment on the box below.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Gartner’s Hype Cycle Highlights

One highlight of the Hype Cycle is the quick adaptation for organisations to buy SaaS (Software as a Service) which allows Gartner to predict that more than 50% of companies will use SaaS applications by 2015. Another important highlight is that cloud email is expected to be used in 10% of organisations, which was a surprising drop since previous hype cycle forecasts where close to 20%.

The factors driving the SaaS adoption is the overcoming of IT and budget limitations and the increase in ‘big data’. Big data will have a strong impact within organisations in 2-5 years.

Markets of cloud management business processes are expected to increase annually by 25%. There has been an increase in the interest of cloud solutions for MDM (Master Data Management). The MDM cloud solutions involve the following leading suppliers: Cognizant, Data Scout, IBM, Informatica, Oracle and Orchestra Network.

One of the most notable highlights is that by 2014, the personal cloud is expected to replace the PC as the main data management for a user’s digital life. And an impressive 75% of enterprises surveyed by Gartner are planning to move to cloud computing by 2014.

When is your company planning to move to the cloud?

Tweet for your chance to win £50 Amazon voucher

Firebrand has just launched its first Movie Mash-up, and the subject is Microsoft.

So, for your chance to win a £50 Amazon voucher, tweet your Microsoft-related movie titles. Voucher
Here are a few already posted to get you going:
  • Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silverlight Server (@EdgeMcghee)
  • Powerpoint Rangers (@krttaylor1991)
  • SharePoint Holmes (@JulianArBeltran)
You can find all entries here.

Think you can do better for £50?

Enter the Twitter competition in two easy steps:
  1. Tweet your Microsoft Movie Mash-up to @BeAFirebrand - ensure you've used #microsoftmovies and #firebrand hashtag
  2. Follow @BeAFirebrand on Twitter

Follow Firebrand to receive the latest IT news, how to guides, offers and competitions.

The competition ends Thursday 30 August 2012. The Winner will be chosen based on the best Microsoft Movie Mash-up and will be contacted following day.

Good Luck.

Which Microsoft Movie Mash-up has been your favourite so far? Comment in the section below.

Gartner’s Hype Cycle and its cloud assessment

Gartner recently released its annual report of the Hype Cycle, which represents an annual assessment of over 1,900 technologies and trends in IT security and IT. The cloud computing 2012 model of the Hype Cycle is designed to help companies understand the standpoint of advancement in technology and their market demand.

Although many vendors are offering a strategy for cloud computing, not many have been able to show that their strategies are centralised cloud.

GartnerGartner’s report states that “Many misconceptions exist around potential benefits, pitfalls and, of course, cost savings. Cloud is often part of cost-cutting discussions, even though its ability to cut costs is not a given. There are also many reasons to talk about the capabilities enabled by cloud computing: agility, speed and innovation. These are the potential benefits that can be overlooked if hype fatigue sets in”.

Moreover, it is being predicted that many of the technologies will advance and continue to transform. One example of this is that in the next two years virtualization will pass through significant changes. And within the next 2 to 5 years, significant changes will happen in advertising in a cloud, big data, cloud computing, PaaS (Platform as a Service), and public clouds.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Day 2: Sharepoint 2010 training

Its Day 2 on Mike's MCTS Sharepoint 2010 Developer course and he begins his module on the 'Awesomeness of Workflows'

He's a huge fan of Workflows, stating that he often needs to remind himself that they are not always the solution. 

"There are a lot of great things to say about this course and even about the official courseware".

He also adds that "Silverlight really does look awesome." also pointing out the disappointing fact that it is becoming obsolete.

Read more here:

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Pussy Riot Court hacked by Anonymous

The Moscow Court that sentenced the Pussy Riot band had its web-site hack on Monday. The Khamovnichesky District Court was filled with anti-Vladimir Putin slogans, a Pusyy Riot song and a video uploaded.
The three female band members were jailed on Friday their anti-Putin songs and their protest in a Moscow cathedral in February.
The hacktivist group Anonymous claimed responsibility for the attack with the following message in Russian:
"We are American group Anonymous. We don't forget and we don't forgive," another message read: "The justice system has to be transparent. Pussy are alive".
The hackers also uploaded Pussy Riot latest song; Putin is Lighting the Fires of the Revolution, and embedded a video of a famous gay Bulgarian singer, Aziz.
A spokeswoman for the court stated that they only discovered the attack a whole day after; Tuesday, which is when they took the web-site down.
Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich (band members) were found guilty of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" and have been jailed for two years. They have already spent 5 months in prison.

CompTIA Donates $10,000

The CompTIA Small Business Owners Community recently donated an impressive $10,000 to two Chicago-area organisations to “attract young people to tech careers”. The money for the donations came from their Creating IT Futures Foundation. Find out more how each of these groups is helping to enlarge the IT workforce by recruiting new industry entrants here.

Frank Picarello, chief operating officer, CMIT Solutions, and chair of CompTIA’s Small Business Owner Community stated “As a leader of the IT industry, we feel it is our duty to support well deserving organizations like the Illinois Technology Foundation and Year Up Chicago that provide assistance and support to our future generations, who already possess a strong passion for information technology,

He added that “It’s important to our members that we make a difference and have an impact on our local communities. We fully support the valuable work that both ITF and Year Up are doing to help instill knowledge and strength in the minds of young people”.

The Small Business Owners Community provides networking opportunities and develops small education programs. It also creates initiatives which include “employee training programs for critical organizational disciplines, including business development, customer services, human resources, technical services, time management and business documentation”.

Amazon launches new cloud: Glacier

Amazon launched its latest cloud storage service this week, Glacier. It aims to provide an “extremely low-cost storage service that provides secure and durable storage for data archiving and backup” for enterprise users. Costs can be as low as $0.01 for each gigabyte per month thanks to the fact that it “is optimized for data that is infrequently accessed and for which retrieval times of several hours are suitable”. Amazon also adds that companies usually over charges for their backup solutions, with high upfront costs not including the operational costs (power, facilities, staffing and maintenance).
 Amazon Glacier on the other hand does not charge upfront fees, instead, “You pay only for what you need” with low monthly rates. AWS (Amazon Web Services) also takes care of all maintenance to ensure the data is secure and operational. One small drawback is that data retrieval could take between 3.5 to 4.5 hours if necessary.
Using Glacier is fairly simple, just go to the AWS Management Console. From there, begin to store your data into archives (single file or a group of multiple files). These are then organised in vaults with access controlled using the AWS Identity and Access Management service. The service uses SSL to transfer data while stored information is encrypted using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256.
 For more information, visit: