An IT Geek Charity Challenge

 

Ok, Time for something a little different to blog about. This one is quite simple really.

I’m throwing down a gauntlet for other IT Geeks out there who also blog regularly, or just occasionally.

Below is a list of a few charities and organizations that I have found who are focused around Technology related causes. Either bringing technology and training to developing areas of the world, helping to rebuild communications and infrastructure in areas ravaged by natural disaster, encouraging technology education in schools, helping to increase diversity in the technology industry, etc.

Here’s how this challenge works.

If you are someone who has a Social Media presence, either in Blogging, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, whatever. I’m challenging you to take this list, select one to donate to (your time, money, used equipment, whatever) then do some research and find other charities in this category that aren’t on the list and add them, along with these that I have listed, into a blog post, Facebook post, Google+ post, of your own and throw down this gauntlet for anyone who reads your post as well.

Preferably the organization is one that has more than just a local impact on our industry but whatever fits the idea is fine.

Disaster Tech Labs

“Disaster Tech Lab provides rapid response communication networks for use in disaster relief and humanitarian aid work. Our networks and services help to connect responding organisations as well as affected communities.

We also develop new technologies for use in disaster response work.”

Computer Aid International

“Computer Aid International is a UK-registered ICT for development charity which aims to reduce poverty through practical ICT solutions. We collect IT equipment for distribution in hospitals, universities, schools and not-for-profit organisations in over 100 countries.”

DenverTechForAll

“Tech For All makes available to individuals in the community the means to become skilled and competent in computer use; we do this by gathering donations, collecting and reconditioning used equipment, identifying qualified recipients and placing the appropriate equipment with them solely for their use and at no charge.”

Women In Technology

“When one woman helps another, amazing things can happen. Professional careers leap forward. That’s what Women in Technology is all about.”

Echo

“ECHO exists to reduce hunger and improve the lives of small-scale farmers worldwide. We work to identify, validate, document and disseminate best practices in sustainable agriculture and appropriate technology.”

These are just a few. Now here, I’ve done some of the work for you. Here are a few sites listing charitable organizations so you don’t have to do as much research.

 

Charity.org

Great Nonprofits

TechRepublic: 10 Charities Harnessing The Power of the Digital Age

 

There it is. Step Up. Accept this Challenge. Take one, Pass IT on.

An Internet Explorer Eulogy

IE is Dead. Yeah ok, in the age old analogy, lets stop kicking a dead horse by posting about it over and over again.
While I am a Microsoft person, I didn’t really use IE much but I also didn’t have anything against it. IE definitely had problems, security holes, and it’s own special mess of issues that only website developers can appreciate.
However, because I’m tired of the Browser Trolls spouting off their tired rhetoric and the derp derp “good riddance Internet Exploder, Micro$oft needs to retire too” derp derp I want to toss out some reminders to give credit where credit is due.

  • XmlHttpRequest, the basis for Ajax and what most modern web applications are built on today
  • Dynamic HTML
  • innerHTML
  • iFrame
  • The Favicon
  • contentEditable and designMode, both of which were Microsoft’s inventions and are now part of the HTML5 standard.
    IE was the first browser to use CSS.
  • Sadly, it did also introduce ActiveX but, like it or not, that’s used heavily still, for good or bad

Security exploits, anti-competitive practices, directly causing the death of Netscape (which I greatly preferred over IE at the time) aside, without IE, none of your preferred browsers that you’re busily spanking yourself over, or the web as we know it today, would even be here if it wasn’t for Internet Exploder.

And, for the myriads of comments I’m seeing from people who have already decided that whatever the Project Spartan browser turns into will be an abject failure simply on the grounds that it’s a Microsoft browser, get a life, get out of your parent’s basement, and get into another line of work that doesn’t involve acceptance of new technology simply on it’s own initial merits and making decisions based on actual facts and quantifiable conclusions.

Microsoft of 2015 is not the Micro$oft of the 80’s and 90’s and you’re an idiot if you don’t realize that and at least give whatever new technology comes a fair chance.

All things considered, I’m raising a beer in it’s memory, both good and bad.

On Reflections of a Walrus

“Let us talk of many things: Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax— Of cabbages—and kings— And why the sea is boiling hot— And whether pigs have wings.”.

With utmost respect to Lewis Carroll, let us talk of many things, of Trolls, and Loss, and Growing Old, Of Attitudes and Feelings, and why our Lives are Precious Things, and whether Pizza is better than Buffalo Wings.

I began my morning today, on this March 7th, 2015, the 45th Anniversary of my entering into this world with bickering with a Troll. Not a bad way to start the day considering my past as a Role-Playing Gamer. Sadly for the Troll, I am the one who wields the Banhammer and he gave me just enough experience points to level up as I put him in his place.

In both our Professional and Personal lives, in our Hobbies and in our Passions, we lose a piece of our soul if we shut out everything else around us to the exclusion of our single, myopic vision of “what’s right”.

In this particular Troll instance, the person is a Linux ‘fan’. Fan in this case is truly short for fanatic. My particular industry, Information Technology, is full of them.

Technology in general really. People who will stand in line for hours, sometimes days, for a new iWhatsit. People who take every possible opportunity to tell everyone around them how much better their favorite whatever is superior to everything else on the market. Who hate on a particular RPG, Band, Video Game, whatever and verbally abuse anyone who doesn’t agree with them.

Sad, pathetic little creatures who focus so hard on their own self-righteous thoughts and opinions that they miss the wonderful variety there is out there available to those of us who appreciate everything.

Life has far too much to give us to be so totally focused on our preferences as to only see our world in a narrow tunnel vision.

I have a friend of mine who recently, and totally unexpectedly, lost a member of his family. Myself and all of the IT Community that him and I are in immediately extended respects, condolences, and support. Why? Because we’re just that, a community.

We have each others back. Period.

Losing someone is a stark reminder of our own mortality and should give us a renewed appreciation for what we have and what we can still achieve in life. As I told this friend, I personally feel like that reminder is one final gift given to us by those we’ve lost.

They exit this world with a reminder to those who remain to truly appreciate it.

Don’t focus on your own bias to the point where you ignore all else.

Don’t throw away what, or who, you have in your life because you’ve spent so long focusing on the bad traits that you lost sight of the good ones.

Don’t be so narrow minded in your own personal views of what it right as to discriminate against people who live their lives, and loves, in a manner you don’t agree with.

Live and Let Live and in all things, do no harm.

Oh, except for that whole Pizza thing. Sorry, if you think Buffalo Wings are better, you’re wrong.

 

 

Scratching the Surface of IT Certifications

I am regularly discussing the value of IT Certifications and also the availability of legitimate, trustworthy sources for training materials.

There is definitely a polarized opinion concerning the value of certifications with some very heated opinions on both sides. I’m not really going to go into my thoughts on that in this post but one thing I can say is that a huge factor in some individuals low opinion of certifications is the rampant piracy of training material and the availability of braindump websites.

In an effort to fight the sketchy braindump sites I wanted to provide a small list of some legitimate training resources that I have compiled and also some tips on determining if a training site is legitimate or not.

First things first, my list. Keep in mind this is barely dipping into all the different resources out there. Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle, Juniper, Dell, VMWare, HP, on and on and on, all have their own certifications and approved training partners.

This is just a, in no particular order, list that I’ve thrown together.

Online Resources:

CBTNuggets
Kaplan SelfTest
MeasureUp
Transcender
PluralSight
Lynda.com
ITPro.tv 

Brand Specific Sources:

The Cisco Learning Network 
Microsoft Learning
Microsoft Virtual Academy
Microsoft IT Academy
Dell Education Services
Born To Learn
Oracle University
VMWare Education
CompTIA

There are also a fair number of physical training facilities available. My knowledge of available facilities is mainly US-centric so I am not sure who has locations in other countries but they should have location information on their website.

Potential Local Learning Centers:
New Horizons
CompuCom Systems, Inc.
ITT Technical Institute
TechSherpas
The MicroAge Network 
ONLC Training Centers
QuickStart Intelligence
Global Knolwedge
Learning Tree International 

A few other lists of resources that include ones that I haven’t listed here:

Useful Training Resource Lists:
http://www.tomsitpro.com/articles/best-it-training-certification-resources,5-78.html
http://certguard.com/trusted.asp
http://www.trainingindustry.com/it-training/top-companies-listings/2014/2014-top-20-it-training-companies.aspx
http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2015/01/21/choose-the-right-online-it-training

A Good Blog Concerning Certification Piracy:
https://borntolearn.mslearn.net/members/kerri-davis-_2d00_-msl-anti_2d00_piracy-pm/blogs

One thing potential IT certification takers need to keep in mind is that they’re all a lot more comprehensive and difficult to pass now due to the rise of pirated test answers and braindump websites offering to sell tests and “guarantee a pass”.

If some certification website guarantees a pass or your money back, it’s a braindump and not legitimate, period. When in doubt, research. Contact the individual companies behind the certification you are seeking.

They all lose money off intellectual property theft so they’re going to be more than happy to help direct people towards their legitimate certification partners.