Posts Tagged ‘advice’

Cloud Computing Services vs Virtualization Technology – A “Technical in Nature” Discussion

May 2nd, 2012 1 comment

GUEST BLOGGER: Nora Daniels, Technical Instructor

I have recently had a discussion with a fellow colleague about the technologies of cloud services and virtualization solutions. The discussion was on their similarities and differences. On one note, it can be said that cloud services has a core component which is to be virtualized! But, having a technological focus, one must also look at the different layers to the term “virtualized” vs “virtualization” which can range from server, network, data, and even software[SaaS] and even the complete infrastructure as a service [IaaS], which may or may not have anything to do with cloud-based service solutions.

Basically, by definition to virtual-ize itself means being on or simulated on a computer or computer network <print or virtual books> <a virtual keyboard> : as a: occurring or existing primarily online (Merriam-Webster) which in itself is does defines cloud services. However, the offset of that is virtualization technology is NOT cloud technology but a possible major proponent of it. Virtualization in itself is the separation of the physical and logical component like hardware and the OS and its applications. You can have a virtualized infrastructure providing services that are not cloud-based and this has been done both privately and publically (managed service providers). However, you can also have a cloud service being provided online “virtually” that can also be using virtualization technology or not. As users or clients the line drawn between the two is fuzzy and gray and often unknown, for IT on the other hand it becomes even more challenging to separate a technological paradigm (virtualization) from a business model (cloud services). One often hears the term virtual or virtualizes and often jumps straight to “virtualization technology” which is not always the context that these terms are being used in.

Cloud computing is one of Gartner’s top 10 strategic technology trends for 2009 – #2, but, right BEHIND virtualization. Analysts say the economics of cloud for customers are truly compelling, with expected savings for business applications of 3-5x. A cloud service can be infrastructure for hosting applications or data storage, a development platform, or even an application that you can get on-demand, either off-site at a provider, such as SunGard or Salesforce, or built onsite within IT.

So, Charles King, Principal Analyst at Pund-IT has put it succinctly: “Without virtualization there is no cloud- that’s what enabled the emergence of this new, sustainable industry.” Cloud computing services do NOT require the use of a virtualization technology like VMWare, Citrix, or even Microsoft Hyper V to provide online services, virtually. It may seem that it does because so many public and private clouds depend on such virtualization tools. But these are two distinct markets and technologies with wondrous futures ahead of them.

So, is cloud technology virtualized, yes, one could argue by the technical definition that a cloud based service is virtual in that it lives “in the cloud” and not in your office. However, if looking at the technological aspect of the solution being used to host the cloud services, the use of “virtualization technology” as a layer of abstraction will vary in its utilization depending on the services required to be provided and the customer’s business need since virtualization technology in itself is not “cloud”.

Even more importantly, we have seen new technologies evolve over the past decade that are essential to the notion of the cloud. That key technology is advancements in virtualization capabilities and technology. In addition to some amazing cost savings and goodness for the environment (Green IT), virtualization’s ability as a layer of abstraction to separate the OS and application from the hardware give it ideal properties to best deliver these on-demand cloud services.

Finally, let’s also be clear, virtualization and cloud computing aren’t always the answer. Virtualization technology can be a key enabling technology for cloud computing environments to both help deliver optimized, automated, on-demand utilization, flexibility and scalability resource solutions be it internal, outsourced or hosted. But we are slowly learning what applications work best in these varying types of environments and definitely those that do not!


Categories: Guest Bloggers

The Hottest IT Certifications for 2012

April 11th, 2012 No comments

According to the TechRepublic article, “The 10 best IT certifications: 2012,” there are all kinds of “best” lists in the industry touting the safe bets in IT certifications, but this is not one of those lists. The author explains that his list is based on years of customer interaction with the goal of cataloging the most practical and in-demand certifications. Read more about “the best certifications” on our blog.

Below is a partial list drawn from the article with links to the training that can help you prepare for your certification exams.

Categories: IT Career, News

Make the case of your element and attribute names consistent with XSLT

April 5th, 2012 No comments

A common use of the XSLT translate() function is to change the case of text strings within a document; however, you may run into situations where you need to change the actual element and attribute name cases, not simply text strings within them.

For instance, you may receive well-formed XML submissions from multiple sources which use the same element/attribute names, but one may use uppercase, another upper-lower, and another all lowercase. Or you may be trying to integrate data from disparate XML data sets and need to change the case for consistency across tag names.

You can use the XSLT translate() function to do this for you. The XSLT stylesheet below is a standalone process that converts one XML document into another, changing the case of all elements and attributes from uppercase to lowercase.

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>

<!– XSLT to transform all element/attribute names to lowercase –>

<xsl:stylesheet version=”1.0″ xmlns:xsl=”“>

   <xsl:output method=”xml” encoding=”UTF-8″ version=”1.0″ />
   <xsl:template matçh=”*”>

      <xsl:variable name=”vElement”
          select=”translate(name(), ‘ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ’,'abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz’)” />

      <xsl:element name=”{$vElement}”>
         <xsl:for-each select=”@*”>
            <xsl:variable name=”vAttribute”
                select=”translate(name(), ‘ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ’,'abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz’)” />
            <xsl:attribute name=”{$vAttributename}”><xsl:value-of select=”.”/></xsl:attribute>
         <xsl:apply-templates />


The output method is, of course, XML. Note that only one template is required. Use the template to matçh on any element. Then, set a local variable to pick up the element name, matçh all uppercase letters in the name, and replace them with lowercase letters. Next, for each element, matçh on any attributes, create a new local variable, and apply the same translate rule to attribute names. Finally, apply templates to output the transformed element and attribute names.

The resulting XML file will now have lowercase names for all elements and attributes. All text and attribute contents will pass through intact.

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Categories: Tips & Tricks

Control your eraser lines

April 5th, 2012 No comments

 Have you ever tried to erase a portion of an image in a straight line? This can be rather difficult using just the mouse and the Eraser tool. Luckily, there’s a way to do this without a lot of fuss. Instead of erasing in a continuous motion with the Eraser tool, just click your mouse where you want to begin erasing. Then, press and hold [shift] and click on the end point. Photoshop automatically erases the area between each click in a perfectly straight line for you.

Check out upcoming Photoshop classes here.

Categories: Adobe, Tips & Tricks

View your chart and its underlying data simultaneously

April 5th, 2012 No comments

Sometimes you want to have your cake and eat it too!   When you chart data in Excel, you don’t need to abandon your raw data. Here’s how to quickly display a data table below your chart.

To display a data table with your chart:

  1. Launch Excel and open any workbook with an existing chart.
  2. Right-click on the chart area and choose Chart Options from the resulting shortcut menu.
  3. Click on the Data Table tab.
  4. Select the Show Data Table check box.
  5. Deselect the Show Legend Keys check box if you’d prefer to hide your series’ information; otherwise, leave the check box selected.
  6. Click OK to display the data table below your chart

View upcoming Excel classes here.

Categories: Microsoft, Tips & Tricks

Using the chart tool in Microsoft Word 2010

March 22nd, 2012 No comments

GUEST BLOGGER: Cristian Easterly, Applications Instructor

When you are creating a document in Microsoft Word, you may want to add some kind of visual element like a chart. Instead of creating a chart in another design based program, you can use the chart tool in Word. When you insert a chart, you will automatically see a second window appear on your screen. Microsoft Excel will automatically open so that you can edit the data that will be displayed in your chart. For those of you who are Microsoft Word users, you may not need to use Excel very often. And for those of you that are Excel users, you may not need to use Word very often. The great thing about adding charts is that it works with both programs and makes it very easy to understand.

When you edit the data in the Excel window, it translates into a chart inside of the Word window. There is no need to create a chart in another program. You can now use two of your Office applications at the same time to add a new visual element to your Word document. You also still have the ability to open the Excel window and edit the data to update your chart.

All you need to do is find your point of insertion in your Word document, click on the Insert tab of your ribbon, and choose chart. Once you choose your chart type, it will open Excel and place it side by side with your Word application window. Then, you can edit your chart. Anytime you are selected on your chart in the Word application window, your chart tools contextual tab will appear at the top of your ribbon. It will give you all of your options to format your chart.


I saved over my original, oh no!

February 24th, 2012 No comments

Save in multiple formats

Have you ever made changes to an original and then accidentally saved over it without making a backup copy? Well, if this sounds vaguely familiar, then we’ve got some good news for future accidents. To recover your original image, just go to the History panel and click on the opening snapshot to make it active. Then click on the Create New Document From Current State button at the base of the panel. Upon doing so, your original image will be displayed in a new document ready for you to press Save.

Now to go back to your other image and pick up where you left off, just go to the History panel and click on the last History State listed. It’s a life saver!

Check out upcoming CS5 classes here.

Categories: Adobe, Tips & Tricks

Text links add bigger SE benefits than image links alone

February 24th, 2012 No comments

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, unless you’re talking SEO. If your site uses Java script-powered drop-down menus, or uses image links, you might not be getting optimal search results. Search engine robots and spiders prefer to follow text links, so if you use images in your navigation bar, be sure to also include text links. The same is true of links within script.

To be even more effective, put the text links first when you write your source code. Why? Robots follow the first link they find on a given page. They won’t bother to follow additional links on the same page.

View upcoming web design classes here.

Categories: Tips & Tricks

Prevent or control use of USB flash drives

February 1st, 2012 No comments

Tiny flash memory drives that fit on a keychain (sometimes called thumb drives) are inexpensive and convenient for transferring files between computers that aren’t on the same network– but they can also present a security risk for your organization. They can be used to bring viruses and unauthorized software in, or to smuggle sensitive information out. Luckily, there are software products, such as GFI’s Portable Storage Control (PSC), that let you control the use of these devices on your network.

For more information on how it works, see

View security classes offered here.

Categories: security, Tips & Tricks

Great photo restoration begins with a great scan

February 1st, 2012 No comments

In this article, we offer you, in no particular order, seven tips to help you capture the best scan possible when restoring your old photos:

Clean the scanner. Make sure your scanner bed is free of dust and lint. Your old pictures have their own dust and scratches—no need to introduce more during the scanning process!
• Clean your photos. Inspect your photos for dust and dirt and gently wipe them clean with a soft cloth or lint-free photo wipe.
• Capture in color. For optimum results, scan your old black and white photos using one of your scanner’s color (RGB) settings. You’ll acquire more pixel information when you do so, and you can convert photos to grayscale after you make your edits. With sepia prints, however, you might get better results if you scan in grayscale or convert the image to black and white before you edit. Test and try it both ways. Reason: It’s easier to correct the image and make all tonal adjustments in grayscale, and then convert it to sepia in Photoshop.
• Scan at a high resolution. Scan photos using at least print resolution—300 ppi for most images, or up to around 600 ppi. You won’t obtain too much image detail beyond 600 ppi. Tip: Don’t scan higher than your scanner’s optical resolution because your scanner interpolates anything beyond that resolution.
• Double the size. When working with small photos, double their size when you scan them. For instance, if you have a 2-inch square photo, scan it at 200% so your scan size is 4-inch square. You’ll have more real estate to work with and can always downsize the image later if you need it smaller.
• Line it up right. If your photo has a tear or crease, line the crease up in the same direction your scanner scans. So if your scanner scans from right to left, align the tear or crease so it lays horizontal on the scanner bed to minimize the effect.
• Keep it low-contrast. As a general rule, don’t adjust the photo’s contrast with your scanning software before scanning. When you scan at a high contrast, any clipped highlight or shadow pixels won’t capture in your scan. If you must adjust the contrast before scanning, do so only to the point of achieving a moderate- to low-contrast image.

View upcoming Photoshop classes here.

Categories: Adobe, Tips & Tricks