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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

IT brilliance at the podium (not a contradiction in terms)

Opportunities for public speaking can be career builders or career killers. You've probably heard the statistics that say people are more afraid of public speaking than death, and you may be one of them. But did you realize that non-technical audience members may be even more afraid than you are. They are often bombarded with technical information they are asked to understand, but may not feel competent to grasp. As technologists, we're in a unique position to far exceed our audience's expectation when we step to the podium.
...Read more on my Computerworld blog (Premium Insider content, free registration required)

Using the Netstat utility to understand network connections

Netstat is an old utility.  It's been around for as long as I can remember.  It's still very much relevant today as a means of identifying what connections are open on a computer and the nature of the those connections.  If you simply run "netstat" at a command prompt, you'll see a list of connections to your computer.  The first column lists the protocol (TCP, for example), the second column lists the local IP address and port number, the third column lists the foreign address and port number, and the fourth column lists the TCP state.  (For information about TCP states, review RFC 793.)

Netstat also supports a variety of options which can display Ethernet statistics such as the number of packets and bytes sent and received (netstat -e) or ICMP traffic (netstat -ps icmp).  You can see all the options by typing netstat /?.

If it's been a while since you visited Netstat, open up a command prompt or PowerShell and give it a try.  (I hope you don't find any surprises in the connections list!)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The real value of IT certifications: Education

I got my first certification in the 90s on Windows 98. I did it solely because I was tired of hemming and hawing when my clients asked if I was certified. After all, I'd been working and playing with technology in various forms since the 1960s. I didn't need to prove myself to anyone and besides, all certification would prove is that I had good test-taking skills. I was surprised, however, after going through the preparation and testing process, at how much I learned on subjects not directly related to Windows 98.
...read more on my Computerworld blog

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Murder is not an option: How to deal with difficult end-users

From the office worker who insisted on using refrigerator magnets to attach floppy disks to the side of his computer to a high-priced attorney who demanded the IT guy come to his office to move the keyboard on his desk, we've all dealt with our share of difficult end-users.  Sometimes, they're difficult because they're digitally-challenged, other times they're difficult because they're jerks.  Regardless, the successful IT person figures out a way to deal with them successfully and without bloodshed.

...Read more on my Computerworld blog