Friday, November 30, 2012

How to Update Cisco ASA Software from the Cisco Website

I've got a new video for you on how to update the software, including the ASDM (Adaptive Security Device Manager) on your Cisco ASA Security Appliance.  It's not difficult and here's the video (this video was updated on 12/1/2012):

Like most of my videos, it's based on information in my books, in this case The Accidental Administrator:  Cisco ASA Security Appliance.

Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Other Skill Set Required for Success in I.T.

Today’s IT professional must master two skill families in order to be successful.  The first is technical skills and knowledge.  That part of IT education is obvious.  Without a solid technical understanding, you simply can’t do the job.  The second is gaining skills for customer service in IT:  An ability to understand, get along with, and influence people.  Even though our jobs are indeed technical in nature, the human component is always present and it’s often the most challenging part of our jobs.  We may have the technical knowledge to help an end-user, but if they’re angry, frustrated, or otherwise upset, it’s our people skills that allow us first to manage the situation successfully.  Then we use our technical skills to solve the technical problem. 

Here's a video I just recorded about the other skill set required for success in I.T.

Not only do our people skills help us in our one-on-one interactions with our end-users, they also help us deal with organizational politics: how we interact with other people, both individually and in groups.  By mastering people skills, we can learn to successfully navigate the political landscape in the office to gain credibility with our co-workers, our end-users, and our bosses and, most importantly, gain their support behind our backs.

For information about my customer service for IT class one-day seminar, visit

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

New video: Understanding an IP Address

I just posted a new video on understanding IP addresses.  It covers how to convert binary to decimal and vice versa, plus the fundamentals of a subnet.  It's based on chapter three in my Cisco router book.

If you're working on your CCNA or Network+ certifications, this should be helpful.  

Mister Rogers, IT, and Gratitude

This is Thanksgiving week in the US.  Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, because it's always been the least commercialized of our major holidays.  I love the time with family and friends, the great food, and the opportunity to reflect on the blessings of my life.

This year, I'd like to share a special video with you.  For our friends outside the US who aren't familiar with Mister Rogers, he was a television personality who focused on helping children.  He treated children with tremendous respect and was often an advocate for children.  Rogers was honored with numerous awards, including four Daytime Emmy Awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997 from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.  This is a video of his acceptance speech for his Lifetime Achievement award.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Please know that I'm very thankful for you.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

More on Windows 8 and my new hard drive

I've been working with my newly upgraded laptop for a week with Windows 8 and the Seagate hybrid hard drive.  Some thoughts:

  • It boots incredibly fast.  From death to life in about 35 seconds.  Very impressive.
  • I really like the start screen in Windows 8, especially now that I've figured out how to customize it by adding things to it.  (Right-click on the item to be added, perhaps a folder, and choose "Add to start screen".)
  • I haven't found a way to add Recent Files to the start screen.  I really miss that from the start menu in previous versions of Windows.  You can add Recent Places, but it's not even close to the same thing as Recent Files.
  • I don't particularly care for the Windows 8 start screen apps.  They just seem sort of clunky.  I find myself bypassing them and just using my old favorites such as Google Chrome.
  • The one exception to my previous comment about the Windows 8 start screen apps is the email client, which allows you to aggregate email from multiple sources, so I have my Hotmail, Gmail, and Yahoo mail all in a single interface.  That's handy.
  • As you might expect, there are compatibility issues, but so far the only big one I've discovered is with Quickbooks.  That's an Intuit issue, not a Microsoft issue.  (It's the same thing that happened going from XP to Vista and from Vista to 7 where you can't create PDFs of invoices and other documents to send to clients.)  Intuit has a lousy track record with me in this area.  Also, HP doesn't support my ancient laptop with Windows 8 drivers.  I had to go to the Nvidia website and download Windows 7 video drivers, but they work, so this is a minor hitch.  Canon, on the other hand, has Windows 8 drivers and software available now to download for use with their printers and multi-function devices, even old ones!

Overall?  I'm very impressed with the Seagate Momentus hard drive.  Windows 8?  The jury's still out, but I am enjoying far.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Getting the media interested in my Cisco router book

It's one thing to write a book.  It's a whole other thing to create awareness of the book so that prospective readers can find and purchase it.  The two have to work together.  You certainly don't want to spend months (or, in some cases, years) writing a book just to have no one read it.  The key is to create a compelling work that piques the interest of a few members of the media.  They, in turn, write about it (hopefully in a favorable tone), and prospective readers hear about it and buy it.  The challenge is getting those members of the media to a) become aware of the book and b) to write about it.  We've just completed the second press release for my new Cisco router book.  The first one didn't seem to work, so I hired a different firm to write and help distribute the second one.  Here's a link to it.  It's being distributed through PRWeb.  I'll let you know how it does.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Just passed the IPv6 Engineer Silver Certification

I came to San Jose, California for the Gogo6 IPv6 conference.  While I was here, I studied for and passed the IPv6 Forum's IPv6 Silver Engineer certification test.  Yes, I know most organizations seem to be dragging their feet on migrating to IPv6 for lots of very good reasons.  The reality is that eventually we're all going to have to make the move, so I just want to be ready...both for my own organization and to help students prepare.  Check out my Kindle e-book on implementing IPv6 on a Cisco router.  It's only $3.99 right now, but in the near future, I'm going to offer it for free to email list subscribers and people who like the Facebook page, so sign up for our email newsletter or "like" our Facebook page.  We're also going to be offering IPv6 training starting in 2013. I expect to have the 2013 public training calendar complete this week.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Windows 8 on a 5-Year-Old Laptop

After I returned the new Windows 8 laptop to the store, I ordered a new  Seagate Momentus Hybrid SSD 750GB (as I mentioned in a previous post).  I installed it last Friday on my five-year-old HP Pavillion laptop and, over the past few days, have been re-building the laptop.  It's got 4GB of RAM, an AMC Turion 64x2 processor running at 1.90 GHz, and now a 750GB hybrid hard drive.  I did a clean install of Windows 8 Pro.  Initial impressions?  Pretty impressive.  The laptop now boots from cold to fully functional in about 30 seconds.  (We'll see how well this works after I load it up with lots of apps, but so-far-so-good.)  It generally seems more responsive, actually much more responsive, than it did before.  How much of that is due to the new drive vs. getting rid of a bunch of crap that seems to accumulate over a period of years?  Hard to say, but, like I said, the computer seems to be running much faster than before.  I did have a couple problems, as you might expect, with drivers.  I had to install a Windows 7 driver for the video card, but it seems to be working fine.  More to come...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

To migrate or not to migrate. Is it a question?

Following on the heels of my blog post about my experience with Windows 8, I saw this post on TechRepublic about whether the enterprise plans to adopt Windows 8.  According to their research, 74% of  organizations have no plans to deploy it.  I can't help wondering what the percentages of organizations were who said something similar about moving from Windows 3.11 to Windows 95.  I realize, of course, that the world is considerably different today, but still...

Friday, November 2, 2012

My personal Windows 8 status

I finally decided to return my new HP ENVY dv6-7210us Notebook PC.  The deciding factor was the battery life which was less than half what was advertised.  I still have mixed feelings about Windows 8, but that may be more a reflection of my lack of time with it than real problems with the OS.  My biggest frustration with Windows 8, as I mentioned previously, is that MS is requiring us to use a Microsoft account such as Hotmail to log on to Skype now instead of our traditional Skypename.

To Staples credit, it was very easy to return the notebook.  I was in and out of the store in about five minutes with no questions asked.  That was some great customer service!  (That was easy!)

Here's what I'm going to do for the time being.  I ordered a new Seagate Momentus Hybrid SSD 750GB drive for my old laptop.  I'm going to install Windows 8 on it and see how it performs.  My existing laptop is far from being a power monster, but it's got 4GB of RAM and a dual-core AMD processor.  I'll let you know how things go.