Archive for January, 2013:

Best Windows 8 apps this week

Thirteenth in a series. Microsoft released the company’s fiscal second-quarter results on January 24 and to the surprise of many the company’s Windows division did well despite PC shipments being down during the same period.

Windows Store has recovered from last week’s low number of new store apps. This week, 928 new apps were listed in the operating system’s US store, an increase of more than 31 percent over last week. Free apps, on the other hand, only increased by 136 this week while paid apps made a huge jump to 5,801 from 5,011 the week before.

A large part of the paid apps this week are desktop apps that developers can add to the store which, technically, are not Windows apps but desktop programs — meaning the “real” increase of store apps is lower than that. Since there is no option to display only desktop apps, it is hard to tell how these programs are inflating the number of apps available in store.


CNN

This week’s big launch is the official CNN app for Windows 8 and RT. The news app displays the day’s top story on the front followed by a listing of latest stories and the various news sections that you may know from the site if you visit it occasionally or regularly.

Reports include photos and textual contents but also recorded videos from CNN that you can play (again) using the application. A right-click opens a contextual menu that you can use to access various sections of the site including your access history. Here you get a list of articles, videos and galleries that you accessed recently.

The CNN app lacks search capabilities at the time of writing.


World TV (free limited, paid $1.99)

World TV offers pre-recorded TV clips to users of the application. Only a handful of TV channels are free to access including CNN and BBC Entertainment while the majority of channels including ESPN, Fox Sports or NBA TV are only available to users who purchased the application for $1.99

A clip starts to play right after you open the application. You can switch clips using the thumbnail bar at the bottom of the screen and switch to full screen mode to view contents in HD quality without distracting interface elements.


Storm

Storm is a weather application for Windows 8 that uses your location, if you allow it to, to display current weather conditions and forecasts for that location.

Additional locations can be added to the favorites to have weather reports displayed for them automatically when the application is open.

A click on a location opens a detailed weather forecast that not only displays temperatures for four periods of the day — morning, afternoon, evening and night — but also lists wind strength and direction, precipitation and a two week forecast.

Last but not least it is also making available maps, radar, US warnings, precipitation and temperature.


Charming Reddit

The other way to search Reddit. Charming Reddit concentrates only on pictures which is great if you are regularly browsing Reddit for the latest photo kick. Instead of having to do so on site, you can simply open the app and check out various picture categories of Reddit right here.

The app displays the pictures in a photo Stream that not only displays thumbnail images of each pic, if available, but also the up and down votes, the comments it received and the description that was added to it by the original thread starter.

A pull-down menu at the top enables you to display top scoring, new or controversial pictures posted this hour, day, week or all time. Basically, if you love Reddit’s photo section this app is for you.

Hint: the wallpaper category offers some great wallpapers for your desktop.


Simple Note

If you use notes as reminders of work or other activities / events then you may find Simple Note quite useful. As the name implies, it is one of the simpler note taking applications available for Windows 8. All you can do is create new notes, by entering a title and description and that’s about it.

While this may not be enough for users who need to add images, documents, links or other information to notes, it should do it if you like your notes plain and simple. The program iterates through all notes on the start screen so that you have them always in reach when needed without having to open the application first.

A couple of things would be helpful though, including setting expiration dates or reminders.


World Clock

The app displays the date and time of various locations. It ships with a selection of cities, including Beijing, London, New York and Tokyo by default, which you can add custom cities to if necessary.

The application furthermore displays information about the time zone, as well as sunrise and sunset for the selected location. The more services options that you see on the screenshot above lead to the Time and Date website where you can configure those.

The developers plan to add information such as weather information, embedded city maps or nearby airports and cities in future updates.


Snap FX

Paint does not really cut it when it comes to image editing on Windows 8. Desktop users can install free programs like Paint.Net or GIMP to improve the capabilities, but RT users are more or less stuck with Paint or whatever the store has to offer to them.

Snap FX is a program that makes many basic image editing tasks a breeze. You can use ot to change various parameters like the image’s brightness, sharpness or saturation, crop the image, rotate or flip it, or apply one of several Instagram-like filters to it to change its look and feel completely.

What’s missing? Options to resize the image to a particular size for one, or the ability to add text to it.

Edited images can be exported to Facebook or the local picture gallery.


Duck Duck Go

DuckDuckGo.com is my search engine of choice and the launch of its Windows 8 app needs to be celebrated. Why I prefer the search engine over Google or Bing? Because it protects your privacy, does not put you in a filter bubble and makes available so called !bangs that you can use to redirect searches to other search engines.

If a search for Windows 8 apps does not return the expected results on DuckDuckGo, you can add !g to the query to load Google’s search results right away or !ghacks to search on my site. These !bangs exist for lots of sites, Wikipedia, Flickr, popular search engines, tech blogs and more.

The app makes available many of the features of the search engine, but !bangs and the majority of “goodies” are unfortunately not yet supported. Still, if you are looking for a different search engine that offers great results, I suggest you give it a try.


Open Map

This app brings the OpenMap project to Windows 8. While not the official app, it makes available the majority of features that Open Map supports. You can browse any location on a map and use the mouse to browse and zoom in or out of it.

A right-click opens a basic menu with options to set locations and get directions. The app lacks a couple of features right now including the ability to enter the name of a location to be taken there directly.


Cloud Manga Reader

If you can’t get enough Manga Cloud Manga Reader for Windows 8 is another application that helps you get your daily Manga fix.

It makes available a catalog of Manga comics sorted by series including Naruto, Bleach, Vagabond or Dragon Ball to name a few. A click on a series opens the chapter list in full screen. From here it is just the matter of selecting a chapter to read to load the Manga right in the interface. As far as I can tell, all Manga offered here are translated to English.


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13 useful add-ons for Microsoft Excel and Word 2013

For some reason, Microsoft has taken to calling the mini-programs that you can install into their Office applications “apps.” Functionally, though, most of these are similar to web browser add-ons — in the sense that they add to or enhance the feature set of the main program. Here are the most useful ones for the latest versions of Excel and Word.


Britannica Researcher for Word 2013
This official app provides access to the online version of Encyclopedia Britannica. With it, you can search through over 80,000 article entries in the Britannica library, and view their respective images. You can even insert these images, and citations and references, into your document.
 

 

 

 

 


Bubbles for Excel 2013
This app takes selected data in your spreadsheet and represents it in a chart as bubbles — the size and color of each is based on the number of times a certain value appears. Data from two tables can be “bubbled” so you can compare their differences with this whimsical model.


Gliffy Diagrams for Word 2013
If you don’t have Visio, here’s an alternative. This toolset lets you design flowcharts, mind maps, organizational charts, and other diagrams. Paid options are available offering extras like larger storage space in the cloud, and more shape libraries. But you can still use the app for free to create an unlimited number of graphics.


 

 

Gauge for Excel 2013

This app is exactly what its name implies — a chart graphic that displays what looks like a gauge. Imagine embedding a virtual tire pressure gauge into your spreadsheet to get a reading on whether sets of values are “too low” or “too high.”


Geographic Heat Map for Excel 2013

A model that takes selected values in your spreadsheet that are based on location and generates a map showing their ranges for corresponding regions of it in various colors. The current version features a map of the United States.


Lucidchart for Word 2013

Like Gliffy Diagrams, Lucidchart is another option for easily and quickly making flowcharts and other such process diagrams within Word 2013. It’s a free service that also offers paid plans where you get additional features that include larger online storage and more shape libraries.


Merriam-Webster Dictionary for Excel 2013 and Word 2013

Microsoft offers its own Bing-branded dictionary app for Office 2013, but an appealing alternative is by one of the respected names in the dictionary biz. With the official Merriam-Webster app installed, you can right-click on a word and choose “Define,” and a definition entry for it will appear in a panel to the right of the Excel 2013 or Word 2013 application window.


 

Mini Calendar and Date Picker for Excel 2013

This app lets you embed a mini calendar into your spreadsheet that will make it easier for you or others to select a date to enter into the spreadsheet. The calendar can be customized to highlight specific dates, given different theme colors, or resized.


Radial Bar Chart for Excel 2013

Another colorful chart generator by the author of Geographic Heat Map, this model takes your spreadsheet’s selected values and creates what is essentially a horizontal bar chart that is curved into a circular rainbow graphic.


 

TaskIt for Word 2013

TaskIt is a basic to-do list app that runs alongside Word 2013. Just enter into its textbox a simple description for a task you need to do, adding more one-by-one to build a list of them. Then click the checkmark box beside each task after you actually complete it.


 

WordCalc for Word 2013

Here’s a tool that could be helpful if you are going over math formulas in documents. You can select a mathematical expression in a document or manually enter one into this app’s textbox, and its answer/resulting value will be shown.


WordCloud for Word 2013

This app turns your text document into a tech-marketing and typography cliche: a “word cloud” where certain words that the app determines are most significant are displayed larger than others. Supposedly, if you put your document online, these words are latched onto the most by search engines and used as keywords.


Suite of Excel 2013 feature enhancements by Tyrant Ventures

Tyrant Ventures has developed five apps that add new functionality to Excel 2013, so we grouped them into one. Together they can help ease editing and re-formatting spreadsheets that may not have been created originally on Excel 2013. The suite includes Change Case, which lets you easily change the letters in selected cells to app caps, lower case or proper case.


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Microsoft alum: Windows 8 “a much deadlier assault weapon” than Windows 7

Former Microsoft senior VP says Windows 8 on ARM tablets is a “scale 9 earthquake”

Windows 8 is just what Microsoft needs to take advantage of the ongoing irreversible shift from PCs to handheld devices including iPads, iPhones and other form factors yet to be designed, according to the company’s former OEM chief.

Just as Windows 7 won instant popularity after the debacle of Vista, Windows 8 is poised to capture business from phone and tablet leaders such as Apple, only to greater effect, says Joachim Kempin, former Microsoft senior vice president in charge of OEMs who worked for the company from 1983 to 2002.

“Windows 7 spearheaded a comparably small rejuvenation,” Kempin says in his just-released book “Resolve and Fortitude: Microsoft’s Secret Power Broker Breaks his Silence”. “I predict Windows 8 is readied as a much deadlier assault weapon.”

[TEST YOURSELF: The Windows 8 quiz

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He says the main intent of Windows 8 is to push the operating system into low-powered mobile devices running ARM processors vs traditional x86 chips. He says that when Microsoft introduced Windows 8 nearly two years ago it “flabbergasted the IT world by running on a tablet powered by NVidia’s ARM-based CPU. I consider this move to ARM a scale 9 earthquake and wake-up call for MS’s longtime allies Intel and AMD.”

He says that shift potentially signals the end of notebooks and PCs, not just media tablets. A strength of Windows 8 is its common interface and navigation across all devices, he says.

“No need to bother with the annoyance of having to remember different key strokes or gestures when switching between devices or operating them with a mouse or a touch screen,” Kempin says. “Neither Apple nor Google have ever accomplished such uniformity.”

He praises the design of Microsoft’s two Surface tablet models but dooms them to failure.

He thinks they will anger OEMs that were working on their own Windows 8 tablets and notebooks and who now may be driven to make them with Linux or Google operating systems.

In addition, he doubts the devices themselves can be profitable. “MS does not own a factory and has a track record of having trouble with sourcing hardware components and producing devices as cheaply as her competitors,” he says. “I do not know who did the math on this project. The slim revenue gain with not much hope for real profits combined with losing partners’ trust and loyalties seems not worth that risk.”

Instead, Microsoft should spin off a startup with the mission of making Windows 8 devices, putting a distance between the devices and Microsoft itself and creating just another OEM that competes with current OEMs.

Still, he likes Surface RT. “Adding an innovative wireless keyboard makes it a hybrid located between today’s notebooks and tablets,” he says. “When combined with the slick design promises to totally obsolete notebooks in a few years when solid state drives will become cheap and small enough to replace traditional hard drive storage units.”

He admires the strategy of porting Office applications to Windows 8 tablets based on ARM, known as Windows RT. Other tablets can support Office but only via remote services, not locally. “Less need for constant connectivity for 8-powered tablets when running MS-Office applications means a further leg up over Google’s solution,” he writes.

Apparently the book was written before Microsoft’s Windows 8 leader Steven Sinofsky quit the company just after Windows 8 launched Oct. 26. Kempin says the company should tap Sinofsky to champion Surface as a product fanatic as focused as Steve Jobs was at Apple.

“Like others I always wait for a service pack to be released before trusting a new OS version,” Kempin says. “[Sinofsky] will need to correct this notion with product excellence right out of the chute to gain vital momentum. This is in particular important for changing MS’s fortune in the media tablet market where Apple, Google and Amazon are seen as leaders.

Blindly mimicking Apple in order to take sales from it is a mistake, and that means getting rid of its new brick and mortar Windows Stores. “The company needs to get rid of all distractions like her doomed retail stores,” he writes.

He says Microsoft’s investment in Barnes & Noble and its Nook e-reader represent an assault on Amazon and its Kindle tablets and e-readers. He says Microsoft miscalculated the market for them when it devoted research into the devices in 1998. “But the developers involved in this effort were told to shut down because their solution was not Windows centric enough,” he says.

That was the wrong way to look at it, though. “You do not need Windows to read a book – MS-DOS would have sufficed and could have easily been replaced with more advanced technology later,” he says.


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General Issues in Computer Networking

Computer networking is one of the most important aspect of any IT based firm either directly related to IT or not at all. Though, there are businesses and firms which are not related to IT but have to have computer networks for their business operations and management of the records. They might need to communicate within their offices and to share digital files and data that are stored on a computer. So, computer networking, which may be limited to few computers, is essential for a particular firm. Because of its importance and benefits, most of the firms and businesses setup computer networks having various aims and purposes but the most important is to have safe and sound computer networking in place in order to have secure information and data sharing.
Though, different high-fi technologies and equipment exist today enable robust computer networks but still there are several limitation and issues that may be caused due to different reasons. These issues are mostly about security, network failure, disaster and recovery. Having a secure network is the most crucial requirement of the computer network because it is not only about compromising over the data loss but it’s more about the sensitivity of the data and its importance. If the network setup is not that secure then any spy can hijack your network and may play around for malicious aims which may not be in your favour at any cost. Therefore, having a professional network or IT consulting service from a renowned firm to establish a secure and theft proof computer network is quite worthy.

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Apart from security, there are many other concerns such as network failure, which may be caused by any damage, or environmental hazards like fire, building damages, or electricity burn down. In such cases, there should always be suitable disaster recovery mechanism in place in order to have backup which may be utilized to avoid heavy data losses. However, implementing a disaster recovery system is not so easy, so a professional firm must be consulted for enhanced security and disaster recovery solutions in computer networking.


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‘Can’t find file: .MYI’ MySQL Error and Recovery

MyISAM is a standard storage engine used for MySQL that is based on older ISAM code. A MyISAM table is made of three files: .frm, .MYI and .MYD. MYI (MYIndex) is the index file that MyISAM uses to store table indexes. But at times, you observe that system is unable to open the .MYI file. The most likely reason behind such behavior can be .MYI file corruption. As a result, you can’t access the database and hence need to restore lost information from backup. In such situations, if you find your database backup as invalid or incomplete or the backup is non-existent, MySQL Database Recovery applications can be used for repairing and restoring the database.

You might receive the below error message with your MyISAM table:

“can’t find file: .MYI”

Here, ‘tablename’ refers to the name of affected MyISAM table.

 

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Cause The index file (.MYI) of table is damaged or corrupted. It can get corrupt due to unexpected shutdown, improper locking of table, errors in MyISAM code, network errors, hard disk issues and similar other reasons.

Solution

To rectify the above issue, you need to perform these steps in order:

• First, you need to check the database table for corruption using one of the following commands with valid options:

 CHECK TABLE tablename

 myisamchk *.MYI

 mysqlcheck *.MYI

• If the above commands detect corruption, you need to repair the database. To accomplish the same, you can use following command:

 REPAIR TABLE tablename

 myisamchk *.MYI

 mysqlcheck *.MYI

Before you try to repair the table, it is recommended to take its backup.

• If you still receive the same corruption error messages, you should delete the damaged database table and restore the lost data from latest backup. But if you observe that database backup is not up to the mark, you need to use MySQL Recovery tools.

MySQL Database Recovery software are effective applications that are designed to scan and repair damaged MySQL databases. They offer advanced repair options, to-the-point documentation, interactive interface and different support options. These tools implement powerful scanning algorithms for efficiently repairing the affected database objects.


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Chrome 24 vs. Firefox 18 – head to head

A quick look at the two latest versions of the biggest non-Microsoft browsers on the market

With major new releases of both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox happening within days of each other, it’s been a big week for the browser market. Chrome 24 began to be rolled out to stable channel users via Google’s automatic background updater on Thursday, while Mozilla announced the release version of Firefox 18 on Tuesday.
Chrome vs. Firefox

FURTHER READING: Google revs up Chrome, crushes bugs

FIREFOX 19 BETA: Firefox getting built-in HTML5-based PDF viewer to improve security

But which browser got the biggest upgrade? Who’s the fastest? The safest? The easiest to use? We took a look at Chrome 24 and Firefox 18 to try and find out.
CHROME 24

Both Google and Mozilla highlighted performance boosts in their latest releases. Google said during Chrome 24’s beta phase that the browser had achieved a more than 26% improvement in JavaScript speed over the course of the past year, and Chrome has always had the reputation of being snappy and responsive.

But that isn’t all that’s been added to Chrome 24. New support for MathML, or math markup language, means that it’s a lot easier to display mathematical notation on web pages, and a Flash update will keep that plug-in working on Chrome for the near future. (It should be noted that MathML has been natively supported on Firefox for some time.)

Google made a number of security updates in Chrome 24, as well — 11 out of 24 of which were rated “high” risk by the browser’s security team. Three of those highly rated vulnerabilities resulted in bug bounties for their discoverers, with one prize of $4,000 and two of $1,000 handed out.
FIREFOX 18

One of the knocks against Firefox has long been its supposedly poky performance compared to the fleet Chrome, but Mozilla is apparently working to change that in Firefox 18 — the new IonMonkey JavaScript compiler should provide a 25% speed boost compared to the previous JavaScript engine used by the browser. Whether that’s enough to close the gap on Chrome isn’t clear, but it’s still a substantial improvement, if Mozilla’s figures are correct.

Firefox 18 also packs several new features like support for Retina display resolutions on sufficiently recent versions of OS X, and the underpinnings of support for the developing webRTC standard, which is designed to enable real-time communication via the Web.
SO WHO’S ON TOP?

Broadly, it’s still a matter of personal preference — Chrome’s cleaner design, blazing speed and instant updating will be more attractive to some, while Firefox’s flexibility and customization options will tempt others.

In this latest round of updates, however, it seems like Firefox has received more of a boost — the new JavaScript engine should help address one of the most common complaints about the browser, potentially giving it a more compelling user experience.


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Does McAfee Total Protection Protect Your Computer ?

McAfee Total Protection protects your family and entire network of PCs from viruses, spyware, hackers, identity thieves, and online scammers. Designed to redefine the way in which companies manage security solutions, McAfee Total Protection is the industry’s first and only offering to combine and manage all the elements of a comprehensive system security solution through a single console and agent platform. Accelerated performance and revolutionary Active Protection technology enabling the fastest updates and highest levels of detection against malicious threats. One of the first things you would notice about McAfee Total Protection is the abundance of unique security tools. Without doubt, the antivirus protection is exceptional and the anti-spam considered great.

McAfee Total Protection is hassle-free, all-you-need security ideal for people who are constantly online for communication, shopping, banking, trading or viewing entertainment.

This program was initially code named “Falcon”, which was designed with every imaginable protection. As you can imagine, McAfee Total Protection includes an excellent firewall, along with antivirus protection, anti-spyware, and even protection against unwanted spam. However, this program offers much more such as wireless network protection, network management, parental controls, back up and restoration features, and more.

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McAfee Total Protection is the fi nal word in PC security. Powerful industry-grade spam protection helps keep your inbox free from unwanted, fraudulent, offensive, and phishing emails. Provides you with easy to understand alerts regarding your protection. Alerts you to web sites that may try to steal your identity Identity Protection. Helps you to shop, bank, and trade online safely Two-way Firewall Protection. Automatically saves copies of your most valuable files on a CD/DVD, USB, external, or network drive Protection without Interference. There’s no excuse for not giving your systems the best security available, as the total cost of ownership for McAfee Total Protection is less than half when compared to Symantec and Trend Micro.

An Internet connection is required to install this software and to receive automatic updates and upgrades to keep your security up to date. Lets you easily fix security issues on your home network from one PC. Proactive security for what you value most Unparalleled protection by blending the most sophisticated security technologies available McAfee security service automatically and continually upgrades software and updates threat protection .

With continuous and automatic updates, McAfee helps ensure that you are always running the most current security to combat the ever-evolving threats on the Internet for the duration of your subscription. Together with Anti-Spyware and Adware protection, McAfee Total Protection is even better value than before. No pop-up window blocker or internet security software (such as Norton Internet Security, McAfee Total Protection) is running during the installation. A powerful web site guide and shield, McAfee SiteAdvisor Plus technology helps you to safely search and transact online by providing you with color-coded ratings to warn you about and actually prevent you from visiting risky web sites that can compromise your identity and your PC.

McAfee Total Protection is a single concept with four distinct offerings for customers of all sizes and needs. McAfee Total Protection for enterprise includes anti-virus for all tiers of the network, anti-spyware, anti-spam, desktop firewall, host intrusion prevention and a complete network access control system all managed by a single console.

With continuous and automatic updates, McAfee ensures that you’re running the most current security to combat the ever-evolving threats on the Internet for the duration of your subscription.

McAfee Total Protection for small business builds upon McAfee heritage of delivering security and software-as-a-service, ensuring an always on, always up-to-date, security environment

Detects, blocks, and removes viruses, spyware, adware and rootkits such as W32/Conficker.

The program also removes the additional system modifications some Malware carries out which are ignored by standard antivirus and trojan scanners.


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Magento SEO Optimization Tips

The very act of creating an e-Commerce website for your business will not drive you to your objectives. The most vital aspect is the Search Engine Optimization that can help in ranking your website in the popular search engines and attracting huge traffic to your website. Search Engine Optimization is a tool that aids in advertising your online business by providing speedy access to your site. Magento e-Commerce is an incredible platform that has an inbuilt SEO. All you need to do to start with this imperative task is to follow the Magento SEO guide that can direct you in creating a perfect e-Commerce website. The important tips for optimizing your Shopping cart website are listed below:

Title and Meta tag Optimization Home Page: The SEO privilege in Magento e-Commerce stand helps you in optimizing your website with exclusive titles, and Meta information like Meta title, Meta keywords and Meta description. Page title and Meta description are the most important fields as your website is given priority based on this information. Titles and Meta tags can be included in Magento while adding the products. The default title set in the Magento platform is ‘Magento Commerce’. To make your website potential and Search engine friendly, all you need to do is to set a title with the necessary keywords. This is because your website gets pulled based on the keywords used in your site. To change the default title, you should follow this. Click Configuration Tab followed by Design and then click HTML Head. Now fix your title with the popular search terms. Your Home Page is like the heart of your website as it gives the first impression about your business operating online. So concentrate on setting up an optimized and Search engine affable Title, home page and Meta tags.

URL Optimization: URL optimization is the next significant factor that decides your stand in the competitive business arena. Many popular e-Commerce platforms let you have URLs that are friendly to the Search engines. To support your ideas, Search engine friendly URLs are already available in the system settings. You can take a call on your website URL after looking at the existing URLs in the system.

Speed Up Magento: The major shortcoming of Magento e-Commerce site is its speed when a default configuration is set up. The best possible way to speed up your Magento is to use the ‘gzip’ feature that is installed by default on many web servers. You can speed up your site’s performance by modifying your site to use the gzip element. You can enable gzip compression by modifying the .htaccess file slightly. You can also know how faster it would be by entering the URL in the easy mod gzip tester.

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URL Canonicalization and 301 Redirection: URL Canonicalization is also known as URL Normalization. It is the process by which URLs are tailored and customized in an unfailing way. URL Canonicalization is used by Search engines to give priority to web pages and to lessen the indexing of duplicate pages. This normalization is also done by web browsers to find out whether a link has already been visited and verify if a page has been cached. URL Canonicalization is also performed by web crawlers to evade the frequent crawling of the same resource.

301 redirection is the most competent Search engine friendly process for redirecting webpages. This is the best choice to move your web pages around or to edit your file names. The meaning of the code ‘301’ is regarded as ‘moved permanently’. The greatest advantage of using this code is that it is easy to execute and safeguard the search engine rankings for that specific page.

Apart from these factors, keenly concentrate on quality content for your e-Commerce website with the effective use of keywords for your headings, product types, product images and subheadings to make your website persuasive and prospective.

Our Magento developers have years of experience in Magento Web Development, magento template design & Magento ecommerce Develop


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Cloud Specific IT Certifications 2013

Few areas within the IT industry have seen the kind of growth that cloud computing has. As a result, many IT professionals are now seeking cloud specific certifications. Here is an overview of what is currently available to help you figure out which certification may be best for you.

2013 is here and as we look back at 2012, few areas within the IT industry have seen the kind of growth that cloud computing has experienced.

If your company is locked into a specific cloud service vendor then choosing which IT certification to get may be simple. However, because cloud computing comes in many flavors and is still in its infancy, deciding which cloud certification to get is difficult for many IT professionals.

To help you figure out what vendor offerings are out there and where to begin, CIO.com has put together a list of currently available cloud certifications. This list isn’t all-inclusive, simply because the cloud computing market is in a state of transformation. Please add any certification we may have missed to the comments section.


CompTIA Cloud Essentials
The CompTIA Cloud Essentials specialty certification demonstrates that an individual knows what cloud computing means from a business and technical perspective, as well as what is involved in moving to and governing the cloud.

The CompTIA Cloud Essentials exam covers:
Characteristics of cloud services from a business perspective
Business value of cloud computing
Technical perspective/cloud types
Steps to successful adoption
Impact and changes on IT service management
Risks and consequences

The Cloud Essentials exam objectives were originally developed by ITpreneurs in cooperation with the Cloud Credential Council, a membership body dedicated to vendor-neutral training in cloud computing and comprised of companies including IBM, Cisco, EMC, HP and ING.

While it is not required, CompTIA recommends that a candidate have at least six months working in an environment that markets or relies on IT-related services


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EXIN Cloud Computing Foundation
The exam focuses to a limited extent upon Cloud technology. The main focus of the programme is the procurement, implementation and management of Cloud Computing, hence the slogan ‘Get into the Cloud – and stay in control’.

EXIN Cloud Computing Foundation is part of the Certified Integrator program and is one of the prerequisites to attain the title:

EXIN Certified Integrator Secure Cloud Services.

Target group
The exam is suitable for IT managers, business managers, IT professionals and procurement specialists, who want to qualify for a role within the rapidly growing field of Cloud Computing. For organizations and trainers, EXIN Cloud Computing serves as independent certification of their own course or training.

Context
Cloud Computing ties in well with other EXIN examination programmes, such as IT Service Management and Information Security.
EXIN Cloud Computing Foundation was created in close collaboration with industry and trade organizations.


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For students pursuing HP ATA certification

This certification training provides you with the skills and knowledge to understand a customer’s business objectives and support end-to-end IT solution design and deployment, including on premises, hosted, and cloud solutions for small- to medium-size businesses.

To prepare for this certification, you will learn industry-standard cloud and virtualization technologies. You will also learn how to support disaster recovery plans, install, configure, and upgrade servers, storage, data, networks, clients, applications, and users in new and existing environments. Achieving this certification validates your ability to optimize, troubleshoot, and administer cloud solutions.
Why earn this certification?

As a student you have access to HP training developed in an academic format. You will gain higher job and earning potential through an industry-recognized certification and a high-quality education that provides practical experience with HP and industry-standard technologies.

The HP Accredited Technical Associate (ATA) certification is for individuals interested in pursuing careers in technology and lays the foundation for success.


HP ASE – Cloud Architect v1
Click to Chat With an Online Representative

This certification verifies that you have the ability to specify and architect a spectrum of cloud services based on a converged infrastructure. These include private, public and hybrid cloud environments, and IaaS, PaaS and SaaS platforms. The Cloud Architect training provides you with the ability to navigate through the HP CloudSystem solution offerings and identify, describe, position and specify the right solution based on identified needs. The training also provides an understanding at the level of purpose, function, positioning, and capabilities of HP CloudSystem offerings. The available training will also help you learn the technical consulting skills needed for planning and designing complete cloud solutions.
Why earn this certification?

Businesses are moving rapidly to take advantage of the cloud to speed innovation, accelerate business processes, and reduce time-to-revenue. However, enterprises and service providers seeking to build cloud environments are confronted with fragmented solutions, leading to complexity, security issues, and management costs that organizations are trying to avoid. You can increase your business and professional value by validating your unique breadth of knowledge to plan and design a complete, integrated and open solution based on HP CloudSystem built on a converged infrastructure. You validate The Cloud Architect V1 training and certification provides the skills needed to effectively plan and design the right cloud solutions based for both business and IT needs.


IBM Certified Solution Advisor – Cloud Computing Architecture V2
An IBM Certified Solution Advisor – Cloud Computing Architecture V2 is a person who can clearly explain the benefits and underlying concepts of cloud computing. They can also demonstrate how the IBM Cloud Computing offering helps customers realize these benefits.

Key areas of competency include:
Explain the cloud computing concepts.
Describe how the customer can realize the benefits of cloud computing within their environment.
Identify cloud computing architecture and design principles.
Map customer-s requirements to the IBM Cloud Computing offerings.

Required Prerequisite Skills:
The following qualifications are requirements for success:

Working knowledge of Cloud Computing principles
Working knowledge of implementation of Cloud Computing concepts
Working knowledge of the various types of clouds
Working knowledge of the various types of -as a service- offerings
Working knowledge of various Cloud Computing business models
Working knowledge of key concerns and how they are addressed in Cloud Computing such as security,


Microsoft MCSE – Private Cloud certification

Private Cloud certification
Solutions Expert The globally recognized standard for IT professionals

Prove your expertise in managing and implementing Microsoft private cloud computing technologies. With Windows Server and System Center, you will build your Microsoft private cloud solution to optimize IT service delivery and gain the automation and flexibility you need for your IT infrastructure, now and in the future.
Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012
Administering Windows Server 2012
Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services
Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012
Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud with System Center 2012
If you’re already certified as a Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP): Enterprise Administrator or MCITP: Server Administrator, you only need to complete steps 4 and 5 above to earn your Private Cloud certification.
This MCSE certification requires you to show continued ability to perform in your chosen solution area by completing a recertification exam every three years.

 


Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud X2-2 Certified Implementation Specialist certification

Exalogic Elastic Cloud X2-2 Essentials

New! Register for OPN Exchange and take this exam for FREE at Oracle OpenWorld 2012.

The Exalogic Elastic Cloud X2-2 Essentials exam is intended for system administrators who have implemented and are managing an Exalogic Elastic Cloud environment in a data center. The exam targets a broad range of topics from fundamentals and initial machine setup to storage and network configuration. In addition to on-the-job training, preparation can include attending Oracle University’s Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud Administration course.

The Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud Implementation Specialist certification recognizes OPN members as OPN Certified Specialists. This certification differentiates OPN members in the marketplace by providing a competitive edge through proven expertise.

 

 

 


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Best of CES 2013: In pictures

Best of CES 2013: In pictures
Here’s what’s grabbing our attention right now at the sprawling CES 2013 gadget show in Las Vegas

CES 2013

Christmas, as usual, comes late for the serious phone addicts, tablet-o-philes and general gizmo junkies among us. Here’s a look at some of our favorites, so far, from CES 2013, which is happening right now in Las Vegas. We’ll be adding to this slideshow throughout the week as we come across cool new products from CES, so please check back.


Vizio MT11x-A1

Best known for its LCD TV line, Vizio announced a pure Windows 8 slate-style touch tablet, the MT11x-A1. (It previously offered an Android tablet). It’s powered by an AMD Z60 dual-core 1 GHz processor, with 2 Gbytes RAM, and AMD’s Radeon HD graphics. It’s just 0.4 inches thick, weighs 1.8 pounds. The 11-inch screen is 1920 x 1080 pixels. Other features: micro-HDMI port, 64GB solid state disk, 2-megapixel front camera, SRS Premium Sound HD. Availability, pricing not announced. Details on the Vizio web page are scant.

Samsung Exynos 5 Octa

Samsung announced its most advanced mobile system-on-chip: the Exynos 5 Octa, so called because it has eight ARM CPU cores. Four are ARM Cortex A15’s, designed for high performance, which are found in the earlier Exyno 5 Dual which powers the Nexus 10. Four are ARM Cortex A7’s, which are similar but designed for power efficiency. The setup lets the SoC shift different types of tasks among the cores for optimal efficiency. Using a 28 nanometer process, the new SoC is somewhat smaller than the Dual. Rivals Qualcomm and NVIDIA also announced new mobile chips. No word on whether Samsung will upgrade the companion GPU.

Panasonic ToughPad for Android

The second new Panasonic ToughPad is the JT-B1 running Android 4.0 with a Texas Instruments OMAP 4460 1.5GHz dual core CPU, 16 Gbytes ROM, 1 Gbyte RAM, micro SDHC; 7-inch, daylight viewable, 1024 x 600 pixel touch screen; rear 13 megapixel auto focus/LED cam, and front 1.3 megapixel fixed focus cam; 5,720 mAh battery, user-replaceable, with 8-hour life; 8.7 x 5.1 x 0.7 inches, 1.2 pounds; Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11n, optional embedded LTE or 3G; Micro USB; MIL-STD-810G spec. Ships in February, starting at $1,199

LaCie 5big external hard drive

The LaCie 5big external hard drive is a RAID monster that also includes a super-fast Thunderbolt connection. Aimed at video and photo professionals, this drive transferred a whopping 30GB of data in about a minute (at least in the demo we saw).


Lenovo IdeaPhone P770

Lenovo’s IdeaPhone P770 packs a high capacity 3,500 mAh battery with enhanced power management software, for up to 30 hours of talk time between charges. Native anti-virus software, and dual-sim capability. That’s about all the info in the press release. There’s not even a Webpage for “Ideaphone.” In November 2012, details were leaked or uncovered: 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean; 4.5-inch (960 x 540 pixel) display; 5 MP camera on the back, front-facing VGA cam; 4GB storage. Ships: January, first in China; price not announced. See the P770 video ad.


Panasonic ToughPad for Windows

Panasonic announced two rugged ToughPad tablets. The first is the FZ-G1, running Windows 8 Pro. It has a third generation Intel Core i5 processor, at 1.9 GHz (up to 2.9, with Intel Turbo Boost); 128G-265GB solid state disk options; 4G-8GB, RAM; sunlight viewable 10.1-inch touch screen, user-replaceable battery runs up to 8 hours; 10.6 x 7.4 x 0.75 inches; 2.43 pounds; Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11n, optional 3G or LTE radio; full USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, HDMI, Ethernet, serial port or dedicated GPS; complies with MIL-STD-810G spec; ships in February, starting at $2,899.


Qualcomm announced a fire breather

Qualcomm announced a fire breather: the Snapdragon 800 mobile processor series, aimed at “premium” mobile devices. The 800 uses a four-core Krait 400 CPU (based on ARM cores), the company’s Adreno 330 GPU, Hexagon v5 Digital Signal Processor, and its latest 4G LTE Category 4 modem. All components offer dramatic performance gains over the current generation Snapdragon S4 Pro, which is used in smartphones like the Google Nexus 4 and the HTC Droid DNA. Also new: the 600 series, which offers a lower performance level at a lower price, though still a major step up from the S4 Pro. See this blogpost for more information.


Intel Haswell

Intel banged the drum for a new generation of lighter, thinner, and cheaper ultrabooks: shown is this sleek prototype, dubbed Northscape, running Intel’s next-generation, ultra low-power Haswell mobile processor. Haswell is due out in mid-2013, several months earlier than expected. Press a button and the 13-inch display is released, to be used as an 11-inch touch tablet (the change in screen size lets you hold the bezel-less tablet). The 0.67-inch thick ultrabook has 13 hours of battery life; the tablet, 10 hours.


A company called TrackingPoint (currently only showing a video and countdown clock) combined an array of sensors, a processor, digital tracking display, an optical scope, laser, digital signal processor, and even Wi-Fi, along with something never before seen at CES: a custom-built, bolt-action rifle from Surgeon Rifles. The result: the $20,000 Precision Guided Firearm. Data on temperature, barometric pressure, distance to target, orientation of the barrel, let you lock on to the target, with a big red dot that dynamically compensates for a battery of variables. The Wi-Fi link lets the scope’s image appear on an iPad mini (included). PC World has details.

Samsung LED curved TV

We thought we’d left curved TVs behind with cathode rays, but no: Samsung announced a prototype 55-inch concave organic LED TV, with a gently curved surface. The curve makes all viewing angles equal in terms of the eye’s distance to the screen. Gizmodo’s Brian Barrett says the effect is enveloping, and both “disorienting and majestic.” No information on price or on when, or whether, it will be available.

 


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Windows 8 discounts end in three weeks

Price of Windows 8 Pro upgrade may quintuple after Jan. 31

Microsoft’s Windows 8 Pro upgrade discount will expire in about three weeks, at which point the company will triple or even quintuple the current price of the new operating system, according to several online retailers.

On Friday, Microsoft reminded customers that a different upgrade deal will expire Jan. 31 — one that lets purchasers of new Windows 7 PCs acquire Windows 8 Pro for $14.99 — but made no mention of the same deadline for an upgrade from Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 on older PCs.

10 third-party alternatives for ‘missing’ Windows 8 apps

That discount, also set to end Jan. 31, prices a download upgrade to Windows 8 Pro at $39.99, or $69.99 for a DVD.

Microsoft announced both deals in mid-2012, and began selling the upgrades in October when Windows 8 debuted in retail.

According to online retailers, including Amazon, Newegg and TigerDirect, the DVD-based Windows 8 Pro upgrade carries a suggested list price of $199.99, or nearly triple the now-discounted price of $69.99.

Although Microsoft has repeatedly declined to comment on post-January pricing plans for Windows 8 Pro, its past pricing practices sync with the $199.99 list price: An upgrade to Windows 7 Professional, analogous to Windows 8 Pro, has always been priced at $199.99. Microsoft’s e-store currently lists it at that price.

It’s unknown whether Microsoft will continue to sell Windows 8 Pro as a download after the discount expires, and if it does, at what cost. If the price of a download is identical to the boxed copy — Microsoft has priced downloads and DVDs identically in the past — then the OS price will jump five-fold on Feb. 1.

The company has also declined to answer questions about Windows 8, the less-capable edition pre-installed on most new consumer PCs. But its silence has effectively confirmed that there will never be a Windows 8, as opposed to Windows 8 Pro, upgrade.

There is another, less-expensive, option after Jan. 31: Windows System Builder, the version for do-it-yourselfers who assemble their own machines, and who want to run Windows in a virtual machine or dual-boot configuration. While the new “Personal Use License” of System Builder bans using it as “an upgrade license for an existing underlying Windows operating system,” there’s nothing stopping customers from using it to do a “clean install,” the term for installing an operating system on a reformatted hard drive.

Microsoft does not sell Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro System Builder itself, leaving that to retail partners. Although some offer minor discounts, the list prices are $99.99 (Windows 8) and $139.99 (Windows 8 Pro). Those are identical to the prices for “OEM” editions — the former name for System Builder — of Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional, respectively.

Another price that may jump after Jan. 31 is the Windows 8 Pro Pack’s, which upgrades Windows 8 to Windows 8 Pro. Microsoft sells Pro Pack at $69.99; retailers currently sell it at that price or the slightly-lower $66.99, but note its list price as $99.99.

Other Windows 8 deadlines are also approaching: The Windows 8 Developer Preview of September 2011, the Consumer Preview of February 2012 and the Release Preview of May 2012 all expire Jan. 15. After that date, the free previews will automatically restart every one or two hours, and on-screen messages will tell customers that they must upgrade to a paid license.


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CES scorecard: the biggest misses of CES 2012

There were many promises, but not all were delivered

The annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas gets under way this weekend with big announcements from gadget makers keen to wow and convince us they have the next big thing. But it’s worth remembering that some of the promises and predictions made at CES are about as solid as many New Year’s resolutions.

Check out the gadgets at last year’s show

So as you see the gadgets announced and the promises flow from the CES show floor, take a moment to remember some of the bigger misses of CES 2012.

Perhaps the award for most optimism goes to the Google TV camp. The company had big plans to shake up the way you watched television, delivering YouTube and other Internet content right alongside your existing channels. Some of the biggest names in TV were behind the plan: Samsung, LG and Sony all promised Google-enabled TVs at CES 2012.

But fast forward 12 months and the selection of Google TV devices is pretty thin: a single TV from LG, and set top boxes from Sony and Vizio.

And talking of TV, does anyone remember the big MySpace announcement? The company declared its latest — and as it turned out, not its only relaunch of 2012 — would be on televisions. MySpace TV was billed as a video on demand service with a social twist: you can “discover, share and comment” on what you’re watching with your friends. We’re still waiting for it.

One prediction that fell flat on its face was the XO-3 low-cost tablet from One Laptop Per Child. The promised 8-inch tablet was to be a low-cost computing tool for students in developing countries.A It would only cost $100, project leader Nicholas NegroponteA said, but like most OLPC projects the grand pronouncements turned out a little too ambitious. By November, the entire project was canceled without a single XO-3 making it into the hands of a student.

Intel talked up its Ultrabook line of thin laptops at CES 2012 and talked down tablets. “People like to create in order to express themselves,” Intel exec Mooly Eden said. They are not “consumption cows,” he added, taking a shot at tablets, which are often viewed as mere content consumption devices. Twelve months later, the tablet market is going gangbusters.

Alongside the product misses, there were also announcements that turned out to be a little optimistic.

Take Huawei’s Ascend P1, for example. Billed as the world’s slimmest smartphone, the Android-powered device was to be available worldwide from April, but April just brought further launch details. It was out in some Asian markets, Latin America and Europe by the middle of the year, but the promised U.S. launch is still yet to happen.

And Belkin came to CES 2012 with good news for Mac users eager to make the most of the new Thunderbolt connectors that had begun appearing on Apple computers. Belkin showed off a dock that provided two Thunderbolt ports and a host of others. Originally due in September last year, it’s still not on the market and now promised early this year.

The Consumer Electronics Show runs from Jan. 8 to 11. Most of the major news from product vendors will come during events on Jan. 6 and 7.

 


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Microsoft Patch Tuesday: Just two critical fixes but they affect a lot of Windows systems

Internet Explorer zero-day exploit is not addressed, but businesses should implement the workaround

Microsoft is issuing two critical fixes on this month’s Patch Tuesday, one of them affecting its most popular operating system — Windows 7 — in conjunction with Windows Server 2008 R2.

That problem allows remote execution of code on unpatched machines without users doing anything, a situation Microsoft always deems critical.

OTHER PATCH NEWS: VMware patches ‘critical’ vulnerability

HELP: 15 (FREE!) security tools you should try

The other critical bulletin addresses a vulnerability that affects the full range of Windows desktop operating systems from Windows XP to Windows 8 as well as Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2008 R2 and 2012, and also leaves the systems open to remote code execution. “It is likely that it is a vulnerability in one of the base libraries of Windows that is widely used, such as Windows XML Core Services, which had its last fix in July of 2012,” says Qualys CTO Wolfgang Kandek.

While that’s a relatively light load in terms of numbers of critical warnings, it doesn’t mean it will be easy on IT departments making the patches. “There are a lot of restarts this month and they impact nearly all of the Windows operating systems,” says Paul Henry, security and forensic analyst at Lumension, a security, vulnerability and risk management company.

One of the five bulletins designated important – No. 5 – may end up being the most significant in terms of wiping out the threat, says Alex Horan, senior product manager, CORE Security. The problem is located in Vista SP 2, Server 2008 and Windows 7. “This has the potential for the most long-term issues as it represents an extremely large base of potential targets if it is not rectified properly,” Horan says.

This includes Windows RT, the new power-pinching version of Windows 8 for devices based on ARM processors, which is affected by the vulnerability addressed by the second of the critical bulletins as well as by three others that are ranked important, Henry notes. Users should get accustomed to it, he says. “The system has been patched a few times already since being released late last year, and we expect to see it included in many of this year’s Patch Tuesdays,” he says.

None of the bulletins this month directly address a zero-day vulnerability found in the wild over the weekend in fully patched versions of Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8. The flaw allows attackers to gain control of affected machines. The attack comes from malicious Web sites containing content that exploits the vulnerability in visiting browsers, Microsoft says.

BACKGROUND: Microsoft issues quick fix for critical zero-day hole in IE

The company has issued a workaround but not a patch, and IT departments should make implementing the workaround their top priority, Henry says.
It would have taken a miracle for Microsoft to patch a zero-day one week after a zero-day advisory.
— Andrew Storms, director of security operations for nCircle

It would be surprising if Microsoft had developed the IE patch already, says Andrew Storms, director of security operations for nCircle. “It would have taken a miracle for Microsoft to patch a zero-day one week after a zero-day advisory,” he says.

However, it is possible that one of this month’s patches will repair operating-system vulnerabilities the IE attack could exploit, says Henry. With the details Microsoft has released so far it’s impossible to tell. “If the browser is just a path to an underlying vulnerability in the operating system, then this issue will likely be fixed by one of the patches. If the vulnerability is exclusive to the browser, on the other hand, then this is still something to watch out for,” Henry says.

 


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Learning New MCSE on windows Server 2012 Certification in 2013

Learning New MCSE on windows Server 2012 Certification in 2013

Microsoft has updated their certification site with a WHOLE load of new certifications for the release of windows server 2012. If you now go to the MCSE site on Microsoft’s site you can now see new exams for Windows Server 2012 & Windows 8

Windows Server 2012 formerly codenamed Windows Server 8, is the next release of Windows Server currently under development by Microsoft. It is the server version of Windows 8 and the successor to Windows Server 2008 R2. Windows Server 2012 will be the first version of Windows Server to have no support for Itanium-based computers since Windows NT 4.0. A developer preview (a pre-beta release) was released on 9 September 2011 to MSDN subscribers. On March 1, 2012, Microsoft issued a public beta (build 8250). On April 17, 2012, Microsoft announced the product name would be Windows Server 2012. On May 31, 2012, Microsoft announced the release candidate (RC) for Windows Server 2012.

The best path to cloud certifications is to complete your Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) or Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD) certification. Show your continued dedication and expertise by then upgrading to the equivalent MCSE certifications when they become available.
Get Current Now With a Two for One Offer!

To help you move to the cloud, Microsoft is offering a limited time* “Two for One” exam offer. When you purchase and take a qualifying exam at full price between April 11, 2012 and June 30, 2012, you will be emailed a voucher valid for the next version exam of your chosen technology path, at no additional cost. Your voucher for the second qualifying exam will be emailed to you when the new exams release and will expire 90 days after the new Certification in your technology path becomes available.

The data explosion is happening at every level of the business—across devices, applications, and individual roles. Become certified on Microsoft SQL Server and prove your knowledge and skills in designing, building, and maintaining the next wave of cloud-ready database and information solutions.

Two MCSE certifications are available for SQL Server 2012: Data Platform and Business Intelligence. Earn an MCSE: Data Platform certification to demonstrate your indispensable expertise to build enterprise-scale data solutions on-premises or in the cloud. Showcase your skills in developing and deploying visually rich business intelligence solutions and reports by earning an MCSE: Business Intelligence certification. The MCSA: SQL Server 2012 certification validates a set of core SQL Server 2012 skills that are relevant across multiple solution areas.

Server 2012 and the Microsoft ecosystem
Windows Server 2012 doesn’t standalone. If you’re evaluating it, you really need to be running it alongside the next generation of Microsoft’s management tools in System Center 2012, especially the beta tooling for SP1. You’ll need to understand how the two fit together, as there’s key functionality in System Center that simplifies implementing and running private clouds, including handling self-service. System Center isn’t the only management tool you’ll need to deliver the full range of services offered by Windows Server 2012, especially if you’re looking at Windows RT as part of a BYOD platform. Active Directory federation with the cloud is the basis of single sign-on with Office 365 and with the device management tools built into Windows Intune (which provide an AD-controlled way of managing non-AD managed devices).

Much of Microsoft’s messaging around Windows Server 2012 focuses on its role as a key building block for private clouds. Although Hyper-V and the new Storage Spaces tools go a long way to delivering on this vision, it’s important to understand that Microsoft is not abandoning Windows Server’s traditional roles. You’ll be able to drop it in as a replacement for Windows Server 2008, as a file and print server, as an application server or as a web server. It’s just that the new Hyper-V release makes it easier to virtualise these roles (and handle the physical-to-virtual transition), helping you make the move to private cloud on your own timetable, not Microsoft’s.

Cloud or not, Microsoft isn’t just using Windows Server 2012 to introduce new ways of delivering applications or managing devices. It’s also introducing a new way of managing information. There’s a quiet revolution going on in the IT security world, one that understands that organisations are now distributed, and that today’s work patterns mean that users will be working at home, and on their own devices. BYOD is only part of this trend, but one that’s finally concentrated attention on the shift away from traditional corporate firewalls to user- and information-centric ways of handling security.

Active Directory is key to this shift, and it’s important to use any Windows Server 2012 RC test programme to map how you will take advantage of the new tools and features built into AD — particularly around the new Dynamic Access control tools. DAC is an important tool, as it gives you a simple rule-driven tool for managing who can interact with what information, either just controlling access to files and directories via Active Directory users, or by using Windows’ Information Rights Management tools to apply more complex controls around viewing, editing, sharing and printing documents. DAC rules can be used to automatically classify documents by content (for example specific health record formats or credit card numbers), or by metadata (whether it’s classed as public or confidential).

A good MCSE on windows Server 2012 training should be the founding base to any MCSE 2012 study. From the outset, selecting one of the best MCSE 2012 trainings available will ensure your study will get off on the right foot and be the most efficient and time effective. There are a large number of MCSE 2012 trainings on offer from a number of different online IT training industry with the price averaging at about thousands of USD each exam. To answer the question of “What is the best MCSE 2012 study training?” we spent hours training reviews and peoples own personal experiences on numerous MCSE 2012 certification forums and the answer of the best MCSE 2012 training was very clear. The obvious winner was the Self-Paced Training Kits by certkingdom.com with $50 Unlimited Life Time Access Pack you will get every thing you need to pass your exam on the first attempt.

Why are the MS Self-Paced Training Kits the best MCSE on windows Server 2012 trainings?
Simple. First and foremost, they are prepared by IT industry top experts so you can trust that they cover all exam objectives with and intention of giving you a full and concise understanding of each exam.
Secondly, unlimited life time access pack included with each testing engine; training is a decent amount of study material and tasks. These include, Live Realistic practice tests, Live Virtual test environment, Live Practice test environment, Mark unanswered Question and Answers, Free Life Time Updates, Realistic simulations of practice exams, Re-examine the unanswered Q&A, Make your own test scenario (settings), Get you’re self completely prepared for real test, Mail your tests results with all these features you will pass 100% Success Guaranteed.

Included in Life Time Membership so you can see how new found knowledge and skills are actually used in a real life situation, MCSE 2012 exam practice questions to complete your study. Last but not least, the MS Self-Paced Training Kit packs are also available which contain all the study trainings required for a MCSE 2012 certification

Where can I buy MS Press Self-Paced Training kit trainings?
If your ready for career change and looking for MICROSOFT MCSE 2012 Certification, MICROSOFT MCSE 2012 Training or any other MICROSOFT Certification preparation get the best online training from Certkingdom.com they offer all MICROSOFT, Cisco, Comptia certification exams training in just one Unlimited Life Time Access Pack, included self study training kits including, Q&A, Study Guides, Testing Engines, Videos, Audio, Preparation Labs for over 2000+ exams, save your money on boot camps, training institutes, It’s also save your traveling and time. All training materials are “Guaranteed” to pass your exams and get you certified on the fist attempt, due to best training they become no1 site 2012.


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Microsoft: What it did right and wrong in 2012

Windows 8: It is the best of Microsoft; it is the worst of Microsoft

At this writing Windows 8 could be the biggest thing Microsoft has done wrong — ever. But it could also wind up being one of the best things it has ever done.

By CEO Steve Ballmer’s own description it is the one of the top three major events in the company’s history, grouped with IBM PCs adopting MS-DOS and the advent of Windows 95.

By that measure, if it’s a flop it’s huge.

IN PICTURES: Top network and IT industry stories of 2012

NEWS: Dell’s acquisitions not yet paying dividends

MORE: Worst security snafus of 2012

Windows 8 drives users crazy. It’s a two-headed operating system that supports the traditional Windows keyboard-and-mouse interface as well as a touch-centric UI that many say is baffling, at least initially.

Then toss in a separate version of Windows 8 called Windows RT. It’s a hardware/software bundle based on ARM processors that doesn’t support traditional Windows x86 apps — only so-called Windows Store applications that rely mainly on touch. Confusion reigns.

A version of the traditional desktop remains in Windows 8, but it’s different enough to be uncomfortable. Users want an OS that builds on the past, not one that reinvents itself entirely. They lament the loss of the Start button and Start Menu upon which they relied.

When learning the Windows 8 touch interface they find it difficult to find and remember, say, how to turn the machine on and off, close applications, remove applications, switch among four or five apps running at the same time, find Charms, figure out what Charms are, etc., etc. It’s a near-perfect storm of consternation and frustration.

Meanwhile the company’s traditional PC market is being threatened by devices running Linux, Android and OS X even as sales growth of traditional PCs gets slower and slower, apparently headed for decline. That’s Microsoft’s bread and butter.

Compounding the problem, tablets and smartphones are gaining popularity as personal and business productivity platforms and arguably represent the main force undercutting traditional PCs. Microsoft comes in a distant third in both areas.

Windows 8 is supposed to help Microsoft make gains in these areas. But given its slow start so far and comparing it to the wild success of every version of iPad that ever launched, then Windows 8 is lining up to be a disaster.

So what was Microsoft thinking?

Windows 8 is designed to tap into the shift in demand away from traditional desktops and laptops and toward phones and tablets.

Core to this strategy is making a shift to mobility and creating an application environment transferrable from device to device. The advantage: Massive blocks of code from an application written for Windows 8 can be readily repurposed for apps written or Windows Phone 8 — making it feasible for these apps to be available on any Windows device.

Because Windows Store apps are written primarily for touch, their navigation is similar from tablet to notebook to phone. Applications are available for phones, tablets and laptops, and if you master them on one category of device, you’ve mastered them for all.

These applications, called Windows Store apps, represent a new category optimized for touch and for running on lower powered mobile machines based on ARM processors to promote longer battery life.

In addition, Windows 8 heavily promotes use of cloud services. It comes with cloud-based music free and integrates SkyDrive, Microsoft’s 5-year-old cloud storage service that enables sharing data among devices and syncing them with each other. It comes with 7GB of free storage.

The bottom line is customers can access the latest versions of their data and all their stored files from whichever device they happen to have with them so long as they have Internet access.

The problem is that this elegant scheme is lost on customers, analysts and reviewers who don’t buy into this view. With education, customers could be won over, but not in the short-term, and particularly with RT. Business customers will have to adopt Windows Store apps or virtualize, and that takes time.

“It will take 10 or more years before most organizations completely transition to WinRT technology, which, if successful, will represent the next 20 to 30 years of Windows,” says Gartner in its report “Windows 8 Changes Windows as We Know It.”

Beyond Windows 8, Microsoft has scored some hits and some misses this year with new products acquisitions. Here are four of each.

RIGHT
Windows Server 2012

Microsoft’s latest version of Windows Server is to be applauded for how it simplifies many areas of virtualization, which leads Network World reviewer Tom Henderson to write, “What the Windows 2012 Server editions provide is a compelling reason to stick with Windows infrastructure, as many of the advances represent integration of management components that have no competitive parallels.”

The software streamlines live migration of virtual machines for reasons of preventing performance of one instance degrading because it is overwhelmed by demand. Windows Server 2012 removes the need for designating failover clustering ahead of time and a separate SAN to share storage among instances that were required in Windows Server 2008.

Windows Server 2012 also offers replication of virtual machines asynchronously. Called Hyper-V Replica, the feature is ideal for replicating VMs from site to site over limited WAN links.

A new feature called Storage Spaces treats hundreds of disks as a single logical storage reservoir and ensures resiliency by backing up data on at least two physical disks. The feature sets aside a designated storage area — called a space — for a defined category of data within the entire available disk capacity — called a pool.

Storage Spaces can allocate a space that is larger than the actual available physical capacity of the pool that the space is carved out of via thin provisioning. This keeps data from overflowing the space by freeing up capacity whenever files are deleted or an application decides that such capacity is no longer needed.

Windows Server 2012 also enables managing servers in groups and includes an automated tool to periodically check for proper server configuration.

System Center 2012
This management suite offers new tools to better handle closely related cloud environments and virtual data centers, and has expanded the products it can manage to include some of the virtual environments of rivals Citrix and VMware.

The platform includes broad support for managing smartphones based on Microsoft’s phone OS, but also those from Apple and from a range of vendors that base their phones on Android.

The Virtual Machine Manager, Orchestration Manager and Operations Manager can combine to make management of virtual environments simpler. For instance, the management suite streamlines configuring virtual machines to pick up the function of others when they go down so help desk workers can perform the task without escalating.

In a practical sense, System Center can give developers the capability to create and tear down virtual machines for their test environments within parameters set by network executives.

One downside is that upgrading to System Center 2012 requires a lot of network prep as well as education to learn what other Microsoft products are required in order for the various modules to work.

Buying Yammer
Microsoft spent $1.2 billion this year to buy Yammer as a way to beef up social networking and collaboration in its SharePoint, Office, Dynamics CRM, Lync and Skype platforms.

When its integration is completed over the next few years Yammer will add tracking of conversation threads and enterprise search to these applications, aggregate news feeds, manage documents and unify user identities.

Yammer is already available with Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud offering and will gradually permeate the company’s other collaboration and productivity platforms, the company says.

With the purchase Microsoft has bought the tools it needs to set itself up well in support of new ways corporations do business using tools that end users have become familiar with via their use of consumer social networks.

Targeting botnets
Microsoft did itself proud this year disrupting the Nitol botnet with a combination of technical and legal innovation, as well as seizing servers belonging to the worst instances of the Zeus botnet.

These efforts represent the fourth and fifth times Microsoft has intervened to shut down or a least temporarily cripple criminal malware enterprises.

The company’s Digital Crimes Unit started its aggressive action in 2010 and continued steadily since then. While its work won’t halt online abuses, its proven commitment to causing periodic significant damage to them does make criminal activity more difficult, and that steady opposition helps raise the bar for criminals hoping to enter the game.

The effort sends a message to other criminals that Microsoft might strike them at any time, says Richard Boscovich, assistant general counsel for the DCU.

WRONG
Euro browser flap

Microsoft failed to live up to an agreement that it would display a Windows screen giving users the option to pick Internet Explorer or some other browsers.

While Microsoft says the problem was caused by a technical glitch and has worked to correct it, it’s still facing down a possible $7 billion fine from European Union regulators. While Microsoft would likely survive the hefty penalty, it’s really a case of the company shooting itself in the foot. It is also damaging its reputation in not only Europe where customers were directly affected, but worldwide where end users heard about the case and adjusted their opinion of the company accordingly.

Windows Phone
The launch of Windows Phone 8 this fall revealed an operating system that met with generally good reviews and a phone — Nokia’s Lumia 920 — that shows it off to good advantage.

The problem here is that it comes so late after the iPhone and Android phones have dominated the market. The company must now dedicate itself to a long-term effort to scratch its way up from 2.6% of the market, according to IDC estimates, to something more significant.

IDC thinks Microsoft will succeed in that goal by claiming 11.4% of the market in 2016 — a terrific boost. But the company leaves a lot of smartphone money on the table by coming out so late with a compelling product.

Windows Phone 8 itself may pan out to be a winner, but the overall handling of Windows Phone to date racks up as a loss. And with Microsoft’s desire to link all its mobile platforms, a slow start for Windows phone hobbles that larger effort.

Licensing hikes
Microsoft boosted by 15% the fees it charges for licenses that allow users to access servers, squeezing more money out of customers while still giving them a better deal than the alternative.

This is likely good for Microsoft because it means more revenues, but it’s just another reason for business customers to carp about being gouged for software.

Corporate employees are moving toward use of multiple devices in the workplace, making licenses based on numbers of users attractive rather than licenses based on individual devices. Even with the price hike, many customers will wind up paying less for user client access licenses (CAL) than for device CALs. But that won’t eradicate the bad taste from their mouths.

Fanned Flame
The complex Flame espionage malware that infected Iranian government computers earlier this year was in part enabled by a Microsoft security snafu.

A key element of Flame called for exploiting weaknesses of the MD5 hashing algorithm. Microsoft had urged in 2008 that network administrators and certificate authorities stop using the hash because researchers had discovered how to exploit it.

Microsoft officially disallowed its use in 2009 but failed to weed it out of its own products, particularly Terminal Server Licensing Service. Researchers figured out how to compromise MD5 using what they call collision attacks to obtain fraudulent certificates that are accepted as real. This allowed attackers to send malware that victim machines accepted as authenticated Microsoft updates.


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