Thursday, December 29, 2016

A picture is worth 1000 words...

All I can say is...

Damned straight!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Why Security will always fail

I just made a new video.  It's about rethinking how we approach security so I won't rehash it here.  Suffice it to say that the reason security measures fail is not due to a device or a piece of software.  It fails because we don't value the most critical element of any security policy; the people.

Couple that with the careless and needless collection of private information for purposes that have no justification for having it and you have a recipe for disaster.

Watch below...

Friday, October 14, 2016

Microsoft's flawed update strategy

Let's talk about updates.  Specifically, lets talk about updates in the context of Windows 10.

When Microsoft launched Windows 10 it was supposed to be the cure-all to the Woes of Windows.  It was to be everything to everybody regardless of your chosen device.  It would be the gateway to what you wanted to do instead of the sandbox (or litter box) for the things you HAD to do.

When it works it can be all that.  Unfortunately, it really isn't.

I've listened to the pundits and Microsoft apologists for over a year now.  How they go on touting its merits while in the same breath decrying their frustrations.

Simply put, Microsoft can't be trusted with the power Windows 10 gives them.

I've had my own frustrations with it having seen my production machine blue screen for no apparent reason over a dozen times in the past year.  In the 3 years prior the same machine running Windows 7  may have done it twice.

I'm tired of constant updates churning in the background while I'm trying to do actual work.  Sick of waiting 15 minutes for a system shutdown because Windows decided it was time to do some housekeeping.

My eyes bleed at the sight of full event logs warning of failed telemetry connections.  All because I refuse to turn my daily workflow into an episode of The Truman Show.  Spybot Anti-Beacon takes care of that but the price is endless bitching.

My PC is not a lifestyle device, my data under my and nobody else's purview. I expect to control my own environment.  I have no use for Cortana.  Quite simply, I don't have the buying or search habits to make it or anything like it benefit me.  Meaning I have no reason to be so forthcoming.

Am I a troglodyte?  Hardly, I just prefer to not have Microsoft curating my search results or my computing habits for that matter.  Even if they do consider it a "Feature."

But Microsoft doesn't see it that way.

The best example is the update process.  It's common knowledge that Windows 10 has essentially taken away your ability to exercise any disposition of updates.  Even if they brick your device.

Take the recent update that disabled millions of webcams.  We've come to find out that it was all due to one lone Microsoft Engineer who took the unilateral action to remove a codec without bothering to pass it through Q&A.  ( Thurrott said that on Windows Weekly 487 BTW)

I appreciate employee empowerment and all.  It works great for the auto industry in fact most auto workers have the power to stop an entire assembly line if they see a problem.  What comes next is a structured process to address it.  

But nobody makes the ultimate call by themselves.  Unless they work for Microsoft that is.  Where one poorly executed update can be unleashed on millions of devices worldwide without as much as a peer review.

If you're using Windows 10 there's no doubt you've spent at least a few minutes observing the update process.  It's all very clandestine: even the event logs won't provide you any illumination as to what's going on.  You just sit and watch that screen, cross your fingers, and hope the update goes well as it reboots 2, 3, 5 times...

The latest atrocity?  The endless loop of death from KB3194496 that for many users will never install correctly without first manually applying an out of cycle patch ( <--that links to it BTW) 

We reap what we sow and the crop is a load of manure.  In the old days we could just simply uncheck the update once we found out it was problematic.  Today we have to beg the good graces of Microsoft to acknowledge the problem in the first place.  Meanwhile our workflows and production goes to hell while Microsoft whitewashes it's official response.

I could care less what Microsoft's "telemetry" is telling them about the severity of the issue.  If they can't get a patch right why should I trust their telemetry as an indicator of anything?

Laissez-faire may be great for Free Market policy wonks but it's got no place in a platform that 20% of the planet relies on to actually accomplish something.

The user base should demand that the next patch they release give us back control of the update process.  At this point it's obvious Microsoft can't be relied upon to do it themselves.  

Here's a proposition...

I'll meet you half way Microsoft.  Let the users curate their own patches but turn off Cortana or the Store while it's disabled.  

I think that's a fair compromise and for those invested in the Microsoft way of doing things, it would be a reminder to turn the updates back on when the inevitable storm has passed.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

I lost a client: Trials and Tribulations of IT consulting

I lost my biggest (and for all intents and purposes last) IT consulting client this week.  

Now truth be told I wasn't making all that much there but it was better than nothing and to me it was an investment.  One made with the prospect of more hours as their business grew and more referrals.  I'll cut to the chase.

You roll the dice on any investment and this one didn't pan out.  Revenue went down instead of up, the client downsized and the one referral I got from them stiffed me for a grand in billable hours.

The writing was on the wall long before the sad email I received this week, however, and I'd been expecting a development like this for awhile.  

Slow payment, resistance to new projects and curt communication are all signs that you're on the way out and lately they were happening more often.

The relationships I build with clients are both blessing and curse.  A blessing because I get the benefit of the doubt and continue the relationship.  A curse because I'm expected to suffer the consequences of any malady that occurs along with them.  That means discounts, free work and in some cases a zero sum game. 

Even then sometimes it's just not enough.  In this latest case the client figured that a relative could do what I was doing for free.  I can't compete with free and won't try.

That said, this client was no different than any other long term engagement in that I had an intimate relationship with their business.  I knew more about where my money was coming from than most in my position would.  That's not by accident either.  The cornerstone of my business is knowing how my client does their business and doing whatever I can to support that.

It's simple, if they make money I make money.

After nearly two decades of IT consulting I've lost three clients.  Two including this most recent were due to budget issues and one was pure politics.  I've had other short term and what I call "hit and run" clients over the years but those never appealed to me.  If I can't build a relationship and instead get treated like an appliance repairman then I'm not interested in sticking around.  

Saying, "I lost the clients." is a bit harsh, however. As none of those exits were on bad terms and all of them were after at least a five year stint.  Even the so-called political exit was nothing more than getting caught up in the fallout from events that had nothing to do with me.  I worked for them for over ten years by the way so do with that what you will.

Personally I believe you have to be doing something right to stick around that long when your services are always at the top of the bean counters cost-cutting list.  That and the longer you can stay away from on-demand clients the better.

I've never been a big fan of "Hit and Run" IT mostly because it never pays well and you end up fighting for every penny.  All the while losing your shirt in the process.

Ultimately you end up hating the people you're trying to help which is an internal conflict I'd rather not have.  So I look for longer engagements. There's a price to pay for that when you're on your own, however.   I keep my active contracts limited to no more than 3 as any more means I can't provide the level of service a long term relationship demands.  

That also limits a fallback position which is where I'm at now.  You don't have much of an opportunity to scare up leads if your phone is constantly ringing.  Worse if those clients aren't generating any referrals you're trapped.  Which gets you
I'll be honest, I just finished an online application for Autozone right after filling out one for an IT manager with a fortune 500 company. 

At this point, whomever calls first wins!

Yeah, it's that bad....

There's both wisdom and foolishness in the way I operated my consulting business and I've been called on the carpet for it more than once by my consulting peers.  They say I get too involved and care too much when I should just be focusing on extracting as much money as I can.

They want me to be like them, appliance repairmen.  Sadly, they may be right as they're usually puling down 6 figure incomes while I'm living on 40 cent Burritos.  A tech martyr was not what I was going for....

I've mentioned before that I had a sense of activism when it came to IT.  It's what drove me to getting into the field as I didn't care for the bad (and deserved) rap it got for being full of ego maniacal jerks. 

 I wanted to change that perception through my own actions and for awhile it yielded positive results.  As time wore on, however, I found I really wasn't reaping all the benefits I'd hoped for.  While I truly loved all my clients I knew that at some point they were going to take advantage of my good nature.  

You sleep in the bed you make and if your client relationships are built on more good will on one side than the other then you're not leaving yourself much leverage to change them when the time comes.  

Let's face the reality.  There's a sense of organizational narcissism that pervades the corporate space that only respects a similar narcissism in their business relationships.  It doesn't matter how large or small, it's always there.

That's because nobody really has the time to think about the human condition when they're trying to run a business.  Rather, they want definitive answers that can easily fit into the bean counters spreadsheets populated by well defined metrics and "milestones."

Even if that isn't realistically possible or fair that's just how business is done.  It's Texas Hold'em and somebody's got to pay the blinds.  As a consultant, they'll try to make sure it's you.

Which is why instead of success I end up a martyr.  

I seem to keep making the same mistake in choosing my causes.  

IT is a cold calculating field by it's very nature and the most successful in it are similarly defined.  That's not going to change anytime soon.  In fact that's what's expected and any departure while initially welcomed ultimately turns out badly for the pseudo-activist.  

I do the same thing with video games.  On my other blog I constantly rail against the injustices of big video game publishers and the relative blindness of their consumers that pump billions of dollars into inferior products.  

Nobody cares about making the world right for patrons of computer support and video games.  

But don't get me wrong, I'm no sucker.  Well, at least not willingly.  I just have an overheated sense of fairness.  

So what do I do now?  Does Don Quixote stop poking at windmills?

Yes, yes he does...

Look, don't get me wrong.  I love tech, I love IT, I just can't stand most of the people that work in it.  Most of them are with very limited exception the very stereotype of the narcissistic, egotistical IT jerks.  As far as I'm concerned they're all in dire need of a fat lip which I'd dearly love to provide.

Over and over again...

But on to more productive thoughts...

My only hope is to either get out of this masochistic madness or do what I initially set out to do and get into higher levels of IT management leaving the hands on drudgery to the ego maniacs. 

It's the reason why I have sixty thousand in student loans and spent Twenty+ years in the field even when it was probably wiser to get out.  If I can't lead from the trenches maybe I can lead from the mountain.  I certainly couldn't do any worse than the inept morons I've met with who currently occupy those positions.

I don't hold out much hope of that, however.  The most likely outcome for my future is pushing alternators and car batteries for a living.

I say that because I've interviewed with many of those whose jobs I'd ultimately seek to occupy and found them to be largely unimaginative, unimpressive and inadequate.  Meaning nothing has really changed in the world of the IT professional if it this is what business is looking to for leadership.  

So I suppose I can't really blame the lower level IT guys for being such jerks when lead by such uninspiring folk.

As such, the landscape being what it is, that door will likely never open to me.

That's OK.   I've liked cars far longer than computers for most of my life.  So long as the bills are paid I can take those well honed customer service skills and apply them to a field where they can be put to better use.

Will I continue IT blogging?  Probably, if I find something interesting to share or if my IT fortunes improve.  

Right now, however, I'm feeling very jaded.  I look at IT like an Ex-spouse with whom the divorce was amicable and without drama.  I may like her but it's unlikely we'll get back together unless something extraordinary happens.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Windows 10 Anniversary update: Your Last Chance Microsoft!

There are those in my profession that would call me unprofessional.  Others might even go so far as to say I'm just a disgruntled crank festooned with the requisite tin-foil hat when it comes to Microsoft Windows 10.

Here's the thing....

I don't care what you think.  I know what I've experienced and having spent most of my working career in the field losing countless hours to the cavalcade of flaws that is a new Microsoft OS I say with confidence...

Windows 10 is not an operating system, it's a delivery mechanism predicated on a marketing strategy.

I look at Windows 10 the same way I look at car commercials.  It's full of glitz, glamour and endless marketing campaigns with the sole intent of dangling shiny objects to distract you from it's intrusive and unreliable nature.

So yes, I've used it almost exclusively for a year, accepted the endless updates, 20 minute shutdown times and random lockups.  All with the intention of giving the OS a fair shake and hey the price was right.

In the intervening year between update 1607 and the launch of Windows 10 I've used the OS enough to find virtually no compelling reason to recommend it over Windows 7 for anything but support for the OS beyond 2020.

That Microsoft is now charging a minimum of $119 for the OS is an affront considering how much of a marketing platform Windows 10 is.

There are elements in Windows 10 that depending on the version are absolutely detrimental to an enterprise environment.  For example, in older versions of Windows you could get away with using a "Pro" version of Windows in your enterprise.  Yes, there were stripped down "Enterprise" versions only available to those with a Microsoft Licensing agreement but they were few and far between in my own experience.

A PRO version could connect to a Windows domain and allowed just as much control over the user experience.  The only caveat being a bit more overhead cruft inherited from its "consumer" roots.

Today a PRO version is much the same but unlike previous versions is subject to the "consumer" OS experience.   Meaning Microsoft and not your IT department is largely in control of the desktop experience in your enterprise.

Enterprise gives you all the control you used to have with "just" a PRO version but now you have to pay a subscription fee for that privilege.

I don't like that and I've taken active measures against that strategy including using SpyBot Anti-Beacon, refusing to connect my Microsoft account to the OS and denying the allure of the Microsoft Store.

Have you noticed that I've yet to say anything compelling about Windows 10?  That's because it's not and simply put there isn't anything compelling unless you work for Microsoft's marketing department.

Windows 10 is "probably" a better OS than its predecessors but you'll likely never see the benefit for all the cruft piled on top of it.  That's where the promise of the "Enterprise" versions come in but even they have been stained by the tarnish of a consumer OS.

So with the Anniversary update this is my last stand with Windows 10.  I expect many of my issues to be addressed or I'm jumping off the boat.  I could care less about "features" if they get in the way of what I'm trying to get done.

With that in mind I've documented my latest Windows 10 experience.  That being the installation and review of Windows 10 Anniversary update 1607.

I invite you to enjoy in 20 or so minutes what took me 2 1/2 hours.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Yammer's back. Microsoft updates the de facto social media client for the Enterprise

If you work in a company of any size chances are Microsoft technologies are the backbone of IT which means there's probably an Office 365 enterprise subscription.

Far removed from it's humble roots as a standalone productivity suite with Outlook's public folders as your primary collaboration source we now enjoy collaboration features that we'd never dreamed of back in the old days.

It really started with OneNote, then came SharePoint to extend the fun to other people and with acquisitions like Skype and Yammer, collaboration is almost a given in the modern enterprise.

But some features worked better than others and Microsoft has a bad habit of changing things without notice or letting features die on the vine.

For awhile it seemed like Yammer was going to be one of those withering features until recently. 
In case you didn't know...

Yammer is a private social networking service that allows communication and collaboration between users in the same enterprise.  Before the Microsoft acquisition access was limited to those within the same email domain.  Microsoft tightened that up by using AD membership but there was still work to do in the 2 years since it became part of Office 365.

Today a major update was announced that allows even tighter integration on windows domains as well as new collaboration features and on the admin end the ability to merge yammer user domains.  A handy feature with all those mergers and acquisitions going on in the corporate world. 

The video below comes from Microsoft and does a better job of explaining the updates to the service than I could.  

It's worth a look...

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Microsoft Buys LinkedIn...Another shot in the foot

If you've spent any time looking for greener professional pastures in the past few years your path has undoubtedly crossed with LinkedIn.

Touted as "The Facebook for business" the social networking site promised the same kind of experience in the professional world.  Career consultants and HR types lauded it as an invaluable resource for connecting with the hiring movers and shakers in industry.  It was supposed to be the missing link between casting your resume into the void of and a lunch date with your potential boss.

Which it was.  That is, so long as you actually knew someone.  

Just like any other social network its usefulness is limited by the people you actually know.  The sad reality is you're more likely to run into people you never want to see again than anyone that could give you a leg up.

Worse, over the years LinkedIn has become infected with the same resume-stacking, quota chasing,  recruiter types on the job boards that send you emails like this...

"Hi Everyone,
We have Informatica Architect available @ Charlotte, NC area. He is looking opportunities only @ NC, TX and GA areas. If anyone is having requirements in that areas. Kindly share me the job details along with the client information. We are marketing around $75-80/hr c2c.
Thanks for your time…


Spammy D Recruiter
Ph: 555- 555- 0412 

Yeah, UMMM, I'm actually looking for work not hiring and that other thing....I live in Arizona....

So what does this have to do with Microsoft?  Are they looking to take on ZipRecruiter?


It's just the latest reach into the dream of ubiquity dearly held by Microsoft CEO's.  They already have a hand in Facebook, Android and gaming.  They've owned the office for years and this latest purchase is proof of their intention to keep it.

The most likely outcome from the $26.2 billion dollar deal is to absorb the analytics capabilities of the LinkedIn platform and place yet another useless live-tile flashing in the Windows 10 start menu.

So how has all this buying paid off for Microsoft?

A look at their buying habits reveals that they're better at acquiring stocks than companies.

Let's compare and contrast....

Microsoft makes $34 billion off Android Patents, writes off $9 Billion for the Nokia Acquisition.

Microsoft invests $150 million in Apple  ultimately saving the company and enjoying a tidy profit when the stock splits and they sell it a few years later.  Oh yeah, and they have a guaranteed space on a competitors platform for Office.

Microsoft buys Skype for $8.5 Billion and turns an innovative, lightweight VOIP solution into a bloated mess with a paywall making it among the most hated services in its portfolio.  

Next, they kill off the beloved Windows Messenger after buying Yammer for $1.2 billion.  Once positioned as Messenger's hipster "Facebook-esque"replacement it was never heard from again outside of an Office 365 subscription. 

It seems Microsoft's acquisition strategy is to buy up companies that are just past their heyday, gut them then take a write-down later.  Kind of like when IBM purchased ROLM and  Lotus.

LinkedIn is no different.  It's only useful to those HR types that have to meet a contact quota every week and enjoy self-congratulating articles about what a good job the industry has done commoditizing job seekers like so much cattle at an auction.

Mark my words, this isn't a good thing for Microsoft.  At least no more than Nokia was going to win them market share in the mobile space or Skype was going to supplant Cisco's VOIP offerings.

But all is not lost!  Take heart friends because every time Microsoft screws up another tech company the resulting void proves to be a boon for the open source community.

Which is almost as bad but at least you're free of Microsoft's incessant sales campaigns and licensing boondoggles. 

I got off LinkedIn a couple of months ago precisely because the service did nothing for me but fill my inbox with spam.  It's a service in decline which made it a ripe target for Microsoft. 

Meaning a change in ownership, especially when its Microsoft, won't make it any more attractive.

I'm just not interested in turning my next job search into another Microsoft marketing opportunity...

Monday, June 6, 2016

Desktop Video Capture with MSI Afterburner: Update - How to exclude interfering programs with RivaTuner

Way back in December of 2014 I made a video about capturing your desktop with MSI Afterburner 4.x.

For power users capturing your desktop on video isn't any big deal except when you discover that capturing game footage is very different from capturing a Powershell tutorial.  In short it won't happen without some tweaking.

The original video covered most of what you needed to know and to date is one of the most popular on my IT Mostly YouTube channel.  But it  soon became evident within a few weeks that people needed a little more.

Specifically, what to do when something gets in the way of Afterburner like say, Dropbox??

There were a lot of helpful comments for the original video.  So many, in fact that it was the inspiration for a follow-up.

Which is what you have before you now.

This short Update to the original Afterburner Desktop Capture shows how to exclude specific programs from interfering with video capture.

So without further delay, here's the update everyone was waiting for.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

What makes Windows 10 so bad?

Windows 10 is both the most advanced and most controversial operating system ever released.  Its focus on unifying the Windows experience across a myriad of devices is laudable but the premise of its launch is suspect.

While proponents and shills of Microsoft's latest SALES platform treat such observations as the ravings of the tin foil hat crowd, a cooler head finds legitimate issues with Satya Nadella's strategy for the platform.  

Ask yourself the following questions....

Can anyone trust an operating system that constantly monitors your habits for no other purpose than to sell you something?

Is it OK to force an operating system upgrade that you don't want? 

Let me show you why I can't take Windows 10 seriously in the video below...

Online Job Boards suck

What the "experts" tell you is true.  Online job boards are a waste of time.  In fact I've NEVER gotten a job using an online job board.  I either knew someone, went directly to the company site or found out about the job some other way.

The video below shows just how useless sites like and ZipRecruiter can be especially if you rely on them to give you updated job postings.

Watch and learn.

Friday, May 20, 2016

If you think I'm plain spoken...

I ran across this YouTuber a few months back. His name is Louis Rossmann and he runs a successful repair business in New York City primarily dealing with Apple hardware from what I've gathered.

He's down to earth, plain spoken and entertaining to watch all while offering up good information.

If only more people in IT were like this guy.

This video shows him looking at typical IT job listings and showing us just how ridiculous they are.

If you're feeling down just remember that Louis wouldn't get the time of day from anyone who posted these jobs regardless of his level of talent and business success.

Check him out and subscribe if you find his musings valuable...

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Take control of those nightmare technical interviews

I had a recent experience that was a perfect example of what it's like to go through a bad technical interview.

I say "bad" because the whole time I was there it was less about what I knew and more about trying to make me look like an idiot.

Yeah, I know there's such a thing as the hot seat and technical interviews are designed to be tough.  But we strayed from the technical into the psychological for no good reason other than one of the guys across the table from me just wasn't going to ever be a fan.  It became a game of minefields.

Thing is, I wasn't playing which just made the inquisitor across the table make more of an ass out of himself the longer it went on.

I've often said that the interview process is adversarial.  The premise being that you're either lying, unqualified or unworthy of being in the same room with a "guru."

In the video below I give you some pointers on how to get the best outcome you can without sacrificing your dignity in the process.

If you can, make a positive out of a negative.

Friday, March 25, 2016

IT Certifications are still a load of BS

IT Certifications are still bullshit....

I won't accept any opinion to the contrary.  Plain and simple what IT certification was supposed to provide to non-technical people was a measurement to evaluate skills competency. It's still sold that way but the sad fact is, nothing could be further from reality.   The bulk of IT certifications are about as reliable as a Yelp! review.

It was IT that really started the current certification craze that has spread to other industries.  While some might argue that the ASE ( Automotive Service Excellence)  programs beat them to it I'd say you were wrong.

Here's why.

Where an ASE certification generally involves some of the same types of procedures for their testing, there's also a requirement to have "hands-on" experience.   In fact you can't even take the written portion of the test until you can show a period of actual work experience.  In other words, experience counts.

IT certification with very limited exception doesn't work that way. 

Check your local bookstore (if you can find one) and you'll see rows filled to the brim with certification "exam cram" books.   For many a few hundred dollars worth of these tomes is all that's necessary to effectively pass an exam.
When you crack one open you'll find it organized similar to study books for passing college entrance exams.

There's a reason for that.  Just like standardized testing in schools and the SAT's, IT certification programs are designed to "teach to the test."  No more and ultimately a whole lot less. 

In the end just like the SAT's you're going to forget 90% of the limited learning you may have gleaned from all your "cramming" anyway.

I don't know about you but that doesn't sound like a great model to measure anybody's competency.

But it's not about competency, it's about marketing...

I'll give you a recent example that happened just the other day.

As you know I've been in the field for close to a quarter of a  decade.  I cut my teeth setting up servers and networks in the days when people thought email was just a fad.  So ok,  I've been around a bit and done some stuff.

Today I went on an interview for a position that was decidedly "entry-level" but I'm a humble guy.  I've been working for less than cutting edge clients over the past few years so I'm willing to take a hit in the wallet (and as it turns out my dignity) to get up to speed on the latest and greatest.

As I at down with the hiring manager I had already done my homework.  I knew his background ( thanks LinkedIn) knew what the company did, memorized the job description and what jobs like this typically paid.

As the conversation wore on and I did my spiel about my background and experience those fatal words fell from his lips.

"Do you have any certifications?"

I did but was honest and told him they weren't current.
I've become a student of the subtleties of body language and I instantly recognized a furrowed brow after sharing that information.  He uttered, " They're not current?"

Slightly annoyed I said, "No, but the $60,000 in student loans from 2 IT degrees and 24 years experience are."

More brow action and the start of some head shaking when he said, " I need certifications to make sure my customers get helped.."

In my head I started screaming, " Wrong, wrong, wrong, 1000 times wrong!  You need competency not certification!" 
Instead of making a scene, however, I just said, "stop, we're done here."

I cut the interview short, something I would never consider doing especially since things aren't that great these days but as I said, I'm a student of subtlety.

As I got up and thanked this misguided moron for his time I looked straight at him and said, " I find zero value in certifications."

He actually looked surprised as I headed for the door.  

What, was I supposed to waste even more of our time on a job neither of us wanted me to have?

I should mention this MORON was a lord high mucky muck with the entirety of his background  not in IT but in sales over the past 20 years.  Not one day spent ever doing ANYTHING in IT but selling products.   Let's face it, a salesman sells a server the same way he'll sell you a used car.

To be honest I was actually offended that some *fat sales goon was casting aspersions on my qualification and abilities based on nothing more than being blessed by  another glorified "product."  That product  being certifications. 

* (and he was fat, like add a seat belt extender to his 7 series BMW fat)

That's all an IT certification is folks, a stupid product.  Just like your phone or your tablet.  It's a sales tool used by marketers to fool unwary customers into believing in their credibility.  As pure product, it's sold to IT folks as a shortcut to relevancy.  Problem is, It's no more a measure of ability or competency than those standardized tests I mentioned earlier.  Folks, we already know what dividends those have paid.

This interview was over the minute he professed his undying love of certifications.  He had made a judgment call based on a flawed premise.  He chose to Ignore experience and competency for the sake of a marketing tool.  He never bothered to even try to find out what I knew, he was only interested in the labels.  If he was serious he would have had a technical person in on the interview.

The arrogance and dismissive attitude is what really rubbed me wrong.  Honestly, if I'd stayed any longer I might have been much more demonstrative of my irritation with him.

To be fair, however, I couldn't expect any more from someone who was really unqualified to interview me for any technical position.  It would be like me trying to hire someone to run a nuclear power plant. 

I'd have been better served by just blowing this interview off.  As it was it cost me 4 gallons of gas just to get there.  Wasted time, wasted effort and a waste of limited resources.
It's a problem that has spread through the industry like an STD without a prescription cream.   Strangely, however, it seems that the higher the pay grade the less emphasis there is on such things.  

For example, I've yet to meet an IT manager in the past decade who had or was required to have anything like the demands for certification that I see for low and mid level IT jobs.  Apparently the guys who make the tough calls aren't chosen based on their labels.

The bottom line is that certifications are just a crutch for ignorant managers and organizations.  Think I'm wrong?  Well friend you can proceed straight to hell with due haste.  I won't bother with anyone who thinks otherwise because I've seen the detrimental effect on the industry.  I sure as hell won't be judged by anyone like that either.

I may go hungry and homeless for my point of view but hell, I will anyway if things continue on like they are.  Am I against education and keeping my skills up?  Not at all and you're missing the point.  IT certifications don't teach skills nor do they test them.  They exist only for their own benefit as a product which makes them useless as a measure of competency.  Who cares if I'm good at playing with a marketing tool if I can't fix your problem!  

Ah, and the thing that proves my point the best is the investment required to acquire this "product."  

I haven't mentioned to this point the high cost that YOU not the employer has to shoulder to get these certs.  Training materials and "classes" can run into the hundreds even thousands of dollars.  It's an industry in itself producing a product of little more than the facade of competency.  And just like any other product it must be purchased over and over again.  Here's the saddest part of it...I haven't found any company in the past 2 decades that would pay for a certification they demanded for a position.  Sorry you poor misguided souls but that aint me, I'd rather spend that money on rent thank you very much!

Until  IT certifications are administered more like the ASE program (and by the way, Why the hell aren't  they? ) they serve no purpose as anything but a sham product. 

Which makes sense, this fat moron I interviewed with knew nothing about IT other than selling products.  He was a salesman not an IT professional so I can understand why he was so enamored with certifications.  He was  just too ignorant to know any better.

If you're OK being evaluated like an IPhone or a pair of shoes then by all means enjoy your naive bliss just stay away from anywhere I'm working.

I don't need your kind of "help."

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Pet Peeve with PDF

The world has changed a lot in 30 years.  In that time we've gone from carrying around Walkmans to carrying around Smart Phones.  We're constantly connected and forever looking for ways to streamline the mundane. 

To that end, the advent of the Internet has gone a long way towards eradicating the drudgery of things like pen and paper for the convenience of keyboard and mouse.  One company, Adobe, has labored tirelessly to further that goal. 

The PDF was their creation and it's formed the foundation of many a product manual and job application.

It's been around for two decades and over the years has added features like security, markup and even the ability to create forms that you can fill in without compromising the original document.

With such a long history you'd think the PDF would spell the end of the hard copy.  Millions of trees would be saved, thousands of hours reclaimed from the printer queue. 

Life would be better...

Except a few people out there didn't get the message.

The worst of which are those who insist on paper forms like job applications.  Even worse than that?  People who make PDF's that require input but don't create them to allow for it.  It forces the hapless recipient of this DEAD PDF to print it out, fill it in then scan it again as yet another DEAD PDF.

What is the point of having an online process if you have to kill a forest of trees to complete it?
It's a pet peeve and a huge waste of time.  It's even more embarrassing when it's a tech company that does it.

So, new rule...

If you're going to send somebody a form online, make sure it can be filled out ONLINE! 

I can't think of anything that's more 1985 than writer's cramp.