Ever since I got into the IT field about 11 years ago, I have wanted to get a computer networking certification. In this field, certifications mean a lot. Having a college degree is almost expected now and a certification can assure a company that you truly know your stuff. The most well recognized networking certifications are attained from Cisco. They are the largest networking company in the World. They have many levels of certifications from entry all the way to expert architect. I just want to attain the entry level certification and prove to myself that I can do it. I have heard that some people get an itch once they pass their first level exam to keep moving up the ladder. In my opinion, you really have to work with network equipment hands on everyday to be able to or need to attain the professional and expert levels. You have to re-certify or attain a higher certification every three years to be able to keep your previously attained certifications current.

I have been working hard to get through the material for the first level certification, CCENT. CCENT stands for Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician. It is the first step to the CCNA or Cisco Certified Network Associate certification. I have been reading the book off and on for the past year. It is hard to find time with four kids! I finally finished the book about a month ago and I have finished doing all the lab work that is available with the book. All that is left now is doing practice tests and scheduling the test. The practice test software recommends you set aside two hours to take the practice test and to get rid of all distractions just like in the testing center. My wife is in Paramedic school so it is difficult to get two hours to myself without the kids.

My brother, Jonathan has passed two CCNA exams. They are many versions of the certification, the most common being Network Routing and Switching. He has the Routing and Switching and has recently gotten the CCNA Wireless certification. I would love to get both of those, because Wireless has always been an aggravating part of my job. So I am hoping that certification can help me become better friends with Wireless Networking.

I truly hope that one day soon I will have a blog post about the fact that I passed my exam and got certified. Stay tuned!

Microsoft Product Woes

I recently started rolling out some computers that came preloaded with Windows 10 Professional and Office 2016 Home & Business OEM. We rolled them out earlier this month and about a week ago all 4 of them lost the ability to use their Microsoft Office Applications. I don’t know if it was an Microsoft Office update or some other issue. I tried the Quick Repair and Online Repair and both failed. I tried uninstalling Microsoft Office and running all the clean-up utilities and still I was unable to reinstall Microsoft Office 2016. I was able to get a copy of Microsoft Office 2013 to install, but that doesn’t solve the issue. I worked with Dell and Microsoft for at least 8 hours each and none of them were able to resolve the issue either. Both companies ended the conversation with recommending a fresh Windows 10 install. That wasn’t going to work for us.

So we bought a few licenses of Office 365 Premium but even that would not install. We discovered that if we uninstalled our Kaspersky Endpoint Security that we could get Office 365 to install. Then we could reinstall Kaspersky. We were never able to get Microsoft Office 2016 Home & Business OEM to install. So hopefully Dell can refund us for those licenses. My coworker is contacting Kaspersky support to try to figure out what could be causing the Endpoint Security to not allow Office to install. I just wanted to share this in case someone else comes across this same “Perfect Storm” of software products and its associated woes


Computer Brains

It has been an exciting year for computer brains or as they are more commonly known, CPUs or processors. Every computer has a processor or CPU, which stands for Central Processing Unit. Look down at your laptop or desktop and you will likely see an AMD or an Intel sticker on it somewhere. It more than likely has an Intel sticker since they have dominated the market for the last several years.

My early years in IT were spent working at Tim’s Computers in Baton Rouge. I eventually moved up to building custom PCs for the company which is my fondest memory there. I loved putting all the new computer parts together and getting to put my initials on the bottom of it. At that time Intel and AMD were fierce competitors, so I built a pretty even amount of computers using each CPU manufacturer. But at some point, Intel starting leaving AMD in the dust. I believe it was when they moved from the Pentium 4 and Pentium D to Core 2 Duo in 2007 and eventually Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 lineup in 2010. That was when the CPU fight stopped being about how fast the CPU runs, represented by GHz or Gigahertz, and more about how many cores and threads the CPU contains. AMD became mostly only relevant in the budget PC market. If you wanted to play video games, you bought a computer with an Intel Core CPU in it.

This year AMD has come out of ashes with its new Ryzen 3, 5 and 7 CPUs to compete with the Intel Core i3, i5, and i7. They have also released their Threadripper CPU lineup which is cheaper then Intel’s top of the line desktop CPUs and even out-performs them in some cases. Intel’s top available desktop CPU has 10 cores and costs a little over $1000. AMD’s top desktop CPU costs $999 and has 16 cores! AMD is even taking on Intel’s business market with their Epyc server CPU lineup which has been dominated by Intel Xeons for a very long time. AMD’s top Epyc processor will have 32 cores. We have left the days of dual core and quad core processors being top of the line!