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1Z0-404 Oracle Communications Session Border Controller 7 Basic Implementation Essentials

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Exam Details
Duration: 120
Number of Questions:  70
Passing Score: 70%

Exam has been validated against Oracle Session Border Controller 7.

Format: Multple Choice

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Complete one of the courses below to prepare for your exam (optional):
Oracle SBC Configuration and Administration
Oracle SBC Troubleshooting

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Essentials
Describe SIP and architecture elements: SIP proxies and back-to-back user agents (B2BUAs)
Diagnose and troubleshoot a basic SIP call flow processed by Oracle Session Border Controller

Introduction to Session Border Controller (SBC)
Describe the basic functions of a Session Border Controller
Describe the boot process and the SBC services

Initial Configuration
Explain the boot parameters and their effects
Describe the configuration concepts and configuration tree
Execute user and super-user level commands in the ACLI
Analyze, create, modify, and delete configuration elements
Perform routine operations including boot-related operations

Provisioning Interfaces
Describe the network interface’s default behavior and how it is altered
Provision physical interfaces
Provision network interfaces (VLAN and non-VLAN)
Enable/disable management operations through a media interface

Session Border Controller Concepts
Explain realms and realm bridging
Configure global SIP parameters and Media Manager
Configure realms, SIP interfaces, and steering pools
Configure routing policies, session agents, and header manipulation rules

Peering Environment Configuration
Describe the Policy-Based Realm Bridging (PBRB) configuration tasks in Peering environments
Configure a working Peering environment
Configure Peering access rules

Access-Backbone Environment Configuration
Explain registration caching, Hosted NAT Traversal (HNT), and Adaptive HNT
Configure the PBRB model in an Access-Backbone environment

Configuring SBC High Availability
Explain the operation of the high-availability mechanism and SBC node states
Configure a high-availability SBC pair
Manage a high-availability SBC pair system failover

The Session Border Controller ACLI is structured in a way that separates configuration of layers 3,4, and 5. This allows the system administrator to link each configuration together as needed for signaling and media routing purposes.
Which two options are valid to link signaling and media interfaces to a realm? (Choose two.)

A. Navigate to the iwf-config configuration element and set the media-interface-id parameter to the realm name.
B. Navigate to the account-config configuration element and set the realm-id parameter to the realm name.
C. Navigate to the network-interface configuration element and set the sip-interface-id parameter to the realm name.
D. Navigate to the steering-pool configuration element and set the realm-id parameter to the realm name.
E. Navigate to the sip-interface configuration element and set the realm-id parameter to the realm name.

Answer: A,B

You are configuring access rules in a Session Border ControllerPeering architecture.
Which two configuration steps are required to allow access only from User Agents (UAs) configured as session agents? (Choose two.)

A. Navigate to the sip-port configuration element and set the allow-anonymous parameter to all.
B. Navigate to the session-agent configuration element and set the ip-address parameter to the IP subnet of your trusted User Agent (UA).
C. Navigate to the realm-config configuration element and set the addr-prefix parameter to the IP subnet of your trusted User Agent (UA).
D. Navigate to the sip-port configuration element and set the allow-anonymous parameter to agents-only.
E. Navigate to the sip-port configuration element and set the allow-anonymous parameter to address-prefix.

Answer: B,E

You need to configure the Session Border Controller toperform load balancing between two downstream SIP proxies.
Which option shows the configuration elements that you should configure for the load balancing feature?

A. session-router and router-group
B. realm-config and enum-group
C. group-policy andload-policy
D. proxy and proxy-pool
E. local-policy and session-group

Answer: A

You were working with the Session Border Controller in configuration mode and you forgot toclose your session.
Your colleague who connected after you left says that he cannot enter into configuration mode.
Why is your colleague not able to configure the Session Border Controller?

A. The Session Border Controller does not allow more than one configuration session within 24 hours.
B. The Session Border Controller does not support Telnet/SSH timeouts.
C. The Session Border Controller supports only one simultaneous configuration session, and the Telnet/SSH timeouts are set to 0.
D. The Session Border Controller supports only 10 simultaneous configuration sessions.
E. The Session Border Controller supports only five simultaneous Telnet/SSH sessions.

Answer: C

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Exam 70-480 Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3

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Published: August 20, 2012
Languages: English, Chinese (Simplified), French, German, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil)
Audiences: Developers
Technology: Microsoft Visual Studio 2012
Credit toward certification: MCP, MCSD

Skills measured
This exam measures your ability to accomplish the technical tasks listed below. The percentages indicate the relative weight of each major topic area on the exam. The higher the percentage, the more questions you are likely to see on that content area on the exam. View video tutorials about the variety of question types on Microsoft exams.

Please note that the questions may test on, but will not be limited to, the topics described in the bulleted text.

Do you have feedback about the relevance of the skills measured on this exam? Please send Microsoft your comments. All feedback will be reviewed and incorporated as appropriate while still maintaining the validity and reliability of the certification process. Note that Microsoft will not respond directly to your feedback. We appreciate your input in ensuring the quality of the Microsoft
Certification program.

If you have concerns about specific questions on this exam, please submit an exam challenge.

If you have other questions or feedback about Microsoft Certification exams or about the certification program, registration, or promotions, please contact your Regional Service Center.

Implement and manipulate document structures and objects (24%)
Create the document structure
Structure the UI by using semantic markup, including for search engines and screen readers (Section, Article, Nav, Header, Footer, and Aside); create a layout container in HTML
Write code that interacts with UI controls
Programmatically add and modify HTML elements; implement media controls; implement HTML5 canvas and SVG graphics
Apply styling to HTML elements programmatically
Change the location of an element; apply a transform; show and hide elements
Implement HTML5 APIs
Implement storage APIs, AppCache API, and Geolocation API
Establish the scope of objects and variables
Define the lifetime of variables; keep objects out of the global namespace; use the “this” keyword to reference an object that fired an event; scope variables locally and globally
Create and implement objects and methods
Implement native objects; create custom objects and custom properties for native objects using prototypes and functions; inherit from an object; implement native methods and create custom methods

Preparation resources
The developer’s guide to HTML5 canvas
How to zoom and pan with SVG

Implement program flow (25%)
Implement program flow
Iterate across collections and array items; manage program decisions by using switch statements, if/then, and operators; evaluate expressions
Raise and handle an event
Handle common events exposed by DOM (OnBlur, OnFocus, OnClick); declare and handle bubbled events; handle an event by using an anonymous function
Implement exception handling
Set and respond to error codes; throw an exception; request for null checks; implement try-catch-finally blocks
Implement a callback
Receive messages from the HTML5 WebSocket API; use jQuery to make an AJAX call; wire up an event; implement a callback by using anonymous functions; handle the “this” pointer
Create a web worker process
Start and stop a web worker; pass data to a web worker; configure timeouts and intervals on the web worker; register an event listener for the web worker; limitations of a web worker

Preparation resources
Controlling program flow (JavaScript)
Coding basic apps
try…catch…finally statement (JavaScript)

Access and secure data (26%)
Validate user input by using HTML5 elements
Choose the appropriate controls based on requirements; implement HTML input types and content attributes (for example, required) to collect user input
Validate user input by using JavaScript
Evaluate a regular expression to validate the input format; validate that you are getting the right kind of data type by using built-in functions; prevent code injection
Consume data
Consume JSON and XML data; retrieve data by using web services; load data or get data from other sources by using XMLHTTPRequest
Serialize, deserialize, and transmit data
Binary data; text data (JSON, XML); implement the jQuery serialize method; Form.Submit; parse data; send data by using XMLHTTPRequest; sanitize input by using URI/form encoding

Preparation resources
pattern attribute | pattern property
XMLHttpRequest object

Use CSS3 in applications (25%)
Style HTML text properties
Apply styles to text appearance (color, bold, italics); apply styles to text font (WOFF and @font-face, size); apply styles to text alignment, spacing, and indentation; apply styles to text hyphenation; apply styles for a text drop shadow
Style HTML box properties
Apply styles to alter appearance attributes (size, border and rounding border corners, outline, padding, margin); apply styles to alter graphic effects (transparency, opacity, background image, gradients, shadow, clipping); apply styles to establish and change an element’s position (static, relative, absolute, fixed)
Create a flexible content layout
Implement a layout using a flexible box model; implement a layout using multi-column; implement a layout using position floating and exclusions; implement a layout using grid alignment; implement a layout using regions, grouping, and nesting
Create an animated and adaptive UI
Animate objects by applying CSS transitions; apply 3-D and 2-D transformations; adjust UI based on media queries (device adaptations for output formats, displays, and representations); hide or disable controls
Find elements by using CSS selectors and jQuery
Choose the correct selector to reference an element; define element, style, and attribute selectors; find elements by using pseudo-elements and pseudo-classes (for example, :before, :first-line, :first-letter, :target, :lang, :checked, :first-child)
Structure a CSS file by using CSS selectors
Reference elements correctly; implement inheritance; override inheritance by using !important; style an element based on pseudo-elements and pseudo-classes (for example, :before, :first-line, :first-letter, :target, :lang, :checked, :first-child)

You are developing a web page that will be divided into three vertical sections. The main content of the site will be placed in the center section. The two outer sections will contain advertisements.
You have the following requirements:
? The main content section must be set to two times the width of the advertising sections.
? The layout must be specified by using the CSS3 flexible box model.
You need to ensure that the visual layout of the page meets the requirements.
Which CSS3 property should you use?

A. box-orient
B. box-flex-group
C. box-flex
D. box-direction

Answer: C

You are developing a web application that consumes services from a third-party application. A web worker processes the third-party application requests in the background. A page in the application instantiates the web worker process.
You need to establish two-way communications between the web worker process and the page.
Which two actions will achieve this goal? (Each correct answer presents a complete solution. Choose two.)

A. From the web worker, use the onconnect event handler of the main page to capture events.
B. From the main page, use the onmessage event handler of the web worker to capture events.
C. From the web worker, use the onmessage event handler of the main page to capture events.
D. From the main page, use the onconnect event handler of the web worker to capture events.

Answer: B,C

You are developing a customer web form that includes the following HTML.
<input id = “txtValue” />
A customer must enter a value in the text box prior to submitting the form.
You need to add validation to the text box control.
Which HTML should you use?

A. <input id=”txtValue” type=”text” required=”required”/>
B. <input id=”txtValue” type=”text” pattern=”[A-Za-z]{3}” />
C. <input id=”txtValue” type=”required” />
D. <input id=”txtValue” type=”required” autocomplete=”on” />

Answer: A

You are creating a class named Consultant that must inherit from the Employee class. The Consultant class must modify the inherited PayEmployee method. The Employee class is defined as follows.
function Employee() {}
Employee.prototype.PayEmployee = function ( ){
alertt’Hi there!’);
Future instances of Consultant must be created with the overridden method.
You need to write the code to implement the Consultant class.
Which code segments should you use? (Each correct answer presents part of the solution. Choose two.)

A. Consultant.PayEmployee = function ()
alert(‘Pay Consulant’);
B. Consultant.prototype.PayEmployee = function ()
alert(‘Pay Consultant’);
C. function Consultant () {;
Consultant.prototype = new Employee(); Consultant.prototype.constructor = Consultant; D. function Consultant() {; } Consultant.prototype.constructor = Consultant.create;

Answer: B,C

You are developing an HTML5 web application and are styling text.
You need to use the text-transform CSS property.
Which values are valid for the text-transform property?

A. hidden
B. blink
C. capitalize
D. line-through

Answer: C
none,capitalize,uppercase,lowercase and inherit Example
Transform text in different elements: h1 {text-transform:uppercase;}
h2 {text-transform:capitalize;} p {text-transform:lowercase;}

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YouTube served malicious ads

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The ads redirected victims to the Sweet Orange exploit kit, which tries to install malware, Trend Micro says

Malicious advertisements, some of which were displayed on YouTube, redirected more than 113,000 people in the U.S. to harmful websites in just a month, Trend Micro said Tuesday.

Although online advertising companies try to detect and block such ads from being circulated on their networks, bad ones sometimes get through. Such ads can be very productive for hackers. It can mean a large pool of victims if shown on a high-traffic website.

“This was a worrying development: Not only were malicious ads showing up on YouTube, they were on videos with more than 11 million views — in particular, a music video uploaded by a high-profile record label,” wrote Joseph Chen, a fraud researcher, on Trend Micro’s blog.

Google, which owns YouTube, did not have an immediate comment.

Chen wrote that users viewing the ads were bounced through two servers in the Netherlands before landing on the malicious server, which is located in the U.S.

That server had the Sweet Orange exploit kit installed. Sweet Orange checks if the computer has one of four vulnerabilities affecting Internet Explorer, Java or Adobe Systems’ Flash application.

If the attack is successful, the kit delivers malware from the KOVTER family, which has been used in the past for ransomware, Chen wrote. Those attacks try to extort a victim by either encrypting their files or tricking them into paying a fine.

The KOVTER malware is hosted on a subdomain of a Polish government site that has been hacked, Chen wrote. The attackers had also modified DNS (Domain Name System) information on that site by adding subdomains that led to their own servers, but the method used to accomplish that was unclear, Chen wrote.



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U.S. ranks fourth in Internet freedom as surveillance grows worldwide

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The U.S. still cracks the top five in global Internet freedom, as surveillance appears to be a common trend.

Internet freedom has declined in the United States over the past year as a result of its surveillance policies, reflecting a trend that appears to have caught on worldwide, according to a recently released study.

The study [PDF], conducted by Freedom House, gauged Internet freedom in 60 countries by tracking obstacles to access information online, limits on content, and violations of user rights. Among the issues cited in the report are government agencies’ outright blocking of specific Internet content, surveillance measures, and legal and violent repercussions taken against those who use the Internet to criticize governing or religious bodies.

Iceland was the top-ranking nation on the list, which may not come as a surprise considering its recent role as a safe-haven for controversial Internet whistleblowers. Edward Snowden, for example, has recently expressed a desire for refuge in the country.

Estonia was the second-ranked country on the list, followed by Germany and the U.S., both of which received a score of 17 on Freedom House’s scale of 1-to-100, which assigned points for higher rates of violations of Internet freedom. Australia, France, Japan, Hungary, Italy and the UK round out the top 10.

Despite its relatively high ranking, the U.S. showed a significant decline in overall Internet freedom as a result of the revelations of its surveillance capabilities and their impact on the global Internet, Freedom House explained.


“While there is no evidence that the NSA surveillance programs were abused to suppress political speech, they have drawn strong condemnations at home and abroad for their wide-reaching infringements on privacy,” the report says. “Since many large technology companies — with millions of users around the world — are based in the United States, the NSA was able to collect information on foreigners without having to go through the legal channels of the countries in which the targeted users were located.”

However prevalent this trend may be in the U.S., it is also a sign of a much broader movement among international governments of all kinds. In 35 out of the 60 countries examined, Freedom House marked increases in the sophistication of communications monitoring technology, the scope of the people monitored, and the enactment of laws enabling the government to spy on its citizens.

Russia, for example, has increased its surveillance capabilities significantly since the Arab Spring began in late 2010, going as far as legalizing the government’s wiretapping of opposing political parties, the report says.

The report also included the caveat that the problem is likely more common than its research reflects.

“There is a strong suspicion that many of the remaining 25 countries’ governments have also stepped up their surveillance activities, though some may be better than others at covering their tracks,” the report says.

India showed the largest decline in Internet freedom since last year’s report, as a result of “deliberate interruptions of mobile and Internet service to limit unrest, excessive blocks on content during rioting in northeastern states, and an uptick in the filing of criminal charges against ordinary users for posts on social-media sites,” the report says. Brazil also showed a steep decline, largely due to issues involving its election and the suspicious deaths of several controversial political journalists and bloggers.

Overall, Iran, China and Cuba were deemed the most restrictive countries in the world when it comes to Internet access.

At the same time, the report also showed an increase in Internet freedom in 16 countries. Morocco and Burma both made strong efforts at dissolving their long-standing censorship policies, while Tunisia began embracing a more open Internet and media culture as it moves on from the now-defunct regime of its former president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.
Concerns over the U.S. government’s reach into the products of its private tech industry may compound the global surveillance issues as several major U.S. companies embark on far-reaching initiatives to expand Internet access worldwide., for example, has cited the Facebook for Every Phone mobile app among its outline for expanding Internet access.

Facebook is the driving force behind, and has been accused of providing the NSA access to its users’ personal information.



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Windows 8 Update: New Kindle takes on Microsoft Surface 2 in workplace

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Also, nobody but Microsoft will touch Windows RT, Bill Gates gets his purple wish

The new Kindle Fire HDX tablet is giving Microsoft’s Surface 2 a run for its money as a business device even though the Surface 2 won’t be available until next month.

Kindle HDX can view Microsoft Office applications via OfficeSuite Viewer, can grab emails from a corporate Exchange server via ActiveSync, prints wirelessly and supports Bluetooth keyboards and mice.

It can be brought under the purview of AirWatch, MaaS360, Citrix, GoodTechnology, and SOTI mobile device management platforms to control network configuration, security, feature controls, inventory and to manage apps.

IN PICTURES: Quick Look: Microsoft’s new Surface family and accessories

BACKGROUND: Microsoft brings longer battery life, faster processors to Surface

FEATURES: Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2: On battery life, colors and ‘lapability’

It supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and LTE (from AT&T or Verizon).

The company promises more: hardware device encryption, VPN support, single sign-on via the Amazon Silk browser that comes with the device and support for digital certificates.

Amazon provides Whispercast, a Web tool for distributing apps and documents.

With an 8.9-inch screen in the large model, the device is smaller than the 10.6-inch Surface 2. Other features the Surface 2 has that Kindle HDX doesn’t: a full Microsoft Office suite and Windows 8.1 with its VPN, access control and a feature called Workplace Join that enables connecting to Windows Server environments.

Still, Amazon is pushing its new device, available in December, as workplace friendly.

The price for the 64GB Kindle with LTE is $579, and without LTE it’s $479. The 64GB Kindle without LTE is $549, and no word on what the version with LTE will cost when it comes out next year.

Depending on how well the Android-based Kindles sell this holiday season, IT departments with BYOD policies could start seeing them show up in the office. Android-based tablets sell much better than Windows RT tablets.

Has the Surface 2 Mini been announced already?

CNET reports that based on analysts’ information, Microsoft is working on a 7.5-inch Surface 2 due out next year. It ties that together with an earlier Microsoft statement that Windows RT is based on ARM processors for their built-in mobile broadband support, indicating the Mini might have broadband.

This week Microsoft promised a Surface tablet next year with mobile broadband. Perhaps this is the Mini. What the company said doesn’t rule it out: “We didn’t talk about it today, but Surface 2 will be launching an awesome LTE SKU early next year!” says Microsoft’s Surface vice president Panos Panay in a Reddit chat.

Microsoft sews up the Windows RT market

Now that Dell has dumped its own XPS Windows RT tablet, Microsoft is the only hardware vendor using the platform, which is a bundled hardware-software package based on ARM chips that hasn’t seen much uptake in its first year of existence.

That means that if Microsoft hadn’t decided to make its own hardware, likely nobody would be selling Windows RT right now. Given that pure hardware vendors know a thing or two about what sells, Windows RT has received a resounding thumbs-down.


Microsoft announced a blade cover/keyboard this week when it unveiled its upgraded Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets that could offer some interesting possibilities for programmers.

The blade shown off by Microsoft is a snap on touchpad very much like a Touch Cover 2 keyboard only it’s embossed with a 16-key number pad and three sliders for mixing music.

But given that the Remix Project is based on the basic keyboard hardware, it seems programmers could write code for it that would do something else besides typing characters and mixing music – perhaps drawing and painting, controlling industrial equipment, whatever.
Opening up an API for the keyboards and turning it loose on developers would no doubt generate a lot more possibilities.

The color purple

The Verge recalled that last year just after Windows 8 launched a Microsoft ad showed a hypothetical Bill Gates text to Steve Ballmer, suggesting a purple Type Cover keyboard for Surface tablets. This week, Microsoft announced a purple Type Cover.

Gates still has clout.

Here’s the ad, with Gates’s text shown at 13 sec.


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certkingdom offers self-study MCTS training to IT technicians seeking to enhance their careers through certification. If you want to specialize in a Microsoft technology, earning this credential proves that not only do you care about getting relevant technical skills for today’s business world, it also validates those skills and prepares you for specific job roles. Choose an MCTS certkingdom training course for self-paced training that you participate in on your computer. Each self-study MCTS certkingdom course features a complete curriculum that prepares you for the required certification exams through a series of videos. A certified instructor leads you throughout the MCTS training appearing in full motion videos that you can access whenever you are ready to train.

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The top 10 geek sins that will get your geek card revoked

by IT Trainer ·

Here are 10 of the worst transgressions for any geek. Doing any one of these will put your geek credentials at risk. Do two of them and your geek card immediately gets revoked.

TechRepublic has previously talked about some of the things you can do to increase your geek cred. Naturally, there are also some things that can hurt your geek cred. In fact, we’ve put together a list of 10 of the worst transgressions for any geek. Doing any one of these will put your geek credentials at risk. Do two of them and your geek card immediately gets revoked.

You can view our list in two forms. You’ll find the simple list below, or you can check it out in slideshow format with the accompanying visuals.

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10. Admitting that you like iTunes

Sure, it’s convenient for buying music and media in one place and syncing it to an iPod or iPhone, but iTunes has a draconian DRM system (still in place for media), makes it difficult to manage your library on multiple systems, and it started out as one of the worst pieces of bloatware ever built. And, it hasn’t gotten much better.

9. Not knowing the difference between binary and hexadecimal

Binary is the basis of all computing and is simply composed of zeros and ones. Hexadecimal is a 16-digit numeric system — based on numbers 0-9 and letters A-F — that represents binary in a more friendly way. Know the difference.

8. Not knowing what MMORPG stands for

Even if you don’t play games (or rarely play) you should know that an MMORPG is a “massively multiplayer online role-playing game,” also known as the alternate reality for geeks. The biggest one is World of Warcraft (WoW), a cultural phenomenon with over 12 million subscribers.

7. Loving your cable or telecom company

Geeks built the Internet. Geeks live on the Internet. Geeks love the Internet. However, the companies that bring us the Internet to our homes and offices — the telecoms and cable companies — are doing everything they can to wall it off, manipulate it for their own financial gain, and stop geeks from using it so much. For as long as they do that, they will remain at war with the geekosphere.

6. Not knowing the name of the book that Blade Runner was based on

Blade Runner is one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time. If you’re a true geek, you’ve seen it multiple times. But, not only that, you also know that it’s based on Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” which is one of the best-titled stories in all of literature and an absolute classic in science fiction.

5. Confusing Star Wars and Star Trek

If someone mentions a Wookie and a Klingon and you’re not sure which one was part of the Star Wars universe and which one belongs to the Star Trek milieu, you are definitely not a geek.

4. Believing the “free” in open source refers to price

Repeat after me, “Open source does not mean it doesn’t cost anything.” Sure, some open source software is freely available to download at no cost. But, that’s not a requirement of open source. There is plenty of open source software that requires a fee. When open source talks about “free” software, they are referring to “free” as in “freedom.” It is freedom from overreaching licensing agreements. You’ll also hear this concept referred to as “Gratis verses Libre.”

3. Defending Facebook for its privacy transgressions

Look, Facebook is lucky the entire geekosphere hasn’t dropped it like a bad habit after all of the crap they’ve pulled in changing and violating their own lackluster privacy policies. Leo Laporte nearly led a geek revolt out of Facebook in May 2010. The only thing that prevented it was lack of a viable alternative.

2. Taking something into Geek Squad to get fixed

Best Buy’s Geek Squad has a few legitimate geeks on staff; however, too many of their technicians are completely clueless and can do more harm than good to your equipment. Besides, if you’re geek, just geek-up, open up the case, and fix it yourself. (Exception: It’s acceptable to go to the Geek Squad counter to exchange a DOA device that is still under warranty. Just don’t let us catch you asking for advice.)

1. Buying a paper computer book at Barnes & Noble

In 1999, if you wanted to quickly learn more about HTML or Exchange 5.5 or Apache or how to earn CCNA certification, you’d typically make a quick trip to your nearest book superstore like Barnes & Noble or Borders and comb through the huge selection of computer books. However, this is 2010. Any computer book you find at a bookstore is at least six months out of date. Almost everything you need to know is available on the web for free or in ebook format that you can quickly download to your laptop or tablet. Buying a dead-tree tome about a new technology is an immediate tip-off that your geek credentials are in question.

This article was originally published on TechRepublic.


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Beaches and BBQs vs. Blackberrys: Holiday weekends of the IT set

by IT Trainer ·



Chat for free: Use instant messaging and your webcam to stay in touch

by IT Trainer ·

Every Sunday, my 20-month-old daughter and I call Grandma and Grandpa to video chat. We live in Colorado; they live in Las Vegas. But my daughter knows them by sight and voice—because, with instant messaging (IM) and a webcam, we all can see and hear one another. It feels as if they are right here with us, and it’s great to chat for free.

These days, webcams are easy to buy, connect, and use. In fact, most new laptops come with built-in webcams, and when a webcam is paired with instant messaging or video call software or websites, almost anyone can communicate face to face (or webcam to webcam!) with friends and loved ones.

In this article, we discuss both of these options for staying in touch with family and friends.
Get the software and hardware

Here is what you need to get started:
Instant messaging software: Windows Live Messenger

There are lots of free programs that you can use to stay in touch, but my favorite software for instant messaging and video calls is Windows Live Messenger, which is a part of Windows Live Essentials. With Windows Live Essentials, you get Messenger, Photo Gallery, Mail, Movie Maker, Writer, Family Safety, and Toolbar, plus Microsoft Office Outlook Connector, Office Live Add-in, and Microsoft Silverlight.

Here are five reasons I use Windows Live Messenger instead of other instant messaging software:

It’s integrated with other Microsoft products and services, like Microsoft Outlook and Windows Live Essentials, so I can see when my friends and family are online as I do other things.

Most people I know use it (300 million people in 76 countries use Messenger every month), plus I can chat with people on Yahoo! too.

Messenger offers video chat in HD while sharing your photos and watching videos.

You can leave 30-second video messages if your friends aren’t around.

Also, you can set your availability by group. For instance, you can be “Available” for friends but “Offline” for coworkers.

There are lots of other features, but these five are the ones that I use most often to stay in touch. Also, Windows Live Messenger is easy to set up, which makes it simple for me to use with other people who are less technically savvy.

To get it, download Windows Live Messenger from Microsoft. After you’re on the website, click Download, and, in the File Download dialog box, click Run and then follow the installation prompts.

The next item you’ll need is a webcam. Choose something that will work with your computer and operating system. Ideally, you should get one with a built-in microphone. Laptops often have built-in webcams, by the way, but if you purchase one on your own, you’ll need to plug the webcam into a USB port on your computer and install the software that comes with it. Then, follow the instructions that come with your webcam to install it on your computer. An external webcam provides a lot of flexibility with camera angle and direction, better optics, increased field of view, and typically higher quality video. For a list of webcams that are optimized for Windows Live, visit the Windows Live marketplace.
Add friends to your Windows Live Messenger account

After you have the messaging software and your webcam is set up, you can start video chatting with friends and family. When you are signed in to your Windows Live Messenger account, it’s time to add friends that you’d like to chat or video chat with. Look for the Friends icon on your Messenger home screen Friends icon in Windows Live Messenger, and on the drop-down menu, click Add a friend. All you need to do is add his or her email address and then click Next twice. The second time you click Next, you are asked whether you’d like to add the person as a favorite, which means that he or she will always appear at the top of your Messenger contacts and will be easy to find. Then, an invitation is sent.
Add a Contact window in Windows Live Messenger

You can easily add friends and contacts to your Windows Live Messenger account.

After your friend accepts the invitation, the two of you can begin chatting. When you’re ready to start an IM or video chat, just double-click the contact name and another window will open with options to IM or to Video call. To have an IM conversation, type your message in the text box provided, and, on your keyboard, press Enter. To have a video chat, click Video call. Note that the other person must be online and available to have an IM conversation or video chat.

Make a call with your webcam

Making a webcam call (or chat with video) is as easy as making a call from the telephone in your kitchen. The big difference is that you’re using your computer with a webcam to make the call. Here’s how it works: Your computer calls another computer using the IP (Internet Protocol) address associated with your contact’s email address. To read more about making a webcam call, go to Windows Live Help, and, in the Search for box, type webcam call. For more information about buying a webcam that is optimized for Windows Live, visit Windows Live marketplace.
Screen shot: How to start a webcam call

Chat during video calls

When you are engaged in a video chat using Windows Live Messenger, you can still send instant messages back and forth, if, for example, your sound goes out or another small technical problem occurs. You can also send or share pictures or documents while you video chat.

You can even IM with other friends while you are video chatting—just open up a chat with anyone else on your contact list and multitask to your heart’s content. The person you’re chatting with will never know that you are also on a video call, but be careful: The person on the video call will see what you’re doing and where your eyes are.
Video and IM tips

With instant messaging, it’s easy to overdo it. Little messages pop up on your screen at the oddest times, and it’s difficult to resist them even when a work deadline or other important task needs to be completed. If you have a lot of people in your contacts list, you could spend half your day instant messaging. To help you stay on track and in touch, here are some instant messaging tips:

Use the My Status feature to alert others to your availability. This feature tells others at a glance whether you can chat or whether it might not be a good time for you. Conversely, respect the status of those you want to chat with. If someone has the Busy icon on their name, for example, don’t bother sending a message until they become available. To set your status in Windows Live Messenger, go to the File menu, click Status, and then select the option that describes your current availability: Available, Busy, Away, or Appear Offline.

Screen shot of an IM conversation showing one contact offline

Establish regular times for video calls. You can always be spontaneous, of course, but remember that some folks wear pajamas half the day and may not always want to pick up a video call!

Regularly check the video settings for your webcam. First, check your video settings in Windows Live Messenger: Go to the Tools menu, and click Audio and Video Setup. When you click Next to get to the webcam settings, you should see yourself in the window. (If you don’t, in My Computer, check your webcam properties to make sure that you have set up your webcam properly.) Adjust the brightness, contrast, and other camera settings by using the sliding arrow.

Staying in touch with family and friends is actually a lot of fun when you use instant messaging and video. With the way people are scattered around the country—and even around the globe—these days, it’s also a very practical way to communicate.