The 10 biggest perks of working in IT

Regardless of what you do for a living, it’s easy to focus on the negatives of the job and let those things bring you down. However, most jobs have certain perks, and IT is no exception. This article discusses some of the benefits I’ve experienced over the years as a result of working in IT.

1: You get to meet lots of people

One of my absolute favorite things about working in IT is that you get to meet so many interesting people. Back in the mid-90s, for example, I worked for a large insurance company with about 1,000 users. I can honestly say that I knew most of those users on a first-name basis. Better still, even though I left the company about 15 years ago, some of the people I met there are still my best friends to this day.

Without a doubt, the greatest benefit that came from getting to know so many people was that I met my wife of 17 years as a direct result of working in IT. She was working in the marketing department at the time, and I met her because she called me to fix her printer.

2: The money can be good

Even though IT will probably never be the way that it was during the dot-com boom, IT does tend to pay better-than-average salaries. Of course, the pay level varies considerably from one company to the next and from one position to the next.

3: It’s easy to move around

One thing I have always noticed about IT is that it is relatively easy to move around. I have known plenty of IT pros who got bored with their position and switched to a different IT specialty with minimal effort. For instance, I have known network administrators who became database administrators and software developers who became network administrators.

4: You have personal freedom

IT pros tend to have a lot of personal freedom. I will be the first to admit that corporate culture can vary considerably from one organization to the next and that some organizations are more permissive than others. Even so, I can’t remember anyone ever making me punch a time clock or stick to a rigid break schedule. Most of the IT jobs I have had have allowed me to set my own hours and even work from home when I wanted to (within reason). Likewise, I have always had total freedom to decorate my office anyway I wanted.

5: You get to help people

Another great thing about working in IT is that you get to help a lot of people. Some people hate IT because they’re usually calling with a problem they want you to solve. Even so, I have always found it gratifying to be able to end the day knowing that I was able to spend it helping people.

6: You get paid to spend time away from the office

This may not apply to everybody, but one thing I have always enjoyed immensely about IT is the travel. The very nature of the job means that you constantly have to learn new things and oftentimes, this means traveling to training classes and technical conferences.

Although I do confess to being a travel junkie, there is also something very cool about being away from the office for a few days without having to burn up any of your vacation time. What’s even better is that technology conferences tend to be held in places where there are plenty of things to see and do after hours.

7: You sometimes face unusual challenges

Few things in life bring me down faster than monotony. While every job has some amount of repetition, IT has the unique advantage of requiring creative solutions to unusual problems. There is definitely something to be said for being challenged once in a while.

8: You have access to cool toys

A definite perk of working in IT is having access to cool toys. Just yesterday, for example, I had to spend several hours in a hospital waiting room, so I got some work done using my Windows 8 tablet. While doing so, several people stopped to ask me where I got the tablet, since Windows 8 won’t be out until sometime next year.

The same basic concept has always held true regardless of the hot technology of the moment. Back in the 90s, I remember using a flatbed scanner to copy pictures for my friends at a time when none of them had ever even heard of a scanner.

9: IT knowledge can be helpful in everyday life

Although perhaps not a job perk, IT knowledge can definitely be helpful in everyday life. For example, there was a time long, long ago when the network cabling standard of choice was coaxial Ethernet. I spent one entire summer pulling coaxial cable and attaching cable ends. At the time, I hated the job. But even though nobody uses coaxial Ethernet anymore, the knowledge I gained installing all that cable came in handy just last week.

My next-door neighbors had some carpet installed. The installer accidentally cut their satellite cable. The cable used by satellite dishes is similar to what was used for Ethernet so long ago. Since I still have my tools, I was able to repair the cable for them, so they didn’t have to wait a week and pay for a service call from the satellite company.

10: The job sometimes comes with special rewards

Earlier, I mentioned that one of the great things about working in IT is that you get to help people. Sometimes, people who you help are so grateful that they provide a special reward. Over the years, I have had clients send me various gifts as a way of saying thank-you for helping them out in a pinch. When I worked for the military, some of the people I helped even thanked me by taking me for joy rides in tanks and helicopters.

Don’t get me wrong — I don’t help people because I expect to get something in return. However, it is always a nice feeling when someone surprises you with a thank-you gift.

Other perks?

What other aspects of your IT job make you happy? Do the good things outweigh the bad?

source: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10things/the-10-biggest-perks-of-working-in-it/2948?tag=nl.e042

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Facebook Virus Removal (Remove : Koob Face Worm)

Remove Latest Facebook Virus : Koob Face Worm

NEW FACEBOOK WORM VIRUS

(CNN NEWS)

 

Alright, so I know Facebook is huge now. If anyone here on Sodahead uses it, it looks like there’s some video viruses going around. One is of an Obama sex tape type video and the other one is an optical illusion video (This one is always popping up on my news feed). So if one of your “friends” sends it to you, don’t click on it!

New Facebook Viruses Can now Use your Account to Mass Private

message your friends to click on a link saying “WTF: This AMERICAN guy should be STONED to DEATH for doing this to his GIRLFRIEND: bit.ly/*****” or something like this “Hey, check out this girl, lol, she must be out of her mind for making that video!: bit.ly/hw****” Once You even Accidentally Click on the Provided Link, Infection on your computer will arise, your Documents will be HACKED, your Files Lost, and you will no longer have Privacy on your computer.

Also look out for Wall post on Facebook such as this :

Avert_Blog_Koobface_1-12-3-08Some even got a youtube like screen that has a caption of “obama sex tape scandal” and when you click the link it requires you to install something to access the video, and once link was clicked, Virus Attacks! and will take total CONTROL over your computer.


“HOW TO REMOVE AND PROTECT YOUR COMPUTER FROM THIS VIRUS?”

(SEE THIS DOWNLOAD LINKmalwarebytes )

 

Save time by creating an Excel workbook workspace

If you’re like most of us, you probably work with the same few workbooks every day. You might work with them as a group or separately, but you open these files, individually, most every day and that’s inefficient.

You can save a bit of time by saving the files you use every day as a group as follows:

  1. Open all the workbooks you want to save as a group.
  2. Click the View tab.
  3. Click Save Workspace in the Window group.
  4. Enter a name for the group, and click Save.

To open the group (all the workbooks in the group), open the group as you would any other file.

Your workbooks are still separate files. You can open and close them individually, as you normally would. However, Excel also saves a reference to the workbooks as a group now, using the xlw extension. It’s a simple way to reduce a few keystrokes every day.

Taking a glimpse at the future of SkyDrive (from their blog post)

Over at the official Inside Windows Live team blog, Omar Shahine and Mike Torres, Group Program Managers for SkyDrive, recently made a blog post analysing some of the stats of the current competitive environment, outlining what they think are the “winning factors” for a personal cloud service, and what (a bad) situation SkyDrive is currently in. However, buried deep in the blog post we think the SkyDrive team is trying to actually set a stage hinting at what will be coming for SkyDrive. In the table below, we will analyse some of these “winning factors” that Omar and Mike talked about in the blog post, and how these translates to what Microsoft sees in the future of SkyDrive:

Winning Factors
What will this mean for SkyDrive?

Simple & secure
It would sync the files you have to the cloud and other devices. It would be simple enough to use to share files with anyone so you could finally stop emailing attachments. It would also protect your content using industry leading security measures. In short, you could trust it to “just work”.
The current Windows Live Mesh software, and the future Windows 8 SkyDrive sync feature, will allow users to sync files directly to the cloud and share them with others. But of course, the current situation with SkyDrive and “SkyDrive synced storage” for Windows Live Mesh doesn’t exactly make it simple for users. Will this change soon?

In addition, to stop people from emailing attachments, we know that the latest version of Hotmail already allow users to upload their documents and photos directly to SkyDrive, and share them with your email recipients. So nothing really surprising here.

Straightforward and flexible storage limits
It should provide a modest amount of free storage for key scenarios. It should actually make it easy for customers to use this storage – and provide options to purchase more if needed.
This gets a little bit interesting. We previously reported that SkyDrive might soon provide unlimited storage for photos and documents, and 25GB for everything else. I wouldn’t call this “modest amount”, but if true, this would really make SkyDrive one of the best cloud storage provider on the market.

In addition, we’ve also told you that purchasable storage plans are coming to SkyDrive soon.

Work across any device
It would be built with the understanding that we want to have our content available anywhere, even if we use devices made by different companies with different operating systems. This is how important services like Hotmail and Skype work, and personal cloud storage should be no different.
We’ve previously reported that the SkyDrive team is working on building client apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and of course Windows Phones. In addition to SkyDrive.com, this would make SkyDrive truly cross-browser and cross-platform, allowing you to access your SkyDrive files everywhere on any device.

Cloud-enable the entire PC
While it’s critical to support all types of devices, it’s particularly important to connect the billions of PCs in the world to the cloud. The PC is the most popular smart device and stores most of the world’s personal content. A cloud tailored for this device would provide access to all of your content from anywhere, with no complex setup or configuration.
With the upcoming Windows 8, all your favorite content — Photos, Music, Documents, Contacts, Calendar, Mail, apps and settings — will be synced via SkyDrive (if you choose to) and be able to be accessed anywhere. And best of all, this is built right in to Windows 8, so definitely no “complex setup” is required.

Work with key apps and services to let you organize, collaborate, and share in new ways
It would work seamlessly and automatically with leading email, productivity, or photo apps to let you organize, collaborate, and share content in entirely new ways. It would also connect with the services you already use for sharing so that you could upload once and share the way you want. It would do all of this while supporting the files you use today and keeping you in control of your content.
Microsoft Office 2010 already features SkyDrive integration, allowing you to save, open, share and collaborate on documents stored on the cloud.

With the upcoming SkyDrive APIs as part of Live Connect, any developers building apps – whether it be Windows 8 apps, Windows Phone apps, or web services – will be able to utilize SkyDrive for cloud storage to be used within their apps or websites.

Connects people, content, and devices at scale
In addition to having the right features, the scale of a cloud itself can provide value for customers. Sharing and collaborating is more convenient when more people can connect to a given cloud. Also, people benefit from a cloud that connects content to more apps, and app developers prefer to integrate with clouds that have the most content and connect the most devices.
After Windows 8 gets released in 2012, and if (and that’s a big if) app and web developers start taking advantage of the newly released SkyDrive APIs, Microsoft is hoping that it would push for a wider adoption for its SkyDrive service.

Given the competitive environment SkyDrive is in, and the team’s delayed realisation on the need to continuously improve and innovate the service, could Microsoft achieve the scale that they’re hoping for?

In addition to the “winning factors” Omar and Mike listed, their latest post also specifically points out several feedbacks and requests from consumers which they have heard “loud and clear”. The table below takes a look at these, and provides a quick analysis on what this means for the future of SkyDrive:

Feedbacks from consumers
What will this mean for SkyDrive?

Why are “synced storage” and “My Files” separated? I dream of a day when my docs & files can be together everywhere.
We previously reported that devices integration is coming to SkyDrive, and actually saw a demo at BUILD showing how you can directly access files on your PCs (and other devices?) from SkyDrive.com.

What we haven’t yet seen is the merging of SkyDrive’s storage space with Windows Live Mesh’s “synced storage”. If the SkyDrive team has heard this feedback loud and clear, does that mean it’s coming soon?

How do you move files or folders on SkyDrive?
Based on what we saw at BUILD, the upcoming update for SkyDrive will come with new right-click options, which presumably will make it easier to navigate and perform file operations on files and folders.

Why limit video size to 100MB when you give us 25GB of storage?
Microsoft just recently upgraded the individual file size limit from 50MB to 100MB, but this still pales in comparison to competitive services like Google Docs (10GB) and Dropbox (Unlimited via desktop app, 300MB via website).

Is this a hint that Microsoft will be increasing the individual file size limit again?

We need the ability to share individual files without sharing the entire folder.
The demo we saw at BUILD mentioned “simplified file sharing” is coming soon to the upcoming update for SkyDrive. Does that mean we can now choose to share individual files as well as entire folders too?

Please add check-boxes…so people can quickly [manage] content in batches, whether to delete, download or move the selection.
We’ve previously reported that check-boxes for multiple-file selections will be available in the upcoming SkyDrive update. And this was confirmed during the SkyDrive demo at BUILD.

With the recent rollout of the Hotmail update, we speculated a few weeks ago that Microsoft might be rolling out an update to its other Windows Live web services, including SkyDrive, very soon. Could Microsoft really transform SkyDrive into a winning product and achieve the scale they’re hoping for? Are we going to see all the improvements and features that we have hoped for? I guess we’ll have to wait and see what the SkyDrive team will bring us.

SkyDrive gets an update: better sharing, file management

A new post on the Inside Windows Live blog today brings us news of some new features for SkyDrive, including file upload and file management changes, expanded “right-click” functionality, HTML5 support for file uploads (meaning drag and drop file uploading for Firefox and Chrome), and support for viewing PDF and RAW files from within SkyDrive.

If you were expecting a full checklist of new features as outlined in last week’s SkyDrive post (and our own analysis of what that post means for the future of SkyDrive), it’s hard not to be at least a little disappointed.  No improvements, or even any mention, of Windows Live Mesh / SkyDrive syncing, no news on expanded free or even paid storage, and no ability to upload by folder (although file upload and file sharing has been enhanced).  Hopefully these will be coming soon, and SkyDrive, like Hotmail, appears to be shipping updates every 2 months or so.

But there are some improvements to get excited about.  The file sharing updates now allow you to set sharing on a per-file basis, allow or disallow file editing by the sharing recipient, and/or require a log-in to view the file.  SkyDrive now allows easy file sharing to Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn, too:

skydrive facebook share

However there doesn’t seem to be any kind of sharing management capabilities, so if you want to disable sharing for one person across all your files, you’re going to have to do it file by file, if you can even find all the files you previously shared.

Don’t get us wrong, these new features are great, and will make sharing single files not only possible but easy, provide easy file upload for browsers other than IE, and open up SkyDrive through new APIs for some hopefully interesting 3rd party scenarios.  Will it be enough to get more than 10% of college students using cloud storage to consider SkyDrive?  Somehow, we don’t thing Dropbox is shaking in their boots quite yet, but what do you think?

Next Generation Firewalls: It’s all about tuples

By Michael Kassner
November 28, 2011, 11:23 AM PST

Takeaway: Next-generation firewalls have been around for several years, but garnered little interest. That’s changing as first-generation firewalls aren’t keeping up.

IT professionals responsible for perimeter defenses are frustrated.

Case in point: Internet traffic of all shapes and sizes traverses port 80. Meaning, port 80 must remain open. Bad guys know this. So port 80 becomes their private malware highway. And trucks, full of malcode, drive right past the check point.

There is hope

I’d like to introduce Next Generation FireWalls (NGFW). Firewalls designed to filter packets based on applications. To continue my analogy, the trucks loaded with malcode can’t drive right past the check point, any more.

Other features incorporated in NGFWs:

  • Enforce company regulations: NGFWs are able to control user access to websites and online applications as required.
  • SSL Proxy: NGFWs are able to decrypt, inspect, and re-establish the encrypted SSL connection. This eliminates encryption as a method of hiding malware.
  • IDS/IPS: NGFWs have incorporated deep packet inspection-to the point where stand alone IDS/IPS devices are not required.
  • Active-Directory friendly: Many NGFWs are able to authorize application usage based upon individual user profiles or groups.
  • Malware filtering: NGFWs provide signature and reputation-based filtering to block malicious applications that have a bad reputation.

Click to enlarge

Vendors

Palo Alto Networks was the first company to offer a NGFW. For information about NGFW requirements per Palo Alto Networks, please check out this white paper (above slide). Barracuda Networks, Juniper Networks, and WatchGuard also offer NGFW solutions.

N-tuple?

Just about every blog post I’ve read about NGFWs mentioned tuples. I had no idea what they were. Hopefully, you do. If not, here’s what I found out.

N-tuple is a collection of attributes. And, in the case of firewalls, these attributes are used to define access requirements. N is a place holder representing the number of attributes in the list. For example, a 5-tuple “firewall allow rule” might include:

  • Source IP address
  • Source port (typically: any)
  • Destination IP address
  • Destination port (80 or 443)
  • Destination protocol (typically TCP)

So, if the packet being inspected has all of the correct attributes, the firewall will allow it to pass.

Widening the 5-tuple

I thought I was “good to go” after figuring out what a tuple was. Then I read something about “widening the 5-tuple”. Widen a tuple. Does that even make sense?

Let’s see if it does.

As mentioned earlier, a first-generation firewall rule employs a collection of 5 attributes or 5-tuple. That is sufficient to carry out stateful port and protocol inspection, Network Address Translation, and Virtual Private Network technology.

A 5-tuple rule set is not sufficient for NGFWs. Next Generation Firewalls need additional attributes such as application type and user identity in order to work as advertised. To understand why, consider the port 80 analogy, one last time.

If it’s discovered that the truck carrying malcode has an illegal license plate, the truck ain’t going anywhere. The same applies to malcode. If its license plate — “application type” attribute — is incorrect, the malcode is blocked from continuing on.

The additional attributes or tuples are “widening the 5-tuple”.

Confession time: I did not find a clear-cut explanation of how tuples relate to firewalls. But, article after article mentioned tuples. So, I jumped in. If my explanation is wrong, I hope firewall and database admins that better understand will bail me out.

Survey says

The Ponomen Institute just completed a survey of NGFWs for SourceFire, Inc. The infographic ( partially shown below) provides several interesting statistics, particularly what is driving interest in NGFWs and the percentage of respondents noticing performance degradation:

Final thoughts

The race toward sophistication between malware and antimalware continues. Stay tuned