Blog Archives

CompTIA Network+ Exam & Cisco 1 Class

I took CompTIA Network+ exam last year; unfortunately, I didn’t pass.  I realized that I didn’t know the material well enough to pass the test.  I began to re-study Network+ books and re-watch Professor Messer’s Network+ videos, but the material just wasn’t sinking in.  This fall (just a few weeks away) I will begin a Cisco 1 class through a local community college.  My hope is that getting some hands-on experience in the classroom as well as formal teaching will help to really learn the material.  For those interested, the optional textbook for the class is Introduction to Networks v6 Course Booklet.

Cisco Book - Introduction to Networks



Review: CompTIA A+ 220-901 and 220-902 Cert Guide, 4th Edition

The CompTIA A+ 220-901 and 220-902 exams can be overwhelming especially for test-takers who don’t have years of experience in the technology field.   So, the test-takers first dilemma becomes where to start learning the material.  Luckily there are a few books on the market that cover the exam material.  One of these books is the “CompTIA A+ 220-901 and 220-902 Cert Guide” where you’ll find lots of photos, screenshots, quizzes, and tables. In addition, when test-takers purchase the book, they will also get access to the companion website which includes the Pearson IT Certification test engine and study materials.

If you started studying for the 220-801 and 220-802 exams with the “CompTIA A+ edition 220-801 and 220-802 Authorized Cert Guide” but now you’re planning to take the 220-901 and 220-902 exam, you’ll find a few updates to this edition.  New and expanded material includes: Linux, OS X, MacBook, UEFI BIOS, mobile devices, Windows 8/8.1/10 features, and mobile devices.


The new OS X and Linux section covers backups, system updates, patch management, and other tools.  Basic Linux terminal commands are also covered.  The OS X operating system is the primary focus of the section, but Ubuntu and Fedora also are briefly mentioned.

The section on laptops includes both Windows and Apple computers.  Photos show the different features on an Acer V5-571P (including power jack, proprietary header port, eject button for rewriteable DVD drive, USB 3.0 port, Kensington security lock port, cooling vent, HDMI A/V port, USB 2.0 ports, headset jack, Ethernet port, and VGA port) and an Apple MacBook Air (including magnetic power connector (MagSafe 2), USB 3.0 ports, headphone jack, flash memory card reader (SDXC, SDHD, and SD card), Thunderbolt 2 I/O and A/V ports, and microphones).  While the Acer V5-571P includes a DVD drive, the text notes that thin laptops (Ultrabooks) don’t include rewriteable DVD drives.

The Basic Input/ Output System (BIOS) is being replaced by the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) on newer systems. On today’s systems, you might encounter a text-based BIOS or a mouse-drive Graphic User Interface (GUI).  BIOS settings can change the boot sequences, disable ports, overclock the system, enable Wake on LAN, etc.  This section also walks readers through how to flash the BIOS.

While the “CompTIA A+ edition 220-801 and 220-802 Authorized Cert Guide” included Windows XP, Vista, and 7; the “CompTIA A+ 220-901 and 220-902 Cert Guide” includes Windows 7, 8/8.1, 10, 10 mobile, and Vista.  It’s a lot of material, so the tables for operating system differences and command-line tools will come in handy for test-takers.

The mobile device section focuses on iOS and Android devices; however, Windows 10 devices are briefly mentioned.  Screenshots show the differences between IOS and Android devices for operating system version numbers, creating folders, airplane mode, and Bluetooth.

VERDICT  The CompTIA A+ 220-901 and 220-902 exams covers a lot of material – finding a good study guide is to crucial to learning the material.  The “CompTIA A+ 220-901 and 220-902 Cert Guide” makes studying easier with photos, screenshots, quizzes, and tables.  In addition, the companion website includes the Pearson IT Certification test engine and study materials.  Between the book and the website, test-takers get a lot of bang for their buck!

Note: This review is made possible through Pearson IT Certification Review Program.  

Reflection: Switching Careers

It’s been over 1 ½ years since I left the library field and entered the technology arena. The pay cut was the certainly a bitter pill to swallow. As an Assistant Library Director, I made over $50,000; my initial switch into technology yielded a pay cut of about half my income. I had to make some hard choices such as downsizing my car and apartment. My salary has since increased about $10,000 annually, which makes it possible for me to make student loan payments and make payments on my credit cards. Overall, working in a field that I enjoy makes all the difference!










Public Domain image courtesy of


Some weeks at work are stressful, as they would be at any job, but even during those weeks, I still enjoy the work and that makes my smaller budget worthwhile. I was very fortunate during my career switch that I was able to find a job in the same organization – I basically switched departments – I work with the same co-workers that I worked with at the library. I was also very fortunate that my current Director was willing to hire a librarian for a technology job – not every hiring manager is able to look beyond the job titles on my resume and see the possibilities of hiring an employee from another field. Changing careers was truly a leap of faith: I believed that my pay would increase and that I would be happier in the technology field – I’m happy to report that both turned out to come true!



Is it Under Copyright?

“Is it under copyright?” is such as straightforward question.  There should be a straightforward answer, but Copyright Law is notoriously tricky.   You can read the entire law to can answer your question (“Is it under copyright?”); however, even if a work is under copyright, you may be able to use it under certain circumstances. How the work will be used and how much will be used are important factors in the use of copyrighted materials. Always consult a legal professional, but you may be able to answer some basic questions with the resources listed below.


Copyright Basics (U.S. Copyright)

Duration of Copyright (U.S. Copyright)

How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work (U.S. Copyright)


Copyright and Fair Use Cases (Stanford University Libraries)

United States Copyright Case Law (Wikipedia)


Copyright Law Amendments (David P. Hayes)

Copyright Law of the United States

Copyright Law of the United States and Related Laws Contained in Tıtle 17 of the United States Code

Title 37 – Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights

United States Copyright Office


Copyright (American Library Association)

Copyright Genie (American Library Association)

Copyright Law & Public Domain (NOLO)

Cornell University Law School: Copyright

Fair Use Evaluator (American Library Association)

Public Domain Slider (American Library Association)

Tree-View Chart on Copyright Law (David P. Hayes)

3-D Printer Demonstration

Steve (brother of a staff member) gave the Director and myself a demonstration of a 3-D printer. I had never seen a 3-D printer in person. It was such a treat to be able to ask questions from someone who has a 3-D printer. We asked tons of questions about software, time to create objects, safety, materials, and costs.

3-D Printer 2013-08-08 1

3-D Printer 2013-08-08 3

3-D Printer 2013-08-08 4

3-D Printer 2013-08-08 2

Librarybox Kickstarter

This is your chance to be part of library technology history – be a supporter of Librarybox!  Librarybox is a low-budget way to share files with anyone (even without Internet or power).  While I can think of dozens of ways to use Librarybox inside my library or during outreach – Librarybox provides a unique way for those in third world countries to bring technology and reading to students.  If you’re a programmer, you’ll be delighted to know Librarybox’s source code is open source.  Hope you can help support this awesome project!

Technology Confession: Start Button


Dear Microsoft,

I love the live tiles!  Really!  Good job on creating a fun environment for work and personal apps.  Now, can we have a talk about the start button?  For the love of all that is holy in the tech world, bring it back!  The taskbar just isn’t as useful without the blessed start button.  I can pin the control panel and power shell to the taskbar, but it just isn’t the same.

Thank you,

Windows 8 User