Computer stuff - John C. Kirk
Oct. 15th, 2004
11:46 pm - Computer stuff
Some good news: I took another Microsoft exam this evening (70-272), which I passed with 89%. I'm taking 70-271 next Thursday, and if I pass that then I become an MCDST (Desktop Support Technician). As with the ECDL, this kind of thing isn't strictly necessary, since it's a lower qualification than the MCSD that I already have, but there is a perception that "you're an IT guy, you know this stuff", so it's good to live up to that. And extra qualifications might come in handy if I'm job-hunting again in the future. Actually, I think the DST exams are quite interesting - most of the exams are along the lines of "How do you do X?", whereas this one says "A user has done something wrong - what's the most likely explanation/fix?" In particular, that means that there are a lot of questions where all the answers are strictly correct, but you need to choose the one that's most suitable. A lot of that comes from experience, so it's a good counter to the "paper tiger" aspect of some certifications. On the flipside, there were also some answers that were so blatantly wrong that they were actually quite funny. Sadly I can't mention them here (I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement as an "anti brain-dump website" measure), so you'll just have to take my word for it.
More generally, I've been reading up on security issues lately (specifically Windows related). I've now come around to the idea that it's not a good idea to be logged in all the time with full admin rights - that way, if you get a virus or spyware, there's a limit to how much damage it can do. That's mainly a good guideline for "normal users" rather than experts, but as a developer it's a good idea to "eat my own dogfood" - the idea is that if I run my apps with limited permissions while I'm developing them then it means I know they work properly in that environment, rather than me releasing it and then saying "Hmm, weird, it worked fine for me..." QuickBooks is a prime offender here, since it requires you to have full admin rights over your PC. Anyway, one week later (at home and work), and so far so good - a couple of minor problems, but nothing major. I'll give periodic updates once I've been doing this for longer.
The other security-related thing is my new shiny thing: a biopod (fingerprint recognition as an alternative to typing a password). I haven't actually installed it yet, but I have high hopes for it.