Category Archives: Personal

On hotkeys or the most important hotkey for Ubuntu GUI

Whenever I observe a Windows user (sometimes very proficient in IT) struggling with UI to invoke some sort of a tool of immediate necessity and just scrolling through start menu icons instead of relying on “CTRL + R + type exact executable or applet name” or just “WIN + type immediately what you need” I found it really weird. I mean that’s fine for vi proficient Linux command line guru or a Windows user whose needs do not go beyond web browsing and couple of regularly used apps/games, but when I see this type of behavior from full-time IT person touching Windows systems on a daily basis that seems to me a really strange avoidance to learn fundamentals/tools of one’s craft 🙂

As I’m currently using Linux more and more it is quite interesting to observe various levels of the same paradox/pattern among more then proficient Linux (desktop) users. For example, the other day during the training, I was observing instructor trying to guide a student to invoke Linux context menu and use “Open in Terminal” while that stubbornly tried to rely on search to find Terminal icon there 🙂 So use of context menu from empty desktop area and selecting “Open in Terminal” is a LEVEL2 way of accessing Terminal… but honestly what one should do, and what is true LEVEL3 ,is to use CTRL+ALT+T hotkey whenever one needs to jump into terminal from desktop UI, this is as cool as using what was called MCSE hot key in times long forgotten to invoke Task Manager (CTRL+ALT+ESC). Using hotkeys may not or may not impress other people (frequently it does), but you should learn them just because it makes your work so much efficient – after passing through short learning curve you just won’t want to use “long path” of accessing things which is reserved for people who didn’t care to learn shortcuts and trying not to notice how slow and clumsy wading through UI is at times.

I just wanted to share/reiterate that knowing some hotkeys just speed ups you a lot, and I guess the one should remember that being a professional implies both understanding of software use cases and inner workings as well as its usage basics (such as knowledge of hotkeys and UI features) – both things are required to be considered as a professional in the field IMO and it is sad to see that some trying to neglect the basics, let’s do not do that 🙂

AWS Whitepapers part 1 – Overview of Amazon Web Services

I recently passed AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Exam aka CCP aka CLF-C01. This was a first step and a part of my extensive learning plan for the nearest future. I still want to do a separate blog post on overall CCP exam taking experience and preparation and hopefully I’ll manage to do that before my AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate exam which I have scheduled for January 2021. In 2021 I also plan to take Linux Professional Institute LPIC-1 exam and will be doing 5 months university course in DevOps and Cloud – so you can expect some interesting content and posts as I’m working on that.

In this post I just wanted to talk about “Overview of Amazon Web Services” AWS whitepaper. This whitepaper is definitely qualifies for must read free preparation resource both for CCP exam takers and anyone who starts to learn AWS (and even if you started quite some time ago it is never too late too late to review some basics 🙂 ). Actually as a part of your CCP preparation, as well as preparation to subsequent AWS exams, you supposed to go through quite a few whitepapers, here is a list of those which are relevant for CCP exam (obviously you supposed to know their content if you taking more advanced AWS certifications too):

Overview of Amazon Web Services

How AWS Pricing Works

AWS Well-Architected Framework

Cost Management in the AWS Cloud

As I’ve already mentioned, there are more whitepapers but those should be on your reading list for CCP exam. Although Overview of Amazon Web Services whitepaper is very useful or even mandatory for AWS CCP exam takers, I did passed my exam without reading it and only read it afterwards. You might wonder how can I say that this whitepaper is a must read if I didn’t use it? In my case I used DigitalCloud training CCP preparation course and (as any other good CCP course) it served me with right extracts from all required whitepapers, and this one was featured prominently. Honestly I sit my exam with 80% training completion and after taking some of practice tests – that, and 14+ years of experience with Microsoft technology stack and certifications with a bit of exposure to Azure and AWS, was sufficient to pass an exam. But I’m reading all these whitepapers and reviewing CCP preparation materials now before dive in into materials dedicated to AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate exam topics.

After reading through Overview of Amazon Web Services my conclusions are the following:

  • Do read it before your CCP exam and revisit/review before taking other AWS exams
  • Being “overview” it is not deep on details but be sure that “scope” will be overwhelming as AWS nowadays is BIG – 175 services available in 190 countries (heck I even thought we had slightly less number of countries in the world before reading this whitepaper 🙂 )
  • Don’t try to read this whitepaper for the first time in the very last moment – unless you are super focused and quick reader it may take you entire day or more to read it
  • My recommendation is to read all required whitepapers 3 times – can be dull and time consuming but it will serve you well on exam and for your learning in general, read it when you start your exam preparation then re-read in the middle of the process and finally revisit again shortly before exam
  • It contains right wording in which AWS speaks about their services and their intended use cases – so you will see the same wording on exam
  • You do need to have some idea about all 175 services available – really you do 🙂 I was warned in my online training to read through all services descriptions (and this white paper contains those) and neglected that. As someone who took an exam I can tell you that it was very good advice. Roughly speaking you will be directly quizzed on around 60% of core AWS services but remaining 40% will show up on the test as distractors/wrong answers – knowing what they are will help you to discard wrong answers
  • Beyond brief description of all 175 services which comprise the bulk of this whitepaper another important chunks to read and digest there are the following: cloud computing definition, 6 advantages of cloud computing, types of cloud computing, global infrastructure and security and compliance.
  • If you have experience with pre-cloud IT certifications you should keep in mind that these days whitepapers and exam content gets renewed more regularly so be sure to read the latest version of white paper available. TIP: Some of the AWS whitepapers available in Kindle format but I noticed that Kindle whitepaper versions are often outdated so you need to opt out for PDF download to get the latest version at times.

If you about to take CCP exam be sure to read this whitepaper (more than once if you can) – it has 100% relevance for exam and as well as exam itself introduces you to AWS building blocks and power of this cloud platform. I’m going to read all the others mentioned above soon and will write up a post dedicated to each of the whitepapers.

98-375 exam passed

In my previous post I’ve promised to do some posts covering my preparation to 98-375 exam, but it turned out that I didn’t find time to do any. Sadly I’m unable to allocate time for writing here on any topics lately, and it is not that there is nothing to write about, it’s just lack of time 🙂 For example there are rather a lot of interesting stuff going on in K2 space, yet I haven’t write anything on this topic for quite some time now.

Anyhow as I passed 98-375 exam I would do a little entry about this. Here you havee my results:

Some thoughts on that now. For preparation I’ve used the following resources:

Now a little bit about these exam preparation resources. Channel 9 videos are very good as they provide complete exam overview and available for free. It is not all you need to pass the exam but watch them carefully (and maybe a few times) and you will learn not only how is this exam, but some practical things you will be definitely tested on.

LinkedIn videos are great too, but you really need to watch them more than once and do practice labs or try things you learn about otherwise knowledge retention will be weak. At the very least you want to do a 2 pass with most of the course – 1st just watch and get a broad picture, 2nd to absorb it really slowly and pay attention to details. To access these materials you have to have paid subscription, but comparing its price tag with some other training options or even books price is more than acceptable.

Lat but not least, MeasureUP practice test. It costs 88 EUR, and for this specific exam practice test content can be criticized a bit. In my opinion: 1) Content has not been updated at all since exam release. Result: 60% of links in question explanations are changed does not work (hey MeasureUP, seriously, that type of updates does not require a big investment on your side, why not invite something to do a review? I can do it in exchange for some preparation materials access 🙂 ). 2) There are some obvious typos in the test. 3) Depressingly high number of questions revolving around Windows Phone and IE10 specifics. In fact I didn’t have any of those on the exam and after taking it it feels that unlike MeasureUP practice test, exam content was updated 🙂

On my results. I’ve scored with 76 points (70 is passing threshold), and, in spite of all my complains on MeasureUP practice test content quality it was instrumental in passing exam. Even if we ignore ALM and JavaScript domains, HTML and CSS topics give you just enormous amount of things and behavioral peculiarities on which you potentially can be tested, and having some specific questions touching on all these little things really helped. I feel that practice test questions bank didn’t contain enough CSS questions (it had only 25) and my result clearly reflects that. Though I obviously don’t count me as an any kind of expert in JavaScript, I do recognize that CSS is something I need to learn more which clearly reflected in exam score.

All in all, I’m satisfied with this exam and can recommend it to anyone who want to add some sort of goal/milestone to their entry web development learning journey – good entry level exam allowing you to learn and verify knowledge of basic components of web development and get more confidence to plan next steps on that route.

What’s next? I’m going to “relax a bit” taking 2 or more Microsoft Exams related to SQL Server (more about this in next posts), and once I’m done with that I will do a “full fledged” version of 98-375 exam, i.e. 70-480 Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3.

Starting my preparation for 98-375 exam

It has been a while since I had taken any Microsoft exam as there were rather a lot of other things happening. Finally I’ve decided to get back to certification and learning and this time it will be “fundamentals”/MTA level exam yet on topic quite new to me which will allow me to learn quite a few things. Exam I will be taking this time is Microsoft 98-375: HTML5 Application Development Fundamentals and I will probably combine prepping to this exam with doing Harvard’s CS50’s Web Programming with Python and JavaScript course on edX.

Just for tracking I’m posting my very first practice test exam attempt results below (results I’ve got more or less expected for attempt taken without any preparation at all):

98-375 practice exam attempt without preparation 🙂

As you can see exam topics grouped in 4 blocks: Code by Using JavaScript, Format the UI by Using CSS, Manage the Application Life Cycle, Build the UI by using HTML5 – quite interesting set of things to explore.

You can expect some related posts about this exam and related topics as I go through exam preparation process.

Creating Hyper-V VM with Ubuntu Server

I’ve recently decided to learn a bit about Ubuntu and going to do some project based on this platform, hence this little post describing how to create Ubuntu Server Hyper-V VM.

First of all, you need to download latest Ubuntu Server installation media from here, selecting between LTS (Long Term Support) and regular version:

LTS version is more tested and enterprise focused version which is released every 2 years and has 5 years support cycle.

Once you have installation media you just need to create Hyper-V VM allocating desired quantity of resources to it (note that this OS has quite humble minimum requirements) and make your VM Generation choice.

Despite the fact that process of creating VM is more or less the same for any OS I decided to write down all the steps involved into setting up Ubuntu Server VM.

You can follow these steps to create your own Hyper-V VM with Ubuntu Server OS. Right click on your Hyper-V host and select New > Virtual Machine:

Just click Next on Before You Begin page:

Specify name and location for your VM (be sure to specify your preferred VMs folder, VM specific subfolder will be created automatically based on VM name you type in):

Select Generation of your VM (note this cannot be changed once VM is created):

I wanted Generation 2 VM so I’ve selected this option (refer to MSFT documentation for information on choosing VM generation). Note that for Ubuntu VM you need to disable secure boot feature which will be enabled by default on Generation 2 VM.

Assign desired amount of memory and decide whether Dynamic Memory should be used:

Select virtual switch:

Adjust VHD settings if necessary:

Specify path to Ubunto ISO file you downloaded earlier:

Review selection you made and click on Finish:

Disable Secure Boot before powering on your VM – otherwise your VM fail to boot (as per MSFT documentation: “some Linux virtual machines will not boot unless the secure boot option is disabled”):

And while you are still in VM properties I would recommend you to disable automatic checkpoints (unless you want to use them):

Once you start VM setup process will be initiated automatically:

You will need to select preferred language:

Then keyboard settings:

And next, select Install Ubuntu option:

Accept default network connections settings:

And leave your proxy settings empty (unless you are using proxy server):

Accept default archive mirror address and hit Done:

Accept defaults on filesystem setup (which will mean use entire disk for our installation):

Select disc or accept selection if you have just one:

Accept default filesystem settings on the next page:

Agree with formatting selected drive (data loss warning):

Specify profile settings and server name (note that only small letters accepted for server and user names – great example of explicitness which leaves no chance for you to grown up into proficient user thinking that some case insensitive objects are case sensitive – happens way too often in more thanks to some user friendly OSs):

Select whether you want to install OpenSSH server:

Select any additional packages you may want to install:

Wait till installation go through remaining steps:

Hit Reboot Now once installation completes:

Once VM reboot completes you will be prompted to remove installation medium and hit ENTER (Hyper-V should auto remove it for you):

Once reboot completes Ubuntu Server should start and meet you with credentials prompt:

Once you type in your login and password correctly you will be invited to enter commands (no GUI installed on Server version by default):

At this point I suggest you to shutdown VM with shutdown -P now command and make your baseline VM snapshot.

Last do couple of more things before we wrap off our VM setup process. Let’s first install updates using sudo apt-get update (to fetch the list of available updates) and sudo apt-get upgrade (to upgrade installed packages):

And last but not least, let’s add GUI to our server – for that just use sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop confirming that you want to continue on additional space usage requirement consent step. Once setup completes you need to reboot your VM and it will start in GUI mode:

After clicking on your user icon, type in your password and click Sign In:

You will be presented with What’s new in Ubuntu splash screen:

This concludes VM installation and configuration process. Stay tuned for the new posts as I’m going to keep using this VM and documenting installation and configuration of additional packages and other things.