MCSA Office 365: Now a path to 3 MCSE tracks

MCSA Office 365: Now an optional path to three MCSE tracks


You can now satisfy the prerequisites for pursuing three MCSE certifications by having either MCSA: Office 365 or MCSA: Windows Server 2012. Having these options allows you to choose the path that best meets your career path or organization’s needs.


To better align with how technology professionals deploy Lync, Exchange, and SharePoint, the Microsoft certification team has made an exciting update to the Communication, Messaging, and SharePoint MCSE certifications.

  • CLOUD-BASED: Taking the MCSA Office 365 path to your MCSE is a great choice if your organization is considering, or has deployed cloud-based solutions.
  • ON-PREMISE: For those who focus on deploying on-premise, MCSA: Windows Server 2012 is still the path for you.


The 3 eligible MCSE certifications:

  1. MCSE: Communications (Lync)
  2. MCSE: Messaging (Exchange)
  3. MCSE: SharePoint

Mind Mapping for Software Developers . . . .and everybody else!

XMindOne of the biggest weakness of many good developers today is not allocating enough time to planning, before getting buried in hundreds of lines of code.  Indeed the marketplace has changed significantly in recent times where Software Developers are now required to increasingly display strong project management skills. Most Businesses Analysts and Project Managers alike nowadays want to keep a close tab on each step of the software development  so as to ensure that deadlines will be met and that the software developer will not go off on a tangent and develop very cool features not related to the needs of the business. So how can Software Developers really dread enjoy project management as much as they enjoy writing code? What great tool can set them on the right path quickly?

Enter, XMind, the leading, free and very powerful mind mapping software on the web. XMind helps you to shape your thoughts quickly and easily before jumping into code. Not only do Project Managers and Business Analysts love it, it will help you to improve the quality of your work and time management. With XMind you can quickly translate your thoughts into a mind map chart, you could also create other useful charts like Gantt charts, Fishbone charts, SWOT charts, Matrixes you name it. So go ahead and try it!

Blog Post by Farai

Free ebook: Introducing Windows Server 2012 R2

ebook-Svr2012This book is intended to provide you with an overview of the new features and enhancements introduced in Windows Server 2012 R2. The intended audience for this book is IT pros who deploy, manage, and maintain Windows Server workloads in data center, private cloud, and hosting provider environments.

We assume that you are at least somewhat familiar with the features and capabilities of the previous platform Windows Server 2012. If you are not familiar with all the new features and enhancements Microsoft introduced previously in Windows Server 2012, we recommend that you first read Introducing Windows Server 2012 RTM Edition (Microsoft Press, 2012).

A key feature of this book is the technical sidebars that have been contributed by Microsoft insiders. These sidebars were written by experts who have been closely involved in the Windows Server 2012 R2 development process and include Program Managers, Support Escalation Engineers, Technical Consultants, Data Center Specialists, and others who work at Microsoft in various capacities.

Download the PDF here
Download the ePub file here
Download the mobi file here
Print version for sale here

Blog Post by Farai

Understanding the data lifecycle

Data, big and small, goes through a process or life-cycle called the Data Science Process, and is as relevant today as it was hundreds of years ago.

The first step along the data science process, is getting EASY access to data, big and small, to drive the best business decisions.  And we would assert that’s not just about IT’s access to data – it’s also very much about empowering end-users.

The second step is making it easier for the people closest to YOUR business to create a theory, model that theory, refine it and reveal those invaluable business insights.  This involves engaging more people through powerful tools that they’re familiar with – so there’s no learning curve. It comes down to just users and data, and if you can unlock this, you get to that magical point where insights are revealed.

The third and final step is creating repeatable business processes that deliver insights automatically by deploying your “data science process” across a complete data platform.  It can’t just be about storing relational data, and it can’t just be about storing unstructured data in a Hadoop cluster.  It really does have to be about thinking about a more complete solution. You want that ROI on your data, and by operationalizing your data science process, you’re going to see those returns.

To help you better understand the impact of the Data Science Process and its effect on big data, Microsoft has recorded an exclusive webcast briefing, “Faster Business Insights For All” produced in association with CIO Magazine. Microsoft is investing across all stages of the data science process / lifecycle.

In this moderated discussion, featuring Jim Mallon, Executive Digital Director of Enterprise Solutions Group at IDG and Eron Kelly, General Manager of SQL Server Marketing at Microsoft, you’ll hear about the Data Science process that underlies everyone’s quest for insight from data, and how an integrated data platform is key to success.

Click here to view this webcast on big data!

Blog Post by Farai

Microsoft ALM : The ultimate solution for managing your software development lifecycle

VSFor the past few decades with the explosion of software development as a major industry and ultimate engine driving the Information Age, many different software development life cycle management methodologies have come and gone.

The most popular SDLC methodology to date, undoubtedly used the world over is the Agile Software Development methodology, which comes in various flavours like scrum and kanban. Until recently a number of third party software providers have built software that helps teams to manage their software development lifecycles based on agile principle until Microsoft introduced Visual Studio ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) tool that based on agile principles helps organizations manage the entire lifespan of application development.

Now, with the introduction of Visual Studio ALM you dont have to subscribe to a third party provider like Pivotal Tracker to help you keep track of your sprint velocity and burn down. You can now do everything within Visual Studio, thanks to Visual Studio ALM tools. Click here to learn more.

Blog Post by Farai

Understanding the “Internet of Things”

internetThings1According to Gartner research vice president Chris Howard, consumerisation and mobility will continue to be the top trends driving technology in 2014 and beyond, along with the continuing growth of the ‘Internet of Things’ which extends the human-machine relationship.

But what really is the ‘Internet of Things’? In what’s called the Internet of Things, sensors and actuators embedded in physical objects—from roadways to pacemakers—are linked through wired and wireless networks, often using the same Internet Protocol (IP) that connects the Internet.

These networks churn out huge volumes of data that flow to computers for analysis. When objects can both sense the environment and communicate, they become tools for understanding complexity and responding to it swiftly. What’s revolutionary in all this is that these physical information systems are now beginning to be deployed, and some of them even work largely without human intervention.

internetThings2      internetThings3

Pill-shaped microcameras already traverse the human digestive tract and send back thousands of images to pinpoint sources of illness.  Looking through Google Glass, a mere pair of spectacles is transformed into a tool for taking photos and videos, recording and displaying data all controlled by the eyes. Billboards in Japan peer back at passersby, assessing how they fit consumer profiles, and instantly change displayed messages based on those assessments.

None of this is news to technology companies and those on the frontier of adoption. But as these technologies mature, the range of corporate deployments will increase. Now is the time for executives across all industries to structure their thoughts about the potential impact and opportunities likely to emerge from the Internet of Things.

Blog Post by Farai

Excel 2013 stand-alone now includes #powerpivot

Microsoft has listened to the many complaints received since Excel 2013 release and the stand-alone version of Excel now includes Power Pivot and Power View! This is a very important news because there are customers around the world who have not yet upgraded from Excel 2010 to Excel 2013 just because they would have lost the Power Pivot add-in!

Microsoft updated this blog post describing the SKUs that includes Power Pivot and Power View, and now the list includes the Excel stand-alone version that anyone can buy (for example on Amazon). If you already have Excel 2013 and do not see Power Pivot active, check you have this upgrade.

As a side note, Power Pivot (formerly known as PowerPivot) has now an official name that is made by two words and is no longer a single word. The reason is that Microsoft announced Power BI, which includes Power Pivot, Power View, Power Query (code named Data Explorer), Power Map (code named GeoFlow) and much more. For a long time, we will probably see this name written in both ways.



Blog Post by Farai

10 factors to consider when upgrading to Windows 8.1

Win8.1PreviewPC users have traditionally relied upon an iOS or Android companion device to reap the productivity benefits of BYOD, but the touch-enabled interface enabled by Windows 8 eliminates the numerous challenges of this approach.

With the Windows 8.1 update scheduled for general availability in mere months, it’s important to understand what to expect from the new system. Windows 8.1 provides enterprise-level upgrades that give users a consistent computing experience across devices, but it may require infrastructure upgrades to experience the full benefits of the platform.

A significant upgrade

While 8.1 is not a completely new operating system, it is a significant upgrade, and shouldn’t be viewed simply as a service pack.

Below is a list of 10 ways that Windows 8.1 can benefit the enterprise:

Continue reading

10 steps to adding a timeline to an Excel 2013 Pivot Table

Get to know Excel’s new timeline tool for PivotTables, step by step.


Excel 2013 includes a new timeline tool for PivotTables. A timeline lets you filter records by dates, similar to a slicer. In this 10-step article, we’ll generate a simple PivotTable, add a timeline, and explore the different ways to use it to filter data. Combining PivotTables, timelines, and slicers is a great start to an interesting and easy-to-use dashboard.

Continue reading

Top 20 jQuery plugins – August 2013

When John Resig developed the jQuery library back in 2006, he can’t have imagined that it would become the most popular Javascript library on the web, or that it would have tens of thousands of plugins written for it. But it’s true to say that jQuery, above all other libraries out there, has been embraced by the web design community. It’s so popular and pervasive that some developers feel JavaScript itself is threatened, such is the tendency to use jQuery when plain JavaScript would work.

Below we’ve rounded up 20 of our favourite jQuery plugins. Have a look, and let us know in the comments if we’ve missed your favourite!

01. MixItUp


MixItUp is a CSS3 and jQuery filter and sort plugin. Essentially, it enables you to quickly sort and filter through categorised content with beautifully fluid animation. Ideal for blogs, portfolios or even eCommerce stores, it’s also free for commercial use.

Continue reading