Ira Wilsker's archive

Now that many of us are in back-to-school mode, it might be noteworthy to introduce a new, free product from Google for students and teachers, Google Classroom. Officially launched on Aug. 12, more than 100,000 educators from more than 45 countries had previously signed up for a functional preview starting last May. While Google is well understood to generate revenue through various forms of advertising, all of the components of Google Classroom (including Gmail) will not contain any advertising, but will still remain free for student and teacher use.

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I hope that you have not encountered the devious CryptoLocker malware, but sadly, I know as a fact that many of you have been victimized by it. For those of you who are not familiar with CryptoLocker, it is a vile form of sophisticated malware, “ransom ware,” where the malware encrypts data on the hard drive (and possibly USB drives and other external media), and then charges the user a sizeable fee to get the decryption key.

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Recently, I attended a weeklong “Summer Cyber Security Workshop” at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. While we delved into the intricacies of hacking, encryption, penetration testing, cyber forensics, critical infrastructure protection and cybercrime, there was also evidence of a consistent demand from industry for workers trained in the broad field of cyber security.

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In early July, Microsoft released its “Largest collection of free Microsoft eBooks ever, including Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Office 2013, Office 365, Office 2010, SharePoint 2013, Dynamics CRM, PowerShell, Exchange Server, Lync 2013, System Center, Azure, Cloud, SQL Server and much more.” This announcement was posted in an official blog by Microsoft’s Eric Ligman, senior sales excellence manager.

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Several months ago, I wrote about some of the online services that make available to users a “daily deal” of commercial PC and MAC software either for free or deeply discounted. Recently, SharewareOnSale.com offered, for very brief periods of time, name brand software from Norton, BitDefender, IObit and other well-known software publishers.

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