The “why” is important

I like why. It helps me understand context. But in an increasingly email-laden world where everyone is “too busy” and emails are becoming more and more concise, the why is often the first thing to be omitted.

And this is a freaking travesty.

The “why” helps people understand why something is happening and the impact that it has. It gives context and, if it’s a request, it enables the recipients to use their own judgement and experience to assist above and beyond what’s originally being asked for (aka adding value). Not only that, but understanding the why makes people care more.

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Completely free IT training resources to help diversify your IT career

Scope and overview

Inspired by Don Jones‘ excellent “Don’t Get Stuck in Your Job” blog post, I’ve taken some time to compile a bunch of online IT training to help people diversify their IT knowledge, for free.

This post covers a selection of free IT training that I’ve found on my travels. Topics are diverse, and include topics such as: Virtualization and Cloud, Networking, Security, Linux, Storage systems, PowerShell, to Programming and Database fundamentals.

I believe that as IT Professionals, the more aspects of IT that we understand and appreciate, the better we’re able to meet the needs of business. I’d really like this to evolve into a community resource for anyone who wants to diversify their IT knowledge. If you’ve found other free IT training or resources that aren’t mentioned here, please feel free to mention it in the comments and I’ll endeavour to add it (I’m particularly interested in official training from vendors).

If you’re left wondering where on earth you’re going to get time to study all this, remember that it only takes about 20 hours to pick up a subject/skill, and that’s merely a month of Lunch-times!

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Getting Started with the NetApp PowerShell Toolkit


This post takes a quick look at the NetApp PowerShell Toolkit: a set of PowerShell cmdlets which can be used to query and change settings on NetApp Storage Systems, paving the way for automation of common tasks or generating regular reports. It runs through installing the PowerShell toolkit, and running a few basic commands against a NetApp storage system.

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Thoughts on learning-procrastination, and the myth of 10,000 hours

I have a problem. And it’s stopping me from learning.

I’ve swallowed the line that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill, and it’s scared me off learning new things.

I am naturally curious. I want to learn, but I put off doing so because I know I’ll never be an expert in that field. So instead I potter around the fringes and play with things half-heartedly.

That was, until I watched this TEDx video: The first 20 hours  (20 minutes)

In it, Josh Kaufman discusses why you don’t need to burn 10,000 hours on a subject, why 20 hours of focused practice is “good enough”, and how to overcome the inertia that prevents you from learning new things in the first place.

It’s well worth a watch, especially if – like me – you’re putting off learning because you’re scared of the amount of effort it’ll take to be good: because 20 hours is good enough :)

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