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<< 5 / 2022 7 / 2022 >>

More beta exams! ISC2 ELCC and CompTIA Linux+ 005

2022-06-29 21:28:00

At the end of 2021 I took the beta version of Comptia's XK0-005, which went live earlier this month as XK1-005. My opinions on the exam still stand: it's a solid exam with a good set of objectives. And luckily I passed. :D

Yesterday, I took part in another beta / pilot: (ISC)2's ELCC, also known as their Entry Level Cybersecurity Certification. I didn't take it to pad my own resumé, I did it to see if ELCC will make a good addition to my student's learning path. So far they've been using Microsoft's MTA Security (which is going away).

(ISC)2, most famously known for their CISSP certification, saw an opportunity in the market for an entry level security certificate. Some would call it a moneygrab... But the outcome of it, is their ELCC.

Looking at the ELCC exam objectives I have to say I like the overall curriculum: the body of knowledge covers most of the enterprise-level infosec knowledge any starter in infosec would need to know. It's very light on the technical stuff and focuses mostly on the business side, which I think is very important!

I've heard less-than-flattering reviews of (ISC)2's online training materials, meaning that I'd steer students to another source. And, having taken the exam, I have to admit that I think it's weak. 

Maybe it's because this was a beta exam, but a few topics kept on popping up in questions with the same question and expected-answer being given in slightly different wordings. With 100 questions on the test, I was expecting a bit more diversity. 

I also feel that a lot of the questions were about dry regurgitation: you learn definitions and when provided a description, you pick the right term from A, B, C or D. CompTIA's exams take a very different approach, where you're offered situations and varying approaches/solutions to choose from. 

Overall take-aways regarding ISC's entry-level cybersecurity certification:


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Nostalgia: VMEbus and OS-9

2022-06-15 06:35:55

Recently I've been thinking back about old computing gear I used to own, or worked on in college. Nostalgia has a tendency to tint things rose, but that's okay. I get pangs of regret for getting rid of all my "antiques" (like the Televideo vt100 terminal, the 8088 IBM clone, my first own computer the Pressario CDS524) but to paraphrase the meme: "Ain't nobody got room fo' all that!"

Still, it was really cool to run RedHat 5 on the Compaq and having the Televideo hang off COM1 to act as extra screen and keyboard.

Anyway... that blog post I linked to, regarding RH5, also mentions OS-9. OS-9 was (is, thanks to NitrOS9). It was an OS ahead of its time, with true multi-user and multi-processing, with realtime processing all on at the time relatively affordable hardware. It had MacOS and Windows beat by at least a decade and Linux was but a glint in the eyes of the future.

I've been doing some learning! In that linked blog post I referred to a non-descript orange "server". Turns out, that's the wrong word to use!

In reality that was a VMEbus "crate" (probably 6U) with space for about 8-10 boards. Yes it used Arcnet to communicate with our workstations, but those also turn out to be VMEbus "crates", but more like development boxen with room for 1-2 boards in a desktop box.

Looking at pictures on the web, it's very likely that the lab ran OS-9 on MVME147 boards that were in each of the crates.

Color me surprised to learn that VMEbus and its successors are still very much in active use, in places like CERN but also in the military! But also in big medical gear, like this teardown of an Afga X-Ray machine shows.

Cool stuff! Now I wanna play with an MC68k box again. :)


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