LPIC-1 Linux Professional Institute Certification Study Guide: Exam 101-400 and Exam 102-400

LPIC-1 Linux Professional Institute Certification Study Guide: Exam 101-400 and Exam 102-400

I read the book as good source to review and update my knowledge in Linux, since I have been working in Cisco gear only for quite time, and I’ve found a very good guide mix between exam material and what you need to learn and should practice. I believe the contents are updated as relevant learning Linux in 2018 even if the changes happen every time on its components until kernel 5 is released.

About the exam, I have done the first of two and found it more difficult than the mock exam with relative new questions and subjects not covered in the book. I know this is mostly true of any certification guide, but I wanted to make clear that getting to know other resources is very important to the exam. As usual, the exam guide/blueprint contains the relevant updates.

I do intend to read it a 3rd time next year to refresh knowledge before jumping into learning level 2, authors made a concise reading and technical quality material. If you are going read with a computer to practice, perhaps ebook versions will be easier than the big paper book, as it more than 600 pages and won’t stay open itself with some support. Even so, printed book is good quality for a medium desktop. As for the ebook, Kindle version works great in an iPad and should on any Kindle device or Android ones.

Last, you get access to online testing resources for a year on Wiley’s portal. Having 80% or acing the mock exam won’t guarantee passing on it but it is helpful reviewing the knowledge. Please, mind that questions covered some quite more material than the book and mock exam at time I took it in April/2018. Good luck.

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Book review: How Democracies Die

Book review: How Democracies Die

I have learned about this new (Jan/2018) book when talking with my father about how elections dynamics were going in Brazil. Authors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt both lecture in Harvard about governments being each specialised in different world regions.

The book has many past examples and references in US (pre and post Civil War), Latin America more recent and few Europeans countries described (German’s Nazi Reich, Italy’s Fascism and few others), of how individual leaders or autocrats, houses or parties can circumvent constitutional law, rules of engagement and tacit behaviour agreement sometimes to remain in power or weaken adversaries under the guise of respecting Democracy.

Although recent Trump campaign methods are well discussed last few months, and similar outcome in Brazil recent election (not discussed in this book review), authors discuss how US federal elections were built by the Founders to protect the country against abuses, for example of a rich man, at the same time they show how few rules were bended at certain occasions to flip elections by restricting vote of vulnerable groups (i.e. former slaves) or recently by changes in districts by the Republicans.

Other well known described events are South American countries such as Peru, Argentina and Venezuela autocrats who took the power not by coups but stead and slow by means of alliances, neutralising adversaries or by executive orders.

In most cases, a 4 point check table of Democracy threats pinpoints those actions. Seeing an ever increase amount of those happening globally, the reading makes a lot of sense to anyone seeking to understand how those changes affect future global commerce, economics, freedom of speech and beliefs. Most of those governments will invoke “external enemies”, scape goat opposition parties, shutdown power limit countermeasures (i.e. Supreme Courts).

The book is straightforward reading for a few days and reachable to most people opening to learn more the subject. I do believe authors know much deeper about this but the content is right the amount needed to understand the concept and what happens in many countries.

My 7 most used iCloud enabled apps

iCloud is one of the much helpful Apple features that many people don’t know and can be a timing saver when using multiple devices. Not only iCloud can be used to save iOS device backups automatically, it is widely used by Apple apps such as Pages, Numbers, iMovies, Books among others. You can start a document anywhere, let’s say your home Mac, make most of changes on other device, maybe an iPhone during commute, continue during the day and wrap up at home. It all works automatically most of the times. For example, I keep résumés versions on Pages on few languages and I can quickly edit on the iPhone and export a PDF customised for a specific role. In Numbers, I use a mileage spreadsheet where I keep fuel consumption when filling up, and I can easily review at home in my Mac for reports.

So, apart of Apple apps, there are 7 excellent iCloud enabled apps I use frequently in my Mac, iPhone and iPad. All of them use iCloud to sync information and some allows other services such as DropBox (it allows integration with Windows versions where available).

MindNode

MindNode is mind map application where you can draw and link ideas, turn them into tasks and track them, use an infinity canvas, set different colour layouts and finally, export into Markup language and import in other applications. I usually layout ideas for writing in MindNode before moving them into Ulysses for writing. It allows focusing on main items first, develop few subitems before starting writing and getting details.

Project managers benefit of mind map when developing WBS (Work Breakdown Structures). While it does not expand for collaboration in MindNode it can be used in minor to medium projects to start up WBS and dependencies.

As for iCloud use, it does support Continuity so if you start a project on a Mac and open your iPad within same iCloud account, you should be prompted to continue working on the iPad. MindNode support iPhone as well and while not practical to use in a small screen, it can be helpful for quick edits. Once it is done, you can pick it up back on the Mac or in the iPad.

MindNode showing an example of mind map project
MindNode showing an example of mind map project

Ulysses

Ulysses is also one the veteran apps used a lot for writing, blogging, essays and notes, using iCloud mainly for storage. Having versions for iOS and macOS it is super useful for writing most type of documents anywhere. You can organise your writing in a single sheet or multiple ones into groups. Groups can be main chapters and sheets subtopics, and sheets and groups can be reordered.

Ulysses focus is on writing so you won’t be presented regular word processor tools that takes space on your screen and cause distraction. You mainly use Markup language to do few formatting such as starting headers, item lists or make text bold or italic. All of them can be accessed using the mouse or track pad, but the intention is to get out the writer’s way by the use of keyboard shortcuts and preferable, the markup codes. It gets sometime to learn them but once memorised, those are time-savers.

You can write a lot on Mac and move to iPad or iPhone on commute, again, with different usability levels and continue working normally on the project. iCloud will keep all synchronised across the devices. I like using dark theme and sometime type write mode so screen space is dedicated to writing instead of tools fighting for attention. Often, I will have main ideas drew on MindNode and split the screen on the Mac with Ulysses or export and import as markdown. If I have some idea, I can quickly add on the go via the iPhone version.

Last, when document is ready, you can preview it formatted as a web page and export it to DOCX, ePub, among others and a few blogging platforms (WordPress and Medium). Ulysses website has an extensive tutorials and tips on how to use if you are a frequent writer or student.

Money Pro

Money Pro is a personal finance organiser where you can quickly create accounts such as banking, credit card, savings and assets and start tracking them. Being an iCloud enable app, all your financial data is synch’d via Apple servers, so be aware of privacy issues. Having said that, I use it a lot on the iPhone to record transactions on the go, categorise spending by type and merchants and hopefully know where and how my money goes. It allows me generate reports by categories where I can trim down expenses I can cut or help me prepare a budget (I do this one or twice a year).

Both macOS and iOS versions are kept with same data quickly and you can import and export data from both versions. If your bank provides you QIF or OFX files, it can make easier to bulk upload them once a month. Since I use Money Pro on the iPhone, I usually don’t import anything but the option is there. Also, via in-app subscription you can enable automatic transaction import if you bank and card issuer supports it. Another advanced feature by subscription is inter-profiles synchronisation, so a family can have its data synch’d to one main account. As an example, could join their spending as most likely they will be using different iCloud accounts. As a bonus, it offers Apple Watch app which you can use for quick reports and entries.

While Money Pro does not track advanced accounts like investment ones, it is most useful to keep tracks on spending.

Tyme 2

Tyme 2 is another awesome iCloud tool to help you keep track of spent time in work, in study, as a contractor, and many others. Both macOS and iOS versions are similar, and synchronise projects, activities/tasks and generate beautiful reports. You can start a project in any device, including the watch, and finish on other. Particularly I find quicker to create projects on the Mac but it can be done easily on iOS devices, and use them on the road to track projects.

Mac version allows import and export as CSV, so you can reuse data on different apps and it has integration with GrandTotal (for expense report and invoicing).

All tasks and projects can be colour coded and have different billing rates applied so it is easier to bill customers.

There is a team feature paid by subscription where you can share projects and track their times among your peers.

Lifecraft

Lifecraft is a journal app which also uses iCloud to transfer data between devices. It allows multiple journals and mood selectors (in-app subscription), multiple photo insertion, word tagging and location setting. If you want to keep a personal log or journal, maybe one for work or travel, it is easy to separate them in the same interface.

PDF Expert

PDF Expert is one of the most powerful PDF managers of macOS and iOS. It supports using iCloud File feature and Continuity and among many features, it can do annotations, drawings, merge file operations, reordering, signatures and forms. I use it mainly on organising PDFs in iCloud File/Drive when reading on the Mac or on the iPad (it works also on the iPhone). I don’t have an iPad Pro nor an Apple Pencil but those count as pros for PDF Expert on iOS if you need to use annotation a lot, draw over texts or make changes.

1Password

1Password is also a veteran in Mac world, having many advancements in last few years and iCloud integration with its mobile sibling. The main use of 1Password is to save your site credentials into its vaults (credential repositories, you can have many of them) and kept those in synch with iPad and iPhones. It all happens automatically with no issues, but it does not stops with site credentials feature. 1Password also allows software license categories, so if you have purchases along the years outside Mac App Store, this is a super helpful feature. You can also register your credit card information, documents, identities and logins, and finally both macOS and iOS support One Time Passwords (OTP) for sites requiring multiple factor authentication (MFA). So if your needs go beyond Safari and Keychain password management, 1Password should be very helpful.

So those are my most used iCloud apps besides stock Apple ones, but there are many others such as Fantastical for quick calendar entries and management, Spark email client from Readdle (PDF Expert), both the amazing Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo (Mac and iPad but not iPhone), Pixelmator and MacFamily Tree 8. Hope some of them can be useful for you.

Organising ideas and writing with MindNode and Ulysses

Professional and amateur writers have several tools and methods when working, and the idea that the content is more important than the tool is always valid. It is up to everyone finding the best workflow, and working on short texts such as blogs, minor essays, I’ve found that having a structure ahead of the content can help when developing.

Mind mapping

One of the many tools used for connecting ideas, developing project requirements and GTD (getting things done) list is mind mapping. They are similar to paper and white boarding and post-it likes but with the advantage of being able to quickly move ideas around, erase, insert, annotate, export and share.

I am describing a flow using MindNode for macOS and iOS because files can be stored in iCloud and I can switch from my desktop to iPad and iPhone and draw everywhere (and it is beautiful), however there are numerous tools around similar, for Windows and online for use directly within web browsers. The topic is extensive, mind mapping can do a lot and I recommend checking out tools and ideas. And again, the best tool fits your workflow and blends in!

Using MindNode you can describe ideas in topics, sub-topics to several levels, design lists and annotate general idea of the text you are going to write.

I made a very simple example with an introduction node, few topics and sub-topics. The annotation to the right helps remembering ideas you want to develop later.

Once you are done at least with main structure of the text topics, you can export it using the markdown format. On macOS, save it to a file first that you can open or drag into Ulysses later. When using iOS, use the share sheet to select export to markdown format followed by the send to app and copy to Ulysses.

Writing into Ulysses

Ulysses is another writing tool that helps in organising writing in sheets that can be moved around, grouped together, and exported to several formats such as PDF, HTML, ePub and Word. Just like MindNode, it is very versatile, works with iCloud and both macOS and iOS, so you can seamlessly write in all those platforms. Ulysses uses Markup-based editor, which means, it gets out of the way when writing so you don’t waste time and be distracted by fonts, colours, rules and tons of features. It is still very powerful but because you don’t see and need to use all features right away. Just check it out some demo videos on their web site.

Back to simple writing, once you have Ulysses opened into a group you want to use, just drag the .md file from MindNode into it and you should get something similar to this.

Once you are editing the sheet, you can see main idea name from MindNode is added as header level 1 with a ‘#’ followed by the topics as second level ones and “##”. Any annotation on a node will appear as simple text below the topic where you can develop the ideas.

The last node level is added in Ulysses as an unordered list because that’s how MindNode exports to Markdown, so subtopic 3.1 and 3.2 are lists. However, you can fix this manually or make a hierarchical list in MindNode to all levels needed to overcome this before exporting. Simply, just add a 3.1.0 sub-topic and both 3.1 and 3.2 should be as third level headers added as “###” in Ulysses.

Now with main ideas ready you can start developing them within Ulysses, move between platforms at any time and iCloud synch should take of it most of the time. Ulysses has some statistics over the written material and an idea of time needed to read it. So those are useful for the ones with goals set.

You can add few elements such as pictures, annotations, footnotes and get it more complex depending on the type of document.

Exporting your work

Once it is completed there are several ways to follow, having a Word document produced, maybe for layout changes, pictures and others. You can use text export as simple text, markup, PDF and HTML and ePub.

You can publish online to regular WordPress web site, selecting one of your accounts, into a custom WordPress site if you host one and into Medium platform if you integrated Ulysses with it.

This text was written in Ulysses and published both into Medium and WordPress as an example. Hope it helps with writing ideas and mostly with the content instead with the tool set behind!

Tracking time in projects with Tyme 2

Tracking project time, personal or professional ones, expenses, transportation and reporting can be made easier with iOS and macOS app Tyme 2. Tyme 2 runs on both main Apple platforms making good use of iCloud synchronisation services which makes it practical to start some project on the road, make some quick entries or use stop-watch per project activity and update in more details back on the Mac or view project tasks information in a larger screen. Mac version is not required but is a good complement to iOS version. Newest iOS version also works with Apple Watch which I haven’t tried but could be useful on quick starting and ending some projects over stop-watch.

Project entry and classification

As you add new projects to Tyme, you can describe what they are, categorise them by type and choose different banner colours to highlight them. Projects can have a name and hourly rates and planned budgets, but not a long description. Once you have main projects listed and organised, you can add multiple tasks to the projects, add different bill rates and define time rounding and due date.

Sample iPhone project list

Entering tasks and activities information

Registering task usage can be done by the use of a stop-watch timer like feature or by manually entering information. Again, iCloud comes handy here as you can start the timer in a device and stop it on another and it is possible to run multiple timers if needed.

Sample timer

It is possible to create sub-tasks if it makes sense splitting them into more detail. Both tasks and sub-tasks support adding time entries which will help making the report later on. Once tasks are complete they can be marked as so and moved below in the list. The active tasks appear on the first rows. Once a project has all tasks complete, you can mark it as complete as well and projects can be archived as well moved away from the main project list.

Getting some reports

Once there are few project entries, around a week or month of time, a report can be generated in macOS or iOS devices showing time spent on each activity or task, total in projects and categories. Each entry can be marked as billed or as paid. The report can show either time incurred or revenue.

The reports on macOS can be customised to show revenue on graphics and breaks, less or more detail. Last you can review archived projects, unarchive them and delete them.

Besides reporting on iOS and macOS which are very helpful, all the information can be exported (on both platforms) in several formats, PDF, CSV, JSON, HTML, and database backup in case you need to move data to another profile or device, and several options about summaries, revenue, billed or not hours and notes. I find them very well organised for self-employed professionals bringing good-looking and honest reporting on activities.

Other features

I haven’t tested it but macOS version will integrate with third party plugins to transfer information to other apps such as Grand Central 4 which helps with more advanced invoicing.

Tyme 2 can also integrate with Mac and iPhone/iPad calendars showing a view of activities and display alarms for due tasks. It complements the Record view and it is optional as some people will prefer a cleaner calendar view. Personally I found it shows too much information in weekly and monthly once I had tracked too many activities, but still it can be useful in some workflows and with alarms.

Both macOS and iOS versions look very smooth and pleasant to work with, no slowness at all even in devices with 3 years old. I’ll continue to use Tyme to help me track project time for the weekly time-sheet reporting period and I hope might be useful for some of you.

Common aspects between veganism and sustainability

The veganism has some good common aspects with sustainability regarding conscious consume. Whilst most known idea to people regarding veganism is related with decreasing greenhouse gases emissions, methane mainly and deforestation for cattle, issue goes beyond reaching supply chain, world wide market and producers.

Vegans defend animals are conscious beings that understand what is around them, therefore, they feel fear and pain, and suffer on being used for human consumption and that all animals should have the right to live with minimal interference from us. Vegans by avoiding consuming any animal derived product contribute for a change in the supply chain causing decreasing demand for animal derived product. The most common examples are meat like red, pig, chicken or fish, eggs and dairy while no less important but not well known, leather, honey, silk and wool (still, some products like cosmetics and medicines can be made from animals and be hard to get to know disclosed information). By decreasing demand for those products e replacing them by others make animal-free safe, generally vegetables, supply chain and production are forced to review their offers and the economics start to change gradually.

Animal made products will still have for a while smaller cost given production and distribution scale, while vegan products are generally considered premium rate to pioneer consumers and more expensive initially, until production and consume ramp up and more offers are created. As those products get more popular and more producers join the market, price tends to decrease.

And what veganism has to do with sustainability?

When we speak of sustainability, more known issues are energy efficiency on lighting, heating and cooling on less energy demanding devices and through better design, and hydric efficiency, or water racional use in such modern fixtures, and water reuse for less noble purposes like irrigation and flushing. Green building programs like Acua, LEED or Referencial Casa handle those very well.

However, just like veganism, sustainability programs also take care of supply chain or fair markets issues, be through recommendations, be through certification policies or mandates. So, just like vegans lead the market to  alternative products from the common, green building programs stimulate certified sources by third party, audited and that make up less impact on their operations.

Less known public known examples are the use of certified wood, purchased from audited and accredited sources, certified by entities like the FSC and from safe certified materials by entities like the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. Those are two program examples that help consumers or their procurement decision for construction and operation.

The Brazilian program Referencial Casa also goes beyond usual and demands the construction workers are formally hired according to Brazilian labour laws, and suggests that capacitation programs for the community are brought in for those people to develop them with safer practices, recycling, read and writing skills as examples, not excluding others.

Those programs, by considering the impact on supply chain, production, transport of goods and on people’s life, make that consumers are more aware of from where they get their products, results of their life cycle on society and on the environment and bring changes on the market as a whole, just like vegan product consumption pattern that transforms meal market.

Both themes have in common the way the seek to reach moral and economics goals, seeking to push the market through changes in demand and as an outcome, production. This has a bigger transformation potencial than laws, although both are complementary.

What is the WELL Building Standard

O que é o Well Building Standard e por que foi criado
What is the WELL Building Standard and why it’s been created

O Well Building Standard or WELL has been designed by the International WELL Building Institute or IWBI, a Public Benefit Company (PBC) as a different approach and focus for sustainable buildings. WELL takes on health aspects and human comfort at the same time it complements LEED rating systems (more on future post). System has been created from wellness concepts and studies of buildings occupants, a way of improving social responsibility and fairness. WELL is the result of people following on the Clinton Global Initiative in improving people lives through social actions.

These sets of systems do not exist only as metrics for improvement per se, but as results of scientific studies of health professionals participating on the standard creation. A part of social aspects, the standard application has to make financial sense to be justified and adopted, so the highlight on the scientific studies behind the requirements and actions to be done. As people spend large parts of the day inside buildings, according to studies in the standard, a better care with factors that affect their health will bring financial and commercial benefit for the project owners. For companies or tenants this means less absenteeism reflecting in savings on lost or delayed work and employee replacement. For owners of commercial spaces, better rent value and selling prices as their offer a more attractive space to talents, feature that is seek by the market as they go over office renovations or relocations. For government it means less spending with public health system and early retirements as less people will be sick and won’t need to use the public health system as often.

Months ago IWBI disclosed a partnership with the Green Building Certification Institute or GBCI to work on spaces certification and accreditation, and although it does not use the same method or tools of LEED certification, a similar process and market recognition of GBCI will make the process flow better and more trustful.

How the certification works and why is is important

WELL defines features in 7 knowledge areas that are related themselves and impact on people health: Air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. For each area there is a set of requirements (pre-conditions) and recommendations (named optimizations) to the project. The requirements must be all attended in a project so it can be considered certified. Failing to meet a single requirement item prevents the project certification and demands a review. The optimizations are recommended design measures that sums up together to reach Gold or Platinum certification levels. Silver levels means the project has met all requirements or pre-conditions, while Gold means at least 40% of optimizations are met and Platinum 80% of them are met. This is valid for current project typologies, while for pilot projects, at least 20% of optimizations must be met to reach Silver certification level.

Project Typologies

Today there are three project classifications, named typologies:

— New and Existing Buildings: Although this might look like exterior focus (envelope), it is applicable to projects where the owner occupies at least 90% of the total floor area. This applies usually to companies offices (maybe retail stores) that own the building and control most of the construction and interior items and it varies a lot by region or country usual business way.

— New and Existing Interiors: Perhaps the most used typology, for interior offices (similar to commercial interiors). Will be used mostly to work wellness and health of office occupants rented by a tenant. Usually it will not include building core or technical areas, but can benefit from projects in compliance with the next typology where some of the requirements must be met.

— Core and Shell: Typology that assures projects where the owner will deliver facilities like electrical, hydraulic and air conditioning systems, but not the interior finishing, furnitures and other office items. It is complementary to the other typologies as it is in the early stage most of important decisions are taken, that later will affect window placement and daylight, thermal performance, location and others. In this case certification is named Compliance.

Available pilots: Multifamily Residential, Educational Facilities, Retail, Restaurant and Commercial Kitchens.

Future pilots: Communities, Exercise Facilities, Public Assembly and Healthcare. For example, Health project requirements can have variations for additional measures on asepsis, patients comfort for a quicker recovery.

WELL introduces a concept of primary and secondary space type that are applied in cases where one typology does not fit totally and on pilot projects. In those cases, both spaces must be worked according to their own typologies requirements and applicable optimizations, if a distinction is possible between spaces. This does not apply to the regular typologies already defined.

Certification

Project certification is worked over WELL Online tool and takes two phases: Documentation Review and Performance Review. Each item to be met as pre-conditions or optimizations may be assessed just by documentation (or evidences), by performance verification or both (the standard guide explains where each situation applies). The performance verifications are done by an WELL Assessor professional assigned to the project. The Certification Guide details this workflow. At the end of the process a report is presented about the project explaining each item assessed.

Project operations must send annually, performance data about some items in certification to the IWBI for latter studies and WELL improvements and each 3 years must perform a recertification. Project must have recertification process started before the end of the 3 year period, which will ensure 6 more months to run certification assessment. The process is very demanding and requires that after the first recertification, each new only must adhere to new items of the latest version of the standard available up to 12 months before the limit date of recertification. This makes sure the project will be updated with new technologies and methods at the same time it guarantees performance indicators have not fallen down since last (re)certification.

Critics

WELL looks like to be an excellent way to assess, standardize and develop better methods to accommodate people and take care of them, bringing social and financial benefits on long term. The standard is based on US centric norms, regulations and associations standards like EPA and ASHRAE. Because some of the requirements I’ve seem the following critics sometimes:

— An additional certification cost besides LEED plus consultant fees: It is a fact and maybe WELL certification is a short term investment where one does not know all variables and results as well in LEED or in other rating systems. However it can be a good selling point as certification gains traction and becomes more known on the market. Other certifications already educated the market so it is has a shorter path to market assimilation.

— Some of the pre-conditions are expensive or hard to achieve: There will be some requirements considered complex or expensive at the beginning, like light control, movable furniture/workstations for example, and this can be a factor in giving up certification. Ideally, the standard will amend the requirements at each review to improve the market, so there should not be any provision to those demanding requirements.

Opportunities

WELL has today lots of synergies between its requirements and optimizations with LEED ID+C projects for Commercial Interior and can benefit in common features. It is an advantage following Integrated Project processes so the common requirements can be considered and used early in the design meetings, so the process start better prepared with major stakeholders. Their opinions and input will make sure there are no barriers and rework needed as there is lots of integration between the knowledge areas.