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Other Recommended Learning Sites

Other Free IT learning sites I would recommend if you want to learn:

First check-out the courses I provide on my FREE PDF Learning Courses on this webpage.  Click on menu link at the top of this webpage.  If you need other courses added to this site then please contact me to have them added.

Below are other learning sites that have helped me create this website and also given me knowledge when using the internet and other applications.


Contents:

Programming Code

Internet Safety

Microsoft Learning Academy Portal


Programming Code:

https://www.codecademy.com/

This site requires you to signup to their courses with your email address. Not sure if you will start to get a lot of junk email, so I would suggest you create a new free web email account like outlook.com or live.com or yahoo.com and then sign up with that email account, so at least you do not have to spend lots of time in the future blocking junk mail in your normal email account.

https://www.w3schools.com/

This website was very useful to me when i created this website.  I recommend this site to help you as a reference guide for your future programming help.  Does not require a email account signup to use it.


Internet Safety

https://www.gcflearnfree.org/internetsafety/

People are always nowadays interested on how to make themselves safe when using the computer on the internet.  This recommended site gives you courses on internet safety including – privacy basics, virus protection, browsing internet, malware protection, installing updates and other software.


Microsoft Learning Academy Portal

https://mva.microsoft.com/

Since working at Microsoft, I found this learning portal to be one of the most useful learning websites for all sorts of technology I needed to learn for my job and for my own personal use.  It is a FREE website outside the Microsoft corporation to anyone who wants to learn.  It contains learning for all levels i.e. Beginners to Developers and Technologies from Microsoft i.e. Azure, Web Design/Programming, using/developing databases, Windows 10 etc.. and are taught by the Microsoft and partner professionals that I work with day to day.

In the website you choose your level of knowledge and the technology you want to learn. You can even search for a technology in the search window of the website.  You DO NOT have to sign up with email, just press continue without signup if prompted.

If you want to know how to learn a Microsoft Technology? Then go have a look at this website, it is well worth it.

Comedy Scenes from the IT world….. Enjoy

If you know the past 22 years with windows PCs then you will enjoy this comedy parody of “The Matrix”.  This is all based on windows from 95, 98, Win2000, XP, Vista, Win7, Win8 and Win10…. enjoy the movie.

We are not all like this in IT.  Most of us in IT, DO! care about our customers and want to do a good job, but this is a very funny scene below.  One Slob who does not care and the other one too much information and too techie to the customer

I thought of my folks trying to get help from IT support when i saw this video below, maybe you can relate to this with your parents

This Comedy Sketch below reminds me of some of my previous jobs, when some particular Sales people use to put me in a meeting room for Technical Sales Support with customers and tried to sell products or solution to them.  Then tried to put me on the spot with the customer to push their ideas forward, which I knew was not possible or out of software scope. I used to think, “am I the only one in reality on what a product could actually do and not sell something that was impossible or far out of the budget of the customer’s price range”.  How I miss those days…… NOT!

 

This never happens on a support desk in my work at Microsoft

Website-Under-Construction
This webpage is under construction………..

 

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Install Oracle 11g Express for Free

Normally SQL or Oracle database require expensive licenses to run the full version. However many people who are new to databases are unaware that you are able to get free licensed express versions of the database servers, which have limitations but are still able to run most essential functionalities for a database server.

There are SQL express versions mentioned in previous blogs on this website and in this blog we cover the free Oracle 11g express version that you can download and install.

Download Oracle 11g express

Before you start download Oracle 11g express from the official Oracle webpage.  Link is here.

OracleDownload

Select the option for 32 or 64 bit install and follow instruction.  PC/Servers now are normally 64 bit if you unsure of your system.

If you want to know what version of PC you have just do the following:

Find your “This PC” or “My Computer” on your desktop, right click on it and select “Properties”, you will see the 64 or 32 bit mentioned there.

systemscreenshot

Follow instruction and download your installation files to a easy accessible location on your PC/Server so you can run it straight after downloading when you are ready.

Suggestion is to download the installation guide below before attempting to install as Oracle 11g is very different to the SQL express install and other applications with a number of questions to understand and answer while you are installing.

Installation Guide:

Once you have the downloaded the Oracle 11g express version onto your PC/Server, you can download from this websites FREE courses download page the guide on how to install Oracle 11g express onto your server/PC.  The link is below.

oracle_database   Oracle 11g Express installation guide

A step by step to install Oracle 11g database Express edition guide

There are other Free course guides to help you with Oracle which you can download from this websites download page under “Database” category.

Link is here for download page.

Good luck and enjoy your learning.

Additional Software required and recommended

Oracle 11g express will require a manager software (like SQL server management studio) to manage and query the Oracle databases that you use/create.

I recommend a free software (not trial) like the following:

EMS SQL Manager for Oracle Freeware” (do not choose trial version)

Download link is here

The download link above is for a zipped file which you will need to unzip once you download.

To unzip you can use Free license versions of software like 7zip, winRAR or WinZip.  These compressing applications are very useful for transporting files across networks or onto pen drives as less storage is used when they are zipped.  These applications can be downloaded from same link below on http://www.download.cnet.com and just type their names to find them.

This can also be downloaded from download.cnet.com

There are other management software like “Toad for Oracle” which you can use instead but they require a license and cost to use.

How to use the SQL Programming Language Introduction Course

Introduction:

This blog is for how to setup and use the SQL Programming Language Introduction course that has been mentioned in the last 2 Blogs.

Contents:

Prerequisites

Instructions on how to get set up for SQL Programming Language Introduction Course

How to use the SQL Programming Language Introduction Course

 

Prerequisites:

Before you can start this course you need to have done all the following:

  • Download SQL Server Express 2012.  Click here.
  • Installed SQL Server Express 2012 or later (course is based on SQLServer 2012 or Oracle 11g).  Click here for instructions.
  • Downloaded the SQL Programming Language Introduction Course Documents.  Click here.
  • Downloaded the SQL Programming Language Introduction Course Exercises and answers.  Click here.
  • Downloaded the SQL Programming Language Introduction Course Database Scripts to create the Course Enviroments to do the exercise on.  Click here.
  • Downloaded the SQL Programming Language Introduction Example Answers SQL Scripts.  Click here.
  • Downloaded the SQL Programming Language Introduction SQL Script Solutions/Answers.  Click here.

Instructions on how to get set up for SQL Programming Language Introduction Course:

The following screenshots and instructions are for setup and configuration with SQL Server Management Studio (SQL SMS) so you are ready to follow the course that has been provided in previous blog, and is available to download in links above in prerequisites.

    1. Run Microsoft Studio Manager 2012

sqlmanager1

2. SQL Server Management Studio 2012 will load and present you with a connection window to your database server.

Server Name: is the name of your SQL server.

(1) Authentication: drop this box down with arrow on right hand side to allow the selection of “SQL Server Authentication”. This means you will have to enter the user name a password for the SQL server you installed and setup (important you remembered the password you entered into the setup).

(2) Login: Type “SA”.  This stands for “System Administrator” and is the highest level of security on your SQL Server.

(3) Password: This is the password you entered in the setup when install your SQL Server.

(4) Remember this password: I always tick this box to save myself retyping the password every time i want to sign into the SQL database.  If you are in a business, never tick this as anyone can use it to sign in without typing anything.

(5) “Connect”: press connect  once all details are entered correctly and you will be signed into the SQL server and be able to move onto the next stage and work with your database setup.

sqlmanager2

3. You will now see down the left hand side of your SQL Server Management Studio application all the system databases.  This now tells you that you have signed in successfully.

sqlmanager3

4. Now press “New Query” which will open you up a white window on the right hand side of application with a yellow tab saying “SQLQuery……sql” on it.  This is now ready for you to Paste into it the text you need to have to create your database.  Query windows are what you can write SQL commands and other formulas and execute, to make different pieces of information and the way they display within or outside the SQL SMS application.

sqlmanager4

5. Now move away from SQL SMS application over to where you downloaded the database setup files mentioned in prerequisites above.  Right click on file “SQLServer-Eastwind.sql”, and open with “Notepad”.

sqlmanager5

6. In Notepad, click into file contents and then press CTRL-A on your keyboard (will highlight all text blue.  Press CTRL-C to copy all the text.

sqlmanager6

7. Click into blank SQLQuery window on SQL SMS application and then press CTRL-V to paste all the text from Notepad into the window.sqlmanager7

8. Now press “Execute” on application to get the following display like below.  You should see all a message below that says that the rows are affected and finished with no errors.

sqlmanager8

9. Now look at the database on left hand side of application and there will be still be no new database called Eastwind.

Press refresh button as shown in screen shot below.  You will now be able to expand the databases folder with the + symbol next to it, and then see “EastWind” database as show in screen shot below.

sqlmanager9

10. Expand even more the contents of the “EastWind” database with the + symbol next to “EastWind” database.  Now you will see the tables with the database like screen shot below.  These tables contain the information that you want to store within the course.

sqlmanager10

11.  Now you can test the SQL database and follow the course by typing SQL commands into the Query windows and executing.

sqlmanager11

12.  You can see an example of a simple lookup command in the screenshot below to show you that the SQL database is working and display the information within the “Customers” table to you.

sqlmanager12

You are now ready.

How to use the SQL Programming Language Introduction Course:

This course gives you an overview of what SQL databases are and shows you how to start using them.

You need to start reading the main course document and then start incorporating the other download documents mentioned in prerequisites (at top of page) to complete the main document.

When you get to the “Hands-On Exercises”, then you need to refer to the Exercise Document also mentioned in prerequisites (at top of page) to complete these exercises.

Then carry on with the next chapter in the main course document.

If you want to check your answers to the questions after you do them the answers are in the back of the  Exercise Document…… but try not to cheat, as you are only cheating yourself.

Happy Learning.

I will Blog another learning soon on maybe another topic.

If you have any questions or suggestions, just contact me on this website.

 

How to Install SQLServer Express 2012

Microsoft kindly offers express versions of SQLServer.  You can choose from 2008, 200R2, 2012, 2014 and now 2016 versions.  All of these are not full licenced versions and do have limitations for example the size of database you can use on them is limited to 4GB and there is no automatic backup of database facility on them.  But 4GB is still good enough for a lot of applications to work on them.  I used to use SQLServer Express 2008R2 on most of my Kardex Powerpick Global installations if the customer did not have a full SQLServer of their own.

In my last blog i mentioned where to download a Microsoft Express version of SQL. I would suggest you always download direct from Microsoft for all versions that you want to make sure you get the latest versions of whatever year you need and also to make sure they are not missing anything and are supported by Microsoft.  Below is the link to download MSSQLExpress 2012 for 64bit PC.  There is also the 32bit version in this link but all new PCs bought in the past 5 years are 64bit (32 bit link is ENU\x86\SQLEXPRADV_x86_ENU.exe).  If you want to know what version of PC you have just do the following:

Find your “This PC” or “My Computer” on your desktop, right click on it and select “Properties”, you will see the 64 or 32 bit mentioned there.

systemscreenshot

If you need a different year version than 2012 in the future then type into a search engine for “Microsoft SQL Express server 20..”  And look for the link with the option “Advanced tools” as you do need at least to have with the SQL server a “Studio” interface so you can interact with the SQL Server.  I will talk about the “Microsoft Studio” later in this blog.

Do not have SQLServer 2012 Express?
Download it here, select your language (try to keep it in English as that will be the preferred Microsoft language in these blogs), press “SELECT” and then click on tick box on download link “ENU\x64\SQLEXPRADV_x64_ENU.exe” and press “NEXT”, to get everything you need to install. Download of approx 1.3GB with start. Could take around 10-60 mins to download depending on your internet speed.

Once you have the download the SQL program, run the executable and you should see a screen like this in 2-3 minutes (be patient when installing this program as every step takes time).

First you will get the install screen asking if you want to install a new or upgrade to.  You select install a new.
install_centre

Then the license agreement, so select i agree and press next.
sqlsetup1_licence

Then the software will look for updates to install as well.  Just press next.
sqlsetup2_updates

Now the software unpacks all the setup files it needs.
sqlsetup3_install

Make sure all the features are selected especially Management tools (includes Management Studio mentioned in paragraph above). Please note that there are other features like where you want to install the program but for this exercise just keep all standard except for what I mention.  You can “select all” or “unselect all” but make sure all are selected and then press Next.
sqlsetup4_featureselection

Because I have many versions of SQLServer on my PC, I like to name each one with an “Instance” so I know which SQLServer and database belongs to which Version.  Please do the same as practice (the Instance ID will automatically update once you type into named instance and click away) and then press Next.
sqlsetup5_instanceconfig

You can add passwords to the Services of SQL but i just press Next without changing.
sqlsetup6_serverconfig

This is a very important section and I would suggest you select “Mix Mode” which allows you to add more security to the database and some applications require this mode.  If you leave it on Microsoft Authentication then anyone can access the database. You MUST remember the password that you set for the “SA” account.  This is the SQLServer FULL administration password with all rights to all of SQLServer. Write it down and do not lose it.  If you do lose it then you have to reinstall the whole of this SQLServer again which would be a nightmare if you are using it for live data to a system.  Password should have at least 1 capital letter, a symbol and a set of numbers, example mpxB@tch01

Once this is all done select Next.
sqlsetup7_passwordmixmodeconfig

Finally I always set this option to the end of the setup as it opens the database to other options i may want later for example report services etc.  Set and press Next.
sqlsetup8_reportservicesconfig

Just press Next on this option.
sqlsetup9_reporterrors

Now Install begins, so be patient and wait.  This can take up to around 30 mins depending on the speed of your PC.
sqlsetup10_installbegins

You should now end up with a screen like this and then just press Close.
sqlsetup11_installends

Microsoft SQLServer 2012 Express is now installed and ready to use.

In the next blog i will discuss how to use Microsoft SQLServer2012 Studio Manager and with SQL Server 2012 Express with your SQL Programming Course.

SQL Programming Introduction

Databases are used in all day to day routines in storing and gathering information.  For example you might write a shopping list on your mobile phone app, or you might go on the internet and book a cinema ticket to watch a film, these have a hidden database behind that website with all the information you might need to complete the routine and get additional information sent back to you.

SQL (Structured Query Language) in my experience seems to be the most common database or language used when databases are involved.  All my jobs in the past in IT have had a SQL database involved somewhere.

For anyone who wants to start down the line of database language SQL is a good place to start.  You can read more about what SQL is about by clicking on the hyperlinks i have on the key words within this website.  Just be aware there are about 10 versions of SQL language out there but they all relate around each other.  SQL language allows you to navigate around the database, create, delete, modify, view etc. all sorts of information.

I attended a course in London in April 2014 on SQL Programming Introduction by a company called “Learning Tree International“.  If you can attend any of their courses i would recommend this company.  Their facilities, course material, and tutors are exceptional.  The tutors are real business people who do the training as a second job to their own.

I paid for the course I took which was close to £2,000 for 3 days, which gives you a build up to a certification in the subject you take.  I now give you that course notes and database scripts to practice on for free by these following links and explanations plus how to install a Microsoft SQLServer Express 2012 (Express is a lighter and free version of SQLServer) in which the course was written for.  However I cannot see a problem with using higher versions of SQL to do the same course, but try if possible with 2012.

  • Course notes documents can be accessed here
  • Exercises and Answers are accessed here
  • Exercise & Database Creation SQL Scripts to execute into Microsoft SQLServer 2012 can be downloaded here
  • Course Example Answers SQL Scripts are here
  • Course SQL Script Solutions/Answers are here

 

Do not have SQLServer 2012 Express?

Download it here, select your language (try to keep it in English as that will be the preferred Microsoft language in these blogs), press “SELECT” and then click on tick box on download link “ENU\x64\SQLEXPRADV_x64_ENU.exe” and press “NEXT”, to get everything you need to install. Download of approx 1.3GB with start. Could take around 10-60 mins to download depending on your internet speed.

 
In the next blog I will discuss how to install this SQLServer 2012 Express version step by step.

 

My First Blog: The history on how I got my first Information Technology Job

I was told a few times by people in my past catering jobs “I wish i could do something like you are doing”, and my answer was “why don’t you?”…… they never had an answer to my question or it was a very weak answer.

This is my first written Blog piece, and is only meant to be read by anyone in a “dead-end job”, not going anywhere, and who wants inspiration to move out of their existing job and make something of themselves in the world of Information Technology.

If you do not need this incentive then just click on another one of my Blog pieces or links to learn something else.

It takes a lot of courage to move out of something you already know into a new industry you do not know and sometimes you have to give up things or even move location.

My Story starts……

June 1988 – July 2000

I had been working in catering since I was 16.  I left school and went to West Kent College of Further Education to study and become a Chef. I spent 2 years working on a City & Guilds then B-Tech certification in Cooking and Baking, Waiter skills, Bar work, Housekeeping + Hotel.  I left college, after completing my qualifications and went to work for a small family run Pub/Restaurant called “The Plough at Ivy Hatch” nr. Sevenoaks, Kent, UK. They specialised with Game, Fish and Poultry dishes and had a “michelin star” award.  It was very good experience, but very bad pay and long hours (66 hours, split shifts over 6 days a week).  I was earning £1.25 per hour and around £50.00 in tips per week.  They always came up with an excuse to keep my wage low.

After working there 10 months I had enough and got a job in Croydon, Surrey, UK, working in a hotel called “The Wellsley Centre”.  I started on not bad money for my age as a “Commis Chef” £4.65 per hour and working Monday to Friday 9am till 5pm straight shifts.  Then I started to work up the ranks to “Second Chef” and then to “Head Chef”.  I was working long hours now and as I had a 6am start till 6pm finish straight shifts.  Pay was a bit more but I knew there was more for me in the world than this. During my time as Head Chef it was a UK recession and many companies were having financial problems. The Hotel was having bad times at this point and started to get rid of the higher paid managers in the hotel which added more work to myself.  I felt I needed to move and find a company which was doing well.  My move was to JSainburys, one of the biggest supermarket chains in the UK.  I thought i would try for a position working in their staff restaurant, but instead my qualifications gave me a better route….. I was to become a Baker.

Working for J Sainsburys was so much more of a different way of life.  The work was local (1 mile away), I was paid more money per hour £5.50 for a start, i had other benefits like £1,000-£2,000 shares per year, plus I had a more sociable life.  I worked mainly 4am till 12pm or 6am till 2pm straight shifts, then go home, sleep, then go out with friends at night to clubs or their houses and then go straight on to work with maybe 2 hours sleep between.  But I was in my early 20s so this kind of life was not tiring….. and i had money in my pocket.

After 5 years of working for J Sainburys I started to get itchy feet again and felt there was something more i wanted to do.  I then had an invite to visited my cousin at Cambridge University.  I enjoyed my time with him saw the life he lead while being educated to become a Doctor.  I came away thinking “this is something i would like to do, to progress my working career”.  I could see I was not going up the ladder at J Sainburys very quickly, so I decided to research into putting myself through university as a mature student.  My friends and ex-girlfriend’s family helped me research and answer questions in doing this as they had all done university themselves.  I was 25 years old and decided that I would like to do a evening after work A-level course in “Marketing” at a nightschool as i was interested in the subject.  I attended the school for the year, but found it hard work, tiring and not much time for homework while doing a full time job.  I had 2 unversity places open to me, one at Luton University and the other was Cheltenham, UK, which i had chosen due from my university options, but I had to get a A-Level grade “D” at night school. At the end of the A-Level course in Marketing, I did the exam and failed badly.  I was devastated at the result but found out I still had a chance at getting a place at university through the “UK clearing scheme” of courses not filled up with students.  I found and was accepted into a Higher National Diploma course in “Hotel, Catering and Insitutional Management” Cheltenham & Gloucester College of Higher Education.  I was over the moon with happiness after all my planning.  I sold my car as i did not want to have one while i was at university and got £5,000 for it.  I spent 1/3 on a DELL Windows 95 PC with Printer which I needed for my studies and the rest of the money was across equipment and clothing and money to live on while i was away from home living near to the university.  The rent was paid for by the UK Government Grant that was awarded by the party in power at the time.  This grant was to change just as I was leaving university, because the government was voted out and a new one was elected who would soon charge UK students £3,000 per year to go to university.  I am glad i did the studying when i did.

Graduation 1998
My Graduation 1998 from Cheltenham & Gloucester College of Higher Education

My time at Cheltenham & Gloucester University was hard work but was fun also with the interesting people I met and the great friends I made.  Even now I am still in contact with some of these friends through Facebook and telephone.  University even gave me a great job experience for 6 months working at The Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham as Assistant Catering Manager. At university I was a mature student at 26 and the oldest of my 36 classmates, who ranged from 18 to 24 of age.  We all had some experience within the catering industry so our HND course was reduced from 3 years to 2 years.  I was glad as by the end of the second year i wanted to get back to work and the real world.  While I was at university i studied all aspects of Catering Management, plus included into my studies:

  • Business Law
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Advanced Food Hygiene
  • Craft & Group Trainer Techniques
  • Information Technology

All of these courses helped me grasp fantastic knowledge and ideas how to run a business, and at the same time scared me into doing so, especially studying business law.

The IT course introduced me to the front end of Windows products Word, Excel, PowerPoint, including some additional software Kitchen Design AutoCAD and Hotel Room Booking Systems.  These were all very simple versions of software that you see today, but were interesting to me at the time.  The Internet and CD Writers were very new at the time in 1996 with internet browsers like Netscape, and download speeds where a picture might take 5 minutes to load very slowly. Nowadays children are being taught windows products in school and are familiar how they work, and even teach their parents how to use them.  However in 1996 it was not a normal thing that everyone touched or even had a computer, tablet or smart phone with Microsoft products in them.

During my time at Cheltenham and Gloucester University I had been working at J Sainburys as a student for 2 years full time during holidays to make money to pay for my education.

After i graduated university in 1998 I started to look around to see what to do with my new qualifications.  I was still very interested in IT and sent out applications and CVs to companies with some kind of Catering and IT technology links, but no company ever responded to me.  Because of my J Sainburys job I had the idea to apply to their head office to become one of their “Environmental Health Officers” to monitor their supermarkets, but they had no vacancies for me to join.  I had  another idea to apply for a General Manager position with a contract catering company called  “Gardner Merchant” (now bought out by Sodexo).  It was a day of interviewing and examination to see if i could do the job.  Unfortunately they were looking for someone with more General Manager knowledge.
But straight after this disappointment I was offered a job with Gardner Merchant as Duty Manager for Canon Inc. Training Centre in Oxted, UK., looking after the Hotel, restaurant, conference rooms and facilities under 2 other managers.  I could not believe it that I had done 2 years at university, got more qualifications and come out into a new job on £3,000 less per year than when i was working full-time at J Sainburys.  I was now working for £12,000 per year at the age of 28.  After a year there was a tragedy, Canon was moving it’s training facilities and no one was being relocated there from my team.  30 staff were going to loose their jobs.  Gardner Merchant decided to relocate me, so I was perfectly OK and I was able to take a few of my staff with me to the new job.  The new job was a promotion to Assistant Manager (second in-charge) for a sports club in Beckenham, London, UK called Cuaco.

Cuaco was boring to me.  The place was small and quiet alot of the time.  I just seem to do repetitive chores in the bar, kitchen, cellar and paperwork most of the time, but i was glad i still had a job.  I was now 29, Money from job  was £14,000 per year, but still not as much as i had earned from J Sainburys.  I could not wait to leave this job, and was desperately searching for a new one.

I then made a change to my circumstances when I had a friend over to my house visiting me, who worked for IBM.  I told him that I was interested in going into an IT job.  He suggested to me that I should do a home learning course and got me a number of a company who organised these courses.  The company was called Computeach.  I got the information of courses of what they did, and my friend and I looked through at what I could be interested in.  He gave me some advice on maybe starting with a programming course in Pascal and Visual Basic if I was interested.  I contacted Computeach and started to pay monthly for the course with a deposit of a third of the value of the course which was £1,000.

I was only 1 month into my course when finally an IT company was interested in me.  They were one of the world leaders in EPoS systems for the catering industry.  The company name was Micros-Fidelio, Slough, UK.

Micros wanted me to run their Enterprise Management System from their head office across some of their contracted customer like Posthouse, Browns, Marriotts, Pizza Hut.  This was my first experience with SQL Databases, backup devices and computer configurations.  The systems were Microsoft Windows PC and EPoS terminals.

Finally I was starting to work in the world of IT.

In 2014 Micros was bought by Oracle.

You can read more of my experiences in each IT Company I worked for in the links at the bottom of the page.

My Blogs will focus on helping you to choose where you want to go within IT, weather it is areas for example programming, networking, database work, internet + Cloud, Application or customer support.  Please feel free to add suggestions or your experiences to this blog for us all to share.