Certificates · Culturalism · Federal Government

The Illusion of Resistance

Much clucking and chirping is afoot in the GOP Twittersphere over surprisingly good House election outcomes for the 2020 election. Republicans won a handful of seats, and may end up forcing the Dems as low as 220 representatives, a weak majority over next year’s Congress. Though this might seem exciting to politicos and their ilk, the result simply outlines yet again the haplessness of belief in resistance-style politics championed by both the Right and Left.

If we cycle back to 2010, the conservative party used Tea Party anger against Obamacare and “wasteful spending” to power its 63-seat swing against Democrats, leading to a majority of 242. They fell short in the Senate, but nevertheless gained seats. Now, did America see historic cuts or entitlement reform? Absolutely not, because GOP resistance amounted to simply opposing tax increases on the wealthy, whilst blocking serious spending reductions at every turn. Such bumbling proceeded on to the 2012 presidential election, which rewarded the dedicated TP activists with a campaign platform sworn to protect Mitt Romney from tax penalties and back a budget plan with net cuts of only $155 billion. Why? Because the Tea Party quickly became a subsidiary of Koch Brothers interests, not the average American.

In late 2011, Occupy Wall Street protests exploded across the country, determined to draw attention to corporate greed. Despite their fierce tenacity, and the relative pro-corporate leanings of Barack Obama, the protestors ultimately ended up serving as a political and financial cow to help Democrats retain the presidency. The people insistent on getting money out of politics helped return a figure who raised more from Wall Street corporations than his “pro-business” Republican opponent.  Once more, an allegedly populist movement got co-opted by the financial mainstream, and with scarcely a cry issued.

More recently, the Black Lives Matter riots have shown a similar nature. Although presuming to oppose a tyrannical police state praying on minorities, the street advocates and their “La Resistance” friends have no conflict with blindly obeying the dictums of CDC officials to “mask up,” or translating their movement into a train of endorsement for Biden, perhaps the vilest plutocrat to attain office in short memory. The very idea that committed protestors happily obey the medical industry complex as they pretend to stand for justice, or submissively quiet down to help a Democrat attain power; said actions demonstrate a brilliant lack of autonomy and agency which undercut the primary themes. Nothing is really being disrupted, only the comfort of political opponents.

So it’s all well and good that Republicans are excited about their prospects, but these remain meaningless without action. Until legislation is on the desk—signed—their fist-waving and proclamations about being “loyal opposition”  will stay as mere words. For opposition is futile, and resistance an illusion.

Certificates · Is your major worth it?

ITIL Foundation Test (Review)

As some of you know, I previously discussed my experience with the CompTIA Security+ exam. That particular endeavor was challenging enough, but the material flowed rather easily, so it ended up being quite agreeable. Being the bright young thing I am, the next step was to pursue the ITIL Foundation test, which resulted in a peculiar saga.

What Is ITIL?             

To put things simply, a framework for IT management developed by the UK government for use in various different industries. While it does have business applications, the models and principles end up feeling extremely bureaucratic, even more so than those covered by Security+.

How I Studied

My initial move was to grab the iCertify study guide on Amazon, which cost about  $35.00. It had countless positive reviews and seemed to be a flagship offering, so I went ahead. Bad decision. One of the reviewers noted that the book seemed to have been written by a robot or algorithm, and I would have to concur. The pages were replete with spelling errors, grammatical nightmares, and incorrect spacing of words. Even the practice tests had inaccurate answer keys, and were almost unusable. As a result, I sent back for a refund. If I am correct, iCertify has since removed the book from Amazon, at least temporarily.

The next chapter involved using the study app off of Google Play made by PaulWen. This proved more useful, with over 600 practice questions and answers. I also took advantage of a special on Udemy to purchase six practice tests offered by Jason Dion for around $14.00. These were valuable for studying, but I found the real exam to be markedly different, so their utility is somewhat limited.

To take the exam itself, I  bought a package from iCertify which allows two resits for $350.00. This was more than I wanted to pay, especially after the study guide dilemma, but it ended up being a wise choice. The full price voucher is $300.00, and a second one runs you fifty dollars anyway, so it’s not a terrible deal. As it turned out, the pocket guide and practice tests included in iCertify’s package were right on the mark, making my second run at the exam a lot easier.

Is The Test Hard?

This will depend on how readily the material comes to you. The first time I took it, the results shocked me: 24/40, all while I needed 26 to pass. I attribute this to confusion over differences between the Service Value System model and Service Value Chain. Further complicating the matter is how vague and overlapping ITIL tends to be. It is thus easy to get confused and answer for the wrong option, which means delivering more money to PeopleCert, the exam provider.

After reviewing my weaknesses, I sat again and crushed the test. If you are looking to do the same, make sure to hone in on the following:

  • Difference between Service Value System and Service Value Chain.
  • Have a firm understanding of the SVC practices.
  • Understand the difference between processes for a Change Schedule, Continual Improvement, and Change Control.
  • Be clear about the various management types: Deployment vs. Release, Incident vs. Problem, etc.
  • Do not neglect how various management models interact with SVC practices, such as Service Request Management together with Deliver and Support.

What’s The Cert Worth?

ITIL is less common in the United States outside of contracting, but it is growing due to the standardizing nature of the principles. Your job may not forcibly require it, but having the cert looks good, especially in an IT project management environment.