Do unproctored certification exams have any value? – Certification Magazine


Do unproctored certification exams have any value? – Certification Magazine.


The Ghost Army – A Review and Tribute


Anyone who knows me, knows of my love for the Army…especially my one little piece of it-  Military Intelligence.  You only have to take a glance over this blog itself to see posts dedicated to my 33 Brothers and Sisters.

Another thing I enjoy, is movies – So, when you mix one with the other…..look out.

Well, right now is a FANTASTIC movie playing free on Amazon Prime, a movie called The Ghost Army.

You see, in Military Intelligence…things are not always what they seem.  Not everyone is a Cloak & Dagger spy, nor all Intel gathered from cocktail parties or beatings in abandoned warehouses.  Instead, you have countless operators, linguists and Intel Analysts all around the world. Meanwhile – you have people like us 33s, who kept everything running.  Finally, you have Counter Intelligence….and that is “Somewhat” where the movie takes over – Here is the trailer:


Yep – that’s right, the movie The Ghost Army talks about how a group of 1000+ soldiers used Battlefield Deception to confuse the Germany Army.  You see some classic examples, from the inflatable vehicles – to the audio deceptions.  The later makes me wonder if the precursor to the 33 was there even then – working Pre-ASA (Army Security Agency, that was founded in 1945) repairing the recording and broadcast equipment?  I like to think so.

This movie has it all, told by the men of a generation that is sadly dwindling out.  You hear it directly from them, and see their artwork – as many were artists who took their sketchpads with them. 

This is an hour well spent – and I highly recommend heading over to Amazon to check this out – HERE is the Link.

Now I mentioned in the title that this is also a Tribute – well, back in the 90’s, Battlefield Deception was still alive and well – renamed Bat-D.  And it was due them having a platoon in the 501st MIBN, that I met one of my best friends in life, @AGlennHarvey.  A whole blog could be dedicated to our Army stories, but I would rather discuss them over beer – it is more fitting.  To say I love this man as a brother is an understatement…He is so intertwined in my life, that I named my son @JAM_Bell after him (but you have to figure out how).  It is especially to him, that I dedicate this post – although one of my followers ( @hairphreak84 ) was also in Bat-D. 

Much like the Bat-D soldiers of yore, @AGlennHarvey is also an artist – and now he does original background art for Cell Phone…you can see his work on his site :

I no longer know the status of Bat-D in the Army (Maybe someone can leave a comment below giving us an update), but I do know that this time 23 years ago – I was preparing for the Ground War to start for Operation Desert Storm.  It was another one of those pivotal times in my life, and as I look back – I am glad it was another one of those times I can sit back, crack a beer and say: “Remember when Alby and I did….?”, much like the soldiers in The Ghost Army do about their comrades.

Here’s to you Glenn (and all the other Bat-D folk out there).  Cheers!

A trip down memory lane with the O-Scope


Back in the day, I spent many many hours in front of an Oscilloscope (or O-Scope some of us) – one of those crazy devices that “allows observation of constantly varying signal voltages, usually as a two-dimensional plot of one or more signals as a function of time. Non-electrical signals (such as sound or vibration) can be converted to voltages and displayed.”

When I was in the Army, from  in Ohm’s Law (with Gordie, Boyer, Hill, Tillery and Brown) – it seemed they were always drumming how to use this device into our  Many of my 33 Brothers and sisters will probably remember the IBM 475A here, and the stories of what could be done with them over at NSA (yes, they were legendary/notorious even then).

These devices were a real wonder to work with – and at times, they seemed like “Magic” as you broke down signals/voltage in troubleshooting – and for those of you 33s that thought we were only going to use them in school….well, your fantasies were quickly dashed as you turned up to permanent party only to find you section assigned several in your TMDE (Test, Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment). 

Many of the signal guys used to joke about it taking two 33s to fix something, well – that was because it took one to carry the toolbox and the other to hump the O-scope. 

Thankfully, my experiences with these types of devices prepared me for stepping into Satellite Communications – as the Spectrum Analyzer was the next logical step up for me.  And for the record, when you type a sentence like that…you either have a problem or are a true geek.

Its that “Geekyness” in me that truly appreciates what I read today on HackADay, and caused me to want to share with you here the work of Aaron over at  You see, he takes old electronic devices and brings them back to that stately beauty that I remember so well…in this case, modifying them into clocks. 

Tektronix 520A VectorClock - Featured Image


Not only does he transform them – but he provides detailed instructions (and firmware) so you can conduct your own DYI project.

The end result!Just look what he does with this Heathkit (another blast from the past).  As an added bonus – June 29th is my birthday… I know what I want to add to the list.  I only wish I had the Hardware laying around to actually attempt some of his mods.  If anyone has a few they want to donate – drop me an email.  I will gladly drive to pick them up.

What Aaron is doing is pure art – of course, I cannot capture all of his great work here….so I highly recommend exploring his site ( or at the least, venture over to his YouTube Page to see the clocks in action.  Believe me, its a great way to spend a Monday morning with a cup of coffee. 

Employers in the news


Two stories broke this week for current and past employers of mine.  The first is great news for Questionmark, while the second….well, I’ll get to that in a minute.

The first news story relates to a partnership between SAP and Questionmark to resell Perception and Questionmark’s OnDemand service.  I am very proud of my involvement with these negotiations and wish them well.

SAP to Resell Assessment Management Software from Questionmark to Help Customers Create Enterprise Learning Assessments

Questionmark today announced that it has signed a global agreement with SAP AG (SAP). SAP will resell testing and learning assessment technologies from Questionmark under the name SAP® Assessment Management by Questionmark. The application will enable companies to create, deliver and analyze surveys, quizzes, tests and exams. The software is designed to complement SAP Learning Solution and SuccessFactors Learning while allowing the creation of learning assessments for purposes such as certification, regulatory compliance, and health and safety training for a company’s internal tracking purposes.

Read More HERE

The second article, entitled Missouri’s king of tax credits plays shell game with campaign donations, is one I cannot comment on due to a Non-Disclosure Agreement I signed with then JES (and now Bear) Holdings.  That being said, I am posting the article here to allow people to make their own decisions.

I can say, however, that I am glad I left before this video was done for their Christmas Party-

Just what would you let an Android Device control?


First we had the Internet Aware Crockpot, then we had technology controlling our cars – Well folks, hold on to your hats as we have 6 more devices that technology is touching on…this time, 6 Unusual Devices You Will Find Android Installed On.  Jump on over to to about an Oven, Fridge, Gaming Console, (more) cars, washer & dryer, and finally a coffee machine. 

The later is probably of such interest to my boy ChrisS and his coffee addiction, that I included the video below….just to give you a taste.

Enjoy –