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Pluralsight iOS App offers offline course viewing

I swapped my TrainSignal subscription over to Pluralsight over the weekend. Following the acquisition of TrainSignal last month, integration of their courseware into Pluralsight has moved along very quickly.

As well as providing TrainSignal subscribers with access to Pluralsight’s catalog of courses, the iOS app provides a piece of functionality that I’ve been waiting for – offline viewing on my iPad. Hooray!

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TrainSignal Online – 1 Month On…

trainsignalIt’s been just over a month since TrainSignal switched to providing their courses only via an online model and binned the idea of shipping DVDs around the world.

Although they kept their plans under wraps fairly well (at least they did as far as I know), it shouldn’t really have come as a surprise to anyone that they changed their model. You only have to look back another month or so to one of the UK’s big high street names going to the wall to see further evidence that physical media is just not as popular anymore.

I had been planning to purchase one of TrainSignal’s courses just prior to them making the switch. Good job I waited eh? But after giving it a week or so to bed in, I subscribed and I now have access to the whole training catalog.

Logging in, the dashboard (below) gives you the ability to browse and take courses, take practice exams, see what’s new etc.

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You can see my progress having a look at David Davis and Jake Robinson’s “VMware vCloud Director Essentials” course. There’s also a link that will let you download the Silverlight based offline player.

The offline player, as it says on the tin, allows you to download courses to view when you don’t have an internet connection handy. It requires you to authenticate using your TrainSignal account and you’ll need to connect the player to the internet every few days or so for it to re-authenticate. Once in, you can browse the course catalog and select courses for download.

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The player’s fairly responsive and I’ve had no issues with it… save one. As stated on their website, TrainSignal do not yet offer an offline player for mobile devices (e.g. iPads etc). For me, that’s a bit of a detractor.

Overall, I like what TrainSignal have done. I can pick and choose whichever courses I want and hopefully the catalog will grow nicely. I do want an iPad app for it though!

Note: I didn’t clarify when I first wrote this that TrainSignal have offered their courses online for some time but not as a subscription model. Thanks to Ricky El-Qasem.

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TrainSignal Moves to Online Subscription Model

The first ever TrainSignal course that I “took” was David Davis’ VMware vSphere 4 training. I had heard lots about it from a few people on Twitter and several others in person and I wanted to use it to fill in a few gaps in readiness for my VCP4 exam. I’ve since been through a few other courses and they’ve all been great.

What’s changed between then and now is TrainSignal’s transition from supplying only DVDs, through adding online access to purchased course, to finally switching to a subscription only model.

It’s a move that makes a great deal of sense and it’d be worth a subscription to get access to course related to technologies that I don’t use as often. There is even an offline player but it’s currently limited to desktop computers (Windows / OSX).

One thing that I would like to see though is a way to view courses offline on mobile devices. I recently used Handbrake to transfer my copy of Scott Lowe’s Designing VMware Infrastructure to my iPad so I could work through it anywhere. At about 800Mb though, I would only want to download that ahead of time and not via 3G when on a train.

Still, good move TrainSignal. I like it.

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Review: Trainsignal VMware vSphere 5 Training

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I’ve been a big fan of Trainsignal’s courses for some time now. You never forget your first one and for me that was “VMware vSphere Pro Series Training Vol1”.

Time has flown by though. Trainsignal have since released a number of new courses, several of them VMware focused. I have some of them in my library and there are also some that I couldn’t justify purchasing at the time.

With all of the changes in vSphere 5 I thought it a good idea to get hold of Trainsignal’s latest and greatest as part of my VCP5 preparations. I’ve done a fair bit of work with vSphere 5 but there were always going to be bits that I was less familiar with. What the training offers is the opportunity to bone up on those weaker areas and brush up on the bits that you’re more familiar with already courtesy of two knowledgable and well-informed virtualisation experts: David Davis and Elias Khnaser.

The training comes on 3 DVDs containing a series of screencast videos covering all of the content but there’s also the ability to watch the videos online if you want. At its simplest you can just pop one of the DVDs into your laptop and get started or there are iPod optimised copies also available for importing into iTunes. Pulling your iPhone out of your pocket on the tube in London and learning about VMware Data Recovery is almost priceless as the time would be otherwise wasted.

As a VCP5 resource it’s not everything that you need. Don’t forget that:

  • You need to have attended a VMware course to qualify for the VCP5 (or hold a VCP4 already)
  • There’s no substitute for practical experience

That said, it’s an excellent place to start building or refresh your knowledge and I’d totally recommend the course to almost anyone with an interest in vSphere 5. It’s not without its flaws, I spotted one or two typos and sometimes a iPhone isn’t the best device on which to see large and detailed captures of the vSphere Client! Also, there were some very minor inconsistencies between different videos but these were when opinions were being offered and were not related to factual content. Not something that concerned me, I just picked it up.

Overall an excellent resource. Hats off to Elias, David and the Trainsignal team.