YOLO! You only lab once

Question: Why can I only take a lab once?

We hear this question on a pretty regular basis. “I paid for credits, spent the credits on a lab, took the lab, and you’re telling me I have to spend more credits to take the lab a second time?” It’s a valid question, and the answer is worth exploring (TLDR: subscribe to qwikLABS and take a lab as many times as you want!). 

The hands-on qwikLABS approach is dramatically different from other sources of online training. A lab is not like a book that you buy and read over and over. A lab is more like a sandwich – you only eat it once. 

qwikLABS for lunch

A lab is like a sandwich…

Minecraft, the painless alternative to stepping on tiny plastic bricks

Have you ever stepped on a lego brick? Toy blocks have quite a history (and not just in relation to your decision to wear slippers). John Locke (writer and philosopher), Friedrich Froebel (often referred to as the father of kindergarten), Maria Montessori (teacher and first woman in Italy to earn a medical degree) and many others recognized the value of playing with blocks to encourage problem solving, identify dependencies and patterns, and visualize mathematics.

Minecraft's predecessor

A bare foot’s worst enemy.

Get your lab on at AWS Chicago Summit

Are you in Chicago? Check out the AWS Summit, happening now. Say hi to Dave, the qwikLABS on-scene expert!

https://qwiklabs.com/

Many labs were taken.

One for the road

Snag a token (or 2) and take a free lab at the event, or save it for later. Bring one home to your friend while you’re at it – save your souvenir budget. 

qwiklabs.com

New look, same price (free!).

If you’re in Chicago, I hope you swing by and take a lab or two. And if you’re not in Chicago, no worries, qwikLABS AWS labs are available anywhere with an internet connection. Take a look at our catalog and find your next lab. 

qwikLABS: The almond of tech learning

One of the things we have in our office consistently, 100% of the time, is snack food. Some of it is healthy (dried mangos) and some of it is a little on the junkfood side (even though the popcorn promises it’s a good source of vitamins).

Redshift-cluster

Generic clip-art lady with donuts – you can find anything on the internet…

Every day we sample a little of this and a little of that. We have our favorites that we keep stocked. We try new things and decide whether or not a second appearance is deserved.

The office favorite? Almonds. What do we like about them? They’re nourishing. Flavorful. Satisfying. They come in different flavors, and are delicious in (almost!) any iteration. Bottom line? Almonds are snackable, and good for you.

So what is the point, other than making everyone feel hungry? qwikLABS, with our hands-on lab approach to training, is the almond of learning new technology. Seriously, learning new technologies like AWS can result in massive career opportunities. And qwikLABS, with our snackable, good-for-you labs, should be in your browser’s recent history (if you’re not taking one right now).

Introducing qwikLABS Advantage Subscriptions

Now available: Advantage Monthly Subscriptions at qwikLABS! Starting today, get monthly access to the entire catalog of 90+ AWS-authorized labs, for one low price: $55.00 USD. 

Sign up here.

Why is this a big deal? The value of AWS knowledge is undeniable. The new Advantage subscription gets you full access to the growing list of AWS lab topics. Take as many labs as you want, any place and any pace, all with access to the real AWS Console. No simulations here! 

And why start offering subscriptions? Testing the idea a few months ago (thanks to all who participated BTW!) and your response to unlimited labs last month convinced us that Advantage subscriptions are the best, max-value way to get self-paced labs into your hands. 

Simply put, the cost of earning a single Quest badge is generally higher than 1 month’s subscription for access to *all* labs (more about Quests here). So we truly hope you take Advantage! (See what I did there?)

Any questions about the new Advantage subscription option? Check out these FAQs, or send us your question and we’ll be happy to help. Subscriptions aren’t for you? No worries, basic and bulk credit pricing are still available, exactly as before. 

I’m in! Where do I start?

Here are a few suggestions. Don’t forget to get your subscription first!

If you’re familiar with AWS already and want to skip the intros, check these labs out:

If you are new to AWS, get your first look at the AWS Console in less than 30 minutes with Intro to EC2 – one of our 30+ labs free of charge – then dive deeper into more complex labs like part 1 of Building a Media Sharing Website.

Does one of these catch your eye? 

How GPU Technology Conferences are Part of a Vast Conspiracy

… to make the impossible possible with GPU technologies! 

Last day of the GPU Tech Conference, be sure to take advantage of self-paced labs with qwikLABS. Get your lab on – starting at 9:30 (and if you’re not there, check out our online labs). 

Did you partake of yesterday’s baked-to-perfection cookies? Or are you just there for the robots?

Seriously looks like a great party, but even more seriously, take things into your own hands and get into NVIDIA technology, fast. Check out these live, hands-on labs and learn to program GPUs with C++, or Python, or Fortran, or MATLAB – any place, your pace. Check out labs on OpenACC and Deep Learning too (Intro to Deep Learning is free!). 

GPU Tech Conference 2016

So what flavor doughnut did you get? 

Check out the NVIDIA Deep Learning badge

Are you at the GPU Technology Conference? We promised pics – read on to see if you made it into any of the shots! 

Check the schedule for bootcamps and self-paced labs. You’ll find qwikLABS there! Even if you didn’t make it to the conference, check out the NVIDIA lab catalog, and try our newest NVIDIA Quest, Introduction to Deep Learning.

What’s a Quest, you might ask? And why should I care? Each Quest consists of a collection  of labs that focus on a specific area of GPU computing and practical use cases. At the end of a Quest, you get two things:

  • Advanced knowledge of that specific area of GPU computing
  • A shareable badge to show what you accomplished (looks great on your resume, social media profiles, and more!)

Why should I take the Deep Learning Quest? Deep learning is helping to solve big data problems such as computer vision (self-driving cars!), speech recognition, and language processing. NVIDIA provides high-performance tools and libraries to power these applications, and qwikLABS puts practical training, curated by experts, into your hands. Earn your Deep Learning Badge today!

As promised, here are a few snapshots of the conference. Have you checked out the self-paced labs yet?

Self-pacedlabs
Self-paced labs zone

Presentation3
Presentations

Presentation1
Are you in this shot?

Presentation2
How about this one?

AI and self-driving cars?

That and more at the GPU Technology Conference. It’s the biggest GPU conference in the world and it kicked off this morning. Are you there?

Between sessions on AI and self-driving cars, conference attendees will have a chance to learn new tools with hands-on NVIDIA labs powered by qwikLABS. If you’re attending the conference, check the schedule to see when labs are available.

If you’re not at the conference (bummer!), take a look at the NVIDIA self-paced lab catalog. Not sure where to start? Earn a badge with our latest Quest, Introduction to Deep Learning.

Final Countdown

I’ll make this quick, since time is running out. Tomorrow night, the AWS 10 year celebration comes to an end, and so do free AWS labs (but intro labs are always free – as they were even before this event). You’ve accomplished a lot in the last two weeks. Be proud of the effort you’ve put in!

Finish strong – keep up your momentum and sneak in one or two final freebies before the price tags return. On April 1, AWS labs will return to normal prices.

Congratulations once again to AWS on 10 years of success, and happy lab-taking!

PS: Do you like numbers? Stay tuned for some stats on how much you accomplished since March 14 🙂

Hi, my name is PuTTY

You’re cruising thru a lab at the speed of light when WHAM! “Using PuTTY….” Wait, what’s putty? Why do I need it? How do I use it? Is this a drywall tutorial? I’m so confused!

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. PuTTY shows up in many of the AWS labs (normally $8-$15 each, now free of charge – but only thru March 31), and often people have a few questions.

Do I need it?

PuTTY is a (free) SSH client. It gives you a command line tool, and allows you to control the remote host you create as part of your lab. You need PuTTY if you are using a Windows PC. If you use a Mac or a Linux machine, you’ll follow a different set of instructions.

Where do I get it? Is it free? Is it safe to download?

Read about it here. (Safely) download the most recent version here.

Once I get it, how do I use it? Screenshots please?

Once you get to PuTTY in the lab instructions, find the putty.exe file (likely in your Downloads folder) and double-click to launch it. Instructions will vary (so follow the instructions in your lab), but you’ll probably want to enter a host name like this*:

Enter host name for your PuTTY session
*If you’re like me, you’ll have to go back and add “ec2-user@” in front of the public DNS when you realize your connection didn’t work the first time.

Expand the Connection tree, then expand SSH, then click (don’t expand) Auth. 

Upload your PPK key for your PuTTY session
If you do expand Auth, no biggie, just collapse the tree (otherwise you won’t see the field you need).

You’ll see a field for your private key – browse to the PPK file provided by the lab (likely in your Downloads folder).

Wait, PPK file? Where do I find that?

Both the PPK file and the PEM file (if you need it) can be downloaded from your lab instructions.

Finding your PEM/PPK files
Find the Connection Details at the top right of your lab instructions screen.

PEM and PPK Download Tool
Click the dropdown to download each file.

When you connect, you might see a message like this (fascinating right?) – click yes to make the connection.

PuTTY Alert…and you’re in! Now you’re a pro. When was the first time you used PuTTY?