In March of 2011, I attended TechMentor 2011 in Orlando, Florida at Disney’s Yacht Club at Walt Disney World. I enjoyed it very much and it was a conference well worth my time to attend.
Monday of the the conference was devoted to pre-conference sessions. I attended a half-day session with Bruce Mackenzie-Low on Windows Crashes and Hangs: Simple Steps in Finding Every Root Cause. It was a terrific session on how to troubleshoot blue screen types of errors. It was a very useful session and I left it feeling that it was something that I could use in my daily job. I actually ended up using some of his techniques to troubleshoot a problem I had at work.
Tuesday was a regular conference day. The keynote was given by Mark Minasi on Cloud Computing: A Lapsed Economist’s View. I went to a couple more sessions by Bruce Mackenzie-Low on troubleshooting and then went to lunch. The food was delicious. In fact, during that week, I had a few speakers tell me that we had some of the best food that they ever had at a conference. I did not expect anything less at a Disney hotel property. We sat down at tables labeled with topics to help promote conversation. Speakers sat down with attendees at the tables which added to the experience.
One of the conference lunch highlights was a luau hosted by Train Signal. It was nice to get out of the conference hall for a while and get outside on a the hotel’s beach with the other attendees. At one point, I thought how surreal this event was: A Hawaiian style meal, in a New England sea shore setting, on a man made beach, in the middle of Florida! I tell you, only in Orlando!
Access to the speakers is incredibly easy to get at a TechMentor conference. For example, at one point I caught Mark Minasi in the hall between sessions. We started up a conversation about a British TV show we both enjoy called “The IT Crowd”. At other conferences where I have seen Mark Minasi, you are lucky if, after standing in a long line, you actually get five minutes to ask him a technical question from his session! And I did get to meet my favorite IT Training video instructors: James Conrad of CBT Nuggets and J. Peter Bruzzese and Ed Liberman of Train Signal. They were just as friendly and knowledgeable in person as they were in their videos.
The main quality of a TechMentor conference that makes these kind of experiences possible is the size. TechMentor is a smaller conference and it makes possible these interactions with not only the speakers, but other conference attendees. During an evening social, it was possible to get to know many of the other attendees, as conversational groups would form and recombine throughout the night.
TechMentor 2013 is coming up next week, March 4-8 and will be held at the Buena Vista Palace in Orlando, Fl. Registration is still open and you can save $400 by clicking here.
If you miss TechMentor 2013 in Orlando, you can attend the conference in Las Vegas at the Tropicana, September 30 – October 4. You can get more information about the Las Vegas TechMentor 2013 conference here.
Recently, I received a call from my friend Birk over at CBT Nuggets.
Birk was calling me to introduce me to CBT Nuggets streaming video subscriptions.
Now, I have used CBT Nuggets in the past when the courses were sold on DVD’s. I found the courses to be just as useful as live training courses that I have attended in the past. I even used CBT Nuggets to upgrade my MCSE certification to Windows Server 2003 with Instructor James Conrad’s videos. But I have not had the chance to try their streaming subscriptions. Birk would change that.
There are three subscriptions levels to choose from:
The Office Training subscription is good for office workers who want to be proficient using Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, or even Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud computing solution. The Project Management Training subscription is for project managers who are looking to get the prized Project Management Professional (PMP) certification or perhaps wants to learn about ITIL or Agile Software Development methods.
The IT Training subscription is the largest subscription (205 titles as I write this article) and is geared toward IT professionals working with servers, databases, operating systems, programming, and whatever else you can think of that ITCertPros would be interested in.
The subscriptions also come with corresponding practice tests from Transcender and Kaplan Self Test, two of the best names in certification practice tests. That way, after you are finished watching the videos, you can make sure that you are ready for the certification test. If you find that you are weak in a certain area, you can go right back to the videos and watch that lesson again!
You can watch CBT Nuggets when you are on the go. Apps are available for Apple IOS and Android so you can watch CBT Nuggets from your phone or tablet.
Companies looking to implement CBT Nuggets in their organizations will be pleased with the user management interface, which can be used to track employees’ training progress. Subscriptions are concurrent licenses meaning that licenses can be shared among employees. You can also limit employees to which titles they can access.
I am pleased to offer CBT Nuggets through ITCertpro. As a bonus to customers that sign up through ITCertPro, Birk (or one of his colleagues) will give you the same tour of the CBT Nuggets streaming solution so that you can check it out yourself. Birk will help you find a CBT Nuggets solution that best fits you!
Purchase CBT Nuggets through ITCertPro by filling out this form.
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You may have noticed that I have started displaying advertisements from the Microsoft Store online. I am an affiliate with the Microsoft Store. As with all of the affiliate programs that I place on my site, I became an affiliate after having a great experience with the company and wanting to share (and make some money) by pointing others to the store.
However, I would like to tell you about a recent experience that I had with the Microsoft Store online. In August, I placed an pre-order for Halo 4, which would be released on November 6. The pre-order came with downloadable game content and a $25 Microsoft Store credit. A few weeks prior to the game release, I had an unauthorized charge on the credit card that I had used for the purchase. The bank closed out the card and sent me a new one. When it was time for Halo 4 to release, the Microsoft Store tried to charge my old card, which of course, failed. The day before Halo 4 was to release, I received an email from the Microsoft Store notifying me that my order was canceled due to my credit card being declined. I called Microsoft Store customer service thinking that I would give them a valid card number and I would receive my pre-order with the bonus items. However, when I called the overseas customer service center, I found out that they could do nothing for me. They couldn’t even give me the $25 store credit if I re-ordered. I was very disappointed. It was not earth shattering, but it was very disappointing.
I live in Orlando and recently a Microsoft Store opened. I decided to reach out to a manager at the store and see if they could help me. The manager invited me to the store and said that they would take care of me, I went to the store and retold my story to a sales associate. He took great care of me and I am again a satisfied customer of the Microsoft Store.
By the way, my first experience with the Microsoft Store online was last year during Black Friday. I was able to get a Dell Inspiron Duo with docking station for $300 (half price!). This year, I bought some very discounted software and XBox games which arrived in a very timely fashion.
Shop Small & Midsize Business solutions at the Microsoft Store. Click Here
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There has been one saying that has bothered me since I have been teaching. Today, I am fixing that saying.
“Those who can do, do. Those who can do AND can explain what they are doing and why they are doing it, teach.”
- Tom Swanson
In celebration of 20 years of certifications, Microsoft has brought back its popular second shot offer.
For those not familiar with this promotion, it allows you take take a Microsoft Certification test with the assurance that if you fail, you get to take the test a second time at no charge.
For details, see the following web page: