Live! 360 Orlando November 17 - 21 Register now!
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Live! 360 Day 1 and Day 2 TechMentor vs Tech Ed

Live! 360 Day 1 and Day 2

Live! 360 activities unofficially started on Sunday, November 17th at Loew’s Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando. Early registration opened and a group was formed for the Dine-A-Round event at Universal’s City Walk. The Dine Around began at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville for appetizers and drinks. From there, groups split up based on interest. I joined […]

TechMentor vs Tech Ed

On Twitter, @bbnetman asked this question: “How does TechEd differ from TechMentor?” I attended Tech Ed back in 2007 and 2008, but I have never been to TechMentor. I was afraid to reply in a tweet and send a wrong answer, so I decided to do a little research. First of all, Tech Ed is […]

Touring CBT Nuggets Streaming Subscriptions

Touring CBT Nuggets Streaming Subscriptions

Recently, I received a call from my friend Birk over at CBT Nuggets.

This is Birk!

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:

Three subscription levels: Office Training, Project Management Training, and IT Training

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.

IT Training has 205 titles!

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.

Thank you for reading.

Shopping with the Microsoft Store

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

Thank you for reading.

Those Who Teach . . .

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

Microsoft Brings Back Second Shot Offer!

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:

TechEd Day 3 and 4: The Exam Experience and Reflections

TechEd Day 3 and 4: The Exam Experience and Reflections

Purple Visual Studio 2012 Racecar

Other than my final shift in the Hands On Lab (HOL) area, my day was focused on exam prep and exam taking. I sat for the Windows Server 2012 Beta (71-410) (as well as a lot of my fellow attendees did) and later in the evening, one of the two new private cloud tests (70-246). Due to some glitches in the testing center, I waited for over 20 minutes to sit for my 12:30 scheduled exam. But, once seated, my experience was very good. The staff was friendly and helpful and were trying to make the best of things.

I attended an Exam Prep for the private cloud exams before sitting down to take 70-246. There was still a wait when it was my time to take the exam. Since I was not able to put the time into my studying as I would have liked, I was not surprised when I did not pass the exam. I put in a good effort, but I still lacked experience with System Center. Better luck next time. (or perhaps better EFFORT next time! I do not believe in luck.) I was also thankful that I was not scheduled for any after hours events. After starting my day at 7 and all the other late night events since Sunday, I was tired!


On day 4, I was surprised to find out that I was actually on time for breakfast for the first time! I was scheduled to take the 70-247 private cloud exam after lunch. The problems that caused the wait time had been fixed. I experienced a minor software error during my test that made me think that the test crashed. Fortunately, the error did not cause the test to close, so I was thankful for that. I did not pass this test either, but it was a good experience and got me back in the habit of certification testing. All three tests were free during TechEd, so I did not lose any money for trying.

By the time I finished my test, TechEd had started to wind down. There were sessions scheduled until 5:45, but it seemed that most people had gone home. The exhibitors had started to take down there booths and activity plunged. I tried to attend a session with Mark Russinovich, but they actually had to close the doors because so many people wanted to get in. I did get to attend a session with Microsoft’s Yung Chou on “Becoming the Next Private Cloud Expert in Your Organization.” I also saw Mr. Chou at TechMentor last year. He is a great speaker, even when the A/V equipment doesn’t want to cooperate!

After the last session I had one problem. The closing party at Universal Studio’s Islands of Adventure wasn’t until 7:30. Although I live near Orlando, going home was not an option, so I hung around the convention center until it was time. It was raining and driving in rain is not my favorite thing to do. I ended up getting to Universal a little after 7:30. The rain had stopped and I had a great time.

Nerd Ranger at the TechEd Closing Party

The closing party caused me to reflect on my TechEd experiences. I have been to TechEd three times in Orlando (2007, 2008, and 2012). In 2007, the closing party was also at Islands of Adventure. I saw a group of people from my workplace, but I was by myself for the whole night. This time, I met up with a couple of friends that I met in grad school and we hung out together for the entire night. And all over the park, I saw many of the friends that I made during the week working at the Hands On Labs area. The difference this time was the people that I got to meet and hang out with this time and that was my favorite part of my TechEd experience.

Hands On Labs Here

I would also like to conclude with a special “Thank you” to Ronald Beekelaar, Kim Yoon-Sook, Andrew Bettany, and everyone from Virsoft Solutions that made the experience working in the Hands On Labs area so positive. I am amazed that you are able to quickly setup such a complex network and virtual environment that adds so much value to the TechEd attendee experience.

Thank you for reading.

TechEd 2013 in New Orleans June 3-6