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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 […]

Day 2 of TechEd

Day 2 of TechEd

Day 2 of TechEd began with the second keynote of the conference. This keynote was led by Antoine Leblond, Corporate Vice President, Windows Web Services. The keynote was heavy on demos of Windows 8 and the Metro user interface. I have been using Windows 8 and a Dell Duo for about two weeks now and I have been uncomfortable using the mouse vs. using the touch screen. The touch screen just seems more natural. After watching the demos during the keynote showing using touch and using a traditional mouse, I feel more comfortable using Windows 8 with a mouse. There were also demos of Metro style Apps (Including an app developed by Aflac) and a brief discussion on developing apps for Metro.

From there I did some looking around in the expo area and actually got more information than swag (and I still have not won a Nokia Lumia 900!) I was also able to catch-up with a good friend of mine that I have not seen in a while.

After working in the Hands On Labs, I then went to Community Night. This is an event where like-minded techies get together with speakers, staff, and other experts to discuss technology. I got some food and then just looked for a place to sit. It was far from where the tech conversations were going on, but I needed to sit down. I ended up having a great conversation with the three people sitting at this table. And while the talk wasn’t always technical (we do have other interesting facets to our lives like families) it was very enjoyable and I was glad I sat where I did.

Afterwards, I met up with MCTs and other Microsoft Learning folks at the Howl at the Moon Saloon. I was afraid to go because I was scheduled to work at 7 am the next day. But I also did not want to miss out on another opportunity to be with this group. It was a lot of fun as I got to mingle with some of the people that I have spent the week with.

Day 1 of TechEd

Day 1 of TechEd

Day 1 of TechEd began with me just missing breakfast. I was just a few seconds too late. Oh well.

I did get to the Keynote on time. The keynote was delivered by Satya Nadella, President, Server and Tools Business, Microsoft. While I did not take notes to give you a detailed rundown (you can view the presentation online at, the highlights for me was how Server 2012 will help enable the private cloud and how companies like AFLAC have leveraged Azure, the Microsoft Public cloud.

I also got to hit a view of the vendor booths. I was able to get a free edition of “Introducing Windows Server 2012″ from MS Press. You can also get a copy from MS Learning. For those not at TechEd, you can get a free eBook from O’Reilly who distributes MS Press books.

Day Zero of TechEd Has Finished

Day Zero of TechEd Has Finished

What a day! Day Zero at TechEd was my first day of working in the Hands On Labs (HOL). Our morning started with a briefing with all of the MCTs that would be working in the HOL. What an impressive group!

I worked six hours in the HOL and enjoyed greeting and helping the attendees who came out to try some of the labs. I also got involved in part of the process to make sure the labs were ready for day 1

I am always impressed by the HOL area. In a very short time, the staff has to come to the convention center, setup a data center, and set out all the lab computers. It amazes me the amount of work that must go into the HOL and the preparation of all the labs.

By the end of Day Zero, I was tired from standing and walking. A group of MCTs later met at the Oceanaire restaurant. I had the best clam chowder I ever had and a signature preparation of swordfish.

After which I finally went home and got some sleep.

Thank you for reading.

Microsoft TechEd Begins Tomorrow!

Microsoft TechEd Begins Tomorrow!

Microsoft TechEd begins tomorrow. Well, maybe not officially, but for some of us it will be the beginning of our conference experience. Officially, the conference begins on Monday, with the first of two keynote presentations. Some conference attendees are actually starting their conference today by participating in two community outreaches today. One group is building a Habitat for Humanity house and another group will be helping feed the homeless. As a local resident, I appreciate the service these conference attendees are offering.

Tomorrow I will begin my first time working as a Technical Learning Guide (TLG) in the Hands On Lab (HOL) area. In the morning I will be in training. Then from 12-6, I will be working in the HOL in the Client labs area. If you are there tomorrow, stop by and say”Hi” and try a lab or two. Afterwards, I will be attending the MCT dinner. I am looking forward to meeting the other MCT’s at this event.

During the week, I will also be taking three certification tests. Between exam cram sessions for these exams and taking the tests, I have filled up my Wednesday with certification related events.

With all the events open to someone attending TechEd, it is very tempting to try to fill every moment with something to do. However, it is also important to schedule some downtime for yourself. I am trying to leave some time open to visit the exhibitors and relax in one of the lounges. I have attended the last two TechEds in Orlando and one of my favorite memories was relaxing in the MCT lounge and meeting and talking with the other MCTs.

This brings up another recommendation. While at the conference, find some way to get to know other people. This is one of the largest assemblies of IT Pros and Developers that you will probably ever see. Talking with one of the speakers can be interesting, but so can talking with a fellow attendee. There are attendees from all over the country (and some from around the world). One of the best ways to meet other people is during lunch. The tables are large enough that they encourage strangers to share tables. If you want to keep in touch, share your LinkedIn info or some other social networking info. I am planning to share a card with people I meet. It is not a business card, but a “Keep in touch” card with my blog, email, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook info. All the links are professional links, so my Facebook page is my ITCertPro page and not my personal page. The key here is that i am looking for connections, not business.

So, if you are at TechEd, I hope to see you.

Thank you for reading.

Microsoft Certification Turns 20

This year, Microsoft Certification turns 20. And since I am old(er), I thought I would share some personal memories about being certified.

When I first started getting certified, everyone wanted to be a Certified Novell Engineer (CNE). It was hard to get certified as a CNE because the only way that you could train as a CNE was to take classes at a private training facility. For me, the cost was too high, unless an employer was going to pay for it. Then a local community college (Seminole Community College, now Seminole State College) started offering classes in Novell at affordable community college rates. I not only obtained my CNA (Certified Novell Administrator), but I also met my future wife.

Also around this time, I was working for an employer that needed to have several Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCPs) on staff. They took several of us and trained us on (ready for this?) MS DOS 6 and Windows 3.1. In January of 1995 I became a MCP, certified in MS DOS 6 and Windows 3.1.

Seminole Community College began offering Microsoft courses and I was one of their first students in the Windows NT class. It was in this class that my instructor commented to me that I should be teaching the class instead of taking it. I thought he was joking. I applied to be an adjunct instructor and actually got hired. I started teaching Windows 95 for a Saturday course. I ended up teaching at Seminole for 10 years.. Seminole also received a grant for IT instructor training and through that experience, I finally earned my Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer in Windows 2000. In 2005, I used my status as an adjunct professor to also become a Microsoft Certified Trainer. I owe a lot to the Networking Technology department at Seminole State College for my career in IT.

When Windows Server 2003 came out and it was time for me to upgrade my MCSE, I turned to video training and CBT Nuggets. James Conrad’s courses in the MCSE upgrade tests were invaluable to me and helped me to not only pass the test, but learn the actual operating system. (Which is what training is supposed to do, right?). Later, when SharePoiint started catching my eye, I found TrainSignal video training with Coach Culbertson. Following that training, I earned my MCTS in Windows SharePoint Services at my second TechEd in 2008.

In 2009, in addition to the Microsoft IT Pro certifications, I became interested in the Microsoft Office certifications. At that time, Microsoft was transitioning Office trainers to become MCTs. To encourage current MCTs, vouchers were provided to take the Office tests. I took my first exam in Word 2007 and got hooked. I was impressed that the certification test used the actual software to test you. I became a Microsoft Office 2007 Master in 2010. This week, I started teaching my first classes in Excel.

So, that is my autobiography in Microsoft Certification. I cannot believe that I have been Microsoft certified for 17 of the 20 years that Microsoft Certification has existed. This year my certifications are taking me to TechEd here in Orlando. I have been chosen to work as an MCT Learning Guide in the Hands On Lab (HOL) area. If you are in the Hands On Lab area and see me, please say “Hi” and let me know that you’ve seen my blog.

Thank you for reading.