This morning, I was browsing through Channel 9 to get a feel for what’s on the minds of software developers. There are quite a few posts about Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Beta, which got me thinking about the challenge of learning a new technology.
Technically inept (inserting an Excel table into a Word document makes my head spin), I can’t imagine mastering an application that runs on a compute cluster with 92 nodes and 376 cores or building an e-commerce site that can accommodate ten-fold increase in traffic over a two-day period.
To make it easier to find technical training and certification resources for Microsoft existing – such as Visual Studio 2008, Windows Server 2008 – and emerging technologies – such as Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, Windows 7 – we created “training portals” that allow you to quickly find special offers, Learning Plans, classroom and online classes, Microsoft Press books, certifications, and more.
Take a look at our new training portals and let us know what changes we can make to further meet your tecnical training and certification needs.
I see my friend Devon Musgrave posting about new MS Press book releases, and I think to myself--That’s a neat idea. Would B2L readers like to see a post whenever a new MCP exam goes live? We generally post notice of public beta exam releases here already, but I’m wondering specifically whether you’d like to get notice when the live version is available in English. Let me know what you think.
Hi there - if you have got a voucher from the drawing and had problem redeeming it on Prometric website, try it again now. Thanks to Kim, our Program Manager, this issue has been straightened out.
How are you positioning yourself, your team, and your organization for success during this economic downturn? Visit the Thrive site and learn how to enhance your skills, advance your career and elevate IT as the business leader. Go ahead - find out how YOU can Thrive!
New! Visit Thrive to see how you can win a training class worth $2995.
Greetings, all! Sara Ford started her blog in January 2004 and at some point began an incredibly helpful series of 382 tips related to Visual Studio. Sara’s tip about how to start the System Information application in Visual Studio without using the command prompt (if you don’t remember “msinfo32.exe”) ended that series in December 2009.
Then, understandably, Sara didn’t write any tips for a while. She finished creating a book with Microsoft Press, attended CodeMash 2009, came over to Microsoft Press for lunch, and, for Sara, generally took it easy. :-)
Then, guess what, in March Sara began a new series of tips: her CodePlex Tips. This is just a post to say that Sara has now posted 43 tips related to www.codeplex.com, Microsoft’s project hosting site for open source software. The most recent one tells you how to view stats for the entire lifetime of a CodePlex project.
And we’d like to remind you too that sales of Sara’s book, Microsoft Visual Studio Tips: 251 Ways to Improve Your Productivity (Microsoft Press, 2008), raise scholarship money for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Foundation. Sara’s hometown in Mississippi was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, and the book is part of her attempt to help her home state recover.
One more day to go~~~ the June 29 winners are:
Congrats! Please look out for an email from me with your exam voucher code.
Mrs. Anne and Mr. Ian Mclean have been invited by the Lord Chamberlain s office to attend a Royal Garden Party held by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace on July 21st 2009.
Ian is the author of many Microsoft Press Training Kits. Watch for MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-680): Configuring Windows® 7, available in stores September 2009.
There’s still time—barely—to sign up for our RSS feed and become eligible for our daily drawing for three lucky winners of a free exam voucher!
We have two more drawings left—one today, and one tomorrow. But whether or not you win a free voucher, you’ll definitely be informed of Microsoft Learning news, insights, and opportunities as they happen!
Swedish MCTs, this is for you: MCT Sweden and Microsoft are hosting an MCT/MVP Summit at Microsoft’s Stockholm office on August 21st and 22nd.
On the first day, hear technical presentations from product managers in multiple tracks. After a fun evening activity, learn informally on day two in Open Space sessions where participants and presenters can discuss, teach and learn. More detailed info to be released shortly on the MCT Sweden site, and there is also a request for content on the site.
The entire event will be held in Swedish and requires registration, however the event is free for all MCTs and MVPs to attend. For more information, registration and information visit MCT Sweden or email email@example.com (please remember your Transcript ID and Transcript Sharing Code if you request access to the site).
Sunday drawing - winners are below:
Here are the three lucky folks for June 28:
Congrats! And the three of you will be excluded from the future drawing – please look out for my email to you shortly!
Again, if you are new to this, and want to be put in the voucher drawing pool, comment here. (comments on this post are not considered…)
If you follow our blog, you know that we’ve been tracking response to Sayed Hashimi and William Bartholomew’s Inside the Microsoft Build Engine: Using MSBuild and Team Foundation Build (Microsoft Press, 2009) and that the guys have been getting great reviews for the book.
The book’s ninth review on Amazon, posted on Friday, is another 5-star review, and it’s worth reading in its entirety:
The missing MSBuild manual I m a developer on MSBuild; Sayed wrote this book with our encouragement, and we reviewed it for accuracy and completeness, so I can recommend it. The documentation for MSBuild in 2.0 and 3.5 was not great; I consider this something like the missing manual. Unfortunately there aren t many other MSBuild books; fortunately Sayed did a good job on this one. We re fixing a lot of what s "missing" in MSBuild in the upcoming version 4.0 -- I hope Sayed can do a 2nd edition when that comes out. Plus, our docs should be better then :-) Dan Moseley
The missing MSBuild manual
I m a developer on MSBuild; Sayed wrote this book with our encouragement, and we reviewed it for accuracy and completeness, so I can recommend it. The documentation for MSBuild in 2.0 and 3.5 was not great; I consider this something like the missing manual. Unfortunately there aren t many other MSBuild books; fortunately Sayed did a good job on this one.
We re fixing a lot of what s "missing" in MSBuild in the upcoming version 4.0 -- I hope Sayed can do a 2nd edition when that comes out. Plus, our docs should be better then :-)
Much thanks to Dan, a senior SDE at Microsoft, for his direct assessment and kind words. We’re glad you’re pleased with the book, Dan.
@MicrosoftPress on Twitter:
Saturday drawing - winners are below:
Here are the three lucky folks for June 27:
Mr./Ms. Certification-Exam, the email I sent to you with your exam voucher was returned due to a full mail box. Please clear up your mail box so I can send the voucher to you.
Here are the three lucky folks for June 26:
Folks, you don’t need to come back and post another comment if you have already done so.
Tiffany Ingargiola: Don’t Miss WPC09
Oh, and there’s still time to win a free pass to WPC 2009… follow @MSLearning on twitter (look for yesterday’s tweet on the subject) to find out how!
Often when writing a script I follow a multistep process. The first thing to do, of course, is to come up with a bit of code that will perform the task that I am after. For example, if I want to obtain information about the BIOS on a computer, I will first figure out how to do this. In general everything in the script is “hard-coded” meaning that no variables are used. Here is an example:
Get-WmiObject –class win32_Bios –computername “localhost”
The next step is to put the value for the comptuername parameter into a variable, and then to move it into a function. To do this, I use the function keyword, and create a function. It looks like this:
Function Get-Bios ($computer)
Get-WmiObject –class win32_Bios –computername $computer
The problem with this approach, is that if I know ahead of time I plan to put my code into a function, and to supply input from outside the script I can skip the first step and immediately write my code as a function. This will save a bit of time. In addition, if I know that I will be supplying more than one value, I may decide to change the name of the variable I use.
Once I have a variable to hold my input, I can then use whatever method I wish to assign a value to that variable. I can read a text file, I can query Active Directory, read a database, or do other things as well.
On Monday, we begin looking at designing input for a script over at the Script Center. It will be a cool series of articles.
We’ve added two more free chapters to the Microsoft Learning Windows 7 portal, where you’ll find links to numerous training resources related to Windows 7. The following chapters from upcoming Microsoft Press books are now available:
5 more days to go~~~
Here are the three lucky folks today:
If you follow us on twitter, you know why this post is here, and you know what to do. :-)
The fine print:
Contest closes at 11:59pm Pacific time on Tuesday, June 30th, and we’ll announce the winners on July 1st.
Have you heard about the awesome pricing for Windows 7 that Microsoft is offering to customers for the next 10 days? The offer will be available from online retailers and directly from Microsoft through the Microsoft Store.
Don’t try it now: The URLs below will go live at 9pm PT tonight.
For those outside the US, the special pricing is available in the following markets: Canada, France, Germany, Japan, US, UK. The US, Canada & Japan go live this week, but the European special offer won’t go live for several weeks.
Pre-order Windows 7 today at Microsoft Store. You ll get it for at least half off and be one of the first to get it. Hurry, quantities are limited.*
It s pretty simple
Windows 7 is coming on October 22, 2009. Here s an easy way to get it fast and save a bundle: Pre-order a Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade for $49 or a Windows 7 Professional Upgrade for $99 at Microsoft Store. That s about half off the estimated retail prices.
Want more info? Go to the Windows team blog and find the details.
* The offer begins on June 26, 2009 and will continue while supplies last, or until July 11, 2009, whichever comes first.
Check this out: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/buy/offers/pre-order.aspx. “The offer begins on June 26, 2009 and will continue while supplies last, or until July 11, 2009, whichever comes first.”
Microsoft recently announced the release of virtual labs in 83-640. Virtual labs allow you to perform tasks using the software technology rather than performing them in a simulated environment or answering multiple choices questions about how you would solve the specified problem. With virtual labs, you solve the problem by doing something. I found this totally cool video that shows off the virtual lab technology and item type and thought it would be great to share it with you.
Cool, huh? Now, let’s talk a little bit about the experience so you can prepare for these exams.
How do virtual labs work? Virtual labs access virtual machines, which contain the software product (in the case of 83-640, this is Windows Server 2008 Active Directory), over the Internet.
What to expect as a result? Those of you with experience connecting to remote virtual machines know that latency is the nature of the beast; for those of you who haven’t used virtual machines, expect some latency when you take these exams. This means that the mouse may lag behind as you move it across the screen; typing may appear slowly on the screen; screens will take longer to load. We are trying to identify test centers where latency is affecting the candidate’s ability to complete the tasks in the time allotted and will correct these issues to the extent possible. But, we can’t totally remove latency from the exam experience… as I said, it’s the nature of the beast.
Because virtual labs leverage virtual machines, when you schedule an exam you are making a “reservation” on the hosting system. This reservation holds the server space for you to take your exam. As a result, you must start the exam at the time of your reservation. Otherwise, the labs may not be ready for you, or you may lose time because you’ve started late. If the proctor tries to start the exam too early, you will get a “lab not available” warning because the server space is not available yet. We are working to increase the window of time in which candidates can begin these exams, but there will always be limits because there is no such thing as unlimited server space. So, it is a good idea to arrive to these exams on time.
How can you help us improve the user experience? Take a few minutes to complete the survey at the end of exam as well as the survey that you may be invited to complete via email within 48 hours of taking the exam (invite comes from ComScore, our third party survey provider). The first survey focuses on the technological aspects of the virtual lab experience; the second focuses on the effectiveness, appropriateness, and relevance of the exam content. We use feedback from both to drive improvements in our exam process.
So, when will 83-640 be available in your area (because it is a totally awesome way to test real world skills)? Here’s the way roll out works...once enough testing centers in a region have demonstrated that they meet the system requirements to deliver performance-based exams, the region will be considered readied and only the performance-based version of the exam will be available to customers in that region. This means that the test centers in your region may not be delivering the exam yet.
What else do you want to know about these exams? No, I can’t tell you what skills we are testing people on in 83-640 except to say they are skills you use in Active Directory, but I’d love to hear what you’re thinking or wondering about the virtual lab exam experience.
I don’t know what’s going on in our house, but two of our computers have called it quits in the past 4 months. First the kitchen computer died and then the desktop I use as a standby in my office (actually, I usually just listen to the Seattle NPR station on it) decided to call it a day. It could be the advanced age of both of these machines or maybe my house has some mystical electronic field around it, but regardless, we need at least one replacement.
As a result, my husband and I have been casually shopping around for a new computer, but recently decided to wait until we can get one with Windows 7. Well, if you’re like us and are waiting until Windows 7 is available to purchase your new PC, you can go out and do your part to jump-start the economy starting tomorrow, June 26th, because Microsoft has announced the Windows 7 Upgrade Program. From the Windows 7 Team blog:
“But, you don’t have to wait until GA to get a new Windows PC. In fact, we know many people need that new PC sooner – for back to school specifically. And we have the answer for people who need a new PC now but still want to get Windows 7 and that’s the Windows 7 Upgrade Option Program, which kicks off tomorrow, June 26th! Anyone who buys a PC from a participating OEM or retailer with Windows Vista Home Premium, Business or Ultimate on it will all receive an upgrade to the corresponding version of Windows 7 at little or no cost to customers. The Windows 7 Upgrade Option Program will be available until January 31st, 2010 – and is global! For more information on taking advantage of the Windows 7 Upgrade Option Program, visit www.windows.com/upgradeoffer.”
One thing I want to point out is that when the folks over at Windows 7 say something is global like the Upgrade Option Program, they mean it. General Availability (GA) for Windows 7 is October 22nd and normally, that would mean English language version and maybe a couple of other languages thrown in. Well, the days of waiting months for all languages to be available are over.
“On October 22nd, Windows 7 will be available in the following 14 languages: English, Spanish, Japanese, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Russian, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese and Chinese (Hong Kong).
Then on October 31st, the remaining 21 languages will become available: Turkish, Czech, Portuguese, Hungarian, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Greek, Ukrainian, Romanian, Arabic, Lithuanian, Bulgarian, Estonian, Slovenian, Hebrew, Thai, Croatian, Serbian Latin, and Latvian.”
Localization into this many languages in this timeframe is a huge challenge. Congratulations to the Windows 7 team. Time to start shopping for my new PC!
The full Table of Contents (not just chapter titles) for Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V Resource Kit (Microsoft Press, 2009; ISBN: 9780735625174; 800 pages) can be found here. 23 chapters of virtualization bliss!
Virtualization has rapidly changed--and improved--the way we work online. Robert Larson and Janique Carbon with the Windows Virtualization Team at Microsoft have put together the in-depth reference that will help you optimize this amazing technology. The Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V Resource Kit (Microsoft Press, 2009; ISBN: 9780735625174) is 800 pages of well-thought out and useful content, It also includes a companion CD packed with scripts (VBScript and Windows PowerShell) you can use as-is or customize to meet your specific administrative needs. And check out the bonus content on the CD! There are links to tools and other useful resources, and an eBook of Understanding Microsoft Virtualization Solutions by Mitch Tulloch. Available this week, you can order your copy of the Resource Kit here or here.
Want to see what s ahead? Here s a bit of the Introduction and the Table of Contents.