We have the weekend free in Amsterdam. Furthermore, we have the luxury of sleeping in an hotel (Don’t start with me on the ‘a hotel’ thing. Remember, I’m English!). Chris and I are sharing a room. Scarily the hotel has me down as Melissa Simms. Coupled with Amsterdam’s legendary broad-mindedness it was scary when, faced with twin beds, I asked for the first time in thirty years, “Which side of the bed do you want?”
Amsterdam’s a great city to visit, providing you follow a few basics. Absolutely number one is, bicycles have right of way. They come at you from every direction, often carrying two or three passengers, many with no brakes fitted, regardless of road, footpath or traffic signal. I’m not sure sitting in a pavement cafe is entirely safe.
Another is, have a map. Every other street is by a canal, and the street names are indecipherable. Chris got a map from reception. They had circled the red light district for him. “I didn’t ask them, they just did it,” he protested. Odd that they didn’t do that for Liberty’s map.
Amsterdam is filled to the gills with museums. We passed the sex museum, proudly boasting ‘sex through the ages.’ Hasn’t it always been basically the same? Or is it for us old folk, for whom it’s all ancient history? Almost next door is the vodka museum. I felt now they were stretching the concept a little too far. On the map we saw they had a marijuana museum and a purse museum. I expect somewhere they have a museum museum, showing museums through the ages.
Chris and I were wandering round like lost sheep. We’ve lost the ability to make decisions without Melissa’s firm hand to guide us. Roll on Monday, when there won’t be time to pause for breath.
Microsoft Learning is proud to announce the release to manufacturing of MOC course 6426B, Configuring and Troubleshooting Identity and Access Solutions with Windows Server® 2008 Active Directory®. This three-day instructor-led course covers creating, maintaining and troubleshooting identity and access solutions with Active Directory services including Active Directory Certificate Services, Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services, Active Directory Federation Services and Active Directory Rights Management Services.
Course 6426B was released to manufacturing on October 26, 2009 and is currently available for download on the MCT courseware download center. The course will be available for ordering by CPLS partners on November 6, 2009. You can view the syllabus for course 6426B here: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/Course.aspx?ID=6426B
As Barney from “How I Met Your Mother” would say “Legen…wait for it…dary!” Andrew Bettany put together a legendary event for us in York. Professionally organized with a keen eye for detail and perfection. All attendees had name tags with the Get On The Bus logo on them. The University of York found sponsors for the event who put together a “goodie” bag, also ‘bus branded’, for all attendees. Sandwiches and assorted snacks were also provided at a pre-event reception, and the session was held in an auditorium with stadium seating. More than 150 people attended the event, or should I say participated in the event, it was an incredibly lively evening with many questions.
Tjeerd did his Windows 7 demo and David presented on Exchange Server 2008. Tjeerd had some technical problems during one of his demos. Of course, he handled them gracefully, but I know that Tjeerd was upset that the session didn’t run smoothly because he is a perfectionist. All in all, I think the audience was still amazed by the many cool features Tjeerd squeezed into 30 minutes of Windows 7.The audience loved the great new features in Exchange too, especially mail tips and the new way emails will be archived (say goodbye to pst files).
With only 10 minutes left before we had to leave to catch the bus to take us to the train that would take us to Belgium, I had a question and answer session on certification exams. As I’ve said before, I love questions. The harder, the better. I love it when you challenge my thinking so I can make our certification exams as good as they can possibly be. So, I was in my element, and so, apparently, where the attendees. I was asked questions on everything from which exam should I take to why didn’t we have “expert” level Office 2007 exams to what are we doing to ensure that the exam content is real world and relevant. There were so many questions in fact that I didn’t get a chance to answer them all, which makes me very sad. If you have a question for me, please ask. I can’t answer them if I don’t know what you’re wondering.
York—no pudding and no peppermint patties but lots of people interested in the new features of Exchange Server 2010 and Windows7 and the ins and outs of our certification exams. Seriously, the event was legendary!
We are just finishing up week two of intense exam design sessions today. Last week we created the outline for the MCTS Windows and Web exams. Lots of great discussion by a group of excellent subject matter experts for each session. Please know that these people are rock stars and they have your best interest at heart. They fight for what is right and what will make a great exam experience for you and the industry.
This week, we are finalizing details on the outline for the WCF and ADO.NET MCTS exams as well. I’m sitting in the WCF session and I can tell you that my head hurts at times from the passionate discussions that are taking place. We have very knowledgeable people in the room for these sessions and each has a passion for the technology. They want to ensure the best experience and coverage for the exam and this results in some really great discussions and sometimes, a little arm bending too.
Next week, we tackle the MCPD Windows and Web exams and I fully expect the sessions to go the same way.
In the end, we know that we will never satisfy everybody’s wishes for what should be covered in an exam but know this, your peers are helping to ensure that the most important aspects are represented here to ensure that we are validating real-world skills.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them all for their hard work, perseverance and patience over these weeks. I hope that you are happy with the results when you see the prep guides posted later this year.
Hi, my name is Melissa Bathum and this is, in fact, my very first blog ever. Some of you might know me – I pop up from time to time managing events for various groups at Microsoft – and this time, I’ve had the privilege of managing the details of the bus tour. Now, you’re never going to see posts from me about learning the improvements of BranchCache, the benefits of DirectAccess or the cool new features in Exchange Server 2010. However, from time to time, you might find a post or two from me about the fun stuff we encounter along the tour.
Get on the bus...On the train !
01:00 After our amazing trip through the tunnel, we arrive at a hotel (hurray, real beds, showers, the comforts of civilization), we catch a few hours of sleep and (8:30) we’re off to MS Employ. Although we arrive early, there is a group of people waiting for us when we arrive. One man walks up to us, it is Bob Simms, who won a seat on the bus and he will tour to Berlin with us. You will see him blog on Born to Learn, Bob is an MCT and I look forward to his perspective on our tour, I also expect he will bring us many smiles J.
9:10 I am SO proud of our team! There was some misunderstanding at the event location and we started without a presentation room. We quickly changed our agenda and Liberty kicks off, in a very nice room at the university, and she delivers a great presentation without slides and without a microphone. Liberty Unplugged was great J. In the meantime we arrange and set up a classroom upstairs, get people coffee and –right on schedule – we kick off with Windows 7. Then David Elfassy takes over and presents with his never ending enthusiasm. The attendees were specifically interested the new e-mail compliance features in Exchange Server 2010: integration with RMS, retention policies, e-mail archival.
11.00 Liberty and I dash out as we are doing an extra session in York, where we will meet approx. 40 educators from various IT Academies. The bus will soon follow and we’ll meet for the ‘main event’ tonight at the University of York.
12:00 We had a great event, many questions, the only person who does not look happy is our driver, we are running late... Thank you MS Employ, off to York!
Tjeerd and I took the train from Kings Cross Station (no, there is no Platform 9¾, I checked) to York. We had to get from the event with MS Employ in London to the University of York in 2 hours in order to participate in an early bird session that Andrew Bettany, one of Microsoft Learning’s strongest evangelists, put together. We were meeting with MCTs, members of our ITA program, and several institutions who are interested in both programs. Before we arrived, Rhys Hines from Prodigy Learning introduced Microsoft’s IT Academy program and Andrew described how the ITA was implemented at York. When we arrived, Tjeerd described the MCT program and Microsoft Learning’s vision for tools that we can provide educators and I discussed exams (I may be a one trick pony :)).
Near the end of the session, Tjeerd demoed our MCT Readiness portal and linked to an MCT LiveMeeting on Windows Server 2008 that was occurring at that very moment. MCT Readiness support is a key part of our MCT program. When Tjeerd logs in, he is immediately greeted by various MCTs, the chat screens pop up everywhere J. The audience immediately responded that this type of training and online interaction would be very helpful. Tjeerd was excited by that, and tonight he will likely dream about plans for an academic training program.
England has a very strong ITA program. Although Microsoft usually partners with companies, we are trying to do more partnering with educators and academic institutions, and England may be a great place to start given the passion that the audience had about learning and finding the best solution to help their students get the education they need for success. It’s clear that there’s a strong need for Microsoft to create a program that will help educators with technical readiness, support, and learning tools
Tune in and learn how you can use Microsoft SharePoint for Internet Business to help you build your public-facing portal. In this series, you will learn from experienced partners how to create secure, dynamic web presence with personalization, rich commerce capabilities, catalogue and content management, business analytics, and search capabilities for anytime, anywhere access by customers and business partners. Click here for current schedule and registration
Wow, 76.000 people have now downloaded this free ebook on Windows 7 Deployment.
We blogged about this earlier, but with such an uptake I could not resist this ‘friendly reminder’.
After all, it’s free, written by experts and it may be just what you are looking for right now.
Did you get it?
It is still available, just click here, enjoy!
Hello MCTs, you probably have heard about the MCT Rewards program, where you can find and personalize certification information to help guide your students’ career in IT, and provide them with discounts on Microsoft Certification exams. As an MCT, we value your interaction with students, and hope the resources we provide will help you bring more value to your students.
Thus, we are happy to announce that the MCT Rewards website had been given a little “lift”. Starting October 28th, the MCT Rewards program is officially Learning Rewards program.
If you are already a member of the Rewards Program, simply click here to see for yourself. Use the same credentials to log in the website. We have made a few changes, including the addition of a personal Dashboard that will make your navigation and activities easier.
Not a member yet, but interested to find out more? Please visit the Benefit section of the MCT member site. (log-in required).
There’s a Facebook app right now that’s challenging students to compete and represent their country with a Windows 7 challenge. While it was intended for students, I’m sure we can jump in and run up the score =).
Check it out!
Add another up-and-running state to the roster of those participating in Elevate America: Marylanders can now take advantage of free and discounted learning products and events for unemployed workers.
Coverage here and here.
Paris, Wednesday, 18.15: ‘Hurry, we need to get a taxi to the airport, we have got to catch our bus. I’m just worried we’ll miss our train to England…’
This has got to be my favorite quote from our first week on the bus. Let me try to explain it. In Paris, our bus could not enter the city center. So, yesterday, after a fantastic event at EduGroupe in Paris, we had to catch a taxi to the airport where we would meet our bus. The bus then went to the train that takes you underneath the English Channel to England. By the way, we will upload a video of our bus getting on the train, it is an incredible sight!
18 Hours later, we delivered our first event in Greenwich with MS Employ, more on that later as we would love to share the enthusiasm with you asap, we’ll blog as soon as we edit our video etc.
Liberty and I have left the bus, we are once again on a train and we are heading to York for an ‘early bird session’ with approx 50 educators from various academies. The bus will join us later on for ‘the main event’ as another 150 attendees will join us. Meanwhile, we are also delivering 3 MCT Readiness LiveMeetings today. (MCTs, don’t miss these, and if you do, they are recorded and can be found on our MCT virtual summit pages). Yes, what a day, we cannot get enough of this!
BTW, I’m really impressed by British trains, we have free WiFi and power, and –from the train’s logon screen - we can now also track our train :-) Keep tracking the bus on www.thebustour.com, Glympse is such a lot of fun, we love using it on the bus and we love all the response we get on that from partners and attendees that follow our bus as we make our way to the next event.
Date: November 2, 2009 Time: 12:00 p.m. Eastern / 9:00 a.m. Pacific Duration: 60 Minutes
Featured speaker: Benjamin Gray, Analyst, Forrester
Forrester s Benjamin Gray discusses the July 2009 report "The Costs and Challenges Associated with Supporting Today’s Information Workers" and how organizations can react to maximize employee productivity. Today’s increasingly mobile workforce can create new business processes and efficiencies, but it also introduces technology and support challenges for IT and requires end users to become more self-sufficient. After surveying over 300 IT professionals, Forrester Consulting discusses key findings on how global organizations can:
-Understand their diverse workforce and what they need from technology
-Evaluate the actual needs, behaviors, and attitudes of employees to segment employees
-Analyze the “why” as well as the “what” behind technology needs to maximize the adoption rate and satisfaction of your next-generation desktop
Register today for this webcast to see how Windows 7 can benefit your organization with powerful technologies that help you secure, officially manage, and lower the cost of your organization s desktop infrastructure.
About Benjamin Gray: Benjamin serves IT Infrastructure & Operations professionals. He is a leading expert on business-class PCs and desktop operating systems and also researches business-class mobile devices, mobile operating systems, and mobile device management solutions.
Benjamin helps Forrester clients develop and improve their strategy around client hardware and client operating systems. Benjamin s research and analysis have been widely cited in the press, including business media outlets such as The Associated Press, Bloomberg, The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal and industry media outlets such as Computerworld, eWeek, InformationWeek, InfoWorld, and NetworkWorld.
One of the beta testers for Windows 7 (Richard Frisch) has been hosting a series of presentations to introduce local users to Windows 7. The presentation is given at a local library to the Computer Users Group monthly meeting. The attendees have a broad range of experience with computers. One attendee at each talk (two held in October) received a free copy of Windows 7 Inside Out by Ed Bott, Carl Siechert, and Craig Stinson. Here’s the report from the event as well as a copy of Richard’s newsletter.
I gave two public talks in October, Windows 7: An Introduction. The first one on Tuesday, October 6 at the Fairfield County Computer Users Group monthly meeting. The second one on Saturday, October 24 at the Westport (CT) Library. (Westport is David Pogue’s home town.) FCUG usually has 50 or more attendees. The Westport Library technology talks usually draw an audience in excess of 100.
It was a big hit at the first presentation, Windows 7: An Introduction. The room was packed probably about 75 attendees. I opened the presentation with the book as a giveaway. I told the audience that I would decide who got it based upon the best question asked. I publicly thanked Ed and Microsoft Press for your/their generosity.
One fellow asked me how he could install Windows 7 on his netbook since he didn t have a DVD drive. Good question that needed to be asked. He won. He was quite happy.
My friend Ed Bott and Microsoft Press have donated a copy of Windows 7 Inside Out, by Ed Bott et al. that I will be giving away at my presentation at the Westport Library on Saturday, October 24, at 10:30a. You ve got to be there to have a chance to win this wonderful $49.99 (MSRP) resource. Richard Frisch firstname.lastname@example.org 203-221-7883
Public Presentation by Richard Frisch Saturday, October 24 at 10:30a Westport Public Library McManus Room 20 Jesup Road Westport, CT 06880 Phone: (203) 291-4800
Windows 7 is Microsoft s newest operating system and will be available in October 2009. Find out what is new and exciting (and what is not) in Windows 7 from Westonite Richard H. Frisch , who has been using Windows 7 for a year. Many computer experts, including some Mac fans, think that Windows 7 is the best operating system Microsoft has ever produced. You will also get a sneak peak at Microsoft Office 2010.
Frisch is the founder of RHFtech, which provides technology support for small businesses and residences, is a member of the Microsoft Partner Network, and is also a technology journalist writing a biweekly column, "The RHFtech Help Desk", for The Hour, Stamford Times and Wilton Villager papers.
Checkout my blog, the RHFtech Help Desk (and more).
Ah oui, Paris. Une version en francais ci-bas.
David Elfassy here, MCT and MVP from Montreal, Canada.
Well, this is where we started our day today, waking up at 5:00AM in our comfortable bus. (video of the interior of the bus coming soon.) We then headed to La Defense (where the beautiful Arche de La Defense is located) to see our gracious hosts for our event at EduGroupe, a Paris CPLS. Then it was all about Windows 7, Windows 2008 R2 and my personal favorite, Exchange Server 2010 :). It was actually funny listening about those "We re migrating from Lotus Notes to Exchange" stories. As a North-America based "Exchange guy", I rarely hear anything about Lotus Notes, but I always knew that they had a lot of deployments in France. I have to admit that I have a pretty easy job though, getting people excited about Exchange 2010 is pretty easy. It practically sells itself !!! :) And I got to present in French, which would make my family proud.
So how did we end our day? A walk through the Champs-Elysees, a classic french diner at La Duree and then we got on a cab, to go the airport, to catch our bus, that will get on a train, that will go through a tunnel under the sea... to London! (This could make a great Country song.)
Et en francais (sans les accents :() Aujourd hui, nous avons commencer notre journee dans un petit hotel en dehors de Paris. Pour apres prendre la route vers nos hotes pour la journee, nos amis chez EduGroupe, un centre de formation IT a La Defense. Pour nous, c etait tres interessant de rencontrer nos clients Francais et de pouvoir repondre a leur questions technique. Les presentations etaient plein d interet et de questions. Vraiment une belle experience, et pour moi qui a presenter sur Windows 2008 R2 et Exchange 2010, c est toujours amusant de presenter en Francais. (Meme si de temps en temps, j utilise trop de mots anglais :))
A la prochaine Paris!
Back in August, I posted an update on VBC saying it would launch mid to later September
So September passed. No VBCs. Now October has almost passed and you re wondering where VBCs are. Well. As you can tell, they re not here. I want to be as transparent as I can with this so I will answer all your questions.
First, I ve been silent on the issue all of October because I was working towards a firm date that I could promise VBCs would launch. I didn t want to do another "mid to late X" and it still not launch.
With that said, I can announce that VBCs will launch December 8. That s a promise you can expect us to keep and I m keeping my team on track for that date.
So what caused the delay? There are some points I really can t go into details but overall we encountered serious difficulities on the business side of this project that led to the delay. One issue was given the "new-ness" of this type of benefit, there were a lot of privacy concerns, especially when we re storing your private information and allowing others to view your cards publically. We had to systematically go through the program to ensure that your privacy will not be compromised.
There were other factors in this project that led to this delay. Suffice to say, however, that our partner doing the VBC development was not part of the reasons. They were very gracious and patient while we took care of the matters in-house.
On behalf of Microsoft Learning and my team, I personally want to apologize for the delays and the lack of information these few weeks. However, we ve now turned a corner and are on track for a December 8th launch. Moving forward, I will answer any questions either via email or if you post a comment and keep you all up to date with this project.
One note I would like to point out is that this is NOT a replacement for wallet cards. We will not allow these cards to be printed at the moment. VBCs are here to help you brand yourself on technical forums, emails, social networking sites, and any online property where your identify is your credibility. We want the world to know that, hey, you re an MCP/MCT and you know what you re talking about.
We recognize that not everyone needs this benefit and still need wallet cards for offline identification. We re looking at the possibility of orderable wallet cards, much like how certificates are now orderable. No promises at the moment, but this is something we re digging deep into.
When I get screenshots of the newer features we ve added since last time I ll let you know and post them. Thanks for your patience and we re working as hard as we can to ensure a successful and (now) smooth launch.
Marketing Manager - Online Evangelism
erwinc at microsoft.com
At lunch learners and presenters were treated to some authentic American fayre in the form of a real hot dog stand, mini burger type sandwiches adorned with the stars and stripes. These were polished off with some sumptuous cup cakes! Well done Digicomp.
After lunch David Elfassy & I took to the stage to jointly present an overview of Windows Server 2008 R2 followed by some great questions and answers from an engaging crowd.
It is great to experience that many of you, every now and then, take a Glympse to see where we are. The Live Tracking technology is fun, especially when we received a text message asking if we were enjoying the view of Lake Como while we just drove by it:-)
At times, you may have seen our signal disappear, that mainly happens with tunnels etc.. Right now, we are just outside Paris, and we are no longer on the bus. Our double-decker bus is not allowed to enter the city and it is now parked while we are still on the move, taking a taxi and a subway to our next destination – EduGroupe, Paris!
We are looking forward to this, our crew actually has a few French speakers -David Elfassy and Christopher Maneu. So, let’s get a quick croissant and we’ll be back on the bus in 10 hours!
One of our contest winners Chris Maneu joined the Bus in Milan and travelled with us to Zurich overnight. I caught up with Chris during the event at DigiComp Academy for a quick interview. Chris is a Microsoft Student Partner and has the following blog: http://www.christophermaneu.fr/
Today, we find ourselves in Switzerland. It’s amazing to wake up to snow on the ground after a day of sunny and, surprisingly, warm weather in Milan (don’t worry…by the time, we got to our hotel the snow was gone). We also welcomed David Elfassy to our cadre of speakers while Ken fell victim to a 24-hour (we hope) bug.
DigiComp put together a great event for us, and the attendees were very excited by the new functionality in Exchange 2010, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Win7. For Exchange, they seemed particularly excited by high availability and mail tips; for Windows Server, it was BranchCache and Direct Access; for Windows 7, it was the problem steps recorder. A few of the attendees that I spoke to mentioned that they commuted over an hour to attend the event because they wanted to learn about Microsoft’s newest technologies, and most had taken the day off from work to be there. Two attendees even made a point to tell us that they were using a competing platform but were seriously considering Microsoft’s product based on the demonstrations that they saw at this event. Overall, it was awesome to see the energy that the attendees had around the new functionality in these products; it made me even more excited about them than I was (Windows 7, baby)!
DigiComp provided an American lunch of sandwiches with a USA flag in each one, and at break, we had cupcakes with USA flags (who can resist cupcakes?).
After the event, we went to Ambross for a Reception where a variety of meats and Swiss cheeses from different areas of the country were served. At this event, Oliver Muller, DigiComp’s Marketing and Communications Manager, mentioned that DigiComp was excited to have the bus stop in Zurich because it fit in nicely with the community events that they offer several times a year to showcase Microsoft technologies. Based on the turnout at this event, DigiComp seems to have the finger on the pulse of their community and is providing them with the learning opportunities that they need to be key influencers in their organizations.
To learn more, watch these great videos!
Overview of the Event:
21 days to go to PDC09 - there will be an amazing line-up of speakers, news, and announcements, a lot of it on Windows 7.
Are your customers and partners focused on Windows 7 compatibility?
PDC09 attendees can get a jumpstart on making sure their applications run seamlessly on Windows 7. Technical experts will be available onsite at the Windows 7 Developer Center to offer technical guidance, assist with compatibility testing, and answer questions about the Windows 7 Software Logo program. (Find out more)
It’s not too late to register for the free Windows 7 Developer Boot Camp to be held on November 16 (the day before the PDC conference). Top Windows 7 engineers will lead a full-day, technical workshop focused on optimizing application performance, reliability, and security on the Windows 7 platform. (Register via the PDC09 conference site to attend.)
You can keep in touch with the PDC team on Twitter, Facebook and get developer community news and event news via the “What’s Happening” RSS. And you can watch PDC on Channel 9 videos. New episodes of Countdown to PDC09 and Knowledge Chamber provide a preview to the great content that will be at PDC09. I particularly like this video - http://channel9.msdn.com/posts/LarryLarsen/PDC-102209/ - lots of brain teasers and puzzles in store for PDC attendees. Sounds like a lot of fun!
In any case sign up before October 30th to get a $300 discount. We ve posted this many times before but this may be one of the most important PDCs in a long while. In any case, you can register here.
Hello, Andrew Bettany here on the Bus Tour.
Our second event in Milan took us to Pipeline IT. The attendees at this event spent the morning hearing technical presentations on Windows Server and Exchange. We arrived shortly after lunch, and Tjeerd opened with his presentation on the cool new features of Win7 followed by Patrick’s (from our field office in Holland) presentation on MDOP. Ken and Liberty went through our lineup of presentations, and rather than talk about the presentations, let me share some cool stories from this event.
One of the attendees told how he was very excited about coming to this event and learning about Microsoft’s newest technologies. His company wouldn’t give him the day off, so rather than missing the event, he took a “holiday” (or vacation day for us Americans) to attend. Wow, that showed exceptional initiative on the part of the attendee especially in this recession.
During the event, Pipeline IT was constantly blogging and tweeting on the event. Within 5 minutes of Liberty starting her presentation, her picture was on Pipeline IT’s FaceBook. They also posted some videos on YouTube within minutes of the presentation and plan to post video from the entire event after the bus tour concludes. Interested in seeing some of this? Go to their twitter page at Twitter.com/pipelineit where they have links to everything. They were a social media machine!
Rain in Seattle? Nah, not too often. </sarcasm>