• We've had a few complaints that the home page is too hard to read because there's too much scrolling involved.  We have long articles and unfortunately they take up a lot of space. 

    What we've decided to do is change the default view to excerpt mode.  That means you'll only see a snippet of the article rather than the full one, and you can click and see on the articles you're more interested in (I'd recommend the middle click feature in all major browsers which opens the article up in a new window).

    There are downsides to this for instance.  One, we've lost all the images in excerpt mode and the articles aren't formatted correctly - just a paragraph view.  This is as designed on the platform.  The upside is that the page should load faster for you since you're not loading as much anymore and you can skim through more articles quickly. 

    Note that this change only applies to the home page.  RSS feeds and the blog tab will still display full articles.

    Again, it's not ideal and we're working on options but we wanted to get your input and feedback.  What do you think?  Should we just use the normal view again?

    Oh and if you want to change it yourself, you can.  Below the Featured box and before the posts begin are two icons (see screenshot:)

    Those toggle between excerpt and full post view so one click returns it back to the way it was.  If you're logged in, this setting should persist across sessions.

    Anyway, leave us a comment - what do you think? 

  • |

    Are you new to Windows Azure?  Or would you like to see how other customers are leveraging Windows Azure?  Try out these short “learning snack” videos.  You’re guaranteed to learn something new in just minutes. 



  • About a year ago, I asked for volunteers to help out with creating the first Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) exams for IT Pro content areas. We shipped the first three IT Pro MTA exams in early July. (Yay!)

    We are starting development on a new MTA exam: Windows Operating System Fundamentals. We are looking for folks who have experience teaching Windows operating systems to students who are new to technology. There will be several opportunities to get involved, some of which will only take half an hour of your time. If you have the experience we're looking for and would like to participate, please contact me at kristaw@microsoft.com.

    Don't have experience teaching at this level? Well, I bet you know someone who does. Kindly forward a link to this post to folks you think might be interested.


  • We recently presented the following scenario to the IT Manager Advisory Council:

    You are the hiring manager in an organization that is running an older version of Microsoft software (eg. Windows Server 03, Visual Studio 2005, etc.).

    Would you be more or less likely to hire a candidate if they hold a certification on the newer version of the same Microsoft software (Windows Server 08, Visual Studio 2010, etc.)?

    Here’s just a sample of their opinions on the subject:

    Hector:  I would be more inclined to hire the candidate with newer technologies certifications.
    The technologies do not change drastically from a previous version to the next, and many of the tasks to be performed on either one are quite the same. Also, newer version include most functions the previous one had, and they could -depending on specifics- also behave as the predecessor if we so want to utilize them. Lastly, it is easier and more economical to upgrade such older versions to latest technologies than to retain old certifications.

    Teresa:  I would also consider the candidate with certification in the newer technologies because although we have to continue to maintain older product lines, we have to be ready to move forward. I want my staff to be agile in the marketplace.

    Lucy:  Yes it does matter, especially when stuff has moved around the interface - like email account stuff not being present in AD for 2008 but is present for 2003.
    Unless the individual can show that they have previously certificated on the older product prior to gaining the new one...that's when it's important to see if they sat the upgrade exams or just new ones.
    The ability to look at someone's certification history is very important.

    Andres:  IT Managers focus on the specific skills required for the current position with the current software inventory.
    If they have in mind migrating to Windows server 2008 in a near future, and here is a guy being interviewed who's carrying 2008 certifications, well, they would accept the credentials knowing that somehow, down the road, these skills are going to be needed. A short remedial action like OJT for a back level product is not a big deal also, and he will accommodate.

    Shelley:  I would hire someone with the newest Microsoft certifications. Since technology is changing at such a rapid pace they would be on the front line of knowing the newest features, functionality, techniques and new assemblies/classes. However they would have to have experience as well.  I won’t take someone just out of technical school with the newest certifications and no experience for an intermediate or senior position.

    Birgir:  Yes, I would be more likely to hire a candidate holding a newer version of certification,  one of the things that this would show me is that the candidate has upgrated his knowlegde ...which is his product to sell.  
    But first of all I would hire the candidate who has learned the most, earned the longest experince and comes with the highest recommadation regardless of MS certifications.   I would urge such a candidate to get certification but in my mind experience is first, recommendation second, certification third. 

    Martin: Yes!
    For sure up-to-date certifications are a great plus! This proves that the candidate keeps up with current technology, is willing to learn and is not “resting” on existing knowledge and therefore should be able to bring things to a higher level.

    Nicolas: I would say it’s kind of a ‘it depends’ type of answer…
    While it’s good to have a candidate being certified on the latest technologies, you usually need somebody that can work with existing technologies as well, so this may also depend on what you’re looking for…but also on the candidate’s seniority , if the candidate only has a few years of experience and is certified on the latest technologies, the chance is that he never got exposed to the previous versions, while a more experienced candidate may have had some exposure to it.
    The ‘it depends’ also comes into place when considering the gap between these technologies: this may not be that big (Win2008 and Win2003 compared to SQL 2000 vs SQL2008/2005 or .NET 2.0 vs .NET .4).




    What’s your opinion ?

    If you were running an older version of a Microsoft technology would you be more or less likely to hire a candidate with a certification on the newer version?




    BTW - Check out this video for Hiring Managers which includes a chapter about matching certifications to job roles.

  • I was listening to the radio on my way to work today. The radio told me that there's this great product that helps you lose weight and it's on sale right now, well of course it is.

    I had to stop driving, I was laughing too hard and would have hit something.

    Meet MCT OIL: Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT's) are fats that are naturally found in coconut and palm kernel oil.  MCT's are more easily and rapidly digested than other types of fats, as they require lower amounts of enzymes and bile acids for intestinal absorption.  MCT's are metabolized very quickly in the liver and are reported to encourage an increase in energy expenditure, while decreasing fat storage.  Numerous studies suggest that substituting MCT Oil for other fats in a healthy diet may therefore help to support healthy weight and body composition.

    Funny, I thought MCTs were the oil that made IT implementations go more smoothly, that MCTs can help people become more effective and that 'MCT oil' could reduce IT downtime etc. Mmm, maybe there's a campaign idea in here somewhere :-) 


  • |

    Who wouldn't want to check out what their peers are doing?  Here's some face time with influential community members and Microsoft evangelists in a series of short, engaging video interviews. Bytes by TechNet takes you inside the minds of today’s most interesting and influential IT Pros. You’ll learn what they love, what makes them tick and best practices from their diverse deployment experiences. New bite-size video clips are being added weekly, so check back often and maybe you'll see someone you know?

  • Wow, our team is a conference building machine right now! Thanks to great feedback following the announcement last week, we are excited to announce that The Microsoft Certified Career Conference will be bigger than we thought!

    For one thing, we have decided to run the conference for a full 24 hours. You will find conveniently scheduled sessions for any time zone.

    Many sessions will be presented twice so you have the option to tune in at a time that works best for you.


    Good news for Microsoft Certified Professionals; we are extending the deadline for the MCP discount; you can use the promotional code that you will find in the MCP newsletter to get a 50 percent discount on the $50 USD fee until October 18th, 2010.

    Microsoft Certified Trainers  and Academic Educators will be happy to hear that there will be a trainer readiness track on the day prior to the conference, so MCTs & Educators please save the Nov 17th date!

    Oh, and as we are looking at nearly 30 hours of presentations, and many of these delivered simultaneously, we will be recording all sessions and attendees can access these 'on demand' for 90 days following the conference.

     We are really enjoying building the content and the ideas from our speakers are just fantastic. Stay tuned for an update on our content later today, meanwhile please find us on facebook and join in the conversation or register for the event

  • |

    (Thanks to Michael Domingo over at MCPMag for pointing this one out.)

    Enterprise Systems picked up on Gartner’s prediction of up to 250,000,000 new Windows 7 installations over the next four years, warning that “demand for IT pros with Windows 7 migration skills will go through the roof.”

    If you’ve been on the fence about going for your Windows 7 MCITP certification, this would be a pretty good time to get off it…

  • The Springboard Team are touring Europe, delivering exciting workshops on Microsoft Windows, Office and MDOP Deployment.  

    Amsterdam marks the first stop on a 6-city European tour, en route to TechEd Europe, in Berlin, Germany. Are you looking to plan, pilot or deploy Windows and Office? These workshops will cover the Office 2010, key deployment strategies for Windows 7, the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, as well as show you the value of getting trained and certified in these key products.

    Learn why Windows 7 has received rave reviews from IT organizations and is setting records as the fastest selling operating system in history, and find out why so many IT Pros are ready to deploy Office 2010. Give the team five hours of your time, and you will have a clear understanding of the tools, tips and tricks you need now to jumpstart the successful deployment and management of your Windows desktop environment today. Come join members of the Windows and Office US Product Teams, as well as local Microsoft Technology Evangelists for technical training, professional networking, and real world guidance. Don’t miss your chance to attend a workshop in the 2010 Springboard Series Tour, register today and get your Tour updates first! Follow the team on Twitter, @MSSpringboard


    Amsterdam - 25 Oct | Stockholm – 27 Oct | Helsinki – 29 Oct | Reading – 1 Nov | Rome – 3 Nov | Vienna – 4 Nov


  • If you happened to miss Craig Brown’s fabulous Live Meeting for Managers this morning, no worries – you can watch the recording on-demand.

    What to Expect from Windows Server 2008 R2:  The Topline View


  •  We’ll be opening registration for the following beta exam soon:

    • 70-506   TS: Silverlight 4, Development

    As with every beta exam, seats are limited. We’ll be using our MSL SME database to recruit for the first round of beta participants. For your best chance of participating, create a SME profile by filling out the survey on the MSL SME site on Microsoft Connect. (See this post for more information.) If you have already created your SME profile, make sure that you update it to reflect your interest in taking a beta exam and your experience with Silverlight 4.

    A few days before registration opens, we’ll send a notification to qualified SMEs through Connect. The notification will include the beta code. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail mslcd@microsoft.com.

  • Since we announced the Microsoft Certified Career Conference on Friday, our inboxes have been busy. And that's a good thing! Thank you for your comments and your questions. And yes, I will be sharing more details on sessions and speakers, in fact I plan to share a lot of detailed information on our conference tracks right here, a couple of times a week, so please stay tuned as we gear up for the conference!

    Today, I am truly excited to announce an incredible soft skills session that will help you build and manage the brand that is most dear to you: i.e. you! What is your online presence like? Can people find you on the internet? If so, what do they see? What online visibility do you bring in to work? Did you know that some companies now require you to have over 150 followers on Twitter before you can even be considered for a job? Building and Managing your Brand is a key soft skill that can help you stick out in the crowd. A strong brand can improve your odds of being hired or finding the next role through the online communities you participate in.

    On November 18th, join Stephen Rose for a hands on high energy presentation on how to Manage and Build your Brand (i.e. you). Stephen is our senior community manager for Windows OS at Microsoft in Redmond, I cannot think of anyone better equiped nor more inspiring to deliver this session than Stephen.

    Check out Stephen's 'brand': Stephen manages technical content on the Springboard Series on TechNet, the Windows 7 Forums, the Springboard Insider Newsletter, The Windows Team Blog, Talking about Windows and the STEP program. Of course you can also follow the Springboard Series on TechNet via Twitter @MSSpringboard or on his personal feed @stephenrose.