Thursday, December 27, 2007

Book Shopping...Then and Now!

I really, really dislike big box bookstores! As my readers know, I am looking into what my next certification exam will be. I have since decided to do the Vista Configuration exam (70-620). Anyway, I went to the local big box bookstore to find a book to supplement my training and would you believe it, nothing in stock! In fact, there are four big box bookstores within a 30 minute drive from my house and none of them had anything either!!!!! GURRRRRRR!!! This is not the first time this particular chain did not have the topic in stock I wanted! It probably happens about 80% of the time. The computer book section at this particular chain is filled with books for the home user and the hobbyist! There is only a handful of shelves set aside for the technical user! The thing that makes me most angry is this chain in particular is making the old way of shopping for books obsolete. I have been in IT since 1995 and have been using computers since the Timex Sinclar 1000 hit the market in 1982. My point is this, in the 80's and 90's there was a bookstore in Waterloo called "The Computer Bookstore", it sold books on computers! A whole store geared to the hobby and profession of IT. Whenever I had need for a book, I could go there and I would be guaranteed to find multiple books on any subject I needed. I started my IT career as a developer and often had need of books on particular programming topics such as database development and serial communications. Not only did I have no trouble finding what I was looking for at the Computer Bookstore, I was able to take it home the very same day!

I must admit, I did eventually order a book from this particular big box store. I realized that IT is all about change...that doesn't mean I have to like it!

Friday, December 14, 2007

WWITPRO Project Management Presentation

Here is the link to my presentation: PM-WWITPRO.pdf!

Thank you all for your interest! Sorry it took me so long to get it up! If you have any questions about my presentation, feel free to post them as a comment and I will give you an answer as soon as I can.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

New CompTIA Convert!

I have been reading allot of forum posts debating the value of CompTIA's A+ and Network+ certifications so I wanted to add my two cents. Anyways, I have been in IT since 1995 and have done just about everything in the IT field. I started my career during the time of the Great Paper Certification Crisis of the late 90's. Like many people, I have plenty horror stories of MCSEs who couldn't properly diagnose simple problems. This turned me off of certification completely for many years! I never had anyone ask me if I was certified or not and never gave certification a second thought...until one of my friends challenged me to put my money where my mouth is. He taunted me with the old "If certifications are so easy to get you should have no trouble getting them." I accepted the challenge and have successfully passed both A+(2007) and Network+(2005/2007), and in the process have developed a new found respect for both of those certifications.

The new A+ objectives are very relevant to today's workforce and someone who passes these two exams would make an excellent addition to any business. The best new topics, in my opinion are the soft skills such as communication skills, professionalism, safety and IT environmental issues. In today's business world, these four things will have an increasing impact on how the IT department operates. It is good to see this reflected in a industry standard certification. In fact, my biggest issue with the A+ exams was these four topics should have a higher importance!

Network+ is also an excellent exam. It covers a wide range of topics including Windows, Netware, Linux, Unix and Apple networking in addition to the theory and troubleshooting techniques. Unlike many of the forum posts I read, I thought the inclusion of such a wide variety of Network Operating Systems a wise move on CompTIA's part. I have only ever had to network Windows PCs so it was good to see that the Network+ exam was truly vendor neutral, and contains questions on just about anything you are likely to see in the field. Network+ was last updated in 2005 and refreshed in 2007. I feel Comptia needs to update Network+ to be more like the A+ exam. There was very little emphasis on soft skills and I feel that the Network+ exam should include topics on network documentation and maybe expanding on the topology topic to include simple network design questions.

CompTIA does not make A+ mandatory to write the Network+ exam. Saying that, I think you should write A+ first. Microsoft allows you to use your A+ and Network+ certifications as your elective for your MCSA. This shows the value Microsoft perceives in attaining these certifications!

I also like the fact that these certifications do not expire. I do however think that CompTIA should try and include some sort of continuing education to ensure that you remain relevant. Weather it includes additional certifications or reading journals or attending classes.

I will continue to post my certification journey on my blog so stay tuned! Next stop Vista or maybe my CCNA!

Friday, October 5, 2007


As I have mentioned in previous posts, WWITPRO In The Know is a very special event put on by the executive of the Waterloo-Wellington IT Professional User Group. Ruth Morton is going to be discussing Windows Server 2008 Virtualization, Jacqueline Hutchinson will be discussing Home Server and I, along with Don Spencer will be providing an introduction to PowerShell. The date for the presentation is Wednesday, October 17th at 6pm. We will be holding the presentation at the Holiday Inn in Cambridge. You need to pre-register for this event and you can do this at the WWITPRO website. Dinner will be provided...

We have some of the coolest door prizes found fact, there will be a special bonus available to all attendees that will make it worth your while to attend. I don't want to give the surprises away but I will put it this way, if I can convince Don to dress up as Santa, I will!

Friday, September 28, 2007

WOW...Its been Too Long! - WWITPRO and the VHD

Hello people. Its been quite a while, and like most IT people, I have been way too busy for my own good!

Well, to update you, Monday we had our first WWITPRO meeting for the new 2007/2008 season and it was a rousing success! Our topic was System Center Essentials presented by Rodney Buike from Microsoft Canada. An excellent topic presented by an equilly excellent speaker. If you don't know anything about this product but since it was developed for networks with 500 PCs and 30 Servers, it relates to most IT pros in this country. The coolest thing about Rodney's presentation was the Microsoft VHD site, This site contains VirtualPC images of a plethora of Microsoft software to try before you buy or train on the newest software. You need a pretty fast internet connection and a lot of patience but they have a wide variety of things to look at.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fresh News...Launch Date Set For Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008

I must say, I'm impressed! When I first heard that Microsoft had renamed Longhorn to Windows Server 2008, I assumed it meant that it would maybe be ready in the last quarter of 2008, if not delayed till 2009. Nope! The date set is February 27th, 2008. Geekmas in February...Whoo Hoo!!!

Anyway, I have seen Server 2008 demoed a couple of times and am looking forward to it. I am particularly looking forward to its virtualization capabilities. I have already designed a couple of scenarios where this would solve many of the issues I have had in the past. I will be outlining some of these scenarios in future blog posts but for now, I'd just like to say let the geekness begin!

When I was at Energize IT this year, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a session with Don Vilen, Senior Project Manager from the Redmond SQL Server team and I must say, I am looking forward to the improvements he was mentioning. On the Energize IT site there is a copy of his slide deck that will spell them out far better than I can find it at the bottom of the page here.

I have to be honest with you guys, I started the gainfully employed period of my IT life as a developer. I am a strong proponent for Visual Basic and have been using it since it was called Quick Basic for the DOS platform. My last serious application was developed using VB 6 and since then I have only developed small applications to keep my skills current. Due to this, I will refrain from making too many comments on this but I will say that I will be changing this and have a couple projects in mind.

I want to keep this post short so I will leave you with this, by finally providing a release date, Microsoft has provided a finish line for us to focus on...we have about eight months to get up to speed with the newest technologies before they hit the mainstream. Lets use it!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Windows PowerShell

While thinking of some possible topics for the WWITPRO monthly meetings, I thought it might be cool to look into having a meeting about PowerShell. I have seen a couple of people demo it at various meetings and events I have been to and was very curious, after all I entered IT officially in 1995 and cut my teeth on DOS 2.1 so a command line is something I miss. Anyway, it struck me that I had never seen an in depth discussion on the topic so I started to do some research on it. I started by guessing that the Microsoft site which would contain PowerShell information would be What do you know...I was right! :)

Oh sorry, someone in the back has a question..."What is PowerShell?" Oops...sorry...I'm starting to get excited here! PowerShell is a replacement for the limited command shell, know the one...yea that's it, the one the Linux people have been laughing at. Well now you can till those Linux guys and their imaginary girlfriend/boyfriend that we may be late to the party but we've arrived...and with a real date!

The nice shiny new blue background you will notice when you first run the application is just the beginning! You also get a powerful scripting engine that allows you to do almost all of the normal administrative tasks you need to do such as adding user accounts, disabling accounts, sorting through the Event will even allow you to automatically open that fancy cup holder located on the front of your server!

One of the first things I noticed about PowerShell when I visited the Microsoft site, was there was a version available for Windows XP, I mistakenly thought it was only available for the new Longhorn server(Windows Server 2008)...note to my Microsoft friends...I can still say Longhorn...ha ha. It is in fact, available for Windows Server 2003, XP and Vista. The other thing you might not know, is it can be used to extend the capabilities of a variety of Microsoft applications such as Exchange Server 2007, System Center Operations Manager 2007, System Center Data Protection Manager V2, and System Center Virtual Machine.

I encourage you to download the version for your computer and play around. If you were reading this post in the hopes that you'd learn all that there was to know about PowerShell, I just have to say that I'm currently playing around so keep checking for some of the cool things I'm learning...I'll keep you updated. To get you started, there is an excellent little booklet written by Frank Koch. You can download it here.

Good Luck and be careful...PowerShell is very powerful. Just remember, as a smart man once said "There's no crying in IT!"...or is that baseball...I get those mixed up sometimes... Anyway, don't come crying to me if you experiment with PowerShell and suddenly your server's cup holder stops working!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Last WWITPRO Meting of the 2006/2007 Season

Last night was the last meeting of WWITPRO for the 2006/2007 season. We had 17 people turn out as well as Damir and Barnaby from Microsoft. Our topic was Small Business Server: Debunking the Myth given SBS MVP Calvin McLennan. Small Business Server has always been near and dear to my heart as it is an excellent product for most small businesses. Calvin's presentation was full of useful tips but the best tip was to use the "Configure Backup" wizard to setup the Exchange email retention settings...I did not know that. Calvin was an excellent speaker and definitely knew his stuff! We will have his slide deck posted on the WWITPRO website shortly.
Ruth officially handed the presidential reigns over to Jacqueline last night. We have quite a bit of work ahead getting our speakers lined up and other logistical issues. I'll keep you posted on our upcoming speakers. Our next meeting will be on September 24th with a soon to be announced speaker. If you can't wait that long for the next WWITPRO event, I have good news for you, early in September, we will be holding a very special event called WWITPRO In The Know...Speakers to be announced however, your friendly Canadian IT Guy will be one of the presenters. I'll let you know what I'm going to talk about once I have more blog readers will be the first to know!

Welcome To My Blog!

OK, I know what your saying but yes we do need at least one more IT guy blog...but only one more!