Friday, April 11, 2008

Terminal Services, Silverlight, Microsoft Robotics Studio and Lego Mindstorms NXT

Narenda Wicaksono has made a video of  a nice mix-up between Terminal Services, Silverlight, Microsoft Robotics Studio and Lego Mindstorms NXT.

Oh and I passed 70-631 with flying colors today.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Application-delivery architects are key hires

"A need for higher-level architectural management is required across the board, with special emphasis on the communications between server and browser. This includes coding of objects as cacheable versus dynamic, the use of the local browser cache and compression or request pipelining for example," Joe Skorupa, research vice president at Gartner. (...) Proposing the adoption of the "lifeboat method" of application development, where a team must work in unison to ensure success, Gartner said it sees the application-delivery architect taking on the role of "lifeboat captain". (link)

In the present day, working in unison across boundaries is a prerequisite. Anything less is doomed to get shipwrecked sooner or later.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Windows 2008 MCTS Charter Member

Yes! I just got the results back from the three Microsoft Windows 2008 TS beta exams: I passed all three of them! And oh how do I just love the 'Charter Member' addition. It just gives you that extra warm and fuzzy feeling...

  • Exam 070-640 Technical Specialist: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory
  • Exam 070-642 Technical Specialist: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure
  • Exam 070-643 Technical Specialist: Windows Server 2008 Applications
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    Monday, February 18, 2008

    Working with Microsoft on Windows Server 2008 exams in Redmond #1

    Some time ago I got an invitation from Taj Heniser, the Program Manager from the Microsoft Learning Group in Redmond. They requested me to participate in the development of Microsoft Certification exams for Windows Server 2008 in Redmond as an Subject Matter Expert (SME). Well, it didn't take long to make up my mind. GrandMasters took care of all the paperwork and I was pretty impressed by their continued assistance and overall professional attitude. Upon discovery that I needed a credit card, which I didn't have at the time, they went even further and booked the room for me in advance. Excellent service! Thanks Lisa and Linda.

    (In the Netherlands you usually use a debit card for most of your financial transactions and bank transactions are not done by bank check but carried out by direct bank transfers. Use of credit cards is on the rise however.)

    GreenlandI met up with Frederic Lapierre and Olaf Hubel from Microsoft at the  airport and had a pleasant chat with them while we waited for our plane to arrive. They both were going to Redmond for the internal Microsoft Technical Readiness Conference. It was good to see the both of you again.

    The flight was pretty good and uneventful. We flew over Greenland, which made for some pretty nice pictures. And I made good use of my Shure Sound Isolating Earphones, which I bought just for an occasion like this. The isolating properties are magnificent and the sound is very clear and well-balanced. Only when I took the earphones off, I noticed the loudness of the flight, which quite astounded me! The price was pretty hefty, but they are worth their money in gold. Highly recommended.

    To be continued...

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    Wednesday, January 09, 2008


    It's been nearly three weeks already since my last post. It's mainly because I've been very busy with a steady lineup of Microsoft exams. One of them is a regular exam, the rest are all beta exams. (For those interested what happens to the comments in beta exams, Gerry O'Brien has a post about it.)

    For those interested, the list of exams taken:

    And for the bright people among us: yes, I could just take the upgrade exam 70-649 "Upgrading Your MCSE on Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008, Technology Specialist" to get all three Windows 2008 Technical Specialist certifications at once. However, that would spoil the fun of taking the beta exams, now wouldn't it?

    I've got two beta exams left which I plan to take in the upcoming weeks:

    And the two Project Server 2007 beta exams, Designing Enterprise Project Management Solutions with Microsoft Office Project 2007 and Configuring Microsoft Office Project Server 2007 I mentioned a few months ago? I got them both.


    What can I say? I love to learn and understand, and I love a challenge!

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    Friday, June 15, 2007

    More Beta Exams

    Just last tuesday I completed the second Microsoft beta exam in a row, titled "Designing Enterprise Project Management Solutions with Microsoft Office Project 2007" and a few weeks before that I finished the Technology Specialist exam, "Configuring Microsoft Office Project Server 2007". That brings the Beta Exam count to 6 exams taken so far. Not bad!
    I still need to catch up on the usual stuff, like an upgrade to MCSE2003 and the Sharepoint exams.

    There is a little story attached to last tuesday's exam: I was just about to end the exam and pressed the 'Ok'-button, thereby ending it. The window went away but basically nothing happened after that. At last I was greeted with a Window telling me that "The testdriver did not respond". Okay, this isn't a good sign. And remember, a couple of years back I did the Beta Exam "Designing Exchange 2003" and it crashed on me, bigtime. They researched the leftovers and after a careful postmortem analysis I was told that nothing could be salvaged. To ease the suffering I was given the opportunity to take the exam again, for free...
    To continue my story, I was already visualizing the agony of waiting, calling, calling again, only to be notified that my efforts were in vain. Could this happen twice?
    I leaped to the receptionist and explained the horrific situation we found ourselves in. She immediately took action and began calling in all kinds of resources. After two hours of deliberating, calling and testing, we came to the conclusion that there was a reasonably good chance my exam was safe. I went home.

    I called the testcenter a few days after the incident and confirmed that my exam was set as 'Tested'. What a relief!

    Now for the waiting on results.

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    Saturday, May 12, 2007


    Another milestone: yesterday I hired my first employee.

    I have conducted interviews in the past but that was always as a technical lead and in conjunction with someone else who had the final say in the decision to hire or not. But this time, the interviews and final verdict were mine to conduct and pass. I had to adjust for two issues that came up in this new setting:
    1. Lead the interview myself and
    2. Follow up.

    The first one was easy and accomplished by laying out a rough structure and drafting a pool of questions to draw upon during the interview, varying from behavoural questions to technical cases. For assistance during the interview I asked a senior colleague of mine, whom in the past had been my manager and during that time conducted several interviews with me as technical lead, to assist me during the interviews and offer his opinions afterwards.

    Interviewing the candidates was relatively easy, with the difference that you, as the person who leads the interview, get less 'off'-time to study the person in more detail. This is one of the reasons I asked my former manager to assist me, for he is very intelligent and a great observer.

    The second one, following up, proved to take more time that I originally planned for. The plethora of getting things done, getting his key, a desk, accounts, planning for his first day, who will help him during his first days and so on, was more than I accounted for initially.

    In the end this proved to be a very nice opportunity to learn and excercise! And I liked the responsability a lot. Oh and the candidates? The job was offered to one of them. The other one, however proficient in his field of Project Management and Network Administration, lacked the skills necessary to operate in the field of Web Technology, Administration and Development. I wish him the best for he seemed a very competent individual.


    Saturday, April 28, 2007

    Passed Exam 70-510: Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server

    Got a nice postmail this morning from the States, telling me that I passed Exam 70-510: Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server! I took the Beta Exam two months ago and finally I have the results in front of me, yay! I scored 826 points, not bad at all.

    The good thing about the Microsoft Exams Results these days is the detailed output you get with the test results. It is telling me that I've got a strong foundation (pun intended) in the technical skillset area, whereas my skills concerning process and project management need a bit more attention. This is consistent with what I know and what I need to improve upon.

    Lately I've thought a lot about which road I am going to take to develop myself further. I have a strong foundation in Microsoft Servers, coupled with a not-so-usual outgrowth to Microsoft Development. I have always liked dealing with the diverse issues that arise when these two area's meet. Consulting or Architecture seem the two most likely paths to pursue in the long run.
    But for now, a bit of celebrating is in order!

    Side Note: Out of the 11 Microsoft Exams I have taken (and passed) during my career, the last 4 were all Beta Exams. Guess that makes me a bit of an Beta Exam addict.

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    Saturday, April 16, 2005

    This last week has proven to be quite a busy week!
    Juggling with three Sharepoint projects, switching to another team, being headhunted for the position of Product Consultant within an international company while I am still in the process of negotiating my current transfer; who said IT was boring?

    The position of Product Consultant has left me pondering the following question:

    "What is the definition of a Consultant?"

    After consulting (...) a few of my superiors I came back with a wide array of answers. I wasn't satisfied with the answers I got. And I have gotten the suspicion that I won't get a good answer either.

    My Definition of a Consultant

    In my (limited) opinion a 'good' Consultant should have at least the following skillset and be knowledgeable in the following area's:
    1. Know Technology
      Whatever the area of expertise, whenever we are talking about a techno Consultant, he or she should have a firm grasp of the technologies involved. What are the pitfalls, what are the opportunities, how to asses, use and implement it etcetera.
    2. Know People
      Your expertise isn't going to be of any use when you aren't a people person. How else will you motivate others, how will you get 'the question behind the question', get the feel for the politics involved?
    3. Know Management
      Knowledge of the technologies involved, coupled with interpersonal skills alone isn't enough. Management-type skills are obligatory! How else will you succeed at managing your projects, choosing which development methodology is best suited for this situation, how to get a grip with an escalation gotten out of hand?

    In my opinion these three area's are obligatory for any consultant.

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