Cisco and VUE get SERIOUS about Certification testing!

July 24th, 2008
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

I received this email today… see below! It’s amazing!

Cisco and Pearson VUE Launch Global Test Delivery Exam Security Enhancements

Cisco and its global testing provider, Pearson VUE, a business of Pearson Inc. are pleased to announce a series of security enhancements that will reinforce the integrity and value of its Career certification program.

The advanced security enhancements include the use of digital photographs for candidate-identity verification and forensic analysis of testing data. The new measures, to be implemented beginning on Aug. 1, will include:

* Photo on Score Report and Web – On completion of a certification exam at the test center, candidates will receive preliminary score reports imprinted with their photos and unique authentication codes. The authentication code can be used to access a candidate’s official score online at Pearson VUE’s website usually within 72 hours of the examination. The online score report will also display the candidate’s photo. Candidates may share access to their online records with employers or other third parties.

* Forensic Analysis – Exam results and other testing data will be continuously analyzed by forensic software to detect aberrant testing behavior and to flag suspect exams for further investigation.

* Preliminary Score Report – All paper score reports will be preliminary, pending the results of forensic analysis, until official exam scores are posted to the Web usually within 72 hours of exam completion. Once the exam scores are official, candidates may use the authentication codes on their score reports to access the Pearson VUE website for score and photo verification.

These new exam security measures are part of Cisco’s overall strategy to protect the value and integrity of its certifications. Other measures include simulation-based testing, dynamically generated questions and emulations to help ensure that Cisco certified networking professionals continue to have the knowledge, skills, and credentials to perform well on the job.

So, you might be thinking “What does this mean to me?”

This means a new era is upon us! A new way of testing! A whole new paradigm shift…
Well, not exactly.

  • The picture – Okay idea, sounds kind of interesting and making content available online at your choosing great!
  • The forensic analysis – that’ll be interesting. Hopefully a lot of very skilled people, or learning folks do not get completely burned by this. Oh wait, I must forget who I’m talking about.
  • Am I confusing Cisco – the company who guarantees your certification will expire in 2 years (sometimes 3!) with another company? I must be confused.

    No, alot of people WILL get burned, that’s a fact. This is the positive out look on it.
    Walk in, expecting this to be painful, and I think we’ll be fine.

    I expect and imagine a lot of very good things from this, hopefully inclusive with this is a reform of the entire Cisco Certification track to make it more applicable, viable and useful – Too much memorization involved.

    Good Luck!

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    Posted in Baltimization, Certification, Informational | Comments (61)

    CWUG Tonight in Chicago

    July 21st, 2008
    by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

    Historically I’ve been pretty bad about announcing the CWUG here on PKGuild – Today is no exception!

    Tonight is the CWUG in Chicago! 77W Wacker and all that goodness.
    We’ll actually be kicking off with a tour of the MTC (Microsoft Technology Center) and all of the goodness which surrounds that. – Here is the information, which is also posted on our Portal

    July Meeting
    Monday, July 21st Microsoft Office, 77 West Wacker, downtown Chicago
    Register Now!

    4:30 p.m. MTC (Microsoft Technology Center) Tour!
    5:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Dinner/Networking
    Windows Vista Gadget Contest Submission Deadline
    5:30 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. Room Introductions/Meeting Kick Off
    6:15 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. First sessions
    Session 1: Automating Windows Desktop Deployments with OSD360 – presented by CyniOS Technologies
    Session 2: Windows Live – production software and a look at some of the betas
    7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Windows Home Server – PC backup and restore (Live demo!)

    Hope to see you folks tonight!

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    Posted in Baltimization, Christopher Kusek, CWUG, Informational, Microsoft | Comments (59)

    ONTAP 7.2.5.1 released and DR Adapter for VSRM!

    July 10th, 2008
    by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

    So, I know I rarely mention anything NetApp specific (I’m too busy discussing other things, sure!)

    But I thought I would make a specific mention of this!
    Data ONTAP 7.2.5.1 is released! This is great news for a number of reasons!

    But in other news, the NetApp Disaster Recovery Adapter for VMware Site Recovery Manager for Windows is released – Which is totally cool!

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    Posted in Baltimization, NetApp | Comments (83)

    Study Tips for SQL 2008 and BI Beta Exams (71-432, 71-448)

    July 9th, 2008
    by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

    So, you’re planning to take the beta exams, but you want to have a LITTLE more hands-on to prepare yourself!

    Well, look no further! (Well, do look further, but check this out as well)

    Books! Read Read Read away!

    SQL Server 2008 Books Online Release Candidate (RC0)

    Virtual Labs – These are a wealth of information, labs and “live” systems to play with!
    TechNet Virtual Labs: SQL Server 2008
    TechNet Virtual Labs: Business Intelligence

    Hopefully this gives you that headstart you’re looking for, outside of what you already know!

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    Posted in Baltimization, Certification, Informational, Microsoft, SQL | Comments (84)

    Microsoft SQL 2008 Beta Exams (Free Promotion Codes) – for SQL2008 Implementation/Maint, and SQL2008 BI Dev/Maint

    July 8th, 2008
    by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

    Fairly straight to the point – SQL 2008 Beta exams until July 31st!
    These beta exams are for 71-432 (70-432) and 71-448 (70-448)

    TS: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Implementation and Maintenance
    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/exams/70-432.mspx

    TS: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Business Intelligence Development and Maintenance
    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/exams/70-448.mspx

    71-432 – Promotion code: 943F6
    71-448 – Promotion Code: B6543

    Beta available until July 31st

    Thanks GerryO!

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    Posted in Baltimization, Certification, Informational, Microsoft, SQL | Comments (95)

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