What’s new indeed

August 6th, 2008
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)


So, there have been a number of changes around here.

  • I’ve switched from default numeric posting names to ‘named and dated’ events. 
  • I’ve attempted to start using LiveWriter again, which can be a challenge when you find a complicated manual process of editing files directly to be so much more appealing!
  • I’ve added some additional blogs, with some more to come.
    • Primarily filling out my fellow Microsoft folksies, special respect to Dan Rey, Ariel, and the new Microsoft Beta Blog (Thanks Trika!)
    • I’ll be adding a number of NetApp blogs for some good close friends and folks who have a lot of indepth knowledge to share, and read respectively!
  • I’ve taken some additional betas and will be providing further obscure "non-violating NDA" details of the exams in depth
  • I have a number of broken things, which I haven’t been bothered to fix such as ATOM RSS feeders, carriage returns for that "ShareThis" app – and who knows what other SEO violations I may be under!

I think that is a fair coverage of some changes that have occurred – As for things to come:

  • Indepth posting of Exams, Certifications, Betas – Who takes them, who should, how you can be that person, and being a master on a novices diet.
  • Performance assaults, differences, metrics and other insanity
  • Super cool NetAppy stuff, the likes of which will shock and amaze you
    • (Yet, you’ll eventually be of the understanding as I am – of accepting that as how things OUGHT to be ;))
  • More CWUG Updates! Yea you heard me!
  • More Beta exams and Post-Mortems, and perhaps a review of tests of the past.
  • And perhaps insight into the mind of a Pekingese!

See you soon!

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Posted in Baltimization, Christopher Kusek, General, Informational | Comments (55)

71-660 Post Mortem: Windows Internals TS

August 5th, 2008
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

This is an absolutely amazing test, which is simple, easy, very understandable and straight-forward.

Did I pass? Eh, possibly – but I’m not going to bet my life on it.


If it’s so easy, why am I unsure? – so begins my Post Mortem :)


If you’ve ever looked at the internals of Windows before, and that means drilling down deep into User.dmp‘s, Memory.dmp‘s and looking at threads, processes, heaps and a number of things – Especially getting your hands dirty debugging windows – This test is right on par for you, almost a sub-100 level test on what is involved.

However, to the untrained ear (or eye) you’ll perceive this as a 900 level test, making you work your hardest while reviewing everything arcane, different and strange to you.


This all boils down to the unwritten rules of Power Curves such as to say, not everyone is suited to be an administrator, architect, collaborator, consultant, debugger, developer, engineer, evangelist, professional, technician or Technologist.


But that doesn’t stop us from trying.   And it is tests like this one which further stretches that line, while blurring it at the same time – exposing and opening up those possibilities without expert knowledge to embrace it and grow our technological community as a whole.

Good luck out there, keep growing.



And if you want to grow your Windows Internals knowledge – Here is a good place to start. 



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Posted in Baltimization, Certification, Christopher Kusek, Informational, Microsoft, Windows Server | Comments (7)

Second Chance is here again! (Microsoft Second Shot)

August 5th, 2008
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

Welcome the return of the Microsoft Second Shot Program!

So – how exactly does this work? Hi-jacked from their site!

You have until June 30, 2009, to register, obtain an exam voucher, complete your first exam and retake your exam (if you did not pass on your first attempt).

There is no limit per person: If you register for this offer, you will receive one free retake for each paid exam that you take and fail.

To take advantage of this offer:

  • Step 1: Register for Second Shot on the Microsoft Web site and receive an exam voucher number.
  • Step 2: Schedule and pay for your initial exam through the Prometric Web site, call center,* or test center.
  • Note You must have the voucher number before you register.

  • Step 3: Take the exam.
  • Step 4: If you do not pass the exam on your first attempt, register for your free retake exam through the Prometric Web site, call center,* or test center by using the same voucher number. Then, take your Second Shot!
  • Note You must wait one day after taking your initial exam before you can register for your retake exam. This time is required to enter test results into the system.

    Which exams qualify for this Second Shot offer?
    Any Microsoft Learning IT professional, developer, or Microsoft Dynamics exam qualifies for this offer.

    So, what does this mean for you?
    If you plan to take an exam and PAY for an exam – It doesn’t pay to not register your exam and get a voucher number first. Don’t think about doing it – Do it.

    That’s it! :)

    Good luck out there!

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    Posted in Baltimization, Certification, Christopher Kusek, Informational, Microsoft | Comments (69)

    Microsoft Beta Exam Blog – It’s a Trikatastrophe!

    August 3rd, 2008
    by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

    Special thanks to Trika! for pointing out the brand new Microsoft Beta Exam Blog!

    I’ve linked this over in my “Microsoft Links” on the side as well, as I’ll reference and check this blog on a regular basis, in addition to checking other blogs, Trika and GerryO’s blog, as well as manual scouring of the Prometric site for new entries which meet “Beta” criteria!

    And for those of you SBS folks in the world, there is whisper of a coming SBS 2008 exam!

    In other news, I expect to have additional post-mortems, completely obfuscated on all the other beta exams which happen out there!

    Keep Posted!

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    Posted in Baltimization, Certification, Christopher Kusek, Informational, Microsoft | Comments (66)

    MS: Pilot Simulation Exams, End-game voucher and I love Trika!

    July 31st, 2008
    by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

    That sure is a lot to cover in this header, but it is true.

    If you happen to read Trika’s Blog as I do you will find this little gem about the Performance based testing pilot!

    What this talks about is a Performanced based pilot! Going through a new simulation type which MS and Prometric are working on offering and delivering. Quite different than the past “instance” based simulations, where you’re limited in what you’re able to do. This actually gives you the real environment where it judges you on not how you got to your answer, just on your final answer.

    I think it sounds and seems pretty sweet, as us command line folks would rather type a command than click a million windows to end up at the same point.

    Disclaimer: Participation in this pilot exam will not earn you credit for the MCTS Server 2008 AD. It will however earn you a free exam voucher to be used for any MS exam.

    Register for New Performance Based Testing Pilot Exam 70-113: TS: Windows® Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring

    Microsoft Learning is testing a new Performance Based testing system that will be integrated into the existing certification programs in order to better evaluate and validate candidates’ skills using Microsoft products and technologies.

    The Performance Based testing method we are piloting is an exam which emulates a Windows Server 2008 infrastructure. In this infrastructure you will be tasked with completing a series of tasks. Once complete, the system will evaluate each tasks end-state to determine if the tasks have been completed and correctly implemented. This process is different from simulations because you will have every tool and path available that you would normally have in a real world scenario. Simulations restrict you to a small number of expected paths, whereas emulations allow for any path, as long as the end result is correct.

    This pilot exam will not provide you with a score as with normal beta exams. This pilot is a test of the exam experience, delivery system and infrastructure, so only a portion of the final exam will be presented to you during this pilot. This pilot exam will not be added to your transcript and you will need to take the exam in its released form in order to be awarded the credential.

    By participating in this pilot exam, you have the unique opportunity to provide the Microsoft Certification program with feedback about your exam experience, and exam content, which is vital to the future development of Performance Based exams in their released version. We depend on the contributions of experienced IT professionals as we continually improve and expand our certification program and testing technologies to grow the value of Microsoft certifications.

    Upon completion of this pilot exam, the first 3000 candidates will receive a free exam voucher that can be used to register for any Microsoft Certification exam delivered at a Prometric testing center. The voucher will be distributed electronically 4 weeks after the end of the Pilot. If you have not received your voucher within this timeframe, then unfortunately, you were not part of the first 3000 candidates.


    * Registration begins: July 29, 2008
    * Pilot exam period runs: July 31, 2008– September 12, 2008
    * In order to facilitate exam availability in as many testing centers as possible for this pilot, registrations must be made 7 days in advance.
    * Receiving this invitation does not guarantee you a seat in this pilot; we recommend that you register immediately. This pilot will have limited availability and are operated under a first-come-first-served basis. Once all pilot slots are filled, no additional seats will be offered.
    * Testing is held at Prometric testing centers.

    Registration Information

    * You must register at least 7 days prior to taking the exam.
    * Please use the following promotional code when registering for the exam: H640
    * Receiving this invitation does not guarantee you a seat in the pilot; we recommend that you register immediately.
    * To register for this pilot: Go to the Prometric Website: http://www.register.prometric.com/ClientInformation.asp
    * Find Microsoft exam 70-113: TS: Windows® Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring
    * Use Promo Code H640
    * if you have any issues registering or taking this pilot exam please email Performance Based Exams (pbexam@microsoft.com).

    Test Information and Support

    * You are invited to take this pilot exam at no charge.
    * You will be given four hours to complete the pilot exam. Please plan accordingly.
    * Though not all of the exam will be presented to the pilot candidates, we would appreciate it if you were familiar with the exams objectives. This will help us better evaluate the data from this pilot.
    * Find exam preparation information: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/exams/70-640.aspx

    So, as it stands, getting to get your hands on and provide feedback for the future of simulations, ensure any ‘issues’ are known and notified by you back to the mothership regarding future testing.

    Oh, and I think it goes without saying, that we all love Trika! I know I do! :)

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    Posted in Baltimization, Certification, Christopher Kusek, Informational, Microsoft, Windows Server | Comments (82)

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