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Certification – My thoughts on Microsoft Certification Booster packs

Since March 7th, Microsoft is selling booster packs which can be bought until August 31. The exams can be taken up until six months after your purchase.

The following boosters packs are available:

  1. Practice Test + exam for $200
  2. Exam + 4 free retakes for $200
  3. Practice Test + exam + 4 free retakes for $225

As always there are pros and cons to this offering. These are things that have gone through my mind about these booster packs:

  • First of all, the retakes are not free because a regular exam costs $150 if you book it at Pearson Vue. Even though it is not free, it’s still a very good deal. If you would fail only once, you have saved money.
  • I would never choose option 1, I would always go for either option 2 or 3.
  • It can be good that people can get an exam with cheap retakes.
    • It might prevent (some) people from using exam dumps, because additional certification costs for a failure are not an issue anymore. This is especially true for people who have to pay for their own certification or for small companies with limited budgets.
    • It might help people that have the knowledge, but fail because their not used  to the way it is tested with Microsoft Certification Exams.
  • It might lower the value of certification
    • With that many cheap retakes the chance that you’ll pass (by chance) increases.
      • Especially since the number of exam questions is very limited, after a few retakes you could know most of the questions.
        • Which makes it easier for people to create exam dumps.
      • Without booster packs, the certification costs could become an issue.
        • This only affects people/companies where certification is an issue.
        • This could lead to people using exam dumps.

As with most things, when used for good it is a good thing. It will however be abused by some. Still this has always been the case and I feel it does not really matter. What I do believe however is that this large number of almost free retakes stresses again the need for a larger pool of Microsoft exam questions. But this has been a problem for a long time already and I doubt Microsoft will change this anytime soon unfortunately.

I wonder what other people think about this, so please leave a comment.

For more information on the booster packs see:
https://borntolearn.mslearn.net/b/weblog/archive/2016/03/07/introducing-new-microsoft-certification-booster-pack-offer

 

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 180,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 8 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Powershell – Recording of ‘The Case for PowerShell: Why To Learn-PowerShell So You Needn’t Leave-Industry’

Last week Mark Minasi presented a webinar made possible by http://www.learnit.com called:
“The Case for PowerShell: Why To Learn-PowerShell So You Needn’t Leave-Industry”.
The recording can be found here.

In this webinar he explains why ICT administrators need to be(come) familiar with PowerShell. He also explains the basic principles of PowerShell to help lower the threshold for people that have been shying away from command line interfaces (CLI) and scripting in the past. He does this by explaining how PowerShell is different from by example the CLI and Visual Basic Scripting (VBS).

I share his opinion about the necessity to learn PowerShell and therefore I hope I can help spread the message.

You can keep track of Mark Minasi by following him at Twitter: https://twitter.com/mminasi (@mminasi).

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Microsoft – RTM versions of Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 now available for MSDN and Technet subscribers

Even though it seemed for a while that MSDN and Technet subscribers would not get early access to the latest Windows versions, Microsoft decided to listen to customer feedback and reconsidered.

As a result, they just made the RTM versions of Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 available for MSDN and Technet subscribers. General availability for both Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 is still October 18. For the official statement, read this blog post.

Personally I’m very stoked about Server 2012 R2 and I’m already running the preview version. I especially love the improvements on Hyper-V and de-duplication. For more information about new and improved functionality, take a look at the free e-book : Introducing Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview Release.

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Microsoft – Exchange 2013 exam preparation notes for 70-341 and 70-342

In October 2012 I took the beta exams for Exchange 2013. Since there were no books yet, I created a One Note document with all kinds of notes gathered from various sources including TechNet, blogs and 3rd party tech websites. I totally forgot to post these on my blog back then, but better late then never.

I’ve uploaded the original One Note document and a PDF version and a Word version, because the conversion from One Note to WordPress is not really perfect.

But still it’s up to you to use whatever you prefer. Also since there are now books and video training materials, I would recommend you use these as well for preparation.

Enjoy.

General

  • Various
    • EAC (web based Exchange Administration Center)
    • Set-ServerComponentState to take CAS or Mailbox offline
    • Cmdlet enhancements
    • Forefront Online Protection for Exchange (FOPE) –> Exchange Online Protection (EOP)
    • EAC Feature Panes info
    • Site mailboxes accessible through sharepoint and Outlook 2013, but don’t appear in OWA
    • Hybrid Configuration Wizard (HCW)

What’s New in Exchange 2013

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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TechNet subscriptions will be retired without a proper alternative. Sign the petition !

As you might have already read by now, TechNet subscriptions are going to disappear. For more info take a look at this blog post and the Subscriptions retirement FAQ.

The most important stuff:

  • TechNet Subscription are sold through the TechNet Subscriptions website until August 31, 2013.
  • Subscribers may activate purchased subscriptions through September 30, 2013.
  • The TechNet benefits portal and the subscriber downloads page will remain available for non-Volume Licensing subscribers through September 30, 2014.
  • Alternatives mentioned by Microsoft are:
    • MSDN subscriptions
    • Windows Azure.
    • Technet Evaluations (time limited).
    • Technet Virtual Labs.

I personally think this is not a good way to go because the TechNet software is used by many people to increase their skills (often even for a large part in their own time). Because of this, Microsoft products can add even more valuable for companies. Making it harder to get the required software and to keep it running for a longer time will probably scare people away or it will steer them towards hacked/cracked versions.

Basically if you want to have access to non time limited versions of enterprise products of Exchange, Lync, Sharepoint, System Center, etc. you need to take a $6000+ MSDN subscription. Currently I’m paying for TechNet Pro myself which costs 375 euro and I will take a Technet Subscription for this last year. I hope that Microsoft will have come to its senses by then and has provided a proper alternative. For now I would like to ask everyone that feels the same to sign the petition to get a decent TechNet alternative.

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Microsoft – Microsoft Management Summit 2013 (MMS) videos available on Channel 9

As most people working with Microsoft products, I was not able to attend the Microsoft Management Summit 2013 unfortunately.

These sessions have been recorded though and are available now at Channel 9 and a great overview of sessions can be found here. This means you can watch them wherever and whenever it is convenient for you.

You can also use this great PowerShell script created by Stefan Stranger to download the MMS 2013 videos.

Enjoy.

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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