Tags: #ANGRYLABMENTOR, convention, Hands-On Labs, harry potter, hyper v, msteched, office 365, orlando, powershell, SQL Server 2012, System Center 2012, TechEd, Visual Studio 2012, Windows 8, windows azure, Windows Server 2012
That’s right. Despite being held in Orlando just steps away from the magical world of Disney, the real magic of Microsoft TechEd 2012 was actually found in the hands-on-lab, or HOL for the uninitiated. No, it’s not because I was there helping a lost traveler or two through Microsoft land. It’s because that is where attendees could play with the latest and greatest technologies, whether it involves OLAP cubes, unit testing or GPO policies. Technologies featured at this year’s lab included Visual Studio 2012, SQL Server 2012, System Center 2012, Windows Server 2012 (including Hyper V), Office 365, Windows 8 and of course, Windows Azure. You could follow the tasks in the labs or use the virtual environment as a sandbox for your own experimentation.
There were more than 150 different labs, but here are a few titles to tickle your techno-fancy:
- Deploying Windows 7 to Bare Metal Systems with Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager
- Building the Right Software: Generating Storyboards and Collecting Stakeholder Feedback with Visual Studio 2012
- Developing a Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Tabular BI Semantic Model using SQL Server Data Tools
- Microsoft Forefront Online Protection for Exchange (FOPE) with Microsoft Office 365
- Developing Microsoft SharePoint 2010 User Interface with Silverlight in Microsoft Visual Studio 2010
- Configuring Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Replica
- Sideloading Metro Style Applications in Windows 8
- What’s New in Windows PowerShell 3.0
The labs were open longer than most sessions (7am – 7pm most days).
Unless you are soon to be enjoying TechEd Europe in Amsterdam, you may be regretting all of those wild parties and crowded sessions that kept you out of the labs. No worries. These labs will be up for public consumption within the week and available for at least 2 months!
UPDATE: The HOL are up now for public consumption. Go to you myTechEd Web site and get to playing!
Tags: mcsa, mcse, TechEd, Windows 8
TechEd 2012 Orlando has come and gone. A great time was had by all. Now it’s time to go home and process the volumes of information, and hopefully share some of the highlights with you in the process. Windows 8 is the first one that comes to mind.
Microsoft featured Windows 8 in the keynote presentation. This operating system is a bit different from previous versions in that there is a heavily redesigned front-end, and it is designed with touch screens in mind. In fact, they had a DJ use a virtual mixing board using the Windows 8 platform to lay down a beat or two.
While the DJ demonstration did not really give me a clear sense of what Windows 8 can do beyond tablet integration, I will say the President of the Server Business at Microsoft gave a great overview of the future of Windows Server 2012. The keynote speeches gave attendees a quick look at the new operating systems and products and were a great kickoff to the week. You can view video recaps of the keynote speeches in the comfort of your own home: http://northamerica.msteched.com/#fbid=jT4iGRg006A
Another TechEd favorite are the hands-on labs. These labs are, hands down, the most popular part of the program. If you could find an empty seat, then you could play around with the latest technology. My technology of choice this year was Server 2012, Windows 8, and SQL Server 2012.
Microsoft offered discounts on existing exams and the opportunity to take beta exams for attendees. There was a Prometric test center where you could take your exams. According to Prometric, the 70-246: Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012 and 70-247: Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud with System Center 2012 exams were the most popular exams taken at TechEd.
I took the 70-687 Configuring Windows 8 and the 70-410 Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012 beta exams. In past years, the test center was isolated and the whole exam process was effortless and very, very quiet. Not so much this year. The testing computers had some hardware issues, and the test center was about as quiet as a Widespread Panic concert on New Year’s Eve. Having said that, I’m sure the noise level was mostly due to the fact that people (read: fellow geeks) were very, very worked up about the new MCSE and MCSA certifications.
Which brings me to the newly announced certification tracks. Our good friends at TrainSignal Training filmed two great short clips of Don Field, Sr. Director of Product Management at Microsoft Learning, talking about the new MCSA and MCSE certifications as they relate to the new Windows Server 2012. Be sure to check these out if you missed the discussions at TechEd:
The workshop sessions for Server 2012 were also very popular. It seemed that every Server 2012 and System Center 2012 session that I attended jammed about 1,000 people into a space that should only hold 750. The SQL Server 2012 sessions were especially well attended, particularly those for the Business Intelligence tracks. Several of these great sessions are available online, so I recommend that you watch them while you can:
You can find the complete list of TechEd videos here on Channel 9.
Two years ago at TechEd 2010 in New Orleans, Microsoft made a big push for the Windows Phone. They gave out hats, shirts and had lots of presentations featuring the phone and its technology. Fast forward to TechEd 2012. I saw a lot of attendees carrying iPhones and I did not feel a lot of buzz for the Windows Phone. This year Microsoft gave out Windows Phone visors instead of hats. Where are all the Windows Phone fans?! I missed all that Windows Phone love!
There were a zillion (UN-official count by me as I walked the expo floor) people at TechEd this year. The show actually sold out which was surprising considering the stagnant economy. Here are some other interesting facts about TechEd:
- Breakfast is prepared by 90 chefs and they serve 40,000 slices of bacon.
- An attendee at TechEd will walk close to 30 miles over the duration of the conference. The Orlando Convention Center is a pretty big place.
- You need to visit a vendor’s booth and ask where the after-party is. Apparently there are after-parties that require an invitation from the vendor to get in to. They are for great for networking and meeting new contacts.
If you didn’t see me jammed into the last seat in the back row of that SQL Server 2012 session, maybe you caught me at the Transcender booth. I love working a trade show booth. You get to visit with customers and hear feedback about your product. I hope you had the chance to stop by and say Hello. We gave away lots of swag, talked to plenty of friendly faces, and noted every last one of your requests for the new Server 2012, SQL Server 2012, and Windows 8 practice tests. I can assure you: we are definitely working on this.
After a long, long, long week, the Transcender gang hit Universal Studios for a chance to mingle with the conference attendees and various other characters.
The week was a lot of fun, but now it’s back to work.
(Of course, even if you weren’t among the elite attendees of TechEd, you can still run a pre-release copy of the new operating systems from their Springboard series. You just have to do the hard work of installation yourself, and no one will serve you bacon while you do it.)
Until next time,
In case you missed us on Twitter and Facebook, we wanted to make sure you knew we’re at Booth #2049 this year and can’t wait to meet you! Our Team will provide their recaps and reviews from the show in the coming weeks and they will be sure to share the wealth of knowledge gathered at the countless Keynotes & Sessions & Labs, but THIS blog post is about the GOOD news:
Where’s the food, drinks, and entertainment?!
- Community Night: Meet fellow attendees and members of the TLC and Connect Zone in North Hall B from 6:15-9pm (yes, there’s beer)
- Jam Session (our favorite!): Open jam for all you musicians (and brave wannabes) tonight from 9 pm – 1am at B.B. King’s at Pointe, Orlando. Just bring your talent, everything else (Instruments, lyrics, sheet music, etc) will be provided. If you’ve never been to one, we highly recommend it!
- TechEd Gives Back: When you’re done chatting it up and dancing the night away, consider giving a little something back to our host city of Orlando. Stop by South Hall B (by the Registration area) and check out the list of on-site volunteer activities. It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to make a huge impact!
Be sure to comment below or over on our Facebook page and let us know which of these events, or the dozens of other activities, you participate in this week at TechEd 2012.
Tags: jam sessions, TechEd
A number of years ago, I attended Microsoft TechEd in Boston and noticed something on the agenda called “Jam Sessions.” Now, being a former professional musician, this caught my eye, but I said to myself , “What would an actual jam session be doing on the agenda at Tech*Ed?” I figured Nah, it must mean some sort of Rock Band game thing.
Nevertheless, Josh, George, and I set out that night to see what it was all about. Boy, were we in for a surprise. Microsoft had rented out an entire nightclub in Boston, provided top-notch sound and light equipment, and set up instruments of all types on the stage. What followed was an entire night of techies climbing onstage in random pairings playing tunes.
As soon as we saw what was going on, my buddies started needling me to get up and play, but I was a bit apprehensive because I have too often been drawn into “jamming” with the guy who professed to play drums in high school and the singer who made William Hung sound good, and I tell you, it’s not fun to be trapped onstage with these guys. But to my amazement, the people on stage could actually play! There was a few times when the guitar player zigged while the bass player zagged, but no more than I’ve seen with professionals jamming (which can also be pretty horrible, especially if adult beverages are involved). Anyway, I ended up playing and having a great time. So next time around when I saw Jam Sessions on the agenda at Tech*Ed in L.A., I immediately said, “I’m there!” Having an idea of how it worked, I had an even better time because I came prepared with a few songs everyone knows, so it went much better. (Below is a horrible shot taken from a cell phone at L.A.)
So where I’m going with all of this? Consider this post a call to all Tech*Head musicians. The Jam Session will be at The Tabernacle (which is an awesome venue if you’re not familiar) on Tuesday night from 9PM to 1AM. If you’re going to Tech*Ed, comment to this post or contact me through this blog and let’s arrange to play something together on Tuesday night! There’s also this musicians-seeking-musicians thread on the Tech*Ed Discussions page: http://northamerica.msteched.com/discussion/thread/?threadid=7b367434-f049-e011-86d4-001ec953730b&fbid=KQaT2VB9GDy
Oh, by the way, it would help for you to know that I play bass. And no, I DON’T play bass like it’s a lead guitar, I play it like it’s meant to played. (Ok, I’m off my soapbox, just wanted that off my chest.)
Let’s have some rock n’ roll at Tech*Ed!
Something exciting to announce this year: if you’re planning to take your certification exams at Tech*Ed, there will be Study Hall with practice tests loaded on them to help you prepare. The Microsoft Learning Study Hall products will include all MS practice tests from my favorite provider and yours, Transcender! So take advantage of the opportunity to get in some last minute prep work before you knock out that exam.
Here’s the process: sign up at Prometric, schedule to take your Microsoft Certification exam in Room B316 at Tech*Ed, and pack in any Cram4Exam sessions and Study Hall practice tests before you sit your test. Scroll down to Get Certified for the full details.
As a reminder, Transcender will be exhibiting at Booth #1904, and we’ll be giving away puzzles, games, and a chance to win a $250 Amazon.com Gift Card (no purchase necessary).
Tags: Hands-On Labs, TechEd
In 2009, during Tech*Ed in Los Angeles, I helped Microsoft out in the Hands-on Lab area. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, HOL is an area set up with workstations using virtual machines, loaded with labs to let you try out all the new and upcoming technologies. There are also MCTs, like myself, present to help if you have any questions about the labs.
The Hands-on Labs have proven to be one of the more popular destinations at Tech*Ed. Most of the sessions are very good, but let’s face it, at some point you don’t want to see any more PowerPoint presentations — you’re ready to actually get your hands dirty. Well, you can do that in the Hands-on Labs — there are over 250 scheduled for next week.
Apparently all is now forgiven between Microsoft and myself concerning that little incident in L.A. with the erased hard drives (I swear I didn’t know that magnet was in my pocket!), because this year I’ll be back in the Hands-on Lab. Come by and say hello! I will have on the same T-shirt as all the other MCTs in that area, but just look for the shortest guy there and it’s likely to be me. (I used to be the shortest guy with the longest ponytail, but that’s one of the problems with having cut my hair off – I lost my most recognizable feature.)
I’ll be proctoring for the 200-level and 300-level labs in the Security, Identity & Management lab track (filter here to pull 41 of the sessions and times). Here’s my schedule (as always, check for last-minute changes):
Sunday 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Monday 2:45 PM to 6:00 PM
Tuesday 4:45 PM to 8:00 PM
Wednesday 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM
Thursday 12:15 PM to 2:30 PM
Before Tech*Ed even starts, I’ll be kicking off my weekend on Saturday, May 14th, at the MCT Day Zero meetup at the Mariott Marquis. It’s a free (donations are suggested) mini-conference that will cover topics of interest to certified trainers, including the Microsoft Learning Quality and Roadmap for 2011-2012. Pre-registration ends tonight at midnight (Wednesday, May 11) if you’re interested.
As a reminder, Transcender will be exhibiting at Booth #1904, and we’ll be giving away puzzles, games, and a chance to win a $250 Amazon.com Gift Card (no purchase necessary). Something else I did in L.A. was participate in the Jam Sessions. I plan to issue a call for all Tech*head musicians to come out on Tuesday night and play some music. Stay tuned for details on that later this week!
Happy May! This month the Braves will play at Turner field, temperatures will start getting warmer, and Microsoft Tech*Ed North America 2011 will set up shop at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Transcender will be exhibiting at Booth #1904, so be sure to stop by and say hi. Nearly everyone on the team will have a rotating spot on the front lines to interface with customers the good old-fashioned way. Stay tuned here and to our Twitter updates, as we finalize our Expo schedule so you know when you can stop by if you’d like some quality time with yours truly or one of my fellow Content Developers!
There are a lot of great sessions at Tech*Ed – in fact, there’s an overwhelming amount to see and do. The best thing to do while you still have a couple of weeks before the show, is to spend some quality time on the Tech*Ed’s Session and Exhibitor Catalog, where you’ll see a number of resources that can help you plan your Tech*Ed experience.
You don’t have to attend Tech*Ed to benefit from Tech*Ed
Of course, not all of us are able to attend. What you might not realize is that there’s a lot of free material on this page for people who aren’t attending. Look under Pre-Event Online Webcasts, where you can access – for free, without registration – 105 instructional webcasts on a slew of technical topics from PowerShell to ForeFront.
If you do attend Tech*Ed, why not take an exam?
For those of you who are attending Tech*Ed, there’s a wealth of certification prep options that not too many people know about. To review those, check the right hand pane on the catalog page. Under Filter By, open the Session Type tree. The keywords here are: Certification 101, Cram4Exam, and Hands-On Lab.
The Certification 101 sessions (two time slots, one hour each) include topics like certification process, choosing a certification path, preparing for your first exam, taking an exam, and what to expect after that.
There are twenty “Cram4Exam” sessions, which are targeted toward specific exams, but still broad in scope. These certification prep sessions are generally 75 minutes long and cover some of the more popular certification exams for Windows 7, SharePoint 2010, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Exchange Server 2010. You can learn valuable tips and tricks for prepping and passing in these classes.
Finally, you can brush up your skills with one of the 250+ Hands-on Labs. The labs are self-paced, so you can do them at your leisure, and are tightly focused on one specific concept or skill. More importantly, Hands-on-Labs usually have exercises on the latest technologies, which you might not have access to in your job or at home. My bet would be that there will be labs on the next version of SQL Server (Denali) , Lync Server 2010, Azure, and Virtualization, as well as established Microsoft technologies. The labs are all listed on the session catalog website, though some details are TBD.
Tech*Ed: My Personal Attack Plan
Sure, I’ll be working the Transcender booth, but I’ll also have time to do some learning myself. Last year’s Tech*Ed highlighted Azure and SharePoint 2010 among other technologies. Sessions on these topics will be plentiful this year. I plan to stick to sessions on Virtualization, Lync Server 2010, IE9, and of course, the next version of SQL Server (Denali), which already has several sessions scheduled.
One topic that I wanted to get more knowledge on this year at Tech*Ed is security. Here is just a sampling of the various sessions on security that I’ll be trying to squeeze in:
- WCL314 | Touch Me, Stretch Me, Squeeze Me: The Windows 7 WPF Multi-Touch Story
- Breakout Session | 300 – Advanced | Windows Client
- SIM301 | Monty WiFion and the Quest for the Holy Grail of Network Security!
- Breakout Session | 300 – Advanced | Security, Identity & Management
- SIM302 | Lessons from Hackwarts Vol 1: Defense against the Dark Arts 2011
- Breakout Session | 300 – Advanced | Security, Identity & Management
- SIM306 | Unmasking Administrator’s Evil
- Breakout Session | 300 – Advanced | Security, Identity & Management
- SIM404 | Hey, You! Get Off My Network!
- Breakout Session | 400 – Expert | Security, Identity & Management
They all sound fun, entertaining and informative. Okay, maybe just informative.
Again, if you are planning to visit Atlanta for Tech*Ed next month, please stop by the Transcender booth! There will be freebies, demos, and possibly a pop quiz on how to pronounce my name.
Wow, TechEd 2010 in New Orleans was a whole lot of fun! Microsoft definitely put on a great show; the Keynote presentation had a rocking Zydeco band. We had a lot of old friends, resellers, and clients stop by the Transcender booth, and I even ran into a few of my old students from my training days.
Everybody I talked to agreed that three things were hot:
- The weather in New Orleans
- SharePoint 2010
- Visual Studio 2010
I attended several sessions on SharePoint 2010. How hot a topic is it? Well, you had to show up early to get a good seat. The certification prep sessions for SharePoint 2010 were heavily attended. That’s pretty darn amazing since the exams will not be released until later this summer. A lot of people have adopted SharePoint 2007, and now those folks are ready to move on up. Here’s a bit of what I picked up on the latest and greatest iteration:
- Holy platform obsolescence, Batman! SharePoint 2010 is now only available in a 64-bit version. This means that you have to have 64-bit version of Windows Server 2008 or Server 2008 R2 and a 64-bit version of SQL Server 2008 or 2005. Looks like I’m going to have a yard sale with these old 32-bit servers.
- Windows SharePoint WSS and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) have something in common with France’s World Cup hopes: they are all gone. WSS has been replaced by the new SharePoint Foundation 2010. MOSS is replaced by SharePoint Server 2010.
- SharePoint 2010 has a Best Practices Analyzer integrated in the product.
- SharePoint 2010 has Visio Services. Users can share and update Visio files without having Visio installed on their computers.
- SharePoint 2010 has enhanced blog authoring features and allows calendars from Microsoft Exchange Server to be merged with SharePoint calendars.
I got to work the Transcender booth for a few hours at TechEd. A lot of the folks that stopped to chat with us said they specifically came to TechEd to see what was new with Visual Studio 2010. There were a lot of sessions on Visual Studio 2010 for the curious developer. Here’s what I walked away with from the Visual Studio 2010 sessions I was able to attend:
- IntelliSense now has a suggestion mode. You can use suggestion mode for situations where classes and members are used before they are defined.
- You now have the /langversion command-line option. This option will cause the compiler to accept only syntax that is valid in the specified version of C# or Visual Basic.
- You can now zoom in and zoom out. You can change the text size of your code by pressing and holding the CTRL key and moving the scroll wheel on the mouse.
- You can use the Navigate To feature to find a file or symbol that is buried in the many lines of your source code.
While TechEd 2010 was a great place to learn about new technologies, the conference went beyond the technical sessions. Microsoft had the ever-popular hands-on labs. I had to wait quite a while for a seat, which is worth noting because in years past there was always an empty seat. Kudos to the lab monitors; they did a great job. One of the lab monitors, Bob from Lawrence, KS, even won a dance contest at the closing party on Thursday at Mardi Gras World. Speaking of the closing party, local fare was bountiful and I certainly indulged. The next day I had to exceed the maximum dosage of 12 antacid tablets in a 24-hour period. I regret nothing!
(Photos below the cut.) Continue Reading Final TechEd 2010 impressions: SharePoint and Visual Studio on the horizon…
With the conference winding down, I can safely say it has been a great week! I have reconnected with a lot of old friends, made several new friends, and gained valuable knowledge.
First, a huge THANK YOU to the City of New Orleans! I loved that New Orleans was this year’s host city. There is so much to see and do here. My family and I traveled here a few months after Hurricane Katrina, and it was like a ghost town. That was not a proper introduction to this lively city. But with this trip, we have been able to see a vibrant, active city with people we have fallen in love with. My husband and son have taken in many of the family-friendly sites, like the Audobon Insectarium, Audobon Aquarium, a swamp tour, and Mardi Gras World. I would love to come back to visit again soon!
The Morial Convention Center was a great facility. A previous TechEd I attended was in Orlando. While the conference center there probably wasn’t any larger than the one here in New Orleans, it seemed bigger. And bigger is not always better. I can’t tell you how many times I had to trek from one side of the Orlando conference center to the other, through the main exhibit hall, to get to another class. I often felt like I had run a marathon. The layout here in New Orleans was much easier.
And now a shout out to our FANTASTIC friends and fans! We loved shaking hands, spinning the wheel and catching up with some old friends as well as meeting some of our newest fans. Whether a loyal customer or an IT newbie, you have spoken and we heard you. The main buzz for certification is around Exchange Server 2010 and SharePoint 2010. There are also quite a few of you that still have to upgrade to Windows Server 2008. While our Windows Server 2008 products have been out for a while, our Exchange 2010 TS practice test product is fairly new. But check back with us in a couple of weeks as our PRO Exchange Server 2010, Cert-70-663, product is due to release very soon! Unfortunately, we have paid little attention to SharePoint 2010. But after chatting with you this week, we’re regrouping back at the office and SharePoint 2010 is at the top of our list.
As usual, you guys have the biggest influence on what we work on, so please e-mail us or comment on this post if you are interested in any certification prep material for these (or other) products!
We’ve barely checked out of our hotel rooms, and we’re already excited about TechEd 2011! Next year, the conference will be held in Atlanta, GA, Transcender’s home city. There are lots of great things to do in Atlanta including Six Flags, the Georgia Aquarium, Coca-Cola World, and Atlanta Braves baseball. So make your plans now to attend, bring the family, and we hope you’ll let Transcender welcome you to our city as well as New Orleans has welcomed us to theirs!
Tags: cloud computing, TechEd
So despite my struggles to embrace cloud computing leading up to TechEd 2010, I decided to attend a session entitled “What Does the Cloud Mean for the IT Professional?” with Joey Snow. Snow, a Technical Evangelist for Microsoft, did a really good job breaking things down for those of us new to the cloud infrastructure. He spent some time trying to calm our fears (good move!) and helping us to see the good of the cloud (cloud is my friend!). While I am sure there were quite a few in the crowd who still aren’t convinced, one thing that Joey said really spoke to me: We have to change!
Alas, working in the IT industry is all about change. I’ve been working in some IT capacity and held Microsoft certifications since NT 4.0, back when the items were all knowledge-based, multiple-choice items. So I have definitely seen some change over the years. So why stop now? Exactly. That’s why I sat there and let Snow’s session guide my way into change.
Windows Azure allows for hosting Web servers and applications on Microsoft-owned data centers. It is a virtualized and dynamic shared infrastructure that is a pay-as-you-go service. According to Joey, it will save companies time and money. Instead of having to keep a fully functional local data center, you can use Windows Azure’s infrastructure to help manage your services and applications.
As Joey dazzled the crowd with his PowerShell scripts, he explained how the Fabric Controller communicates with every server in the Fabric and performs load balancing and recovery. As Joey showed us Windows Azure deployment, I tried to translate what I learned into how it would affect the Product Development team here at Transcender. As you may remember from Monday, I mentioned that I felt like Microsoft would have a cloud certification. Well I may be a little ahead of myself, but I don’t think it’s too far fetched.
Yes, Windows Azure is just a platform. But a certain amount of knowledge and effort is required to properly deploy the service definition files and service configuration file. As Windows Azure is still in its infancy, I expect that a few Technology Specialist exams will be launched. But because new features in Azure are still being introduced, it may be a while before the Windows Acure actually has an MCITP-level certification.
A fairly decent Windows Azure FAQ is provided at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/faq/
The Windows Azure forum is located at http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en/windowsazure/thread/de2a7bd7-6642-40b1-81de-eee5d708acf6
Thanks for following another of my TechEd adventures! And, as always, let us know what you think of cloud computing. Does your company anticipate moving into this area?