What went down at Microsoft Ignite 2015

May 13, 2015 at 11:53 am | Posted in Conferences, Microsoft, Vendor news | Leave a comment
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After spending a week in Chicago at Microsoft Ignite, I have a lot to report.


First, some comments on the big picture. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that Microsoft has changed their strategy from buying companies to partnering with companies to get at new technologies and provide services to Microsoft customers.  Microsoft wants to be mobile first and cloud first. They announced that there will be new changes to Azure to make it the next-generation hybrid cloud. Microsoft hopes to convince customers to use Azure as their secure public cloud deployment.

Windows 10

Yes, there was a big splash for Windows 10.  Microsoft VP Joe Belfiore presented Windows 10 at the keynote.  Windows 10 is billed as “Windows as a service.”  The voice assistant, Cortana, will be built-in. Cortana can perform web queries and pull indexed files on the computer or OneDrive. Internet Explorer’s days are numbered; IE is slated to be replaced by the new Edge browser.


The Edge browser will have a language extension to quickly translate a website from one language to another. You will be able to use Microsoft Passport with Windows 10 which means you can use your face as authentication to log in. Encryption in Windows 10 will improve. In the past, you could use BitLocker to do an “all or nothing” drive encryption. Now you can encrypt by document, not drive. You can further extend the protection capabilities by emailing the encrypted file to another person in the company and allow that person to open the file if they use the same encryption type. Users outside the company will not be able to open the file. You could have the encrypted file copied to a USB thumb drive so that another person in the same company could open it, but not have a person outside the company open it.

Windows Update for Business


When you mention Windows updates to someone, their eyes roll and a low guttural groan comes from their mouth. A system administrator does not like to be overloaded with untested patches that will be applied to unsuspecting computers. With Window Update for Business, the administrator will have more flexibility on what updates are applied to company computers. You can configure distribution rings so that updates will not show up on the first Tuesday of the month.  You can configure maintenance periods to avoid updates and configure peer-to peer distribution.  Windows Update for Business will be free for Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise.



Microsoft mentioned  HoloLens, but did not offer a demonstration. HoloLens is a holographic headset which overlays virtual environments onto real ones.  Is this another Google Glass, or something else?  Too soon to tell.

Reinvent the nature of work

Millennials are changing the way business works. Yes, Millennials were raised by “helicopter parents” and always got a trophy for participating. However, this same generation will be the majority of the workforce in five years (2020). Millennials believe work is what you do , not where you are.  Companies such as Uber and AirBnB have used technology to disrupt industries in a similar way to how Millennials have changed corporate culture.  Millennials care less about how the individual worker is productive, and more about how the team is productive. Microsoft  announced that Office 2016 and Skype for Business will help change the nature of work to better fit the needs of this generation. Skype was mentioned a lot because studies show that 55% of communication is body language, rather than spoken word.



VP Brad Anderson mention that the attendees of the Microsoft Ignite conference were not James Bond, but rather  the dude with all the nifty gadgets, Q.


Security is the number one topic on every company’s agenda. Microsoft took the opportunity to highlight the security features of Windows 10. Device Guard verifies whether each application is signed by Microsoft.  Device Guard will prevent the application from downloading if the code is not approved.   Outlook has been improved to prevent data leakage.  Data leakage protection keeps data from being copied and pasted to non-approved applications, such as Twitter, so employees cannot Tweet security secrets.  You can create a policy to allow copy and paste, but ensure that the action is logged for security purposes.   Microsoft also announced its Advanced Threat Analytics (ATA) software that uses deep packet inspection and file analysis to determine suspicious data. ATA can spot the location of a potential attack.

Coming Soon


Yes there will be a new version of Windows Server and SQL  Server, Windows Server 2016 and SQL Server 2016 respectively. There was not a sneak peak of either one. However, there was mention that SQL Server 2016 will allow you to stretch part of a table into the cloud. A good use of this could be stretching a table that contains historical data.

Microsoft Ignite was different than Microsoft TechEd shows in the past. For starters, it was a heck of a lot bigger. There were over 20,000 reported attendees at the inaugural Microsoft event.  The McCormick Convention Center was a city in itself. If you were there, I hope you got an opportunity to visit the Hands On Lab.


The Hands On Lab offered you the opportunity to run through different labs on SharePoint, Azure, Office 365, SQL Server, and others. Attendees of Microsoft Ignite can access these labs online through https://myignite.microsoft.com/#/ until  June 1st, 2015.  If you did not attend, you can still access Microsoft online labs at https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/virtuallabs/bb467605.aspx for free.

Microsoft Ignite was a blast. It will be back in Chicago next year. I hope to see you there!


–George Monsalvatge (that’s me in the middle)

Microsoft Ignite 2015: Sweet Home Chicago

April 29, 2015 at 12:51 pm | Posted in Microsoft, Vendor news | Leave a comment
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Leonard and Phil Chess started a record company named Chess Records  in Chicago that forever changed the face of music. In the first week of May 2015, Microsoft will have their new educational megaconference, now named Ignite, in Chicago. Will something be announced at the Ignite Conference that will change the tech world?  I don’t know, but I can’t wait for the keynote address.



Instead of hosting separate events for SharePoint, Lync, Exchange, Project, and TechEd North America, this year Microsoft rolled several annual conferences into Ignite. Not surprisingly, this conference is already sold out. However, even if you can’t attend in person, you may still be able to look at Windows 10, as well as learn the latest features and changes taking place with Azure, Exchange, SharePoint, Office 365, SQL Server, System Center, Windows Server, Visual Studio, Intune, Lync, and more. Microsoft usually publishes online versions on Channel 9.

Because Ignite replaces the venerable TechEd, Microsoft will provide opportunities for you to get certified at the conference. During the week of the conference, there will be onsite testing available to all attendees for  $75, that’s 50% off the regular price. You can visit http://www.microsoft.com/learning to preregister for the exam. Use the promo code ignitena at checkout to get the 50% discount.

There will be at least 15 exam prep sessions conducted by Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs). MCTs will walk you through each objective on the exam to ensure that you know what is covered on the test. Check the Microsoft Ignite schedule for the times and rooms for these sessions.

There will also be a study hall at Microsoft Ignite that will free access to practice tests before you go take an exam. The study hall will located in Certification Central. Along with free exam prep resources, there will be MCTs on hand to answer questions and offer advice on taking the exams.

This inaugural event will include a Hands-On Lab that gives you the opportunity to run through hundreds of labs on Azure, Exchange, SharePoint, Office 365, SQL Server, System Center, Windows Server, Visual Studio, Intune, Lync, and more. These labs are self-paced and are a great way to increase your knowledge about a topic or learn a new technology.


MCTs are running these labs on site to ensure that everything runs smoothly. The Hands-On Lab is open every day, and I encourage you to stop by. I will be working in the lab, so come by and say Hi.


Also do not forget about the Attendee Celebration on Thursday. The food will be great and the beer will be cold. To quote the late famous Chicago Cubs announcer, “Holy Cow”!



New conference, but still the man with the unpronounceable name,

–George Monsalvatge

Microsoft TechEd 2014 — I’ll see you there!

May 9, 2014 at 3:38 pm | Posted in Conferences, Kaplan IT Training news, Microsoft | 3 Comments
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TechEd 2014 is happening next week in Houston (May 12-15). If you haven’t already heard, this event is SOLD OUT, and no, you can’t just buy tickets from a scalper. (It looks like a limited number of Expo Only passes are available as of this writing, but that’s it.)


Why all the hubbub to attend an annual event? What’s in it for you? Well, not only do you get to attend four days of presentations on the latest tech, but if you’re in the market to upgrade your resume, you’re in luck: Microsoft will be offering 50% off of all MCP exams to attendees at TechEd.

Study hall, free Transcender practice tests, and Hands-On Labs

Not only can you take your MCP exam at TechEd, but you’ll have plenty of support to prepare for your exam. There will be targeted exam prep sessions led by different MCT Ambassadors (check the TechEd schedule as times and locations are released/updated).

Or, you can escape the convention center and study using Transcender practice tests in a quiet environment (including our newly released  70-412, Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services R2). The Study Hall is located in Room 339 on level 3 of the Hilton Hotel this year. The workstations there will also provide you with free e-books and on-demand training from  the Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA). To get there, just take the sky bridge on the 3rd floor of the Convention Center across to the Hilton Hotel, 3rd level.

I believe one of the greatest features of TechEd is the Hands-On Lab. The Hands-On Lab offers you 214 different labs on different technologies that you can work through at your own pace. For example, if you do not have SQL Server 2014 installed at your office, or have access to a private cloud that you can practice with, the Hands-On Lab is the place to go.


Where’s George? Find me and win a future practice test discount

Myself and the best MCTs on this planet will be working in the Hands-On Lab to help you through any technologies. I’ll also be available in the Study Hall to help set you up with practice tests and study materials.

If you can find me at the Hands-On Lab (or the Study Hall), come on up and say hello. Bonus points if you can pronounce my last name correctly — hint: it’s spelled “Monsalvatge.”


If you see this smiling mug, snap a photo and post it to social media — or, better yet, snap a selfie WITH me in the frame tag us on Facebook, @Transcender , or Tweet us @TranscenderPrep and we’ll send you a post-show discount!  

Too shy to post your mug to social media? Closet social media Luddite? Not to worry.  You can just give me your contact information (business card, SMS) and I’ll make sure to email you the promo code after the show. 

How to score your 50% off (or FREE) certification exam sitting at TechEd

If you want to take an MCP exam at TechEd, I strongly recommend you schedule it in advance. To do so, go to Prometric.com and then follow these instructions:

  • Choose “United States,”  and then select Texas as the state.
  • Pick test center MC62 or MC63 at the George R Brown Convention Center.
  • You can take 74-409 – Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center for FREE with promo code TENA409.
  • For all other MCP exams, use TENA50 as the Promo Code to get your 50% discount.

If you’re already a TechEd ticket holder and you plan to take advantage of ExamDiscountpalooza, here’s a word of advice from my past experience: the best day to take exams is Sunday. Yes, the test center will be open from Sunday through Thursday, but knocking it out early on Sunday will ensure testing doesn’t overlap your other TechEd sessions. Furthermore, if you happen not to pass your exam, you can retake it after 24 hours have passed instead of paying full price after TechEd is over. And finally, signing up for an early slot lowers your chance of losing your exam seat to a walk-in registrant.

George’s Picks For Events

As a longtime TechEd attendee, I am always blown away by the amount of programming available. Here are my suggestions for the events I’ve marked as “must attend” at TechEd.

The TechExpo is held Monday night from 6-8:30 at the Convention Center. You get to meet the vendors, see what new products are available in the marketplace, and get some neat “swag.” And, oh yes, there is food and drink.

Straight after the TechExpo is the Certification Nation Celebration party. Just show your MCP ID to get in. If you do not have a MCP ID, this is a great opportunity to get certified. Check with the folks at the Study Hall where the celebration will be. You can mix and mingle and share testing stories with other candidates.

Tuesday is networking night from 6:30 to 8:30  at the Convention Center. Get the opportunity to make friends and find people in similar fields.

If you are female, you may want to check out the Women in Technology luncheon from  11:45 to 1:15 on Wednesday. This is another great opportunity to network.

Thursday is the Attendee party. If you have ever been to TechEd before, you know how fun this is. This will be at the Minute Maid park, the home of the Houston Astros or affectionately known as the “Juice Box”. I will see you there.

–George Monsalvatge

What the heck happened at TechEd 2013?

July 24, 2013 at 8:59 am | Posted in Kaplan IT Training news, Microsoft, Vendor news | Leave a comment
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TechEd 2013 in New Orleans started with James Bond and ended, no lie, with me dancing on stage with Tina Turner. In between those two events, I did some technical stuff and saw some technical things.

As you may have heard by now, Microsoft Vice President Brad Anderson started the keynote speech by driving onto the stage in an Aston Martin, doing his best James Bond imitation.
Color me impressed.

Moving onto more relevant news: Microsoft announced the R2 revision to Windows Server 2012 as well as a new version of SQL, SQL Server 2014. During the keynote speech Brad Anderson gave a demonstration of the speed of Live Migration with Server 2012 R2. Server 2012 R2 performs Live Migration with compression that brings a significant improvement over Window Server 2012. SQL Server 2014 will support migration to Windows Azure virtual machines.

I got to attend a nice session on how SQL Server 2014 can easily back up and restore to the cloud, plus the improved “Always On” functionalities. For those of you unable to attend a TechEd session, you can bring yourself up to speed by reviewing the official SQL Server Blog, this article from Redmond Magazine, and this MSDN video, “Getting the Most out of Windows Azure Storage.”

The title of the keynote speech should have been “Cloud…James Cloud.” Microsoft is soaring toward the cloud at the speed of sound. Companies that currently manage a private clouds,  use a public cloud, or use some type of hybrid cloud configuration were excited to see improvements to Windows Azure, System Center, and Windows Intune.  A few bullet points:

  • With Windows Azure services for Windows Server, hosters can use System Center to manage hosted environments from a single management console in System Center.
  • Azure and Windows Server can offer web hosting and manage virtual machines.
  • Windows Intune is a cloud-based systems management and security service that can help integrate BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).

The BYOD sessions at TechEd were heavily attended. IT professionals need to connect to network resources with their iOS, Android and Windows devices. Microsoft said that they would provide support iPads and other devices in future updates.

One of the more interesting sessions I attended was the “Case of the Unexplained 2013: Windows Troubleshooting with Mark Russinovich“. It was informative and funny.

One of the more popular attractions at TechEd was that perennial favorite, the Hands On Labs. An attendee could go to the Hands On Labs and get their hands dirty with the latest technology. I got to work in the Hands On Labs this year. The Server 2012 R2 (Yes, Server 2012 R2!), Lync, and SharePoint labs were very popular. At certain times during TechEd, there was hardly a seat available for an attendee.


One nice bonus: Microsoft announced that attendees were given the opportunity to purchase Surface RT tablets for $99 and Surface PRO tablets for $399.


There was a mass rush for these tablets. Lines to purchase the tablets stretched for what seemed like miles. I heard of people that waited hours in line to purchase the tablets. It was a complete zoo.


However, Microsoft had plenty of tablets, they did not run out, and both Josh and I came back with shiny new tablets. For those of you who would like to run Transcender test engine software on the tablet: we are both running it with no problems, but not as an installed application. You have to run it in Internet Explorer (in compatibility mode).

Screen of Surface RT

Microsoft Surface RT running Transcender’s online test engine. Plus Daddy’s little helpers.

As always, Microsoft had a blow out party during TechEd; since this was New Orleans, it was held at the Superdome and featured the famous local music and culture.

Future NFL Hall of Famer, Drew Brees, played football with the TechEd attendees.One of my co-workers dropped a pass thrown from Mr. Brees. Tina Turner sang for the crowd. In what was probably the most surreal and memorable of my TechEd attendances to date, I, George Monsalvatge, got to go onstage with Ms. Turner and dance to “Proud Mary”.


The Transcender crew had a great time and I learned a lot.  Such as: I can’t dance. Or at least not with that many people staring at me.


Josh Hester, Aima Rotella, and Yours Truly. BTW, that’s not a booth babe, that’s our boss.

Until next time,

George Monsalvatge

TechEd 2013 Debriefing: One Developer’s Position

June 12, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft, Vendor news | 2 Comments
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As with each Microsoft convention, much fun was enjoyed by all. Perhaps too much fun,  if that’s possible. Besides the nightly siren call of Rue Bourbon and limitless litany of new product versions (Visual Studio 2013 AND SQL Server 2014 … really?),  there were a few drumbeats that bear repeating.

George and Josh strike a pose.

George and Josh strike a pose


Head in the Clouds

The conference kicked off with the keynote from Brad Anderson. Microsoft continues to improve and promote its cloud offering, known as Windows Azure. For the uninitiated, Windows Azure is Microsoft’s cloud-based deployment and management system for applications, services and raw virtual machines.

Although Microsoft announced a huge investment in its data centers, particularly in mainland China, for me the big news was the changes to its previous pricing model. Only running virtual machines will be charged, and billing is now per minute rather than per hour. MSDN server licenses can be used at no charge, and MSDN and MSDN subscriptions with Cloud Essentials or Accelerate will earn free monthly credits for Azure. (See more info at Visual Studio Magazine, http://visualstudiomagazine.com/articles/2013/06/03/microsoft-dramatically-lowers-azure-pricing.aspx).

Continue Reading TechEd 2013 Debriefing: One Developer’s Position…

TechEd 2013 – New Orleans, don’t miss it!

May 31, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Posted in Kaplan IT Training news, Microsoft, Vendor news | 7 Comments
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The Transcender Team will be joined by a couple of friends from CBT Nuggets in New Orleans next week and they’d all love to meet you!

You can catch us at the Exhibition Hall, Booth #2412. Or stop by the Study Hall and test drive our practice test products – enjoy FREE online access to our Microsoft product library all week! You can meet Josh and George at one of the Hands on Labs, where they’ll be happy to answer all your questions, including where the best social events are held that evening :)

We love meeting our readers and hearing all about your TechEd sessions, so make some time to stop by, chat, and score some great swag. We’ll also be launching a super cool month-long promotion that I’ve had to promise Marketing not to spoil before Monday. But trust me when I tell you it’s something you’re going to DEFINITELY want to sign up for, and TechEd attendees get first dibs on registration starting Monday.  This prize is actually so neat, my team is pretty bummed that we’re excluded from participating.

I look forward to meeting you guys at TechEd 2013 next week! For those of you I miss at the booth, I hope you learn a lot, see a lot & enjoy all that the great city of New Orleans has to offer!

–Aima Rotella & the Transcender Team


HOL – Where the Magic is @ MSTechEd

June 25, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Posted in Microsoft | Leave a comment
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Hands On Lab Screenshot

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!

What I Did On My Summer Vacation: My week at TechEd 2012

June 20, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Posted in Kaplan IT Training news, Microsoft, Vendor news | Leave a comment
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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:

Windows Server 2012 Overview

The 12 Reasons to Love Microsoft SQL Server 2012 

Building Windows 8 Metro style UIs 

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.

Yours Truly is the second from the right. Josh Hester is the man in the green shirt.

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.)

Get Started with the Springboard Series for Windows 8

Download Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate (RC) 

Download Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Until next time,

–George Monsalvatge

Meet the Transcender Team at Microsoft TechEd 2012, Orlando

June 12, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Posted in Kaplan IT Training news, Microsoft | Leave a comment

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.

Reminding all TechHeads to bring IT on and jam at the Tabernacle!

May 13, 2011 at 11:53 am | Posted in Microsoft, Vendor news | Leave a comment
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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!

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