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MCP TechMentor Diary, Day 2: The Humorous World of IT?

Our intrepid conference attendee/reporter finds a product amid the marketing hype and gets up to speed on IP and Group Policies at the first official conference day.

Keynote: Andy Ma on Microsoft Windows Windows Past, Present, and Future
Ma, the product manager of the Windows Server Group at Microsoft, did a great job of covering the past, present, and future of Windows. Of course, his presentation was marketing oriented.

He then covered features of Windows XP that I found intriguing: faster boot up as it's used more, increased performance even over Windows 2000. I was impressed by the digital photography capabilities he demonstrated, and was much impressed by the remote desktop support in the Professional edition. As someone who has done my share of desktop support, I can see how this might be very handy for help desk technicians. He demonstrated instant messaging, with the smoothly integrated one-on-one video conferencing. Overall, I'm even more excited about it, even as a beta and release candidate participant. Now, I have new things to explore.

Andy demonstrated too little of the Server version to become excited about that product, which was a shortcoming of his presentation.

Larry Passo, 70-240, Win2K Accelerated Exam
Larry detailed the MCSE's main Win2K and upgrade tracks and his recommendations on approaching the upgrade. It seemed like many of the attendees in this session knew most of the information and were mainly interested in picking up last-minute tips. Larry covered exam length, number of questions, and preparation for this lengthy exam. He explained that the exams are given in four separate sections and in no particular order. For those who need more preparation, Larry mapped out the availability of instructor-led courses and how those classes map to the exam objectives.

Sponsored by IBM
Attendees checking e-mail and printing conference proceedings at the IBM-sponsored Internet Cafe.

Larry discussed key testing elements for Windows 2000 Professional and then Server, but not with the same level of details as Chris Brooks session. Larry seemed to want to provide more general technical knowledge of those two products and steered away from offering specific exam objectives. I abandoned the afternoon portion, as I found the level of detail to be too basic.

Kevin Orbaker, IP Infrastructure—Advanced Topics
I registered for the 70-210, Windows 2000 Pro exam at the onsite VUE testing center, which, sadly, was scheduled midway through Kevin's session. Still, what I was able to hear was fairly advanced material on DNS, WINS, and DDNS—lots of stuff I didn't know. VLANs were also covered, something I had basic knowledge of. He detailed DNS infrastructure setup and how to have it interoperate with Unix DNS for the best cooperative environment. I'll definitely have to review the PowerPoint slides later to see what I missed; I suggest even more Level 300 advanced issues in the future. By the way, I passed the exam.

William Young, Jr. (l.); Clayton McKenzie (r.)
William Young, Jr., (VA Puget Sound Healthcare, Seattle), and Clayton McKenzie (New Horizons, Nashville) display goodies they picked up at the MCP Magazine booth.

Mark Minasi, Troubleshooting Group Policies
I'd travel hundreds of miles to hear Mark speak; I've heard him in the past and I've even purchased audio tapes of his talks that I've listened to in my car on the way to work. In his captivating talks he's able to make humorous the sysadmin's mundane, day-to-day job, getting us to laugh and nod our heads in agreement. Even so, I come away from his sessions with greater knowledge of his particular subject. I wasn't even interested in group policies, that is, until he gave this very thorough explanations any analogies about how they work. Specifically, he discussed the importance and order of application of group policies, and then looked at some Windows 2000 Resource Kit tools that can be used to troubleshoot these objects.

In summary, Mark's humorous spin on our mundane but relevant IT world will keep me coming back to TechMentor.

About the Author

Rick Johnson, MCSE+I, has extensive experience in network and security design, enterprise application rollouts and management. Rick, formerly an NT Administrator and Desktop Engineer for the Advanced Systems Lab at Hewlett Packard's Mountain View site, also holds CompTIA A+, Network+, iNet+, Server+, Citrix Certified Administrator, and Certified Internet Webmaster Associate certifications. He's currently in pursuit of an MCSE upgrade.

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