MCP TechMentor Diary, Day 1: Pre-Conference Workshops
MCPmag.com invited a reader to attend the MCP
TechMentor Conference in San Francisco. We offered him free attendance in exchange for a daily report on his conference experiences.
- By Rick Johnson
With the local transportation strike avoided,
I was able to travel from my home nearby to the
conference venue without any problems. I had a
good first day, and I was especially pleased at
the size and set-up of the conference: big session
rooms, excellent audio and projection systems
quality, and bright lighting.
Conference check-in was quick. I was pleased
with the IBM-provided Internet access terminals—IT
geeks need to be able to check e-mail throughout
the day. For most of the morning, it seemed that
my Hotmail account was blocked, but it wasn't
a problem later in the day. Now, onto the sessions:
Gary Olsen, Compaq—Active
Gary comes across as extremely knowledgeable
on his topic and well prepared. His handouts were
outdated, but he promised updated handouts in
the afternoon part of his session. As of this
writing, I hadn't seen them. I came away from
his session with material could be very valuable
to me in the planning phases of an Active Directory
migration. His sessions, a full six hours covering
both morning and afternoon, were well attended
and well paced. He also gave away a few copies
of his book, Windows 2000: Active Directory
Design and Deployment (New Riders) during
the question and answer sessions—a nice touch.
On occasion, he let some of the more experienced
attendees offer their possible solutions to some
of the questions.
One shortcoming to Gary's presentation was that
it didn't really gear me up for the Active Directory
Design exam (70-219), a goal I was hoping to accomplish
by attending his session. I need to know what
to expect and study for on that exam, and I don't
think that Gary even mentioned this exam once.
The afternoon session was a little slow—Gary
seemed to forget we needed breaks and we almost
missed lunch. Most people seemed to enjoy his
presentation and many were eager to ask questions
or speak with him personally during the breaks.
I've give Gary's presentation a B. If he would
have done more to address the AD Design exam,
I would have bumped up his rating to an A-.
Windows 2000 Professional Certification Slam Session
Chris' sessions was nearly a full house. My suggestion:
Two night sessions. Chris Brooke was a livelier
speaker—he moved at a quick pace and his
session was geared for those that are expecting
to tackle the 70-210 Win2K Pro exam. His session
was more what I expected and I hope all the remaining
sessions that I attend throughout the conference
follow his presentation. Chris admitted that he
only recently passed this exam. Keeping in mind
his exam non-disclosure agreement, he revealed
enough tips and tricks during the session: number
of questions, time limit, style of the exam (adaptive
I especially liked his demonstrations. He showed
many of the tools that you need to become familiar
with and, rightfully, he explained how important
hands-on experience with the operating system
can be when attempting the exam. I've taken six
beta exams so far and I can wholeheartedly agree
with this assessment. He clearly explained some
of the more complex and little-known features
of Windows 2000 Professional and pointed out which
features are totally changed from Windows NT 4.0
Workstation, and where to look for the replacements
for these changed features. I give Chris an A+.
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.