Certified Mail: March 2002
The value of bootcamps; what MCPs wear; Microsoft's certification retirement policy.
I read your review of our Spotlight
for Active Directory product in the January 2002 issue and thought
it was very informative. I disagree with some of your statements, though.
The article says "…nor can you view results from more than one DC at
a time, or run more than one instance of Spotlight on the same workstation.
So if you’re responsible for a large number of DCs, or prefer to have
a more global view, this isn’t the product for you.”
This is incorrect. You can view multiple DCs via the File | Connect to
option. You can only view one DC at a time, but you can monitor many DCs,
and each DC monitored has an icon on the Spotlight console that reflects
real-time statistics. If your DC is having problems, the icon will change
color and flash to let the operator know that the DC being monitored is
in need of attention. With the ability to monitor numerous DCs at a time,
there’s no need to run multiple instances of Spotlight for Active Directory.
—Sean Walker, MCSE, FCSS
Global Professional Services Consultant
Microsoft Solutions, Quest Software
Achieved What He Came For
A letter from a student was published in your
November issue regarding one of our MCSE boot camps. Chad McDaniel
expressed frustration with the speed of our program at TechTrain when
coupled with the fact that his firm gave him less than a week’s notice
to enroll and prepare for the program. Many of Mr. McDaniel’s comments
were right on the money—and we had already addressed the format of the
program by the time this letter was published. Originally, our boot camps
had been very intense, with instructor-led training up to 14 hours a day.
Now a combination of training, self-study, test-prep and mentoring is
used to soften the experience and allow students to keep their energy
up during their experience.
What I regret was the overall impression that we didn’t provide the level
of quality service that has always been TechTrain’s trademark. Mr. McDaniel
mentions that he “felt somewhat comfortable with Win2K” and had “zero
experience from a domain perspective,” yet he left our school with his
MCSE. In the end, our aggressive program achieved the desired results:
certification. In fact, all the students from this boot camp now have
their MCSE. Additionally, the entire class purchased gifts and flowers
for the TechTrain-Orlando staff at the end of the program, and we received
several of our most glowing testimonials from this set of students (several
of which can be read at www.techtrain.com/bootcamp.html.
While we appreciate Mr. McDaniel’s suggestions and are always in a state
of continual improvement for all of our programs, I felt his letter didn’t
portray our training program in an accurate light. I appreciate the opportunity
to respond to you and your readers, and look forward to your always-enlightening
magazine in the months to come.
CEO, TechTrain, Inc.
Stop the Lemming Parade!
While I realize that the whole purpose of MCP Magazine is
to promote MicroBorg products, in particular the training and certification
revenue streams, I really hope that businesses won’t be as stupid with
.NET in the next five years as they’ve been with Windows in the past five
years. If IT managers and management in general would insist on “what
works” instead of “what everybody else has,” we wouldn’t have to worry
about whether the DOJ will bother trying to enforce antitrust laws or
not. Insist on open standards rather than proprietary bastardizations
that lock you into one vendor, especially a vendor that has proven time
and again that arrogance and marketing hype are much more important than
product quality and security. It’s time for the lemming parade to stop.
For the record, Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine is not
owned by nor affiliated with Microsoft. Our purpose is to cover Microsoft
technologies and help our readers learn about them and use them in their
work environments. We’re completely independent editorially.
—Keith Ward, senior editor
Windows XP Playbook Scores
I read a lot of tech articles about Windows XP. I could have skipped them
all and just read your January 2002 article, “Windows
XP Playbook.” You had lots of meat and it was right to the point.
Keep up the good work.
So What Do I Wear?
Is your cover artist a male chauvinist? An outfit for a woman would
have been appropriate since there are some of us out there and I cannot
see myself wearing any one of three outfits put on the cover of your January
—Sherrie Andrews, MCSE
I can’t find an outfit for myself on the cover of the January issue.
I spent $8,000 for an M, C, S, and E. I have those four letters and a
loan balance and no lucrative career as the “certification” industry has
promised. I just failed the 70-240 and will now give up and not encourage
anyone else to put themselves through such a fruitless labor to find that
elusive job that the CTECs and “testpreps” all say is out there. I have
jumped off the “certi-wheel.” Certification without vast experience is
Desperately Seeking Adminpak.msi
I’ve been searching desperately for Windows .Net Adminpak. msi. I wonder
if you might have an inside scoop on when this might be available.
If you want to manage .NET servers from XP desktops, you can download
the Beta 3 version of the Adminpak.msi tools from Microsoft’s Web site
Praise for “Your IT Operations Guide”
Thanks so very much for Anil Desai’s fine December 2001 article, “Your
IT Operations Guide.” You bring personal discipline to our craft and
I appreciate it very much!
Just wanted to compliment you on this article. It’s well written, to
the point, and a really good primer on good standards and practices. I
think that just as accounting has GAAP (generally accepted accounting
principles), IT should have similar standards.
—Suzanne Pacheco, MCSE, MCDBA, CCNA
Thanks very much for the feedback. I agree that IT standards in
many organizations are lacking. In fact, it seems like a lot of people
feel that they’re too busy fighting fires. However, just the importance
of their jobs begs for better and more efficient organization.
Suspicious of Microsoft Un-Retirement Reasoning
In your magazine, there have been news stories about how happy
MCSEs are that Microsoft isn’t retiring the NT 4.0 track. There was also
a story about “Accidental MCSEs” in the January
2002 issue. In my opinion, there was a very pro-Microsoft spin in those
I think it would be good idea to cover in detail how the decisions to
retire/un-retire NT 4.0 and the un-retirement of the NT 4.0 electives
were made and by whom. What I mean by “detail” is to have Microsoft questioned
closely on this matter and to have the author hold Microsoft to reasonable
and factual answers. I know I would read this article and appreciate your
efforts in this matter. The answers that keep baffling others and me are
about the appearance that nameless people are making big changes in the
MCSE track with little-to-no regard for the people who actually have earned
the certification. I have a feeling you may not be happy with what you
A New Way of Developing
Thanks to Mike Gunderloy’s online column, “Solution Developer,” I got
a very good understanding of designing patterns in his article, “The
Shape of Things.” It got me thinking in a different way as a software
developer. Looking forward to reading many more such articles.
Tired of the Certification Treadmill
I’m bemused to see the hoopla in your December
2001 issue over NT
4.0 MCSEs retaining their status. I was an MSCE on NT 4.0, but no
longer, since the IIS 3.0 exam has been retired. My transcript at the
MCP Web site no longer shows either my MSCE or MCP+I certifications.
At the time of this writing, I’m attempting the Accelerated Exam, but
I’m afraid this will be my last hurrah if I don’t make it through. I don’t
have the time or goodwill to stay on the certification treadmill. Nor
do I want to penalize my family further by taking time away from them.
Should I actually go on and pursue the MSCE under Windows 2000, I can
already see the shortening OS product lifecycles will make that certification
expire even more rapidly than the last one. As I have already experienced
the downside of certifying early, I have no faith that Microsoft will
ensure that the certification will be enduring or meaningful in the long
—Martin Side, MCP, ex-MSCE
NT 4.0 MCSE More Valuable Than Windows 2000
I finished up my Windows 2000 track MCSE in June after polishing
off my accelerated test. I’d done the Windows NT 4.0 track about two years
previous. As much as I’d like to believe the 2000 certification is rare
and more marketable, I’m afraid it’s not as valuable as my NT MCSE was
two years ago. Hence, I’m checking out Compaq’s ASE/Master ASE programs
to get a leg up on the new guys. In addition, I ended up pursuing and
finishing my MCDBA just last month. The Compaq ASE program doesn’t have
many study guides, and I simply can’t break the three Compaq servers we
have here at work for personal enjoyment. Events of the last several months—whether
the economic downturn, the unlikely HP-Compaq merger, the September 11
tragedy, and so on—have only motivated me to keep in mind that I always
must be marketable to potential employers, even if I’m content where I
I’m considering both the CCNP and the revamped MCSD when it becomes available.
I’m already a CCNA, which means that I have a foundation to start the
With the new policies, MCSEs who lost their certification because of the
discontinuation of credit for 70-077 are permitted to regain their status
as MCSEs on Windows NT 4.0; but MCSE+Internets decertified because of
70-077 can no longer be MCSE+Is. I believe that’s both unfair and discriminatory.
I worked hard for my credentials—both the MCSE+I and MCP+I. Just as people
can see the exams I have passed although they’ve been retired, can’t my
transcript at least indicate that I once achieved these certifications?
—Name withheld by request