Simon May

Client and cloud

November, 2010

  • I’m now an MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate)

    Find the MTA certification path that meets your needs 

    A few minutes ago I rocked over to the ultra high tech Microsoft Learning centre and took a few exams, just for some Friday fun…I might need help!  I’ve always been a big fan of certification (when it’s done right).  I started on the road to MCSE in NT4 back in the day, completed that, upgraded to 2000 and have kept things going since then.  There have been lots of changes to the programme though over the past decade (GULP!) and we now have a set of exams designed for the new crop of IT Professional entering the business out of the academic world.  The MTA.

    Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certification helps schools teach and validate fundamental technology knowledge [and] provides students with a foundation for their careers

    That’s a pretty darn important thing in the ultra competitive market and I thought it was a great idea when I was at Uni to do my MCSE to get me real world experience – I then rocked into a better job for more money than most of my peers.  Nice.

    What I can say having just taken the exams is that they’re pitched at about the right level, they aren’t super deep dive exams that require the depth of experience of a seasoned IT Professional but they are exams that let you demonstrate to an employer that you’ve got more of a grasp of Networking fundamentals and Security fundamentals than you might just get by attending some lectures.  The Windows Server 2008 exam was actually quite tricky, offering up some more complicated Active Directory Directory Services questions that you wouldn’t be able to answer without some real world experience.  To my mind that would make it a perfect exam to round out an industrial placement or internship year.

    If you’re an employer looking at a candidate with these exams you can rest assured that your not just getting someone who’s sat through some lessons.

    I took:

    • Networking Fundamentals: Exam 98-366
    • Security Fundamentals: Exam 98-367
    • Windows Server Administration Fundamentals: Exam 98-36

    But there are developer and C# focused exams too to prove your skills.

    As a result I can now add this logo to my business cards and blog and I’ve got a greater chance of standing out.

    If you want more info on the MTA program and how it builds into the MCTS exams then check out the Microsoft Learning website

  • Video: How to remote wipe Windows Phone 7 from BPOS

    When you connect your Windows Phone 7 device up to the cloud you get a whole bunch of abilities through the portal including the ability to remotely change device passwords, to locate your phone and to remote wipe your phone.  What you might not realise is that when you connect a device to an Exchange account you also get the ability to do a remote wipe thus giving corporate level security to your device.  Rather than detail the steps I recorded the following little video of the process:

    Windows Phone 7 remote device with from BPOS

    If you don’t have a BPOS account you can get one by signing up for the FREE trial

  • Windows 7 Settings Pack for Security Compliance Manager

    SAT logo_standard

    If you’re looking to make sure that your enterprise desktops are secure and all to the same level then you’ll want to check out the recently updated Security Compliance Manager tool and with Windows 7 in your environment you’ll be wanting the Windows 7 settings pack.  Full details of the pack are available in the TechNet library.  Why is this tool useful?  Well the solution accelerator team have the best answer:

    Since the release of the Security Compliance Manager tool, one of the most frequent requests has been to add all of the available Group Policy settings to the Microsoft-recommended baselines so that they can be accessed through the tool. While our baselines include hundreds of settings, there are hundreds of additional settings available in Group Policy. In response to this request, the team has created setting packs. The setting packs include the basic information required by the Security Compliance Manager tool to define custom baselines that you can use to create GPO backups, DCM configuration packs, and SCAP content. This is a temporary solution to address this request. A future version of the tool will provide the capability to add the settings customers need to their baseline without using a setting pack.

    To learn more about Windows Deployment check out Springboard

  • Mark Russinovich Inside Windows Azure


    I was just thumbing around the Sysinternals site (for some handy tools for a deployment I’m doing) and happened across Mark’s PDC presentation which he re-ran at TechEd Europe last week and which I happened to be at.  It’s a fantastic way for the IT Professional to understand some of the (very) interesting back end of Windows Azure.  How it works, what it does, what fabric is, how it heals how it deploys how it all bolts together.  When you’re done watching the vid, go get an Azure trial.

  • Understanding Microsoft's Desktop Virtualisation

    I was just pointed at this post on Springboard and it’s too good not to share…it’s written by  Dave Trupkin, Senior Product Manager for App-V and Med-V and gives a nice overview of our desktop virtualisation technologies.  It includes  video interviews and breakdowns of the technologies that are worth a watch and read, a quick summary if you aren’t sure what the technologies offer, courtesy of the Windows for Business blog:

    User state virtualization enables user mobility and fast recovery of data in the event a device is lost. Because the data is stored centrally and delivered on demand when the user logs in, they get their Windows experience immediately regardless of the location they log in. If they lose their primary device, IT delivers a “vanilla machine” without needing to copy any data. Microsoft offers roaming profiles and folder redirection to address user state virtualization.

    Application virtualization enables IT to deliver applications much faster to their end users with fewer interruptions. With streaming, applications are delivered on demand when the user needs them, not when IT decides to push them. Application updates happen automatically on launch without the requirement of installation or rebooting. Overall, it reduces IT labor effort in all aspect of the application lifecycle to deliver higher-quality, more responsive services to the business. Microsoft offers App-V and RemoteApp for local & hosted virtual application delivery.

    OS Virtualization offers benefits in two areas. When installed on a local PC it allows you to run two versions of Windows simultaneously on the same device to address legacy application compatibility issues. I described this in my MED-V 2.0 Beta post last month.