MDOP Exam 70-656 Goes Live - with Charter Member Swag!

Exam 70-656 for Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) went live on June 19th. The first 500 exam takers may take the exam for free by using the Prometric Promo Code "MDOP", and the first 200 to pass the exam get a Charter Member jacket and glass award! If you are considering taking the exam, it consists of 75 questions, is over three hours long, and I recommend that you make sure that you know each component of MDOP very well in order to pass the test. I took it last Saturday and passed with a score of 748/700, so hopefully I am one of the first 200 so I get the cool swag!

http://www.mdopcharter.com/

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Microsoft cracks down on certification exam cheating

 I'm glad they are finally cracking down on this. If anyone gets caught cheating on an exam, they will be banned for life from taking any other Microsoft exams. Hopefully this will improve the integrity and credibility of Microsoft Certifications!

http://www.networkworld.com/newsletters/edu/2008/070708ed1.html

 

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Where the Hell is Matt?

This guy named Matt quit his job to film himself dancing in different locations around the world. Stride Gum liked him so much they sponsored his second trip.

http://www.stridegum.com/#/mattsplace/

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Hotfix Rollup 1 for Microsoft SoftGrid 4.2

Microsoft has released the Hotfix Rollup Package 1 for SoftGrid 4.2, which can be found at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/941408.

This cumulative update for SoftGrid v4.2 provides the latest updates to SoftGrid 4.2. In addition to stability improvements, this update contains the following changes:

• Improvements to the package upgrade when you import upgraded sequencings into the SoftGrid Server Management Console snap-in.
• Improvements to the package downgrade operation.
• Improvements to nonpaged pool usage when you sequence large applications.
• Improvements when you sequence applications that use both the Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 and the .NET Framework 2.0.
• Improvements to command-line parameter handling of virtualized child processes.

New capabilities
This update also provides the following new capabilities:

• Support for the MSI Utility for Microsoft Application Virtualization.
• Support for SoftGrid Server components that run under WOW64 in 64-bit versions of Windows.

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SCCM 2007 Exam Study Guide - Question #1

Whenever a new software product comes out, I always have this impending dread about having to read a bunch of documentation on it or waiting for a decent book to be released on the subject so that I can pass the exam on it someday. Since I am already fairly entrenched in the SCCM 2007 Documentation, I am going to save you some time and start sharing some of the key points of the product with all of you by writing up some sample exam questions that can help you to learn SCCM 2007. I will try to release these questions on a fairly regular basis; mostly when I get a chance to come up for air from working my day job.

 

Question #1:

Arthur is the IT Director for Contoso University. Arthur has submitted a requisition to the university for a licensed copy of Systems Center Configuration Manager 2007 which he expects to have approved and delivered within a month. In the interim, he directs his staff to implement the 120-day Evaluation Edition of Systems Center Configuration Manager 2007 in the production environment with the expectation of converting it to a licensed copy when his requisition is filled and he receives the license key. During this time, the IT department becomes heavily dependent on the software distribution and Remote Assistance features of Systems Center Configuration Manager 2007. The university is now 119 days into the 120 day evaluation period, and due to the bureaucracy of the university Arthur still does not have a licensed copy of SCCM. Arthur manages to acquire a pirated license key for Systems Center Configuration Manager 2007 from the internet and directs his staff to use the key to license the evaluation edition until they can get the requisition through for the university's copy of the software. Somehow, Microsoft gains knowledge of Contoso University's illegal copy of Systems Center Configuration Manager 2007 and reports the university to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI descends on the campus and arrests Arthur for piracy. While he is detained and awaiting trial, Arthur's goldfish dies in his office due to neglect. How many years will Arthur spend in prison for pirating Microsoft software?

 

A. Pirating Microsoft software hurts everyone, so it is a major felony. Arthur is looking at 15-20 years. 

 

B. Pirating Microsoft software is a misdemeanor. Arthur will only spend 1 year in prison, but his wife will fall in love with the gardener and leave him during this time.

 

C. Arthur will be acquitted because he had submitted a requisition for the software and had made an attempt to obtain a licensed copy.

 

D. This is a white collar crime, so Arthur will only spend 2 months in a minimum security prison and then be under house arrest for a month.

 

E. Since the early 1700’s, piracy has always been punishable by hanging. Arthur will be shipped off to a country where cruel and unusual punishment is a legal and acceptable means of dispensing justice and he will be hung by the neck until his lifeless body is forever still.

Answer:
The answer is... well, it depends. It depends on the mood of the judge during Arthur's trial and how good of an attorney Arthur can afford. If any members of the presiding jury have been recent victims of software piracy, then it will not bode well for our hero either. What we can learn from this cautionary tale  (besides the obvious - don't pirate software) is that the Evaluation Edition of Systems Center Configuration Manager 2007 can be upgraded to the full version once you have a valid key for the product. You would do this by re-running the SCCM 2007 setup program of the evaluation edition. Another important point is that you cannot upgrade SMS 2003 to the evaluation edition of SCCM 2007. If you try to do this, the option for upgrading the site will be grayed out. For more info: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb693584.aspx

**DISCLAIMER: In case some of you might have been fooled, these are not actual SCCM exam questions or braindumps. Like, you didn't really think that this was a real question, did you? These are just some questions I made up for your amusement and to help you learn some stuff about SCCM in the process. Also, Microsoft is (hopefully) not as Draconian as they are portrayed in this sample question. I mean, this is not the RIAA we are talking about here cracking down on someone's dead grandmother for illegal hip-hop MP3's...

Upcoming SCCM 2007 Webcasts for October 2007

Here a some upcoming SCCM 2007 webcasts from Microsoft during the month of October:

TechNet Webcast: Overview of System Center Configuration Manager 2007 (Level 300)

Monday, October 1, 2007

11:30 A.M.–12:30 P.M. Pacific Time

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Talk Like A Pirate Day

ARRRGHHHH, ye Mateys! It be Talk Like A Pirate Day! Here be a list of Pirate phrases so you know how to talk to your fellow scurvy curs:

http://talklikeapirateday.com/wiki/index.php?page=PiratePhrases

**UPDATED: Avast, the Talk like A Pirate Day website I linked to has been scuttled! Go on over and check out this other site instead: http://talklikeapirate.com/piratehome.html

Here's what's left of the other site:

Due to the extremeley high load, we had to take the site down. We have several paying customers and their interests had to come first. I'm really sorry, next year I will definitely have a bigger server.

The Official Talk Like a Pirate website might still be running (although their Pirate Translator is a bit crap).

Here's a search of Google for Talk Like a Pirate

Seriously, I had no idea this website was going to be so popular! Thanks again to everyone who visited.

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day,
Old Salty Dog

 

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SoftGrid Sequencing Training Videos

I found some good online videos for learning how to sequence applications in SoftGrid. They were created by Tim Mangan, who used to work at Softricity and he created the original training program for sequencing apps.

http://www.tmurgent.com/VideoSeries.aspx?FolderOffset=\Videos\Sequencing%20With%20Tim%20Mangan\

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The 20 Commandments of Software Packaging

One of my fellow consultants (thanks Erik!) pointed this white paper out to me the other day. A lot of the information is specific to AdminStudio, but even if you don't use that product it still has some good guidelines for packaging. You will need to fill out a registration form on the Macrovision website in order to download the white paper.

The 20 Commandments of Software Packaging

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Eddie Van Halen Frankenstein Guitar

Guitar Center is taking pre-orders for replicas of Eddie Van Halen's Frankenstein guitar - yours for only $25,000! They detailed it down to every cigarette burn, scratch, and worn spot, and even screwed a quarter onto the guitar just like Eddie did. That's an awful lot of money for something that's all beat up; I'm thinking I could do close to the same thing with a Dremel and a blowtorch!

EVH Pic

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SoftGrid 4.2 Tech Preview Now Available!

Microsoft is pleased to announce the immediate availability of the Technical Preview for Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization 4.2. This evolutionary release contains several updates, including Windows Vista compatibility, support for sequencing Side-by-Side (SxS) applications (such as Office 2007, Visual Studio Express and more), and bug fixes since the 4.1 release. This Technical Preview includes the Microsoft SoftGrid Client for Desktops and the System Center Sequencer. To test this preview, the administrator will need a SoftGrid 4.1 or later server on the test network (available from MVLS).As a reminder, the Tech Preview is a non-supported release and cannot be used in a production environment. Microsoft recommends updating to the full production version of 4.2 once it becomes available in July 2007 as part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for SA 2007 release. 

Please visit the Microsoft Connect site at http://connect.microsoft.com to gain access to the Technical Preview. Sign in with your Microsoft Windows Live ID and then click on "Available Connections" in the left pane. You will see "SoftGrid 4.2 Tech Preview" in the list. Click "Apply" and follow the directions and answer the survey questions to arrive at the SoftGrid welcome page. At this point, click on the "Downloads" link in the left pane and you will see the Tech Preview download.

Microsoft has also provided a feedback channel through the Microsoft Connect site. Click on the "Feedback" link in the left pane to access the feedback section and then click the green "submit feedback" button to send any issues you are seeing with the Technical Preview. This feedback helps Microsoft to better determine the future directions for the Microsoft SoftGrid platform. However, since this is not a supported release, Microsoft will not be able to respond to the submissions.

 

Source: The Softgrid Team Blog

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Windows Server 2003 SP2 and the Non-existent SoftGrid Management Console

I ran into an issue tonight when I was trying to build a Softgrid demo. I loaded up a VM Workstation with Windows Server 2003 with SP2, but when I ran the Softgrid install, it did not install the Softgrid Management Console. After doing some searching on the web, I found an article on The Softgrid Team Blog that addressed the issue, and the comments were especially helpful. The problem stems from the Softgrid Management Console requiring MMC 3.0, which is already included in SP2 for Windows Server 2003 and the Softgrid installation does not properly detect that it's already there. This is supposed to be fixed in SP1 for Softgrid 4.1 which is due out Q2 of 2007. So until then, you either need to just manage your Softgrid server from a workstation, or you can edit the MSI with Orca to make it properly detect MMC 3.0, which I will walk you through in this article.

Orca comes with the Microsoft Windows SDK, which you can download from here if you don't have it already. Once you get it installed, make a copy of \Installers\Server\Softgrid Virtual Application Server.msi from the Softgrid source files because if we're going to do an edit on a file, we're going to do it on the copy, right? Smile

Once the file is open, you will see the table in the MSI listed on the left. Click on the Condition table and the Release_SoftGrid_Management_Console condition will be displayed on the right-hand pane. Notice that the value for this condition is ((VersionNT = 501 And ServicePackLevel = 2) Or (VersionNT = 502 And ServicePackLevel = 1)); you need to click on it and add a greater than sign to the end like this: >= 1)). Here's a screen shot of what it should look like:

Softgrid Orca Edit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now save the file and close Orca, and when you run the Softgrid install it will include the Softgrid Management Console as it will evaluate SP2 as greater than or equal to SP1.

Source: The Softgrid Team Blog

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Forza Motorsport 2 - Released Tuesday 5/29!

Forza Motorsport 2 comes out Tuesday for the Xbox 360. Although I typically go for the arcade racers, I may end up picking this one up since it looks really cool. I'm not very good at the realistic racing games, and I usually rely on the guardrails to keep me on the track. This also crosses over into real life, where I like to bowl with the gutter guards in place. Stick out tongue

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2007/may07/05-25ForzaMotorsport2PR.mspx

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SMS 2003 SP3 Documentation

I noticed today that the documentation for SMS 2003 SP3 is finally up on the SMS product documentation site. They have also recently uploaded the SMS 2003 Asset Intelligence Help file as well.

 http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sms/2003/library/proddocs.mspx

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