Alternative dictionary of the Martial Arts

Many of you know that I am currently preparing for my Black Belt test in Tae Kwon Do (June 12!).  Aside from writing a lot about it (not on the blog) I am also doing a lot of reading and research, and accidentally came across Steve Conway’s site.  Steve is an overweight practitioner of Tae Kwon Do like me, who also has a great sense of humour.  Check out his Martial Arts Dictionary for a laugh!

Take Responsibility

This morning my son broke a rule.  He was punished.  Last week he forgot a school book at home.  He had to suffer the consequences by sitting in class without his book.

While as a father I was not happy with either situation, I was at least glad that he accepted the consequences for his actions.  It’s what we as people have to do, no matter what age.

That is why I have lost so much respect not only for the Apple Corporation, but also for the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.  The story:

Apple is working on the next generation of the iPhone.  It is of course under strict secrecy for myriad reasons.  In April, one of the engineers working on and testing the new model (disguised as the old model) brought it to a bar in Redwood City, California.  Someone found it and, rather than trying to return it to the owner, recognized it for what it was, and sold it to Jason Chen, the editor of Gizmodo (, an on-line technology site.  Gizmodo proceeded to write about it, posting details of the upcoming phone and its features.

When Apple found this out they sent their lawyers and director of information security to the Sheriff’s Office, and told them how damaging this leak was.  The Sheriff’s office initiated procedures that eventually led to the seizure of several computers from Mr. Chen.

Now: I have never left a phone or a laptop in a bar, restaurant, or airport lounge before (probably because I pay for them myself and can hardly afford to replace technology unnecessarily).  However I have in my day left things behind… jackets, sunglasses, a wallet once, and most recently I think I left my Montreal Canadiens baseball cap at a cafe.  Sometimes I have been lucky, and a good Samaritan has turned the lost item in, and I have recovered them.  More often, they are gone.  I had to go out and buy new, or go without.  (Last week I considered myself extremely fortunate when the Hockey Hall of Fame had the baseball caps on clearance!)

Never did I think I should pursue the people who found them – or the establishments where I lost them – or the companies that made them so easy to lose – legally.  It would never even occur to me to call the police or sue.

Of course there is a difference between a one-time loss of a material item, and the compromising of intellectual property leading to (possibly) the loss of business and revenues.  What I think Apple was most upset about was actually the egg on their face.

Here’s the thing though: Jason Chen did nothing wrong.

In my role as a Microsoft MVP I am given access to a lot of secret information and software well before their public releases.  The way Microsoft ensures that I do not disclose any of that information prematurely is by having me bound by a global Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), as well as product-specific NDAs for each beta I am on.  This NDA is a binding contract that prohibits me from disclosing any information, and threatens legal action, as well as a loss of trust which would mean the end to my NDA days.

In the case of the lost iPhone, Mr. Chen was not contractually (or otherwise) bound to any such secrecy.  If anyone should have been pursued legally, it is the engineer who lost the phone in the first place.

Just to put things in perspective, my son is twelve, and he understands the concept… so why don’t Apple, the lawyers, and the Sheriff’s Office?

Let’s go back to the intellectual property side of things for a moment.  My understanding of the issue is that it is not the physical phone that was the issue (it was, after all, disguised as a legacy model); it was the mobile operating system and applications that were the killers.  Rule number one to having a corporate device of any sort is to protect it with a secure password.  Most corporations enforce that policy by forcing corporate devices – laptops, phones, centrally managed slide rules, and such – to have a password.  My son’s netbook has a password not because I told him he had to, but because it is a member of my corporate domain, and as such complex passwords are a technological requirement.  However even before I joined his computer to the domain he had a password, and when I asked him why he answered (at eleven years old) that he didn’t want other people seeing his stuff.

My son is in elementary school and grasps this; why didn’t the engineer at Apple?

For the record I know that I have sensitive information in my computer and phone, so not only do I protect them with passwords, but I have encrypted my hard drives, and if I type my phone’s password incorrectly three times it is wiped back to the factory settings.  If this phone was so sensitive, why weren’t any of these measures taken before it left the factory?

I have read articles stating that Apple claims the leak has cost it big bucks, as well as causing ‘immense damage’ to the company.  I am not sure if I believe that, but let’s assume that it is true.  Neither the leak nor the damage were caused by Jason Chen or Gizmodo, they were all caused by the engineer who:

  • Decided not to protect his device with a secure password;
  • Took the device out into the world; and
  • Lost the device.

Of course, as an employee of Apple, his mistakes are ultimately theirs.  If they want to look for blame, they should look in their corporate mirror.  In the meantime I think that everyone involved owes Mr. Chen and HIS company a huge apology… as well as damages for prosecutorial abuse, reckless lawsuits, and harassment that he has been subjected to.

Tense about Tenses…

I don’t understand why people (waitresses and cashiers specifically) seem to feel that they sound more sophisticated by using bad grammar.

“Did you want fries with that?” No… but I wasn’t hungry… now that I am, yes I would.

“Were you going to pay with cash or credit?” Well I wasn’t going to pay with either… but now that I have eaten I will pay by with cash.

This evening I went to the supermarket to pick up a couple of things, and as I was paying the cashier said “Did you have an Air Miles card?” I answered “Yes, I did.” As I reached into my pocket for it he completed the transaction, and when I handed it to him he said “Oh… it’s too late.  I thought you didn’t have one anymore.”

I weep for the future of the English language.

MCITP: Virtualization Administrator 2008 R2 (and other R2 Virt Certs)

As many of you know I spend a lot of time working in, consulting with, and teaching virtualization.  Because I am such a strong believer in certifications I was proud of the three virtualization certs I previously held – two Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certs and one VMware-centric cert, VMTraining’s Certified Virtualization Expert (CVE).  Without sitting VMware’s VCP courses there wasn’t much more that I could have done.

I was really excited to hear that the good folks at Microsoft – and I don’t know if these decisions were made by the product team or by Microsoft Learning – decided that with the advent of the 2008 R2 products (Server, Hyper-V Server, VMM) they would change the cert model; there are now three exams:

70-659 TS: Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization
70-669 TS: Windows Server 2008 R2, Desktop Virtualization
70-693 PRO: Windows Server 2008 R2, Virtualization Administrator

Now let’s be clear: most IT pros are not going to specialize in ALL of these… and to be clear none of these exams are pushovers.  Just because you have a server or five running Hyper-V does not mean you are going to be able to pass.  There are dozens of technologies that will be required, including Hyper-V (R2), SCVMM (R2), App-V, Med-V… Remote Desktop, Failover Clustering, Server Core, PowerShell, and more.  You have to know storage (iSCSI, Fibre Channel, SANs), Live Migrations, Quick Migrations, and all of the requirements for these.  You have to understand Performance and Resource Optimization (PRO Tips), which means you have to at least have a basic understanding of System Center Operations Manager.  It also, by the way, requires a bit of knowledge of VMware – especially the requirements and procedures for managing ESX by VMM.

Now with all of that being said, there are three separate certifications that you can work towards;

  • Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS): Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization
  • Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS): Windows Server 2008 R2, Desktop Virtualization
  • Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP): Virtualization Administrator 2008 R2

The two MCTS certs are great because they are task-based.  The MCITP is a little more advanced – the PRO exams are not meant to be harder than TS exams, only different, and aimed at a different job role.  However passing that exam itself doesn’t earn you a certification.  You need to pass (in this case) both the TS exams in addition to the PRO exam in order to earn the cert.

Now here’s the kicker: the only mention of the MCITP exam on the Microsoft Learning website ( is on the page outlining the three exams that qualify toward it.  There does not appear to be any mention in the MCP Newsgroups about it.

In addition to all that, as of this writing (May 2, 2010) my MCP Transcript indicates that I have passed all three exams, the MCITP cert is NOT listed (the two TS certs are).  The Logo Builder tool does not give me the option to create the new logo.  I assume that this means that it is a brand new certification – while the 70-659 and 70-693 exams were released to GA on February 12th and March 31st respectively, the 70-669 exam was released on April 29th (three days ago).  I have heard of cases where the certifications are not actually released until after the exams are (it happened with one of the Windows Vista MCITP exams).

(I felt a little silly when I was discussing virtualization learning with a CPLS the other day and mentioned this cert, and she came back and told me she couldn’t find any mention of it!)

Does any of this mean you should wait?  Not if you are prepared… and I will reiterate that you should not take preparation for these exams lightly.  I would also suggest that you take advantage of one of the MSL Second Shot opportunities… so that if you don’t quite pass then you can try again for free.

If you do spend a lot of time in the virtualization world, and especially if you want to stand out to your organization or clients with regard to virtualization and VDI, then this is a great cert to work toward.

Good luck!