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Typically you would need to pay anywhere from USD80 to USD150 for a Microsoft Exam. But this time you can take the exam for FREE! Yes, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. You can be a Microsoft Certified Professional or a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist, to be more specific, for FREE, that is if you pass the exam.

Here is a little bit more info Microsoft beta exams…

You can take the beta exam for free if you have the proper promo code which you need to enter when you register online for the beta exam you have chosen to take.

If you pass the beta exam, the exam credit will be added to your transcript and you will not need to take the exam in its released form.

By participating in beta exams, you have the opportunity to provide the Microsoft Certification program with feedback about exam content, which is integral to development of exams in their released version. Microsoft depends on the contributions of experienced IT professionals and developers as they continually improve exam content and maintain the value of Microsoft certifications.

Please remember that participation in the beta process is completely voluntary and Microsoft makes no promises or guarantees regarding the beta exam process. You can expect to receive your score on the beta exam within 12 weeks of taking the exam, although in some instances, beta exams may take longer to score and your results may be delayed.

Testing is held at Prometric testing centers worldwide. Beta exams however are not available in  India, Pakistan and China.  All testing centers will have the capability to offer this exam in its live version.

Unlike a typical live/non-beta Microsoft certification exam which allots anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 hours to complete your exam, you are given four (4) hours to complete a beta exam.

Based on my personal experience, having taken several Microsoft beta exams myself, Beta exams tend to have more questions than the live exams. I have taken beta exams which had 95 questions.

There is a catch though. Since you will be taking a Beta exam… you can only choose from two (2) beta Microsoft certification exams which are currently available at the time of this writing and they are:

Beta Exam 71-654: TS: Windows Essential Business Server 2008, Configuring
Registration began: July 22, 2008
Beta exam period runs: July 22, 2008 to August 12, 2008
Please use the following promotional code when registering for the exam: EBS08

Pilot exam 70-113: TS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring
Registration begins: July 29, 2008
Pilot exam period runs: July 31, 2008 to September 12, 2008
Please use the following promotional code when registering for the exam: H640
In order to facilitate exam availability in as many testing centers as possible for this pilot, registrations must be made 7 days in advance.

The Pilot exam for 70-113 is a new kind of exam as it uses a performance based testing system.

Microsoft Learning is testing a new Performance Based testing system that will be integrated into the existing certification programs in order to better evaluate and validate candidates’ skills using Microsoft products and technologies.

The Performance Based testing method we are piloting is an exam which emulates a Windows Server 2008 infrastructure. In this infrastructure you will be tasked with completing a series of tasks. Once complete, the system will evaluate each tasks end-state to determine if the tasks have been completed and correctly implemented. This process is different from simulations because you will have every tool and path available that you would normally have in a real world scenario. Simulations restrict you to a small number of expected paths, whereas emulations allow for any path, as long as the end result is correct.

This pilot exam will not provide you with a score as with normal beta exams. This pilot is a test of the exam experience, delivery system and infrastructure, so only a portion of the final exam will be presented to you during this pilot. This pilot exam will not be added to your transcript and you will need to take the exam in its released form in order to be awarded the credential.

By participating in this pilot exam, you have the unique opportunity to provide the Microsoft Certification program with feedback about your exam experience, and exam content, which is vital to the future development of Performance Based exams in their released version. We depend on the contributions of experienced IT professionals as we continually improve and expand our certification program and testing technologies to grow the value of Microsoft certifications.

Upon completion of this pilot exam, the first 3000 candidates will  receive a free exam voucher that can be used to register for any Microsoft Certification exam delivered at a Prometric testing center.  The voucher will be distributed electronically 4 weeks after end of Pilot.  If you have not received your voucher within this timeframe, then unfortunately, you were not part of the first 3000 candidates.

Please register immediately to ensure your slot for the Beta exam as slots tend to get filled up fast and you won’t be able to register when the quota has been reached.

Register online at http://www.register.prometric.com/ClientInformation.asp.

The wait is over. SQL Server 2008 has been released and is ready to deliver a rich set of integrated services that enable you to do more with your data, such as query, search, synchronize, report, and analyze. Many of you have been evaluating the SQL Server 2008 betas, and may be ready to try out the RTM version. TechNet Plus subscribers can find RTM versions now available for download. Speaking of TechNet Plus, read Keith Combs’ Blahg for his take on the UI improvements for the newly revamped TechNet Plus Subscriber Downloads page.

TechNet Magazine recently published an overview of the key changes and what you can expect from SQL Server 2008. You can also get a rundown of the various editions and components of SQL Server 2008 and take part in SQL Server 2008 tutorials.

For more overview resources, check out:

If you are looking for assistance with SQL Server 2008 planning and installation, here are some helpful links:

Once you’ve installed SQL Server 2008, these resources can help you optimize your database environment:

You can also find guidance for upgrading to SQL Server 2008 or migrating to SQL Server 2008. If you are upgrading, be sure to check out Using Upgrade Advisor to Prepare For Upgrades.

Paul Randal, in TechNet Magazine’s August edition, answers your SQL Server questions, showing you how to perform consistency checks, how to handle an accidental upgrade, and more in the SQL Q&A column.


Do you work with Microsoft-based systems? Do you want to get Microsoft Certified but too worried you wouldn’t make the cut on the first try? Well this would be the best time to take that Microsoft exam as the Second Shot offer has just been relaunched.

If you sign up for the Second Shot offer and you do not pass a certification exam on your first try, you have a free, second chance to pass it.

You have until June 30, 2009, to register, obtain an exam voucher, complete your first exam and retake your exam (if you did not pass on your first attempt).

There is no limit per person: If you register for this offer, you will receive one free retake for each paid exam that you take and fail.

To take advantage of this offer:

  • Step 1: Register for Second Shot on the Microsoft Web site and receive an exam voucher number.
  • Step 2: Schedule and pay for your initial exam through the Prometric Web site, call center,* or test center. (Note You must have the voucher number before you register.)
  • Step 3: Take the exam.
  • Step 4: If you do not pass the exam on your first attempt, register for your free retake exam through the Prometric Web site, call center,* or test center by using the same voucher number. Then, take your Second Shot!

Note You must wait one day after taking your initial exam before you can register for your retake exam. This time is required to enter test results into the system.

Which exams qualify for this Second Shot offer?

  • Any Microsoft Learning IT professional, developer, or Microsoft Dynamics exam qualifies for this offer.

*A toll-free number may not be available in all countries or regions.

For more info check out the Microsoft Second Shot FAQ or register to get your second shot voucher voucher here.

Vulnerability Management for Dummies
Vulnerability Management for Dummies

As a business owner, or someone responsible for network security within your organization, you need to understand how to prevent attacks and eliminate network weaknesses that leave your business exposed and at risk.

Vulnerability Management for Dummies arms you with the facts and shows you how to implement a successful Vulnerability Management program. Whether your network consists of just a handful of computers or thousands of servers distributed around the world, this 5-part book will help:

  • Explain the critical need for Vulnerability Management (VM)
  • Detail the essential best-practice steps of a successful VM Program
  • Outline the various VM Solutions - including the pros & cons of each
  • Provide a 10-point checklist for removing vulnerabilities from your key resources

Grab your FREE Copy of Vulnerability Management for Dummies courtesy of Qualys.

Microsoft has been giving out certification exam discounts anywhere from 15% if you buy Microsoft Press books, 32% if you happen to work for a Microsoft Partner, 40% if you happen to register for their first to know campaigns everytime there is a new certification available and up to 65% if you happen to be an MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainer). Of course you could also take the exam for free if you happen to be one of the lucky ones who receive a free exam voucher that they give out during contests and big events or you can take the exam while it still in beta.

They also had a program they called second shot which gave the test taker a free retake in the event that he/she fails on the first try. This definitely encouraged a lot of first time test takers to take the exam knowing that they could always take the exam again if they don’t make the cut on their first try. This is first hand knowledge as a lot of IT professionals I know who haven’t taken any IT certification exam took advantage of this offer.

Taking a cue from that successful Cisco is now following Microsoft’s strategy in the realm of professional certification programs. This time Cisco reaching out to three distinct audiences who may be hesitant about taking a Cisco exam not only for the level of difficulty of the exam but also because of the price tag. Cisco exam fee’s vary anywhere from US$125 for ICND1 and ICND2 exams, US$250 for CCNA, US$300 for CCNP and CCDP exams while the coveted CCIE written exam is priced at US$350.

Cisco is currently offering three promos for their certification exams:
1. 20% Discount
2. Second Chane Promo
3. Come Back Promo

You can get a 20% off from your Cisco exam fee when you book your exam online at Vue.com. Just use the promo code CSNR2F343782. But don’t sit on it too much as the promo code is only valid up to October 31, 2008! This would be a good come on for your employer especially if they will be the one to pay for your exam. Obviously this promo is for you if you are already confident enough with your skills. Otherwise you might consider taking the second chance promo instead.

The Cisco Second Chance promo encourages those who have failed an exam in the last year to try again. If you take a full-priced exam now and fail, you can get a second chance by taking the exam again for free!.

More info on the  Second Chance promo at http://www.pearsonvue.com/cisco/secondchance.

The Cisco Come Back promotion on the other hand is for those who have achieved Cisco certification in the past, but for whatever reason have let their certification credential lapse/expire. If you take a full-priced exam now and fail, you can get a second chance by taking the exam again for free! This definitely is a good opportunity for you to renew your certification.

More info on the Come Back promo at http://www.pearsonvue.com/cisco/comeback.

With each of these promotions, both exams must be scheduled and taken between April 15, 2008, and October 15, 2008 and regular retake rules apply. Should there be a need to take the free retake, you can always schedule it online. Take note however that the 20% discount promo is not applicable if you take any of the two free retake promos. These promos are also not applicable to the CCIE Lab exam.

Candidates who are eligible for these promotions were invited to participate in an email blast sent by Cisco and they will receive a reminder midway through the promotion period.

So how about you? When will you be taking your Cisco certification exam?

I usually don’t bother reading the EULA when installing software especially the ones that I’ve already installed before. But this one made me read it skim through it.

I downloaded a Google Toolbar installer which was apparently the Tagalog version. I didn’t actually notice this until the time when I launched the installer.

I was installing the toolbar on a fresh install of Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition OS running on my jurassic 4 year old Acer Travelmate C300 Tablet PC when I saw this…

(Click on image for slightly larger version)

Hindi ito pangkaraniwang chechebureche

Yup! Your eyes aren’t deceiving you and no I didn’t photoshop this image. It really says…

PAKIBASA ITO NANG MAIGI

HINDI ITO ANG KARANIWANG CHECHEBURECHE

Nice Tagalog Touch!

Although I was having difficulty reading the content as it was in Tagalog. I’d still prefer the content to be in English though as it is easier to read ;-)

This makes me wonder… does speed reading also apply in reading Tagalog?

Microsoft MVP

The Microsoft MVP, Most Valuable Professional, Award Program recognizes and thanks outstanding members of technical communities for their community participation and willingness to help others. The MVP Award is given to exceptional technical community leaders who foster the free and objective exchange of knowledge by actively sharing their real-world expertise with technology users. The MVP Award celebrates the most active community members from around the world who provide invaluable online and offline expertise that enriches the community experience and makes a difference in technical communities that feature Microsoft products.

MVPs are a select group of experts representing technology’s best and brightest people who share a commitment to community. While MVPs come from many backgrounds and a wide range of technical communities, they share a passion for technology and a demonstrated willingness to help others. MVPs do this by writing books and articles, managing Web sites, maintaining blogs, participating in user groups, hosting and contributing chats, presenting at events and training sessions, and answering questions in technical newsgroups, forums, or message boards.

As of July 1st, 2008, the Philippines has a roster of 22 Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals, or MVPs. Only 3 out of the 22 are new MVPs.

Adrian Rodriguez - Games for Windows
Allan Mangune - ASP/ASP.NET
Carlo Guerrero - Mobile Devices
Chester Coronel - Office System
GP Carreon - Mobile Devices
Jasper Jugan - Windows Desktop Experience
Jay-R Barrios - Windows Set Up / Deployment
Joanne Ortiz - XBOX
Joey Gurango - Visual Studio Team System
Jay Paloma - Enterprise Security
Patrick Oliveros - ASP/ASP.NET
Joseph Pacamarra - Consumer Security
Michael Corpuz - Visual Basic
Glenn Gamboa - SQL
Philip Ortiz - XBOX
Rey Vegafria - Mobile Devices
Rodel Dagumampan - Visual C#
Rodney Jao - Device Application Development
Warren Yu - BizTalk Server
Wilson Chua - Digital Media
Wilson Ng - System Center

Congratulations guys!

Ad:Tech Singapore 2008 starts today!

June 26-27, 2008

2nd Level

Suntec City Convention Center

ad:tech brings together brand advertisers, traditional & interactive agencies, portals, on-line publishers and technology providers. With the rapid growth in technology and use of digital media, ad:tech offers an unrivalled opportunity to discover new practices and technologies, and to learn how many of the great names have utilized the net, built brand recognition and immersed themselves in digital technologies.

More info at http://www.ad-tech.com/singapore/

25
Jun

E-COMMERRCE ALIVE! 2.0
A Philippine Internet Commerce Society (PICS) Networking Night

6:00PM  June 27, 2008, Friday

The Magnet Café 2/F B3 Bonifacio High Street (near Serendra)

Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila

PROGRAM FOR THE EVENING

Welcome from the Chair
A warm welcome from PICS Chairperson, Maan Tolentino

Guests of Honor
Acknowledgment of each guest honoring PICS with their presence by EVP Teddy Kalaw

PICS Spotlight
Highlights of what’s happening in PICS by President Mon Lizardo

Sponsor’s Time
A moment of sharing from our generous sponsor — PLDT Business Solutions

Legislative Update
An update on the proposed
Credit Information Systems Act and Payments Act By Atty. Prudence Kasala of Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas

e-Commerce Alive!
An informal panel discussion/interview of industry players on their e-Commerce experiences

Cocktails will be served. Casual Business Attire.

Sponsored by:  PLDT Business Solutions

evenTech Singapore is a NEW and exciting entertainment and installation technology exhibition designed specifically to cater to the burgeoning Southeast Asia market.

evenTech Singapore has been designed to allow buyers, specifiers and decision makers involved in the purchase, specification and rental of commercial audio, architectural lighting / illumination and professional AV products and services a chance to see, feel and hear the latest technologies and solutions by bringing them direct to the region.

The two day exhibition and education forum is being held at Singapore Expo, one of the best exhibition centres in Asia – making it ideal for both local and international visitors alike.

Pre-register now for Eventech Singapore 2008

Do you feel you know the Linux system inside and out? Are you as adept at the command line as the GUI? Push the envelope with Linux 401. This class boosts your Linux skills by teaching you exchange virtualization, PXE mirrors for network updates and automated client deployments. You’ll also discover wiki software and how to develop a wiki for group collaboration. This class focuses on Fedora 8.

You can enroll for free at any time from June 2, 2008 - June 27, 2008.

  • Discover how you can create many computers using one physical box using virtualization
  • Find out the best way to create a local mirror to store all the Fedora updates for quick installation
  • Learn how to create a system to automate installations of Fedora over a network
  • Build a wiki for your users to collaborate with and store knowledge

Enroll now to attend the Linux 401 Online Class for FREE from HP Education Services!

I Just arrived in beautiful Singapore last night. So, yes I’m starting this blog from outside the Philippines.

I know that there is The Great Singapore Sale 2008. But I’m not here in Singapore for that.

With the invitation of Microsoft MVP on Digital Media - Wilson Chua, I’ll be attending CommunicAsia 2008 - the 19th International Communications and Information Technology Exhibition and Conference in behalf of Philippine Call Center - FarmOut Central, ActivAsia and Microsoft Certified Partner - Bitstop.

Reflecting the synergistic trend in the infocomm and digital media industries, the show will showcase the full spread of convergent technologies and applications from industry leaders intended to enhance enterprises’ mobility and users’ lifestyle.

The CommunicAsia Exhibition and Summit serve as a global platform for top operators, service providers, regulators, vendors and consultants to network, exchange industry best practices and shape the future of technology.

CommunicAsia 2008 is held in 3 other events:

  1. EnterpriseIT 2008 - The 5th International Information Technology Exhibition and Conference for the Enterprise
  2. BroadcastAsia 2008 - The 13th International Digital Multimedia and Entertainment Technology Exhibition and Conference
  3. InteractiveDME - The 2nd International Interactive, Digital Media and Entertainment Exhibition and Conference

All four big events will be held at Singapore Expo from June 17 to 20, 2008. See you there!

I might be in Singapore up the 28th to attend ad:tech Singapore 2008 which will be on June 26 to 27, 2008. Leave a comment if you’d like to meet up.