Thursday, 30 April 2009

Inner Geek – Updated April 2009

This week I achieved MCSE and wrote 2 exams in 14 days to do so. Exam 70-294 and 70-298. I am going to try and do one a month for the next 3 months to use up the last of my exam vouchers from school. Then one every other month to do the upgrades I want, and then we will look at what to study after that. It feels great to have completed MCSE is is a milestone. I have made a small chart of some of the numbers of MCP's By The Numbers, that I got from Microsoft's site, the blue are one's I have and the black are one's I plan on achieving.

So here are my current designations:
CompTIA IT PRO, A+ ITT, A+ DT, A+ RST, Netw
Microsoft MCSE, MCSA, MCP, MCTS Business Desktop Deployment, MCTS Vista Configuration, MCITP Enterprise Suppor
t, MCITP Consumer Support, MOS

The logo's are:

Exams Taken:

Security 2003 Server - Exam 70-298
Active Directory 2003 - Exam 70-294
Maintaining Server 2003 - Exam 70-293
Server 2003 Infrastructure - Exam 70-291
Server 2003 - Exam 70-290
MCTS Deploying & Maintaining Vista Client Office System - Exam 070-624
MCITP Desktop Support Consumer Support - 070-623
CompTIA Network+ 2007 - JK0-012 JK0-010
MCTS Windows Vista Client Configuaration - Exam 072-622 070-622
MCITP Desktop Support - Exam 072-622 070-622

CompTIA A+ Depot Technician - Exam 220-602
CompTIA A+ Remote Support Technician - Exam 220-603

CompTIA A+ IT Technician - Exam JK0-601 220-602
CompTIA A+ Essentials - Exam JK0-601
Microsoft PowerPoint - Exam 810
Microsoft Outlook - Exam 813
Microsoft Access - Exam 807

Microsoft Excel - Exam 804
Microsoft Word - Exam 801

These exams were written either at a Prometric Testing Center or at a Certiport Testing Center for the Office exams. The Exams names that have links link to reviews of the books I used to prepare for those exams. These exams are a mix of CompTIA exams and Microsoft Exams.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Please Consider Donating - Ride for Rob.

This is a worthy Cause to Consider:

We are proud to announce the first annual "Ride for Rob"

A simple morning ride on October 5, 2008 would change Rob’s life forever. An over the bars incident that shouldn’t have been anything more than a laugh - broke his spine at vertebrae T11, leaving him without feeling from the top of his abdominals down. It's amazing how quickly a spinal cord injury can happen to anyone.

Rob and Sabrina

One positive outcome has been the rallying of family and friends. A few things quickly became apparent as the weeks passed. First, that Rob would be facing an expensive challenge: financially, emotionally and physically. Second, that however horrible it may be, he was actually one of the lucky ones. He still has the use of his upper body and he doesn’t have to retrain for a new job.
The “Ride for Rob” intends to do two things this year.

1.Raise money for the Canadian Paraplegic Association
2.Provide a facility for those close to Rob to help him financially.

THE RIDE: The Ride for Rob is an event within an event. Riders will race the Chico Racing 24 Hour Summer Solstice, or the Squamish Test of Metal. Please take a moment to view our list of riders and sponsor your rider(s) of choice. All riders have committed to complete a gruelling mountain bike endurance race that will certainly test each and every rider. The riders are making a big commitment and we hope you will too. Please donate generously.

DONORS: At the time of pledging you will have an option to give your entire donation to the Canadian Paraplegic Association (CPA) or to split your donation 50/50 between the CPA and Rob. Please be aware that you will only receive a charitable tax receipt for the funds received by CPA.

RIDERS: If you’d like to join us, feel free to register using the link above. Note that it is your responsibility to register yourself and your team with Chico Racing. You can do so online at Unfortunately the Test of Metal is sold out, so participation will be limited to those already registered.

FAST FACT: There are 350 - 400 new spinal cord injuries every year in Ontario (approx. one per day).

Rodney Buike is a Microsoft Professional I have encountered on a few occasions at different events. Please consider supporting him as he Riders for Rob!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

MCSE Guide to Windows Server 2003 Active Directory, Enhanced Exam #70-294 by Michael Aubert

MCSE Guide to Windows Server 2003 Active Directory, Enhanced Exam #70-294
Michael Aubert

ISBN 9780619217556

This was the second book I used to prepare for this exam. I left my school program early to take a good job, and this is one of the courses I have done completely through self-study. This book was a great resource. It had a lot of exercises and practice material at the end of each section. Depending on your comfort level and experience, you can either rip through a chapter then skim the questions at the end, or as was the case with some sections for me, it was all new and I took my time and worked through every exercise.

Michael Aubert's writing style and the design of this training manual was extremely easy to use, and to read. The review questions, case studies and activities help to solidify new concepts in a real and concrete way. This book is an excellent certification manual. The other book I used for this course was the MOAC by Wendy Corbin.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Exam 70-294 Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Infrastructure by Wendy Corbin

Exam 70-294 Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Infrastructure
Wendy Corbin

Microsoft Press
ISBN 9780735620285

Again I used two different books to prepare for this certification exam. This one is the series my school used and issued, and I also used the Enhanced MCSE book from Thomson. Wendy Corbin's book was clear, concise and what you would expect from a MOAC textbook from Microsoft Press. This book is best for a classroom setting or someone who works with it daily and wants to learn the Microsoft way of dealing with the material.

Corbin writes in an easy to follow manner, the book is well laid out and designed, and the supplemental resources on the CD are a great asset.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Catholic Carnival - Sunday Snippets

The Catholic Carnival is currently on Sabbatical, Thanks Jay for coordinating it so long.

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But there is a new option RAnn at This and That and the Other Thing is looking at keeping it going in a different format. She states:
"I'm writing to you because you've participated in the now-defunct Catholic Carnival. I'd be interested in continuing it, but as a meme, not a carnival. Rather than submitting a post to a carnival host, who would compile them and publish them, I propose to publish weekly, on my blog, a post titled St. Blog's Sunday Snippets highlighting any posts I would have submitted to the Catholic Carnival and inviting others to create similar posts on thier blogs, link to my post and leave a comment on my post giving a link to your post. If it isn't clear what I mean, check out my blog and look for the Mailbox Monday posts. My post is on my blog, and you'll see a link to the host blog. On the host blog, you'll see the master post, and all the links folks have left in the comments.

This is a lot less work than a carnival and would allow you to use your Sunday Snippets post to highlight and link to one or more of your posts and to any great links you have found that week.

I have set up a yahoo group from which I will post weekly reminders. Please subscribe if you are interested. Thanks."

Friday, 17 April 2009

Meme - A fun book meme

This book meme has shown up a lot lately, the first three I read were Catholic Fire, Anchoress and Happy Catholic. A fun book meme, include up to 3 answers each if you like. We won’t tell.

1. Most treasured childhood book(s)?
I really did not read as a child, I could not because of my dyslexia. The earliest I remember reading and enjoying are: A Separate Peace - John Knowles, Cue for Treason - Geoffrey Trease, Piers Anthony - Bio Of A Space Tyrant, Steven Brust Jhereg. But once I got to university and took a children's lit I now read a few children's and teen books a year. Current favorite children's books: Narnia - C.S. Lewis, anything by Madelein L'Engle, Patrick Carman, Kenneth Oppel and Arthur Slade .

2. Classic(s) you are embarrassed to admit you’ve never read?
Don't know.

3. Classics you read, but hated?

4. Favorite genre(s)?
A read pretty much everything.

5. Favorite light reading?
Adrian Plass, Christopher Moore, Fred Seacombe, Noah ben Shea.

6. Favorite heavy reading?
Francis Fernandez, Federico Suarez, Jacques Philippe, Sven Lindqvist, Terry Tempest Williams, Scott Hahn.

7. Last book(s) you finished?
Exam 70-294 Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Infrastructure - Wendy Corbin.
100 Cupboards - N.D. Wilson
The Sword Thief - 39 Clues Book 3 - Peter Lerangis

8. Last book(s) you bailed on?
I don't remember.

9. Three (only three!) books on your nightstand?
The Princess Plot - Kirsten Boie
70-298 Designing Security for a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network - Tony Northrup
Terra Nullis - Sven Lindqvist

10. Book(s) you’ve read more than once, twice or three times?
Singer Trilogy - Calvin Miller
God Rides a Yamaha - Kathy Shaidle
The Way, Furrow, Forge - Josemaria Escriva
Jacob The Baker - Noah benShea
and so many more you can see my whole reading list since 1995 here.

11. The book(s) that meant the most to you when you were younger (ie, college/young adult)?
Favorite Books by year, Favorite authors by year.

12. Book(s) that changed the way you looked at life?
The Way, Furrow, The Forge - St. Josemaria Escriva
The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
Ishmael - Daniel Quinn
Bench Press - Sven Linqvist
Jacon the Baker - Noah benShea
As you Think - James Allen
Infected Christianity - Alan Davies
The Skull Measurer's Mistake - Sven Lindqvist
Dead Man Walking - Sr. Helen Prejean
Waking the Dead - John Eldredge
Life After God - Douglas Coupland
Anam Cara - John O'Donohue

13. Book(s) some would be surprised to know you’ve read?
Marquis de Sade

14. Book(s) You Mean to Read this Year?
I have 3 shelfs of review copy books to work through.

15. Desert Island Book?
Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien
Watership Down - Richard Adams
The Reckoning - James Bryon Huggins
Jhereg - Steven Brust
The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
The Final Planet - Andrew M. Geeley
God Game - Andrew M. Greeley
The Singer Trilogy - Calvin Miller
An Alien at Saint Wilfrids - Adrian Plass
Chronicles of a Curate - Fred Secombe
Falling Sideway - Tom Holt

BONUS! Desert Island Book for Your Worst Enemy?
Their Kingdom Come: Inside the Secret World of Opus Dei - Robert Hutchison
Man's Seacrh for Meaning - Viktor Emil Frankl
The Sea Within - Peter Kreeft

If you want to play along post your answers and link back or post a comment.

Monday, 13 April 2009

The Snow Bear by Moss and kneen

The Snow Bear
Miriam Moss (Author)

Maggie Kneen (Illustrator)


ISBN 043938589X

This is a wonderful little book! It is the story of a little bear who is lost in the woods. He decides to make a snow bear to comfort him until his mother can find him. Soon all kinds of different animals are coming out of the woods and foliage to help little bear. It is a great story with absolutely wonderful illustrations. It is a pleasure to read and look at.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Favorite Desktop Backgrounds - Backyardigans

Here's the Backyardigans backgrounds I created cause I love watching the show with my daughter.
This is part of a series of posts on my favourite desktop backgrounds from the last 3 decades. You can read see the rest here: I wrote about my current one's on Day 1-Morbid Backgrounds and some of my favourites from the past on Day 2-Favorites, Day 3-Sci-Fi, Day 4-SciFi Part2, Day 5-Babylon5, Day 6-My Dad's Artwork, Day 7-Misc, Day 8-B5 Pt. 2. and Day 9B5-Pt. 3, The IT Crowd, Backyardigans, and Glee.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Niagara Falls, or Does it? Hank Zipzer Book1 by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

Niagara Falls, or Does it?
Hank Zipzer Book1
Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

Penguin Canada
ISBN 9780448431628

I read the first six books in this series back in 2004 and was completely blown away by them. Having a dual form of dyslexia, reading these books was like a flashback to childhood and my own early school struggles. Henry Winkler in an interview talks about
his own struggles with dyslexia. The books tout Hank as the world's best underachiever. These books capture the essence of struggling with a learning disability. Almost all my report cards up to high school say "does not live up to potential" or "marks do not reflect ability". It was always hard, being considered dumb, or having to leave class for special education. That is what happens in this book.

Hank must write a report on his summer vacation, yet he lacks the skills to do this in the required way, so he comes up with the creative solution of building a model of Niagara Falls and showing his class his vacation. Yet like so many other good intentions this too goes awry, and Hank once again ends up in trouble at school and at home.

These books are great for anyone who struggles with a learning disability to know that they are not alone. It is also good for parents of such a person so they can understand better. Or for educators who in this day and age are dealing with more and more students with diagnosed learning disabilities. Or just an awesome book to read with some younger people in your life.

Books by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver
Hank Zipzer Books:
1. Niagara Falls, or Does It?
2. I Got a "D" in Salami
3. Day of the Iguana
Zippety Zinger
5. The Night I Flunked My Field Trip
6. Holy Enchilada!
7. Help! Somebody Get me out of Fourth Grade!
8. Summer School? What Genius thought That Up?
My Secret Life as a Ping-Pong Wizard
10. My Dog's a Scaredy-Cat: A Halloween Tail
11. The Curtain Went Up, My Pants Went Down
12. Barfing in the Backseat: How I Survived My Family Road Trip
13. Who Ordered This Baby? Definitely Not Me!
14. Life of Me
15. A Tail of Two Tails
16. Dump Trucks and Dogsleds: I'm On My Way, Mom!
17. A Brand-New Me!

Ghost Buddy Books:
1. Zero to Hero
2. Mind If I Read Your Mind?
3. How to Scare the Pants off Your Pets

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Favorite Desktop Backgrounds - The IT Crowd

Last year I wrote a series of posts on my favorite desktop backgrounds. I wanted to update it. I have been using a variety over the last year. In this post and the next few I will be sharing the backgrounds I have used over the last year. This first grouping is from the IT Crowd, I have these as backgrounds on my Laptop, it's two external monitors, my tablet, my desktop and it's two monitors and even made smaller versions for my blackberry. Enjoy.

This is part of a series of posts on my favourite desktop backgrounds from the last 3 decades. You can read see the rest here: I wrote about my current one's on Day 1-Morbid Backgrounds and some of my favourites from the past on Day 2-Favorites, Day 3-Sci-Fi, Day 4-SciFi Part2, Day 5-Babylon5, Day 6-My Dad's Artwork, Day 7-Misc, Day 8-B5 Pt. 2. and Day 9B5-Pt. 3, The IT Crowd, Backyardigans, and Glee.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Letter to the Editor

As a longtime student and proponent of SJU, I have been shocked and saddened by events there lately. I have watched the institution fall from being one of the preeminent Catholic Intuitions of higher education in Canada and possibly North America, to being just another church college affiliated with a Canadian University. SJU even just a few years back hosted and supported events on a global scale, The International Thomas Merton Society, held it's first conference outside the continental US at SJU. St. Jerome's Centre for Catholic Experience once brought in world class lecturers with a great variety of backgrounds and breadth of opinion on Catholic Theology and Social issues. I am thankful to Imprint for bringing many of the issues there to light. I could not be as unbiased as the article in last week's issue and can only hope that new media pressure will help the board to take some much needed action.

(First published in Imprint 2009-04-03.)


The situation at SJU has bothered me greatly, I know I do not have the ability to write about it on an unbiased way. But this story needs to get out there in a wider media and the Catholic blogsphere. Here are some of the links and articles I have collected, please feel free to link more.

A Wounded Faith Community
St. Jerome's faculty pursues union drive
Perrin says change is never easy
Faculty at St. Jerome's may move to unionize
St. Jerome's faculty no longer have trust in the president
'No confidence' vote at St. Jerome's
St. Jerome's faculty lacks faith in president
Faculty in revolt at St. Jerome's
St. Jerome's faculty sign union cards
St. Jerome’s, a wounded university: Part I, background
St. Jerome’s, a wounded university: Part II, an editorial
‘There is nothing as Catholic as forming a union’, says President of SJU Academic Staff Association
Supporters of UCC

I will post more links as further news develops. As an aside I wrote a piece about former president Michael W. Higgins called Waterloo loses a good man.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Saving Abel - Saving Abel CD Canadian Tour Edition

Saving Abel
Saving Abel – Canadian Tour Edition

AISN B001SGEUQA (Tour Edition)

AISN B0013FSVD4 (original release)

I picked up this album on a whim. The cover of the Canadian Tour Edition caught my attention, and the fact that they were touring with and opening for Nickelback made it an intriguing endeavor. When I go to review and album, I tend to listen to nothing but it for a week or so and immerse myself in the sound, lyrics and mood of the album, both as individual pieces of music and as a collective cohesive whole. As such this is the only CD that has been in my car for a week now, and the mp3’s I have listed to off and on all day at work.

At first I thought it was an ok album. Good sound, interesting lyrics and overall ok. I was not disappointed but at first I was not amazed either. That changed about the second day. The more I listed to the album, and assessed it as a whole the more impressed I became with the artists who created this work. The band formed in 2004 in Corinth Mississippi. It is composed of and eclectic electric sound of the lineup of guitarist Scott Bartlett, bassist Eric Taylor, and drummer Blake Dixon, lead singer Jared Weeks and Jason .

The sound is not as heavy or dark as Nickelback, and for a band with their first big album they have a sound that is uniquely their own. The lyrics are poignant and moving, from the ballad’s Drowning and Sailed Away to the rock anthems of In God’s Eyes and Beautiful You. The sound goes from soft to hard to very hard rock, yet remains a unified whole. I am greatly impressed with this first studio release from Saving Able. It is a great album for driving, partying or just hanging out and studying, or for hanging on the back porch with some friends, some brews on the long summer evenings. It has an explicit lyrics warning on the album, but compared Nickelback’s Dark Horse this album is very tame in it’s lyrics. More hint and innuendo rather than blunt explicit content.

The difference between the Canadian tour edition and the standard edition is an extra slip case cover with different cover art, and a second ep CD with 3 songs, acoustic versions of 18 Days, Addicted and exclusive content release of Only Human. The greatest strength of this album is every artist is featured on different pieces and different parts of some songs. The band is a collective and each member is a strength, where the sum of the parts if greater than the whole. Overall a terribly impressive first album!

(First published in Imprint 2009-04-03.)