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The 4th Annual Minasi Conference 2009

It’s time for the 4th Annual Minasi Conference 2009 (http://web2.minasi.com/forummeet2009/forummeet2009.htm)! It will be held from April 19th to April 22nd 2009 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The location will be the same as last year, the Virginia Beach Resort Hotel and Conference Center.

Hosted by Mark Minasi (http://www.minasi.com), a familiar speaker on the tech circuit, he’s also the author of the top selling Mastering series of books and winner of several Reader’s Choice awards as “Favorite Technical Author” from CertCities. He also writes a column for Windows IT Pro magazine and sends out a monthly Windows Tech Support newsletter to his email list.

In its fourth year in 2009, the conference has doubled each of the past three years. Forum members from all over the world (Canada, Ireland, England, Denmark, the Netherlands, United States, etc.) come each year to share, teach and learn from each other. Forum members are given the opportunity to share their knowledge and present sessions on current technologies that they’re working with.

Professional Speakers during the past conferences included: Don Jones, Windows PowerShell MVP (http://www.concentratedtech.com); Greg Shields, Windows Terminal Services MVP (http://www.concentratedtech.com); Darren Mar Elia, Group Policy MVP (http://www.sdmsoftware.com); Todd Lammle, author of several Cisco books and President of GlobalNet Training (http://www.lammle.com); Rhonda Layfield, Windows Deployment expert (http://www.minasi.com); and Jeremy Moskowitz, Group Policy MVP (http://www.gpanswers.com); and, of course, Mark Minasi.

So if you’re looking for a great community of IT Professionals and are looking to share what you know, join the Forum. If you’re looking to attend a great conference this year, mark your calendar for the Minasi Conference 2009. And don’t forget to spread the word!

For more information on the Minasi Conference 2009, visit http://web2.minasi.com/forummeet2009/forummeet2009.htm for more details and to learn what’s new for this year.

 
 
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Mark Minasi Forum Meet 2008 – All about Community

 

The Minasi Forum Meet 2008 (http://web2.minasi.com/forummeet2008/) took place a few weeks ago in Virginia Beach. If you haven’t heard of the conference yet, you will.

If you’re a serious Windows SysAdmin, then likely you’ve heard of Mark Minasi. He’s written several of the top selling Mastering series of books and he has several Reader’s Choice awards as “Favourite Technical Author” from CertCities. He also writes a column for Windows IT Pro magazine and sends out a monthly Windows Tech Support newsletter to his email list.

Back in 2002 Mark started an online forum (http://web2.minasi.com/forum/) and opened it up to his email list. Started as a way to help his readers share information, it soon formed into a community of like minded Windows admin’s, willing to help each other resolve technical issues. The Minasi Forum Meet grew out of a desire of that community of regular forum members to get together and to teach/learn/share information in person.

In it’s third year, and started by Mark and members of his online forum, the conference has doubled each of the past two years, starting with about a dozen forum members the first year to over 50 attendee’s this year. Forum members from all over the world (Canada, Ireland, England, Denmark, the Netherlands, United States, etc.) come each year to share, teach and learn from each other. Forum members are given the opportunity to share their knowledge and present sessions on current technologies that they’re working with. To encourage more forum members to share, Mark did a talk this year on “Successfully Teaching Technical Topics: How to Teach ‘Em Without Tucking ‘Em In”, which got comments from attendee’s about how they want to do a session next year. Past attendee’s have taken the community aspect of the forum and the Minasi Forum Meet back home with them and they’ve started their own User Groups and blogs to share with their local IT Pro communities.

The Minasi Forum community has grown over the past few years and several industry professionals have taken notice and posted answers to questions on the forum or attended the Forum Meet. Previous attendee’s of the Forum Meet who did sessions included: Darren Mar Elia, the GPO Guy (http://www.gpoguy.com/ and http://www.sdmsoftware.com/); Todd Lammle (http://www.lammle.com/) author of Cisco books and President of GlobalNet Training; Rhonda Layfield, Windows Deployment expert (http://www.minasi.com/); and of course Mark Minasi. This year was no different and some of the new industry professionals we had included: Don Jones, Windows PowerShell MVP (http://www.sapien.com); Greg Shields, author and speaker (http://www.sapienpress.com/Windows_Server_08.asp); and Jeremy Moskowitz, Group Policy author (http://www.gpanswers.com).

For the Forum Meet 2008, we had some great sessions by current Forum members. Nathan Winters (who started the Microsoft Messaging & Mobility User Group UK, http://www.mmmug.co.uk/, after the first Forum Meet) did sessions on Exchange 2007 and Office Communication Server 2007. Curt Spanburgh did a session on Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server 2007. Eric Rux (who also did a great job of putting the Forum Meet together this year) did a session on Windows Home Server. And James Summerlin did a session on Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Integration Services.

After listening to all the presentations and talking with all the other Forum members, what I came away with this year was that I shouldn’t get stuck in reaction mode. I need to keep looking forward to see where I want to go and start learning what I need to know now (like learning PowerShell since Microsoft is building everything on top of it). And with a great community of professionals willing to help each other out, an answer to a problem is usually only a forum post away.

So if you’re looking for a great community of IT Professionals and are looking to share what you know, join the Forum. If you’re looking to attend a conference next year, mark your calendar for the Minasi Forum Meet 2009. You may even see me doing a presentation next year!

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It’s been a while…

 

OK, so it’s been a while since I last did a post. But just came back from the Minasi Forum Meet 2008 and I’m putting together a post. So stay tuned!!

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Got a new Vista Laptop!!!

I’ve been busy for the past while so I haven’t had a chance to put anything down.
 
My desktop has been crashing the past week, so I decided to buy a new laptop. This was so that I could have the portability to work on stuff, without being tied to a desk. And since anything you buy now has Vista preinstalled, I figured, why not go for it with Ultimate to have all the goodies to play around with. Plus I wanted to do some virtualization, and apparently you can’t do that with any of the Home versions
 
So I started searching and found out our company negotiated a Dell Employee Purchase Plan discount because of all the computers they sell us. So I went through their offerings. I wanted something light and wasn’t really worried about screen size since I could always connect a monitor if I needed more screen room. The laptops with 17" displays were way to heavy to carry around and so were the 15" display’s. So I figured something around a 14" display worked for me. So that left me with the Inspiron 640m or the Lattitude D620.
 
But as I started configuring laptops, the price just kept getting more and more expensive. I use a D620 at work but the cost of the upgrades was expensive. And I didn’t like the fact that the 640m only came with an onboard video card that couldn’t be upgraded. So I went to one of the shopping centre’s near where I live because I heard they had a Dell booth there. While checking out their laptops, playing around with them, checking the weight of them, etc., I noticed that they had an XPS M1210 with a 12.1" display. The XPS models are their gaming machines that are supposed to have better quality components. Even though it had a 12" display (not sure how well the gaming is on a small screen), but I really liked the laptop. The model comes with a built in webcam, Bluetooth, and a few other things. I upgraded the RAM to 2GB and upgraded a few other things. When I went to the Dell website to configure it, they were offering a free upgrade to Vista Ultimate ($200 value apparently) and an upgraded nVidia 256MB graphics cards for free as well. After playing with it for a while, the fact that it was only a 12" display didn’t bother me.
 
After doing the configuration, I called up the Dell EPP rep and sent him the quote I got from the website. He said he could give me 6% off on top of the web quote. But, he said, that I had only quoted for 1 year CompleteCare warranty (their accidental damage warranty which is supposed to replace things even if I drop the laptop or whatever). If I had upgraded to a 3 year CompleteCare warranty, I could get a 12% discount. After doing the pricing with the 3 years and 12%, it was only $37 more, but with 3 years CompleteCare.
 
So after thinking about it, I placed the order. Now I just have to wait for Dell to "build and ship" the laptop. Here’s the configuration I purchased:
 
 
XPS M1210
Core2Duo T7200 2Ghz
Windows Vista Ultimate
2GB DDR2 667Mhz
Intel Pro Wireless 3945 a/b/g
256 MB nVidia 7400 TurboCache
85 Watt, 9-cell battery
8X DVD+/- RW DL drive
12.1 in WXGA display with integrated webcam and wireless antenna
100 GB Hard Drive, 7.2K
355 Bluetooth Wireless
TV Tuner, w/Remote, TVT-2 USB
Integrated NIC and Modem
Integrated audio
Mulitmedia cables
Backpack Carrying case
Vista PC-Restore
Dell Resource DVD
Roxio Creator LE
MS Works Suite 2006
3 year CompleteCare Accidental Damage warranty
 
 
 
 
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Backup Exec 10d Training

On Tuesday, October 10, I’m going for 3 days training on Symantec’s Backup Exec 10d at their office on Steeles in Markham. If it’s any good, I’ll post updates here during the week.

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VMware User Group – Toronto

Last Thursday, I was at the first VMWare User Group meeting in Toronto. It was held at HP’s office in Mississauga, just west of Toronto. The first presentation was from HP (of course since it was their venue).

Then there was a presentation by VizionCore (http://vizioncore.com/). They make software than enhances VMWare’s products. They focused on their products that help administrators migrate their older ESX 2.5 systems to VMWare’s VI3 (esxMigrator). They also have software (esxRanger Professional) that can backup and restore virtual machines for disaster recovery. The programs look easy to use and by attending the user group, they were giving attendee’s a copy of their software to migrate 2 machines as a trial.

Then there was a presentation by Mike Burnett from VMWare. He presented some of the new stuff in VI3 and let everyone know that VI3.01 was out as of Monday.

It looks like they will try doing the user group quarterly for now until they see how big a group keeps attending then determining how often the group should meet.

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