Passed 742 exam

So the first exam of the year is 70-742 – Identity with Windows Server 2016. A very good exam on Active Directory and Group Policy. I am taking the Window Server 2016 MCSA exams out of order, only because that seems easier for me. I am actually going to take an Exchange 2016 exam next and then come back to the other two Windows Server exams. I am so glad I have finally found some time to get to these exams. From what I can tell so far, they are not as difficult as the Server 2012 exams and are a fair test of knowledge.

The Math of Machine Learning

 If you know much about me, you know I struggle with mathematics. I am more of a history and science person. However, I do try to work on my math skills when I am able, especially when it comes to Machine Learning. So I was excited to find this blog post on the math behind machine learning algorithms and some links on learning those algorithms. The author lists what he believes is the minimum math knowledge needed for Machine Learning. And again, if you know me, learning the minimum amount of math sounds good.

Currently Reading #5

The story behind the case that gave power to the Supreme Court and making it an equal part of the governement with Congress and the President. Marbury v. Madison set the precedent of “judicial review”, but also established the United States as a nation of laws. I completely enjoyed reading this book when it was published in 2009. With the current headlines discussing the authority of judges, I felt it was time to re-visit this history book that could be placed in the political thriller section of your local library. More and more it seems that battles that were fought by our founding fathers are still being waged in the political arena of today.

Currently Reading #4

Hear the words of our 1st President as he leaves office with a warning that rings true today. George Washington’s Farewell Address was a prophetic letter from a “parting friend” to his fellow citizens about the forces he feared could destroy our democracy: hyper-partisanship, excessive debt, and foreign wars. We should not forget our history or ignore our civic duty to learn what our founding fathers actually intended for us as a nation.

Currently Reading #3

 I am a fan of David McCullough having read some of his other works, so I am used to the hefty lifting of reading one of his 992 page books. I’ve always had an interest in the political career of Harry Truman as few presidents have made as many pivotal decisions or faced the number of history-changing events. I was less interested in the first part of the book about not only his early life, but of his ancestors as well. But once he reaches the public stage, this book tells the tale of a truly historic life. The final months of World War II, the decision to drop two atomic weapons, the Potsdam conference, the Marshall Plan, the creation of Israel, the Berlin Airlift, and the Korean War. I am sure I left something out of all these issues that Truman faced during his presidency. If you can dig through the weeds of the first half of the book, the second half is worth the work.

Data Science Certificate

One of the interesting things about participating in a beta program is that not all the bugs are figured out. For those who participated in the three month accelerated data science program that finished on August 26, 2016, we finally received our certificates today. I have no idea what the significance of the November date on the certificate means, but I am just happy to be a Charter Member of the Microsoft Professional Program. Believe me, it was not easy. If you would like to participate in the program, you can sign up here.

Doodled Coloring Book

For those who have been waiting. My Brothers Coloring Book is NOW live for orders! Portions of each order benefit the Terre Haute Human Society. They have a spiral binder so you can lay the picture down flat and did I mention there is a version for left-handers as well. Say Goodbye to negativity and color it instead. Feel your stress melt away when you let your inner child loose with these adult coloring books.You can download a free page here.

Indianapolis #629

Ladies and Gentlemen! SQL Saturday of Indianapolis is now live. I am so excited to once again be able to organize the biggest and best SQL Saturday in the Midwest. We will have 45 of the top SQL professionals and speakers from around the country joining us to share their time and experience with you. And remember we are moving our venue 15-20 miles north this year to be able to accommodate a growing number of attendees. So don’t worry about getting waitlisted this year and be the first kid on your block to register for our August 12th, 2017 event. http://www.sqlsaturday.com/629/EventHome.aspx Also, if you would like to be a sponsor for our great event, please visit the sponsor sign up page on our website.

Currently Reading #2

This was less about the decisions of Jefferson, but the very messy birth of the American Navy and Marines. I had always wondered what the phrase, “To the shores of Tripoli” meant in the Marine’s Hymn and this is a decent account of the First Barbary War. I do have an issue with some of the revisionist bias from one of the authors. Events from 200 years ago should not be brushed with the paint of current events. I had been very excited to read this book and it was worth the time for a history lover who as the ability of critical thought.

MCT – Year 17

Starting my 17th year as an MCT and my how things have changed. My first class as an official MCT was the MCSE track for Windows Server NT4. I had six students that would meet every weekend for six months. I believe five of the six did earn their MCSE. Thousands and thousands of students latter, I rarely have a student in the classroom as I teach the majority of my courses online with students from around the world. Recently, I had a SQL Server course with students from California to India. That is a difference of 13 time zones. I will admit there are a few topics that I get tired of teaching. But whenever a student gets interested and starts asking questions, I get re-energized and remember why I love this profession so much. I really do have a passion for learning.

Currently Reading #1

This year I thought I would start blogging about the non-technical books that I am reading in my spare time. You will probably see a lot of books on history, baseball, and science fiction. The first book is one that has been on my bookshelf for a very long time that I finally got around to reading. An excellent alternate history on when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Japan… or should I say did not drop it. A thunderstorm damages one of only two atomic weapons in the American arsenal. It will take time to rebuild it and there are those who are second guessing whether it would be good for humanity to unleash such a violent weapon. Instead, Truman decided to launch an invasion of Japan instead. Using actual historical documents, Alfred Coppel pieces together the American offensive as well as how Japan would have defended itself if this had been the actual history of the end of the second World War.

Cloud Tech Summit – Chicago

I am very excited to be helping others learn new technologies and asisst them in earning new certifications. On January 19, 2017, I will be delivering two exam prep session at the Microsoft Tech Summit in Chicago. The first is for the 70-473: Cloud Data Platform exam and the second session is for the 70-475: Big Data and Analytics Solutions. Click on the appropriate link if you would like to download the powerpoint presentations.

During the session I focus on Microsoft websites, however, if you have a Pluralsight account I would recommend the following video sessions to study for the exams. For the 70-473 exam: SQL Azure by Scott Seely, SQL Server 2016 New Features by Leonard Lobel, Implement Storage for Azure by Tim Warner, and Practical SQL Server HA/DR by Russ Thomas. For the 70-475 exam: Start with the 70-473 videos and then add Applying the Lambda Architecture by Ahmad Alkilani, HDInsight Deep Dive with Elton Stoneman, and Real World Big Data in Azure by Elton Stoneman.

Nashville #581

 It is a very cold and rainy day for the first SQL Saturday of 2017. Nashville is one of the events I attend every year as there are many members of the #SQLFamily that also attend. I am getting to do two sessions this year. First up at 8:30 am is my presentation on “The PROCESS of Queries”. This is the one I have been requested to present the most often. It is a very beginner level into how queries are optimized and how this effects batches, transactions, and errors. The second session will be at 1:30 pm and is a brand new presentation for a SQL Saturday, “The Basics of Data Manipulation”. This is from one of my favorite chapters from the T-SQL courses that I teach and I am really excited to put it into a one hour session format.

Train Trip to Seattle

So I was planing my trip to the MCT Summit which is in Bellevue, Washington from March 28 -30, 2017. I was originally going to fly to Phoenix and speak at a SQL Saturday. But instead, I figured I would take the scenic route on a train trip through the Northwest. A little more relaxed journey and I get to see four states I have never visited.