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Archive: January, 2010

----- 01.28.2010 --------
Well folks, not too much to update on. I've been quite busy with my new job and the next thing I know, January is just about gone! And since I've only had one post this month (albeit, a long rambler!), I thought I'd add some ramble to it just for the sake of rambling :)

I'm happy to report that all is going well! Very excited for another ultrasound next week! Although we can find out the sex of the baby for sure, we're going to hold off... if we can. And by that, I'll ask the tech not to tell us, but if it's obvious in the ultrasound, then we'll know simply by peering in. Fingers crossed that all's well and both Kim & the baby are healthy. So far, so good... just hoping they don't discover an additional limb in there! And if they do, hopefully it's 4 additional ones, attached to an additional body... preferably with an additional head!

So besides work, what have we been up to? Been watching a few movies (Avatar in 3D was awesome!), playing a bit of xbox. We had our friends Dave & Marianthi over for a dinner party, last week I think it was, and mostly just layin low. We're heading to Ottawa in a week & change to visit some of Kim's friends up there, as well as experience Winterlude. Will bring my camera for sure... hope to get some nice ice sculpture shots! We're staying a nice hotel as well... probably our last weekend away together before the baby comes... exciting stuff! :)

Well, hope all is well with all of you out there. If we haven't spoken in a while, reach out and say hi :) Take care!

/Update ;)

----- 01.01.2010 --------
First post of the new year. I'd like to wish you all a very prosperous, healthy and safe new year. Welcome 2010! I'm very excited for what you'll bring to me and everyone else, for that matter. There's one major change coming in 2010 that will be one of the biggest changes in my life, if not the single biggest. On April 11th (est.), Kim & I will be welcoming a new baby into our lives. We're still unsure if it's a boy or girl and even though we have another shot at finding out in the ultrasound scheduled for Feb, we're going to wait and be surprised. Old school stylez :)

It's this time of year when many of us look back on the past year, decade, or more. And it's also around this time that we look ahead to make intentions in order to create the life we desire. 2009 was a BIG year for me, and for Kim too! I could go back through my archive to summarize all the events, but the big ones that stand out are:

  • Getting Engaged
  • Getting Married!
  • Getting my wife pregant!
  • A new job as a consultant!
  • Selling my condo
  • Buying land up north
  • Officially launching Argee Images
  • Travelling: Costa Rica and our Honeymoon in Turkey
  • Wow, that's a decent list for a year.... 2009 was definitely a year of change! But all my years are... some are just more subtle changes than others.

    Aside from the macro look at 2009, what about some of the micro stuff, namely the past couple weeks (ie the time between my last post and now). Kim and I went down to Windsor for Christmas this year. It's important that holidays be split up between our respective families, and since last year was a Christmas in Alberta, this year it was Windsor. We had a lovely, relaxing time. Well, mostly relaxing. Robb and Laura (my sister) got a new house, so I helped a bit in getting it ready. Specifically, a new interior wall was built and most of the work I did was putting up pine paneling. And a door frame. I also helped move some of their stuff.

    From Windsor, I felt I had to rush back to Toronto to study for an exam. But Rob... I didn't know you were taking an exam? Neither did I, until last week. I was looking on the VMware site last week at what the requirements were for their VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX)designation and realized that I'm still a VCP 2 (VCP=VMware Certified Professional). The current VCDX track is VCP 3 based, however they'll be bringing out a version 4 (the most recent version of their product) sooner or later. They alread offer VCP 4. So, I thought to myself, what can I do to upgrade to VCP 4? In a nutshell, in order to write a VCP exam, you must take an authorized VMware course. This is quite expensive ($2500 - $3000) and requires time off work for the classes. In my case, as a consultant, that is unpaid time off work. However if you were a VCP 3, you could write the VCP 4 exam WITHOUT taking a class, but you had to do it by Jan 1, 2010, but this deadline was later extended until Jan 31, 2010 "due to overwhelming demand". But what about a VCP 2, like myself? Similar to the way that VCP 3's had a limited time to upgrade to VCP 4 without taking another class by writing and passing the exam, VCP2's were allowed the same to get to VCP 3.

    OK, so it's the day before Christmas eve and I realize I have to write my VCP 3 exam the next week, before Jan 1, and then write my VCP 4 exam by the 31st of Jan. To avoid having to take a class, I thought the $175 exam fee was worth the risk, so I registered to write it on Dec 31. Yes, cutting it close, but my options were extremely limited and most testing centers were closed for the holidays. I found one open though, and it was quite the TTC hike to get there! So I ordered the Exam Cram book for VCP-310 and would recieve it Monday from Amazon, priority shipping. And the exam was Thursday. Oh, and did I mentioned I also had to work Tues, Wed and Thurs? OK, so we get back from Windsor around 1pm on Monday and the book is wedged in the door. Perfect! I read it cover to cover, writing the review tests at the end of each chapter. It's now about 11pm and I'm totally bagged... 300 pages of technical facts and stats will do that to you! I work on Tuesday and when I get home, I write practice test 1 and get 83%. I review it and then write practice test 2 the next day (Wed... the day before the exam). I get an 80% on it. I then write another test off the CD that came with the book... a simulation of the real exam. 96%! I'm ready!!!

    So I leave work early to make my way to the testing center... subway up Yonge to Sheppard, across to Don Mills, then walk about 20 minutes to Consumers Rd, where the testing center was. The place was a dump, but that didn't matter... it was serving it's purpose and I was very grateful they were open! I sit down and a few questions into the exam, I knew I was screwed. Most of the questions weren't covered in my study material! And a lot of it I work with day to day, however I've been running the latest version (ESX 4.0 AKA vShpere) for the past 6+ months. And this test is on the older version (ESX 3.5). I knew that going in, however almost of the limitations in 3.5 was blown away in version 4, and all of the maximums are greatly increased. So, I gave it my best and got a 66%. Unfortunately, a 70% is required to pass. And because the deadline is over, there's no point in writing the VCP-310.... the whole point of this was to use it as a stepping stone to write 4. However, the work involved in studying for 3 is identical to studying for 4, so not only am I NOT ahead of the game by having the VCP3 knowledge, in some cases, I'll be penalized in version 4 because I have outdate stats in my head! The VCP-310 exam will be expired in 3 months... and that deadline was already extended.

    OK, I'm yammering on, but it's for a reason. As a VCP 2, why couldn't I go straight to 4 ? In reality, it's very common to skip a vendor's release and go to the following, newer version. So where does that leave me? My VCP is still valid.... atleast they didn't expire my designation! And if I want to write the VCP 4 exam, I'm in the same boat as the rest of the world, except for VCP3's, who have a month to pass their VCP 4 exam. After January 31st, level playing field.... either you're a VCP 4, or you're an older version of VCP, like myself.

    So what did I learn? First of all, I'm very proud that even though I was asleep at the switch and never saw my deadline coming, I tried to do something about it. I asked "What's the worst that can happen"? Well... I found out... I'm $175 out of pocket for the exam fee and have to bear the shame of not passing VCP-310. What else did I learn? If you're going to use a 3rd party for your study materials, use 2 of them! I should have hedged myself by writing a different 3rd party's online tests so that I could find out that what I had studied is not enough material for what is covered on the test. If I were tested on what I studied, I'd have rocked that test! So what next? I wait until a course is offered and hope there's a self-paced online version, register, and then take the course. Then write VCP 4 (just like I took a course and wrote VCP 2 back in 2005), and continue working with VMware's techonology and gaining more experience. In many ways, I find the test has really missed the mark on what they're trying to achieve. The only thing stopping a hoard of "paper VCP's", like all the "Paper MCSE"s out there is the required course and the cost associated with it.

    Wow, I did not expect to go off on that tangent when I started this update today! So, what's in store for 2010? Wait and see... :) All the best to all of you!


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