Archive for the ‘career’ Category


Cisco Training in Framingham this week

February 10, 2008

For those of you who don’t know, I work for Boston’s fastest growing and most widely referred provider of IT services for small businesses, Thrive Networks.

Anyway, we have are pretty much owned by Staples. Myself and 4 other engineers were hand-picked to go to Staples Corporate Center (no, not the Staples Center) in Framingham (the headquarters) to be trained in Cisco VoIP technology. I am very excited to be apart of this, however not looking forward to the drive to and from Framingham. It’s about 45 minutes, and involves two very busy highways, especially during rush hour. But the building I’m going to is a state of the art facility. It is 130,000 square feet!

I believe it’s from 8:30 to 5 Monday – Friday. That means I’ll be easily leaving here at 7:15 am just to make sure I get there in time. Let’s hope it doesn’t snow this week, however the forecast shows flurries the next three days.

The training is pretty intense. If you’re a Cisco guy (which I can’t wait to get into, this is the first step), here’s the certification overview.

I’m not sure if we’ll be taking part of the exam at the end of the week or if we’ll have to schedule it after a period of time. But I wouldn’t mind going down the Cisco path now that my Exchange 2007 certification is all set (do I smell promotion in the near future?) and grabbing this certification right away. I wouldn’t mind adding “Cisco IP Communications Express Specialist” to the end of my email signature 🙂


I booked my next exam! 70-236!

November 19, 2007

The above is exactly why I have not been posting much here on the good old blog. I’ve been studying quite hard for the last 2 months or so for the MS 70-236, Configuring Exchange 2007.

I haven’t taken an MS exam in over two years, the last one being taken in Phoenix, AZ. I took the 70-270 then, hoping to jump on the MCSA train. Well, the train derailed and I got lazy.

My new job wanted me to get certified quickly in Exchange 07. First is the 236, then onto the 237 (Designing Messaging Solutions) and 238 (Deploying Messaging Solutions). After passing the 236, I will be an MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist). Sounds important, huh? After the 237 and 238, I will be an MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator. Even more important!

Let’s just say I’ll be glad when it’s all over. These are tough exams to study for. With the introduction of new server roles, Powershell, etc, Exchange 07 has really evolved from Exchange 2000 and 2003.


A real nifty little tool that is a must-have

July 21, 2007

Today I was service manager at my job for a few hours. That includes overseeing the entire help desk, helping technicians with issues, escalating tickets, board monitoring, etc etc etc.

I stumbled across a technician that was working on a Cisco VPN issue for a remote user, who was at his home. He could not connect to the VPN concentrator at his office. It was working, and all of the sudden this morning, it stopped working.

My fellow technician took it into his own hands to try to update to the latest Cisco VPN Client (ver. 4.6), since the user was still using client ver. 3.6.3, after an hour or so of troubleshooting.

He ran into a huge snag though, it seemed as if the old client really never uninstalled itself after he ran the uninstaller. When he tried to run the 4.6 installer, it said that an older client existed, was recently removed, and the machine needed a reboot. He rebooted the machine and reconnected up to the computer remotely only to find the issue still was there.

After another hour and a half or so of him trying to delete files and whatnot, the issue was still there. The ticket should have been escalated to Tier II after 2 hours of work (this ticket was at the Tier 1 level for almost 4 hours!!!). I escalated to the Tier II level and I had one of my Tier II colleagues grab this ticket, telling him that I wanted this resolved ASAP and letting him know I would personally help him get this working.

So when my colleague stepped out for a smoke break, I sat down at his workstation and started looking at this piece of crap computer remotely. First thing I did was clear out every registry key and value that had anything Cisco related. After 5 minutes of Delete-Enter-F3, I went to try to install the newest client again. IT STILL DIDN’T WORK!

Then it hit me. I thought of a utility I had used several months ago on my home machine that removed some items from my Add/Remove programs list that wouldn’t go away even after an uninstall. And that utility was the Windows Installer Cleanup Utility.

I googled this and found it here. After downloading and running this tool, my colleague was able to install the 4.6 client, reboot, re-add the .pcf policy file for the VPN and BAM, the user was connected. Good thing, I had found out he had to leave for China tomorrow morning and absolutely needed to have remote access! WHEW!

But now after all that reading, I’m finally getting to the point of the post! Just what does the Windows Installer Cleanup Utility do? Simple:

With the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility, you can remove a program’s Windows Installer configuration information. You may want to remove the Windows Installer configuration information for your program if you experience installation (Setup) problems. For example, you may have to remove a program’s Windows Installer configuration information if you have installation problems when you try to add (or remove) a component of your program that was not included when you first installed your program. You can find out more by visiting that above link.

This program (along with cleaning out registry) saved our ass, and saved a call to Cisco, and enabled the user to connect to the VPN before his trip for China tomorrow morning. It’s one of those tools that is a must-have for your tool-set; especially if you’re a system admin or a help-desk guy. It can save hours of frustration.


MCSA is my goal!

June 23, 2007

Certifications are a beast. Especially if you work long hours, have a life, have a wife and/or kids, and like to have time for yourself.

It’s not easy studying, I can attest. But my next certification that I want to attain, based on my career track, is the Windows 2003 MCSA.

I currently have the 270 exam already taken and passed, making me a MCP. I’m currently working on 290, and then just have one more elective and I will be MCSA.

Here is some more information on the MCSA.

Not sure if you want to go MCSE or MCSA? Here’s the breakdown of the two commonly confused certifications.

Here is a great certification site I’ve been visiting and posting on for years.


First week at the new job: Amazing

June 9, 2007

I can’t say enough good things about where I work. I am not going to name the company I work for, to protect the innocent… but I can tell you it’s in the Boston area.

It’s amazing. If you do some research on growing IT companies (most importantly, the fastest growing outsourced IT company in Massachusetts) you’ll probably find it without a problem.

There’s no secret, though, that I am in a help-desk related role. Some may consider help desk a step back from what I was doing. But not in my case. I make $11,000 more a year working there than I did working in AZ. But alas…

The place I work for is incredible. It is growing leaps and bounds. Everyone is in it for the long haul. Everyone has such a positive attitude. Everyone strives to make themselves better at what they do; and are totally committed to making the company grow faster and faster every day. And the feeling is contagious. I already feel that way and I have been there 5 days.

I work with some of the most amazing people. It’s such a big difference than what I was doing. Back in AZ, I was responsible for so much. Here, I worry about 1 thing… Customer service and bettering my technical and business skills. I have other people to depend on for onsite service, sales, quotes, follow up, etc… all which I was apart of in AZ. I like having one thing to worry out, not 15.

I work in an amazing department. Everyone is easy going, everyone’s always telling jokes, having a good time. I can wear jeans, a t-shirt, and a hat. I can leave my desk at any point and go outside for awhile. There’s always free food, free drinks, free training. I can see myself at this job for a LONG LONG TIME. And of course, being promoted in the process… 🙂

It’s all just getting started. I made the right choice!



ITIdiots staying up with the MCSE Cramsessions

June 4, 2007 (Nicky Curtis and Nick Hill) have currently 5 cramsessions on MCSE Core Exam 70-290 (ironically, the same test I’m studying for, YEAH!).

I mentioned these guys a few months ago.  Their screencasts are very good and very informational, while not being too geeky and technical.

I don’t know if they plan on covering more exams than the 290, but we’ll have to see.

Go check them out. Their vidcasts are downloadble  for iPod, Windows Media Player, or Quicktime. They cover alot of other topics as well, such as RAID, Group Policy, Login Scripts, etc.


I need a good computer bag / briefcase

May 17, 2007

Hey everyone, I need to get a new bag for work before June 4. I’m looking for something I can put a laptop into, but also file folders, packets, pens, MP3 player, etc.

Can anyone recommend anything for me to check out? I’d like to not spend over $65 for this bag. Feel free to comment. Thanks!