Casting off

My foot cast is coming off tomorrow, thank goodness. No idea if I’ll get a new one, but the doctor said eight weeks ago that I’d be in the air cast (boot) for another few weeks at least. I can live with that if it means walking without crutches.

70-464 – Developing Microsoft SQL Server Databases

I’ve just finished writing 70-464. As I commented at the end, I found the overall quality of the exam lower than the first three I wrote.

Owing to the non-disclosure I sign for every one, I can’t talk about specifics, but there were numerous typos, product references were wrong, and in some cases, I read the question as implicit approval of bad SQL and development practice.

The typos annoyed me the most. They were in the code samples, so the code wouldn’t have run as shown.

I have not commented on any exams up to now, so I did feel strongly about the problems with this one.

I suspect one of the reasons is because fewer people do the MCSE exams as opposed to the MCSA. But they’ve been out a year (as of this week), so frankly there’s no excuse.

Anyway, my last one of this series is tomorrow. I’m hoping my luck and studying bear through.

Once that’s done I can think about the MCSM.

iOS 7 and OS X 10.9

I like the new iOS user interface. It’s dramatically updated. There’s a non-disclosure agreement I’ve signed as a developer, so I can’t say much about it outside of what is public knowledge, but if you watch the keynote address from WWDC, you’ll see what it looks like.

OS X is less dramatic, but has taken some cues from the flatter design. Then there’s the name: Mavericks. I joked on Twitter earlier that it was Malarkey.

Thoughts and observations:

– iOS 7 is as buggy as I’d expect it to be, but less so than iOS 5’s initial beta. I had to restore from an iCloud backup after running into issues with the iTunes backup and as a result, lost a fair amount of settings (including, frustratingly, Google Authenticator). This isn’t necessarily the fault of iOS 7. I have a 70% confidence rating that it was my doing.

– OS X seems to have done something to the Dock icons. They seem more defined, including third-party apps. This could be nonsense, but I’m sure I’m right.

– I like where iOS 7 is going, but I think a lot of people will hate it. Remember when people hated the nth Facebook redesign? This refresh was necessary, and we’ll all get used to it.

– My iPad is still chugging along on iOS 6. I’m not that brave yet. I’ll switch to the beta in the third or fourth release.

– Some iOS apps required deleting and reinstalling, which of course deleted their settings too. Some apps don’t even start.

– The Google Drive and Realtor.ca apps appear to be stuck in the “Waiting” phase, which is interesting because I can open them, sometimes, using sleight of hand in the App Store’s Purchased section.

70-462 – Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012

I wrote and passed this exam yesterday and I enjoyed it more than the first one.

I think this has more to do with knowing what to expect from the type of questions, as opposed to the questions themselves. I will reserve comment on what I thought of the questions, due in part to the NDA, but also because I am opinionated.

That said, I followed the same approach as I did in 1997/1998:

– mark every question for review before answering
– go through each question, make notes as necessary, and answer them all, even if guessing
– review every single question again and spend some time evaluating the chosen answer
– in some (minority) cases, if changing the answer, ask yourself if you’re sure you want to change it.

So far I manage to go through the first pass in an hour, and then I spend around 20 minutes to half an hour in the review period.

I always do the evaluation at the end.

Some of this behaviour is to pay my dues to superstition, but mostly it’s worked in the past. If the system ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Monday is 70-463, or as I affectionately refer to it, “ohgodohgoditstheworkofsatan”. My days as a “Senior BI Specialist” haunt me still.