Betatesting 70-340

by Sander Gerz April 26, 2004 20:54

Today I gave exam 70-340 (Implementing Security for Applications with Microsoft Visual C# .NET, or 71-340 as it's called in beta) a shot. Well, after careful preparation of course, although not as much as I would have liked, but isn't that always so.

Anyway, I prepared myself with the book .NET Framework security. The book has got mostly positive reviews and I concur with most of these. It is, however, a bit dry at times, and it tries to cover a lot of ground with mostly text. Actually, I cannot remember seeing any illustration... maybe I missed them as I didn't read the 800 pages from front to cover. After reading most introductory paragraphs and closing summaries, I went to take a look at the exam preparation guide. Now, I did not find every single subject in the book, but combined with the MSDN Library few missing parts were left. I also checked out a few webcasts and especially liked the one by Juval Lowy.

The security section on MSDN is an overall good point to start your search on security in the .NET Framework. There's also a good article on code access security here.

So how did al this information fit into the actual exam? Well, you know of course that it's not possible to post too much information on the actual contents. If you see anything that violates this, please let me know.

Virtually all of the almost 90 questions begin with “you are an application developer for your company”. Not very creative, but perhaps it allows you to concentrate more on the question at hand than be distracted with non-relevant circumstances. Most questions deal with application security. I would expected more code access security caveats. Code access security was one of the topices I thought I knew least about before my prepartion for this exam. It turns out I should have focused a bit more on cryptography. If I answered any of the questions on cryptography right, it's more luck than knowledge. There weren't that many anyway. Since COM+, ASP.NET and Windows security are areas I've dealt with in real life situations I felt more secure in answering related questions.

It was annoying that the screen at the testcenter defaulted to a resolution of 640x480. This way, I was unable to read some of the questions or answers, especially when they involved sourcecode. Naturally I mentioned this and the testcenter support staff tried to fix this, but they failed. I had to guess on 1 or 2 questions, but mostly it was just a nuisance that, other than distracting me, would not influence my picking the correct answer, or what I believed it to be.

After about 2 hours I was finished. You get 4 hours to complete it, so there's plenty time left and no extra worries that you'll be stressed for time. I don't know if I passed, since scoring beta exams usually take 8 weeks after the betaperiod ends. The fact that I didn't find the exam too difficult can be a positive thing but also a negative one. It may indicate my sound knowledge of the subject, but it may also indicate that they will increase the passing score level.

Anyone with this exam on their schedule (Darrel?), good luck! 

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Not too bad

by Sander Gerz April 22, 2004 08:23
Master!
You are a MASTER of the English language!

While your English is not exactly perfect,
you are still more grammatically correct than
just about every American. Still, there is
always room for improvement...

How grammatically sound are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

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Another year amongst the MVPs

by Sander Gerz April 13, 2004 20:14

Today, I received mail that Microsoft recognizes me for another year as an MVP. Naturally, I'm very pleased with the award. 

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Seattle Highlights

by Sander Gerz April 11, 2004 17:36

The day after the MVP Summit I had arranged for an extra day to tour the city of Seattle. I decided to take a boat tour which proved very entertaining. The weather was very helpful in this matter.

To see some of the pictures go to the Seattle Highlights gallery. There's also a movie with barking sea lions, but be aware that this movie is 11MB.

No .NET related content here.

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MVP Summit: Last day

by Sander Gerz April 08, 2004 17:38

Yesterday was the last day of the MVP Summit. Yes, that was yesterday. I have not had the time, or the energy rather, to post an entry right after closing time. The whole day was filled with info on the new features of Whidbey, especially concerning the Visual Basic IDE and language. That's what I opted for when asked what sessions I would like to do on Wednesday. There were also sessions on ASP.NET, C# etc. But you can be one at one place at a time and since most of my current work involves VB, this was the best option.,

The VB team went out of their way to improve interaction with the MVPs which is good. They want to make sure that MVPs are more involved in making VB a better, no the best language for .NET development. Which is a pretty difficult thing to do if you want to attract people coming from VB5/6, newbies, and hard-core developers that have been using VB.NET since Beta 1. One thing that makes VB stand out is productivity. To make sure that you can be 2 to 4 times more productive with VB than with C# is the challenge that the VB team has taken up, and by the looks of it, they may well achieve that with VS Whidbey. For instance, there's a new 'My' namespace that exposes a lot of classes and methods to get quick access to resources on the local computer (network, drives, sound). The only issue I see is that all this will create 3, 5 or more solutions to tackle a single problem. That may confuse a lot of people, that will create discussion on what is the best practice and in my opinion, we don't need a discussion like that. If you want to be productive, you don't need 5 options and figure out for yourself which of these options is the 'right thing to do'.

So the VB team has a lot to do when it comes to documentation, presenting best practices, quick answers to common problems. And that's where the MVPs come in. The question was how many attendees at this session were willing to contribute to create content for the VB section on MSDN. Naturally a lot of MVPs raised their hand (including me), but I hope there's an uncomplicated way to submit content or rather, a way that is not time consuming, because we are all busy. Looking at the codesnippet section on DevTips.NET not a lot of people are contributing. Why is that? If you have an answer, please tell me.

Anyway, it was good to hear the VB product team reach out and try to increase interaction with us. Even if most of the featureset in Whidbey is now frozen, it may prove useful for the version after that and at least optimize the features that are included in Whidbey (partial classes, generics, code refactoring, etc. (I can't remember the complete featurelist)).

By no means is the MVP summit the only way to interact with Microsoft. I've written down quite some e-mail addresses, and reorganizations aside, hope to chat one-on-one with people from the team.

As I said, that was yesterday. Today I'm taking the time to look around in Seattle and I hope to take a boat tour. New pictures will follow. 

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Visual Studio 2005 Developer Center site

by Sander Gerz April 07, 2004 10:35

Microsoft launched the Visual Studio 2005 Developer Center website this week. On this site you will find the latest information concerning the next version of Visual Studio, codenamed 'Whidbey'. Let's hope that it will also mean that the regular MSDN site will display less information on features that are not available in todays products and focus more on the issues that live with developers that try to create applications with the tools that are available now.

BTW, I've added a couple of pictures from the MVP party last night.

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MVP Summit day 2 addendum

by Sander Gerz April 07, 2004 03:16
There is something to share. Here's a link to a press release by MS.

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MVP Summit day 2

by Sander Gerz April 07, 2004 02:52

As I mentioned earlier, today we were not allowed to bring cameras, laptops, or any other recording devices to the convention center. Well, you could bring them along, but the stuff would have to be checked in at the entrance. I did manage to bring my camera, but feared the consequences if I were to take any pictures of Jim Alchin being embarrased about his comments on Britney Spears, Steve Ballmer (or actually SteveO) discussing his relationship with Scott McNealy (Sun Microsystems) or a not very optimized vpn connection while showing off a new webbased newsreader.

So... I didn't take pictures or recorded anything. Well some stuff I did write down.

Cool stuff was there, but practically everything was under NDA so there's not much of a point talking about it here. Ok, that's a lousy statement, and I'd better shut up then, but I want to add that, even though the stuff we saw was nice and cool and all, it's not revolutionary and it doesn't give me any advantage over guys that haven't seen it. It's still awkward  for people that like to share their views and knowledge within a community, like MVPs, to show stuff that you cannot share.

On to the party tonight of which I will hope to take some shots.

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MVP Summit day 1

by Sander Gerz April 06, 2004 07:12

So this was the first day of the summit and interesting a day it was. Nevertheless, the sessions did not reveal much that was not already shown at the PDC last year. “The difference is: now the features work” was one of the comments made a speaker who shall remain nameless. Any new stuff is supposedly under NDA, so they cannot be discussed. As far as info that I assume is not under NDA and is mostly picked up by talking to people here and there is that:

  • as for now, ObjectSpaces will not be part of the Whidbey release, but made available as a webdownload after the release; rumours were already spreading around about this. 
  • same applies for the Whitehorse features
  • there will be a Servicepack for the .NET Framework 1.1; in fact, it is already in beta and made available to a select group of customers (of which I am not one). It will be publicly available as soon as the feedback from these tests are addressed.
  • there will also be a Servicepack for Visual Studio .NET 2003 around the summertime.
  • trying out the RC for Servicepack 2 for Windows XP is greatly encouraged.
  • All of the namespace-names for Indigo have changed (what was to be expected)
  • And last but not least: Don Box has cut his hair (see the gallery)

  Since we all know that Visual Studio 2005 will be released in, well, 2005, a lot of things can change, so this info may lose its accuracy quickly, so just take it for what it's worth.

Tomorrow may prove even more interesting, since we're not allowed to bring cameras, recording devices or alike to the sessions. Perhaps if I had bluetooth connection to download from my photographic memory... if I had one.

In the gallery I've posted a couple of pictures that I assume are not breaking any NDA. If you see anything that might, please let me know. 

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First impressions and mail

by Sander Gerz April 05, 2004 04:16

The bad stuff first, my mail server turns out be down. No mail coming in or going out, and it's not something I'll be able to fix while in Seattle. I suggest that any urgent messages are posted here as comments, or e-mail me at flybyfibre@hotmail.com.

Today was the registration for the MVP Summit. I've added a category where you can find pictures of the event. Surely, not a lot for today, but I'm having a good time and had a chance to catch up with the other Dutch MVP's and ran into the French (Nix, Rédo) just a few minutes ago.

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