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Poor little Lebanon

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I've been reading some Lebanese blogs trying to understand what people from the other side of the bleeding border think. And I realized how weird country Lebanon is. Where in the world a government would strongly refuse to control a half of its own country? It's like the whole world is asking the Lebanese government - come on, you guys are the Lebanon government, please, please, take control over south Lebanon, that's your land. No, no, no, never ever said the freaking government - there is a bunch of bad guys over there, terrorists you know they can bite so we better don't. Oooooookay. Now they badly surprised it hurts to host bad guys, hmmm.

Yes, I found out that almost every single Lebanese blog I spotted says something like "That f#cking Hezbollah terrorists! That's all their fault! Hezbollah != Lebanon, we have nothing to do with this war, we are just suffering here". That even made sense for a moment, but then - who are those bad Hezbollah guys? As it turned out they are not martians not even iranians, but ordinar lebanese people, moreover Hezbollah (being widely recognized as a terrorists group) is representing the largest Lebanon's religious group, it's a recognized political party holding 23 seats in the 128-member Lebanese Parliament and participating in Lebanese government. So, again - "Hezbollah != Lebanon"? Oh come on, that's ridiculous. Hezbollah == Lebanon, face it.

I think in fact there is no one single country of Lebanon. I have no idea how such different groups can live in the same state. Those normal lebanese people whose blogs I read - you should do something about this, guys. Otherwise don't be surprised to be paying painfully for what your evil brothers do.

4 months database query

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I was querying one remote and probably distributed database recently. I entered my name, sent query request and got "No such record" response - four freaking months later! What kind of crazy database is it? That's Russia's police database. I requested a police certificate from russian embassy in Israel and it took them four months to query that information. Wow. No doubts they are still using legacy database called "a huge pile of paper files" out there in Russia. As a matter of interest the same query in Ukraine takes 1 day, while in Israel - 5 minutes (mostly to print results).

I had a voucher for a free Microsoft certification exam which I got at the MVP summit last year and it was due to expire May 31. So I went to see how can I use it. As you probably know Microsoft has launched new wave of certifications with .NET 2.0 and Visiual Studio 2005 release. So I found out that "Microsoft Certified Professional Developer" series is now my target in this game. I'm MCAD already and in order to upgrade to MCPD I have to take 3 upgrade exams (there is no single MCPD credentials, it's MCPD Web, MCPD Windows and MCPD Enterprise). The problem is that those upgrade exams aren't released yet. Happily I managed not to waste my expiring voucher though. MCPD Windows requires 3 exams and two of them I've already passed in beta form, which actually counts. So last week I took 70-526 exam, "TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 - Windows-Based Client Development". I don't write much for Windows these days so it wasn't piece of cake. But not a rocket engineering either. I should admit new exams are much more comprehensive and tough. Well, anyway I'm MCPD Windows now.

Microsoft refreshes their professional certifications program:

Changes are afoot in the Microsoft Certification Program that can be labeled as "evolutionary"; that is, changes to the certification process will be implemented over time, as newer technologies become generally available.
According to Valvano, Microsoft will follow tradition, releasing exams for SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 about 45 days after the release of the products to the general public. Those exams, however, won't fit into the traditional MCP schema that one might be familiar with. Instead, Microsoft will introduce a new framework for certification that will pair up a credential with a skill-identifying certification based on a tiered approach consisting of the following credentials:
  • Tier 1: Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist will require simply passing one to three exams based on a Microsoft technology. As products meet the end of the support lifecycle, its related exam will be retired.
  • Tier 2: Microsoft Certified IT Professional or Professional Developer require a Technology Specialist certification, plus one to three more exams, based on the requirement for a particular path. This tier is tied to job role at an organization, such as Database Developer or Business Intelligence. Recertification will be required to maintain status at this level.
  • Tier 3: Microsoft Certified Architect is a rigorous, board-level certification that requires recertification. Achieving Technology Specialist or IT Professional or Professional Developer certification not a prerequisite to attaining this level of certification.