Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show (Ep. 4) – Q&A From The Ignite Forum, Plus Cool things To do In Chicago!

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This week on Episode 4 of the Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show, Rick Claus (@RicksterCDN) and Joey Snow (@JoeySnow) answer some questions from the Ignite Forums and explain how you can ask questions and provide some input.  They also cover a few top Chicago attractions, which I’ll you’ll find in this blog post.

Top questions this week from the Microsoft Ignite Forums:
Question #1 refers to where to include the IgniteNA promo code to receive the 50% discounted rate when registering for Microsoft Certification exams.
Answer: Head over to www.microsoft.com/learning and register for your exam. For the exam location, choose “Microsoft Ignite North America 2015”, and input the promo code in the payment section which is Step 3.

Question #2 refers to sessions on Friday, May 8.
Answer: Yup, without any doubt, there will be sessions, Hand-On-Labs (HOL), certification testing, and more on Friday.

Top attractions in Chicago:
Check out the virtual tour of the top attractions not to miss in this week’s segment for places like the Museum of Science and Industry, United Center, The Second City, and Cloud Gate aka “The Bean”.

Museum of Science and Industry:
Wow, if you’re an aviation buff as I am, this is a great museum to check out  While you drool over the Spirit of America, you’ll also get to explore various trains, cars, and other transportation.  Don’t forget to try the flight simulators which lets you experience some aircrafts throughout history.
Open daily from 9:30AM – 4:00PM.
Twitter: @msichicago

The Second City:
The Second City ia an influential comedy club which hosted many great comedian such as John Belushi, Jim Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, John Candy, Tina Fey, Bill Murray, Martin Short, Ed Asner, Alan Alda, and Valerie Harper to name a few. Great place to check out some improve or even take a class.  Shows are held nightly, with matinees and late night shows on Fridays and Saturdays.
Twitter: @TheSecondCity

Cloud Gate aka “The Bean” at Millennium Park:
“The Bean” as known by locals and visitors is a hot spot in Chicago.  Almost everyone want to get a reflection shot or a selfie with this 100-ton stainless steel art piece.  Located in Millennium Park, it’s definitely a must see when in Chicago.
Twitter: @millennium_park

United Center:
The United Center which opened in 1994 is the largest arena in the USA and is home to the Chicago Blackhawks and the Chicago Bulls.  Many concerts and sports events are held here throughout the year, and it’s a must visit for the die-hard sports fan.
Twitter: @unitedcenter

Check out this episode on Channel 9 or you can watch it directly below:

Keep watching for more tips on making the most of your experience at Ignite, and more ways to enjoy Chicago! Register now for Microsoft Ignite, May 4-8, 2015, Chicago.

For conversations and interactions, join the following channels:

I highly recommend that you follow Choose Chicago, which is the official guide for Chicago offering a vast amount of information relating to this awesome city.  The friendly folks at Choose Chicago are quick to answer and offer valuable advice on your visit to Chicago.  Follow and check them out as well.

You can also follow me on Twitter (@Hoorge) and Instagram, and reach out to me if I can help answer some questions or be of further assistance.  Stay tuned for the next episodes of the Countdown Show which are scheduled to be released every Tuesday at 8:00AM PST / 11:00AM EST.

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Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show (Ep. 3) – The One About Getting Certified and Not-To-Miss Places

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It’s Episode 3 of the Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show, with Rick Claus (@RicksterCDN) and Joey Snow (@JoeySnow).  This week, Rick and Joey give us a rundown on the basics of Microsoft certification exams at Ignite and later they take us on tour of some of the biggest attractions in Chicago.  Check out the details below.

Check out this episode on Channel 9 or you can watch it directly below:

Microsoft Certification:
Microsoft Ignite offers a great opportunity for registered attendees to take exams on-site at a fantastic discounted rate, which is 50% off the regular price.  There will be plenty of information at Ignite for attendees to earn, upgrade, or renew their certifications. Attendees will be able to take advantage of the resources available at Certification Central and receive one-on-one assistance from Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs).

Testing Registration:
You can pre-register for your exams online and secure your testing timeslot(s). You will also be able to register for your exams onsite at Certification Central, however it is highly recommended that you pre-register for your exams in order to secure your preferred exam timeslots which would fill up quickly. To receive the discounted rate of 50%, go to www.microsoft.com/learning and use the promo code IgniteNA.

Exam Prep Sessions:
Exam Prep Sessions are basically study groups led by Microsoft Certified Trainers where they will go through exam objectives and offer testing tips, and focus on helping you pass a specific exam. Session catalogs for exam topics will be coming soon.

Study Hall:
Certification Central offers a Study Hall where you can access a selection of free exam prep resources, try a practice exam, and even find a quiet place to study if you need one. MCTs will be available to answer your questions and provide assistance.
Additional resources to help you plan and prepare for your certification exams:

Not-To-Miss Chicago Tour:
Now, we head over to some shopping, a river cruise, some sightseeing, and aerial views of Chicago. Here’s what Rick and Joey covered in this episode.

Magnificent Mile:
The Magnificent Mile covers a 13-block stretch of North Michigan Avenue that includes over 460 stores, offering a mile of shopping, restaurants, museums, landmarks, and much much more. This is definitely the place for the shopping enthusiast.
Twitter: @TheMagMile

Art Institute of Chicago:
The Art Institute Chicago is a world renowned museum which received the Travellers Choice Award by TripAdvisor as the number one museum in the USA and in the world. The museum is over 130 years old, and is filled with a great collection of art that will inspire you, including some of the best impressionist collections in the world, outside of France.  Admission to the museum cost $23.
Twitter: @artinstitutechi

River Architecture Tour:
What a great way to explore the city and get some awesome sightseeing crossed off the list by taking a river cruise, known as Chicago’s number 1 Architecture Tour. If you’re an architecture buff or someone who enjoys a relaxing scenic tour, this is a must.
The daytime tours are $40 per person, and the Twilight Tour is $43. Tickets can be purchased online or at the dock which is in the South East corner of the Michigan Ave Bridge at the corner of Michigan Ave and Walker Drive.
Twitter: @CFLCruises

360 Chicago:
Head up 1000 feet to the 94th floor of the John Hancock Building for a spectacular 360 degree view of the city.  You’ll find one of the best views of Chicago from this vantage point. For an even cooler experience, give the new attraction known as the TILT a shot, which tilts 30 degrees while you lean into a glass block.
360 Chicago will cost $18, plus an additional $7 if you want to ride the TILT! Open 7 days a week all year long from 9:00AM to 11:00PM, with the last entry at 10:30PM.
Twitter: @360chiviews

Keep watching for more tips on making the most of your experience at Ignite, and more ways to enjoy Chicago! Register now for Microsoft Ignite, May 4-8, 2015, Chicago.

For conversations and interactions, join the following channels:

I highly recommend that you follow Choose Chicago, which is the official guide for Chicago offering a vast amount of information relating to this awesome city.  The friendly folks at Choose Chicago are quick to answer and offer valuable advice on your visit to Chicago.  Follow and check them out as well.

You can also follow me on Twitter (@Hoorge) and Instagram, and reach out to me if I can help answer some questions or be of further assistance.  Stay tuned for the next episodes of the Countdown Show which are scheduled to be released every Tuesday at 8:00AM PST / 11:00AM EST.

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Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show (Ep. 2) – The One with PreDay Sessions and Drinks

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Here we go with episode 2 of the Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show with Rick Claus (@RicksterCDN) and Joey Snow (@JoeySnow) where they talk about the Pre-Day Sessions and share more of their favorite places to eat and drink in Chicago.  You can’t go wrong with knowing where the hotspots are for coffee, beer, steaks, and cocktails in Chicago.

Check out this episode on Channel 9 or you can watch it directly below:

First, we have the Pre-Day Sessions, which will be available on Sunday, May 3, 2015, from 9:00AM – 5:00PM.  There are 17 sessions to choose from presented by leading industry experts with topics that are relevant for IT Professionals and Developers.  Pre-Day Sessions cost $500 and can be added from the Content Catalog via your Microsoft Ignite registration page.  Listed below are the Pre-Day Sessions offered, along with their corresponding presenters:

  • PRE01: Administrator’s Mandatory Check List: The Ultimate Guide to Securing Your Infrastructure – by Paula Januszkiewicz
  • PRE02: Advanced Analytics with Microsoft Azure Machine Learning, Microsoft SQL Server, and R – by Rafal Lukawiecki
  • PRE03: Project Siena: Create Custom Mobile Business Apps, No Code Required – by Ben Hodes
  • PRE04: Building a Hybrid Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Environment – by Michael Van Horenbeeck
  • PRE05: DevOps Hackathon – by Damien Caro, David Tesar, Vinicius Apolinario
  • PRE06: End-to-End OneDrive for Business Planning, Deployment and Best Practices – by Jeremy Mazner
  • PRE07: Enterprise Management in 2015 and Beyond – by Johan Arwidmark, Kent Agerlund
  • PRE08: Get Ready to Deploy Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 – To be announced
  • PRE09: Hands-on Windows 10 Enterprise Deployment – by Mikael Nystrom, Mike Niehaus
  • PRE10: Hybrid Cloud Management and Automation with Microsoft System Center – by Alex Frankel, Daniele Muscetta, Joe Levy, John Ballard, Laura Cruz, Ravi Kiran Chintalapudi
  • PRE11: Microsoft Office 365 Development On-Ramp – by Andrew Connell, Scot Hillier
  • PRE12: Microsoft Office 365 Network Performance Optimization – by Paul Collinge
  • PRE13: Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus Deployment Boot Camp – by Curtis Sawin
  • PRE14: Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 and Office 365 Hybrid Training – by Bill Baer, Steve Peschka
  • PRE15: The Microsoft Azure Cloud for IT Pros – by John Craddock
  • PRE16: Troubleshoot SQL Server Performance Like a Microsoft Engineer – by Bob Ward
  • PRE17: Windows 10: Enterprise Mobility Workshop – by Roel Schellens

Next comes the entertainment.  Rick and Joey had a chance to explore some fine establishments in Chicago and here are the places they talk about in this episode.

La Colombe Coffee:
Great coffee served daily from 7:00AM-7:00PM with awesome roast to please everyone. You’ll have to check out their cold pressed black coffee in the bottle which is unique in it’s own way.
Twitter: @lacolombecoffee

Goose Island Beer Co:
Goose Island offers some amazing selection of craft brews, which are all made on-premise. Grab a bite and a sample of beers, including their bourbon-aged brew which is aged in whiskey barrels.  They also offer public tours on Saturday and Sunday and private tours by appointment only.  Check out their website for more info.
Twitter: @GooseIsland

Tavern On Rush:
Steaks and seafood are their specialty and most famous for their prime aged steaks and chops in Chicago. A casual tavern style ambiance is located downstairs, while a white jacket / white cloth dining is available upstairs which require a reservation.
Twitter: @TavenOnRush

ROOF on theWIT:
Located 27 floors up, the ROOF on theWit offers some stunning panoramic views of downtown Chicago with an intimate, modern bar and nightclub setting. With a capacity of only 250, a table reservation is highly recommended.  Enjoy some craft cocktails, indulge in their small plates menu, and warm up by the fireplace.
Twitter: @ROOFontheWit

Keep watching for more tips on making the most of your experience at Ignite, and more ways to enjoy Chicago! Register now for Microsoft Ignite, May 4-8, 2015, Chicago.

For conversations and interactions, join the following channels:

I highly recommend that you follow Choose Chicago, which is the official guide for Chicago offering a vast amount of information relating to this awesome city.  The friendly folks at Choose Chicago are quick to answer and offer valuable advice on your visit to Chicago.  Follow and check them out.

You can also follow me on Twitter (@Hoorge) and Instagram, and reach out to me if I can help answer some questions or be of further assistance.  Stay tuned for the next episodes of the Countdown Show which are scheduled to be released every Tuesday at 8:00AM PST / 11:00AM EST.

Please like & share:

Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show (Ep. 1) – The One That Kicks It Off

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The first Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show is online and starts the kickoff to a great conference in Chicago from May 4-8, 2015.

Rick Claus (@RicksterCDN) and Joey Snow (@JoeySnow) are back and brilliant as always.  These shows are very informative, fun, and gets the IT community excited for what to expect at the first Microsoft Ignite Conference and what to look forward to in Chicago.  As a proud member of the Ignite Roundtable team, I’m excited!

Check out this episode on Channel 9 or you can watch it directly below:

This episode covers the basics of what the future episodes will cover.  Here are the places mentioned in this show for eating, drinking, and to be merry in Chicago.

Gino’s East Pizza
– Real delicious deep dish pizza in Chicago and not to be missed.
Twitter: @ginoseast

Portillo’s Hot Dogs
– Some of the best hot dogs you will find in Chicago.
@PortillosHotDog

CH Distillery
– Spirits made from farm-to-table with locally grown wheat and rye.
@CHDistillery

The Berghoff Restaurant
– This fourth generation establishment holds the oldest liquor license in Chicago, license #1.  Classic German fare, also serves their own lager, hefeweizen, pale ale, and seasonal beers, plus a selection of Berghoff sodas.
@BerghoffChicago

Keep watching for more tips on making the most of your experience at Ignite, and more ways to enjoy Chicago! Register now for Microsoft Ignite, May 4-8, 2015, Chicago.

For conversations and interactions, join the following channels:

I highly recommend that you follow Choose Chicago, which is the official guide for Chicago offering a vast amount of information relating to this awesome city.  The friendly folks at Choose Chicago are quick to answer and offer valuable advice on your visit to Chicago.  Follow and check them out.

You can also follow me on Twitter (@Hoorge) and Instagram, and reach out to me if I can help answer some questions or be of further assistance.  Stay tuned for the next episodes of the Countdown Show which are scheduled to be released every Tuesday at 8:00AM PST / 11:00AM EST.

Please like & share: