Matt Griffin graduated in May 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Technology from the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology. Currently, he is the Systems Architect at Gaylor Electric. He owns his own IT Consulting and Managed Services firm, The IT Fellas. Matt is passionate about volunteering. He serves on the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology Alumni Association Board of Directors at IUPUI since 2014. In January of 2019, Matt joined the Board of Directors for a non-profit organization named the Muscular Dystrophy Family Foundation (MDFF). The MDFF focuses on increasing the quality of life and independence of people with Muscular Dystrophy and their family through advocacy, education, and financial resources. Outside of work and volunteering, Matt enjoys participating in Adaptive Sports. Currently, he is playing for the Wheelchair Lacrosse team Indy RIP based in Indianapolis, IN.

Windows 8 is Nearly Here!

I personally have been using Windows 8 off and on since the Developer Preview was released over a year ago, more frequently after I received a Samsung Series 7 Slate in February to start working on it for work. I’ve been following all of the news articles about how this is going to change everything or how it is going to completely bomb. I’ve been in multiple conversations with co-workers, and friends from previous jobs about what will be changing and if it is an improvement or degrading and I’ve decided that I will share my point of view publicly.

The Good:

  • Word Processing on the Go
    • Windows RT (ARM Processor Devices) has Office 2013 built in.
    • Windows 8 (Intel/AMD Devices) can have any version of Microsoft Office Installed.
    • I’ve heard multiple coorporations wanting to implement Tablets, however the most frequent request is word processing.
  • Build in Hyper visor
    • I was thrilled to see that they included Hyper-V into Windows 8.
    • Gives me the ability to stay away from VMWare Player/Workstation.
  • Unified System
    • Home desktops, corporate desktops and tablets you can carry around with you all being the same.
    • Can also use cloud services to share files across all these devices.
  • Touch and Keyboard/Mouse Friendly
    • Throughout the preview the mouse/keyboard usage has improved. Overall I think they have made it seem less when using either touch or keyboard/mouse combo.
  • Better Performance
    • As hardware improves so does software, even running the same hardware I ran with Windows 7 I have a faster boot time, and I am seeing better overall performance.
  • Windows Live Login
    • Manage a single login across all of your Windows 8 devices
    • Manage basic settings and Metro apps across all Windows 8 devices
  • Improved Interface
    • My personal feeling is that the interface is aesthetically more appealing.

The Bad:

  • Harder learning curve
    • With the modified interface it will be much more challenging for people to learn the interface.
  • Limited Applications at Launch
    • Currently the amount of apps in the Windows Store is limited but growing.
  • Price
    • Some of the hardware I believe could be priced a little bit lower.
    • I do want to clarify the Microsoft Surface is competitively priced when comparing to an iPad.

Will it Succeed:

Overall with the amount of experience I have with Windows 8 I strongly believe that this operating system and tablet devices have the ability to succeed. I do see this being highly usable in enterprise environments using tablet devices. I’ve spent a couple days working purely using a tablet device and docking it at work. My main concern on if this will succeed or not will come down to the ability to properly train everyone on the new operating system and how to use it.

Some final notes I have on the up coming operating system and hardware that is coming out is to keep an open mind to using an entirely new interface, make sure you dedicate time into learning it and you will realize that it is a move in the proper direction.

He Just Disappeared… Like That!

I first want to start off by apologizing on my disappearance from Twitter and blogging for the past 1 1/2 months. Things have been quite crazy since the return from TechEd but all is fine… now. I returned to work on the 20th, but did some work from home on the 19th and was asked by my supervisor if I could complete the Lync Administrator exams by the end of the month. After having bribed me with additional financial incentives I told him I’d see what I could do, but all I’d be doing during work is studying for this exam. He said that’s fine and told me he’d have the Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Unleashed and Professional Unified Communications books to me by the end of the week. My first thing I did was start searching, first at what all was covered in these exams and then for useful resources! I was lucky enough to have a friend named Enrique who is excellent about blogging resources for exams, I sent him a quick message and he responded back with some great links from his blog Intentional Thinking.

Enrique had covered the requirements for the exam and links to resources from Technet for the 70-664 and two post for the 70-665 here and here. I was spending day and night studying for these exams and was lucky enough to pass both of them in a 9 day span. However I greatly will warn against this type of cramming because I learned very little about Lync, I could not implement more than a basic install of Lync because I did no hands on work and I just crammed book materials.

Once that crazy week of studying was completed I could finally play catch up with my work that was back logged from TechEd, everyone on the team I am on was great enough to cover pretty much everything and I just had emails to deal with. I knew I had some crazy times coming up though because we had a team member going out of the country in 2 weeks which would make it really interesting to balance the load.

I was starting my on-call rotation on July 9th which I have gotten used to interruptions in my sleep during on call and was no big deal, I just continued to work on back logged work I have had and was actually feeling very productive in catching up.

Thursday July 12th before leaving we were just chatting as a team talking about going out on a team lunch meeting on Friday the 13th, everyone was in good spirits and ready for the week to wrap up.

The next day rolls around I came into the office and it was just like your average day. It was about 9:30am when I had stepped out of our area in the office and came back in to hear one of our team members on the phone and I over heard him say “So you can confirm he was in the ER last night?” This instantly caught my attention and I looked at the other guy on our team and asked what happened? He told me we didn’t know where Mike was and he was talking to the hospital. I continued listening to the phone call and over heard them ask him if he had contact with the family. We couldn’t think of his brothers name so once he got off the phone we had a quick conversation to see if we could figure it out and we couldn’t. I told him I had just seen our HR person and I would go locate her, I looked around and couldn’t find her to return to my desk and let them know. They found her in a meeting with some of the executives and let them know we had no idea where our boss was and the hospital confirmed he was in the ER the night before.

One of the guys on our team was searching the local news websites and found this article. Motorcyclist Dies In Apparent Hit-And-Run Crash, everyone instantly became completely silent on the team worrying about the worst. We sat around for a couple of minutes before going back to the meeting room where the executives were, we let them know what was found and that this looked like the same motorcycle our boss drove. Our CSO said he would head to the hospital and keep us posted. We all returned to our desk to try and complete some work but found ourselves just staring at the screen wondering what could have happened, how could it have happened and that there was no way in hell that this happened.

We were in constant contact with the executives who were looking into this but before it was confirmed we were all almost certain because he always let us know he was going to work from home in the morning and it was getting close to the time we would have gone for our lunch meeting. At 10:29AM our CEO sent a message out to all employee’s letting them know that we believe he may have been in an accident the night before but we had not received confirmation, but were trying to reach his family. At 10:56AM we received confirmation from the CEO in a mass email to all employee’s that it was Mike and he had passed away last night after the accident.

At this point with confirmation we were feeling sick just sitting there thinking about our boss and what happened. We tried to work but couldn’t accomplish anything, we were told not much later that we were welcome to leave for the day but we all just sat there and couldn’t act. The office had lunch delivered and everyone was down there eating but it was still dead silent with everyone thinking about what had happened to such a great friend and co-worker of ours. I do not remember what time I left the office that day but it wouldn’t have been much after 1PM.

Once I got on the road I was able to clear my head a little bit and realize what had happened was real, it was very heart breaking to leave work that day and drive through the intersection along the same route he was driving the night before when he was killed by a hit and run driver. All I could think is we were going to have a nice lunch out, as a team, but now he is gone… in a blink of an eye he had his life taken away because of a stupid mistake someone made.

When I got home I really didn’t do much and then I was receiving calls from work for things I needed to work on. No matter what happened I was still on call and still needed to provide top notch service to the best of my abilities. The issue I ran into was a bit complex and I must thank Jim and Nat who were on our SharePoint consulting team and helped me a tremendous amount.

After a rough weekend of reflecting on how great of a boss he had been, I was ready to face the Monday back to work, I go into the office, look over where his desk was located and thought now is your time Matt, our team has been cut in half in a single weekend since we had someone out of the country you must step up and you must continue to deliver solid support to the customers. We were lucky to have someone offer to fill in our bosses place but he gladly admitted he was going to be playing catch up but do the best he could. The week went on and was fairly busy but managable, more information came out about the accident and I was quite satisfied when they announced the arrest of the man who killed my boss Man arrested for fatal hit-and-run crash near downtown.

The weeks were busy, but I made it through. I’ve learned our team is solid and can handle even the worst things in the world and still preform. I was thrilled when our third man returned to the country and back to work and I am even happier that I am not on call anymore.

Things are different on our team, but I’ve learned many things over the past 2 weeks, but the primary thing I learned is no matter how busy I was over those 2 weeks I made certain to spend some time with family and friends.

TechEd Week Summary

TechEd was an extremely busy week, and it was a ton of fun. There were many challenges throughout the week maintaining my schedule however it was overall another amazing year. I had 3 goals I wanted to complete, and I feel I completed all 3 of them.

  1. Take Certification Exams
  2. Network and meet new people
  3. Learn
For the first 3 days (0-2) I was able to fit in time to write a summary, for the last 2 I did not have much free time however I will summarize them now.

TechEd Day 0 Summary

TechEd Day 1 Summary

TechEd Day 2 Summary

If you do not wish to read through those 3 blog post I’ll tell you now that I did amazing networking with my buddies in #TheKrewe on Day 0, on Day 1 I failed my #60Days2MCSE certifications (70-246) however I learned a great deal and blogged details about follow up steps. Later in the Day on Day 1 I took the beta exam for Windows 8, Configuring. I will not know my score until the full exam is released however I feel confident that I have passed this exam and am excited to find out for certain.

Day 2 came along and started just as crazy, I rushed to breakfast, rushed to The Keynote, and then rushed to the first exam (70-247) which I was not required to take and pass however I did take and fail it! I was lucky enough between exams to get a chance to write my blog post, and start focusing on the Server 2012, Configuring Exam I was about to take. The exam was a bit more rough than the Windows 8 exam, and I feel it was focused heavily on Active Directory. I am unsure if I passed it; however since it is also a beta I will not know until the full exam is released.

TechEd Day 3 Summary

Day 3 was not as exhausting however it was time consuming because I was attending sessions and I had little time between them. I started with a session about Storage and Hyper-V, most of it was over my head and felt more like a sales pitch, I followed that up with VIR303 which covered the Networking side of Hyper-V, I felt it was a solid presentation; but over my head again because I am not the network guy. I will admit this is the session I took the most notes in though. In the afternoon I went to Optimizing SQL for the Private cloud, it was very interesting learning about the MAP Toolkit which I had never used before and how they used it to plan for a large scale SQL deployment in a virtual environment. After this session I attended the Exam Cram for the 246/247 and then headed back to the hotel to rest some for that night. In the evening I was attending the Microsoft Springboard Party at Ember in Downtown Orlando. While there I had a chance to network more and I was able to meet more Indiana locals including the president of IWUG. I never knew that I could network so well if I just talked to people!

TechEd Day 4 Summary

Whew at this point I wasn’t sure if I was excited TechEd was almost over or not. I love going however it completely physically and mentally drains you. I spent another morning in sessions, followed by an afternoon winning a bean bag (Sadly not an MCSE bag) and finishing up my networking in the alumni lounge.

The evening of the last day was the closing party at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. I had a good time checking out everything and enjoying free unlimited food from all the stands around Universal. It was cool to get to check everything out in a relaxed environment.

Until Next Year!

I had an amazing time and would not trade it for anything. I am hoping to get to go back next year and see all of my friends in #TheKrewe in New Orleans for TechEd 2013 June 3rd – 6th!

#IAMKREWE, Should you?

What is #TheKrewe

The Krewe is a group of hard working/fun-loving IT Pros and Developers. We gather every year at Microsoft TechEd North America, the largest Microsoft technology education conference.  Our mission is to build a dynamic networking community through various activities and gatherings.” –

The Story

In the months leading up to TechEd I decided to become much more involved. I vowed that I was going to Network all throughout TechEd. I posted on #TheKrewe Facebook page which I had been involved with the year before; but did not really network much. I asked how I can break the ice with people when by nature I am not the most social until I know people. Many people told me I was already doing a decent job being involved with #60Days2MCSE, and promoting myself on Twitter before TechEd.

After posting that I was approached by Michael Bender asking if I’d be interested in helping with #TheKrewe Meet N Greet party which was a good time last year, and I was planning on attending anyway. I went ahead and offered to help, and then became the person coordinating the volunteers for the event. It wasn’t much work, and I figured it’d be a good way to get to know more people.

All I had to do was create a sign up form, promote the form and coordinate some people, that’s simple! We also had some emails going back and forth about a #TheKrewe T-shirt, my design abilities and the ones that were already provided I felt could use some improvement. I suggested a T-Shirt Design contest which I took on the lead of. I posted the contest and didn’t get too many entries but we got enough good designs for a really sweet looking shirt. …

TechEd Day 2 Summary

Day 2 was a rough start, every day you progress through TechEd the more exhausted you feel in the morning. The day started with another Keynote that was all about Windows 8, the keynote mostly felt like a basic how to session on how to navigate the OS. I was a bit disappointed in the lack of deep detail, although watching them use Windows 2 Go was pretty nifty.

After the Keynote I was in a hurry to get to my first certification of the day which was the 70-247. I did not need to take this exam, however I figured that it was free so why not? The exam was challenging like I expected, and I was unable to pass it. After that I had some time to browse the TechExpo floor, then grab lunch before my next exam.

The exam I took in the afternoon was the 71-410 which is Server 2012 Configuring. I was surprised by the exam because it mostly covered Active Directory. I have completed the Active Directory Exam, so I was mostly familiar with the content. I will know about if I passed the beta exams in about 2 months.

The day went on and I had a little bit of time to learn about Windows Phone and convince myself I want one (have not bought one). I didn’t have much time after the Windows Phone demo to get to my next session but I made it. I attended Mark Russinovich’s session on using the sys internal tools to discover malware to remove it. This was a great way to wrap up the sessions for the day.

In the evening was the community night which I spent talking with some SQL people and talking about the Indy PowerShell User Group, which I will be helping jumpstart in the coming months. The night ended with relaxing in the hotel room and reenergizing for the next day.