the "Angry Birds" edition!

Mark Minasi's Installing, Maintaining and Troubleshooting Server 2008 R2 Seminar is now a 10-CD audio course

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Server 2003's a great server platform, which is why so many folks are still using it... but even a quick glance at what Server 2008 and Server 2008R2 bring to the party has convinced many organizations that it's time to upgrade.  For those organizations' Windows techies, that means that it's time for them to upgrade their skills to R2.  Helping folks upgrade their Server skills is what Mark Minasi's done for the past 20 years, and that's why we're happy to announce our Installing, Maintaining and Troubleshooting Windows Server 2008 R2 audio course.  Designed and delivered by Mark, we've tried hard to make this audio course the easiest, fastest and most accessible way to move up to R2, and we think you'll agree.

Our R2 audio course is a 10-CD set that covers everything new that arrived with R2.  You can see a detailed outline of what it covers at r2audiooutline.htm, from the new management tools, Server Core changes, the more-secure DHCP server, R2's all-new DNSSEC support, the new NTLM auditing tools that'll let you smoke out the remaining weak NTLM logons in your network, DirectAccess, changes to Active Directory, R2's new AD-related PowerShell cmdlets, AD's new undelete feature, the Best Practices Analyzer, AD's new Administrative Center GUI, Managed Service Accounts (the answer to the old "I must run a service under an AD user account, but how do I change the passwords automatically?" problem), Offline Domain Joins (which facilitate joining large numbers of machines to your AD) and the bonus BranchCache disk, among other things.  (And for those of you who've been kind enough to comment that you've enjoyed the wildlife photos Mark has taken that we've used on the books and discs in the past, we hope you'll like the two glaring ospreys featured on the R2 set, prompting our producer Gary to dub the course "the Angry Birds edition.")

"2008?  2008R2?  Aren't They The Same?  Do I Have to Learn Both?"

We've seen that Microsoft's decision to ship a completely new version of Windows Server in both early 2008 and late 2009 but to call them both "Windows Server 2008" with or without an "R2" tacked on the back of the name has confused a lot of our readers, so please read these two important notes:

  • Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 are completely different products.  R2 is not a minor update and probably should have been named "Windows Server 2009" or the like.  Similarly, installing the latest service pack to Server 2008 does not get you Server 2008 R2... it's a different set of SKUs and costs money to upgrade to it. 
  • If you don't already know Server 2008, learn it before tackling R2, and the easiest way is to listen to our 15-CD Server 2008 audio set.  Again, a slight majority of our clients are going directly from 2003 to R2, and anyone doing that needs to learn first 2008 and then R2.  This audio set assumes that you know 2008, but if you don't, then please consider picking up a copy of our 15-CD Server 2008 set, which you can read about at http://www.minasi.com/2008class/audio/.  But don't buy it from that page... return here to pick up the 2008 and the 2008 R2 sets for a special price!

If one of those audio courses sounds like what you're looking for, then please keep reading so that we may tell you about the product, point you to more information on it, offer some free excerpts so you can "try it before you buy it," and tell you how to buy it.

What's in the Set

Here's what the entire "Installing, Managing and Troubleshooting Windows Server 2008 R2" set looks like — all 10 CDs (including the bonus BranchCache disc) and the the printed Audio Companion with our two favorite Angry Birds on the cover.

Package contents: click on the picture above for a higher-resolution picture
These aren't mere recordings of the live instructor-led Server 2008 R2 class; they are, instead, adaptations of Mark's lecture classes that have been reworked, distilled and recorded in the studio.  These audio presentations offer a learning format that you can listen to wherever you'd like at roughly a quarter of the price of the live class.  The R2 class includes a little over 10 hours of lectures.  (If you also choose to purchase the 2008 audio set, it's an additional 20 hours of lecture).  The CD sets are packaged in a padded ballistic nylon side-zipper CD case.     

Price

We know, you're wondering, "what's all of this going to cost?"  Well, there are more details later in the page, but basically:

  • The basic price for the R2 10-CD set is $250.
  • We're offering a $150 discount for anyone wanting to buy both the 2008 and 2008 R2 sets, a 25-CD "Serverpalooza" set for $400.
  • Anyone who attended the R2 class or already owns the older 2008 set gets a $75 discount on the 10-CD R2 set, making its price $175.
  • As has always been the case, the extra costs of shipping and handling for out-of-US orders compel us to charge $50 more to send things out of the US.  (If you buy the two-in-one 2008/2008R2 set, we can charge $75 total shipping rather than $100.)

Details

We worked hard to make this package as useful and as good a value as we could.  To that end, let us show you more specifics of 

  • How we intended for you to use this audio seminar
  • How we made it easy to use as a reference
  • What you're getting

How To Use the Seminar

You'll get the most out of this audio seminar by listening to it start to finish (although not all in one sitting, of course!) while referring to the Audio Companion book; that's the optimal setting.  That doesn't mean, however, that you can't learn from the seminar without the Companion close to hand, not at all.  Mark wanted this seminar to also work well for those listening in the car or exercising; that's one of the reasons that he restructured his seminar specifically for the audio recordings.

Of course, with any learning experience, dividing your attention between two things (like driving and listening) means that you won't pick up as much as quickly.  That's why we've broken the CDs up into ten-minute tracks:  that way, it's easy to re-listen to a particularly techie part.  And, as you'll see in a minute, we've made it easy to look any particular topic up.  Which brings us to...

How We've Made it Easy to Use This is a Reference

Once you've been through the seminar once, you'll probably find that most of what we covered sank in the first time, but that you need to review a topic or two in detail, or that you listened to the seminar back in January but are only starting to actually do the work in June and so you need to refresh your memory on the specifics of how to block anonymous users and null sessions.  We've gone to great lengths to make that easy.

Table of Contents

The Audio Companion book includes a table of contents for its part of the audio seminar.  We've put the TOC as on-line as well, so you can see what you're buying before you spend your money.  The entire TOC is at r2tracklist.htm, but here's a snippet:

Disc 2

 

Track 1

none

Volume introduction

2

28-30

Server core changes and setup

3

31-38

Server Core cont.; sconfig.exe; power management; core parking

4

39-42

Understanding print support architecture

5

43-50

Printer driver model; What is driver isolation

6

51-61

Understanding and implementing shared and isolated driver models

7

62-68

DHCP; MAC filtering and blocking

8

69-73

Blocking MAC addresses

9

74-80

Entering MACs; the MAC input tool

10

81-84

Creating a MAC whitelist; CLI support for MAC filtering

11

85-90

Split scopes; other DHCP improvements

The TOC is organized by discs and then a listing of CD tracks on each disc.  This particular disc, number 2, contains the course's coverage of changes to Server 2008 R2's Server Core, followed by a complete explanation of a little-known but really useful feature, R2's nifty new print driver isolation model.  The remaining part of the CD covers two all-new features of R2's DHCP server, MAC filtering and split-scope support.

The first line shows that on Disc 2's CD, there's an introduction to this disc, and "none" means that there are no PowerPoint slides associated with the intro.  The second like shows that while listening to track 2 on the disc you can read along with PowerPoint slides 28 through 30, and that Mark's talking about what's changed in Server Core. A quick look at the rest of the TOC for Disc 2 shows that tracks 2 and 3 cover Server Core, tracks 4 through 7 cover the new printing support in R2 (again, a neat new "crashproofing" feature that should not be missed by anyone who's got to worry about print servers!), and 8 through 11 explain the new DHCP stuff.  The beauty of this is that while we hope that you take the time to listen to the audio set from disc 1 through 10, we know that many of you want to jump immediately to your favorite topics (and, we'll wager, probably eat the icing first when enjoying a slice of cake, eh?) and so the TOC helps do that.  (Aw heck, we might as well admit it — some of us are icing-first folks too — that's why we created the TOC in the first place.)

Audio Companion Book

The Audio Companion also simplifies using the seminar.  Take a look at the Audio Companion:



We printed it with two PowerPoints per page so that screen shots are easy to read and diagrams are easy to understand.  (Years ago we experimented with printing one PPT to a page but you then end up having to turn the book sideways, as the slides print in landscape rather than portrait mode.  We then could have bound it on the side but it turns out that the pages are too long for the binding and the book tends to fall apart.  So two slides to a page seem to work best.)  It's spiral bound so that it lies flat without needing you to keep your hand on the book to keep it open to your place.

The Companion also makes finding things easy.  Take a closer look at another page and you can see:



Notice a couple of things here.  First, the slide number — 110, in this case.  As you listen to Mark's lectures, you'll hear that he refers to the slide number frequently, so that it's easy for you to locate a PowerPoint slide to follow along with.  We also use the slide numbers in the table of contents, as you saw, and on the face of the CDs, as you'll see.

Notice also the boxed "3/6" reference in the lower left-hand corner.  That's useful when you're browsing through the Audio Companion book and find that just seeing the PowerPoint slide doesn't provide enough background to help you review a topic.  "3/6" means that you can quickly find the audio lecture that accompanies slide 110 by listening to CD number 3, track 6.  

Finally, the CDs themselves have labels that help you find things. 

There wasn't room on the CD to put more extensive information, but each CD includes a volume title which broadly describes the lectures on that volume.  Then the CD label lists the tracks and the slide numbers covered in that track; for example in the photo above you can see that track 4 covers PowerPoint slides number 192 through 197.  We hope that between the table of contents, the volume/track references on the slides, the slide numbers and the slide number references in Mark's lectures that you find it simple to use the lectures both for primary education and then later for review of specific topics.

What You Get (And Where To Download a Sample!)

To summarize what's in the package, with links where possible:

  • You can read a detailed outlines about what's in the box at r2audiooutline.htm.  (Or you're welcome to email us.)
  • The tables of contents for each disc are at r2tracklist.htm.
  • Physical contents:
    • 10 audio CDs in the R2 set, 25 if you choose to buy the 2008+2008R2 package.  The 10-CD R2 set is a bit more than 10 hours of lecture, the combined package is about 30 hours' worth.
    • Softside zip case for the CDs
    • A copy of the printed Audio Companion, about 200 pages of PowerPoint slides, spiral bound
  • Sample lecture about R2's print driver isolation model:  there is simply no better way to know if you'll like a product than to try it before you buy it.  So if you'd like to get a feel for the presentation flow and Mark's style, feel free to download an audio sample here.  It's the introduction to the lecture on a little-known but nifty feature of R2 that solves an old problem on Windows print servers wherein if just one print driver fails, the whole print server subsystem crashes.  You can see the accompanying PowerPoint slides by downloading a PDF of them here.

How to Buy The Audio Seminar

Ready to buy?  Great!  Then here's the fine print, please read it:

  • At present we are only selling online through credit cards.  If you want to buy with a check then please drop a line to our assistant at Assistant@Minasi.com.
  • If you want to order from somewhere other than the US, then we can accommodate you, but (1) we've got to charge more because it's more work to ship out of the US, and (2) after a lot of research, we've seen that the most cost-effective way to ship things out of the US is to just send it via international mail.  That means that you're responsible for duty and taxes when the CDs get to your country.  Apologies, but we have to charge more for the extra handling and mail costs.
  • The cost for US residents includes free USPS media mail.
  • Because of the high risk and attendant cost of Internet credit card fraud, our online e-commerce system will only ship to the billing address.  If that's a problem, then just email us, again at assistant@minasi.com.

Still more questions?  Then look over our OAQ (ONCE Asked Questions) below or drop our assistant a line.  We're happy to help out with any questions.

To buy, just click one of the five links below to go to our secure server.

  • Click here to buy the 2008R2 set, (10 CDs, Audio Companion) for US destinations ($250)
  • Click here to buy the 2008R2 set, (10 CDs, Audio Companion) for non-US destinations ($300)
  • Click here to buy the 2008R2 set, (10 CDs, Audio Companion) for US residents who own the 2008 set and/or have attended the R2 class ($175, please note in comment field when and where you you took the class)
  • Click here to buy the 2008/2008R2 combined set, (25 CDs, two Audio Companions) for US destinations ($400)
  • Click here to buy the 2008/2008R2 combined set, (25 CDs, two Audio Companions) for non-US destinations ($475)
  • Click here to buy the 2008/2008R2 combined set, (25 CDs, two Audio Companions) for US residents who've have attended either the 2008 or R2 class ($325, please note in comment field when and where you you took the class)

Many thanks!

OAQ (Once Asked Questions — questions we've been asked at least once)

What is the license on this recording, what are the restrictions on using this?

None; the only rights that we claim are the standard rights that any copyright holder has under U.S. copyright law — the same rights that you'd have if you purchased a book.  That means in particular that you may:

  • Convert the product to another format, like MP3 or WMV, for your personal use.
  • You may lend, sell, or give the product to someone else, so long as you transfer all copies; there's no problem with lending this to your buddy Sam, so long as it's not possible for both you and Sam to be listening to them at the same time.  If you made MP3s out of the recording and you give the recordings to  Sam, then you've got to either delete the MP3s or give them to Sam, also.
  • And of course it's never legal (or very nice) to offer copies of copyrighted materials via P2P sites, torrents and the like.

Do you offer an MP3 version of the recordings?

No, mainly because we lack the infrastructure to handle selling digitally protected MP3s, WMAs, or whatever.  Apologies to anyone who's really inconvenienced by this, again please understand that we're a very small shop.  Thanks!

Is there be a special price for people who've attended the seminar?

Yes, absolutely.  Anyone who's been in the class can buy the set for a lower price, US$200.  

Does this include all material handed out at the course?

Basically yes, although it excludes a couple of topics (boot from VHD and PowerShell introduction) that generated very little interest in class.  (Remember there's an outline at r2audiooutline.htm if you're not sure about what the R2 audio set covers.) Buyers get a book like the one that attendees get, printed double-sided two slides to a page, spiral bound so it lies flat on your desk for easier viewing.

Do you sell overseas?  Please don't make the shipping overseas too expensive!

Absolutely, it's a top priority to be able to serve our out-of-the-US friends.  After a lot of research, we've seen that the most cost-effective way to ship things out of the US is to just send it via international mail.  That means that you're responsible for duty and taxes when the CDs get to your country.  Apologies, but we have to charge $50 more for the extra handling and mail costs.  (If you buy the two-in-one 2008/2008R2 set, we can charge $75 total shipping rather than $100.)

Are there going to be any downloadable samples so we can convince the boss to buy?

Sure; see the download links above.

Does Mark do demos that I would be missing or is the seminar exclusively off PowerPoints?

One of the reasons that this has taken so long is that Mark tried recording several live seminars and decided that simply "canning" the live seminars wouldn't be good enough — the periods of time when he's sitting at the computer demonstrating things to the class simply don't work on audio recordings.  So he's spent weeks reworking the seminar, and then recorded it in front of a class of two helpful attendees, then edited it just for CD, including a revised set of PowerPoint.  Wherever there is a "demo," it's driven by screen shots in the PowerPoint.  That's why there are only two PPTs per page... there aren't a lot of these screen shots, but they wouldn't have been readable otherwise.  Mark has, however, kept that to a minimum so that people who can't follow along (such as when driving) can still benefit from the audio presentation.