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BlueWolf's Howl

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August 21, 2002

Microcenter

I knew that this week would be enjoyable. I had my doubts early Sunday evening, between reservation snafus and the extra hour spent riding around Boston trying to find the hotel, but those doubts quickly left as I entered the building. To the left of the hotel, you can see the MICROCENTER sign.

I didn't know how spoiled I was in Virginia. I thought every state had a Microcenter. For those not fortunate enough to live near one of the 19 stores, it's a computer haven. Microcenter:Network Engineer::Home Depot:Bob Vila.

When I first returned to New England, I took a trip to Boston on a whim. From Rhode Island you can do that. I was driving along with no particular place to go (singing that song) and found myself on 95 North. Hey, why don't I just go check out Boston? So, I did. One of the most wonderful discoveries was finding that there was a Microcenter. I had no idea how I was ever going to find it again, but enjoyed knowing that one existed in the area. Now I know exactly how to get back and forth from my place to this computer dreamworld.

There are many places that sell computers. There are a number of places that sell computer books (like my favorite - Borders). But there's no place like Microcenter. You can buy computer memory at Circuit City. But, if you get it at Microcenter, you'll get the same RAM for less. The prices I saw yesterday are comparable or less than the prices you'll find at a computer show. It also has all those hard-to-find whatchamacallits and whoosy-dinkies (these are very technical terms, so use them with caution).

So what did I get on my 3 hour shopping trip? I got books. Good books. Books for less. Hard to find books (for less). One of the things I like best about Microcenter is that they know about computer books. They know which books are current and which ones should be marked down. If you go to Borders, you'll still see the Windows Accelerated Exam Study Guide offered at full price. The exam is no longer offered. I can understand that perhaps someone may want to read that book. But, since the book is no longer effective for its intended purpose, it should be marked down.

Luckily, Microcenter not only marks down books that are no longer "current," but also marks down product lines that they want to move away from and books that have been on the shelf for a while.

Since I already have two books on Designing Cisco Networks... I got the DCN course companion book - for only $5.99! Great scoop - since I've been wanting to take that exam for a while. Now that I have all the tools, it'll just take carving out the time. I also got (yet another) Red Hat book. It was only $3.99. The CD is useless (I already have 7.2 loaded on my other 'puter), but the book had some nice customizations that I'd like to check out. I also got another great deal on the Active Directory Black Book ($5.99). That was a coup because it relates directly to _two_ MCSE 2000 tests that I'll be taking within the next month. I've been looking for a good book on Active Directory. Now I have one.

Then I treated myself to two "luxury" books. Both relate directly to the CISSP certification. One is the Prep Guide. I've been wanting that book for several months. It's usually around $70 - which made me put off getting it before I really needed it. I found it for less than $50! Scoooooooop! That's mine. I've also been looking for a book by Harold Tipton (father of the 10 Bodies of Knowlege - on which the CISSP is based). The Tipton book has been very hard to find, but came highly recommended by a CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional). It's another book that's usually $70 (when you can find it). I found it at Microcenter and got it for around $50.

So when am I going to find time to read all these books? I find it. I look in the oddest places and find a few minutes here, an hour there. It adds up. I read the entire "Inside Windows NT Server 4" book (all 1,000 pages) in a diner. It took quite a few meals to get through it, but I was going to be there anyway. If you keep chopping away at it, you'll get through a book - no matter how many pages it contains.

Posted by BlueWolf on August 21, 2002 08:42 PM