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BlueWolf's Howl

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February 04, 2012

Time Machine

So I must have a Time Machine hidden somewhere or I'm looking through a crystal ball to see the future.

Posted - June 26, 2011
"I passed the written test (for the second time) on 24 Nov 2011." (in the future)
"So my 'drop dead' date is May 2013 for attempting the lab."

I had the month part correct - but not the year. Although in my head while I was writing it, May 2013 was this coming May. Perhaps 2012 is like the missing 13th floor in many tall buildings. I just skipped it.

To post a correction and update:
(copied from the Certification Tracking page)
Mar 18, 2009 Exam (350-001) CCIE Routing and Switching - Passed
Nov 24, 2010 Exam (350-001) CCIE Routing and Switching - Passed

From my first "Pass" of the test, I had until Sep 18, 2010 to attempt the lab. Instead of preparing for the lab, I studied for and attained my CCSP certification. So I had to take the Written test again.

From my current "Pass" of the test, I have until 24 May, 2012 to attempt the lab.
I am currently scheduled for the lab on 12 March 2012.

If I pass it - Oh, Happy Day! (and on to the next challenge)... However, just showing up for the exam means I really have not just 8 hours to pass the lab, but really it gives me until 24 Nov, 2013 to pass the exam. Of course, that would include another $1500 for another sitting (or more), but it's a funny way to look at it. Yeah, funny as in "ha ha" funny. Well, the $1500 isn't ha ha funny, but it's a bit of construct comedy. IT CALMS ME. I notice that if I think about the 37 days until the test, I get tense. When I think about the fact that showing up for this means I really have until the end of next year to pass, the calm returns. Luckily, I'm not one that says "there's plenty of time, I can put it off." When I start something early, I tend to say, "there's plenty of time, let me start on something now. No matter how big it is, I have plenty of time to complete it, so I -can- tackle the big stuff." Framing. It works in marketing - and for tests.

Another thing that I noticed when I went to the Certification Tracker:
Oct 2, 1999 Exam (640-407) CCNA - Passed

Wow. I have been Cisco Certified since 1999! I remember that time of my life. I had already worked at a small ISP and an IT contractor. At the time, I was a newly minted MCSE NT 4.0 and was in charge of a bunch of servers, and a handful of network devices. Soon after getting my CCNA, the "network guy" that was responsible for my site and one other site decided to leave. I was sent to my first firewall class. It was for IBM's eNetworks Firewall on AIX. Yes, AIX. In fact, IBM's hardened version of AIX. Luckily it was not my first venture outside the Windows world. I had already been introduced to Red Hat Linux at the ISP (courtesy of the "shell server" we provided and the nice guy that ran that server). Yeah, I've been using Red Hat Linux since before the split when it went to Enterprise/Fedora. Not that I'm an expert at it, but I'm not afraid of any *nix. I've dealt with many flavors of it both for production and play. I'm currently running a Fedora workstation and an Ubuntu laptop. I'm also on XP Pro (work laptop), Vista, and Win7. This is in addition to the CatOS, IOS and NX-OS on the network gear.

Sometimes you have to take a moment to realize all you've learned. Once you see how much you've already learned, it seems like a cake walk to learn even more, no matter how advanced or intimidating it may seem at first blush. And if you look at what you know and how it relates to what you're trying to learn, it starts to look like a natural extension of your present state.

And presently I have the best tools for accomplishing my goal. I have a rack at my disposal (at my apartment). I can practice any lab at any time. I just need to turn on the power and it is available. I will be getting some rack tokens towards the end of the month and getting some remote rack time towards the end of my studies to practice on time and get used to the feel of a remote rack. I also currently have the All-Access Pass at INE. Access to every last streamed video on the site. Access to Boot Camps, Advanced Technology Classes and Deep Dives. And I already have Workbook I and Workbook II. According to INE, the people that use their materials take an average of 1.7 times to pass the lab.

So it's time to end this post and get back to the videos and command line. Since I'm posting in my other CCIE Studies blog, it may be some time before another update here. But I will be back.

UPDATE: I looked on the INE Rack Rental page and saw the rentals filling up - so I grabbed some tokens and scheduled some racks. I now have 10 Rack Rentals spread out between tomorrow and the lab exam. I can use my rack for practice and going through the Workbook I exercises. I will use the 10 for full-blown timed labs. So today will be study -and- prep for the first rack appointment. With a 6 hour block, I should be able to do 3 sets of troubleshooting - which is what I'm focusing on this weekend. INE has 10 Troubleshooting Labs in Workbook II and another 10 in Workbook IV. The hard part will be deciding which ones I want to do on the INE racks.

Oh...and while I was at it, I grabbed the All-Access Workbook bundles for R&S and Security. AWESOME.

Posted by BlueWolf on February 4, 2012 10:22 AM