Sunday 29 March 2009

Brain dumps, what you should know

Firstly this post will not discuss where to acquire brain dumps. This is about what dumps are, what should know, why they exist and also the consequences of using them.

So what are brain dumps? 

They are usually a copy of the current live question base acquired through various nefarious means, such as camera phones thus violating the NDA you need to agree to at the start of every exam.

Contrary to popular belief, they are NOT past exams or past papers.

Now some will argue that they have always had sample/practice exams that they use as study aides, but nobody ever had the live exam before they actually sat it.

So what is wrong with having a copy of the exam to help you study? I will sidestep a little and answer this question with another question, do you need to study if you have the exam and answers? Do you even have to know or understand the subject matter to pass the exam?

And that last question is where the most controversy against the use of brain dumps. With certification vendors, the idea that you certify only qualified people is central to the whole process. Without that principle there is no trust for the certification or the people that supply it.

The certification is only valuable if there is a market for it. If for example employers start to see people coming through with the cert but not being able to perform any of the tasks that you would expect them to, and decide that they don’t trust that cert anymore or hire people with it. People who have studied using the standard legitimate means, you can begin to understand why people would get a bit upset with brain dumps. Hence why you will see the expression brain dumps devalue your certification.

Why do they exist?

They exist simply because no one likes to fail. They exist also because people want them. Shortcuts will always exist and people will always take them.

It comes mostly from pressure to have these certifications for work purposes for example. 

The consequences

So what can happen if you are caught using brain dumps. Well depending on the certifying company a couple of things.

The first is that you will loose the certification that you gained by using the brain dump and possibly all your other certifications that you have achieved.

You may also be barred from certifying with that company for a given period, even as far as a life time depending on the company.

Now, maybe you will ask how they will rescind your certification? Well remember at the start of this post I said that it contravenes the NDA, so you have already broken the contract that gives you the certification allowing the company to claim a broken contract and take it back.

Other consequences can come from the whole loosing your certifications. If your job is based on that certification your employer may not take too kindly to you having lost them.

Alternatively if you haven’t used them, but you are up against someone who has for a job for example, you could suffer because they get it and you don’t. Also if they don’t actually know what they are doing, again your certification and/or job prospects might be diminished.


I have deliberately avoided the dilemma of moral and ethical issues surrounding brain dumps. Everyone has their own ethical and moral compasses and as such as human beings you are responsible for your own actions whatever they may be.

Monday 23 March 2009

How to install PerformancePoint Server 2007 on Vista/Windows 7

As part of some work for a client, I have been doing some coding against PerformancePoint Server 2007. This has mainly been done on my VM but I prefer to do a lot of my development work on my main machine.

Currently I have MOSS 2007 running on it and I wanted to install PerformancePoint Server 2007 on it. Specifically the Planning Server setup.

Problem is that it complains that you are not running Windows2003 SP1 in a non domain environment.

To get around this use the following command line

msiexec /i PPLSrv.msi SKIPREQCHECK=1

This will remove the check for the installer and allow you to install on Vista.

To install the updates just change the command line to

msiexec /update PPLSrv.msp SKIPREQCHECK=1

You can use this for the other MSP files as well if required

Update: 21-11-2009

Following on from the comments here is a screen comparison if you use the command line above

Image showing Perfomance Point Setup when you skip the requirements

And without

Performance Point setup without the comand lines

You will notice that the next button is enabled to allow you to do the install.

Tuesday 3 March 2009

MS Learning offerings from Feb

MSL had a very busy month last month and launched a host of new initiatives to get people up and running.

Here is the breakdown

Could have made this into separate posts but its a bit late for that :)

Lack of posts

Well it sometimes happens that I have to work a bit longer so that is affecting my posting and also I am studying for my MOSS exams (Config and App Dev) and looking at where to go from there.

But new month new posts :)