joe the "expert" (was Re: [Full-Disclosure] IE is just as safe as FireFox )
mvp at joeware.net
Sun Nov 21 17:21:48 GMT 2004
I seemed to have struck a nerve here Maurizio. I have to say, nothing you
have written here has particularly enhanced my concept of the the MCSE
There are specific MVPs who certainly are cheerleaders but that has nothing
to do with them being MVPs nor the general state of the MVP Program. In fact
when I was awarded 3/4 or so years ago it was during Code Red and Nimda and
I was blasting MS in the public forums for their idiotic behavior of
enabling everything by default when most of the people who used Windows
couldn't spell IIS let alone figure out how to turn it off. When I was
approached to be an MVP I specifically asked if I would be censored or
required to pay homage in any way, shape, or form because if that were the
case, I wasn't having it. I was assured that wasn't the case and have pushed
the boundaries of that multiple times without issue. Once I became an MVP, I
rallied for, successfully I might add, for services to mostly be off and the
bar to be raised so that someone who wanted it on had to actually learn how
to turn it on. More recently the MVPs rallied (also successfully) for MS to
release SP2 to everyone and NOT have it lock out pirated copies. As a
general group, we aren't cheerleaders by any stretch of the word.
On the flip side, there are certainly MCSEs who know what the heck they are
doing. Being an MCSE isn't why they do though, they had that ability prior
to being an MCSE most likely. I would say the top 3-5 guys I personally know
in the world of Windows for how it works are not MCSE's. They are
developers,PM's, and consultants who actually work for Microsoft. Most of
the rest of the top twenty-five aren't MCSE's either unless for some reason
they HAD to get the certification which happened to a good friend and fellow
MVP recently. I think he spent maybe three weeks getting it and that was
because he was traveling at the time and training Microsoft PSS folks.
On the description of what an MVP is on my site... Do you know what a flip
Does MCSE mean someone is an "expert in all Microsoft technologies and
products". No. Such a person does not exist, you can not be an expert in all
Microsoft Tech, the field is far too wide. You can't even be an expert in
all client tech or all server tech. You are either going to be a generalist
or a tech expert for a specific area, possibly both, but you certainly
aren't a tech expert across all tech MS has.
In general the MVPs are probably the most realistically hardest group on
Microsoft. We actually understand how many of their products work and have
strong opinions on how they should work and have direct persistent
connections and exposure to the people who can fix what we see wrong. We are
stuck in rooms with the Microsoft VPs and Developers as well as get their
real email addresses and phone numbers and are on private listsservs to
convince them as well. A bunch of MVPs in a room with a PM or VP responsible
for a product is ANYTHING but a group of cheerleaders. We recently had a
Security summit with maybe 50-60 Security MVPs where we spent a good amount
of time every day pointing out issues and possible solutions to MS about IE
and running as local admin and the documentation and many other things.
Another good portion of the time was spent with them showing us new products
and tech that were being worked on to solve many of the issues present today
and explaining how they intend to make things better. The last 3 or so hours
of that event was spent sitting in a room spouting our general feedback from
working groups to the likes of Rich Kaplan and the people under him where we
would voice concerns and Rich would rephrase what we said and make sure his
people were taking good notes. We also had Mike Nash in the room at one
point as well listening to what we had to say. You may not have a credence
in the technical ability and opinions of MVPs, but Microsoft certainly has
and if I had to chose whose respect and attention I wanted to have, you
would come up wanting in that decision.
On the real life business experience, you really don't know what you are
talking about in that realm with me.
I feel bad if it took you a long time of hard work to become an MCSE and you
feel it had value beyond what it actually has. An MCSE is generally a piece
of paper to get you in the door of a hiring company who has an HR person
that sees MCSE as a documented requirement because of a misunderstanding by
the IT Management of the value of MCSE. Once you get into the job, real
capability and understanding is what kicks in and matters. The simple fact
is that many people get MCSE certs in a matter of weeks, it is simply a
matter of money and a little bit of time and memorization. If I wasn't known
in the industry and just starting out, I would consider getting an MCSE.
Nothing now would entice me to do so as it isn't something I need to get my
foot in the door. The only time I seriously considered it was in the late
90's after I had taken some classes on the NT stuff. I quickly realized that
the classes and the content of the exams wasn't too reflective of what was
done in the real world in Fortune 50 companies so decided against it. I have
not suffered in the least due to that decision.
As a short recap, let's look at some differences between MVPs and MCSE's
1. Which can occur in shortest time, becoming an MVP or becoming an MCSE?
MCSE - 7-14 days. See bootcamps that are available, I have had friends do it
even without bootcamp.
2. Which participate in regularly scheduled NDA chats with Microsoft Dev,
product managers, and Execs? MVPs
3. Which ones have to sign NDAs yearly due to sensitive information they are
presented and accesses they have? MVPs
4. Which ones are brought back to Redmond at least once a year for NDA level
meetings with Dev, PM's, and Execs? MVPs
5. Are there more MCSEs or MVPs? MCSEs
6. Who, as a group, has access to Windows Source Code, MCSEs or Windows
MVPs? Windows MVPs. This is to help with the tough outlook questions you
7. How much does it cost to become an MVP? Nothing. How much does it cost to
become an MCSE? Varies, but at the minimum several hundred dollars. Some
8. How often does an MVP have to be renewed? They don't, every year they
have to be reawarded from scratch. How often does an MCSE have to renew?
Once an MCSE, always an MCSE, however they can upgrad when new OSes are
released every so often. And there are usually upgrade helper methods to
maintain the MCSE, testing from scratch is not required.
10. What kind of peer review is involved with MCSE program? None. How about
MVPs? MVPs are responsible for nominating other MVPs and are often asked
what they feel about this or that nominee and whether they should be
I could go on with this list but I don't need to. There is nothing integral
to the MCSE program that says an MCSE actually has to understand what they
are doing but an MVP who consistenly answers things incorrectly will not be
re-awarded if they were mistakenly awarded in the first place. An MCSE
simply has to have the ability to pass written tests in a scheduled time
frame, all that implies is the ability to memorize information for a short
Maurizio, take the time to look closer at that list of MVPs next time you
are out at the MS Site. I would be highly shocked if you haven't learned
something from one or more of them as it means you aren't reading many (dare
say most) of the good Windows books (as well as non Windows books such as
popular books on DNS and other internet tech) that are available, including
several MCSE study guides. Also tools from several large third party vendors
such as Quest and SysInternals come from the minds of MVPs who are CTOs and
Let me choose if I even want a browser loaded thanks!
From: full-disclosure-admin at lists.netsys.com
[mailto:full-disclosure-admin at lists.netsys.com] On Behalf Of Maurizio Trinco
Sent: Saturday, November 20, 2004 3:17 PM
To: full-disclosure at lists.netsys.com
Subject: joe the "expert" (was Re: [Full-Disclosure] IE is just as safe as
"joe" <mvp at joeware.net> wrote:
>  Don't get me started on MCSEs. As a whole I
think they hurt Windows far
> more than any other thing. A bunch of people who
feel they are experts in
> Windows because they took a couple of tests that 10
year olds could memorize
> and pass and yet still not be able to run anything.
The best I can say about
> MCSEs is that I will *try* not to look down upon
them for being MCSEs and
> let them prove themselves to be worthless before I
assume it in person.
Now from joe's own site, comes this fully untrue
'So what is a Microsoft MVP? The flip response is a Microsoft MVP is a
person who answers the questions the MCSE/MCD/MCT folks ask.'
My dear Joe,
Let's see what Microsoft has to say about MVPs:
Are Microsoft MVPs experts in all Microsoft technologies and products?
No. Although many MVPs have in-depth knowledge of more than one product or
technology, none of them are experts in all Microsoft technologies or
So, my dear joe, you are nothing but an ego-inflated bullshitter. Your
verbal diarrhea is only matched by your unbelievably low level of competence
when it comes to Microsoft products. Being an MCSE is much more than
answering some "how do I send a message with Outlook" in one or two
newsgroups. I worked really hard for my MCSE titles and honestly, the idea
that I (or any of my colleagues) could seek enlightenment from you is simply
ridiculous. If you think that passing exams like 216, 296 or the design
exams is something an... er, MVP could do... then you'd better think again.
While I'm an MCSE, I'm by no means an ass-kisser for Microsoft, as your
MVPiness seems to be. Their products, contrary to popular belief, could be
extremely complex (try real life business environment, compared to that
unlicensed version of Windows 2003 server you're running at home) and many
times extremely badly written and vulnerable -- but very complex
nevertheless. Saying otherwise, only proves your lack of specialization
(hint: familiarity is NOT specialization; you may be 'familiar' with your
colorful XP, but that makes you by no means a 'specialist').
Oh, and something else: for some 10 years before I became an MCSE, I was the
typical Unix admin. I used to laugh at Windows NT, I stopped laughing at
I'm by no means friends with hip-kiddies who think Linux is cooler than
Window$$$, I really dislike Microsoft-moronized Windows ass-kissers like
you, who only know buzzwords, but have no real knowledge of the system. You
should go together and exchange some fanatic e-mails; you belong in a place
where 'my-OS-is-longer-yours' fights
Anything else... is just proving yourself how MVP and not MCSE you are. Or
whatever Unix/IT certification you may choose, other than the ridiculous MVP
Take care and don't let the bedbugs bite.
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