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I have been appointed as PASS Regional Mentor for the Greater Southeast

I have been appointed as PASS Regional Mentor for the Greater Southeast by PASS (http://www.sqlpass.org). I am truly honored to volunteer for this position to help improve our PASS community. These are BIG shoes to fill.

I will be joining my good friend Tim Radney (Twitter | Blog) oversee 28 chapters across 6 US states (AL, FL, GA, MS, NC, and SC) as well as the Netherlands Antilles. The complete list of chapters that make up the Greater Southeast can be found at: http://www.sqlpass.org/PASSChapters/USGreaterSoutheast.aspx.

What is a Regional Mentor? What do Regional Mentors do?

In Karla Landrum’s (Twitter | Blog) own words:

In general, a PASS Regional Mentor can be defined as the following:

Passionate community volunteer

  • Dedicated to PASS and the SQL Server community
  • Understands the value of giving his/her time and talents to helping others increase their knowledge and skills and improving the overall community

PASS ambassador

  • Understands PASS and its mission and represents the best of PASS to Chapters in his/her area
  • Works to keep PASS accountable, on track, and meeting the needs of its members

Primary point of contact for Chapters

  • RM facilitates 2-way communications: resources, benefits, and news from PASS to Chapters and Chapter needs and feedback back to PASS
  • RM knows who to contact at PASS, at the local/regional Microsoft office, area sponsors, etc. if Chapters need something or have questions

The full blog post of Karla Landrum on “What is a Regional Mentor” can be found at: http://karlalandrum.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/what-is-a-pass-regional-mentor/

What does being a Regional Mentor means to me?

My personal view is that  a Regional Mentor is a facilitator and nothing else. This position is not a bureaucratic layer on top of PASS Chapters. I’m not a Regional Mentor to supervise, police, decide, or interfere with day-to-day activities of PASS Chapters. It is meant to be the first level of contact, but it does not mean Chapters can’t talk directly to PASS staff and leadership.

Regional Mentors can help PASS Chapters acquire swag, books and even speakers for their Chapter meetings. Regional Mentors can also open doors from personal contacts, contacts established by PASS or even contacts that other Chapters have already established.

Regional Mentors can also help by providing best practices and guidelines on how to run a succesful Chapter or event from past personal experiences as well as experiences from other Chapter leaders and PASS management.

Regional Mentors can also help Chapters leverage as a group on common challenges and issues, for example: incorporating as a non-for profit, learning how to deal with taxes, managing finances, structuring the chapter leadership, obtaining legal representation, obtaining special discounts, sharing of event materials and equipment, coordinating events and speakers, etc. These are just examples of some of the ideas and initiatives for the Southeast Chapters, so be in the lookout for some discussions around them.

What do I have to offer?

As President for the past 3+ years of the Tampa Bay Business Intelligence PASS Chapter (http://tampabaybi.sqlpass.org), organizer/co-organizer of  3 SQL Saturdays, and speaker at more than 35 events like SQLSaturdays,  I understand the challenges and time committment of PASS Chapter leaders. 

Throughout my community involvement, I have created a good network of SQL Server and Business Intelligence professionals, Chapter leaders and community rockstars. In addition, I have established great relationships with “blue badges” (Microsoft employees), PASS leadership and staff and have direct points of contact at many companies that offer products and services related to SQL Server and other Microsoft and non-Microsoft technologies.

It is my desire to help Chapters that need from my past experience, network, ideas and initiatives, and role as a facilitator . It is my intention to let Chapter leaders continue to keep doing their invaluable jobs and not interfere or serve as a barrier to their activities.

I’m here to facilitate!

Windows 8 Activation Error: DNS name does not exist Error Code: 0x8007232B

The Windows 8 Activation may fail while using the online activation process. You may receive an error screen similar to this:

Image

This issue was documented in this Microsoft Support article http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929826 for previous versions of Windows but also applies to Windows 8. The cause according to this article is:

As the support article explains, the issue has to do with the default behavior of the activation wizard in certain installation media. Depending on where the installation media was obtained from (for example MSDN or TechNet subscription download) the activation wizard  by default will look for a Key Management Service (KMS) host on your internal network. It will not try to activate using the internet to reach Microsoft Activation servers.

In my case, I downloaded the Windows 8 Pro ISO file from my MSDN subscription. The installation binaries from the MSDN ISO file uses a temporary / default key to install as I was not prompted for an installation key. This installation key is apparently a temporary key that tells the Windows 8 activation wizard to look for a KMS host on the local network only and not try Microsoft’s activation servers online.

The solution is to manually change the product key to a Multiple Activation Key (MAK) most likely provided with your MSDN or TechNet subscription. To change the product key, use the slmgr.vbs script included with your Windows installation. The steps to manually change the product key are as follows:

1. Open an elevated Command Prompt (CMD) in Windows 8. Elevated means, Command Prompt needs to be run as an administrator. To do this, go to Windows 8 Start (click on the Windows key), locate the Command Prompt shortcut on your tiles (or search for it on your Apps) and righ-click on it.

2. The option to Run as Administrator appears on the bottom toolbar as shown in the following screenshot:

3. Once the elevated Command Prompt opens type the following command and press ENTER:slmgr.vbs /ipk “Your 5×5 Product Key”

For example:

4. After you press ENTER you will receive the following confirmation message within 10 seconds:

5. Once you receive this confirmation message you may proceed to activate Windows 8 using Microsoft’s activation servers online.

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