Obsidian resources

I’m still spending a lot of time messing around with Obsidian, trying to figure out if I can migrate from Evernote, and if I want to. I have a bunch to say about all that, but I’m going to start with a list of resources that I’ve been looking at.

There’s quite a lot of material out there on Obsidian: podcasts, videos, blog posts, etc. That’s one of the reasons why it seems worth considering. If it wasn’t good, there wouldn’t be so many people out there producing content around it. (On the other hand, there’s a lot of content out there on the internet about some pretty questionable stuff, so maybe I shouldn’t read too much into that…)


There are a bunch of paid training options out there, usually in video form and running around $200 for a course. Here’s a thread from MPU Talk on the subject. A few of the examples below came from that thread.

  • Nicole van der Hoeven has a course called Obsidian for Everyone, for €200. I’ve watched some of her YouTube videos, and they’re pretty good.
  • Mike Schmitz has something called Obsidian University, which costs $150 USD. Schmitz is a co-host of Focused, with David Sparks. I don’t listen to that podcast, but I generally trust David Sparks, so I’d assume he’s legit, at least.
  • The Sweet Setup has something called To Obsidian and Beyond, for $200 or $500, depending on which tier you buy. Mike Schmitz was also involved with this course. I think it predates his Obsidian University, but I’m not sure.
  • And then there’s Obsidian Flight School, which costs $129. There appears to be a lot of content in this one. This is from Nick Milo. I’m not really familiar with him, but I’ve watched one or two of his YouTube videos.
  • And finally, there’s Obsidian Fundamentals and Obsidian Onboarding from Danny Hatcher. There are a few tiers to his stuff, with the highest being £199. I’m not too familiar with him, but he also has a lot of videos on YouTube.

I haven’t tried any of these out yet, and I don’t know if I will, but it’s interesting that there’s so much out there. (And, by the way, I couldn’t find anything on Obsidian on any of the training channels I currently have access to: Pluralsight, SkillSoft, and LinkedIn Learning.)


I’m not aware of any podcasts that are specifically about Obsidian, but Obsidian is a subject that comes up on a few podcasts that I follow either regularly or occasionally.

  • Mac Power Users: MPU has a number of episodes talking about Obsidian, since David Sparks is a big Obsidian user. There’s one episode in particular, 583: The Obsidian Deep Dive, that devotes the whole show to Obsidian.
  • Automators, likewise, devoted a whole episode to Obsidian: 109: Automating Obsidian.
  • AppStories did a four-part Obsidian In Depth series that starts here. Federico Viticci is a big fan of Obsidian, and there’s a lot of Obsidian coverage on AppStories and MacStories.
  • MetaMuse did an episode recently interviewing Stephan Ango, CEO of Obsidian. I found this episode to be particularly useful in figuring out a bit more about the company that’s behind Obsidian, and what their philosophy is, and how likely they are to remain on a course that’s consistent with maintaining a product that continues to be useful. (I had a hard time phrasing that sentence… Many tech companies are more about getting to an IPO or maximizing revenue or growth or whatever than they are about releasing and maintaining a good product. And the “maintaining” part is usually the sticking point…)
  • Somewhat related: I listened to an episode of Taming The Trunk recently that featured an interview with Federico Simionato, the current product lead on Evernote at Bending Spoons. Similar to the MetaMuse episode above, it gave me some insight into the current owner of Evernote, and their philosophy and plans for the product.

As you can see, I’ve been spending a lot of time researching and learning about Obsidian this week. I still haven’t convinced myself to migrate over from Evernote though. Some of the experimenting I’ve done has, at least, gotten me to clean up my Evernote data a bit, and has gotten me to think a bit deeper about how and why I use these kind of tools.

And, since Evernote has been my “second brain” for more than ten years now, going through the data in my account has sent me down some rabbit holes, remembering old jobs, old projects, and old friends. Some of that has been pleasant and some of it hasn’t. (Insert Comic Book Guy “Oh, I’ve wasted my life” meme here.)


Evernote alternative experimentation

I decided to do a bit of experimentation with Evernote alternatives today. I’m not quite done, but I thought I’d take a break to write up some findings, so far.

My first idea was to see how feasible it would be to use Evernote2Onenote to convert from Evernote to OneNote. I exported two notebooks from my Evernote install. One is a fairly small notebook (less than 200 notes) that’s just an archive of some old work notes. The second is my main archive notebook, where I move things that aren’t active anymore, so that’s a pretty big one (more than 1000 notes). The ENEX file for the first one was 17 MB, while the second was a bit over 500 MB.

I imported both of those into OneNote, with no issues. The smaller notebook took less than a minute, and the larger one took just about five minutes. The importer sets the date on the OneNote notes based on the date in the ENEX data, so that’s good. And it does a good job of preserving formatting from the old notes. And as far as I can tell, it kept all of my images intact. There’s no option as to which notebook or section the import goes to, so that’s a bit weird. It just put them all into what I presume is the default notebook/section for me. It’s not hard to move notes, once they’re imported, so that’s not really a problem.

My tags all disappeared. I wasn’t sure what would happen to them, but I was hoping they’d be maintained in some way. There’s a note on the web page that says “Notes are imported to OneNote in a tab that has the same name as the tag the note has.” So that made me think that it would create new tabs for each tag, and sort the notes out that way. But that didn’t happen. Then I thought that maybe I had to create the tabs manually first, so I did that and tried again, but that didn’t work either. I guess that, if I’m going to switch to OneNote, I’m going to have to give up on tags anyway, so maybe I shouldn’t worry about it.

(It’s occurred to me that I could write a little program to parse through the ENEX file and move the tags into the body of the note, so I’d be able to keep them that way. But that seems like too much work.)

Next, I decided to try Yarle to convert the notes to Markdown. That worked reasonably well, and reasonably quickly. There are a bunch of options in Yarle (as compared to Evernote2Onenote, which has almost none). I left them all at the defaults, and selected Obsidian for the Markdown dialect.

Yarle left me with a folder of Markdown docs and a “resources” folder with all the images and other file attachments. One nice thing I noticed is that Yarle sets both the created and modified dates on the files according to the data from the ENEX file, so that’s a nice touch.

From there, I installed Obsidian, created a new vault, and moved all of the Yarle files into it. I found that the end-result here is a bit hairier than I got with the OneNote import. And that makes sense, since Markdown is a text format, and converting rich text to Markdown is always going to be a compromise. On the plus side, all of the metadata I need (tag list, created date, modified date) is all there in the note. But it’s all at the top of the note, and looks kind of weird. I think I could fix that by using a different import template with Yarle, and I might try that later.

While the tags appear in the body of the note, they don’t seem to be recognized as tags in Obsidian. I don’t know enough about Obsidian to know if that’s easily fixable or not. Maybe that’s something else I need to fix in the Yarle template.

And I decided to try one more system, Joplin. Joplin has a built-in Evernote importer, so I used that. It gives you options to import as Markdown, or as HTML. I chose the Markdown option. This was pretty fast, and it brought in the tags and images, no problem. It also kept the created/modified dates (or at least one of those dates. Not sure which one.) The resulting Markdown was usable, but had been pretty much stripped of any formatting. Images were retained.

I then imported the same notebook, but selecting “as HTML” this time. That gave me notes that looked a bit closer to the originals, but the HTML itself was quite messy. So I definitely don’t want to stick with that.

Behind the scenes, Joplin doesn’t store its notes in text files, like Obsidian does. It appears to store them in a SQLite database, in a joplin-desktop folder under your Windows user folder. Any attached images are stored in a “resources” folder under that, with file names that appear to be GUIDs.

So, looking at what I’ve done so far, and trying to summarize it, here’s what I’ve got:

  • The OneNote importer seems to be the easiest and best way to get my notes into a stable system, with minimal loss of formatting or any other issues. But the big issue there is that I’d have to be OK with losing my tags (or figuring out a way to keep them). And it’s a plus that I’ve been using OneNote at work for more than ten years, so I know how it works.
  • The combo of Yarle plus Obsidian can probably get me a workable system, retaining tags, but losing a lot of formatting. I’d need to do some more experimentation with Yarle templates and options to get it to where I want it though.
  • Joplin can likely get me to a working system pretty easily, with tags intact, but a lot of formatting lost. I’d have a learning curve with Joplin, but I suspect it would be much less of a curve than with Obsidian.

(And, by the way, this was all done on my Windows PC. I haven’t tried any of this stuff out on a Mac, or on iOS.)

Having gotten this far, I also decided to play around with sync a bit. OneNote wasn’t a problem, really, since I’m already using OneDrive. But it did choke on the initial sync of my bigger notebook, and gave me a bunch of sync errors. That seems to have smoothed out now.

For Obsidian, I stored the vault under my OneDrive folder, so that will automatically sync up to the cloud. I’m assuming I can just point at it on my Mac, and that should work. I’m not sure how that’ll work on iOS, if it does at all.

And for Joplin, I just ran through the setup to tell it to sync via OneDrive. It appears to have OneDrive specific support built in, as I was asked to authorize it. It then created a folder under Apps/Joplin, and pushed out a bunch of individual Markdown files and other files. I’m a little worried about how reliable that will be, but I’m willing to give it a try.

I’m not greatly impressed by the user interface of either Joplin or Obsidian, though they’re both probably fine. Joplin seems simpler, and closer to Evernote. The default view is a dual-pane view, with the editable Markdown on the left, and a WYSIWYG preview on the right. There’s a rich-text editor, but if you switch to it, you get a warning notice about it, so that’s a little worrying. I’m not sure I’d want to deal with that, long term.

Obsidian defaults to a rich-text editor, which is nice. You can toggle to “source mode” if you want to see the markdown. I think I could get used to Obsidian’s user interface, though I think I’d need to spend a good bit of time tweaking it, messing with plugins, and so on.

Well, that took up a lot of time this morning, and I’m not entirely sure where I want to go next. I still haven’t evaluated macOS or iOS versions of Obsidian or Joplin. And I haven’t looked at how either could handle task management, beyond simple note-taking, which is kinda important to me.

I’ll still thinking that the path of least resistance (aside from sticking with Evernote) would be to switch to OneNote.

Dithering on Evernote again

For the last few years, I’ve been flirting with the idea of switching from Evernote to something else. I’ve spent a lot of time dithering back and forth, but I never decide to switch. I started thinking about it again this week, after noticing this post on Hacker News about most of Evernote’s staff being laid off. (And here’s an article from SFGate that fills in some details.)

Evernote was purchased by a company named Bending Spoons a while back, and it seems like this move is just to essentially shut down Evernote’s old US operation and move the work over to the new owner’s offices in Europe. So it’s maybe not as bad as the headline “Nearly all of Evernote’s remaining staff has been laid off” sounds. But it got me looking at alternatives again.

There was some discussion of the HN post on Mastodon and Reddit, so I looked at the discussions there (and on HN too of course) and went down some rabbit holes. So I thought I’d write up a blog post with some of my findings and thoughts.

The first mention of Evernote on my blog is from back in 2005. And looking at my actual Evernote account, I see that I started using it in July 2008. And I know that I started using it heavily in 2013/2014. So it’s been my main note-taking / task management system for about a decade.

In addition to the acquisition, layoffs, and general turmoil at Evernote, they’ve also put through a price increase, so Evernote Personal now costs $130/year, which is pretty steep. But price isn’t my main concern. I’m more worried about whether or not the new owner will keep both the front-end software and the back-end infrastructure up & running smoothly.

So here are some alternatives I’ve looked at, and some notes on each.


A lot of people seem to like Notion. It can import from Evernote, so that’s one item checked off my list. It also allows you to attach reminders to notes, which is another one of my must-have features. Pricing is $96/year for their “Plus” tier, which is probably what I need. So, less expensive than Evernote, but still not cheap.

But it also potentially has the same issue that a lot of people are having with Evernote: It’s a VC-funded startup that’s liable to run out of money, or get acquired, or whatever, and that could screw things up.

Two other possible negatives: (1) it’s using its own proprietary file format, and (2) it’s using its own sync back-end.


Obsidian is a popular Markdown-based note-taking app. It’s also a commercial product, but from a much smaller team, and not reliant on huge wads of VC cash. It’s free for personal use. If you want to use their sync back-end, that costs $96/year, the same price as Notion’s Plus tier.

My concern with it is that it’s primarily a plain-text product. That’s both a good thing and a bad thing, really. I appreciate that my data will all be in plain-text files, rather than a proprietary format. But I use Evernote as a place to dump image files and PDFs too. That’s possible with Obsidian, but I’m not sure about how robust the support is, or how easy it is to use.

There are a ton of plugins for Obsidian, and I suspect that a lot of the stuff I want to do would be supported by a plugin. But I’d have to play around a lot to figure out how well that would work.


Joplin is an open-source competitor to Evernote. I’m pretty sure that it was specifically designed to be an open-source Evernote alternative. It supports importing from Evernote, so that’s good.

The app is open-source and free to use. There’s a paid sync service, if you want it. The prices are all in Euros, but it looks like the basic tier would cost around $20/year and the pro tier would be around $63/year. So that’s reasonable.

I’m not sure that Joplin has enough task management features for me, but otherwise, it seems to be pretty solid.


Microsoft’s OneNote should probably be my preferred alternative. It’s got a lot going for it. I already subscribe to Microsoft 365, so I’m already paying for it. It’s from a large, stable, company, and it’s used by (probably) millions of people, so it’s not likely to be going away any time soon. And I use it extensively at work.

But I don’t use it at work because I like it, I use it because it’s the only approved note-taking app at my company. I know it well enough to know that it won’t work well as a full task-management system. If I wanted to stay in the Microsoft ecosystem, I could probably pair it with Outlook reminders and/or Microsoft To Do to get what I want. But I’m not sure I want to do that.

OneNote used to have an Evernote importer, but it seems that they discontinued that a while back. So I’m not sure how I’d get my notes from Evernote into OneNote. There’s a third-party tool that might work, though it looks kinda iffy.


So that’s four options. I looked at a bunch of other stuff too, but I’m (for now) rejecting anything that isn’t cross-platform (Mac, Windows, and iOS/iPadOS), so that eliminated some interesting Apple-only stuff.

Note synchronization is a big thing for me, and I’m not sure how some of these options are at it. With Evernote, I frequently switch between my Windows desktop, my MacBook and my iPhone and iPad, and it’s frustrating any time the sync doesn’t work seamlessly. If I only had Mac and Windows to worry about, then I could use one of the options that lets you keep your notes in local Markdown files, and just rely on OneDrive for sync. But I’m not sure how that would work on iOS, and the documentation on some of these apps doesn’t do a good job of getting into details on that.

I’ve also considered doing my task management in a separate system, like Todoist or Remember The Milk. But that adds an extra bit of complexity and cost that I’d like to do without, if I can.

And, to bring things full-circle, I came across a thread on the MPU forums this morning from somebody who left Evernote, and now kinda regrets it, and is thinking about going back. So maybe I should just stay put!


Kung Fu, and more water boiling

So, since Friday, we’ve got water service back, but with low pressure, and we still have a boil water advisory. The most recent update from the water company indicates that they’ve replaced the pipe, so that’s good.

My system, for now, is to use boiled water for cleaning my toothbrush and stuff like that, bottled water for drinking, and paper/plastic cups, plates, and forks/spoons/etc, so I don’t have to wash dishes. ShopRite had plenty of bottled water today and yesterday. I bought a gallon of Poland Spring yesterday, and another gallon today. They’re limiting sales to two gallons per customer per visit. If the advisory isn’t lifted, I’ll probably need to go back for another gallon or two at some point.

I did risk making myself eggs and toast this morning, which required washing some dishes afterward. I went ahead and used tap water for that, and I’ll just live with the risk, I guess. And I ate a couple of slices of pizza from the pizzeria across the street last night. I’m going with the theory that pizza is cooked at a high enough temperature to kill anything that might have lingered from using tap water anywhere in the process. That may be wishful thinking, but I guess I’m OK with it.

It’s been interesting to see which businesses on Main St were closed yesterday and today, and which ones weren’t. Both Starbucks and my favorite local coffee shop have been closed, but Dunkin Donuts has been open. There’s a local bakery that was open, but they posted on Facebook that their stuff is actually prepared offsite, in a “ghost kitchen” that’s in an area not covered by the boil water advisory.

Meanwhile, I’ve been on a Kung Fu binge this weekend. I watched Ip Man yesterday, and that reminded me that I’ve had a DVD set of Kung Fu Master sitting on my shelf since 2007 or so, unwatched, so I dusted that off and watched it too. Today, I’m watching the Ric Meyers commentary track for that. It’s bringing back pleasant memories of Meyers’ “Kung Fu Superhero Extravaganza” panels at San Diego cons, back when I was going to SDCC every year. (I’m fairly certain the reason I bought the Kung Fu Master DVD set is because Meyers showed some clips from it at one of those panels.) And some internet searching around Donnie Yen has reminded me that there are a bunch of his movies that I haven’t watched yet. And I have a box set of all of the Once Upon A Time In China movies, so maybe I should hold off on buying any more Kung Fu DVDs or Blu-rays until I’ve watched those

rough day

Today did not start off well. There was some (presumably) emergency construction going on, right outside my window, from around 9 PM last night until 4 AM this morning. A good bit of jackhammer noise early on, then a whole bunch of back-up beeping throughout the night. (I understand that back-up beepers are well-intentioned, but are they really necessary in the middle of the night, on a street that’s been closed off to all traffic?)

So I was pretty out of it this morning. I was working from home, and it was a fairly quiet day at work, so I got some work done on a big project that I’ve been working on for weeks. So that was good. But lack of sleep, plus some other stuff, made me a little paranoid about some work stuff. It’s always a bit weird when you’re working from home, and you’ve got no meetings with anyone, and you’re not getting much email, and you notice a couple of weird things, and then your imagination starts going… Anyway, I think everything is (mostly) fine, but I guess I’ll find out next week.

And then, around 3:45 PM, I noticed that my water was out. I did some checking, and it looks like there was a big water main break, and most of the town is out. And tonight is “cruise night,” when downtown is overrun with classic cars, and various folks looking at classic cars. So that’s going to be a huge problem, if nobody’s toilet is working…

Meanwhile, it’s been another “air quality alert” day, with the AQI above 150, well into the “unhealthy” range. I guess the plan for tonight is to stay home, with the air conditioning on, drink beer, pee in a bucket, and go to bed early.


From AI Is a Lot of Work:

Put another way, ChatGPT seems so human because it was trained by an AI that was mimicking humans who were rating an AI that was mimicking humans who were pretending to be a better version of an AI that was trained on human writing.

There’s been a lot written about AI lately. And a lot of hype around it. A lot of articles I’ve read (OK, skimmed) aren’t saying much of value. This one is pretty interesting though.

And here’s a link to a podcast that might be interesting: The Culture Creating A.I. Is Weird. Here’s Why That Matters. (I haven’t listened to it yet, but it was recommended to me.)

Personally, I was hoping to sit the whole thing out, but I guess it’s too late for that. I remember taking an “Intro to AI” class in college that was basically an intro to LISP and Prolog programming. It’s come a long way since then, but it hasn’t come as far as a lot of people would like to convince you it has.

buggy iTunes on Windows, and alternatives

Part of my normal work-from-home routine is to fire up iTunes on my personal desktop PC and play music throughout the day. (On and off, depending on what I’m doing, of course.)

My desktop is a Windows 10 box, so I’m still stuck with iTunes. There’s a preview version of the new Apple Music client available in the Windows Store, but I’ve been leery about trying it. I’m afraid it might do something horrible to my local library, which is almost 18,000 songs, and around 125 GB, at this point. I’d prefer to wait until a 1.0 release.

But iTunes has been locking up on me a lot recently. So I got a bit fed up today and decided to give an alternative client a try. I’d previously tried Cider, but didn’t like it enough to keep it. That was a while ago, though, so I decided to give it another try. It used to be an open-source project, and you can still download that, but the new version is (I guess) closed source, and costs $4 in the Windows Store. I went ahead and bought it and tried it out today, so I thought I’d post some notes on it.

First, it’s mostly just a shell around the web interface for Apple Music. So if you go to music.apple.com and sign in to your account, that’s basically what you’re getting, with some added bells & whistles. It doesn’t deal with your local library at all. (I don’t mean to belittle it here; the bells & whistles might be really handy for some people.)

My major issue with it right now is that it’s got a “dark mode” interface, and no way to switch to a light mode. And I find that hard to deal with. So it’s definitely not something I’m really happy with. But it has done what I needed it to do today: let me stream music to my PC without locking up, like iTunes was doing.

It has occurred to me that another solution would be to stream Apple Music from my iPhone to my desktop via AirPlay. I have something called AirServer on my PC, and it works pretty well for streaming audio from my phone to my PC. Though that, also, is not a great solution.

Or I could go back to CDs! I do still have a CD player in my PC. I could just play CDs via VLC or Windows Media Player or something like that…

Oh well, I’m starting to overthink this stuff again. Time to get back to work…

General learning stuff

First, a little follow-up from my last post: The Credly thing was a little weird. There’s a working LinkedIn integration that will add the credential to your profile and let you post about it. So that’s good. There are options to share to Twitter and Facebook too, but neither worked. I manually posted the credential link to Facebook, Twitter, and Mastodon, just for yuks. So maybe I’ll get some “likes” out of that. Not that it matters, but I crave attention and validation, like most 21st-century humans.

On the broader topic of education: I’ve been working on figuring out some of the newer .NET Web API stuff lately. My existing .NET Web APIs are all .NET 4.x. Until recently, I hadn’t tried to create one under ASP.NET Core. I’ve been working my way through this course on Pluralsight.

I still get access to Pluralsight through work, which is great. My company recently discontinued access to Percipio though. I wasn’t really using Percipio that much, and I still have access to it through ACM, so it’s no big deal that work has stopped paying for it. That got me thinking about O’Reilly Learning again. When I got the email telling me that we were dropping Percipio, I responded with a suggestion that they look into O’Reilly. I don’t have much hope that our L&D folks will want to spend the money on O’Reilly, but I thought I’d suggest it. You never know.

Our L&D folks (and I guess someone influential in management) have been pushing a lot of leadership stuff lately in a couple of areas that I wasn’t previously familiar with. First is John C. Maxwell’s 5 levels of leadership. I guess that Maxwell is actually a pretty big name in the “leadership” area, though I’d never heard of him. He’s written a bunch of books. I’m considering picking up the 5 Levels of Leadership book, either in Kindle or Audible format. I’ve got mixed feelings though. On the one hand, I want to learn stuff that might be important and help make me a better manager. On the other hand, I’m about halfway through the third Wheel of Time book, and I don’t want to get off track on that.

The other big thing they’re starting to push at work is something called Emergenetics, which sounds pretty fishy to me, but is apparently not a weird pseudo-religion or anything like that. I don’t have much to say about it, since i haven’t really started looking into it yet.

I’m not really sure where these two initiatives came from. It might be somebody in L&D, or somebody in management. We do have a bunch of new high-level managers that have been hired from outside recently. We used to get most of our high-level managers from internal promotions, but I guess our president wanted to bring in some fresh blood. Overall, there’s a good bit of uncertainty in the company, due to all of the new managers coming in, and various changes going on. I’m trying to take a “wait and see” attitude, and keep an open mind.

I do have three direct reports now, so I should probably try to keep up on the management philosophy stuff. I haven’t really been an active manager in a long time. And, since they made me a manager about six months ago, I’ve actually done very little management. I’m mostly just letting my direct reports do their work, and leaving them alone. But I should probably try to more actively engage with them. At some point, I’ll probably have to do performance reviews, so I guess I should at least engage enough to be able to do that properly.

It’s hard to juggle all of this. I want to keep up on all the technical stuff, like ASP.NET and Power Platform, and so on, but I also need to work on the “soft skills” stuff.

finally Microsoft certified, again

Well, it’s just about three months since I committed to taking the exam for Microsoft’s PL-900 certification. Per this post, I got an exam voucher from my company, back in March. At that time, I set a “next week” reminder flag on that email in Outlook, and I’ve just been kicking the reminder to “next week” again every Friday. So finally I decided to just stop putting it off and take the test today. (It helps that it was a quiet day, with nothing else on my calendar.)

I have a few observations about the exam-taking process that I thought I’d share, since I wasn’t at all sure how it was going to work, so maybe this will help someone else who is planning on taking a Microsoft exam.

First, I wasn’t sure if I should go for the at-home option or go to a testing center. I checked Pearson’s site for local testing centers, and there’s one that’s about 10 miles away from here. So not too far, but far enough that I thought I’d try the at-home option instead.

At-home, of course, was not an option the last time I took an exam, back in 2010. I’d heard some worrying things about the requirements for at-home tests, which I wasn’t sure I’d be able to fulfill. They want to minimize cheating, of course, so you have to take photos of your work environment, to show that you don’t have any reference material at hand. My apartment is so cluttered that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do that. But I managed to clear everything off my kitchen table, and I guess the photos I took were good enough for them.

But to back up a bit, first I had to schedule the exam. I know that there’s supposed to be some human review/monitoring of the exam, so I wasn’t sure if it would be easy to get a spot, but it turned out to be quite easy to schedule the exam for today. If I’d wanted, I could have taken the exam right away. I didn’t want that though, so I scheduled it for 1:45 PM. You need to check in for the exam prior to the start time, and you can do that 30 minutes prior.

After registration, I went through the “pre-flight check” that involved downloading a small program to my computer and verifying that my webcam and microphone worked, and that my internet connectivity was good enough. That was no problem.

After that, I spent some time taking (and failing) the MeasureUp practice exam again. Given that I’ve never successfully passed the practice exam, I really wasn’t sure I’d be able to pass the real one.

So at 1:15 PM, I went ahead and checked in for the exam. That process takes a while, and requires you to go through the webcam and microphone check again. Then it requires you to take some photos on your phone. They need a photo of your face, your ID (front and back), and four photos of your workspace. That all went smoothly enough. There’s no phone app for this; it’s all done through a website, which you can get to through a QR code or a text message link.

Once you’ve done all that, you have to put your phone away, so it’s out of reach, then you get put into a queue to start the test. I’m guessing that a human needs to manually review your photos and OK them. Or maybe it’s all fed into an AI thing, and only manually reviewed if the AI fails. I don’t know. It took a while for me to get out of the queue, and there were a couple of notices about connection issues that worried me a bit. But eventually I got through and the test started.

I kind of thought that there might be some required human interaction before the test, either in chat or onscreen via webcam/mic, but there was none. I just got transferred into the test.

There weren’t any unexpected surprises in the test itself. The questions were all pretty similar to what I’d seen in the practice exams. It took me about 30 minutes out of the 45 allowed to finish. And I got my results onscreen right after the exam.

I passed by a pretty reasonable margin, I think. I guess that result is a combination of (1) taking the real test more seriously than the practice tests, (2) having learned something from my repeated practice test failures, and (3) the practice tests being purposely harder than the real test.

So, post-exam, I went to the MS Learn site and downloaded a little PDF certificate, showing that I passed. I couldn’t initially find a detailed report on my score, but I just went back and checked again, and it’s there, on Pearson’s site. So my actual score was 822, where 700 was passing. Info on the scoring and the reports can be found here. I guess that’s 822 out of 1000, so… good enough.

I guess the next step here is to boast about passing the exam on social media. I think there was something on LinkedIn at one point where you could link your MCP profile to LinkedIn and then post a verified link to show that you’ve actually passed. I’m not sure if that’s still there, or if I’m even remembering that correctly. So I’ll want to look at that. And I kind of remember at one point that if you tagged MS Learning in a tweet about passing an exam, they’d retweet it and congratulate you. So I should see if I can do that. (Though I’m mostly staying off Twitter these days, for obvious reasons…)

I’ve already sent the scoring report to the person at my company that sent me the exam voucher. I guess that having a certain number of certified professionals on staff does something to help us maintain our partner status, or something like that. I know that we keep track of it.

I don’t really get much, personally, out of passing this exam. I’m not looking for a new job, and if I was, it wouldn’t be as a Power Platform guy anyway. And I don’t get a raise or bonus for doing it. But it was kind of fun and interesting to do. It’s been so long since I’ve had to take a test that it felt kind of weird to do it.

On the broader topic of continuing education, I’ve got a lot of stuff going on. This post is getting pretty long, so I’m not going to get into any of that here. Maybe I’ll write up another post over the weekend.

(UPDATE: Since I first published this, I’ve figured out that I can share a certified link to the certification through a site called Credly. So here’s the official link. So now you know I’m not lying about all this.)


From NJ.com: Wildfire smoke to cause dangerous air quality, darken skies again today.

Yesterday wasn’t great, but today is really bad. I don’t remember air quality around here ever getting quite this bad. I managed a short walk early this morning, but when I tried a quick walk after lunch, it was too bad and I had to give up and go back inside. (And it’s not perfect inside either.) I’m not sure how much of this is due to air quality, but I’ve had a headache all day today and most of the day yesterday. And I’m getting itchy eyes and a rough throat. I may take a nap this afternoon, if I can get away with it.

I think I’m glad that I’m working from home today, but I’m also wondering if my office building’s HVAC system might be doing a better job of filtering out the bad stuff than my apartment building’s HVAC is doing. It wasn’t bad in the office yesterday, but overall it wasn’t as bad yesterday as it is today. I guess that if it’s really bad again tomorrow, I’ll find out how good the office HVAC system is, since I’m supposed to go in tomorrow.