Category: Training

Secret Weapons of a Master Trainer

By Max Ranzau


From the Teacher’s Tips Dept. Having trained a lot of great folks in RES tech over the years, one particular question I often get on the side is this: “Max, what is that digital whiteboard solution that you are using?” I thought I might as well share that with you here, as well as a couple of useful tips. You’ll need these as circumstances have changed around the product’s availability.

cpsFirst of, what I use is called Canson Papershow. It is a quite ingenious solution to white boarding. The Canson Papershow solution differs itself by using a real ballpoint pen tip on real paper. It’s not a recorder pen that plays back later, or one of these Wacom tablet jobs where you can’t see what you’re doing. I’ve even seen folks trying to finger paint on a VGA connected iPad – ye gods! With this kit, everything you write will be drawn precisely in real-time in the whiteboard app on screen as well as on the paper. The kit consists of a USB key, a pen and a special micro-dotted paper pad. The USB key has 3 functions:

  • It’s a Bluetooth receiver for the pen device.
  • It stores the software for the host computer (it supports both Windows PC and Mac)
  • It provides storage for your saved whiteboard drawings (I think the key in total has about half a Gig). The drawings are stored in a vector based format, not as bitmap, so you can edit them later or continue next day of training in the same file.

The pen runs off a single AAA battery. It’ll run for about Read more »

RESguru Consulting goes live!

Hi everyone, it’s been a while. Plenty has been happening on Planet RES for the last few months, which why I’m here today to bring you a very exciting announcement. For me this year, the American independence day will have double meaning:

As of today July 1st 2014, I am launching RESguru Consulting as a  company. Specifically I am offering consulting, design, implementation and training/workshop options to anyone who is looking at RES Software automation, workspace or self-service solutions.

Having worked actively with RES products for the last 1½ decade, trained hundreds of consultants, admins and several instructors in the ways of the Force, I am now putting my services and experience at your direct disposal.

I am based in the San Francisco bay area, yet available internationally. For further information, call (+1) 610 462 2200, email or reach out via LinkedIn. See my profile page here, for a backgrounder and more information.

To everyone who’s been following and enjoying the site over the years, rest assured – all the content and goodies will stay up on and more are being added in the future.

I look forward to working with you.

Max Ranzau


Time to get Trained! Calendar for USA 2013

Icon, EducationFrom the Information Injection Dept. It’s my pleasure to present to you the calendars for 2013 RES certification training events in the United States. This time around we are only scheduling classes until end of second quarter. I plan to publish the calendar for the rest of the year around end of Q1. The reason for this is that we are in the process of redesigning the training materials and the curriculum for the big training courses. This is specifically the case for Workspace Manager:

So far the training material was structured according to the 3 product editions;  Personalization and Composition, Advanced Administration and Security and Performance. While this initially seemed a good idea, experience and feedback from all you, our course participants, told us that we needed to re-arrange things a bit. In other words, few people were interested in just learning about the features in one edition – it turned out that all of you wanted the full enchilada! While we are stoked by this, it was also a challenge, since Workspace Manager today is packed chock-full of goodness;  to a degree where it has become hard to cover everything in-depth in the regular 5 days. Add to the equation that consultant managers already were challenged to pulling billable feet off the street for an entire work week, it was clear that something had to change. So that’s precisely what we are doing now:

The bottom line is that later this year we are splitting up the WM courseware into two seperate courses: Workspace Manager Basic and Advanced. Each of these courses will eventually be 3 days, making it more easy on the schedule of the participants. I anticipate we will be ready with the new courses by end of Q2, so in the meantime it’s business as usual, with one slight change: Instead of the 5 days we did all 2012, we now offer the Workspace Manager class in 4 days, as a preamble to the above mentioned changes.

Below is the schedule for the RES partner certification classes for first half of 2013. The course abreviations are as follows: WM = RES Workspace Manager, AM = RES Automation Manager, SO = Service Orchestration (soon to be known as the IT Service Store)

Date City Course
Feb 6th-8th Houston, TX AM
Feb 19th-22nd Philadelphia, PA (RES HQ) WM
Mar 12th-15th Richmond, VA WM
Mar 25th-27th San Francisco, CA AM
Apr 8th-10th San Francisco, CA SO
Apr 23rd-26th Chicago, IL WM
May 14th-17th Anaheim, CA WM
Jun 5th-7th East coast / TBD AM
Jun 10th-12th East coast / TBD SO


vdxAs you may have heard, in 2012 RES Americas appointed and signed the first RES Authorized Learning Center (or RALC) in the United States. We are proud to partner with VDX out of New Jersey. They will be selling RES training classes nationwide to end-user customers, while we here at RES continue to offer training to new and existing partners. Below is VDX’s training calendar for first half of 2013:

Date City Course
Jan 7th-11th Cranford, NJ (VDX HQ) WM
Jan 21st-24th Cambridge, MA WM
Feb 18th-22nd Chicago, IL WM
Mar 18th-22nd Irving, TX WM
Apr 8th-12th Mountain View, CA WM
May 13th-17th Malvern, PA WM
Jun 10-14th Cranford, NJ (VDX HQ) WM


Just to be clear, the difference between the certification classes that RES conducts and the classes our global RALC partners offers is that the RES classes are offered free of charge (for now) to new and prospective RES partners only as a part of our ongoing investment in building out the US channel. Besides, for partners above bronze level there is a mandatory certification requirement.

  • If you are a new, existing or prospective RES Partner and have interest in training, please contact yours truly.
  • If you are a US RES customer interested in attending RES Workspace Manager, please contact Mr. David Ball at VDX.

For more in-depth information about the RES classes in general, see What a training class is supposed to be like. Also, make sure you have a look at the official curriculum on the RES corp web. Finally I have written a training and certification FAQ available here.

What a training class is supposed to be like

By Max Ranzau


From the Industrial Might and Logic Dept. This article is a revamp of a piece I wrote last year, in connection with the partner training calendar.  If you haven’t read this article before, here’s the exec summary: It describes my point of view how a technical training class should be conducted and thus how I run my mine. Even if you’re not a trainer, but a prospective participant, you may consider using my points below as a yardstick to measure the quality of another class you participate in.

Looking back over a couple of decades of working in IT, I believe my particular take on training methodology stems back from the fact that my first training class back in the mid-90’s sucked harder than a diesel powered vaccum cleaner. My students were well-justified being anything but kind in their review. Hey, so we all had to start somewhere, but moving up and onwards from there and becoming a better trainer is a continuing effort on multiple fronts:

  • Knowing your target material (obviously)
  • Constantly improving your delivery methods.
  • Never be ignorant of the fact that even though you teach for a living, there is always someone smarter out there who you can learn from as well.

nrevpresAs an example of the latter, I remember (after teaching 2-3 years of Citrix WinFrame) being sent on a mandatory NT4 Terminal Server course. Taking into consideration that “thin client/server computing” (yeah, that’s what we called it back then) was still a fairly new thing, the poor sod assigned to teach the class was indeed an MCT, but his speciality was MS Office (!). Go figure how that went… The guy was nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, having no clue whatsoever to what he was teaching, beyond what was on the current page of the book. However, soon finding out that myself and a colleague were knowledgeable in the subject, he ended up turning over the reins, thus doing the smart thing to ensure the participants got a good experience and their moneys worth. I think the morale of the story here is that getting egg on your face is also a learning experience. I know I’ve got enough already for an omelette or two! ;-)

Now, let’s talk about the RES certification classes. If you’ve never sat through a RES partner training class, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. These classes are very heavy on practical labwork rather than the usual PowerPoint + 15 steps of predictable labwork. With the above experiences in mind, having trained a slew of technologies over the last 20+ years, including Citrix, RES, App-V and Packeteer, I’ve formulated what I believe to be a good recipe, resonating well with most participants:

  • Get the basic theory of operations
  • See how it’s done
  • Try to build it yourself
  • Possibly fail. Don’t panic! This is a good thing. See below.
  • Fix the problem and learn from the experience
  • Repeat on a new topic.

The failure part at first seem to worry some folks in the modern business culture which seems predominant, being spewed and enforced by some clueless managers that “failure isn’t an option“. You, as an engineer or an admin, got to look at it with better eyes than that, because that’s how we learn best as Human Beings. Somehow we seem to forgotten this basic rule of human nature in the ruthless corporate world we inhabit as IT people. Pause and think back for a moment: It is likely that ever last one of us as a youngster , learned the hard way a stove is indeed hot!  – All because we were unable to absorb the experience of the senior people in the household and just being told don’t do this or that, doesn’t always stick.

In a much too typical IT class, you watch the numbnut at the whiteboard yammer on for 1-2 hours, showing off his Powerpoint skills, while reading aloud from the curriculum, followed by; “So, let’s turn to Lab Excersize 23A on page 451 and take 15 minutes to complete this lab”. This is where you with 98.2% probability will see the Instructor bolting for the door to answer voicemail or go on his smokebreak. You as a participant, in the meantime get the sheer thrill of following 15-20 lab steps: Click here, now click there etc. etc…Done. My question to you at this point is – and think hard about this one for a minute:


What. Did. You. Learn ?

Did said lab exercise provide you with the opportunity for independent thought or ideas? Did it expose any weaknesses in the procedure (or god forbid, in the product!) which would help you in the field later? Did you get the chance to fail, fix and learn from the experience? If the answer is no to all of the above, you have to ask yourself if you feel properly enabled? After all, chances are that your employer is not pulling you from the field, just to enjoy the nice catering and my lame Chuck Norris jokes during class.

When dealing with potent and extremely versatile products – such as the ones RES Software produces – a different approach is needed as described above. Setting you up for potential failure during class will help you avoid making similar mistakes when in front of your customer. It’s as simple as that. Being thrown into the deep end of the pool is not a bad thing, as long as there’s a qualified lifeguard on duty. What that translates to is that during my classes you can expect to be challenged to keep up and think on your feet, but at the same time you will be fully supported.

This is how I train. I look forward to seeing you in class!

RES Partner Training 2012

ATTENTION: The training 2012 year is now over. Please refer to the 2013 training calendar.

From the Get-Yerself-Certified Dept. As the year is drawing to a close, it’s my pleasure to share with you the partner training calendar for the United States, 2012. We’ll be hosting a number of classes where you can learn the nuts & bolts of the RES product line, from the ground up. The classes will primarily be run by yours truly in 2012. According to the wishes of existing and new RES partners, we’ve selected a number of US cities where technical training will take place. Mark down the dates and contact me if you want to reserve a seat. Registered participants will receive information about the venues, prerequisites and everything else, when time is approaching. Read more »

Get AM and WM trained in Ft. Lauderdale / November

From the RES Tech Training Dept. Are you a new or prospective RES partner in the United States? Need to get trained in a RES product? Missed the recent invite? Then keep reading, this article is for you then!

Read more »

VDX Online Test Drive

Today, I have an exciting new online tool to announce to you. RES Customers and partners can now try RES VDX in an free cloud-based test environment . This online testdrive site allows users to evaluate the capabilities of RES Virtual Desktop Extender with their own computer as a remote desktop client. If you are new to the whole VDX thing, go have a look at this article. In order to try it, a couple of things are needed:

  • On the testdrive landing page you’ll need to enter your contact details. An email with a link will be sent to the address you provide.
  • You need IE6 for this service (Sorry, it seems the launch interface from does not support FireFox or Chrome at the moment)
  • If you don’t have it already, install the Citrix ICA Client plugin.
  • Last but not least, install the VDX client plugin. Both plugins are available for download on the demo page also.

In essence with this testdrive option, users can try RES VDX, allowing users to evaluate the product in a sandbox environment in the cloud. This makes evaluating our software faster and easier. I’m told that if this online test drive is successful, we will create online test drives for our other products as well, so be sure to give the good folks of Product Management some good feedback on this! Once you’re logged in, follow the onsite tutorial instructions to take VDX for a spin.

The registration form for the Online Test Drive can be found here. Enjoy!


Presenting RES Online Learning

From the selfstudy dept. Last week RES Software opened up a brand new website, RES Online Learning, which will help you both get started with RES technology. The site consists of A LOT of video material that will let you learn in more detail how to wrangle both the RES Workspace Manager and RES Automation Manager. All the videos are posted on a dedicated YouTube channel, but I highly recommend using the Online Learning website, where you can track your own progress as you work through the material. As of now there are 60+ videos to chomp through. The site is free to use and can be found at