Thursday, December 31, 2009

Epilogue of 2009

What a year this has been! Economy turmoil still very much alive and the after effects still felt until this very day, the H1N1 virus rampaging all around the world causing WHO to put the most serious threat level 6 mark on it, earthquakes happening here and there especially in Japan and Taiwan, elusive murderer Ishihashi was finally captured, etc.

I am glad that 2009 will be over pretty soon in a couple of hours to be exact if you are on the GMT +8 timezone. Let's hope that 2010 will bring us good news and better prospects this time. I for once am looking for major positive changes in my life in the year 2010 and that includes my still yet to end journey to the top of the CCIE mountain. Hopefully with help from people like Narbik Kocharians, IPExpert and Internetwork Expert, I may one day see the light at the end of the tunnel (if I managed to focus and stop my nonsense on IM sites ;-)). We'll see ...

With that, I am a much bigger, badder, more focused and an extreme opportunist for the year 2010. The picture above tells it all.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

So What's Happening with Narbik Kocharians?

Narbik Kocharians have been pretty quiet nowadays. Just a few posts here and there on GroupStudy and *poof* he disappears using his CCIE jutsu skills. However, I was lucky enough to catch him at the right moment today and brought him back to my lair for questioning. Here is what I have found so far before he managed to 'escape' me again.

Narbik locked himself for the past week or so and he has just finished his 4th troubleshooting lab and the boot camp 2.0 work book for the CCIE R&S track.

He is almost done with the CCIE SP workbook.

He is also almost done with the CCIE Security workbook.

He will finish the OSPF route filtering in the next two days (by this I assume it's the VoD).

I am assured that what he says is NOT I repeat NOT vapourware. He can be a little lagging sometimes in mails/schedules but we all need to remember he is a one-man army. Looks like 2010 is bringing in good stuff to all of us already :-).

Let's hope the other vendors have some juicy details to share with us for 2010 as well!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to All :-)

I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! May our kind friendship continue into the year 2010. Best wishes and lots of love. Sounds cheesy for a StormTrooper? Probably I should just blast anyone who says that with my resin blaster >:-).

I am now starting to get into broadcasting live whenever I have the free time (getting time off from studies/my other tonne of hobbies) and when the mood is right. I will be broadcasting about my life hence the broadcast title "The Way Life Is". If you are interested to see what I have been doing or what life in Kuala Lumpur is really all about instead of relying on edited videos and edited information from the Internet, please feel free to point your browser to Feel free to follow me on UStream as by doing so, you will get updates to what I have in store next. You are MORE THAN WELCOME to suggest what you would like to see (no nudity or profanity). Just comment on this post or drop me an e-mail. Thanks!

The next live streaming will be on a typical Malaysian Chinese Wedding (lunch) this 26th December 2009 which will be broadcast at 1315/1330hrs (GMT +8).

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

CCIE Flyer December 2009 Edition

Hot from the oven, CCIE Flyer December 2009 Edition is out! Get it at the usual place, oh and notice the upper right hand corner of the cover page when you visit the site :-).

My CCIE studies have been slowing down partly due to the festive seasons and wife needs some Christmas attention. Speaking of which I gotten myself an Alfa AWUS036H high-powered wireless USB adapter. Now it works perfectly with Linux and it supports packet injection. Now tell me what am I going to do with this? *grins*

Monday, December 7, 2009

CCIE Flyer November 2009 Edition

CCIE Flyer has been out for quite some time at This month, I did not submit an article partly because I was not pleased with the way I wrote. Well, we'll see what I have in store for December's issue and as a hint, it has something to do with Starwars :P.

Other than that, this month I sidetracked a little from my CCIE studies and did a CISSP training. It was kinda fun to see how ISC2 sees a perfect world with its exam versus real life scenarios. I do hope to pass the CISSP at one point since security is my first love and the very reason why I started on Linux back in 1997. Maybe I should put CISSP as a New Year Resolution for 2010? Choices choices ...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Narbik Kocharians FREE Troubleshooting Chapter

Not really fresh news if you have been following the threads on GroupStudy (yes I admit some of the threads are just plain drama and at times rather abusive e.g. running down someone with a car comes to mind).

Ok the real meat of this post. Narbik Kocharians has released a free Troubleshooting lab and some other free goodies are on the way too. This is his exact post from GroupStudy some time back (a few days ago if I remembered correctly).


To All,

First of all I would like to apologize for the delay.

Secondly, please excuse any typos, I kind of rushed to get this out so you guys will enjoy the lab.

Once again there are no registrations, no sign-ins or any other requirements to download the lab.

Please go to

And then, click on *CCIE Routing and Switching Trouble Shooting Workbook* and then, click on *Download FREE sample chapter*.

Please let me know if you experience any problems.

The initial config file is also included. You need to have winrar to unzip the directory, it also includes the diagrams.

This lab is one of the 10 Troubleshooting Mock labs and hope it would NOT be a waste of your precious time. PLease go through and read the answers and see the steps that one has to go through to resolve a trouble ticket.

I have also included another FREE lab work book that you guys can download; it has 338 pages of good labs (They help reduce your blood pressure, whereas, the TS labs help reducing the cholestrol). You should see it there as well.

The security work book and the SP will be our next priority and they should be completed before the end of the year.

There will also be a FREE VOD on ZBFW, that should be finished within a week or so.

Enjoy and I hope to see you guys later.

Narbik Kocharians
CCSI#30832, CCIE# 12410 (R&S, SP, Security)
Sr. Technical Instructor
YES! We take Cisco Learning Credits!


So for those of you who are still considering whether to get his excellent Advanced Technologies workbook, you can now get a free taste of it! Oh yeah, and I will not be surprised if you then decide to purchase the whole package ;-).

Saturday, October 17, 2009

CCIE Flyer October 2009 Edition

Here's the edition you guys have been waiting for. The October 2009 Edition FREE! Guess what. Another FREE gift which is Narbik Kocharians's Soups to Nuts Workbook. We didn't lie. Get your copy now at

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Official Update: CCIE Routing and Switching October 2009

This is the recorded session on the following item:

Official Update: CCIE Routing and Switching

Topic: Official Update: CCIE Routing and Switching Exam Changes and Cisco 360 Learning Program for CCIE RS Updates
Date: Tuesday, October 6th, 2009
Time: 10:30 AM PDT (UTC -7)
Length: 1.5 Hours

Scheduled Speakers:

  • Maurilio Gorito, Product Manager, CCIE RS
  • Lora O’Haver, Product Marketing Manager
  • David Bump, Product Marketing Manager
  • Rick Smith, Program Manager Cisco 360 Learning Program for CCIE
  • Brad Ellis, CEO, CCIE #5796 RS/Security
  • Dawn Tesar, Director, Sales and Marketing
  • David Clark, Cisco 360 Learning Program Instructor, CCIE#14742 RS

The webcast will last approximately 90 minutes. The webcast will be recorded and posted on CCBOOTCAMP's website and the Cisco Learning Network.

The recorded session can be found at:

My good friend, Cauew has done a summary of the webinar in case you don't want to go through the whole thing at

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW!!! : Cisco Brand Protection

This is an EXCLUSIVE from Eman, my chief at the CCIE Flyer! This is an interview on Cisco Brand Protection. The interview was done with Karim Kattouf who is the Program Manager, Brand Protection for Saudi Arabia, Gulf & Pakistan.

Cisco Brand Protection

I have written of the work I am doing with Monica (my best friend at Cisco) in helping CCIEs regain control of their IE numbers. Her work has led me to interact with the Brand Protection team at Cisco. They are a group of professionals who are scattered around the globe looking out for your welfare. Who is there to recover your stolen hardware? Who is there to stop the obsolete counterfeit products at the border? Who is there to warn you off of buying dumpster diver unlicensed or authorized refurbished gear? Cisco Brand Protection that’s who!

I was curious about this group when I heard they had done some high profile sweeps in the past with various agencies like border patrols, customs and police. Counterfeit Cisco gear? Yup even the DoD was worried and it has been stopped at borders. Stolen Equipment is also a concern as well and the policy from Cisco is to deny support for products that might be stolen. Used gear is a hot topic for debate. Those who sell it want it supported by Cisco like all other gear. But think about it, who can vouch for what kind of shape it is in? There are some reputable and honest companies doing this now but there are also dumpster divers and thieves out there who have spoiled this business for the whole lot. I have been told by CCIEs about a couple of bad deals as they tried to build labs. Cisco recertifies some gear and then they will support it. That’s a tough spot to be in for Cisco because they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

Karim Kattouf and I first spoke back in February when we had worked on a case together. He is a Program Manager for Brand Protection covering KSA, Gulf and Pakistan. Karim called me concerned for the CCIEs in this particular case, and quickly got to the bottom of the scenario. Karim and I spoke again this week and he agreed to share some of his work with the CCIE Flyer readers.

Q & A with Karim Kattouf

Q: Karim, can you tell me a little about how your group was formed?
A: The global Brand Protection team, with team members located worldwide, was established to drive Cisco's ongoing, proactive, and company-wide efforts to minimize the potential for damage to the Cisco brand as a result of counterfeit and unauthorized market activity, as well as other related activities.

Q: With all the growth within Cisco Systems it must have been inevitable that manufacturing would end up in another country. Is counterfeiting a serious problem?
A: Counterfeiting is not a new phenomenon for the IT industry. It is a global business issue that targets market leaders—especially those with high demand products. We recognized counterfeiting as a global market issue and have been proactively addressing the issue.

Q: What kind of penalties result from criminal counterfeit cases?
A: Cisco works in cooperation with internal law enforcement and government agencies, and pursues appropriate legal action when necessary, in order to prevent the trafficking of counterfeit Cisco products. Law enforcement anti-counterfeiting efforts, such as the collaborative international initiative against traffickers in counterfeit network hardware, result in prison sentences, fines and forfeitures, and orders for restitution, among other things, and have a deterrent effect on would-be counterfeiters. These cases also serve as an important reminder of the risk of purchasing outside of Cisco’s authorized sales and distribution channels. The integrity of a customer’s network begins with the purchase. When the equipment they are buying is mission critical, quality and authenticity should always be top of mind. There is no denying the peace of mind that comes from purchasing genuine, quality Cisco products from authorized Cisco channels.

Q: Stolen gear has a market too. You can sell almost anything on eBay these days so I was not surprised to read about a conviction for one guy taking the gear from his employer and selling it there. He made over $500,000 from this activity. How do you usually identify stolen hardware?
A: We evaluate each matter on a case-by-case basis to identify the specific issues. We also work in close collaboration with various groups within Cisco to appropriately handle each matter.

Q: In doing my research on used equipment, I found reams of companies selling it and dozens of articles supporting the practice. At the same time, I’ve seen an equal number of articles warning of the pitfalls of buying used equipment particularly regarding support of the gear, reliability of the sources, etc. What advice does Cisco provide regarding used equipment?
A: While there may be many reasons for considering the purchase of used equipment, Cisco’s advice for our customers is to understand the risks involved with used equipment. These risks may include business continuity, security, legal and regulatory, and financial. A complete description of these risks is detailed here in an IDC white paper at
Once the risks are understood, Cisco advises customers to utilize our “Think Smart” framework when considering the purchase and installation of used network equipment. This framework consists of three steps – Plan Smart, Source Smart, and Buy Smart. A key component of this framework is Cisco Certified Refurbished Equipment, which is equipment that has been remanufactured to like-new condition by Cisco, and carries the same warranty and support options as new Cisco equipment. For more information on this framework or for additional information about the Cisco Certified Refurbished Equipment program, please visit or send an e-mail to

Q: Are there any companies authorized to sell refurbished Cisco gear?
A: While there are many independent resellers offering used and 3rd party refurbished Cisco equipment, Cisco Certified Refurbished Equipment is only sold by Cisco’s network of 40,000 authorized partners worldwide. In addition to new Cisco equipment, any Cisco authorized reseller can sell and install Cisco Certified Refurbished Equipment. To verify that you are buying from a Cisco authorized reseller, please go to

Q: Do you read the CCIE Flyer?
A: Unfortunately, I do not read the CCIE Flyer. I have heard of it amongst my colleagues, who are CCIE certified, and they have spoken very highly of it.

Q: Do you like it?
A: Browsing through the site now, I think it is very interesting and has a lot of useful and insightful information. I will make sure to bookmark it so that I can keep checking it in the future.

Karim Kattouf, Program Manager, Brand Protection – Saudi Arabia, Gulf & Pakistan

Karim is part of Cisco’s Brand Protection team for the Middle East, in the overall Emerging Markets Theatre.

His role is multifaceted encompassing governance, audit, investigations, education, and internal and external liaison with law enforcement and the Cisco partner community. He works on Brand Protection related tasks for the Arab World.

Karim joined Cisco in 2007 as part of Partnership for Lebanon and participated in a 6 month program in San Jose, California. After this, he joined the Cisco Brand Protection team for the Middle East based in Beirut, Lebanon.

Karim holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree from the American University of Beirut and is currently pursuing his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree at the Lebanese American University in Lebanon.


Additional Contact Information / Links:
Protecting our corporate brand and reputation for quality is a serious issue for Cisco. Please notify the Cisco Brand Protection team if you suspect a breach of intellectual property by sending an email to

For more information on Cisco Brand Protection, please go to

For more information on the Partnership for Lebanon program , please go to

So there you have it folks! Be sure to tune in to October 2009's CCIE Flyer edition coming to you mid of October for more interesting and hot news!

CCIE Flyer Reader Exclusive Soup-To-Nuts for FREE!

For some of you who is still thinking of whether to pursue the CCIE or not and even after some 'pushing' you are still thinking, think no more. Here's one for you loyal readers for the CCIE Flyer. Now don't start giving excuses and go study! :-)

CCIE Flyer Reader Exclusive Soup-To-Nuts for FREE!

Why Pay More?

The journey to become a CCIE is an expensive one and in my everyday interactions I always look out for bargains. Recently Micronics, Voice Boot Camp, Global Knowledge and SkylineATS all reduced rates or agreed to for their CCIE boot camps. I thought I had really done something for future CCIEs with those announcements. The ads for training companies in the CCIE Flyer for September made history as well. Come on, have you ever seen those training companies all advertised on the same page before?

Well now the CCIE Flyer has really done it. We are offering Narbik’s Soup-To-Nuts workbook for FREE in the October issue of the CCIE Flyer. Yes you can get the hottest deal on one of the industry’s best workbooks to use as a guide book for your journey to become a CCIE from the CCIE Flyer. So for all you who have been visiting the CCIE Flyer this is our way of saying thanks!

How can you go wrong with free?

How to order? Go to the CCIE Flyer October issue out around the 17th and see.

Be prepared for a big October issue thanks to Eman and the CCIE Flyer team! :-)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cisco IOS Release 15.0

Cisco is playing with numbers again and this time its IOS is the victim ;-). Jumping from 12.4 to 15 lets you know that Cisco is 'afraid' of the numbers 13 and 14 (number 13 is considered unlucky in the Western culture and number 14 (because of the 4) in Asian culture). This is taken from Ivan Pepelnjak's site ( For more information you can also visit Michael Morris's blog post at NetworkWorld (

IOS release 15.0

This is not an April 1st post: I’ve just realized that Cisco quietly released IOS 15.0M (mainstream). Haven’t tested it yet, but the images for a large variety of platforms are already available on CCO. The new features listed in the documentation include:

  • Full BFD support, including static routes, BFD-in-VRF and BFD-over-Frame Relay (next step: test it on a 2800-series router);
  • DHCP authentication;
  • DMVPN tunnel health monitoring;
  • EEM 3.1 (whatever that is, the EEM documentation hasn’t been updated yet);
  • Interaction between IS-IS and LDP;
  • BGP local convergence in MPLS VPN networks (the feature has already been available 12.2 SRC, now it’s available on more platforms);
  • OSPF graceful shutdown and OSPF TTL security check features are available on more platforms;
  • Intra-zone traffic inspection in zone-based firewall.

It looks like (as expected) the 15.0 release is a grand merge of all previous IOS trains (with a few extra features). Good job; finally we have something new to play with :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

CCIE Agent Economic Stimulus

Here are some good news for you guys and girls who want to do the Cisco 360 program. This just came in from my chief, Eman.



Yeah it’s an overused term the whole Economic Stimuli theme, but in some sectors it is working. Take as example the surge in hiring in the USA for Network Engineers we have seen. What has made the Cisco Channel Partner community open up their purses? The answer I think is that money is being spent and spending promotes spending. I am a simple man but I do understand that basic concept. The fact is we have been seeing brisk interviewing and hiring and we are feeling very strong heading into the last quarter of 2009. I will be just as glad to say good bye to 2009 as I was to 2008 even though we are seeing an improvement through end of this year.

CCIE Agent Economic Stimulus for Channel Partners

As the CCIE Agent™ I have enjoyed a lot of success so I am offering clients reduced rates for staffing. What should you care as a CCIE or candidate we represent? Because hiring companies often make a decision on whom they are hiring with the fee they are paying the recruiting company in mind. If the fee adds too much to the bottom line then the candidate could see themselves eliminated. Have you ever been rejected for a role you thought you had in the bag? Think about your agent, what are they charging your prospective employer? I wish I could get all the CCIEs I know who are unemployed new jobs. So to help them we are reducing our fees to prospective employers to 12% with a maximum fee of $10,000. These low rates will help prospective employers make a decision. (contact

CCIE Agent Economic Stimulus for Training

Many phone calls have transpired since my conversations with Learning at Cisco representatives. Since then I have visited with Bruce Caslow and spoken with SkylineATS and Global Knowledge representatives about the program and the pricing. I have been successful in getting CCIE Flyer only discounts for my readers from Micronics and Voice Boot Camp and now I am very pleased to say I have negotiated rates down for 360 program CCIE training. Now I have been told I will see special rates in the $3,000 range for this offering.



Narbik’s special brand of CCIE R&S boot camp training is world renowned as the most effective and comprehensive of its kind. (

Voice Boot Camp

Faisal Khan has now added his name to the list of trainers authorizing me to offer CCIE Flyer only pricing for his world renowned CCIE Voice. (


Narbik and Paul Negron 360 learning provider SkylineATS has begun negotiating with the CCIE Agent to provide the 360 learning program for CCIE in the $3,000 range. There will be a lot more to say about this very soon in the CCIE Flyer! (


There you have it folks. Seems like after the lair of Narbik Kocharians had some juicy news, the CCIE Flyer lair had some juicy news of its own! I am pretty sure the IPExpert and Internetwork Expert team will not be left behind ...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Something Brewing In the Lair of Narbik Kocharians

Yours truly have been donning his Cisco Ninja suit and stalking Narbik Kocharians and after a successful stalking, here's what was found.

Narbik is working on FOUR major projects. Four??? Yes. Four.

Narbik is working hard on getting his troubleshooting workbook for the CCIE R&S track out. If you have purchased his 2.0 workbook, you will see that it is labeled vol 3. This workbook is provided FREE for those of you who had bought his 2.0 workbook. Because of Narbik's high and stringent quality requirements to only release the very best to his students, he will have someone good to help him out so we'll see the surprise soon enough.

Narbik is also working hard on releasing his CCIE SP workbook out. The schedule for his CCIE SP bootcamp will be out soon and will be taught all over the world. If you know the quality of his R&S workbooks then expect the same best work for this track as well.

Don't be surprised if you see Narbik releasing workbooks for the other tracks as well. When I stalked his lair, I happen to see a glimpse of books starting with SE there. SEcurity or does SE means Special Edition? Maybe he has a Special Edition for R&S? Time will tell.

Let us not forget that the OSPF COD is nearing completion (it seriously is almost completed!). If the quality is the same like how we experience for the free OSPF Filtering sample we saw, then I believe we will be blown wide open with the quality of the CoD videos.

Last but not least, before I left Narbik's lair, I heard him snoring about finishing editing the CCIE Written Exam Certification Guide 4th Edition which is due out in October 2009. Hence I believe Narbik will now turn his energy when he wakes up to releasing some of the stuff that I mentioned above.

I would have stayed longer at Narbik's lair but you see he has this sweet lady named Janet who patrols the lair for pesky intruders so I don't want to get caught. You know how it is when you are caught spying on people. Hence I left after about 3-5 minutes.

There you have it folks. Fresh news from Narbik's lair. Remember you heard it here FIRST. Please also remember one thing. Again I would like to remind you that Narbik is a ONE-MAN army. He works alone most of the time on releasing his workbooks and also teach classes. We have 24 hours in a day so if you get a slow reply or no reply from Narbik, you could perhaps try again in 4-5 days. He receives tonnes of mails last I heard so it's already tough filtering mails from us and also requests on getting him to appear on the David Letterman show.

As per popular request, I have included the .NET file on the topology for Narbik's workbooks which can be found at this RapidShare link. I have also included a link to his OSPF CoD since I had requests on this from a couple of people who visited my blog. His CoD can be found at this RapidShare link.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

CCIE Flyer September 2009 Edition

The CCIE Flyer September 2009 Edition is now out!!! As usual, it has great content! Get it while it's just out of Eman's oven at

Monday, September 21, 2009

A CCIE Widow's Request

Today I received an e-mail from Eman, my chief at CCIE Flyer. The mail was about a CCIE Widow's request. It is very touching and even though I did not know Dave in person, how his wife, Lee, described about him touched me very much. Time does not wait for us. We must appreciate whatever time we have whether it is for personal stuff, family gatherings, CCIE studies, etc.

A CCIE Widow’s Request

CCIE # 5804 was one of the very few CCIEs in Alaska. I met him at Networkers in 2008 the month before his death. I did not find out about his passing until March of 2009 when a friend and co-worker sent me a message about him after seeing his picture on my blog. I had exchanged emails with him prior to Cisco Live 2008 so when we met I was pleased to make the acquaintance of one of only 4 CCIEs in Alaska that I knew of. After Cisco shut down the NASCAR Grille CCIE party, I hosted a bunch of CCIEs at the Hard Rock Café near there at Universal Studios Orlando. The band Modest Mouse was just finishing their last set for the night and we had a few beers together along with seven or eight other CCIEs. The other guys were from Holland, Texas and a few other places. But Dave and I talked a lot that evening and I am happy now, looking back that I had that chance.

At the end of August 2009 I received this email from Lee Gahm, Dave’s wife;

Dear Eman,

My name is Lee, I am Dave's wife. Tonight I spoke with his parents and they told me about what you had written and I looked it up. I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to share your kind words about Dave. The proudest day in his life was when he passed his CCIE test. Actually we were all very proud. Dave LOVED his job and by what I could tell he was very good at it. I miss the middle of the night calls from his work..I never understood a single word he said but I was always impressed. His trips to those conventions were always important to him. He was proud to be a "techno geek". He was looking forward to the next CCIE gathering as he was going to speak.

I am not ready yet but I will be putting together a memory book for Abby. I would be grateful if you and some of the others would share some of your memories or stories about Dave with me. If you have any other pictures too, I would love to have them. I know his parents would like to see them also.

He truly was doing something that he loved. I was so fortunate to speak to him the night before and could hear the happiness in his voice.


So I am posting this so that anyone who knew CCIE # 5804, Dave Gahm will share in photos or in writing their experiences with Dave. CCIEs have a way of influencing others across borders so I am happy to help Mrs. Gahm and Dave’s parents in gathering what I can through this medium Dave loved so much.

If you have anything you would like to share about Dave Gahm please respond to



So if you guys know or have any memories with Dave whether in words or in pictures, please contact Eman. This means a lot to Dave's wife so let's try and do what we can to ease her pain.