Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day 4 of SPC09

Updating your 2007 site to 2010:
This session dealt with a highly skinned site (which BG does not do).
There was all kinds of problems and errors that had to be fixed and the demos did not go smooth
The presenters blamed it on beta software, I am not so sure
I am glad that we do not have highly-skinned sites to worry about upgrading
After the demos, they started shooting out t-shirts, I did not get one. Sad face.

Driving End-user adoption:
SP is more about culture than technology
The Challenge of Adoption:
Users don’t have to use SP to get their job done (usually)
Really take 18-36 months to see results
Must-have elements in an adoption strategy:
Communication, training, content conversion, user support, incentives and rewards
Its not just for developers and IT
Power users and site administrators need it - they can do too much damage without it
Microsoft "buzz" kit for SP - google it
People love getting something that tells them they are smart
Training should be just in time and just enough - don’t bore them
User Support:
Contact person for every page
Internal user group
Metric and anecdote feedback - ratings, good/bad experiences
Must-have (free) resources:
SP Buzz kit
SP Training kit, videos, articles, interactive, tutorials, 2 versions: 1 can be installed on desktop, the other is installed on SP
MS Productivity Hub: installed on SP, is a site collection with pre-loaded content about SP - it is not static
Get The Point Blog: MS blog with tips and tricks for SP users
SP channel on YouTube
Demo Spotlight: MS resource

Upgrading 2007 code to 2010:
This session got pretty technical pretty fast, but there were no other sessions that really interested me. I left this one early because there was a problem on my hotel bill (you know how they just print them out and throw them into an envelope without you actually seeing it. I looked at during the break and noticed that I was double-charged for a meal. I headed back to the Luxor - I didn’t want to go back, but I had to.

After I got done with the hotel I am heading to the airport for a flight home. See you all later.

Day 3 at SPC

Art of the SP Story

Business value is more important now, people used to just buy, now people have to show Value for the money they spend
99% of failure is not product or technology, it is organizational culture (afraid of change)
People don’t WANT to do more - with less people or more time, it just let people mess up faster
Intimate engagement with an executive sponsor
ROI in 6 months is smoke and mirrors, need to have accountability
Need to be able to measure
IT should not be making the business case over business improvements
IT should be a teammate - a business leader should own it
Must always question "why am I doing this?" and don’t let IT answer - it must be the business leader than answers
MS expense management project - funny, same problems as BG
Why don’t we tell stories?
Don’t have a good one - make a good one
Cant remember a story - learn how to
Don’t tell good stories - you can get better
Need documentation to support my story - no you don’t
I'm new and don’t have many stories - start building your inventory, a story every day
Don’t get measured to tell stories - too bad, you are
Great stories drive action
Make value proposition tangible
Asks "they did it, why can't you?"
How the story is told can be more important than the data - doesn’t mean you can lie
The idea of the story is to motivate someone to do something
Is it a marketing pitch or is it real?
Storytelling is critical to your organizations success
Good story:
Make it stick
What makes great storyteller
Role Model
Action Oriented
Not a recession, but a reset, things will not come back quickly
Used properly, SP will make your face to face meetings better, through prior to event collaboration
To be the best you can be:
Develop your story inventory
Look for opportunities to tell stories
Find a coach
Expose yourself in critical review
Put yourself in front of people you trust
Get training
Practice and measure results

BG session - Governance

Went to Craig's governance session to say "Hi", it was super full with a lot of good comments afterwards.

SP Workspaces
Office 2010 - pro +
Rich client for SP
Fast - against a local copy
Anytime, anywhere
Sync's collaborative content: documents, tasks, information worker items
Works with LOB lists, external lists, doc libs, SP lists
Very easy to use - can be used in client or browser
Only connects to what you want
Has unread notice - green dots
Is searchable through your stuff (Windows desktop search), just stuff you have
Uses contextual ribbon, has "quick launch"
Follow unread icons to new/edited items
Has "Backstage" info about the site - things you might want to know
Brings down views
Upload like normal
New can have different content types
Syncs every 15 minutes, new content types will contact the server looking for changes, can save directly to SP or to Workspace (for offline)
Works with the Office 10 multi-authoring features
Has conflict resolution for changes
Does not have admin CRUD tools
Those must be done in browser
Will not sync a list over 30,000 items
Keeps permissions from browser site
Through browser, an admin can set "do not take offline" to stop offline access
There will be a Mac version, created by a different team though, won't guarantee same functionality
Version history controlled by SP Server, only keeps latest on Workspace

No Code Business Applications
Using the BCS (overview)
Ability to compose no code solutions, with some IT control
Presentation - extend office and SP UI to extend data capabilities
Connectivity - read-write capable from client and server to DB or other sources
Tooling - Integrated tools (SPD) for simple solutions
External Content Types (building blocks) for getting data into SP
This session needs to be viewed to see how cool some of the stuff you can do with this. Lets just say that you are in Word, accessing databases from SharePoint through Workspaces (so it will even work online), there was even tabs in Outlook that were using information from SP. Every company should be doing things like this.
Awkward typo during this session, his name is Dan, he wrote "Damn"
How about using this for dialogues - closing and such right in Outlook - the analyst would never have to leave - Consulting? Sales? Almost everyone can use this.

Deploying Office 2010 on the Desktop
I had hoped this session would talk about the different Office 2010 versions and what you need to run with SharePoint. It wasn't. It was a session about how to modify the install files (.msi) to give or take-away any features from the system. I sat for about 10 minutes and decided that Ivan would be the only person that cares about it.

I walked around to see what else was going on and nothing was that interesting to me. I went back to the hotel room dropped my stuff off and then came back for Ask The Experts and a night out with BG people. Long day.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What I'm Getting Diana

It is a rule that when you are away on a business trip you have to come home with stuff for your family. I have been wondering what I should get my wife, but I finally found it!
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

SharePoint Fairy is back!

This time in white. All this time I thought she wasn't real.

Meet the Bold 9700

RIM announced my next phone today. It has been a while in the making. No, it is not Earth-shattering, or an iPhone killer, but what this Bold 9700 does do is improve every problem I have with my current phone (the Blackberry Curve).

You can find out more about the Bold 9700 here:

This phone will be available for purchase in early November. The carriers (AT&T and TMobile) have not announced pricing, but I have heard it should be around $200 (they can't make it more than the iPhone for sure).

Now, I know you probably aren't going to click that link, so let me tell you what improvements in the phone make this the next phone for me:
  • First TMobile 3G phone - finally some speed while on the cell network (I hate EDGE)
  • 3.2 megapixel camera - I cannot stand my 2.0, it is horrible (evidence of this is all over my blog). By the way, my current digital camera is only 3.2 megapixel, I will be able to get rid of it once I get this phone.
  • WiFi calling - that really works. My Curve has wifi calling, but I always (OK, maybe not always) lose the connection when the phone switches between UMA (wifi) and cellular calling.
  • Better QWERTY keyboard than my current Curve
And all this in a form factor that matches my current phone (the old Bold was quite a bit larger - width and height - than a Curve).

I am still waiting for TMobile to announce their launch date and pricing. Need to get me one of these.

Day 2 of SPC

What I learned the second day of the SharePoint Conference:

SP2010 - does not have PDF icon (again), probably won't search PDFs out of the box (again) when will MS really start to play nice? I have an interoperability session later today - we will see. Spoke with someone during lunch and he says Foxit PDF search is the best he has seen for SharePoint.

Dashboarding Session

PerformancePoint makes it easy
Can slice and dice the data.
Conditional data can be opened to see where the numbers come from
Dashboarding is easy as 1, 2, 3 with SP2010 and Performance Point

SP2010 based document assembly and manipulation using Word automation and services and open xml

Open xml software developer kit coming, based on .net, will work on server
Works on office 2007 and 2010
Uniform platform for solutions
SDK does not: replace office apps, perform layout or recalculate, perform conversions to pdf or xps
Version 1 of sdk (june 2008), v2 in development now
Shooting for release near office 2010, support all new features on 2010
Use document sets in SP2010 - binder of docs that are related, can use different types of docs
SDK can manipulate documents, but still tasks that need to be done in Office services (see above for things that SDK does not do)
NEW: Word automation services in SP2010
Allows word automation services to open, save, convert to docx, pdf, others,
Works on any file word can open - mainly for conversion tasks
Server-side rendering
Super fast, about 175,000 docs a day
SDK and Word Automation are meant to be used together, SDK for manipulation and Word automation for conversion/archiving
Excel services can query a word doc and make calculations
New File i/o for SharePoint: multiple word users collaborate at the same time on a document (need SP10 and Word 10), dotted lines to show where people have edited, new changes come in when save is hit, the changes show in green for other users
Building block - content control - "work item" to enter needs for docs, use workflow and can pull and push info through sharepoint
Tasks that result can be managed - and items added right through SP workflow and attachments
Allows you to stay in office while working, do not have to rely on busy-work tasks, automate tasks

Workflow in SP2010
Ability to modify a workflow and save it out as a new workflow
Buld on-demand columns as you build workflows
Manager and user-profiles/lookups are now built-in
Columns added to workflows as you bind workflows to a list
Ability to add user data (and tell the system how to use it) in emails
Impersonation Step is NEW - to get around the person that created the workflow shows as creator on SP lists - and this does not work in all environments
NEW ability to interact with "document sets" new SP10 feature
Ability to export workflows to visio for review - COOL
Ability to edit in visio and re-export back into SPD
NEW Task Process Designer - build robust behaviors in human workflows
Can add a "task process" (a mini workflow) inside of other workflows
Custom activities for SPD, deploy to sandbox

Multi-user authoring in Office 2010 and Office Web Apps
One note multi-authoring
Bold= new unread content
See content that has been added since last look
Markings to know who added and how much
System syncs back and forth
Sync rates get faster with more users on a notebook
Can move table rows/columns as others are typing, the system will figure it all out
Find changes by author/age of edit

Word multi-user authoring
Bubble notification alerts you that multiple people are editing, also new box that lists all people editing - with contact information (via SP or AD)
OneNote is more free for all, Word pops up dotted lines and names balloons - others are locked out of editing paragraphs that someone else has edited
Updates available once someone saves, changes get highlighted
"Backstage" shows versions
Word Office web app: slow load the first time (rendering slowness)

Alerted to changes that conflict
Broadcast a slide show through SP/2010 gives you URL to viewers, via email

Same kinds of things in Excel
Only works through the webapp - not in the client

General Info
Syncing is faster because they are just updating what changes - not replacing the entire item!
If system cannot reconcile the change, a popup will appear and user can make decision

Interoperability with SharePoint
UI Interoperability
Better user experience across browser - cross browser rich-text editor, firefox open/save integration with Office apps
Saw basic SP functions on: opera, chrome, firefox, safari (pc), ie
Better code output, html, css, wcag 2.0, xhtml
Identity Interoperability
WS-Federation 1.1, WS-Trust 1.4, SAML Token 1.1 will all be supported
Search Interoperability
OpenSearch Standard (from Creative Commons) for syndication and aggregation of results
Content Indexing via BCS - business connectivity services
Data Access
External Data Access
Line of business data in sharepoint UI
Build end-to-end client and server apps right within SP
Any SQL app data can be exposed through SP UI
BCS client runtime in Office2010 apps, allows for read-write compatibility both ways
Storage Interoperability
End users don’t care where data is stored as long as the data can come back, data can be stored outside of the SP SQL database - but why - who wants their data mixed around like that? MS heard that SQL is too expensive - but doing this will increase operation costs

Will need IE8 for interoperability > IE6 will not work as well

At the end of the day there was the Beach Party that was pretty cool. I posted a couple pictures from that. You won't see any of Huey Lewis and the News bacause I was so far away and my stupid camera wouldn't zoom, so nothing turned out. It was a good time. After that, I hit up the M&M store and then off to bed.

Now for this mornings sessions...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Favorite

Everyone has their own favorite place in Vegas or on the Strip. Mine is M&M World. 4 floors of M&M goodness. Everything you could ever want. Wish their was one closer to my house.

Michael Jackson dancers

These guys are on a glass floor on top of the water. They are pretty good. Hopefully one of them falls off.

The Party

This is the madness of the SP beach party. It is 80's themed. Love Is A Battlefield is on the speakers as I type. Huey Lewis and the News is about 20 minutes away. Right now I am just trying to live through the night.

Day 1 at SPC

What I learned day 1 of the SharePoint Conference:
7400 attendees
7.5 miles of cable for the "wireless" LAN
Microsoft is pushing the SP Online hard - Ballmer must have said it 25 times.
Using the Office 2007 ribbon all throughout SP2010 and SPD 2010. Microsoft loves their ribbon.
Inside content areas is very wiki like, add pages and links using wiki markup.
Media will automatically play in SharePoint via Silverlight (work on a Mac?)
Spell check in content areas - which is a big help. is Steve Ballmer's email address, hit him up if you like.
All new programs (designer, visual studio, the 2010 suite) must be upgraded together to get the benefit, you cannot get Designer 2010 and use it with SP2007.
OneNote on the web is what SP is trying to emulate
Power of the crowd - tagging, rating, taxonomy - favorite of the SP dev team
Silverlight org chart built by sp automagically
Made social and interactive a lot better
Scaling up and out on lists and libraries - over 1 million items in lists, actually multiple millions - and it was fast in the demos I saw
PerformancePoint reporting (NEW) can break down where the numbers come from. Slice and dice. Very nice.
2010 is mostly AJAX - don't have to wait for pages to post and redisplay - which will save me HOURS per month!
SPD 2010:
You can restrict spd and what it can do in central admin and site collection Summary pages, ribbon, quick launch navigation
Creating sp content
Manage site security
Manage lists directly in spd, which is brand new - and awesome!
List items must still be added via browser - link on summary page
Security is faster and easier in spd
Create content types and attach to lists directly
Site assets - images, xml, javascript, css - everything for the site XSLT data view web parts are everywhere and can now be manipulated through the browser and in spd
Drag and drop functionality in spd for data files!
Site assets are automatically added to lists/available content
Insert formula to combine columns - cool, but how useful really?
Connect to data sources outside of sharepoint - use single sign on
Business connectivity service external content types - user does not even know they are editing a database
Workflow: reusable workflows! YEAH! Site collection workflows as well!
Workflow subject line can contain workflow data and free text (string)
Rich text editing for workflow emails!

Overall, SP 2010 and Designer 2010 seem awesome, but I don't know if I have seen a compelling reason to actually upgrade. Today I have dashboarding, document assembly in SP and Office tools, a special Colligo lunch (the SP offline guys), workflow overview, and finally a multi-user authoring session. It will be another full day.

Now I know what Catalyst attendees feel like. Too much information...on overload.

I Knew It!

This elevator has felt like riding the Tower of Terror ride. I knew there had to be some problem, and today, it is closed and being worked on.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mandalay Bay at Night

Sure wish the camera on my phone took better pictures. The Mandalay Bay just kind of "glows" gold at night. This picture just doesn't do it justice. At least you can make out the words Mandalay Bay across the top.

My Room

Just realized I showed you all the view from my room, but did not show you my actual room. Here it is. Notice the 2 queens when I specifically requested 1 king. Didn't even get an upgrade for that. The room is nice enough. Nothing spectacular. Cool to be in the pyramid.

View from my room

Here is the view from my room that looks back down to the Mandalay Bay and the conference area. You can compare and contrast the two pictures.

The SharePoint Fairy

Microsoft Fail

Waiting outside a breakout session that is supposed to start in minutes. The room is going to be packed.

As I write this they let us in - but insist on scanning our badges to see what we have attended, thus slowing the process down further.

The Luxor

Here is a picture of the hotel I am staying at (the Luxor). It is right across the street from the Mandalay Bay (where the conference is happening). Funny thing is - my room looks directly back this way. I will post a picture of that later today. I got this picture from out in the common area of the conference space.

So far today I have had an OK breakfast (don't like biscuits), a great keynote (lots of good things happening with SharePoint and an OK lunch. Had a good conversation with an analyst at CMS Watch over lunch. He was very interested in the vendor briefing system I help build in SharePoint (he knows about it because he knows Dan Blum, another BG analyst, who was bragging about it.

Alfreds of Sweden

The demo guy just connected an external database to SharePoint, made it viewable in SharePoint and Office. And it is not only viewable - it is editable. Inside Outlook the demo guy edited the server list. All with no hand code - just enter in URLs and click some boxes. He used SharePoint Designer for this - which is my favorite program. Sweet.

The Keynote

Steve Ballmer is keynoting right now. He is not discussing the economy because IT and productivity workers are bringing us out this poor economy. SharePoint is at the heart and center of innovation for Microsoft. Beta of SP 2010 available in November. Along with Office 2010 and SharePoint Workspaces (Groove). Workspaces will be client based and allow people to work everywhere. Release in 1st half of 2010.

More to come.

My Room...Wanna Take A Walk?

I had been to the Luxor before, just never stayed there. It is an OK hotel, not great by any means. The Luxor seems to have plenty of elevators, but they control where and how high each elevator goes in the hotel. The elevator I am assigned is 3B, which is way in the back of the hotel (by the second of three Starbucks inside the Luxor). This is all well and good, except for the part where when I get off the elevator I have to walk almost half-way around the hotel again to get to my room. It has to be a 200 yard walk, almost directly across from where the elevator lets me out. See the picture below to see where my room is compared to where I come out of the elevator.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

More Lines

Walking out the SharePoint exhibit hall I was met with this line. Holy cow. It went on and on and on. Tom would be freaking out if he saw this. FYI: Tom is in charge of registration for Catalyst.

I'm Here

I came to Vegas for the SharePoint conference. I just walked under the sign welcoming me. Sorry if you can't see it well. Can't wait to get a new phone with a real camera.

By the way, this place is a zoo and more pics of my room, hotel, and Vegas coming soon.

Welcome to Vegas

Want to wait in line?

I raced off the plane to get in the front of the taxi line for my flight, but, no luck, the line was already 4 deep.

By the way, in Vegas for the SharePoint conference. Expect frequent updates about things you don't care about.

Monday, October 12, 2009

What Is That There?

On the way home today I saw something weird in the back of some guy's truck. I couldn't quite make it out. I was behind him snapping pictures in my car.
I decided it was time to pass him. Here is the picture I got:
This guy has a dead animal in the back of his truck, a big animal. It is the beginning of hunting season here. I am not a hunter. I have many friends that love to go out and kill Bambi. I am not against hunting, I just don't see any joy from shooting at animals. Now, if the animals shot back, that would be cool.

I think hunting is like fishing, you just wait, hope something comes to you, and hope that you get lucky enough to kill when it all happens. I just do not think it is that cool.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Chloe, Diana and myself went to a movie last week. Diana and I wanted to see Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in 3D. Chloe wanted "Cloudy With a Chance." We decided that because Jordan got to spend the weekend at a friends cabin we should let Chloe pick. I am glad we did.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is hilarious. There is too much funny to even talk about, I will just let you know that if you see this movie you will laugh, you will have a good time, and you will not feel bad about seeing it. There are so many good things - gummy bears, jello house, and the snow ball fight just to name a few. These three items are funny enough for a regular movie and this movie has even more funny!

Final say: go and see this as soon as possible. When you get to the movie theatre butt in line to make sure you get in!

3 days or $135

So, a little history here, I got a speeding ticket about a month ago. Just a little one. 13 miles over the limit (53 in a 40) and the officer marked it down to 5 over. The real story is that I saw the cop way up in front of me and checked my speed. I was going between 40 and 43 miles per hour (no more than that). I was completely surprised to see the cop pull out behind me and flip his lights on (there was other cars that pulled over as well to let the cop through, when he stopped behind me, I was pissed).

I, of course went to court and contested the ticket. Today was my court date. I got to the court pretty early (I wanted to get a feel for the "judge" - he was really just a court officer). Let's just say that after 10 minutes I knew I would not get far with this guy. Let me recap: he took away one guys keys because he was driving with a suspended license (the guys swears he got all the paperwork in) and then the "judge" threatened to arrest the guy if he did not hand over his keys. He basically screamed at a big rig driver that he was stupid for getting a ticket and that there was nothing he could do for him, it was going on his record and that he would not even offer him traffic school. There was a lady that barely spoke English that he intimidated into paying the full fine and going to traffic school when she originally said she did not want traffic school. He was nice to the two 18 year old girls that came in and both got their fine reduced and like three months to get traffic school done (1 had kids and it would be hard to get to traffic school, the other did not have a job so she got 3 months before she even had to pay her 1st payment on her fine).

I looked down at myself and noticed that I was not a young girl. I am screwed. When it was my turn I got up and tried my best to be polite, but this guy was a jerk. He told me I was going to pay the whole fine and to sign the sheet under guilty and that I waive my rights. I then told him that I would not do that and gave him my explanation of what happened. He said if I wanted to plead not guilty just tell him. I told him that I would not be taking this to trial, because the officer has his report and that will be believed over me. The guy basically said that I was right so I might as well just sign the guilty line and pay my fine. I told him that I wanted to make a plea in abeyance - which means that I will not say I am guilty, and then throw myself at the mercy of the court. I asked for community service which he answered with a, "I am not authorized to give that out." He told me my total fine was $135. I asked him what the jail time would be if I did not want to pay the fine, he said, "that would be three days, and if you take that option, I will make sure you serve all three days."

I decided to go with the plea in abeyance.

I paid my $135 and I still have to traffic school in November, but when I am done, the ticket will be dismissed and life will go back to normal. I was not a happy camper as I left.