Friday, February 26, 2010

SharePoint Lists webinar

Sign up for the next CIAOPS webinar now

 

100311 – Learning to use lists

 

This webinar will teach you all about SharePoint lists. You'll be shown the many different forms of lists that are available including how to create your own custom lists from Excel spreadsheets. You'll  find out which type of list is the best to use in each individual situation. You'll see how to customize lists and connect lists to applications like Outlook and Access. Finally, you'll learn how to display lists on a dashboard page and link information for instant updates.

Details

Date: Thursday 11th March 2010
Time: 10:00am Sydney Time
Duration: 60 minutes
Cost: $10 inc GST
Level: 2 (Intermediate)
Prerequisites: None

Registration: To register send an email to director@ciaops.com.

 

Keep updated with CIAOPS events via our blog or newsletter.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Webinar preview on YouTube

With another webinar completed today you’ll find the first 9 minutes or so available as a preview on YouTube.

 

This webinar covered SharePoint document libraries in depth. It showed how to not only upload documents but also create additional meta data fields. Attendees learnt how to use SharePoint's check in / check out features along with version control to provide better management of documents. They saw how to create different views of your data as well as understand how to sort and arrange the information for quicker retrieval. Most of all they were given an understanding of document libraries beyond the basics which will helped get the most from this powerful SharePoint feature.

SharePoint Document libraries in depth webinar (preview)

 

We also have a number of free webinars you can download if you want to get a feel for the style and content of our presentations:

 

Introduction to SharePoint - http://rapidshare.com/files/312292856/091112.avi

Basics of using SharePoint - http://rapidshare.com/files/312282952/091126.avi 

 

there are also others available for download including:

Basics of SharePoint Administration

SharePoint Questions and Answers 1

SharePoint and Office

 

which are available upon payment ($10) again through http://donation.ciaops.com.

If you wish to be informed of when new webinars will be available please sign up to the CIAOPS webinar email subscription list.

 

If you have any feedback on the webinars, suggestions, or topic suggestions please don’t hesitate to email director@ciaops.com

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Guest reviewers wanted

After my recent productivity postings on www.sbsfaq.com (part 1, part 2 and part 3) the cat is out of the bag that I’ve just about completed a book about productivity. It will be called “Being busy is just an excuse” and I am aiming to have it out on April 1 (no joke).

 

Before then I’d really like to get some people to read it for me and let me know whether it is good or bad. I’m looking for constructive feedback. If it is good let me know why and likewise if it is bad then let me know how it can be improved. It is always difficult to develop something in isolation so I’m looking for some fresh opinions as to whether the book in its current form is ready to go to market.

 

If you think you have some spare time, can plough through about 70 pages or so in a few weeks and are prepared to give me some feedback I’d love to hear from you. Contact me via director@ciaops.com and we’ll take it from there.

Productivity Part 3

Here is a copy of the last of three guest posts that I’m doing for Wayne Small over at www.sbsfaq.com on productivity. You’ll find Part 1 and Part 2 there also

 

Many of the concepts developed here come from my upcoming book on productivity – Being busy is just an excuse.

The last two articles have hopefully given readers a starting point as well as destination, we now need to look at getting from the one to the other. This article will provide you with a some techniques that can be used to become more effective and productive to ensure you enjoy your life more.

Probably the biggest drain on productivity most people face is their email. It is normally the first thing they open every day and the thing they always have running. The problem is that your inbox is a priority list set by someone else and unless you take steps to manage it correctly it will steal away your time. The first major issue with email is that it promotes distraction. If your workstation dings, flashes a warning and leaves an icon telling you there is an email the temptation to go and see what that email is can be extremely overpowering. Chances are that the email wasn’t important but what has happened is that you have been distracted from what you were doing and now need to spend the time refocusing. Some studies show you can lose up to 15 minutes when a distraction like this happens and if you multiply that by a week or a month the lost time really starts to stack up. So, step one should be to turn off any email notification in your software.

Step two is that you should limit your email use to three or four times a day, say 10am, 1pm and 4pm. Don’t open your email in the morning until you have accomplished some other task because the chances of you finding something in your email to distract you is very high. When you do work on your email process your emails until your inbox is empty. When you go to your letterbox at the end of your drive you don’t take just a few items and leave the rest for storage do you? Why should your inbox box be any different? You need to process it to zero. This means you need to have a good folder structure in which you can move emails for later if needed. A good system is to have folders like, archive, hold and followup as a minimum in which you can place items from your inbox.

Another huge boost in productivity can be had with the use of multiple monitors, not just a single large monitor but actually two physical monitors. Studies have shown that productivity can be raised by over 38% by simply connecting up an additional screen. Having more screen real estate allows you to more easily ’spread out’ rather than constantly having to swap windows.

After you have finished with the socks you are wearing today you don’t rush home and wash them do you? No, you throw them in the hamper with other clothes and wash them all together. This is because it is far more productive and efficient to do things in batches. The same concept applies to much of the work you do. From the audit of your time you conducted in the first article in this series you should be able to see how you can aggregate work and make more effective use of your time. You should also be able to determine at what time these batches are most productive for you. If you favour doing your accounts in the morning, then schedule one day a week to do all your accounts rather than at random times throughout the week.

Another excellent habit to get into is to stop and ask yourself regularly throughout the day, what is the most important thing I need to do next? What should I be spending time doing to get the maximum return? This allows you to pause and refocus on what needs to be done because otherwise you could be wasting time on something that really doesn’t have much value.

In summary, there are plenty of simple easy ways that you can improve your productivity. However at the end of the day you must determine what works for you. This will no doubt take some trial and error but you need to view this as an investment that will be rewarded in the future. If you know what your goals are then determining a strategy to get there is much easier.

I take this opportunity to thank you for investing the time in what I have laid out here over these three articles. I would like to thank Wayne Small for providing me the opportunity to write something here on his blog. I hope that it was worthwhile and if you have any feedback, comments or questions on what I have talked about here please add them as comments on this post so everyone can benefit. You can also contact me directly via
director@ciaops.com. You’ll find information about myself and my business at www.ciaops.com.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cloud wars

Here are some interesting videos from both Microsoft and Google on their cloud based solutions:

Why Microsoft: Microsoft compared to Google - Total Value Overview

Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook product demo

Why Microsoft: Exchange vs. Gmail

Gone Google - Companies share their Gone Google stories

 

If you notice nothing else have a look at the ratings of each video and draw your own conclusions.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Productivity Part 2

Here is a copy of the second of three guest posts that I’m doing for Wayne Small over at www.sbsfaq.com on productivity. You’ll find Part 1 there also.

 

Many of the concepts developed here come from my upcoming book on productivity – Being busy is just an excuse.

In the last post I covered how there are three major tasks that you need to examine when seeking to improve your productivity. Firstly, you need an idea of where you currently stand. I covered this in the last part when I recommended that the best solution was to track exactly how your are spending your time. Next, you need an idea of how you are going to get to your destination and finally you need to know your final destination. In this second article I’ll look at determining where you want your productivity to take you, that is, your destination.

If you were financially independent and didn’t need to work what would you do? What would fill all the time  you currently spend working? When I ask that question of people many can’t answer it because they have been so busy working they haven’t even considered what they are working for. They have fallen into the trap of simply working for works sake. Likewise, when you ask people what excites them you typically get answers that are far removed from what they are doing or have done recently. This divide between desire and reality promotes frustration and stress. If you want your situation to be different from the way it is now, you are the only one that is going to make it happen.

Let’s say that you want to aim to work only 40 hours a week and leave the office by 5pm every day. That’s your goal, now you need to start working backwards to achieve that. You need to be ruthless in many ways and cull the items in your agenda which don’t allow you to achieve your goal. Likewise, you need to examine the other things you do and determine whether they can be done more efficiently. Given that you already have a detailed report of where you spend your time each week (from part 1 of this series) you should be able to determine whether you can achieve your goal. Remember it is all a matter of priorities, If you want to finish by 5pm then you need to be disciplined and stick to this goal.

Many people say that they can’t leave at 5pm because everyone else is still there in the office slaving away. My response to that is simple. What do you get typically paid for? How you do your work – or the end result? Most good bosses don’t really care how you get your job done as long as you get it done. If you can do it more efficiently than others why shouldn’t you reap the benefits? It is a sad state of affairs when we measure an employee’s worth by how late they stay in the office.  Who knows how much time those other employees in your office have wasted during ‘normal business hours’. If they have been fiddling on Facebook while you have been productive why should you feel guilty leaving at 5pm? Don’t let them dictate how you spend your time. They are just jealous that you are getting things done.

Now, just because you have created extra time in your schedule by removing bad an inefficient practices doesn’t mean that good and efficient ones are going to take their place. As I said earlier, if you didn’t have to work what would you do? What would you fill your time doing? I’m sure that most people can fill those initial hours with stuff that excites them but what about after that? Don’t you want to have more free time for the rest of your life? You need to look at how you are going to spend the free time you generate now and forever, not just for the next few weeks.

As I said in my earlier post, there is no doubt that you won’t be able to do everything you want to at the office if you plan to work 40 hours a week and leave by 5pm. However, you should certainly be able to do everything that you "should" be doing with some time left for some things that you would "like" to do. This will typically come at the expense of things that you "should not" be doing, but why the hell are you doing stuff that you "shouldn’t" be doing I ask you? Here’s the key, it is all around priorities, for remember, once you allocate your time you can’t recover what’s been spent.

So now with your current situation and your destination in hand all you need now is a plan to get from one to the other. That’s what I’ll cover in my final part which will give you some techniques to help you improve your productivity and give you more time so you can meet your goals and be able to do more of the things that excite you.

A
s always if you have any feedback, comments or questions on what I have talked about here please add them as comments on this post so everyone can benefit.  You can also contact Robert direct via
director@ciaops.com. You’ll find information about myself and my business at www.ciaops.com.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Productivity Part 1

Here is a copy of the first of three guest posts that I’m doing for Wayne Small over at www.sbsfaq.com on productivity.

Many of the concepts developed here come from my upcoming book on productivity – Being busy is just an excuse.

If I asked you whether you have enough time your most likely answer will be no. If I then ask you what are the most important things in your life most people will reply something along the lines of their family, partner, friends and so on. Next, if I ask you what really excites you I’ll hear a variety of answers from exotic travel, writing a book and maybe even ballroom dancing. Finally, if I ask you what you actually spend your time doing most people will simply reply – working. That situation doesn’t make for happy and contented life does it?

How is that we live in the most technological advanced age and yet we more stressed, have less time are generally unhappier with our lives than previous generations? What is more precious time or money? Time, simply because you can’t get any more. Yet most people allow their time to be wasted in meaningless and low priority tasks. They allow it to be stolen away by the simplest request. They allow a variety of devices to constantly interrupt and defragment their day. In short, it appears as if they are doing almost anything they can to waste their most precious resource.

Why are you not spending more time on things that excite you? Isn’t that what life is supposedly all about? You wouldn’t stick your money under a mattress would you? You invest it somewhere to get the maximum return. Why aren’t you trying to get the maximum return for your time?

The most important things to learn about your time is that there is only a finite amount each day. Only you can decide how you spend that time. You only get one shot at it, because once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. The next point to understand is that you are not going to be able to do everything. There are simply things that you won’t be able to fit in your day. That’s where developing a discipline and priorities help you achieve the things that need to be done not the things you necessarily like doing. This leads to the point that there are always going to be things we don’t like doing but they still need to be done. If you don’t have the discipline and systems to achieve these then you end procrastinating and creating greater levels of stress for yourself.

Before you embark on any journey you need at least three things. Firstly, where you are. Secondly, where you want to go and lastly a map of how to get there. When it comes to improving your productivity the first step is to closely examine and record how you spend each day. Spend at least a week monitoring as much of your day as you can. Record how much time you spend on email, how much time you spend on phone, how much time you spend surfing the web. You need to be totally honest here and ensure that you record exactly what you are doing rather than what you would like to be doing!

By far the easiest method if to use a pen and paper, however there are plenty of digital time recording methods available. The important thing is not how you record your time but that you do. This method is exactly what other professionals like accountants and lawyers use, because they realize the value of their time as it directly equates to income. As you continue to record you will probably start to see patterns emerge, however ensure that you keep recording for at least a week or more.

Once you have enough data sit down and spend some time analysing the results. Where did you allocate your time poorly? Where did you allocate it productively? You may wish to use something like Excel and categorize your time usage to allow you to see patterns better. Many people would see this as a waste of time. The difference is that you are investing some time up front so that you’ll have a bigger payoff further down the track. That’s what investment is all about isn’t it? A little extra sacrifice up front for greater returns down the track. I can assure you that if you are constantly busy and don’t know why tracking your time is a very worthwhile exercise.

So now you have a starting point. This is now your baseline from which my next post will build on.

As always if you have any feedback, comments or questions on what I have talked about here please send them to me via
director@ciaops.com. You’ll find information about myself and my business at www.ciaops.com

Thursday, February 11, 2010

CIAOPS Webinar – Document libraries

The next of our webinars is now available for registration

 

CIAOPS Webinar - Document libraries in depth

 

This webinar will teach you all about SharePoint document libraries in depth. You'll learn now to not only upload documents but also create additional meta data fields. You'll learn how to use SharePoint's check in / check out features along with version control to provide better management of documents. You see how to create different views of your data as well as understand how to sort and arrange the information for quicker retrieval. Most of all you'll be given an understanding of document libraries beyond the basics which will help you get the most from this powerful SharePoint feature.

 

Details

Date: Thursday 25th February 2010
Time: 10:00am
Duration: 60 minutes
Cost: $10 inc GST
Level: 2 (Intermediate)
Prerequisites: None

Registration: To register send an email to director@ciaops.com.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

SharePoint supported systems

I pulled the following table from a post in the SharePoint Team blog.


Looking at the table I note the following:

- SharePoint 2010 is apparently not supported on Windows Server 2008 R2 Foundation, Windows Server 2008 Foundation, Windows Web Server 2008 R2 and Windows Web Server 2008!

I’ve always touted Foundation or Web Server as a great option for a stand alone version of Windows SharePoint in a small business network. That way you can have something that is isolated and more easily upgraded. That concept now appears to be blown out of the window. It means that if you want a stand alone version of SharePoint 2010 Foundation on a network you need to install a full Windows Standard 2008 server or better.

I wonder why that is? Will Windows SharePoint Foundation actually not run on these servers or is it just not licensed to run on these servers? I can certainly test it with Windows Server 2008 Web Edition but given that Windows Foundation Server 2008 is an OEM product it is going to make it difficult.

Whatever the reason according to this you can’t use the low end version of Windows Server to run SharePoint 2010 Foundation in a network. That is a real bummer to say the least.

- SharePoint 2010 is supported on Window Small Business Server 2008. I have tried an upgrade from SharePoint v3 to SharePoint 2010 on Small Business Server 2008 and am yet to have any luck. It maybe supported on the platform (which is just Windows Server Standard 2008 anyway) but will it actually install? Seemingly another good question.

- What about Windows Home Server? I reckon I can guess the answer to this one, again unsupported. Interesting that it doesn’t rate a mention even though the next version of Windows Home Server will be 64 bit and based on Windows Server 2008 Standard (from my understanding).

Based on my previous experience with SharePoint on Windows Home Server, I’ll almost bet that SharePoint 2010 will install but as Microsoft says, it will be unsupported.

I have to admit I am pretty disappointed that SharePoint 2010 Foundation will not be supported on Windows Server Foundation 2008 flavour because my checking found that SharePoint v3 was supported on Windows Server Foundation 2003. What’s changed here so dramatically that SharePoint 2010 Foundation can’t run on Foundation 2008 server? Microsoft have already knobbled SharePoint 2010 Foundation by changing the database from SQL Embedded Edition to SQL Express Edition (which means a 4GB database limit). This is yet another hurdle they are forcing the product to overcome.

This illustrates how much value the current free version of Windows SharePoint v3 is. By default, it doesn’t have a database size limit and will run on Foundation 2003 server. However, what’s going to happen if you eventually can upgrade the Windows SharePoint v3 that is currently on SBS 2008 to Windows SharePoint 2010 Foundation that has a database >4GB? Oh fun and games.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Webinar preview available

You will find the first 8 minutes of today’s CIAOPS SharePoint and Office webinar posted up on YouTube.

SharePoint and Office webinar (preview)

 

If you missed out on the webinar and would like to view a copy the full download is available upon request. For those who aren’t subscribers to the Windows SharePoint Operations Guide there is a small fee ($10) which can be paid via http://donation.ciaops.com. Once we have confirmation of payment we will make the video available. All subscribers to the Windows SharePoint Operations Guide receive this and all our webinars free for the duration of their subscription.

 

We also have a number of free webinars you can download if you want to get a feel for the style and content of our presentations:

 

Introduction to SharePoint - http://rapidshare.com/files/312292856/091112.avi

Basics of using SharePoint - http://rapidshare.com/files/312282952/091126.avi

 

there are also others available for download including:

 

Basics of SharePoint Administration

SharePoint Questions and Answers 1

 

which are available upon payment ($10) again through http://donation.ciaops.com.

 

If you wish to be informed of when new webinars will be available please sign up to the CIAOPS webinar email subscription list.

 

If you have any feedback on the webinars, suggestions, or topic suggestions please don’t hesitate to email director@ciaops.com

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Just checking

image_2_2241DB80

 

After finally working out how to install SQL Server 2008 onto Windows Server 2008 R2 I thought I’d try and take the SQL Server 2008 disk from SBS 2008 Premium and see if I could install that version of SQL Server onto a Windows Server 2008 R2. Of course this is not at all supported by the licensing but I just wanted to see whether it was possible.

 

Well, the short answer is that it isn’t, as you can see from the above screen shot. During the installation the SQL Server setup detects that the SBS 2008 SQL Server version should only be installed on Windows Server 2008 not Windows Server 2008 R2.

 

Just in case you ever wanted to know.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Installing SQL Server 2008 on Windows Server 2008 R2

I was recently installing SharePoint v3 on a Windows Server 2008 R2 machine using SQL Server 2008 for database storage when I came up with a problem.

 

image_2_241B5438

 

Now that’s interesting, I thought, SQL Server 2008 has issues running on Windows Server 2008 R2. The latest version of SQL has problems on the latest version of Windows Server. Go figure. No major issue, I mistakenly thought, I’ll just follow what it says to do on the Compatibility Assistant and I should be right. Famous last words.

 

Turns out that even when you install SQL Server Service Pack 1 directly after installing SQL Server 2008 you can’t get access to the SQL instance on the machine. I did some Googling and came up with the following article which provided the resolution:

 

http://wadingthrough.wordpress.com/2009/09/14/problem-installing-sql-server-2008-on-windows-2008-r2/

 

So what I’ll do here is go into the resolution in a little more depth for people.

 

Before installing SQL Server 2008 RTM on Windows Server 2008 R2 you need to install SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 1 as this will install updated SQL Setup Files which “know” about Windows Server 2008 R2. So download the service pack and double click on the download to start the install.

 

image_4_241B5438

 

Follow the installation through and allow the Setup Support files to install after which the Service Pack installation will exit and you will be returned to the desktop. Now commence the SQL Server 2008 RTM install.

 

You will receive the same compatibility warning you always receive.

 

image_2_241B5438

 

Simply click on Run program to proceed. You can now install SQL Server 2008 RTM as you normally would from the menu.

 

image_6_37C83DCC

 

During the install you may again be prompted about compatibility issues but just continue through until the installation of SQL Server 2008 is complete.

 

Once the installation of SQL Server 2008 is complete you need to install the SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 1 to update all the SQL files (you only did the setup files before).

 

With SQL Server 2008 RTM and SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 1 now installed, your installation on Windows Server 2008 R2 should be good to go.