Monday, August 30, 2010

Tech Ed 2010 Australia wrap up

Now that Microsoft Tech Ed 2010 Australia is a done deal I’ve been lucky enough to be joined on another Need to Know podcast by Wayne Small to give us a round up of everything at the event.

 

The details of the podcast are:

 

http://www.ciaops.com/n2k - 25MB (40mins)

 

or via direct download:

 

http://bit.ly/cia-n2k2

 

So let me know what you think and if you are interested on being on the show please also contact me (director@ciaops.com) as I am always looking for people to talk about business and technology.

 

Stay tuned for more episodes coming soon.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Need to know podcast

I’ve just created my first podcast which I have christened as the ‘Need to know’ podcast series. It will focus on technology and business for the IT Professional, especially those in Small to Medium Business.

 

In the first episode I have been lucky enough to be joined by Susan Bradley (SBS –MVP) (http://msmvps.com/blogs/bradley/) who discussed some of the following topics with me:

 

- Slow down issues with XP and Microsoft updates

- A new DLL vulnerability

- Microsoft Security essentials in SMB

- the new versions of SBS, Aurora and 7

 

A big thanks to Susan for giving me some of her time to chat, it is most appreciated.

 

You can download the podcast from:

 

http://www.ciaops.com/n2k - 42MB (60 mins)

 

and I’d love to hear what you think about it, what’s good, what’s bad and how it can be improved. Feel free to send it to me via director@ciaops.com or www.ciaops.com/contact.

 

I’ve got a few people lined up in the next few weeks to discuss further topics of interest so please stay tune to this blog for when these will be available.

I’ve got a very bad feeling



Now I could be wrong on this but I get the feeling that things are going to get far worse before they get better. I’ve felt like that for a while now and my gut tells me that we maybe approaching the beginning of a further significant drop.

If you get the chance I’d highly recommend you take a look at the episode called Overdose from the Australian Four Corners program. If you hurry you can view the whole episode online by using iView here. Here’s a preview that’s on YouTube:
Overdose - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGkT_S8Yt5M

What worries me is that we have created a ‘stimulus bubble’ without really changing people’s habits. I also feel that many governments have wasted tax payer dollars bailing out those that have done the wrong thing. Tell me, when is it a good thing cover the losses of someone who is reckless with money? Never I say.

I can’t give you anything definitive but I see many more businesses struggling and going under. I see unemployment rising and when people lose their jobs that is never a good sign. I am concerned that we are approaching a traditionally bad time for the markets (October) and that may spook investors. I’ve just got this feeling.

Now, I certainly hope that I’m wrong but if you look at the numbers and the amount of debt and the further amount of debt that is being thrown ineffectually at the problem, like I said I’m worried.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Zappos effect

I’ve just finished reading a book called Delivering Happiness which is all about Zappos. Now I’ve know vaguely about Zappos for a while after seeing it in many business magazines that I read. That’s why I went out and bought the book to learn more about why this business is rated so highly.

 

I have to admit that when I started reading the book I wasn’t all that impressed. It was really just a story monologue about the CEO Tony Hsieh and his life story. In summary, it details how he made his money selling Linkexchange to Microsoft and then almost losing it again trying to get Zappos established. Yeah, yeah I thought, one of lucky few that actually saw a business survive a near death experience. So what?

 

I think that it was only after finishing the book and doing some further research in Zappos that I really began to understand what is so unique about this company. Here’s a video that gives you some insight.

The Zappos http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFyW5s_7ZWc

 

It is only upon reflection that many of the concepts in the book begin to sink in. Some of the practices that Zappos have in regards to customer service certainly seem overly generous (like paying for shipping both ways and return goods up to 12 months, no questions, after purchase). However, when you consider that they do little other ‘traditional’ marketing it begins to make sense. It is one of those cases where you’d think that any business that would do these sort of things is crazy but Zappos do and they work! Any smart business person knows there is a lesson there somewhere.

 

Probably the most impressive thing I have learn about Zappos is their focus on creating the best corporate culture. They are creating somewhere that people actually want to work and enjoy what they do in every aspect. That is pretty unique these days and I think many business could take a leaf out of the Zappos handbook. I became intrigued with this concept many years ago when I first read In Search of Excellence and my interest is once again piqued. 

 

I would say the book Delivering Happiness is only a starting point for learning about Zappos. I think that if you spend some time examining and thinking about what this business does differently you’ll see something special and something that is certainly worth emulating. I’m guessing that many business people will disregard Zappos but the more I think about it the more I reckon they’re onto something special.

Friday, August 20, 2010

SharePoint on Aurora

Given that SBS Aurora doesn’t include Exchange or SharePoint the first question I had was, could you actually install SharePoint Foundation 2010 on SBS Aurora? The reason for my questions is that, at this point, SharePoint 2010 is not available in BPOS (it will be soon). So what if you were busting for SharePoint 2010 on SBS Aurora?

 

The good news is that in my testing you can install SharePoint Foundation 2010 just like normal. You firstly need to make sure a version of SQL is installed on the server. I used SQL Express 2008 R2 (which has a 10GB limit). I then installed SharePoint Foundation 2010.

 

image_2_76B83B7B

 

The files copied across as expected.

 

image_4_76B83B7B

 

You have to create a new farm and connect to the SQL database you have already installed but that is straight forward.

 

image_6_76B83B7B

 

Next the SharePoint Configuration wizard runs.

 

image_8_76B83B7B

 

You then run the setup wizard and bingo you have SharePoint Foundation 2010 running on SBS Aurora.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

SBS Aurora beta install

Now that SBS Aurora beta is out thought I’d take you through an install.

 

image_2_51990173

 

Yep, new install please.

 

image_4_51990173

 

Yep use the only disk in the system and blow it away.

 

image_6_51990173

 

Hmmm..looks a lot like stuff I’ve seen before, i.e. copying, expanding, installing etc.

 

image_8_7F86542B

 

Would be nice if the completing installation gave you a percentage complete like the previous components did. My initially install got hung up and I reset here and it didn’t like that at all. Maybe it was because my SBS 2008 machine was also running. So I shut down the SBS 2008 box and started again.

 

image_10_7F86542B

 

I live on this big island the South Pacific called Australia where we speak the English (Australian) dialect but we still use US keyboards. I don’t understand but it does work (generally).

 

image_12_7F86542B

 

Sure I read it all before I accepted it (honest, cross my heart).

 

image_14_7F86542B

 

How do they come up with these keys? Surely they must have run out by now?

 

image_16_7F86542B

 

Not very original here but make sure you don’t duplicate something that already existing on your network!

 

image_18_7F86542B

 

Need a complex password as usual. I’m getting good at these now.

 

image_20_7F86542B

 

Hmmm…I think pressing the BIG green icon at the top is best.

 

image_22_7F86542B

 

More waiting. I wonder what it is doing? I wish I knew.

 

image_24_2D73A6E4

 

Needed a reboot, so it did it all by itself. How grown up!

 

image_26_2D73A6E4

 

Still preparing my server. Maybe I should have called the machine MasterChef?

 

image_28_2D73A6E4

 

More ‘Please wait’ screens. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. Please tell what you are doing, I’m a big boy. I can handle it.

 

image_30_2D73A6E4

 

Ahhhhhh…green tick, must be all good now.

 

image_32_2D73A6E4

 

And here’s the desktop, not surprisingly it looks like Windows 7.

 

image_34_2D73A6E4

 

Here’s the dashboard. Plenty to click to keep me busy for the next few days.

 

image_36_2D73A6E4

 

Not much in the start menu anymore.

 

image_38_2D73A6E4

 

But still plenty in the Administrative tools. Still opportunity for mischief. Yeah!

 

Initial Observations (that I can see anyway):

 

- No networking options during installation

- No disk partitioning options

- 64 bit OS (course de jour these days)

- Some interesting partition and disk mappings that need further investigation

 

Now how do I connect this sucker to the cloud? More updates soon.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Not in my experience

In my travels around the ‘Interweb’ I came across the following post:

http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/sqlsetupandupgrade/thread/e737bd65-a14d-4f47-9260-df3b7842831a

asking about running SQL Server 2008 R2 (Full edition) on SBS 2008. The response was:

Basically saying that Microsoft said it wouldn’t.

Hmmm…I thought, I wonder if that is in fact the case. I don’t see why it wouldn’t install. So I set about downloading the trial version and installing it. The result was:



that is certainly seems to install without an issue. You do initially have to make sure that you remove the SQL 2005 Express Management Studio but after that everything works exactly as expected.

Now I can say, at this stage, whether there are any actual issues with SQL Server 2008 R2 running on SBS 2008 because I haven’t been running it for that long but I am yet to see any.

Just in case anyone was wondering.

SharePoint Foundation 2010 pre-migration

I’ve just upload another segment from a recent full SharePoint Foundation 2010 migration video that I have created for subscribers of my Windows SharePoint Operations Guide. This one looks at some suggested steps that you should take prior to any migration to SharePoint Foundation 2010.

Preparing for migration to SharePoint Foundation 2010

 

YouTube now allows video of up to 15 minutes so this one is the longest one I have posted on YouTube. Those extra 5 minutes should allow me to get more content into these video in future.

 

Apart from running the SharePoint Foundation 2010 pre-upgrade check the most important thing is to take a number of backups. What this video does not cover is how to recover to these backups in the event of a problem. That is something that you be familiar with before you get too far down the track.

 

When was the last time you ran a full SharePoint disaster recovery? If you haven’t then you really should spend some time learning how to do because it isn’t a matter of if, it is a matter of when.

Monday, August 9, 2010

SharePoint Guide promotion


Until the end of August I’m running a special promotion on my full SharePoint Guide. If any one you refer purchases the Guide and then lets me know it was you who made the recommendation, I’ll send you a $25 gift card from Amazon or Borders (Australia only).

So, if you refer two people who purchase the Guide then you’ll get a $50 gift card and so on. You don’t already have to be a Guide subscriber to take advantage of this offer, all you need to do is let the person purchasing the Guide know to send me an email (cirector@ciaops.com) providing your contact details as the reason for their purchase. Hopefully you can’t get any simpler.

The offer is only available until the end of August 2010 and you can find out all the information you need about the Windows SharePoint Operations Guide via http://www.wssops.com.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Wave bye bye


Google has recently announced that it is ceasing development of Wave and closing down the application by year’s end. I was a fan of Wave, even though I readily acknowledge that as an app it was a little hard to grasp but overall I thought it provided some real innovation. I do however readily acknowledge that many people, even in the tech industry didn’t ‘get it’ either.

I found it most interesting that many tech people ‘bagged’ Wave without every having used it. Even those that did really didn’t use it for anything major. In a couple of circumstances that I used it extensively I found that it did indeed have major benefits but as the collaboration conversation grew much of the information became hopelessly jumbled. At that stage the easiest thing to do was start another Wave and move some of the information there. However, that really isn’t much different from email is it now?

In some ways the failure of Wave indicates to me that technology has become such an ingrained part of society that there is now a huge reluctance to move to anything new or innovative. Sadly, there used to be a time when people would jump on new technology and really try and make it work. Now it seems to have become a case of ‘well, unless it’s really, really, really better then I’m not going to change’. Even amongst people in technology, there is a real reluctance to pioneer something new. As I said, a strong indication to me that the technology market, in all aspects, has become mature.

One of the main reasons that I became interested in Wave was the fact that it was touted as a competitor for SharePoint. In some ways SharePoint shares some of the challenges of Wave in that most people don’t have a good idea of how to use SharePoint effectively. Perhaps the fact that SharePoint supports a more structure approach to storing information and that it links better to Microsoft Office applications make it more relevant. Perhaps the fact is that SharePoint is a more mature technology that has been adopted in the enterprise for many years stand testament to the fact that it does provide solutions for businesses who want to manage their information. However I have learnt that unless you get ‘real’ people using and understanding SharePoint then it will suffer the same fate that Wave has.

Although it is sad to see Wave disappear I have no doubt that much of the technology developed there will find it way into other Google products, the most likely candidate being Gmail. I find it just as sad that the technology industry in some ways has become so staid and conservative that fails to embrace new ways of looking at old problems. In the end it shows us that ultimately technology is driven by market forces which, like it or not, you have to deal with if you are to prosper.

An interesting side note is that one of reasons for Wave’s demise is the fact that Google is working a competitor to Facebook called Google Me. Can the market really sustain two products that do ‘Facebook’? Can Google really compete with a service that already has 500 million subscribers and still growing. Interesting. Moe in an upcoming post.

Friday, August 6, 2010

SharePoint Foundation 2010 storage


On of the major issues I see arising around any migration to SharePoint Foundation 2010 is the size of the content databases. The reason is that out of the box SharePoint Foundation 2010 is installed with SQL Server 2008 Express which has a 4GB database size limit. This is a pain because Windows SharePoint Services v3 (WSS v3) came with SQL Server 2005 Embedded Edition (#SSEE) which had an unlimited database size (even though it had other limitations).

Many of the WSS v3 implementations on SBS I have seen have now grown beyond 4GB, so what’s your options if you want to upgrade to SharePoint Foundation 2010? The first was to use SQL Server 2008 Express R2 which has a database size limit of 10GB and is a free download from Microsoft. This does require manually installation prior to the installation of SharePoint Foundation 2010 as well as manual set of SharePoint 2010. However, even 10GB I can see potentially being restrictive for some of the larger Companyweb deployments.

Beyond 10GB the only option that I thought was to upgrade to a full version of SQL (i.e. Workgroup, Standard, etc) but that means shelling out money. I have however now found an option that will support databases up to 16GB for free. That method is using Remote BLOB storage.

Basically, you can install SQL Express 2008 R2, then install Remote BLOB storage and then upgrade the databases. The process is detailed in this TechNet article:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-au/library/ff628258.aspx - Upgrade a stand-alone installation on a domain controller by using Remote BLOB Storage (RBS) (database attach)

I haven’t tried it but it doesn’t seem much more difficult that installing an extra piece of software on the server and running an upgrade command. So where did I get the 16GB limit that Remote Blob Storage will support? Here:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-au/library/ff628569.aspx - Plan for remote BLOB storage (RBS) (SharePoint Foundation 2010)

where it says:

If the content databases are larger than 16 GB, you must purchase Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2, SQL Server 2008 with Service Pack 1 (SP1) and Cumulative Update 2, or SQL Server 2005 with SP3 and Cumulative Update 3 to support the databases instead of remaining on a free version of SQL Server.

I don’t quite see why you ‘must’ purchase an upgraded versions of SQL Server but I’ll take Microsoft at their word until I can test this further.

So there you have it. From what I can determine the largest content database you can run with on SharePoint Foundation 2010 is 16GB after which you’ll need to pay for a full version of SQL server.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

IT West Cloud Seminar

Here’s some footage from my recent Cloud Seminar in co operation with IT West.

Cloud Seminar – IT West

 

I gotta say that Peter Vane and the people out at IT West are really switched on and professional in the way they go about marketing and providing their customers with technology information. Peter also tells me that he has had some great prospects generated directly from the presentation would could not make me happier. He deserves all the rewards for the hard work he is doing to grow his business.

 

If you are an end users or maybe a technology reseller and you want more information about the types of presentations and seminars I can offer please feel free to get in contact with me (director@ciaops.com), I’d be more than happy to help.

PDF icons in SharePoint Foundation 2010

After creating a complete video for Windows SharePoint Operation Guide subscribers on how to not only index PDF documents but also add a PDF icon in SharePoint Foundation 2010 I thought that what I’d do was take the part about creating PDF icons and make it public. So that’s what I’ve just gone and done and posted on YouTube.

Installing Acrobat PDF icon into SharePoint Foundation 2010

 

The process is pretty similar to what it was in WSS v3 except you need to use \14.0\ instead of \12.0\ in the registry and directory hives. However, this video should at least show you how to make the chance so the PDF icons will now appear next to Acrobat documents in SharePoint 2010 like so:

 

image_4_1F3EC69F

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

SharePoint Foundation and PDFs video

For subscribers to my Guide I have created a 30 minute video that shows you step by step how to index PDFs with SharePoint Foundation 2010. The video also shows you how to display a PDF icon in SharePoint Foundation 2010 rather than just the generic one.

 

This video is the companion to the recently added chapters to the Windows SharePoint Operations Guide. What I am trying to do now is to create a video for every major component of the Guide because most people haven’t got the time to dedicate to learning the details. So providing a video is a quick way to get a good overview of the topic and then there is always the normal Guide to fall back on to get the exact details and screenshots of what needs to be done.

 

I have uploaded the video to humyo.com but for what I can work out I need to individually share it, which is a bit of a pain. So for the time bring if any subscriber wants access just email email me (director@ciaops.com) and I’ll make it available. Going forward I’m still looking for a good way to store and share video (and large files) via an individual login. If you have a suggestion I’d love to hear about it.

 

The next video I’ll be working on will take you through the process of migrating WSS v3 databases to SharePoint Foundation 2010. I’ll be doing this on SBS 2008 so that base also gets covered as well. Look out for that video soon.

 

Remember that I have now included videos like those mentioned above in both the Migration and SBS packs (if relevant). Thus, if you don’t believe the complete Guide is a worthwhile investment for your SBS world then the SBS Pack now includes not only SharePoint Foundation 2010 information and video tutorials.

 

More information about the Windows SharePoint Operations Guide can be found at www.wssops.com.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Update of WSSOPS SBS Pack

A while back I created two additional products that were a subset of my full Windows SharePoint Operations Guide (www.wssops.com). These were the Migration Pack (Chapter 7) and the SBS Pack (Chapters 4,7,11). My thinking was that they would prove popular because they were much cheaper but still had the same information as that found in the full Guide.

 

Alas, these ‘Packs’ have never proved popular at all for some strange reason. In all honesty I was simply going to pull them and focus on the full product but I have a change of heart and will give them a temporary reprieve. What I will do is include the SharePoint Foundation 2010 chapters of the Guide as well with these ‘Packs’. Thus, if you buy the Migration Pack you’ll not only receive Chapter 7 from the Windows SharePoint v3 Guide but also from the SharePoint Foundation 2010 Guide. Likewise with the SBS Pack. I will also include any of the relevant videos for these chapters, thus for the SBS Pack purchasers will get access to my 3 part series showing you how to install SharePoint Foundation 2010 on SBS 2008.

 

Given the focus that SharePoint Foundation 2010 on SBS 2008 is generating I’m hoping that there will be demand for these products. So for less than $90 you can not only get documentation on Windows SharePoint v3 on SBS but also SharePoint Foundation 2010 on SBS including video tutorials.

 

For further information on all the Windows SharePoint Operations Guide products and versions, including plenty of free stuff as well and how to purchase the products, visit www.wssops.com.

August Guide Update

I’ve just completed the update of my Windows SharePoint Operations Guide (www.wssops.com) for subscribers to download. This month has a number of updates that I think will be valuable to people looking at SharePoint 2010.

 

Firstly, there is information about migrating your Windows SharePoint v3 (WSS v3) data into SharePoint 2010. This comes on the back of last month’s addition of how to get SharePoint Foundation 2010 running on SBS 2008. If you have large content databases (around the 10GB or more mark) then you may have some real decisions to make as SQL 2008 Express R2 (which is free) only supports databases up to 10GB. It is a real pity that SharePoint 2010 can no longer, by default, take advantage of the SQL Server Embedded Edition which had no database size.

 

Secondly, there is information about getting Acrobat PDF indexing working with SharePoint Foundation 2010. Another disappointment that this is not supported out of the box and an even bigger disappointment that it is more work to get it running now. Hopefully a better solution will present itself in the future but for now at least subscribers can get it working if they want.

 

So what’s on the cards for next month with the Guide? At this stage I think I’ll turn my attention to documenting how to get Search Server Express 2010 and Office Web Apps running with SharePoint Foundation 2010. I’ll also be doing some videos on the migration and PDF indexing process as well. Going forward, I’ll be attempting to do videos for all the topics that I cover which will hopefully add more value for subscribers. This way they can watch the video and use the documentation for further reference.

 

I’m always interested to hear what people would like to see included in my guide so if you have a suggestion, I’m all ears.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

What Why Who


Still further evidence that we are working ourselves into an early grave can be found in the article ‘A hard working nation that’s losing its balance’. To quote the article:

AUSTRALIANS are increasingly dissatisfied by their employment conditions, with many risking their health through long working hours. 

and

A survey of 10,000 people to be released this week reveals Australians are becoming increasingly unhappy with their work-life balance.

The most tragic result seems to be the deterioration in health, which strangely enough means that you’ll probably end being able to actually work less hours! Go figure. Another hidden side effect is the lack of good regular sleep but that’s another blog post.

There seems to be this equation of working longer and harder being the only way to get things done. I’d challenge that and say that people have allowed more distractions to enter their lives and the workplace preventing them from getting things done. I’d also say that there is a belief that people think they can to do ‘everything’. Well, I’m sorry to say that there are only so many hours in a day and most people won’t get everything done they want to on a regular basis so deal with it.

Perhaps people should firstly ask ‘What am I doing?’. If you never have enough time have you ever stopped to look at exactly how you spend you time? Have you even kept a log and analysed where the time goes? Probably not. If you want to make a change, first you need to understand where you are. I’ll almost bet that if you kept a detailed log of how you allocated your time you’d immediately find plenty of examples of things that you shouldn’t have been wasting time on.

Next is the question of ‘Why am I doing it?’. There are plenty of things everyday that we NEED to do and there are other things we LIKE to do. Typically, what we LIKE to do isn’t what we NEED to do is it? But that doesn’t mean that we can ignore them. We simply have to prioritize. We NEED to work out a priority for each task and allocate our time accordingly. Perhaps the secret here is to do a little regular planning. Everyday you need to spend some time with your to-do list and work out what NEEDS to be done now, today, tomorrow, this week and NEVER (don’t forget that working out what NOT to do is also critical)! The trick is to allocate this time regularly. Best bets are usually first thing in the morning or last thing at night.

Now ask ‘Who am I?’. Everyone is different and it is no use living someone else’s life is it? If you are married you have commitments to your family as well as yourself then you can’t act as though you’re single without ramifications. If you are a night owl then it isn’t much use trying to force yourself to constantly get up early. Everyone is different and understanding what makes you tick can save you a lot of frustration. As silly as it sounds maybe the thing that you should do is sit down and answer the question of what makes you truly happy? Once you are honest with yourself about who you are what you want from life you are way out in front and much more likely to achieve it because at least you now know what you want instead of spending hours at work wondering.

As I have commented many time here, we have more technology, opportunity and access to information than we have ever had before, yet we seem to be locking ourselves into small and smaller cages cut off from all the best things in life, the things that we say we want but never seem to have the time for. If you never have time for them why are you busting your butt for them? Sounds like delusion to me.

Time is the most precious commodity we have and for some reason most people seem to want to spend it all working and because they do this they believe everyone else should be as well. You should be looking to those that can help you improve your effectiveness and efficiency not simply provide more distractions. If you are just doing the same old thing and complaining that it never gets any better then I think I have every right to call you a ‘dumb-ass’. If you however are looking to change, learning how to change and actually making change no matter how small then I applaud you and will do whatever I can to help.

So, step off the treadmill, take a look at yourself, what you do and why you do it. Set your own agenda to live life the way that you want to, not the way other people say you should because you only get one life and it is way too short to waste. In short, work to live not live to work (or in this case, die).