Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Seth Godin

Here are three really good short videos from Seth Godin that I recommend you take a look at.





One of messages that has come from the recent Microsoft Partner Conference is that the world is changing for Microsoft and resellers (as if you didn’t know!). The article “Microsoft rubs Web 2.0 noses in SharePoint cash pile” shows how Microsoft believes the world is changing and how its resellers should also.

“Microsoft's business applications chief Stephen Elop on Monday told Microsoft's overwhelmingly desktop-and-server-oriented partner army that nine out of 10 of their customers want to transition a portion of their IT to the cloud.”

Which I believe is true, though perhaps not to that extent now but it many eventually reach that level. Interestingly,

“Elop didn't reveal the source of the data behind his claim, but the message was blunt.

"My business is changing. Your business must change as well," Elop told Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.”

So the message appears clear from Microsoft that traditional server and desktop hardware is going to be a declining source of opportunity for all. You would also have to agree that the message is very similar from Google who have perhaps been at this cloud computing thing longer than Microsoft.

To ignore two of the largest players in the market saying that online is the place to be would surely be folly for anyone providing technology solutions. Personally, I agree with this premise in principal but I believe it still must be tempered by some ‘non-sales’ reality here but the end result is that change is certainly upon us. Nothing could perhaps illustrate that better than a recent example of my own.

I was called in by a prospect who were interested in Windows SharePoint v3 as means to improve their collaboration and productivity. They had just recently purchased a new server running SBS 2003 (their existing IT people seemed uncomfortable with the move to SBS 2008 which, as an aside, I have noticed to be quite common), so they already have their infrastructure in place. Now, how do they go about implementing Windows SharePoint v3?

Option 1 – On the existing infrastructure

They need to install Windows SharePoint v3 on their SBS 2003 server which requires a bit of customizing since it is SBS. They’d probably also find that the SBS box is already pretty well loaded (being SBS 2003 it has a 4GB RAM limit) so maybe installing SharePoint v3 on SBS is not a good idea. Maybe then they could purchase an additional server, which means more hardware and Windows Server licenses even before the installation commences.

You can see how hard this is becoming can’t you.

Option 2 – Hosted

While at their offices I set up a 30 day free trial of hosted SharePoint with a single login. They can immediately start using the product to get a feel. They have remote access, don’t have to worry about additional servers, software etc. After 30 days they can simply convert that trial into a per monthly cost with an unlimited amount of users.

How easy was that?

Sure there are issues around both services and advantages and disadvantages but look at it from the customer’s perspective. Which involves less pain? If they like SharePoint and want to start using it in their business which is going to give them a result faster? The winner is Option 2 – Hosted.

This online concept also applies to other applications like email and even desktop applications such as word processors and spreadsheets. In the end I think we have finally crossed the threshold where technology is simply part of our day, like electricity or the car. It has become so ingrained in our society that the less we have to think about it the better. Clearly, things will not change overnight but they are changing and those who fail to make the transition will get left behind. If the business model and focus of players like Microsoft is changing then resellers need to start making similar adjustments. Now is the time to start making those adjustments in your own time rather than having little option or opportunity down the track.

Like it or not, change is here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

SharePoint Guide – August

So what’s coming in the August update of the Windows SharePoint Operations Guide? Firstly, there is information about how to index Outlook MSG files in SharePoint (which is not enabled by default). Next, there is information about a free web part that allows users to quickly post comments up to a SharePoint page and finally there are some troubleshooting tips around import data using Excel, which can be problematic at times.


The Guide is now rapidly approaching 1,500 pages of information and is expected to easily break that barrier when SharePoint 2010 beta is released in the near future. These and future updates will be available to subscribers so they can take their SharePoint installation beyond the default and really make them shine.


For more information about the Guide please visit www.wssops.com.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Power of an hour

I have just completed a document that provides 8 tips to improving your productivity with technology. By saving as little as 1 hour a work day you can end up generating over 240 hours a year. That works out to being more than a month of work time! Imagine what you could do with that extra time.

The document covers a range of suggestions including hardware, software and online solutions. It simply provides some quick suggestions about technology products and services that you maybe able to utilize to improve your working efficiency. Most of the suggestions can be implemented for free or very little cost which makes them even the more attractive.

Hopefully this document will prompt people into examining the options that are available with technology and look at ways they can do things better rather than simply allowing accepting the technology that you use. Successfully improving productivity comes down to two things I believe, the rights tools and the right application of those tools. Pretty much like most other successful things I suppose.

So please read the document, pass it along to other and let me know your feedback (director@ciaops.com). Don’t forget all the other documents that I also have on Slideshare including those on topics like SharePoint and Small Business Server (SBS). Stay posted to this blog for details of up coming documents.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

SharePoint 2010

As part of the release of Office 2010 a new version of SharePoint will be available soon. As yet I haven’t used the product and but the information that is available on the product is increasing. The expectation is that we will see a beta version of the product in October 2009 with a release in early 2010. Prior to this Microsoft has just launched a new web site to provide information about the upcoming release.

http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/2010/Sneak_Peek/Pages/default.aspx – SharePoint 2010 sneak peak web site.

The site contains a number of video that give some good insight into the new release.

http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/2010/Sneak_Peek/Pages/Overview-Video.aspx – Overview video

Covers the design goals and inclusions of the new version but also provides a demo of SharePoint 2010 in practice including its integration with Office 2010. This will give you a good idea of what SharePoint 2010 will be like for users. It demonstrates how the new ribbon bar will work with SharePoint 2010.

http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/2010/Sneak_Peek/Pages/IT-Pro-video.aspx – IT Pro video

Covers the changes and improvements in the administration of SharePoint 2010. One of the major new improvements will be advanced reporting. This will allow you to create regular reports to display things like page load times to troubleshoot performance. The video also covers the options with migration which include an ability to easily swap between SharePoint 2007 and 2010 look and feel.

http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/2010/Sneak_Peek/Pages/Developer-Video.aspx – IT Developer

Covers how much easier creating code for SharePoint is going to be using tool like the new Visual Studio.

Apart from the obvious changes to the interface I will be interested to see how the new version handles some of the features that were missing or needed enabling after installation. However from what I’ve see so far in these videos it looks there is going to plenty of great new features to make SharePoint 2010 a worthwhile investment. I have a feeling that it is going work really well as a web hosted application as well.

Don’t forget that Office 2010 will also include SharePoint Workspace 2010 which is going to be a great way to take SharePoint content offline. Office 2010 applications like Excel, Word, OneNote and so on are now available for technical preview at http://www.microsoft.com/office/2010/. Many of these are also going to have improved integration features with SharePoint 2010.

Subscribers to the Windows SharePoint Operations Guide will receive all the updates and guides on this new version as they become available. The Guide will also be updated with all the latest information around SharePoint 2010 when it become available. So if you are at all interested in installing, deploying or maintaining Windows SharePoint then I commend the Guide to you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Myth of Multitasking

I have not doubt covered this topic before in my postings but I have come across a swag of new articles that further confirm the fact that human beings are not designed to multi task. When we fool ourselves into believing we are multi tasking we are in fact simply task switching. As “Slow Down, Brave Multitasker, and Don’t Read This in Traffic” details:

“The researchers said that they did not see a delay if the participants were given the tasks one at a time. But the researchers found that response to the second task was delayed by up to a second when the study participants were given the two tasks at about the same time.

In many daily tasks, of course, a lost second is unimportant. But one implication of the Vanderbilt research, Mr. Marois said, is that talking on a cellphone while driving a car is dangerous. A one-second delay in response time at 60 miles an hour could be fatal, he noted.”

In “Why Multitasking Doesn’t Work” we find out how interruptions can be just as bad:

“We’ve already seen that multitasking on the road is the equivalent of drinking and driving. Other research cited by Medina shows that people who are interrupted - and therefore have to switch their attention back and forth - take 50% longer to accomplish a task, and make up to 50% more errors.”

Now translate that to the technology you are probably using now, such as email, and you may begin to appreciate why you are struggling to actually get any meaningful work done. By having your emails constantly open and allowing pop up notifications you are reducing the time you have because you are simply task switching (which requires recovery to refocus) and you are more likely to make mistakes. Tell me how that is being more productive?

The most amazing thing is that as a society we seem to believe that we all not only have the ability to multi task but that we should be doing it more often. We hold in high esteem those who appear to be good multi taskers, when in actual fact we are revering the most unproductive and error prone among us. How does that make sense? There is even a belief that kids of today are just natural multi taskers, but again as “Slow Down, Brave Multitasker, and Don’t Read This in Traffic” details:

“Recently completed research at the Institute for the Future of the Mind at Oxford University suggests the popular perception is open to question. A group of 18- to 21-year-olds and a group of 35- to 39-year-olds were given 90 seconds to translate images into numbers, using a simple code.

The younger group did 10 percent better when not interrupted. But when both groups were interrupted by a phone call, a cellphone short-text message or an instant message, the older group matched the younger group in speed and accuracy.”

So again we can see that most of our ideas about multi tasking are simply myths yet remain largely unchallenged.

Finally, here’s an article “Getting Things Done: How NOT to Multitask – Work Simpler and Saner” with some suggestion about how to avoid the traps of multi tasking and develop an environment where you can actually achieve some meaningful work.

For more information about getting assistance improving your productivity please visit our Smart Productivity site.

WiFi bounty hunter

After reading “The great WiFi robbery: police to patrol down your street” what I want to know is there some sort of bounty that I can claim if I find an open WiFi hotspot? It is interesting that police are now diverting resources to warn people about the issues of unprotected wireless.


"All unsecured WiFi networks out there are open for exploitation by the crooks and the average mum and dad don't understand the vulnerabilities”

I have no argument with this statement but is it likely that others are going to appreciate the seriousness of the issue? As I mentioned in another recent post, most people still have no idea about the differences a digital world has created. An even earlier post I detailed how, on a recent visit to a friend, I found an unprotected WiFi hot spot in the street. This is not a new issue.


The article also says:


“He blamed computer equipment sellers for not doing enough to educate customers on the importance of security.”


Again no argument there. For my part I have created a YouTube video that highlights the issues with WiFi security. When I teach my Wireless Networking course at community college I ensure that I drum into attendees that wireless is ALWAYS more insecure that wired. It can be made more secure but it can never be made totally invulnerable to attack or compromise. The biggest problem is that generally out of the box most WiFi is totally insecure.


So where does the responsibility for WiFi security lie? With the user? With the equipment provider? With the installer? With the police? As the article highlights:


“The Queensland operation could attract criticism from those who believe police time would be better spent seeking out drug dealers and robbers, but Detective Superintendent Hay said the issue was just as important as any other.”


Which again harks back to my thoughts on how little most people really understand our digital world and the interaction it plays in the real world. The best advice I can give is to take responsibility for your own digital security. If you don’t understand then learn, otherwise sooner or later you’ll become a victim.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Big lights city

There is no place in the world like Las Vegas. If you have never been there and you get the opportunity I’d say go and take a look. Sure it can be tacky, sleazy and money grubbing but man you just gotta admire what they’ve managed to build in the desert there. If you can’t find something to enjoy about Las Vegas then you just ain’t trying.

This year the SMB Nation Fall 2009 has moved from Seattle to Las Vegas and I’m happy to say that I’ve been asked to make a return visit to speak on SharePoint again. The conference runs from Oct 2 to 4 at the Riviera Hotel and Casino. I appreciate the opportunity SMB Nation and Harry Brelsford has again given me to not only attend but also speak.

So what’s my topic? The title is “So you’ve got SharePoint now what?” and it is a look at how you can extend the capabilities and features of a plain vanilla SharePoint to maximize returns. The opportunity for resellers is that using the right tools you can extend SharePoint and really stand out from the crowd. It seems to me that everyone talks about the opportunities SharePoint provides but no one really seems to do anything about it. My presentation will show you how to make your SharePoint skills and installations a truly unique business selling proposition so you can take advantage of the huge opportunity there exists in the SharePoint space.

Since October is still a little way off I love to hear any feedback you may have on what you reckon should be or could be presented. I know what I want to present but I always find that any presentation improves when it receives input. So by all means feel free to get in contact with me (director@ciaops.com) and let me know, I’d love to hear from you.

The other thing that I am really looking forward to (apart from the other great content at SMB Nation) is catching up with many of the people I met last year. Even if we have never met and you’d like to catch up for a discussion on SharePoint or my opinion on the ‘new world order’ then again feel free to drop me an email (director@ciaops.com) and we can hook up. The first drink’s on me!

Like I did last year, I’ll be making all the information available on my presentation via slideshare so you can review it at your leisure. However, that won’t happen until well after the completion of the conference so if you have some input for me, now is the time.

Luckily, I have been to Vegas before but even then I know that will have changed significantly since my last visit. I can’t wait to check out all the new casinos and attractions that have gone up in this playground in the desert. If you are thinking about attending then I encourage you to do so because not only is the content fantastic but you’ll also meet some great people from all around the world who all have something to offer that can improve your business. When I look at my experiences from last year I know that it helped mine and I look forward to that even more so this year.

Come and join me at SMB Nation Fall 2009. As I said, the first drink’s on me.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

OneNote news

A while back I was converted to the HUGE benefits of OneNote. Linked with SharePoint it is an absolutely awesome product. I recently published a document that shows you how to create a free shared OneNote notebook using Office Live Small Business. Now comes news of the soon to be released OneNote 2010 available with the new Office 2010. I’ve just been reading David Rasmussen’s blog and wanted to highlight these additions:


With OneNote 2010 we’ve added:


Sync to Cloud (Windows Live): Your notebooks sync and are available anywhere from any machine. Of course this is in addition to all the existing ways you can sync notebooks (file shares, SharePoint, USB drives etc.)


OneNote Web App: You can access and edit your entire notebook from a browser. Even on a machine that doesn’t have OneNote installed.


OneNote Mobile: A more complete OneNote version for Windows Mobile phones. Syncs whole notebooks. Syncs directly to the cloud. No need to tether your device. Richer editing support.

Note: The above are not yet available in the Tech Preview unfortunately. We’re still finishing some integration work for sync to Windows Live.

There are heaps of great improvements and I recommend that you take a look at this post from David to get the full run down.


I have also learnt that OneNote is going to available in EVERY version of Office 2010! This is absolutely BLOODY BRILLIANT in my opinion. My understanding of the upcoming versions of Office 2010 are:


Office Home and Student edition includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote.


Office Home and Business edition replaces the previous Office Small Business edition. It includes all the programs from the Home and Student edition and adds Outlook.

Office Standard is the entry-level enterprise edition; it includes the programs from the Home and Business edition and adds Publisher.


Office Professional continues to be the high-end package for consumers and small businesses. It includes the programs in Standard edition and adds the Access database management program.


Office Professional Plus is the high-end enterprise offering, adding SharePoint Workspace (formerly Groove Workspace) and InfoPath.


Much simpler than what we had before I reckon.


So with OneNote 2010 you are going to get the ability to sync with the cloud as well as viewing through a web browser. That alone is worth the upgrade to me but when you throw in everything else OneNote is now offering I reckon it is going to be THE product that drives adoption of Office 2010. If you haven’t looked at OneNote I’d suggest you get up to speed now because it is going to HUGE.

Brave New World

I came across an interesting example the other day that illustrates how most people still don’t understand this new digital world of ours.

This particular party had just finished upgrading to a new PC. They had conscientiously copied all their data across and reinstalled all the applications. Once it was up and going they decided that they no longer had a need for the old PC. Rather than donating it to a worth cause (which is what I recommended they do), they decided to take to it with a hammer in an attempt to “destroy” it.

Now I will admit that the box certainly didn’t look like a PC when I saw it but I asked them whether I could test a theory of mine. They agreed and I proceeded to extract the hard disk, which seemed ok physically just a little scratched, and see whether I could read the information that was on there. Low and behold, in manner of moments I could see all the data. So the hard disk remained intact and well enough to be read, even after being subject to some pretty heavy physical abuse.

The owner was utterly shocked that it took me so little time to recover their precious information. “As you can see”, I pointed out, “it isn’t very hard at all”. So what should they have done? They needed to destroy the digital information digitally. How can you easily accomplish that? Use Darik’s Boot n’ Nuke.

All you need to do is download the software and use it make a bootable CD. Pop that into the drive of the computer, allowing it boot from the CD and follow the instructions. The time required to completely erase a drive will depend on its size but afterwards you can be pretty sure there ain’t anything left there for someone to recover.

I was intrigued with the contrasts between the two different ‘destruction’ methods and their results. It illustrates that even thought most people use computers these days and are generally comfortable with them they really have not concept of the idea of ‘digital information’. It is like a completely parallel universe. As Mr. Spock might have said in this situation “No, Jim. We must destroy it digitally. It can’t be harmed any other way”.

If you really want to spin people out about the differences that digital data bring to their lives explain to them how all the information they are uploading to the Internet has to live on a hard disk somewhere. Now ask them what happens when that gets “retired”? Is it digitally erased? How would you ever know? The reaction I get from most people is most interesting.

Even though we may live in a brave new world, seems to me very few people really understand what that means.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

OneNote and Office Live


I’ve just uploaded a new document that takes you through the process of setting up a shared OneNote notebook that is available from anywhere you have Internet access using Microsoft Office Live Small Business.

Once you have created the OneNote notebook on Microsoft Office Live Small Business you can work with it offline until you are ready to connect back online. When you do so it will automatically synchronize all changes. You can therefore use this feature to share the notebook between different locations, different machines or even different people. Best of all using Microsoft Office Live Small Business it is totally free.

To view and download the document go to: http://www.slideshare.net/directorcia/onenote-and-office-live 

If you haven’t seen the benefits that a digital notebook like OneNote can offer then I recommend you take a look at www.onenote.com. While you are there download a 60 day free trial so you can start using it right away. If you love it as much as I do then I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you find out how cheap it is to actually buy.

To those people that helped proof read the document and make suggestions before it went out I thank you and hope you can make yourself available for other documents I have in the works. It always help to have at least another set of eyes across a document because it always improves it.

So feel free to download the document, forward it to others and give me any feedback via director@ciaops.com.

Office 2010

Want to know what’s coming in Office 2010? Then visit http://www.microsoft.com/office/2010/ where you’ll find all sorts of information. There are a whole heaps of short videos on each of the Office products that’ll give you an idea of what to expect.

From the site you can also visit http://www.microsoft.com/officebusiness/office2010/ which is specifically about Office 2010 for business. There is plenty of really good information about what new features the product will have specifically for business.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of information around the new version of SharePoint. There is however on the Office business site information about SharePoint Workspace 2010 (ex Groove) which allows you to take SharePoint information offline.

I would expect the content in this site to continue to grow as the product reaches a release date but for now if you want to see what’s coming in Office 2010 take a look.

Illusion of freedom

We tell ourselves that technologies like the Internet, email, BlackBerry’s and mobile phones have given us more freedom. I believe that the situation is actually the reverse, that we have allowed technology to enslave us in a ways that we simply fail to even acknowledge now.


Don’t believe me? Well consider this situation and what would be the standard reaction (even more so in the current economic environment).


- You receive an email at home from you boss or a customer at 9.17pm on a week night.


what would be the most likely response do you think?


A. Ignore it.

B. Reply saying that you only deal with such matters during normal office hours.

C. Snap to attention and complete whatever the email asked.


I think most people would agree that in today’s environment option C. is going to be the likely course of action. Doesn’t that seem to indicate that the loss of boundaries between work and leisure? How has that happened? Because we have allowed technology to take control. We are no longer in control, we are no longer free to make our own choices. We ‘think’ we have more freedom but it is an illusion.


Here’s another analogy that I read recently. Imagine the reaction back in the mid 1950’s if you had tried to make an airline reservation and been told:


- You need to purchase a computer and set it up inside your house.

- You also need to pay for the electricity to run it.

- You also need to buy a printer, the ink to print and the paper that it uses.

- You now need to use the computer to do the work airline reservations people used to do since we don’t employ them anymore.

- Now, make your own reservations, print out your own ticket all on YOUR time.


Back in the 1950’s people would have thought this to be completely unbelievable while today we simply refer to it as ‘progress’! Isn’t the reality that you are now working for the airline to which you are also paying money?


So now you are working during the day, answering and attending to emails after hours (i.e. still working), then working for the airlines as well when do you get down time? How has you life been made better by technology if you are now effectively working from the moment you wake to the moment you fall asleep? How can you honesty say that technology like a Blackberry has improved the quality of your life? How can you say it has given you greater freedom? It hasn’t. It is all simply an illusion that we have allowed ourselves to believe.

SBS 2008 Unleashed

 Windows Small Business Server 2008 Unleashed by Eriq Oliver Neale

My rating:
4 of 5 stars
If you are planning to install, manage or maintain Windows Small Business Server 2008 then this book is a must have. It goes beyond the standard information and delves into the areas that the average installer simply doesn't know about. The information provided in this book will ensure that Small Business Server 2008 machines in you care will not only be correctly configured they will have all the additional options enabled to ensure that users get the most from the product.

This book goes beyond the standard information that Microsoft provides by encompassing the knowledge and experience from a range of MVPs (Most Valued Professionals). That is just something money can't buy these days. Sure you maybe able to find the same information on the Internet by why would you when it is perfectly encapsulated in this book. Along with in depth technical information it contains a whole raft of practical suggestions from people who know the product inside out.

The book covers a wide range of topics about Small Business Server 2008 from installation to configuration to maintenance. If you want information that goes beyond the 'usual' with Windows Small Business Server 2008 then this is book for you. It is a must have reference for anyone working with the product.

View all my reviews >>

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Necessary modifications

I’d like to tell you a bit of a story if you’d be kind enough to indulge me.

I have always been an avid ‘petrol head’ and none more so when I purchased my first car. I used to spend just about every weekend pulling it to pieces to either add something new or try and improve it. Some of the most notable failures were when I created a dead short to the battery through a wire that ran underneath the carpet, which resulted in plenty of smoke, some fire and a scorched carpet. Another over sight was the inability to locate a critical part of the engine that had been removed during tuning and adjustment that went undiscovered for 6 hours! The small item turned up exactly where I had put it – in the bay between the wipers and the engine, but until that discovery the car wouldn’t start.

My avid ‘customization’ efforts usually commenced on Friday evening and sometimes weren’t finished by the following Monday morning. In many cases this meant driving the car around ‘superleggera’ style (i.e. lightweight). That was basically a car without anything except a drivers seat on the inside – i.e no other seats, carpet, roof covering, glove box and so on. Another common problem was that after I managed to reassemble the car I always had some parts left over. Plenty of times I asked myself whether the car not having these particular parts was going to make it better or worse? The answer was usually worse but took a few days to uncover why.

Being a keen electronics buff I also delved into improving the cars instruments. For example, I installed an alarm system that was so ‘good’ that it managed to flatten the battery in less than 15 minutes if it was activated (which happened quite often, thanks to a faulty trip switch). I also managed to blow up a home made graphic equalizer I have built and fill the car with dense smoke during a rainy day, luckily I made it to the side of the road before hitting anything. In the end the car probably had as much cabling running through it as a jumbo jet.

So I think that you get the picture of the lengths that I went to ‘improving’ the car, all with varying degrees of success. It was great fun (except when I needed to get somewhere and couldn’t get the car started) and I learned a lot. Probably the biggest lesson I learnt is that although mucking about with the car was fun, it really didn’t make the car that much better and consumed a lot of time. Since then, if I have purchased a car I try and ensure that it has everything I wanted and didn’t tinker much.

What’s the point of this story? Well, I’ve been thinking about how much work you need to do to bring Windows SharePoint up to the level it should be at and I kinda see it like days when I was fiddling with my first car.

Out of the box Windows SharePoint does a lot of really great things and is a huge benefit to most businesses but making some further simple modifications can it dramatically improve its functionality.

What sort of stuff doesn’t SharePoint do or have configured by default? Here’s a short list:

- No PDF search

If you upload Adobe documents then they will not be indexed and not available via the inbuilt search utility. You can still check them in and out but having the ability to search within documents is a huge time saver that really needs to be enabled.

- No PDF icon

If you do upload an Adobe document to SharePoint you find that it doesn’t display a little PDF icon next to the file type. As you can see from my Supportweb site it is possible to have the PDF icon displayed.


- No Office 2007 document indexing

You’ll get .doc, .xls and so on out of the box with Windows SharePoint but you won’t get the ability to index .docx, .xlsx, etc. That may not have been a issue a while back but with everyone moving more and more to Office 2007 native format you really need to index these formats.

- No OneNote document indexing

Of the greatest abilities of OneNote is to capture and index documents that are printed to it. So you can print a web page to OneNote and it will not only capture the information but also index it. This indexing ability also gets extended to SharePoint if correctly configured. Problem is you don’t this ability by default.

- No .MSG email document indexing

When SharePoint works with email it normally does so in .EML format, which is natively for Outlook Express. You can save email messages in native Outlook .MSG format but again, guess what? They won’t be indexed by default.

- No file share indexing

It continues to amaze me that people have no strategy for indexing the information they have saved on their internal servers. They create it, save it and forget it. From there it appears doomed to be lost in the bowels of network file shares. I bet most people don’t realize that you can enable Windows SharePoint to index all documents in all network file shares, but again not by default.

- No public folder indexing

Just like network file shares SharePoint can index Exchange Public folders, just not by default. If you have a lot of information invested in Public Folders just image the return you could achieve by unlocking it by full text indexing.

- No web site index

Again, if you have internal or external web sites that you business uses regularly you can use Windows SharePoint to index and retrieve the content. All you gotta do is configure it.

- Limited templates

Windows SharePoint comes with a number of default site templates but Microsoft makes at least 40 more available for free. These templates can save a whole lot of customization time given you can start with a site that pretty well already configured. Only problem is, you have to install and configures these after you get Windows SharePoint running.

- Wrong regional settings

As with most Windows products the regional settings for SharePoint are typically wrong. Why can’t they work out these settings from the machine they were installed on? I don’t know, but they don’t so you generally always need to go in and configure the correct regional settings for your site. Is that easy? Clearly not because most people never seem to do it.

- Usage analysis not enabled

Another hidden gem inside Windows SharePoint is its ability to display usage analysis. This will show you popular pages, locations and referring locations. Why wouldn’t you want to understand how your users are working with the site? Unless you enable this feature, which isn’t enabled by default, you’ll only be guessing.

All of the issues that I’ve mentioned here can (and should) be configured for Windows SharePoint. Even on Companyweb on SBS 2008 they are not enabled so imagine how much better your implementations of SharePoint would be if you did all this? If you wanna stand out from the crowd with SharePoint, here’s a very simply way.

If you enjoy playing around with Windows SharePoint and learning about all this ‘non-standard’ stuff (like I did with my car) then there are plenty places on the Internet that will show you how. Unfortunately, there really isn’t a single location which you can go to, so be prepared to spend a lot of time doing research. I certainly hope that if you see Windows SharePoint as a commercial opportunity then you’ll appreciate the advantage of having all that information in a single location. That is the reason I created my Windows SharePoint Operations Guide, exactly for this reason.

Rather than wasting hours of research and testing, for the cost of a few hours of labour, you getting all this information plus more. Even better its gets enhanced, updated and improved every month. It’s like every car from my second one, I worked out what I wanted and paid for it rather than wasting my time doing the modifications myself. Why? Because it is a better return on my investment.

I have even been thinking of creating a condensed version of my guide with a list of recommendations and configurations for how to optimize Windows SharePoint out of the box. However, I don’t want to duplicate what I’m already doing unless there is some demand. So if you’d like to perhaps see a shortened Guide covering items like configuring the above items please let me know via director@ciaops.com.

In the end I’d urge you to consider taking SharePoint from its default configuration to something that really utilizes all the capabilities the technology has to offer.

Friday, July 10, 2009

More like it

Microsoft has had some questionable advertising and marketing of late but to me it seems like they are much closer to target with Office 2010: The Movie.


There is also some other good stuff at http://www.office2010themovie.com/. If you wondered what happened to ‘Clippy’ then the video may help you understand.


So tell me why is good Microsoft advertising like this not getting any traction, while the other totally lame stuff is? Microsoft seem to me to have spent more bucks on Office 2010 the Movie than other recent ads, yet this is the first I have heard about it. Strange.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

New player

Unsurprisingly, Google has announced that it will release an operating system targeted at Net Books as the article “Google takes on Windows with Chrome OS” details. That made me ponder the following:


1. Why is Google only taking on Windows? Doesn’t MAC OS or Linux count? I can’t see Google OS only detracting from Windows market share, yet it is interesting in that everything I have read only talks about Google taking on Windows.


2. Microsoft has a pretty large support infra-structure around it, what does Google have? You know that some Google OS Notebooks ARE going to end up in the hands of non-technology literate people. What happens when they need support, where do they turn? How will that experience be? For all it’s faults Microsoft has been doing direct support for years on operating systems is that an advantage or a disadvantage?


3. Competition in the market is good for everyone. Many of Microsoft’s products have been lacking any real innovation when they have no direct competition. Any competition should help all players lift their game.


4. Will the average user trust a Google OS after all these years of Windows? Sure they bitch and complain but in the end they are comfortable with Windows. Does the OS really matter anymore? Do people with netbooks run applications they care about or do they simply want a word processor, spreadsheet and browser?


Only time will tell.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Public folder guidance

I was at a SharePoint seminar today and the age old issue of SharePoint vs Exchange Public folders was raised. The most common myth is that Exchange Public Folder are going away in favour of SharePoint, and the following blog post from the Exchange team confirms that:




and in there it says:


“For this reason, Microsoft will continue to support Public Folders in the next major release of Exchange Server, after Exchange 2007.  This means Public Folders will have full support for 10 years from release of the next major release of Exchange Server.”


The post then goes on to discuss the strength of both SharePoint and Public folders, which is well worth a read.


If you think Public Folder in Exchange are going then think again! It should be a matter of using the best tool for the job and with SharePoint and Exchange Public folders you have the choice.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Not just me

So it seems I wasn’t the only one that thought the new ad for Internet Explorer 8 was rank. As the article “Microsoft withdraws offending 'puke ad'” details Microsoft has stopped promoting the ad.


In this day and age it is really hard to be funny without offending or alienating someone or something. Microsoft has not had much luck of late with its Seinfeld ads and now this, whereas Apple has been able to really milk Mac vs PC.


I wonder what Microsoft has in the wings for Windows 7? Seeing this kinda worries you a bit doesn’t it?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sign of the times

Have a look at this “commercial” for Internet Explorer 8.



Now tell me that you think it’s an effective way of promoting the features of Microsoft’s latest browser. I understand the concept, but really I gotta say that they have missed their mark in so many ways. For one I can’t say that I like seeing someone repeatedly ‘puke’ on someone else. Secondly, you’re promoting a function of the browser that allows you to view porn at the breakfast table. Maybe I’m missing something here and that feature is in high demand, but not amongst the small population of Internet users I know at least.


I don’t know who Microsoft is using for their ad agency but there’s gotta be someone other better! Is the only feature of Internet Explorer that is better than Firefox or Safari is that it allows you to surf porn in private? I can’t see that making people switch, but hey I could way off base here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

SharePoint Guide – July release

I’ve just finished uploading the July release of the Windows SharePoint Operations Guide for subscribers. In this month’s update you’ll find:


- A free SharePoint log viewer that makes troubleshooting SharePoint easier.

- How to configure cross site lookups.

- How to customize Team Discussions to suit any need

- plus more


All subscribers will also receive the source file to my recently uploaded Getting started with Companyweb document so they can customize it to suit their own business. I plan to make more of these documents available over the coming months so if you have any suggestions of what you would like to see please don’t hesitate to contact me.


If you are interested in becoming a subscriber go to www.wssops.com or contact me directly (director@ciaops.com).