Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Inside Out

Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 Inside Out by Errin O’Connor
My rating:
4 of 5 stars

A pretty good book on SharePoint Foundation 2010 overall. What distinguishes this book from others is that it deals with some more advanced topics that you normally don’t find in other SharePoint books. These advanced topics include SharePoint Designer and development with Visual Studio.

Have these advanced topics probably makes the book less appealing to those new to SharePoint but is worthwhile for those looking to improve their experience with SharePoint beyond the basics. The books contains plenty of examples and is easy to read. It is also focused specifically on SharePoint Foundation 2010 which makes it different from most generic SharePoint books you find.

All in all a worthwhile read but perhaps more so for that person with an existing exposure to SharePoint who is looking to extend not only the capabilities of SharePoint but also their own experience with the product.
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Office 365 keeps getting better

One of the big advantages I have always seen with Office 365 (or any online service for that fact) is its ability to improve quickly over time. Having the servers in a hosted data centre makes it much quicker and easier to roll out new and updated features over anything that is installed on site.

Here is a list of a few improvements that have been made recently that you may not be aware of:

Maximum number of email recipients has been increased for the P Plan

Previously, those on a P Plan were restricted to only sending to 500 recipients a day via email. This has now been increased, as of the end of December, to 1500 which is the same as for those on the Enterprise plans. Some may still complain that this is unacceptable, even though it is probably more than enough, I reckon this number will be increased further down the track.

Lync online web scheduler now available

On of the frustrating things I found when organizing meetings was that it could only be done via Outlook and only be done by logging into Outlook as a valid Office 365 user. I longed for the old Live meeting days when you could schedule a meeting directly via a web site. Well now you can with Lync after Microsoft announced the availability of the Lync online web scheduler. To organize a meeting now all you need to do is visit

Health dashboard supports per tenant status

When Office 365 had services issues you could examine the health dashboard to see what was going on. The only problem with that was that the health dashboard was regional. This meant that it only told if something was an issue in the Office 365 region. I did have cases where issues were exhibited with clients and it didn’t shown on the dashboard which was frustrating. However, according to this blog post that has now changed so that the dashboard shows the health information of the specific tenant that it is launched from.

The K plans have been improved

As this post outlines the K Plans (diskless worker) have been improved. This means that K Plans now have a storage limit of 1GB (used to be only 500MB). They now also support activesync, meaning devices like smart phones can be utilized. Also importantly, the ability to apply legal hold and unlimited mailbox storage can be added as an add on to these mailboxes. This greatly improves the flexibility of the K Plans and means that they are more likely to be adopted with an organization since they are so cheap and probably all that most users need.

Office 365 trust center has been updated

If you aren’t already aware you’ll find that Microsoft has created a site dedicated to answering question around the security and privacy of Office 365. You’ll find it at and is worth remembering so you can refer customers to it who may have concerns about how Microsoft manages and secures their information.

So just a few updates recent from Microsoft on Office 365 but it impressive to see these continue to roll out and improve the product. I expect we’ll see a whole range more in the very near future.


SharePoint workshop

SharePoint – Beyond the Basics




To really make the most of SharePoint you need to take it beyond the basics. This means connecting data, creating and utilizing metadata, customizing the look and feel of sites, add web parts and implement workflows. This course will show you how to do all that plus work effectively with products like SharePoint Workspace and designer to take any SharePoint installation from default to a true productivity and communications hub.


The aim of this hands on course is to provide you with the technical ability to work with SharePoint at an intermediate to advanced level as well as understand the tools that are required to craft advanced SharePoint solutions.


Venue: North Ryde RSL Club, 33 Magdala Rd, North Ryde, NSW 2113


Date: Wednesday 22nd of February 2012, from 8.30am – 5.30pm


More details and registration at –

The difference between P and E

One of the most common questions customers ask about Office 365 is the difference between the P (Small Business and Professional) and the E (Enterprise licenses). Hopefully, this will help.


1. P Plans cannot be upgraded to E Plans


Probably the most important thing to consider when selecting between P and E Plans. Once you move onto a P Plan the only way to change to another plan is to migrate the data out, cancel the P plan, buy a new plan and migrate the data back.


2. P Plans do not support advanced Exchange features


The P Plan does not support the following advanced Exchange features:


– Unlimited inboxes

– Legal hold


3. P Plans are aimed at no more than 25 users


The absolute maximum limit for P Plans is 50 users but it is recommended that they don’t exceed 25 users.


4. Plans do not support all the advanced SharePoint features


P Plans do support the following advanced SharePoint features:


– Office Web Apps read/write

– Access Services (for databases in the cloud)


P Plans do not support the following advanced SharePoint features:


– Form services

– Visio Services

– Excel services

– Encrypted traffic for SharePoint (i.e. all sites are http:// not https://)

– Multiple intranet sites (they have a single site collection only).

– Addition of extra space for SharePoint sites. P Plans only have 10GB to start with + 500MB per user max.

– My site

– Unlimited external (non-Office 365 users). P Plan is limited to 50.


5. P Plans do not support identity synchronization


P Plans do not provide the ability to link your local user list (Active Directory) to Office 365. Thus, with P Plans you will always have two distinct sets of users, on premises and one in Office 365 that both require maintenance. This typically means with P Plans you need to main 2 sets of user logins and passwords.


6. P Plans require DNS moved to Office365


DNS is basically a record of where information about Internet servers are located (i.e. web servers, email servers). By default, the P Plans require that these records be moved to and managed by Office 365.


7. P Plans only have community support (outside Australia)


For regions outside Australia P plans have not support apart form that found on the Internet. In Australia however P Plans are supported by Telstra via phone 24/7.


8. P Plans do not allow the management of mail security


Exchange Online as part of Office 365 is protected by Microsoft Forefront Protection for Exchange (FOPE). P Plans do not permit the administration or customization of this. Thus, with P Plans you are unable to set custom email white and black lists, block IP, etc.


9. P Plans have lower email receipt limits – limits removed Feb 2012. see –


P Plans have a reduced amount of email that can be sent per day per user. Limits can be found at:

with P Plans the limit is basically 500 1500* mail recipients per day. Now *1500 as of the end of December 2011.


10. P plans are limited to 50 online meeting participants


P Plans have access the Lync client software but are limited to having only 50 participants maximum attend any meeting. Thus, if you are planning to do webcasts to large audience 50 will be the limit with a P Plan.


Hope that makes things a little cleare.

Additional Security settings in Office 365

Exchange Online in Office 365 is protected by Forefront Online Protection for Exchange [FOPE] (at no extra charge mind you). In BPOS you could look at the FOPE console but couldn’t make any changes. Not the case in Office 365, where you have much more control.


To access the FOPE console login to your Office 365 console as an administrator. Select the option to Manage Exchange.


From the menu on the left hand side select Mail Control and you should see a screen similar to:




On the right hand side you will notice the following under Additional Security Settings.




You can actually click this and when you do it will open up the FOPE control panel like so:




Be very careful what you change here as you really need to know what you are doing. Selecting the wrong option can block mail for your Office 365 organization.


Apart from the configuration settings you will find some handy features like email reports. Which are pretty sweet as you can see:




FOPE is an excellent part of Office 365 that probably doesn’t get the acknowledgement it should as part of the offering. So if you are using Exchange Online with Office 365 take a look at what FOPE can provide.


The other advice I would give you when it comes to FOPE is that it REALLY works best when viewed through Internet Explorer and also without an lingering Windows Live ID around. So if you want to access FOPE, open a new Internet Explorer windows, login to the Office 365 console as an administrator and go from there.

Podcast Episode 20 with Brett Hill

Been too long since my last podcast but I have managed to produce another one for your listening pleasure.


In this episode you’ll hear from Microsoft MVP Brett Hill all about Office 365 and what it has to offer for both customers and resellers. You’ll get a good idea of the product as well as some of the challenges cloud computing faces in general along with Brett’s tips and tricks for a better implementation.


You’ll find the episode at:


with information about Brett at


All the previous episode are available at so take a look.


Remember, I’m always looking for guests. So if you have something you’d like to discuss please contact me ( Alternatively, if there is someone or something that you would like to hear please also let me know and I’ll try and arrange it.

Awarded Microsoft MVP

I awoke today to an email from Microsoft informing me that I had been awarded a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for Office 365 in 2012.



You’ll find out more Microsoft MVPs at


It is a great honour to given such a unique award and I hope that I can live up to the example of many other fabulous MVPs whom I know. I look forward to working more closely with Microsoft and helping improve their products for all users and spreading the word about what these products can do for resellers and end users.


Again, I say what an honour it is and very welcome start to 2012.

I’m looking for podcast guest

One of the things that I really enjoyed doing last year and has unfortunately dropped away has been my podcast. You can find previous episodes at:


Just to set the record straight, it hasn’t been through lack of trying that there hasn’t been a podcast for a while. I can tell you that I have asked a whole lot of people and nobody wants to come on. What the hell? They all can’t have stage fright, surely? I am I really that ugly that it comes through on a podcast?


I make the process pretty easy. We pre-record it over Skype at a time that suits you. We talk about a topic you nominate and you can even bring on additional guest if you want. If you have any doubts how easy it is just have a listen to a few previous episodes and ask a few of those guests. I can assure you they all went onto greater fame and fortune. Honestly.


As I said, if you have an interesting topic that you’d like to share then I’m all ears as I am sure many others are out there. So please don’t be shy, I’ll make it as easy as I can for you, all you have to say is that you are willing to give it a go.


Email me at if you are interested.


Bueller? Bueller?