Archive for the ‘Free Stuff’ category

SharePoint Camp in Toronto on March 20th

March 11, 2010

If you live in the Toronto area and like learning, technology, SharePoint, or wonderful people you NEED to come to SharePoint camp on March 20th.

http://www.torontosharepointcamp.com/Pages/Default.aspx

Go ahead, register at the link above. I’ll wait here patiently.

I attended it last year and gave the event a 5 star review: http://sharepointkb.wordpress.com/2009/01/26/toronto-sharepoint-camp-review-5-stars/

For me personally this was really my first ‘community conference’ and is what got me interested and involved with the SharePoint community. Up until this time I had been answering questions on the forums, blogging tidbits, attended the odd user group session, and was working away on my own (with contact with various experts) but had never really embraced the community. Seeing that there were so many other passionate people out there with their own experiences, skills, and opinions really had a powerful impact on me both professionally and personally.

  1. I wanted to hear the challenges other SharePoint professionals had experienced and how they overcame them.
  2. Technology is one thing, but I loved that topics on things like mind mapping introduced me to new ways of working and thinking I had not used before.
  3. Meeting people became a passion of mine. I was always reserved and fairly quiet at Conferences, but knowing this was a community event, and that I wasn’t representing my company or their interests, and instead was representing my own allowed me to connect and meet with people in a very different way. I have found this to be far more enjoyable, beneficial, and powerful than ‘corporate’, or even pay conference/events personally.
  4. It made me want to share many of the experiences and things that I had learned with everyone else. I had presented at internal conferences, or other industry events, but never in a free, personal, and community driven environment. Seeing the great presenters, activity, and energy at the event it was hard to contain my excitement at becoming a part of it.
  5. I brought up the idea of a Mississauga SharePoint User Group at the event and found that other people were also interested (or had similar thoughts). We all went away and now a bit over a year later we have a Mississauga SharePoint User Group that allows us to see/share/and learn more without that difficult Toronto commute.

Trying to explain how much the community and people I have met have enriched my career and my personal life is very difficult. I just thought I would share a little bit with you and really hope to see many of you out there on the 20th. Even if you aren’t interested in SharePoint :)

Take care,
Richard Harbridge

SPC09 and The Mississauga SharePoint User Group

October 27, 2009

Well the SharePoint Conference 2009 in Las Vegas is over. I will be watching the many recorded sessions I didn’t get to see (which was quite a few of them) and really enjoyed the opportunity of talking with so many familiar faces in the SharePoint community as well as a bunch of ones I had not met before. I even got to be on camera a couple times thanks to Dux’s great “what would you do if SharePoint never existed” videos (http://duxquax.com/what-rharbridge-would-do-if-sharepoint-never and http://duxquax.com/what-wonderlaura-would-do-if-sharepoint-never) and photo happy SharePointers.

I also have to admit that this was the first large conference where I relied on twitter for my updates and direction and it didn’t fail me once. Knowing where everyone was, what they were up to, their opinions on content, as well as reading some of the live blogs really made the entire conference experience much more enjoyable and engaging for me personally.

On Live Blogging

Among many others I did some live blogging with EndUserSharePoint to help share the experience and if your interested I can be found in group two here: http://www.endusersharepoint.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/SPC09-AllStreams.htm

Some simple lessons learned on live blogging:

  1. Get to the session early so you can score an electrical outlet. There aren’t many of these and they go pretty fast.
  2. It’s probably easier to record everything and add thoughts to points after the session is over than it is to articulate those thoughts while still maintaining concentration on the presentation.
  3. Don’t transcribe everything. Just grab the important points (if everything seems important only the most important or the points that stand out to you personally).

Do you have any thoughts on how I can improve?

I was a little sad that all the sessions I have seen so far were so high level, but considering 2010 was new to almost everyone there it did make sense. For me personally my favorite parts were the discussion group sessions (especially the social computing one) with the Microsoft teams as well as the IT Analyst session where I got an opportunity to talk a bit more in depth with Tom Rizzo and many industry analysts about SharePoint, the economy, partnerships, and Microsoft’s direction.

Be sure to check out things like Joel’s thoughts on the conference/2010, the videos at http://www.mssharepointconference.com and the many blogs that covered the event and are now talking about SharePoint 2010 features and changes.

User Groups and SharePoint Camp!

Upon returning to a much colder Canadian climate I could see the excitement was still very much alive. In fact just last night (Monday October 26th) the Mississauga SharePoint User Group had it’s first meeting at Microsoft! A huge congratulations to Ray Outair for his passion in getting this going as well as Eli, Bill and everyone else who has supported this and came out to the first meeting. For me personally this is really important as it offers many people who are unable to get downtown Toronto for the Toronto SharePoint User Group sessions a chance to still talk, share, and support one another.

As a reminder there will be another SharePoint 2010 session hosted by the Toronto SharePoint User Group this wednesday (October 28, 2009) which will also be shared via live meeting. I will post the linkage onto twitter as soon as the live meeting address is confirmed.

Here is the session abstract:

Presented by Savash Alic (Microsoft Canada) Principal Specialist, Ent Sales – SharePoint (MOSS, WSS, MCDBA, MCSE certified, MBA)

Join TSPUG for a special meeting on the last Wednesday of October where Microsoft’s Savash Alic will present Canada’s first look at SharePoint Server 2010. Savash is a SharePoint loyalist who is dedicated to the product since its’ very early days in 2001 implementing solutions.  He has been selling SharePoint in a technical capacity for the last 4 years at Microsoft Canada however he is a technologist at heart who started his professional career in ’94 and worked at several Microsoft Gold Partners delivering and managing projects.

Don’t forget that SharePoint Camp is coming early next year as well at the end of January or start of February (which is a free and incredible SharePoint mini conference) so the SharePoint community should be very exciting for the next while.

See you around the SharePoint community,
Richard

Get the Productivity Hub for SharePoint

September 16, 2009

So over the past while I have been raving about how happy Microsoft has made me with their announcement for continued support/updates to the productivity hub. Well I realized I hadn’t even mentioned it on my blog here.

So now I am.

This is a bit of old news, but in case you haven’t heard about it…

The Productivity Hub is a Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 site collection that offers training materials for end-users. It has blogs, discussion groups, a coach ‘program’ (listing of coaches you can define and extend), change management (to reduce load on IT staff) and tons of great starting content for a powerful SharePoint and Office help center.

Download it here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=277fefca-d62f-41bc-943d-79002254cfee&displaylang=en

Why is this so good?

  1. The obvious one is that this reduces cost and overhead related to training. It acts as a tool for training departments and IT.
  2. Not just one way to learn. Since the content can be video, documents, coached training, forums, blogs and more it means you have many learning paths available for individuals.
  3. Drives adoption. The coach concept and if you properly highlight the productivity hub with featured material, or roll up a tip/trick each week on your intranet homepage with a reference to the productivity hub you can begin to imagine how it can help improve shared understanding and overall user adoption of SharePoint.
  4. The content updates for the hub (more released on a schedule like this: Aug 2009, November 2009, February 2010, May 2010 etc) will add more and more great documents, videos and help for end users without you having to do any discovery on your own. You simple download and run the content updates. You can review the content each time to ensure it falls in line with your solution, customizations, and objectives but it can save you tons of time.
  5. It provides a framework/starting point for a great knowledge sharing/community solution. If you have never played with/experimented with PKS, or built knowledge sharing areas this is a good example of some important features/techniques. There is a built in feature listing/functionality where certain material can be featured. It has a rating system to help ensure the community moderates and promotes the best content, it runs in SharePoint so you can control and customize the permissions to your hearts content, and so on and so forth.

Ian over at at wssdemo.com has done a wonderful thing and installed/made this available here: http://templates.wssdemo.com/sites/productivity/Pages/Default.aspx

Brief note here for Administrators: It is intensive on the SQL side on install so make sure to do this in off hours or plan accordingly.

I was a bit excited in writing this, but I really am excited and hope you are as well,
Richard Harbridge

P.S – As a social media aside: http://www.slideshare.net/sachac/smarter-work-why-social-networks-matter is a slide show on “Smarter Work and Why Social Networks Matter” from Sacha that is a fantastic, short, and simple explanation of why things like this matter. In our case this is a community building toolset (productivity hub) and will help boost adoption. :)

SharePoint Saturday Success

July 13, 2009

My presentation/session was called SharePoint Success and that is exactly what SharePoint Saturday in Toronto was. From all the incredible people I spoke with at the event it seemed like everyone learned new things and made some great new friends.

I want to make a special thank you to my fellow speakers for making me feel extremely welcomed and for providing some really great discussions throughout the event, feedback after, and for joining me for a delightful SharePint (twice! :P). Here are some pictures: http://picasaweb.google.ca/ruveng/20090712SharePointSaturdayToronto?authkey=Gv1sRgCNGiyoaDhuuVFg&feat=directlink# as well as a short video: http://video.msn.com/video.aspx/?mkt=en-us&vid=bef78262-0bba-4fbe-beba-ce9c2f5ad02c&wa=wsignin1.0.

My Presentation:

For my presentation slide deck I have added it to SlideShare here: http://www.slideshare.net/rharbridge/sharepoint-saturday-sharepoint-success - It should also soon be available on the SharePoint Saturday website.

Clarification “The Importance of Having All the Right People in the Room”:

I received quite a few questions at the end of the presentation and quite a few emails that I have been responding to. So thank you for all the wonderful contributions you have made (SharePoint Audience). I wanted to clarify a response to one of  those here:

The question was on whether it was a good idea to get all the developers in the same meeting as everyone else. At the time I responded that you need to be cognisent of who is in a meeting and who needs to be (as it’s costing money for everyone to be in that meeting when they could be doing other things). However I think I might have given the wrong impression. Sometimes it absolutely makes sense to have the developers in meetings when working out requirements and things like that. Especially if it saves time, money, or ensures everyone has a Shared Understanding (my whole point of the presentation pretty much).

I actually use a RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) model that I took out of the slides before presenting because I was afraid I would go over time as well as a slide on meetings in general (related to SharePoint which was under Governance), but basically just think about those four words and use them to help determine who should and shouldn’t be in a meeting. Always ensure you have “All of the right people in the room”.

I hope everyone who went enjoyed themselves and learned something and met someone new, I know I did and I am better for it,
Richard Harbridge

SharePoint Saturday Toronto Schedule!

July 7, 2009

Check it out! The schedule for SharePoint Saturday has been released!

http://www.sharepointsaturday.org/toronto/Public Documents/SharePoint Saturday Toronto Schedule.pdf

Excited yet?

The hardest part will be choosing between such incredible sessions. I know I am going to have some trouble picking anyways.

Speaking of sessions I intend for anyone coming to mine to take away at least 3 new things. This is my challenge to myself. So if I don’t succeed I want you to hold me to it (with a knife if necessary) and I will owe you more new things.

Don’t forget about SharePint at the Drake and Firken after!

Excited,
Richard Harbridge

SharePoint Saturday in Toronto (Speakers and Sessions)

June 29, 2009

http://www.sharepointsaturday.org/toronto/default.aspx

SharePoint Saturday is July 11th in Mississauaga
(This is right beside Toronto in the province of Ontario, in the country of Canada, it also happens to be where I live :)).

If you read this blog, then you are probably someone who will enjoy and learn a TON from the wonderful speakers at SharePoint Saturday. I know I learn new things from many of the speakers on a regular basis. It’s a FREE event. Think about it, these speakers are experts. Many have done talks at things like the best practice conferences. Those are expensive conferences and this one is free. It’s like getting the value of a couple grand, and all you have to do is drive to the Microsoft building in Mississauga. It’s also a great opportunity to network and build your professional skill set as well as personal skill set.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up now!

Register Now

Looking for more information or even more amazing reasons for why you should go and you should bring all your friends? Check out the speakers that are presenting (http://www.sharepointsaturday.org/toronto/Pages/speakers.aspx) and the great sessions (http://www.sharepointsaturday.org/toronto/Pages/meetings.aspx) I am excited to attend quite a few of these sessions.

On a minor note I am also presenting for this event. It will be focused around tips, tricks, and takeways that will make user adoption, maintaining buy in, and governing SharePoint significantly easier. I intend to record the session so people can download it after and hope to release a teaser for what I will cover soon.

I would love to meet with everyone, and welcome everyone to come out to SharePint after the event. We don’t have the details quite yet on where that will be, but let me assure you I am totally up for having some great and in depth conversations after, during and before the event as I am sure there is lots I could learn from you.

Hope to see you there,
Richard Harbridge

SharePoint Designer Free!

April 2, 2009

While this is all over the net I figured I should also post it here. SharePoint Designer which was previously a product that replaced front page is now a completely free downloadable product.

This tool can help ANY user who uses SharePoint to expand their capabilities. From page editing, page layout and master page creation to the implementation of custom workflows this is an excellent tool for business and technical users to use in their SharePoint environment. Keep in mind that extra usage reports are available in designer and a bunch of other ‘tucked away’ features that you can take advantage of.

Even if you don’t have SharePoint this can be helpful for web site design, backups, and other web related content management.

It can be downloaded here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=baa3ad86-bfc1-4bd4-9812-d9e710d44f42

This is a new direction for this product and vNext of SharePoint Designer is also going to be freely available. For those of us who have seen the vNext stuff and played with it, trust me, this is awesome news.

Want to know more?

Want to know more about the licensing changes? Check out this Q&A on it: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepointdesigner/HA103607621033.aspx – This also better explains the MANY reasons why this is great news and how you as a customer can take advantage of this, and how it can benefit you.

There is also a quick video where Tom explains the change: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvvVJamO3nQ

If you are an Administrator

This means you MUST consider locking down SharePoint Designer as soon as possible. With it freely available users can now perform many potentially server intensive tasks such as backing up sites. To understand how to control SharePoint Designer I recommend reading this wonderful post on the SharePoint blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/sharepointdesigner/archive/2008/11/25/locking-down-sharepoint-designer.aspx

If you want some extra training or are new to SPD…

I would recommend installing and running through the SharePoint Designer Training that can be found here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=5B10F061-41D4-48CE-85CB-01D46772240D&displaylang=en

Hope you enjoy, I know I will,
Richard Harbridge


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.