Posted tagged ‘Toronto SharePoint User Group’

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 ( and 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:

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 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,

Toronto SharePoint Camp Review (5 Stars)

January 26, 2009

What a fun weekend. Saturday’s SharePoint Camp was wonderful. I can’t describe how exciting it is to see such knowledgable and friendly speakers talk about different ways of using SharePoint better.

I was lucky enough to attend a few sessions which were just terrific. Here’s my day more or less at SharePoint Camp 2009.

I arrived in the ridiculously cold morning (seriously my face pretty much froze off in my short walk from the car to the building) and was met in the lobby area by very friendly people. Graham Marko (from the Metro Toronto .Net User Group) helped me feel welcome and later in between sessions told me all about the other usergroups in the GTA area. Thank you Graham! For those of you wondering these are the ones that were on the back of a nice little business card that was available at the conference.

  1. Metro Toronto .NET (Downtown) –
  2. Toronto Visual Basic (North York) –
  3. Toronto.NET (Mississauga) –
  4. East of Toronto.NET (Whitby) –
  5. Canada’s Technology Triangle (Kitchener) –
  6. North of Toronto.NET (Barrie) –
  7. Toronto SharePoint (Downtown) –
  8. Toronto XNA Developer –
  9. Toronto BizTalk –
  10. Toronto SQL Server –
  11. IT Professionals Community (GTA) –
  12. Waterloo-Wellington IT Pro (Waterloo) –

Next I excitedly sat down and listened to a very happy and energetic Eli Robillard discuss the day, and all the exciting things that were packed into it and awaiting hundreds of us. There were quite a few presentations going on that day, but I had to choose to see only a few. It was a difficult choice but I was very pleased and satisfied by each of the sessions I went to.

Ruven Gotz did a terrific presentation on Mind-Mapping and how to do it with relatively low cost tools in an effective manner. It was extremely interesting and I highly recommend reading about it on his blog: or asking him about it sometime. I can’t imagine how much time I will no doubt begin to save using the ideas and software he has outlined in his session. Thank you Ruven! 🙂

Reza Alirezaei did a great presentation on SQL Reporting Services 2008 Integration with SharePoint that taught me a ton about how to configure and troubleshoot SQL Reporting and SharePoint. He also made me laugh a few times and continued to provide the friendly energy that seemed to be all over the Conference. It was just terrific. If your interested in learning more I highly recommend his blog ( which is jam packed with all sorts of terrific information. You can see him at Techdays as well if your traveling and interested.

During lunch and throughout the entire day I continued to meet intelligent and interesting individuals who had a passion for technology. As a group we all got to ask many questions to the MVPs and presenters of the day, and even got to select a topic for one of the presentations at the end of the day. This was a great idea, and makes me wonder if leaving a small time slot open at the end of that day for everyone to vote on and attend might be a good idea to always do at any camp/conference. Just a thought.

Nadeem Mitha did a phenomenal job of talking about MOSS Search, and powerful ways to improve it from it’s default out of the box configuration to something that provides users with a much richer and more effective experience. He even did another talk at the end of the day (the one we voted on) which he is presenting again soon (More here: I even learned something I didn’t know about a “u” parameter that can be used with search! (Scope without scopes :)) Faceted Search can be found and downloaded here:

Jim Schwartz and Boyan Tsolov showed how they have managed to stretch InfoPath and SharePoint beyond the typical limits. I cannot describe how exciting it was to see Jim and Boyan actually reproduce many of the methods they used to implement a highly successful InfoPath project in front of us all, with full explanations and helpful suggestions. You can find the material here: and I highly recommend giving it a review. If everyone at imason is as friendly and intelligent as these two guys then I expect to see them be pretty darned successful and am rather envious.

I couldn’t let the entire day be about me. So I attended Tim Knechtel‘s presentation on K2’s BlackPoint software to see if it could be applied to some automation we are working on at my work ( Wowzers. I have seen quite a bit on Nintex Workflow, and have been very pleased with what I have seen, but am pretty impressed by what I saw from K2 on Saturday as well. It will be a difficult and exciting choice determining what workflow solution we might go with in the future. Great informative presentation Tim!

Then came the bajillion prizes from the wonderful sponsors of our SharePoint camp day and more fun discussions with great people.

If you didn’t go this year, then go next year and go to some of the user group meetings near you. I know I will be doing that a heck of a lot more now. What a great weekend, and great SharePoint and .NET community we have in the GTA. I hope all you other people who aren’t near by are envious, because we have some amazing talent and friendly people here.

Oh and keep in mind that the content from the SharePoint Camp has been uploaded in the SharePoint Camp’s site here: (If you don’t see something it will be uploaded soon. Several Session Presenters have already uploaded their content.) I know I will be reviewing all the wonderful sessions I didn’t get the chance to see on Saturday.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend,
Richard Harbridge