Friday, June 27, 2008

Microsoft Certified Master: SharePoint Server 2007

The Microsoft Certified Master program has just launched. For now it only includes the following tracks:

But Per promises the Microsoft Certified Master: SharePoint Server 2007 track will be available soon! Be aware though, this is not for the faint-hearted:

"The prices for the programs are $18,500USD which includes 3 weeks of training, and the first attempts at each of the four required tests: 3 'written' tests and one lab based exam. Retakes cost $250 per written test, and $1,500 for the lab exam, and you are only allowed a maximum of three attempts per test. We know this isn’t exactly pocket change, but based on customer feedback from the Ranger program, we are confident that it is a good value to those of you who will go through the program. We recognize that the cost may be a barrier to entry to some people who could otherwise make the grade—but that is something we will have to live with in the short term; getting top notch subject matter experts in one place for three weeks, the hardware, etc. just don’t come cheap."

There does not seem to be a Developer-specific track yet. Not even an 'it-isn't-here-yet-but-will-be-soon'-track! All tracks look more or less Infrastructure-based and there is only a vague promise of a Dev MCM. Stay tuned...

Off topic: I learned of the Master Program being created at Microsoft about four months ago. I didn't want to disclose its existence before going live. Hey, you never know what those pesky NDA's can do now can you?

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sysinternals tools on Live!

You can now use the Sysinternals tools directly from the Microsoft site or even use a drive mapping to the tools directory: \\\tools\. No longer will you have to search for the latest version of the tool, download each tool individually...

See link.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sharepoint Templates - Types

Aravindhan has compiled a list of Templates:

Template Name



 Global template (1033)


 Team Site (1033)


 Blank Site (1033)


 Document Workspace (1033)


 Basic Meeting Workspace (1033)


 Blank Meeting Workspace (1033)


 Decision Meeting Workspace (1033)


 Social Meeting Workspace (1033)


 Multipage Meeting Workspace (1033)


 Central Admin Site (1033)


 Wiki Site (1033)


 Blog (1033)


 Document Center (1033)


 Records Center (1033)


 Records Center (1033)


 Shared Services Administration Site (1033)


 SharePoint Portal Server Site (1033)


 SharePoint Portal Server Personal Space (1033)


 Personalization Site (1033)


 Contents area Template (1033)


 Topic area template (1033)


 News Site (1033)


 Publishing Site (1033)


 Publishing Site (1033)


 Press Releases Site (1033)


 Publishing Site with Workflow (1033)


 News Site (1033)


 Site Directory (1033)


 Community area template (1033)


 Report Center (1033)


 Collaboration Portal (1033)


 Search Center with Tabs (1033)


 Profiles (1033)


 Publishing Portal (1033)


 My Site Host (1033)


 Search Center (1033)


 Search Center (1033)


 SharePoint Portal Server BucketWeb Template (1033)

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Quickly installing MOSS 2007 on Windows Server 2008

You can slipstream SP1 yourself, but it turns out there's an easier way.  First, install the trial version of MOSS 2007 with SP1 (32 bit or 64 bit).  After you install the trial version, upgrade from the trial version.

  1. In Central Administration, on the top link bar, click Operations.
  2. On the Operations page, in the Upgrade and Migration section, click Convert license type.
  3. On the Convert License Type page, in the Enter the Product Key box, type the new product key.

Thanks to Kirk Allen Evans for the tip!

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Friday, May 16, 2008

TED: Secrets of success in 8 words, 3 minutes

Richard St. John has a nice little talk featured on TED where he talks about the secrets of success. He interviewed several members of TED and came up with the following list of features:

  1. Passion, love for what you do
  2. Work hard and have fun
  3. Practice
  4. Focus
  5. Push Yourself
  6. Serve
  7. Ideas
  8. Persistence, through C.R.A.P.

Crap stands for Criticism, Rejection, Assholes and Pressure.

Never knew they could say words like that and publish them.

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Missing Microsoft Robotics Development Studio Templates in Visual Studio 2008

After I installed Visual Studio Team System 2008 and the April CTP of the Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio, the Robotics project templates were missing from the Visual Studio 2008 project templates list.

After a bit of digging around I finally solved the issue. These are the steps I took to resolve it:

  1. Exit Visual Studio 2008.
  2. Go to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\Common7\IDE\ProjectTemplates\CSharp and create a folder called 'robotics'.
  3. In the folder 'robotics', create another folder named '1033'.
  4. Go to C:\Documents and Settings\<USERNAME>\Microsoft Robotics Dev Studio 2008\tools\Templates\CSharp and copy the three zipfiles, and to the folder '1033' you've just created.
  5. Start Visual Studio 2008 and take a look to see if the three project templates are listed under 'robotics'.
  6. If not, exit Visual Studio 2008, open the Visual Studio 2008 Command Prompt and execute the following: devenv.exe /setup.

Hopefully this helps someone.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It's Always Your Fault

Jeff Atwood has a great article, called: The First Rule of Programming: It's Always Your Fault.

An excerpt: "You know the feeling. It's happened to all of us at some point: you've pored over the code a dozen times and still can't find a problem with it. But there's some bug or error you can't seem to get rid of. There just has to be something wrong with the machine you're coding on, with the operating system you're running under, with the tools and libraries you're using. There just has to be!"

It is far more likely that something you built is causing the error than, say, the OS, hardware or Network: "of total errors reported, roughly 95% are caused by programmers"

I can't count the number of times I had to deal with resistance to take ownership or cooperate. No, it wasn't the codebase, there has to be something wrong with the system or the network. Even when faced with cold, hard data to prove otherwise. Or, the other way around: no, our network and systems are sized just fine, the application is causing all the issues! They are at fault, not us.

The way I usually deal with these kind of issues is to get everybody together in one room and break down the boundary. This is an issue we have to solve together. After all, what are we really talking about here? This is not about who's at fault here, this is not about personal abilities. This is about a technical issue. Heck, it might even be because of some weird interaction between the network configuration and the code for all we know. Who knows? Hmm... couldn't that be the case?

Once the defenses are down, people are focusing on the issue and willing to work together to solve it, we can really get down to business. And call for pizza of course!

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Teaching with an Edge

"MIT professor and Web star Walter Lewin swings from pendulums and faces down wrecking balls to show students the zany beauty of science.

"It took me a decade to come to the realization," says Lewin at his MIT office, "that really what counts is not what you cover, but what counts is what you uncover."

"You have to challenge [students]. You have to be a little fun. I could make them sit on the edge of their seats, I could make them wet their pants." — Walter Lewin

People of the Web - High Wire Act - with video.

I still have vivid memories of one of my professors at Leiden University. His class in Physical Chemistry took us on an engaging journey from the most primitive laws of Physics to the modern day laws. And it was the way he led this journey: not with a dry summary of dates and figures, but by asking simple but provoking questions which would lead us eventually to the next law. Wow. Seeing all these laws being linked together on the canvas of history was quite a revelation!

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Hidden list named "User Information List"

"In case if you don't know there is a hidden list named "User Information List" which displays all the users of the site (collection) {MOSS / Sharepoint 2007}. And there is a page "Simple.aspx"  which show this list, the URL for the page would be http://YOURSITENAME/_catalogs/users/simple.aspx."

Gregory S. MacBeth : User Profiles

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What can we learn about usability…


It’s Just a Bunch of Stuff That Happens


Friday, March 14, 2008

SharePoint Skills Advisor Tool

"If you [are] interested in ramping up on SharePoint, the Product Group has developed a very slick tool that will point you to all currently available training on SharePoint, whether it be Instructor Led, Hands on Lab, Online Course, Reading, etc..."

I downloaded the Access database and it looks like a very nice tool indeed!

How many times have you been searching though all the available sources for that particular piece of information? If so, this might come in handy. Thanks Sean.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Second TFS Hosting Provider on the market

Looks like there is now a second Team Foundation Server hosting provider on the market. If you need a hosted TFS solution, head over to TeamDevCentral or TFS Now! and give them a ping.

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Error 1704

During deployment of a Team Foundation Server Policy I was greeted by the following error:

"Installation for Microsoft .NET Framework Service Pack 1 is currently suspended. You must undo the changes by that installation to continue. Do you want to undo those changes?"

While troubleshooting I found a utility provided by Chris Millard, called the Error 1704 Cleanup Utility. The utility removes any registry entries that cause the error. "Sometimes, when you try to (un)install a program packaged with Windows Installer, the routine fails. It leaves behind registry entries that give an Error 1704 - preventing further (un)installs of Windows Installer packaged programs."

The utility solved the problem nicely and I was able to install the policy. Good work Chris!

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Bringing down an ASP.NET Application for updates

ASP.NET Debugging : Bringing down an ASP.NET Application for updates

"One of the really useful, and not well-known features of ASP.NET 2.0 is that you can use a special file to take your application down and show users a friendly message while you update the site... Just place a file called "app_offline.htm" in the root of your application.  The html of this file is what will get displayed to any users that attempt to browse to the site.  When you are done making changes, simply delete this file and the site will start back up normally."

A little gem and nice to know. The article also includes a link to the Top 10 Best Practices for Production ASP.NET Applications, which also includes the app_offline.htm tip, as well as other tips like generating new encryption keys.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Explaining Windows Live ID usage in Web Applications

"A High Level explanation of how Windows Live ID works. If you are using a web application that uses Windows Live, such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live, you might be wondering, how does authentication work." Jon White of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live team gives a high level overview of Windows Live ID in applications.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live : Explaining Windows Live ID usage in Web Applications


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Microsoft Web Deployment Tool - Tech Preview


Microsoft has created the Microsoft Web Deployment Tool, which provides deployment and migration support for Internet Information Services versions 6.0 and 7.0. This tool incorporates many features that enable web server administrators to deploy, sync and migrate sites, including configuration, content, SSL certificates and other types of data associated with a Web server. This tool can be used on Windows Server 2008 and Internet Information Services 7.0 as well as Windows Server 2003 and Internet Information Services 6.0.


Sounds like a great tool! I haven't tried it out myself, but it looks quite interesting.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

5 Whys

"The five whys is a question asking method used to explore the cause/effect relationships underlying a particular problem. Ultimately, the goal of applying the 5 Whys method is to determine a root cause of a defect or problem." (5 Whys - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

This looks like a very succinct way to get to the bottom of the issue. I'll try it out and see how it works.

For those interested in project management, effectiveness and software engineering, take a look at the weblog of J.D. Meier of the Patterns and Practices group from Microsoft. He deals with subjects like Leadership Styles, asking Solution-Focused Questions and Working Memory vs. Routine Activity.

Highly recommended reading!


Thursday, January 10, 2008

NewsGator’s RSS clients are now free! - Greg Reinacker’s Weblog - Musings on just about everything.

Great decision guys!

NewsGator’s RSS clients are now free! - Greg Reinacker’s Weblog - Musings on just about everything.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Package This

If you find yourself in the situation that you need offline access to the MSDN and/or TechNet Library, and the MSDN Library cd's are not an option, take a look at Package This. This is a neat little tool which connects to the Library API and lets you specify which articles you need to download from the library of your choosing. After downloading you can export the whole package to a Microsoft Helpfile (*.chm/*.hxs) to take with you on the road.

There is also a pleasant personal experience attached to the tool. The first version of the tool could only be used with the MSDN Library. As I'm using both, I wondered if it could connect to the TechNet Library as well. So I left a comment on Codeplex asking if this would be possible. And within a day I got a reply from Larry Jordan from Microsoft:

Hi there,

I spoke with Erik and he said...
Right now it's a change to two lines of code to use TechNet instead of MSDN. But it would be better to have a menu item to choose between the two libraries and save that preference.
I'll see if I can get it up there today.
So we will post it to the codeplex project on how to do it. TechNet and MSDN libraries are build on the same infrastructure.


And only a few days later, version 1.1 came out which added support for the TechNet Library...

That was so cool! Thanks guys.


Boosting your VM Server

If you've ever worked with Virtual Machines (VM) hosted on a VM Server, you might have come across the following situation where the VM itself has not been used for some time and is running very low on resources allocated to the VM. This is noticeable from the initial sluggishness of the VM, while it is getting more CPU cycles and Memory allocated from the VM Server. This process repeats itself until the VM isn't running out of resources anymore, or if the limits imposed on it are reached. I've witnessed some occasions where the server would initially cause timeouts or other MOSS errors because it wasn't running on full throttle yet.

You can use several tricks to get more resources from the VM Server before you start working on the VM:

  1. Open a Remote Desktop session to the VM.
    While building the desktop session, the VM needs more resources. This will boost the resource allocation from 4 MHz CPU cycles and 20 MB Memory used to, say, 400 MHz CPU and 500 MB allocated memory, which is not bad.
  2. A reboot of the VM.
    This will get you even more resources. Needless to say, this can only be used on VM's which aren't serving customers.
  3. 100.000!
    If you're working with a Remote Desktop session, you can also just start Calculator, switch to Scientific Mode (View > Scientific) and let the VM calculate the factorial of 100.000 (or 100,000 if you're from the US). Depending on the VM and VM Server, this will take under a minute, during which the CPU Usage will be 100%. This causes the VM Server to allocate more CPU cycles to the VM, although the memory usage won't be as high as the first two tricks.

You can use all kinds of actions besides these tricks to get more resources, but these will do the trick every time.

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