We are Hiring! Come Work with Us!

Shane and I both work at a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner company here in St. John’s, Newfoundland called Infotech.  The company has existed since 1994 and has evolved from a small web development shop to a highly focused SharePoint / .NET application development firm. We also have other arms of our business that focus on Infrastructure and IT resource placements.

We have experienced considerable growth over the past 12 months and are looking for more talented people to come join our team. Right now all of the positions are based in St. John’s, NL so that would require you to be from this area or interested in relocating here. That’s right, while many complain that they must leave the Province and go West to get employment, we have been actually bringing people back East to Newfoundland.

Positions currently open include:

  • Senior Project Manager (7-10+ years experience managing IT Projects)
  • Business Analysts
  • Sales Lead
  • SharePoint Specialists
  • Application Developers (ASP.NET, SharePoint)

If you are interested in coming to work for us and would like to submit a resume, you can do so by either going to our website at www.infotechsolutions.com or by sending an email with your resume attached to careers@infotechsolutions.com.

Windows Live Writer (Beta) – Testing 123

I downloaded and have been trying out the beta for Windows Live Writer.  I have to say it’s pretty neat and I think I will continue to use it for a while.  In fact since I have switched my blog platform to WordPress, I really have not been enjoying the editing experience.  Maybe that is why I haven’t been posting…sorry lame excuse. 

I have also been testing out the blogging capabilities of Word and have to say I like that as well.  Eventually I will pick a favorite and roll with it I guess.  Anyone else have suggestions on good client tools for blogging?  It would probably make sense for me to use an Office app since that is what I have open 90% of the time.

All this beta software…

I have been struggling with maintaining a reasonably stable working environment over the past month and have officially resigned to a dual boot system running WinXP, Office2003, IE6, with absolutely no beta software and Vista, Office 2007, IE7 (obviously) and fun applications like this that I download on a whim. 

I enjoy working in the Beta environment more from a UI and functionality perspective.  But it does have it’s performance set backs when something decides to crash and I have no idea which beta app is causing it.  Originally the non-beta environment was for work and the beta was for home.  However ironically now-a-days we seem to be doing more SharePoint and InfoPath 2007 related work so I find myself switching around a lot.  Good complaint really as I am so uber pumped on the new platform and all its goodness.

OK final comment that I have to share…I just used spellcheck and it works nicely except “SharePoint” was detected as spelled incorrectly and “harpoon” was offered as a suggestion.  InfoPath triggered “Infonaut” as an alternative.  Very interesting!!

Awaken: Digital Alarm Clock Application for Mac

Shane sent me this link this morning of a Tech TV video clip(Quicktime Required) featuring an alarm clock application called “Awaken” that Jerry Brace, a guy on our development team has produced. It’s a sweet little app that runs on Mac. Might even be good enough to convince me to blow the dust off one of our iMacs so that we can use it as a dedicated alarm clock. It would definately beat the evil buzzer that rattles my brain every morning.

Thanks Julie!

Wow! Last week I had the strange experience of blushing while reading a post on one of my fave blogs. Julie Lerman said that I was her nomination for a Team99 candidate. Team99 is an initiative being set up by Robert’s team for Longhorn. Again let me say WOW. Coming from someone as active in the community as Julie is – I was extremely touched.

So this is the point where I am supposed to act cool and say something to the effect of “Pfft as if I’d agree to do something like that” or perhaps “I MIGHT consider doing it against my own will…but only because I want to prove yadda yadda”. Yep I suppose that would be the cool way to respond…

Well this is where the real me comes out. Frankly I have no problem admitting that I would absolutely love to be selected for such a group. Why? Well there are 100 reasons but they all essentially come back to the fact that I have passion for the technology. I choose to evangelize Microsoft products because I believe in them. But the fact that I am passionate also means that I want more and I won’t ever settle for status quo.

I want better features and improved usability in all the tools I use. I want to eliminate ineffective processes and the duplication of efforts throughout organizations. I want people to focus on what they are good at doing and simply use the tools in a manner that is as natural as breathing. Believe me I have a list of SharePoint features I want to see in the next versions a mile long. Same with Windows…same with Xbox (not far now woot) and so on.

Having passion for a particular technology does not mean that you are blind to ways it needs to improve. It just means that you share the vision. You can see what the potential really is and you are happy to help others see it as well.

Just call me a Natural Born Evangelist. :)

SharePointFav

If you are like me then you probably spend a lot of time researching and reading about topics on the Internet. As a result, you often find yourself stumbling across great sites that represent your topic well and therefore you either want to save the link for later reference or share it with others.

Now if every site had content that was retrievable via an RSS feed, your next step would be clear. You would simply subscribe to the feed using an app like Newsgator (or whatever aggregator you use). But of course, that wouldn’t do much to help you share the link with your team members.

Unfortunately not all sites are equal and sometimes you strictly need to save the url for later access. This leaves you with a couple of alternatives:

Save to Browser Favorites
This method is somewhat acceptable however this locks information on your PC so therefore no one else can access it – plus it isn’t very useful if you have multiple machines. Not to mention, if your forget to backup your profile, you risk losing any links that you have saved in the event of hardware failure or an OS re-install.

Email to Team
This method will get the url out to your team site but relies on them to organize it somewhere for easy access down the road when they might need it most. Besides we all know about the problems associated with filling up other people’s inboxes.

Add to SharePoint Links list on a team site
Now you are thinking! By adding it to your team’s site for a particular project, topic or product, you are not only sharing it with everyone but you are making it easily accessible and relevant.

Of course the only problem now is that you may not always feel like copying the url, logging onto a team site, opening a list, pasting the url, assigning a title and description and saving. Thus you often fail to take advantage of a perfect collaboration opportunity.

Enter SharePointFav!

Steve Clarke has just developed an application that will give you the option of adding links to SharePoint sites directly from your browser. All you have to do is right-click to select “Add to Sharepoint List” , select a category (this determines what site or list you will publish to) and click add link.

I have been using this app for the past few weeks and it’s really helped me accumulate some solid links that I may have failed to archive otherwise. If you want more info or would like to download it, check out Steve’s weblog.

Great job Steve – Keep those SharePoint apps coming!!!

NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Models

Nvidia announced that their 6800 models of video cards have been widely accepted today. I really can’t say I’m surprised. Pretty impressive reviews.

I haven’t been much of a Nvidia fan as of late. Mainly because I experienced a lot of driver issues with my last Geforce card (Those last detonator drivers really sucked for me) and after purchasing the Geforce 4600 for Shane – I didn’t notice nearly half the greatness I had expected. In fact I can’t really remember the last time I was truly blown away with the improved performance of a video card. (I’m sure if I had to go back to using the TNT or TNT2 Ultra cards that I had a few years ago I would have something different to say).

I have to admit after reading up a little, I am starting to get intrigued. I could be tempted by a sweet Alienware box with one of those beauties in it. But my ATI All in Wonder gives me everything I need for now. I don’t do much gaming on my PC anymore and I’m more interested in video capture and editing these days. Plus there is just something sweet about watching the playoffs on your PC while working on a report.

My bets are Shane will probably have one of these cards within a month or two. He can justify it a little better anyhow since video performance is a huge part of how he makes a living.

Lookout!

I have finally got around to installing Lookout tonight. I know Steve – it took long enough!!!

Anyways it’s quite worthy of an install. I could go into details about it, but Adam has done a much better job blogging about it than I could ever do. Besides he’s the Outlook / Exchange content man – it’s more his domain than mine. :)

My work mail account is a beast and while I have everything incoming very well organized (sent isn’t so impressive) – there are just somethings that can’t be easily browsed or retrieved using the “Find” tool. A lot of times, I won’t even bother searching for something because it’s too much of a pain and takes too long. Since I rarely have enough time in the run of the day to get everything I need to do done – I need to limit the amount of time I spend doing repetitive tasks or tapping my fingers while waiting for something to finish.

So I installed Lookout tonight first on my home desktop for my personal email. Wow! Very impressive. It passed the “it’s all about me” test. (What’s this you ask? Well I will explain below so you can check it out then.)

So then I installed it on my laptop so that I can check it’s power chugging through my work email. Again still very impressive and definitely a keeper. I just cannot get over how quickly the queries are executed. It IS very much like having Google in my mailbox. Given that I have people walking into my office everyday asking me for things that I know I have already sent someone else – this could really save me some time. (Voila – here is where the “ME” requirement comes is met)

Explanation of the “It’s All About Me” Test:

Well Jeff Sandquist has the “7 Day Test“. I have the “it’s all about me” test. Basically when it comes to software, I don’t care if YOU like it. I don’t care if you spent a long time designing and coding it. I don’t care if it looks good. I don’t care if it uses the 1337357 technology on the planet and is totally revolutionary. I don’t even care if all the cool kids are trying it and saying it’s great.

If it doesn’t make MY life easier and subsequently make ME happier – it’s nothing to me. So get it off my system and don’t come back till it solves some of MY problems. Don’t get me wrong I love technology and test LOTS of new software (sometimes too much). But when it comes down to it – it can’t just be technology for the sake of technology – It’s got to remove some pain or make something better for ME. However if something does pass my test, I am willing to endure some of the pains of being an early adopter (alpha or beta) just so that I can master an application early and enjoy the benefits immediately.

Lookout has passed the “it’s all about me” test and will remain installed on my machine. If you want to see if it passes your own personal test, you can download it here.

Thanks Slouch!

A very special thanks to our buddy Jamie for coming over to our place last night to finish off our Small Business Server Install / Config. Works great! So nice to be able to do Sharepoint testing and research directly over our LAN rather than through VPN. Plus it’s just really really cool.

Shane and I ordered

Shane and I ordered an iPod this week. Figured it’s time to put our Nomad Jukebox to pasture and get something a little smaller that had better driver support. Ah heck we did it because they are just plain cooler. We purchased the 20gb since the price point on that one was the sweetest and it came with a few extra accessories.

I purchased the jukebox about 3 years ago I guess. I know I had it when I was still in University because I remember it being great for getting me through some long and boring bus rides. However I always found it a pain to get a good version of the drivers and software without having a tonne of other junk installed on my pc. Plus the adapter for the car stereo is pretty bulky for the long road trips.

So now we need to get an iTrip adapter. The only problem is that I can’t find either one on the Canadian site. I notice they have them on the American site and link to griffintechnology.com so I guess we may as well get it directly from there.

Not as though it really matters where we order it from anyhow since our iPod is coming from China through the US. Yup that’s right China! Not that I really care but it struck me strange when I went to check the tracking number and it said that it was leaving “Shanghai CN”. When we ordered stuff from Apple before it usually came from a warehouse in the States somewhere so I was expected to see TN or CA on the tracking slip.