Bringing Xbox Back

It’s been a long week and I am definitely feeling the strain of too much time on the road lately along with a seriously hectic schedule around the clock between work and the book.  So needless to say I enjoyed the opportunity to kick back in my hotel room tonight and laugh my butt off at this video done by Laura Foy from on10. 

Very cute though it does make me miss my Xbox.  Which apparently is also missing me during my latest gaming hiatus.

Don’t wait until Web 3.0 to become unique

While browsing some of the self proclaimed “progressive” websites, I can’t help but notice it’s almost like walking through a house of mirrors – very few, if any unqiue qualities that make a company, product or service “really stand out”. This is partly due to a shift in how we consume information (via RSS). It’s easy to grab a ready made blog and start in (heck I’ve done it myself), but at what cost?

Have we forgotten about the Purple Cow already? If so I recommend a trip down memory lane to the website of Seth Godin.

We’re so blinded by the Hype of Web 2.0 that we seem willing to trade in our identity for a better user interface. I mean Web 2.0 is all about creating a better user experience right?

If we continue down this current path, we’re creating an even worse experience because while things “look” exactly the same – they are completely different. Imagine a can of Coke, but with Black Orange Crush inside.

Don’t be fooled, creating a better online experience isn’t really as hard as it seems, just follow some simple rules:

  • Usable and Relevant Content - The more specific and refined your content is, the better chances it will easily fit on to your page, and the higher the odds are your viewers will both be able to find it, and actually read and understand it.
  • Usable and Accessible User Interface – The easier your website is to use, the more people it is available to and the faster your users can find what they want so they can get the heck out of there, the better. Remember, time is very valuable.
  • Plan for (and show) change - Let’s face it, it’s not Web 2.0 that will answer your problems, it’s planning for Web 3.0, 4.0 and beyond. Keep your site and products constantly updated. The moment you go stale is the moment people stop paying attention.
  • Be Unique – Don’t be afraid to stand out, especially if you’ve done all the above properly.

Don’t forget to pay attention to the leading experts of visual presentation, usability, web standards, marketing, design and development, people like Jeffrey Zeldman, Guy Kawasaki, Seth Godin and Jakob Nielsen. Take what they say seriously and as experience but not gospel. Apply a little common sense with a little experience and you should be just fine.

If you are nodding your head in agreement but simply do not have the time, resources or energy to see this through don’t worry. You can always hire me to do it for you.

The reason for less posts lately.

There are several reasons I have been unable to post as much lately, but slowly I’m digging through a pile which I hope will lead me to being able do get back on a regular schedule.

First and foremost the main reason I have been unable to post as much as I would like lately is because I’ve been involved with two book projects which have really taken up a lot of time. 

My current project (Book), Beginning SharePoint 2007 is a joint venture between Amanda Murphy and I. 

We’ve been busy churning out what we hope you will find very useful as an introduction to SharePoint 2007 (700 pages of it in fact).  Not to worry I have not been sitting by idle, I have been pouring much of what i would normally write here into our book. 

Don’t worry though I will resume posting here much more frequently the moment my obligations there are complete.

On top of that I’ve been actively involved with the Microsoft RDP program where I helped to build a couple of pretty cool applications on top of the SharePoint 2007 beta and (TR) bits.  More on those soon also.

I hope everyone is enjoying opening new doors and creating even wilder opportunities on top of the RTM, and congrats to SharePoint Team, (and all other team(s)) involved on the release.


Catching Up

I realize its been a really long time since my last post.  Things have been crazy for Shane and I over the past month.  You can really see that if you look at the fact that even his blog as slowed down.  The fact is we are flat out working away on our book project and barely have enough time to breath.  The good news is we are making killer progress and are well on our way to having things done on schedule.  Woot!! 

It’s fun having this project together since it really highlights how well we work together.  I realize most couples can’t do the work together thing but I really think its great because it builds on the mutual respect you have for one another as both professionals and genuine partners.  Plus if one of us gets sick with a cold (ie me), its great that the other person can step it up (ie him) and cover their ass (ie mine).  :-)

Of course by now everyone and their dog is aware of the release of the MOSS 2007 trial, WSS 3.0, Office 2007 and Vista on MSDN and in the case of the SharePoint components, Microsoft Downloads.  There has been an insane amount of useful information posted recently by the community.  In particular I’d like to point to some great content hosted on the SharePoint Product Team weblog such as:

The Actual RTW Announcement Along with Eval Links, Keys and Detailed Install and Upgrade Instructions from Some SharePoint MVPS as well as Microsoft.

An Announcement on the Availability of Volume Licensing for SharePoint Products and Technologies for 2007 releases.

A 3 Part Workflow Development Series of Articles.

The Announcement of the Beta of an Upgrade Toolkit for WSS 2.0 to 3.0 Sites.

And of course there was a great posting by Joel yesterday on some capacity and performance planning papers available on the MS site.  This is on my inflight reading list for my trip to Ottawa next week.

Keep watching the SharePoint blog site as well as other great community resources.  The amount of information available today for a product that is barely in its infant stages blows my mind.

Capacity and Performance Planning (SharePoint 2007)

Joel and team(s) have released some much anticipated information on capacity and performance planning:

Planning for Capacity Boundaries, Estimating Performance & Capacity Requirements, Additional Factors, and Tools Within these docs you’ll find data on servers, server topologies, system sizing, figuring out requests per second, understanding performance characteristics and guidance around features, such as folders vs. no folders.


Head over to Joel’s SharePoint Land for More.

If you get a chance to take in the INXS (Switch) Tour, Do It!

Last night I had a chance to take in INXS with the new lead singer JD Fortune as part of their Switch Tour.  All I can say about it is, AWESOME.  This show is intense, the energy is unbelievable.

ns1nov10.jpgThe show ran about an hour behind schedule which left 1000’s of people flooding the streets outside Mile One in St. John’s.

The opening act, Brian Byrne (formerly the lead singer of I Mother Earth) a local boy from Newfoundland was great also which was a huge bonus.  Amanda and I had a chance to tell Brian face to face that it was a great show as we ran into him this afternoon at a local pub called The Ship Inn which is notorious for great food by day and local talent by night.

As for INXS, they exploded on to the stage and delivered pure energy for two solid hours.  JD was constantly interacting with the crowed, often leaving the stage and going to the far ends of the stadium.  The band was AMAZING.

The show was top-knotch and I couldnt possibly recommend it highly enough. A+++.  Sometimes the only thing you can say is WOW, this is one of those times.

Lets just say I NEVER expected to watch INXS sing “Burning Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash LIVE.

The only downside was the security trying to ream me on taking videos first w/ my camera, and later w/ my pocket PC.

If you get a chance to take in this show, do it.  Photo courtesy of the Telegram, it’s from the show last nite.

SharePoint 2007 in the Enterprise

There has been much debate lately over how much value SharePoint 2007 offers to the enterprise out of the box.  Many are quick to point out shortcomings, some warrented while others are open to debate.

Sure, SharePoint 2007 cannot do everything you would like out of the box and there are very valid arguments for what consititutes a minimum initial out of the box offering but lets not lose sight of a few things:

  • Regardless of many similarities, almost every organization (enterprise or not) is unique and as such they will have different needs.  At what point do you cut off out of the box functionality?
  • There are many developers out there (including development organizations and partners) depending on the fact that SharePoint 2007 will need some extended development to better fit the corporate culture on an enterprise by enterprise basis.
  • Microsoft has a pretty straight forward business model. They focus on offering platforms to build on, and the tools required to build on them.  I would think going “too far” in either direction would be bad for their personal interests from a business perspective.

I guess in the end it comes down to your own personal mantra, and business model.  Sure it’s not perfect and there is much to be desired especially from an architecture perspective, but that being said the (OOTB) value of this platform has always been to the average Information Worker while the other groups (IT Pro’s, Developers, Designers and Trainers) come in later, helping to extend the OOTB offering and educate people about it.

As the RTM launch nears there will no doubt be questions we cannot explain.  Remember, it’s easy to lose sight of the positive if we dwell on the negative.  I’m as guilty of it as anyone.

If you are feeling frustrated I have a challenge for you to re-introduce the value of the 2007 suite,  take a few days off 2007 and go back to using SharePoint Portal Server 2003 and Windows SharePoint Services 2.0.

Vista and Office Release, November 30

I am not sure how solid this information is but here’s what they’re saying:

A Microsoft spokesperson has confirmed that the planned release dates for Vista and Office are indeed November 30 after all, fulfilling Microsoft’s promise of delivering Vista in 2006.

In the US, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will be at the launch event, to be held at the Nasdaq Stock Market in midtown Manhattan and the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.