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Boston Office 365 Users Group coming in May!

With Microsoft’s focus on Office 365, and it being the largest product in history for them (surpassing SharePoint on-premises licensing), a few great minds here in the Boston area started talking a few months ago, about creating an Office 365 users group (not just covering SharePoint Online, but Lync, Exchange, Yammer, and whatever else gets tossed out onto the buffet line that is Office 365!).

Well, we have done just that, and are having our inaugural meeting on Thursday, May 22nd, at the Microsoft New England Research and Development Center (N.E.R.D.) from 6pm to 8pm. We will have Chris Bortlik, a Microsoft Office 365 Technology Specialist, kicking us off with his session “Introduction to Office 365”. See below for an abstract and bio for the session.

We will be having regular monthly meetings on the third Thursday of each month, so stay tuned for more as we build out our schedule of great speakers and topics going forward!

Our website is up (work in progress), but please sign up for our mailing list to be notified about future meetings and information about the group! http://www.bostono365usergroup.com/

Abstract

Office 365 is the fastest growing product in Microsoft’s history. Come to this session to learn what Office 365 is and how your organization can get started leveraging it today. During this talk we will cover the following topics:

  • Office 365 functional overview, focusing on Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Yammer, Lync Online, Office Online, mobile applications, and Office 365 ProPlus
  • Office 365 architecture fundamentals, including identity management, authentication options, browser, and device requirements
  • Office 365 admin center
  • Office 365 service descriptions
  • Staying up to date with Office 365 service announcements and updates
  • Office 365 FastTrack deployment model
  • Key Office 365 training links and resources

Bio

Chris Bortlik works at Microsoft as an Office 365 technology architect. He works with Enterprise customers and partners in the Northeast in a technical role focused on SharePoint, Office, Exchange, Lync, Yammer, and other parts of Office 365. Chris is an “Insider” within Microsoft and works closely with the Office 365 product team. He holds the SharePoint MCITP and MCTS certifications. Chris speaks frequently at Microsoft events (including the SharePoint Conference); is a contributing author of the "Essential SharePoint 2010" book; and a coauthor of the “Essential SharePoint 2013” book. Chris also blogs regularly on TechNet: http://blogs.technet.com/cbortlik  Prior to joining Microsoft in 2008, Chris was a customer for 14 years working in technical IT architect, development, and management roles – primarily leading .NET and SharePoint related projects. You can follow Chris on Twitter @cbortlik

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The Top 3% of Most Viewed on SlideShare in 2013!

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Found out a couple of weeks back that my content just happens to be in the top 3% of content viewed on SlideShare in 2013! Pretty cool statistic. Click the link above to see what presentations were the most popular, and to browse my content on SlideShare.

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Internet Explorer Registry Shortcuts for Enabling and Disabling Scripting Error Notifications

If you develop for websites, such as SharePoint, you probably are often enabling and disabling the Display a notification about every script error in Internet Explorer (especially version 9) often when testing and debugging JavaScript code in sites (see image below for reference).

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While it is not the end of the world, it can be a few tedious extra clicks to enable and disable this as it is needed, as with IE9, it does not have the small icon with the Error on page text in the task bar like it did in previous versions, that will just allow you to click on it and view the error image.

To change this option in IE, you are required to go to Tools > Internet Options > Advanced > scroll down to Browsing, and check or uncheck this option.

To save a few clicks to make my life easier, I’ve created two registry files to turn this option on and off, you can see them below, along with the contents of the file below if you would rather just copy and paste it into your own .reg file.

Disable Script Debugging.reg: https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=b06529fd3fc75473&resid=B06529FD3FC75473!1527&parid=B06529FD3FC75473!134

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]
"Error Dlg Displayed On Every Error"="no"

Enable Script Debugging.reg: https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=b06529fd3fc75473&resid=B06529FD3FC75473!1526&parid=B06529FD3FC75473!134

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]
"Error Dlg Displayed On Every Error"="yes"

Simple, but effective! I actually have a custom toolbar on my Windows 7 desktop that links right to here, to make them even easier to access:

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The one caveat however, is that you need to click on two confirmation boxes:

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I find this less intrusive to debugging than having to click through to the internet options screen, your mileage, however, may vary.

Taking Screenshots and Extracting Text from Images

imageOneNote has become integral in my day-to-day work. Whether I am doing internal work, work for clients, or, writing a blog. Two of the main features I make use of are OneNote’s screenshot capability, as well as the capability for OneNote to extract text from images.

I regularly show people these things, since they seem to be features people are unaware of, so, I thought I would put together a quick blog post about it.

I was today, going through sites at a customer site, to review them for specific features and functionality. In doing so, I needed a list of those sites, as well as a way to create a checklist of them, so I could keep track of my progress – OneNote provides that solution.

For this example –I will just use the Jornata website.

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I first expanded the menu for Products, and took a screenshot of just the products listed. To do this, all you need to do is press Windows Key + S – One Note needs to be open, or, running from the system tray.

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And, OneNote will automatically copy this to a previously defined section of my notes (I generally choose Unfiled Notes under my Personal notebook), as well as copy it to my clipboard.

Once it is in OneNote, all toy need to do is right-click on the image, and choose Copy text from Picture

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And it will do just that. I can then paste that into a new note in OneNote, and create them as ToDo items, using the appropriate tags. You might need to clean up the text a bit, but, for the most part, it saves a lot of typing of information readily available to you.

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Cool, huh? How do you use OneNote? Any features which save your bacon, or make your life easier and more productive each day? Please share!

One of the neater utilities I have come across lately…

On twitter last night, Ruven Gotz had posted a link for a utility from The Garage, called Mouse Without Borders.

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That’s all I will say on the topic, just watch the video, then download and install… absolutely amazing, and it works wonderfully.

http://blogs.technet.com/b/next/archive/2011/09/09/microsoft-garage-download-mouse-without-borders.aspx

Thanks Ruven!

The end of an era, and the start of a new one.

Today marks the end of an era. An almost 7-year era for me…

I started with GraceHunt in early October, 2004, brought in by a former colleague and good friend of mine. Up until that point, I had not done much on the consulting side, except for a private web development business I ran on the side for years. I had jobs in the industry prior to GraceHunt has a Systems Engineer, Systems Administrator, Data Center Manager, Network Engineer, and yes, even a dial up support technician very early on.

All of these things came together well for me when I came across SharePoint, shortly after joining GraceHunt, especially from having created complex intranet applications by hand for years on Perl and PHP. After a day of playing with SharePoint – at the time – I referred to it as “an intranet in a box”. Since then, and especially in the past four years, SharePoint became my main focus, and I have not even bothered looking back, just barreling head on into SharePoint more and more each day (there is always something new to learn!).

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With that, and as a progression of my career, I am pleased to announce, that starting next week, I will be joining up with the great team over at Jornata. I having had several conversations with Scott Jamison, everything just made sense. I look forward to still being heavily involved in the SharePoint community, and maybe even a bit more than I have been over these past few years, and looking forward to many great years with Jornata.

I worked with a great group of people at GraceHunt, a good amount of whom had been there since the beginning like myself. I wish them all the best of luck, and will miss working each day along side them. I am definitely looking forward to have those same kind of extended-family connections at Jornata.

My first official day will be September 26, 2011 – and I cannot wait to get started.

Server Admin Quick Tip – “Access is denied” when saving a text file with Notepad

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Seen this error before when trying to save a text file, such as a web.config? Frustrating isn’t it? It’s Notepad! It should be able to walk to school, in 3 feet of snow, without shoes, uphill, both ways, without so much as a whimper. Well, apparently it has it’s limitations, as it so easily let you know.

The quick fix? Run it as administrator. Yep! You can definitely do this with Notepad, just like other applications, like the command prompt, and Internet Explorer.

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Virtual Machine Performance Tip: Defragmentation

Last week, I posted another Virtual Machine Performance tip on Anti-Malware software and virtual machines, and have another one for you this week. Just like your physical hard drive, disks get defragmented, which can affect performance. Be sure to regularly defragment your virtual hard drives occasionally to keep it running in tip-top shape.

If you are running VMWare Workstation, you can get down to this option by going to Edit virtual machine settings from the Commands window

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Then selecting your virtual hard disk under the Hardware menu, dropping down Utilities, and selecting Defragment as shown below.

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Virtual Machine Performance Tip: Anti-Virus & Anti-Malware Software

imageNOTE – THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS TO BE USED AT YOUR OWN RISK!

Being that I have quite a bit of history over the years in dealing with computer and network security, I definitely believe that your environment should be as secure as more-than-humanly possible, even if it causes some inconvenience. It’s all fun and games until your network gets compromised, or worse, all of the thousands of photos of your children are deleted from your hard drive by some unsuspecting virus, intruder, etc.

Now, with that out there, if you are running any sort of resident anti-virus/anti-malware software on your host system – in my case, I have a Windows 7 laptop as my host for my own development images – while you are working on your virtual machines, consider turning off this software while you are working on your system. I have Windows Security Essentials running on my host. Instantaneously  after shutting it down, my performance increased. Pages loaded faster, builds took less time to run, etc.

This is because you are constantly reading and writing to your disk when you use a VM. If you can exclude that VM from your AV & AM software – great! If not, just turn it off for a little bit, you will notice a serious improvement in performance. The same goes if you are running any software of the sort on your guest operating system.

Just make sure the rest of your network is protected, or, you are not connected to the internet… just in case something sneaks by 🙂

iPad – thoughts after a week of ownership…

So, I did it. I was out to dinner with a great client of mine, and some friends from Rackspace, Jeff DeVerter (@jdeverter) and Matt Lathrop (@MatthewRAX), to talk some shop. After dinner, the plaza we were in had an Apple store, and I casually mentioned to Jeff as we were walking by, that I was seriously on the fence about getting an iPad. He then proceeded to tell me how much he loves it.

I was in need of a new Mac, since my mini died over a year ago, I needed something with a full-fledged Safari browser (on a Mac, the Windows port is not even close!) We then went in, and less than 20 minutes later, peppering the poor soul who just happened to talk to me that works there with hundreds of questions, I walked out with a 16GB 3G iPad. I might soon regret not going bigger, but, I’ll deal with that down the road.

Now, I am an Android fan, I’ve had a Motorola Droid since April, and I love it. But the iPad… wow, I love this thing. Sure, it’s a bit less “geek friendly”, as I really want to have access to more, but, the Exchange integration is great (Calendar and Contacts apps are a phenomenal UI design), I have DocsToGo, which I can rip through Excel sheets quickly on the road, use tech books via the Kindle app, and be able to read more than a sentence without scrolling the screen. The battery life is great, and I can tweet to my hearts content via TweetDeck.

I’ve also had a netbook for quite some time now, and, well, they’re cumbersome, somewhat cheaply built, but, great if you like to be able to have USB connections, etc., but, I’m not running any demo images on it any time soon. The iPad was the perfect replacement. I’ve actually been more productive since I got it (I was able to pull off the road, review estimates for a client that were legible – and I could see the entire sheet – a feat which cannot be done on an Android, iPhone, or anything of the sort, have a call about them, and get back on the road with the surprisingly reliable AT&T network), and without having to boot up a netbook to get this done.

I’ve also been working on some branding for a client, and simultaneously when I am on-site, be viewing it in IE and Firefox on my laptop, and checking my changes for compatibility in Safari on the iPad.

Another huge thing, is that I can log into SharePoint via Windows Authentication. Something that I cannot do on my Android, and something I need when on the road, since, after all, I am a SharePoint consultant.

I also do love the contextual keyboard layouts, which change from app to app, giving me colons and parenthesis when I am in the browser, and hiding them when I am not in the browser, replacing them with other frequently used keys.

All-in-all, I think it’s great. I’ve even attended a GoToMeeting presentation on it, and have RDP’ed with great resolution into a terminal server at the office to fix an issue.

So, with that, all I can say, is that I heart my iPad. And my son cannot get enough of the HD version of Angry Birds… but neither can I 🙂

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