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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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White Paper – Office 365: Features, Benefits, and Considerations

imageI am pleased to announce the first in a series of white papers from Jornata on Future-Proofing your Business. The first in this series – Features, Benefits, and Considerations of Moving to Office 365 is now available on the Jornata website.

Please feel free to share with whomever you think may be interested in this topic, and watch this space, and the Jornata website for more white papers coming soon!

Determining if You Are Using Office 365 After the Service Upgrade

Office 365 is continually being updated (based on their 90 day release schedule). Since Microsoft deploys updates in a phased manner, it can be difficult to tell if your tenant has been upgraded or not. To answer that question, Microsoft has put together a great reference on determining if you are running the latest Office 365 version. Below is a quick summary of the changes you can look for.

To read the full article, click here.

Additional References

SharePoint 2013 Preview – First Look – SharePoint…went metro.

While playing around with a cloudshare 2013 Preview environment, the first thing we see is Central Administration when we log in to this pre-configured environment.

First things first – SharePoint went Metro. Sure it is not all tiles, but the theme definitely went that direction. The CA quick launch menu and action groups are exactly the same as SharePoint 2010 – so no new big changes there.

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The Ribbon got a minor cosmetic facelift, with fancy drop-in and out effects, but, not too much different there as well.

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Some bigger changes however right off the bat… are the links and new icons available in the upper-right hand corner.

 

Newsfeed

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The Newsfeed takes you to your profile page newsfeed. SharePoint 2013 definitely has a lot more “social” functionality to it, such as following people, sites, documents, and tags.

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SkyDrive

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The SkyDrive link, basically is your documents from your My Site. My guess here is that this can be synced to a Windows Live SkyDrive, because they are using the same naming convention.

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One thing to note however… is the ability to drag files right onto the UI, without needing to any additional work. I see that has a huge timesaver, and painkiller for a lot of users.

When you drag a file in, it brings up a drop-zone which you can easily add files to the library:

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What would SharePoint be without an error though?

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Much prettier than the BIG BLANK WHITE SCREEN OF ERROR in SharePoint 2010, and definitely better than 2007.

 

Welcome Menu

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Next is the welcome menu… blah blah blah…

what I find more interesting is what comes next.

 

The settings wheel/cog thingy

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Edit Page – simple and easy enough. Does not appear much has changed there.

Add an app –  great! We now have apps… in SharePoint. Yay.

View Site Contents and Site Settings – Finally, they have been able to simplify the menus down to 1! Only took a few versions of the product for this to happen! Those are exactly what they were in 2010. Except for this… that nice grid view we had in 2010, 2007, 2003… is now… tiles.

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Not that psyched about it. I loved the breakdown by list/library type. Now they are all just different “apps”.

Clicking on Add an app (great icon, I am puzzled too why they went with “apps” – oh right! buzzword! Worked for that company that is the name of a tasty fruit….)

Give you a long list of tiles again… I liked where Microsoft went with the Silverlight controls in 2010 for adding lists/libraries, searching, filtering… but, am not impressed by the tile view… makes creating lists and libraries more difficult and less user friendly IMHO… but that’s just me.

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and once we are in there… I noticed one other thing… The SharePoint Store!

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Seems they need to work on this… could just be the preview, or the preconfigured image I am using… but, it appears broken, but, there is a 2010 logo on there 🙂

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Senor Smiley

The smiley face, that’s for sending feedback on the beta. I plan to use that. a lot.

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Sharing is caring, and also a headache for administrators

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Our next icon to poke at is the Share icon. This allows you to invite people to content, sites, etc. Now. This is a good thing – allows you to easily share content with others. This is also a bad thing. I am guessing you (hopefully – oh please god say its so) need proper permissions to give access… and if that is the case, that is great. But, if not, and anyone with contribute permissions can invite everyone to everything – permission management will become a nightmare. We’ll see how that pans out…

 

Focus Danielson… Focus

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This hides the quick launch. ‘Nuff said.

Until next time… when I get a chance to show off some more stuff….

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Office 365 + Outlook + My Site Social Connector – Hotfix Released 12/13/11!

One of the features I have grown to love in Outlook 2010 is the Social Connector – that window below your emails which you can enable to view aggregations of social network updates (My Site, Facebook, LinkedIn, to name a few) as well as past conversations, calendar items, attachments, and more.

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Up until this month however, if you were a user of Microsoft Office 365, then you could not connect to your My Site hosted on SharePoint Online, you would get this lovely error after entering in all of the credential information:

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Being a user of Office 365 – this was an issue for me, especially since I use the Social Connectors in Outlook daily.

I am pleased to announce, that as of December 13th, 2011,  that it has finally been fixed! You can download and install the hotfix from here (Outlook x64 only): http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2597051/

Works perfectly now!

Finally into the Office 365 Beta Program

imageIt seems that Microsoft has done another massive push into the Office 365 Beta program. So, yesterday, after months of waiting, I was finally able to get in. I most likely not be using this blog to market off the benefits (you can find those here: Top benefits), but rather, share my observations.

One neat thing which I did not expect… the Developer Dashboard is part of O365!

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I thought that was a pretty cool inclusion they did for this. After all, this is a hosted version of SharePoint, and they are using FBA to connect to what I can assume is an LDAP database to host accounts.

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Anyhow, more information and observations to come… hopefully some interesting stuff.

At the very least, I now have a *.sharepoint.com subdomain… http://gvaro.sharepoint.com. That’s just cool.

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