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Copyright: Kelly Jones

Conference season!

Sat, 10 Sep 2016 15:37:10 GMT

Originally posted on:’ve got a couple of couple of busy months coming up – I’m going to be attending one conference and speaking at three others. SharePoint Saturday Charlotte – Sept. 17, 2016 I attended my first very SharePoint Saturday in 2010, which was in Charlotte, just a couple of months before we moved to Charlotte.  It was a great event and I’ve attended nine SharePoint Saturdays (presented at half of them), so this year’s SharePoint Saturday Charlotte will be my tenth SharePoint Saturday! Starting last year, I volunteered to help organize it.  I had a sense of how much work these events are to put together after attending and speaking at some, but it wasn’t until I volunteered that I got a much more accurate picture of the huge amount of work they are.  My contribution is minimal compared with the effort others have put in, so this is more a thank you to them than a pat on the back for myself! This year’s event has a great mix of Microsoft employees, SharePoint MVPs, and local SharePoint experts as speakers.  (Click here to register to attend!)   Microsoft Ignite – Atlanta, Sept. 26-30, 2016 Ignite is shaping up to be a huge conference, not only for Microsoft in general, but SharePoint in particular.  I’m really excited that I get to attend.  I got a chance to go to the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2012 in Las Vegas, which was a big conference, but Ignite is going to have twice the number of attendees.  Plus, I never got to attend TechEd, which Ignite also replaced. I’m looking to hear what Microsoft says about the future of forms and workflows in SharePoint, in particular, the story about replacing InfoPath and SharePoint Designer workflows.  I think PowerApps and Flows are the answer, but from what little I’ve seen, I don’t think they fully replace those older technologies yet.   The Building a Better Intranet Workshop – Oct. 3-4, 2016 I was invited to speaker a local workshop, as a guest speaker presenting a case study.  It was very cool to be approached to speak.  I think tickets are still available here.   SharePoint Engage – Raleigh, November 2-3, 2016 I found this conference when I was randomly searching for SharePoint conferences in the area last year.  I submitted to speak on a lark and I was chosen!  Boy am I glad I did.  The two day conference last fall in Raleigh was great – well organized and executed for both speakers and attendees. I was selected to speak again this year and I’m really looking forward to going back. (Tickets are still available --  click here to find out more info) [...]

Goodbye Windows Mobile/Phone–it’s been a good (not great) 13 years

Sat, 30 Apr 2016 16:10:39 GMT

Originally posted on: few weeks ago I came to a decision that was a long time coming.  I finally decided to dump my beloved Windows Phone by Microsoft in favor of Google’s Android. First, some history… I started using Microsoft powered phones something like 13 years ago, when I got an Audiovox Thera.  I went from a simple cell phone (my very first cell phone) to Microsoft phones because the idea that I could use .NET to write an app for the phone was very cool.  (I wrote a post a few years ago about my personal cell phone history: 9 Years of having a cell.) Here’s a quick run down: 1) Verizon feature phone – my first phone and until this year, the last time I had a non Microsoft phone 2) AudioVox Thera – PocketPC for Phone edition – my first Microsoft phone 3) Samsung i730 – Wifi! 4) HTC Touch Pro 2 – Nice keyboard! 5) Nokia Lumia 710 – Windows Phone 7! 6) Nokia Lumia 925 – Windows Phone 8 (then 8.1), great camera – my most expensive cell phone ever 7) Google Nexus 5X – Android! Plus, my family jumped on the Windows Phone band wagon when I got my wife and both of our kids Lumia 520s.  The 520 was an incredible bargain.  Instead of buying the kids a iPod for music, we got them phones that could do music plus games plus be a phone! AND the 520 was a quarter of the price of the lowest iPod touch – even more of a crazy gap when compared to an iPhone. So, why? Why not stick with Windows Phone/Mobile? It simply came down to one thing: apps, or more precisely, the horrendous lack of apps on Windows Phones. Being a long time Windows phone user, I’ve never really had a huge app selection to pick from.  Going from Windows Mobile 6.5 to Windows Phone 7 in 2011, the app selection was much improved, but my basis for comparison was the previous version of Windows Mobile, which had practically no apps. My perception started to change when I bought an Android tablet for my family (Nexus 7 from 2012) and my daughter got an iPod touch 4th gen (2012).  Apps would come out on iPhone or Android, but only the highest profile apps would make it to Windows Phone.  Somewhere around 2013, the joke started to be that you couldn’t get the name brand app on Windows Phone, but you could get a knock off.  Some of these knock off apps were quite good (Disney Expedition since “My Disney Experience” isn’t available), but others were bad. Sometimes those independent knock off apps would suddenly quit working because the service they were tied to had changed an API. I tried to make up for the lack of apps by using the web browser in the phone, even going so far as making short cuts to certain sites be a tile on the home page (Facebook being one). However, most of those mobile sites don’t compare with the full app experience. AND then the next shoe dropped: companies started dropping support for the few apps that they had published.  My LiveStrong app that I used to track my weight daily would no longer sync to the web site.  This was an app that I had purchased (not a freebie) and that company stopped updating it and at some point they updated their web site in a way that broke the Windows Phone app. I also started reading more and more online about banks or other companies dropping their apps as well.  I didn’t use most of them, but I started seeing the writing on the wall. The next big news was Windows 10 and how it was going to save Windows Phone.  Microsoft has come up with a way to write an app for the full PC version of Windows 10 and have it work on the phone as well.  Great! That’ll close the gap, right? Well….turns out that developers have to write their app in a certain way, plus make additional (Microsoft describes as simple) changes to make it work on the phone.  Even though the changes are simple, companies are still not going to do it.  Plus, most companies don’t put an app out for Windows, instead relying on their full web site (think shopping, banking, etc.). W[...]

SSD upgrade in a MacBook Pro

Sun, 28 Jun 2015 20:29:48 GMT

Originally posted on:


I recently upgraded my wife’s MacBook Pro by replacing the original hard drive with an SSD.  The performance improvements were just as good as when I did this same upgrade for Lenovo laptop in the family last fall.

Her MacBook has 8GB RAM, a 2.3 Ghz i7 processor, and a 15” inch screen.  It was a low end MacBook Pro when we purchased it in July 2013.

The SSD was another Crucial drive from NewEgg.


I timed a few operations to see what they were before and after the upgrade:

Before upgrade:

  • Seconds to login prompt 47.8
  • Seconds to login 9.4
  • Seconds to launch safari 13.8
  • Seconds to launch outlook 18.4

After upgrade:

  • Seconds to login prompt 44.6
  • Seconds to login 4.3
  • Seconds to launch safari 2.1
  • Seconds to launch Outlook 2.6

The key measurements for my wife was the amount of time it was taking to launch applications.  I timed Safari and Outlook, since these are her primary apps to use and the results are amazing.  In fact, she laughed at how fast they launched when I first showed her.


SharePoint Saturday Charlotte 2014

Mon, 29 Sep 2014 01:14:38 GMT

Originally posted on:

A couple of weeks ago, I presented How Carolinas HealthCare System Governs SharePoint at the Charlotte SharePoint Saturday and I had a great time. The people who attended my session asked lots of questions, which always helps. This was my fourth time presenting at a community Saturday event (SPS Charlotte 2013, SPS Richmond 2013, and Carolina Code Camp 2013) and all of them have been well organized and run.

I thought it would be useful to share my team's experience introducing SharePoint governance over the last three years at CHS (Carolinas HealthCare System). We've had some great lessons learned, as well as solid and practical tips for implementing governance in large organizations. Our governance is still a work in progress, but anyone attempting to impose governance should understand that it may take years to get to where you need to be.

For those interested, I've uploaded my slide deck to the site. I've also uploaded my slides to

src="//" width="476" height="400" frameborder="0" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no"> (image)

Upgrading a low end laptop–What a difference an SSD can make!

Tue, 02 Sep 2014 00:03:26 GMT

Originally posted on: upgraded my daughter’s laptop this weekend, with some incredible results.  We bought this laptop three years ago for general home use and over time it became my daughter’s.  We only spent $350 on it from Best Buy, where it was one of their back to school summer specials.  For the price, it had decent specs and has proven to be rather solid.  It’s a Lenovo B570 with 4GB ram, Intel Pentium processor, 720p 15” screen, and a 500GB Western Digital Scorpio Blue hard drive. It’s still running Windows 7 x64 Home Premium. Since we bought it, I’ve had some experience with machines using solid state drives (SSDs) instead of traditional spinning hard drives.  The price has really come down, so I decided to buy one as an upgrade for this laptop. I bought the replacement drive from Newegg, a 256GB Crucial MX100 SSD.  When deciding on which SSD to get, I looked at only a couple of key specs: capacity, IOPs, price, and name brand.  I knew she’d need at least a 256GB drive, since it would be replacing a 500GB drive.  256 turned out to be plenty, once I cleaned off some the apps and data that had accumulated over the years. IOPS is the standard for measuring input/output operations per second – the higher the number the better.  I have a Samsung SSD in my home desktop, which had a read speed of 94k IOPS and write of 35k IOPS, and I’ve been happy with it.  The Crucial drive, which is a year newer and has twice the capacity, for the same price as I paid for that Samsung, is rated at 85k IOPS read and 70k IOPS write. The price was pretty good – Newegg was running a special, so I was able to get it for $99, but the price as I write this is $122.  As I said, I paid around that for a slower drive with half the capacity in 2013. The last decision point was the name brand.  I wanted one that I had at least heard of, so drives from Samsung, Crucial, or Kingston would have been fine. One last part I found necessary was a EZ-Connect kit that I picked up from Microcenter the last time I was in one of their stores.  This kit has the cables to connect from USB 2.0 to SATA and IDE drives, as well as providing a power cable.  This allowed me to hook up the new drive to the laptop via USB, and copy the contents of the existing hard drive to the new drive (using Acronis True Image software, which came with the kit or the SSD).  It was all very straight forward. After I copied/cloned the drive, I powered down the laptop and swapped out the old drive for the new drive.  The Lenovo was pretty simple to open and the hard drive compartment was clearly labeled. I then booted up the laptop using the new drive. I timed three things before I swapped the drives, so I could measure the difference: Time from when it is powered on until the Windows login prompt is displayed Time from when I log in until the Windows mouse cursor stops displaying “wait” (aka – spinning wheel) Time when shutting down while logged in With the old drive, these times were: 42 seconds 36 seconds 45 seconds With the new drive, these times are now: 20 seconds 10 seconds 15 seconds ! That’s better than twice as fast for every measure!! Wow. I also checked out the Windows Experience Index (Windows 7) and the “Disk data transfer rate” went from a score of 5.7 to 7.9! With this kind of improvement, I expect this laptop will be very usable for at least another couple of years. [...]

Living without a laptop, Part II, aka: Why I cried uncle

Sat, 29 Mar 2014 21:41:00 GMT

Originally posted on: this time last spring, I wrote how I was going to start Living without a laptop.  I had just switched jobs and had to turn in a good work laptop, which was replaced by a desktop at my new job. After living and working like this for a year, I have finally caved in and ordered a laptop for work. So how did I get here? Well, for the last year my main computing devices have been: an HP desktop (z400) at work, a custom built AMD desktop at home, and an original Surface RT tablet.  Whenever I was away from my desk at work, I could use my Surface to keep notes (OneNote – awesome) and also keep up with my Outlook.  I was able to do this because I had my Surface connected to the secure Wi-Fi network at the office. I also had the option of using Remote Desktop to connect to my office workstation if I needed to do something that WindowsRT couldn’t do.  A lot of this functionality hinged on me being able to connect to the office network.  This all worked until an update to my SurfaceRT in January killed my ability to do just that. SurfaceRT/WindowsRT has its limits Our private wireless network at the office requires that I enter my username and password, which it still prompts me for after the update, but it also prompts me for a network key which we don’t have and the Surface didn’t require before.  Since there isn’t a big group of us Surface RT users, I fell into the category of unsupported (on your own) users at work. There is still a guest network that I can use, which allows my Surface to get out the internet, where I store my OneNote notes.  However, I can’t connect using our remote access options, because I can’t install Java for the VPN nor can I get the Citrix Receiver application to work with our Citrix remote option. Without these remote options, I can’t use Outlook and I can’t use Remote Desktop, making my Surface RT rather limited. (For those wondering, I went so far in my troubleshooting that I completely wiped my Surface and reinstalled everything – hoping that it would work like it did before, but I had no luck with that.) I also found another scenario where the Surface isn’t a laptop replacement – trying to use the keyboard without a proper desk/table available.  I first ran into this when I attended a conference in 2012.  The conference was set up with rows of chairs, but no tables in front of them.  I had the choice of either using the on screen keyboard to take notes (which isn’t a great experience for more than brief notes) or using the keyboard and trying to balance it on my lap. My typing would often make the Surface move/teeter, and the kick stand didn’t make the viewing angle of the screen good, nor did it feel good as it cut into the tops of legs. This isn’t the only place where a table wasn’t available.  Turns out I missed being able to use the keyboard while seated on our couch in front of the TV.  Most people will say that tablets are great for being in front of the TV. Tablets are great for consuming things, like catching up on Twitter or Facebook, or reading blogs, but I’m just not that productive doing email or development without my keyboard. To the cloud – new goal at the office While all of this was happening with my mobile options, the game was also changing when it came to my need for a powerful desktop. One of the reasons I needed this computing power was so I could run a SharePoint development environment.  This included running not only Visual Studio, but also the SharePoint server software which takes gobs of memory and storage. So how did this requirement change? Two new changes we adopted – moving to Office 365 and using Azure as part of our MSDN subscriptions. First, we’re moving to SharePoint Online and won’t have SharePoint on premise in a few months.  This changes our development to be focused on more w[...]

User Profile Web Service error when accessing from InfoPath Forms Services

Sun, 07 Jul 2013 22:35:03 GMT

Originally posted on: the last couple of weeks, we had to move a custom application from one SharePoint 2010 farm to another.  We tested our migration method by moving it to a test farm first, which highlighted a few things that we needed to change, but it was otherwise successful. However, when we moved it to the new production farm, we ran into an error that we hadn’t seen in test.  It occurred when we opened an InfoPath form that was calling the User Profile web service.  The error presented to the user was a dialog with this: “An entry has been added to the Windows event log of the server. Log ID:7893” . When we looked it up in SharePoint’s ULS log, we found this entry: Area: InfoPath Forms Services Category: Runtime – Data Connection Level: Unexpected Message: The following data connection (GetUserProfileByName) has exceeded the maximum configured time limit. This threshold can be configured by using the SPIPFormsService -MaxDataConnectionRoundTrip PowerShell commandlet   Scouring the internet, I found tips that suggested the identity of the application pool for the “SharePoint Web Services Root” should be something other than localservice.  However, I then found a blog post by Spence Harbar stating that it was ok to be localservice. I also found a tip that suggested increasing the timeout limits on the InfoPath Forms Services. I tried that without luck. After discounting everything I found online, I went back to my list of differences between our test environment and our production environment.  After hours of combing through service account permissions both in SharePoint and SQL, I finally decided to check the HOSTS file on the SharePoint servers. Turns out the fix for us was to add an entry to the hosts file that pointed the SharePoint URL to (the loopback address).  We had already configured this for the other three SharePoint web application we had launched.  We had neglected to do this with our new web application, which was only recently put into production. So, we learned a couple of lessons again: First – do everything you can to make your test environment mirror your production environment.  I thought our environments were pretty well matched, including having a separate web front end from the app server, a separate SQL server, and even a separate FAST server in test.  The one thing we don’t have is a load balancer with multiple WFEs. Second – document your processes.  We should have had a checklist to refer to when creating the new web application. [...]

Carolina Code Camp 2013: Introduction to SharePoint Development

Mon, 06 May 2013 06:37:00 GMT

Originally posted on:

(image) I spoke this weekend at the Carolina Code Camp on the CPCC campus here in Charlotte and my topic was an Intro to SharePoint Development for .NET Developers (those that have no knowledge of SharePoint).  It’s a topic that I’ve been talking about often with new and experienced devs alike, who want to know everything from how to set up a development environment to how to start coding and what can SharePoint do.

From my experience, a lot of the intro presentations given focus on writing those first lines of code, which is a great topic – but it’s about two or three steps away from the absolute beginning.  I spoke a little about SharePoint’s version history, my thoughts on setting up an environment, as well as the tools that you use before you open Visual Studio.  I ended with some Visual Studio info and I was hoping to get into code, but I was only able to get through my slides before my hour was up.

As I promised to those in attendance, here’s a link to my slide deck on SkyDrive:

..and here’s a version you view from Slideshare:

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It was actually good that I didn’t need to do live demos, because I didn’t have access to any of my normal virtual machines that I use for presentations (see my previous post for details:  I was actually using my Surface RT tablet for the presentation and it worked great. I bought the special mini HDMI to VGA adapter from the Microsoft store here in Charlotte the previous weekend.  I went with the VGA adapter because I knew they had VGA connections at the campsite ( (image) ) but I wasn’t sure that they had HDMI.

I was going to do a demo using CloudShare based VMs, but I had trouble getting onto their WiFi and as I said, I didn’t have time for it anyway.

After my presentation, which was the first one of the day for the SharePoint track (one of five tracks with 60 sessions !), I was able to relax and enjoy the other presentations.  I got to attend four: an Intro to 2013 Apps Dev, a 2013 SP Designer New Features, an Agile Dev with TFS, and 2013 Search Driven UI session.  All of them very good, and all very relevant to what’s going on at the office.  All of those speakers did a great job.


Living without a laptop

Sun, 21 Apr 2013 20:12:37 GMT

Originally posted on: to my job change, I'm getting the "opportunity" to re-evaluate my computing needs at home. This is because I've had a company laptop since I first started consulting back in 2004. Most recently, I had an awesome laptop from work (Cardinal Solutions). It was a Dell Precision M6400 (I think) with an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, a separate video card, two SSDs for storage, and a 15in screen with a high resolution (I think it was 1080p or better). All of this power was needed when I was running SharePoint Virtual Machines (or Outlook – for those of you using Outlook, you know what I mean). Just an awesomely powerful computer. It was my primary computer both at work and at home, since I'd use it for work/home email, web browsing, etc. So, once I knew I'd be returning it, I started thinking about its replacement. I already had a desktop at my new job and I might request a laptop, but I knew I wasn't going to be using the work laptop as much as I had the other one. First things first, I thought about what I already had at home. I have a Windows server (custom built using typical workstation hardware) that I use for general file storage, running Virtual Machines with Hyper-V, media server (for the Xbox's and TVs in the house), and some network services (DNS, DHCP). I built this box to have lots of storage with moderate CPU power. It has five hard drives in it, that total 7TB of storage (but with RAID mirroring, I think the available storage is 4 TB). It also has several strong, loud fans in it, but since this sits in a closet I don't have to hear it. We also have a Mac Mini (early 2009) that is my wife's primary computer. It is in the kitchen at her desk and she uses it for email/web browsing, plus tracking our finances in Quicken. We also have over a decade's worth of photos and music on it (iPhoto and iTunes). We're often both using computers at the same time, so sharing a computer wouldn't work. We have a Lenovo Ideapad (Pentium B940) that we bought two years ago. It was going to be my main computer at home, but the kids soon discovered how cool it was and I found the screen resolution small (720p) when compared to my work laptop. The kids use it a lot, so my daughter was especially fearful once I explained that I had to return my work laptop. Again, sharing it would not work well. One other piece of hardware we have is a Microsoft Surface RT. It's mine, but I let the kids use it every now and then. I take it to work daily and use it in meetings, which it is great for. The small size, the touch screen, the type cover – great. I'm a heavy OneNote user, so I have it on the Surface as well as my work laptop and the notes sync between the two. Since I have the Surface, I got to wondering if I really still needed a powerful mobile computer (laptop). As a consultant, I often needed to spin up demos on Virtual Machines, but I don't need to do that anymore. Nor do I need to have a good computer ready for when the client doesn't have a machine for me. SO, after much thinking I decided to build a desktop computer for my own use. I built a machine that has much more power than if I had spent the same amount of money on a laptop. I also get the ability to upgrade any piece of it I need to over the next few years, pretty much the opposite of a laptop (I only ever upgraded RAM and hard drives in a laptop). I did a bunch of research (Tom's Hardware guide) and bought the following: AMD A8-5500 Trinity 3.2GHz Quad-Core APU (CPU + GPU) ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6 motherboard Corsair XMS3 8GB DDR3 1600 RAM Samsung 840 Series 120GB SATA III SSD Fractal Design Define R4 Mid Tower Case Rosewill Fortress Series 550W power supply ViewSonic 23" LED monitor Logitech wireless keyboard Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000 On[...]

My own March madness

Sun, 14 Apr 2013 01:17:07 GMT

Originally posted on:

This past March was a big one for me professionally. I spoke at two SharePoint Saturdays, Charlotte and Richmond, I had a huge migration project that was completed (mostly) which involved late nights and one weekend. To cap it all off, I accepted a full time position with the client I've been consulting with for sixteen months – the Carolinas HealthCare System. I started this week as their SharePoint Architect.

(image) (image)

First, I want to talk about my experience speaking at SharePoint Saturday – in short, it was great. I want to publically thank both organizations for allowing me to speak and being great hosts. I've done presentations before for work and I spoke once before at a Microsoft hosted mini conference (wow, that must have been three or four years ago and it was about IE8), but this was my first time speaking at a community hosted event/conference. I really appreciated how well organized they were the day of the conference. I enjoyed my experience so much that I volunteered to speak at another event coming up, the Carolina Code Camp here in Charlotte in early May.


Probably the biggest accomplishment for March was the SharePoint migration project at work. We moved several hundred gigs of data, spread out over 4500+ sites/subsites. We did some reorganization, splitting up one huge site collection into 330, while moving another 50 site collections. We also applied branding and turned on the SharePoint 2010 user interface for the first time. (We had migrated from 2007 to 2010 last year, but left the 2007 UI turned on) We also trained several hundred site owners and introduced strong governance. We have a lot of work to do, but we're off to great start.

(image) Given how much I've enjoyed working as a consultant for Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS), I decided to accept their offer for a full time position as a SharePoint Architect. We have executive support, a crucial element, which has allowed us to build both a great infrastructure and a great team. I'm particularly excited about the opportunity to help define how things are going to work, technically in the SharePoint environment as well as the business processes that we do as a team. Things like how we process incoming requests for solutions, what services we're going to offer, plus what tools we're going to build to help our forty thousand plus users solve problems in their workday.

One other thing I should say, in the context of the new job. I'm leaving behind a great organization – Cardinal Solutions. I've been a consultant with (image) them for a few years now and they've been very good to me and I will continue to refer anyone looking for a consulting gig to Cardinal. This career move for me was all about the opportunity I was going to and was nothing negative about Cardinal.



2012 Year in Review and Goals for 2013

Sun, 20 Jan 2013 05:47:26 GMT

Originally posted on:

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a blog entry. I seem to start every year with a goal of writing X number of blog entries per month or week or something, so let’s see if I do any better this year, with my goal being at least one lengthy post a month.  Hopefully this post will get the ball rolling.

2012 Year in Review

This past year, I’ve worked with one client who needed help migrating their WSS 3.0 farm to SharePoint 2010.  I started at the client around Thanksgiving 2011 and I quickly discovered their plan for a quick six week project wouldn’t work. Their SharePoint 2010 farm wasn’t configured correctly as it was really just a proof of concept quick install (only one service account, inadequate server resources, etc.).

Once we got a few servers together, we created a test farm and a production farm and I started doing test migrations.  After some false starts, we finally got everything migrated by July. (Yes, a six month project became six months.)

For the last half of the year, I joined a new team at the client who had taken over responsibility for SharePoint and we’ve been working to upgrade and migrate all of the sites again.  This time, we’re reorganizing the information architecture, installing custom branding, and moving to a much bigger farm.  We’re hoping to have all of this work wrapped up by the end of March.

Another big piece of my work life last year was getting to attend the SharePoint Conference in November. I’ve been to a few conferences before (Connections, Business Process and Workflow, and of course SharePoint Saturdays), but this was my first SharePoint Conference.  It was a good year to go especially with 2013 being launched.

When it came to speaking engagements, I only had a few internal ones.  I also taught a SharePoint class for our business analysts, as we try to train our BAs to fill SharePoint Analyst roles.

2013 Goals

2013 is starting off with a bang with SharePoint Saturday Charlotte, which I’ll be speaking at (a week from today) on the 26th. Usually, I have goals related to public speaking, so the fact that I’m getting one done in January is a good sign.  I’m going to try to attend at least one other SPS, maybe Atlanta, Richmond, or an Ohio one if the travel timing works out.  I thought the SPS DC was pretty cool in 2011, so maybe make a family trip out of that one again.

I’m also wrapping up the migration project at my client in the next few months, which will be a big accomplishment. We have further projects to do, which will be a nice change of pace from migrations.

At some point this year, I want to start digging into SharePoint 2013, with an eye toward passing the certification exams for it.  My client has no interest in moving to 2013 this year, and probably not even next year, but I still want to try to keep pace with the SharePoint community.

Well, those are my modest goals for the year.


SharePoint 2010 MSDN Labs

Fri, 16 Mar 2012 18:02:56 GMT

Originally posted on: Ligman, from Microsoft, posted a great blog post this week listing all of the SharePoint 2010 Virtual Labs that are available from Microsoft.  His blog entry is here: He also posted other resources as well. I’ve copied his Virtual Lab links here: SharePoint Server 2010 Virtual Labs MSDN Virtual Lab: SharePoint Server 2010: Introduction MSDN Virtual Lab: Getting Started with SharePoint 2010 MSDN Virtual Lab: SharePoint 2010 User Interface Advancements MSDN Virtual Lab: SharePoint Server 2010 Connectors & Using the Business Data Connectivity (BDC) Service MSDN Virtual Lab: SharePoint Server 2010: Advanced Search Security MSDN Virtual Lab: SharePoint Server 2010: Configuring Search UIs MSDN Virtual Lab: SharePoint Server 2010: Content Processing and Property Extraction MSDN Virtual Lab: SharePoint Server 2010: Developing a Custom Connector MSDN Virtual Lab: SharePoint Server 2010: Fast Search Web Crawler MSDN Virtual Lab: SharePoint Server 2010: Federated Search MSDN Virtual Lab: SharePoint Server 2010: Linguistics MSDN Virtual Lab: SharePoint Server 2010: People Search Administration and Management MSDN Virtual Lab: SharePoint Server 2010: Relevancy and Ranking MSDN Virtual Lab: Customizing MySites MSDN Virtual Lab: Designing Lists and Schemas MSDN Virtual Lab: Developing a BCS External Content Type with Visual Studio 2010 MSDN Virtual Lab: Developing a Sandboxed Solution with Web Parts MSDN Virtual Lab: Developing a Visual Web Part in Visual Studio 2010 MSDN Virtual Lab: Developing Business Intelligence Applications MSDN Virtual Lab: Enterprise Content Management MSDN Virtual Lab: LINQ to SharePoint 2010 MSDN Virtual Lab: Visual Studio SharePoint Tools MSDN Virtual Lab: Workflow In addition to the SharePoint Server 2010 Virtual Labs, here are a few other SharePoint 2010 resources that I thought you might also be interested in: Technical reference for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 SharePoint 2010: IT Pro Evaluation Guide Connecting SharePoint 2010 to Line-of-Business Systems to Deliver Business-Critical Solutions Configure SharePoint Server 2010 as a Single Server with Microsoft SQL Server: Test Lab Guide Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Reporting Services Add-in for Microsoft SharePoint Technologies 2010 Deploying FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint Add or Remove an Index Column Upgrade worksheet for SharePoint Server 2010 Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 Technical Library in Compiled Help format Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 Technical Library in Compiled Help format Microsoft FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint Technical Library in Compiled Help format Microsoft Reseller partner Learning Path Microsoft solutions partners and ISVs Learning Path Microsoft partner Practice Accelerator for SharePoint Microsoft partner SharePoint 2010 Internal Use Licenses SharePoint Case Studies SharePoint MSDN Forums SharePoint TechNet Forums Microsoft SharePoint 2010 page on Microsoft Partner Network portal [...]

SharePoint 2010 Client Object Model – CAML Query inaccurate results error

Tue, 08 Nov 2011 15:17:05 GMT

Originally posted on: ran into a frustrating scenario today, while working with SharePoint 2010’s Managed Client Object Model.  My application queries a SharePoint document library using the file’s name (the FileLeafRef field).  Given that this field is unique, I was expecting only one result with the following code: 1 CamlQuery qry = new CamlQuery(); 2 3 //filter the results to only get back the item with the filename we're looking for 4 qry.ViewXml = string.Format( 5 "{0}", 6 remoteFileName); 7 8 ListItemCollection itms = lst.GetItems(qry); 9 ctx.Load(itms); 10 ctx.ExecuteQuery(); Instead of getting one (or none) records, I was getting more than one.  SO, I searched some more and found some examples with slightly different xml: 1 CamlQuery qry = new CamlQuery(); 2 3 //filter the results to only get back the item with the filename we're looking for 4 qry.ViewXml = string.Format( 5 "{0}", 6 remoteFileName); 7 8 ListItemCollection itms = lst.GetItems(qry); 9 ctx.Load(itms); 10 ctx.ExecuteQuery(); See the difference?  Look carefully at line 5 – that’s right. I left out the surrounding “” tags! [...]

Error when trying to access SharePoint 2010 via PowerShell in a new environment

Tue, 11 Oct 2011 20:32:45 GMT

Originally posted on:

I got this error today while trying to access my new SharePoint 2010 environment via PowerShell:

Cannot access the local farm. Verify that the local farm is properly configured, currently available, and that you have the appropriate permissions to access the database before trying again.

If I would have just read the error message a little more carefully, I would have realized that I should start by looking at my permissions in SQL – which my account didn’t.  This happened because I installed SQL Server 2008 R2 in my virtual machine while I was logged on as the local administrator.  When I was attempting to run PowerShell, I was logged on as the domain administrator. (These are virtual machines that I’m using for demos….).  The local administrator was granted access automatically as part of the SQL install.


Error creating PowerPivot Service Application in SharePoint 2010 (SP1 + June 2011 CU)

Sun, 18 Sep 2011 23:51:14 GMT

Originally posted on: few weeks ago I ran into an error while setting up our test farm.  I was creating the service applications and when I got to PowerPivot, I got the following error: I was able to work around this error by using PowerShell to create the service application. Background First, some details of our installation: two web front ends, two application servers, and one SQL server.  All are running Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 with Service Pack1.  The SQL Server is 2008 R2 with SP1.  The SharePoint servers are SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise, and I installed SharePoint’s Service Pack 1 and the June 2011 Cumulative Update (by running all of the installers before running the first Configuration Wizard). Clean Up from the error Once you run into the error, you’ll see that a new database was created and a phantom application pool was created.  To clean these up: Delete the database in SQL server (I did this just using SQL Studio) Delete the database in SharePoint, using PowerShell: (Please note: this PowerShell line will delete any database entry in SharePoint where the actual database doesn’t exist in SQL) Get-SPDatabase | Where{$_.Exists -eq $false} | ForEach {$_.Delete()} Now delete the phantom Application Pool (the error causes a service application pool to be created within SharePoint, but doesn’t actually create it in IIS): Remove-SPServiceApplicationPool -Identity "My App Pool" Just replace the “My App Pool” text with the name of the application pool you want to delete. Create PowerPivot Service Application using PowerShell Now, to create the PowerPivot service application, you can use the following PowerShell script: 1: $PowerPivotServiceName = "PowerPivot Service" 2:   3: Write-Host "Creating PowerPivot Service Application..." 4: New-PowerPivotServiceApplication -ServiceApplicationName $PowerPivotServiceName -DatabaseServerName "SQL.MYDOMAIN.LOCAL" -DatabaseName "Service_PowerPivot_1" -AddToDefaultProxyGroup 5: Write-Host "PowerPivot Service Application created" 6:   7: Write-Host "Creating Application Pool" 8: $AppPool = New-SPServiceApplicationPool -Name "AppPool_PowerPivot" -Account "DOMAIN\SERVICEACCOUNT_USERNAME" 9: Write-Host "App Pool created" 10:   11: Write-Host "Assigning PowerPivot Application Pool" 12: $sa = Get-PowerPivotServiceApplication | where {$_.DisplayName -eq $PowerPivotServiceName} 13: $sa.ApplicationPool = $AppPool; 14: $sa.Update(); 15: Write-Host "PowerPivot Application Pool Assigned" 16:   17: Write-Host "Script Complete" You’ll need to fill in a few parameters specific to your environment: Line 4: DatabaseServerName, DatabaseName Line 8: The Application Pool’s name and the service account that it will run as Summary Doing these steps should give you a working PowerPivot service application.  We did open a support ticket with Microsoft.  They confirmed that other customers have seen this error, but they are still researching the cause. [...]