My apologies, again, for falling behind on my blog.
I'd finished all the work I needed to do for the SSWUG vconference in November, and was working on a two part vcast (of which I have the first half done and mostly edited) that I'd mentioned in one of my last posts, when my video card crapped out. Since, in my case, my video card is part of the motherboard of my machine, I had to wait weeks and weeks for it to be fixed. Falling weeks and weeks behind on blog entries, podcasts, vcasts, and work of any kind that required my trusty laptop.
Then the holidays came. Pushing my productivity down even further.
Then, on January 1st of 2009, I was sent an email congratulating me on being awarded an MVP- SharePoint Services.
Yup, for the year of 2009 at least, I am an MVP! Woo hoo.
That means I will be able to go to the infamous MVP Summit, visit the Redmond campus, meet the program team for WSS in person, and more. This is particularly important as the next version of WSS is right around the corner (well it may not be out til 2010, but there's got to be some beta testing to do), my timing is pretty good.
And now here I am, working on doing some more sessions for the spring SSWUG vconference (more on that in a second), planning for travel to the summit, and trying to get back to my vcasts and other things for this blog.
Concerning working on content for the vconference: I've been thinking of doing a full series of sessions, in part at the conference, or in whole. I may only be able to prep for about three for the conference, and may do the rest here.
You see, I have a problem coming up with titles for my session proposals (which are often, if accepted, used as session abstracts). The content is easier for me, describing just what I am going to do in the session and why that might be interesting. I can do that. But catchy titles? Not so much.
Because I was recently made an MVP I was able to send in some session proposals for TechEd 2009 (of course, I got the MVP code the day of the deadline, so I only had time to send in two). However, I really just didn't feel I did a good job with creating a catchy title for the proposals-- ones that popped, ones that really effectively sold what I was cookin' (so to speak).
Troubled, when I was asked to do some more sessions for SSWUG's vconference in the spring, I wasn't confident that I could really generate some good titles. And everyone knows it's the title that attendees (and the curious) click on. If the title isn't right, no one will bother to read the description.
So I hemmed and hawed, and hemmed some more. I thought of "Super Duper Admin Tricks" and "The Secret Life of WSS: things that even MOSS can't do". But they didn't quite fit for me.
Then I thought of something. Really, a lot of my motivation with sticking stubbornly to evangelizing WSS (instead of MOSS) is because I cringe at the idea of paying out the nose for something that isn't entirely going to be used. There are so many things that WSS does, for free, that there are good, solid reasons to never install MOSS. I like getting the most out of my servers, and their features for the money I spend, before I spend another penny.
And if I need to spend more money, I want to know why, exactly what I need to buy, and exactly what it needs to do before I write any checks.
And that's why I like doing presentations about WSS. Because I like to show you what you can do with what you have. Help you get the most out of the free product before you have to buy the server product, the standard CALs, and even the additional enterprise CALs. Push the envelope, think outside the Admin box.
In the very least, show you it's limits so that you clearly know where the line is, and when it's time to pay for the server version of SharePoint.
In a word, I like to be frugal.
And because that sums up the point, the underlying motivation of a lot of my sessions, I've decided to do a "The Frugal Admin" series (well, if I don't get any feedback telling me not to).
Ideas I have for the series (please let me know which you like):
The Frugal Admin, How to get the most of the built-in web parts: Don't just accept that your home pages are boring. Put some life into them without spending a penny. Explore the existing web part templates and broaden the horizons of existing list view web parts. Push them to the limit and turn your bland, hum drum home pages into the spectacular, useful, web part pages they were meant to be. Wow your users, impress your boss, and never wonder if you could have built yourself what you just paid some one else to make. Know for sure what your options really are, without any additional cost.
The Frugal Admin, Do it yourself dashboards. or maybe How to make your own Dashboards, without being a developer or SharePoint Designer: Dashboards are easy, depending on what you want to do with them. Why pay for one when you can roll your own. Come see the secrets of the simple dashboard; how to create the views, the web parts, and the web pages that make a site's home page more relevant from management to worker. See how far you can go out of the box before you spend a dime.
The Frugal Admin, Make your own Custom Site Templates. So you think only Microsoft can come up with useful site templates? Think again. Don't be trapped into thinking that if you want a nice site (especially one you'd like to deploy in a few places) you have to pay a developer to create it. Come see how we wrap up this three part series by bringing together the fancy web parts and dashboards to create our own unique site templates. Filled to the rim with useful goodness. With tips and tricks concerning workflows, resource libraries, and more. Learn how to make your templates self referencing, so they can pack up and go without having any extra files to worry about. Elevate your status, become that much closer to a WSS expert by seeing how it's really done-- all without special developer training or expensive additional software. Create the templates you wish Microsoft had thought of after attending this session.
The Frugal Admin, Exploiting what's out there. So you need to create a new user group site, or your managers want you to create a time sheet site to track each department's hours on sharepoint related projects. Maybe your IT department want's their own helpdesk site. Well, before you start either trying to create those yourself, or find someone to pay who will-- consider looking online at the resources already available from Microsoft and Codeplex. With the Fantastic 40 templates, Groupboard 2007, and the Community Kit for SharePoint, you've probably got all bases covered, and then some-- for FREE. So before you start making promises to anyone, stop by this session and get a glimpse of the good stuff, and discover all those pre-made templates before the need to make your own wears you down.
Stepping back a bit--
The Frugal Admin, So you're considering installing WSS? A quick run down on what you need to install WSS, tips concerning licensing, Authentication (AD, and a few of its cheap alternatives- AD Account Creation Mode and Forms Based Authentication), Planning, and a quick overview about Design. Consider who you want to use SharePoint and how they're going to use it. Know what you're getting into before you start, and you'll always save money in the end. Don't be surprised, plan ahead. (for those experienced admins, you might want to stop by to get some insight into why, sometimes, it is a good idea to install SQL and SharePoint on the same server... for those tips and more, stop by the session, it'll be worth it)
For those experienced Frugal Admins, I'd like to go into detail about getting more out of SharePoint doing Intranet/Extranet deployments (not always the cheapest thing to do, but I'll show you how to squeeze every penny out of it), The nitty gritty on ADAC, the inside scoop on Directory Mangement Services (and why it's rather a wet balloon), and more. There are also some interesting tools for those admins- for free of course- that's I'd like to explore, such as the administration kit for Sharepoint, and some of the solution accelerators, as well as good ol' Search Server Express.
So what do you think, would these sessions be worth attending? Anything you'd like to see that I haven't mentioned? Feel free to comment. Kthxbai. ; )