Monday, November 3, 2008

Things I've been up to

Howdy everybody,

I've been crazy busy this month, but I wanted to catch up with a few things.

This Weds, Thurs, and Fri (Nov. 5th, 6th, and 7th) is the SSWUG Vconference (virtual conference). I did three sessions for the event (see the "Happenin' Things" widget on the left of this blogs homepage to access the link and check out the event). Their schedule may be changing in the next day or two, so I'd rather you checked the conference site than putting it here.

Although the event is primarily for the SQL Server Worldwide User Group members (shout out to the SSWUG peeps), anyone can sign up to attend the sessions. They aren't free, there is a fee (somewhere around a hundred bucks, US) to see all the sessions you can handle, all day, everyday, from the morning of the 5th to the evening of the 7th.

The sessions were recorded, live, in a tiny little studio in AZ. I did mine in September. It was a weird, exhausting, and pretty uncomfortable experience for me, I must admit. I teach people, not cameras set up on tripods in an otherwise empty, black room. It had a very make-believe, surreal feel to it. I am not sure how well I did, performing in front of no one, but I had pretty solid content. The sessions were rushed; essentially all one take, all three sessions back to back, in one day. So my first time out trying this new medium, was the only time. Please be gentle. ; )

I have learned that I am not necessarily a one take girl-- especially since it was the first time I ever tried to perform in that environment. I am pretty sure I have it down now though, so if asked to do it again, I might go for it. If circumstances permit.

For those of you who don't know what a vconference is about, here's the scoop. It is a conference that is presented online instead of live and in-person. The presenters present in a recording studio, in front of cameras, and do essentially live recordings of their presentations (they were supposed to be about an hour in length, some are a little shorter, as the presenters learned that, without the distraction of students, the sessions go faster ). The presentations are then prepared for viewing (minimally, to keep that "live" feeling). Then, during the period of time selected for the conference, they are made available to the viewing public during certain times and dates. The viewing public pays a certain fee and uses the username and password they create to "attend the sessions".

After (or even during, I'm not sure) the sessions, the speakers are available, real time, in session specific chats so the attendees can ask them questions concerning their sessions, just as they would be in a physical conference.

The point of having a virtual conference, as opposed to a physical conference, is for the convenience of the attendees. They don't have to waste money, time, or resources travelling to a location, paying for that travel, housing, food, and other expenses, or spending time locked into the conference itself. They don't expose themselves to the press of humanity, and instead can get the sessions without leaving their home. These vconferences are being advertised as being "green" because they are not as wasteful as a full-blown conference would be.

So if you are interested in attending a virtual sharepoint conference (there are also tracks covering business intelligence, SQL, and more, as well), experiencing numerous interesting and informative sessions, right in the comfort of your home or office, then I suggest you check out It's a really cheap opportunity to get in some additional training, learn some useful stuff, and get to see me possibly embarrass myself in an empty room.

--For my loyal readers, here are some embarrassing things to look for: the lighting was not meant for a 5'3" person, so it magnified through my glasses onto my face in an interesting way during all of the sessions, also, if you watch closely, you might get to see me unintentionally stepping off camera (I was instinctively trying to give camera 2 a better view of the slides behind me) at least once during the conference... good times, good times. : P--

Which brings me to what I have been focusing on concerning this blog-- more recorded material. Because I had such an interesting time recording for the vconference, it made me more interested in using the internet as a more active medium, and recording material in general.

I still had to finish the Richard Series podcasts, and I really felt I needed to do more with the content I had recorded for the vconference.

(The podcasts were originally started because my book was delayed and Richard needed to come up to speed on WSS 3.0-- in the interim the book came out, making the rest of the series moot- but what the hey, I might as well finish them.)

To that end, I recorded the second Richard series podcast, "Introduction to WSS 3.0, Planning Site Collections and Web Applications" (which was something of a nightmare due to my beloved logitech headset breaking, two additional headsets being too low-quality to use, and finally just using a stand-alone logitech mic).

I am still going to finish the series with a podcast for capacity and performance planning, and disaster planning, but I wanted to take some time to try to reproduce and improve on my performance in the studio by doing more video presentations.

Currently I am working on some WSS focused videos. I was given a better mic-- a Snowball from Blue Microphones (, which should help with audio quality. The first video 'cast should be out by the end of the week, and should be part of a series covering the implementation of the User Group Edition site template from the Community Kit for SharePoint.

These podcasts and videos should supplement the continuing entries for this blog, so expect intermittent additions as time permits.

Altogether, these last couple of months have been all about exploring the options of spreading the WSS 3.0 word beyond written material and some screenshots.

So that's the latest update on what's going on in the world of a WSS servergrrl. If you decide to attend the vconference, please let them know I mentioned it to you. They like knowing stuff like that.