Joining Microsoft Full-time

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About six months ago I made the decision to join Microsoft full-time as a Senior Program Manager in the IT group of the Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Information & Services (MSCIS) organization. After five years with Avanade this transition came with mixed emotions, looking back on a ton of growth and learning over the first years of my career. With the transition come a couple significant changes. The first is the move from vendor to FTE. With this comes a change in accountability where now you are there to ensure the work gets done and take the initiative to “drive through the smoke”. The second is the move from a business analyst / Solution Manager role to PM, which brings a whole new set of responsibility of project management, design, and technology. I am excited for the next season of settling in with a great team in a very exciting time for Microsoft.

http://www.linkedin.com/in/alexcnichols

Enatai Beach Park

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Finished editing and posted some video I took with my new-ish Canon T2i at Enatai Beach Park in Bellevue, Wa.

Apps by Alex

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I recently published my Apps page where you will find my first app for Windows Phone titled Bankrolled. Download the free trial now!

Signs of Amazon Digital Transformation

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I noticed something interesting while browsing everyone’s favorite online retailer today. Their departments list seems to be transforming as it expands into these new digital markets. The more recent expansions have come with the release of the Netflix-like instant video service, which is free for Amazon Prime members, the Amazon Cloud Drive service, specializing in storage of digital music purchased from Amazon, and the Appstore for Android, which could become the defacto marketplace for Android. As Paul described in this week’s Windows Weekly, if you described the markets and competitors that Amazon is now targeting you wouldn’t think such a company would exist. What company could compete with Netflix, Google, Microsoft, and Apple in all of these various markets?… Amazon.

PSSPUG: SharePoint Saturday Redmond 2011: SPDiag, Visio Services, and Upgrade

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On Saturday, I attended the SharePoint Saturday Redmond 2011 event held by Puget Sound SharePoint User Group at the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Wa. Here are some notes, announcements, and guidance I took down during the morning sessions.

Keynote

Speaker:
Bill Baer
Technical Product Manager
SharePoint Product Group
SharePoint MCM

Announcement: SharePoint Diagnostics Studio Version 2.0 (SPDiag.exe)

  • Will be released as part of upcoming SharePoint Administration Toolkit in about a month
  • Will supplement the SCOM and the Health Analyzer to provide advanced diagnostics
  • Surfaces diagnostic data from all servers across the farm, remotely
  • Reports: Base, Capacity, Performance, Availability, Usage
  • Integrated search: Can report on data by Correlation ID, Date/Time, or User
  • Snapshot/Export report to view offline
  • Two components: SPDiag.exe (Client) and ExtendedDiagnoticProviders.exp (Farm solution)
  • Will be released via the SharePoint team blog

Visio & SharePoint with a Twist of Silverlight (Developer)

Speaker:
Barb Coplen
Portal Program Manager
Server & Tools Business, Microsoft

Demo and walkthrough of how to use Visio Services, a SharePoint list, and Visio Services JavaScript API to build a dynamic view of clickable shapes and additional details in a SharePoint Web Part page.

SharePoint 2010 Upgrade Strategies & Best Practices (IT Pro)

Speaker:
Joel Oleson
SharePoint Technology Evangelist
Quest Software
http://sharepointjoel.com

  • Pre-Upgrade: Verify system requirements, run STSADM -O PREUPGRADECHECK and Test-SPContentDatabase
  • Database Attach is the best way to upgrade your content
  • In Place is the best way to upgrade your SSP to Service Applications
  • If you feel “stuck” with In Place upgrade due to hardware constraints: Take one of your WFE servers out of the farm, rebuilded it as a new SP2010 farm, use the existing SQL infrastructure, do the Database Attach upgrade to that server, then rebuild/add the other servers as part of the upgrade window
  • Unless you have a lot invested in your SSP, don’t upgrade them as it is much cleaner / less trouble to just start with clean Services Applications
  • Guidance for Service Application installation:
    • Don’t turn them all on initially, rather install them as you need them
    • Guidance is to roughly match the SharePoint SKUs
    • Baseline = Service Applications in Foundation
    • Next = those in Standard
    • Last = those in Enterprise
    • Example: Microsoft IT, for internal deployment, turned on only those that matched their 2007 environments, then installed the additional Service Applications incrementally over time
  • Upgrades that take longer than a weekend: Either AAM redirection (not preferred) or see if your business can handle Read Only
  • Items not compatible with Visual Upgrade = off
    • My Sites
    • Project Server
    • Report Web Part
  • Information on upgrading Fabulous 20 templates: http://bit.ly/dhQUjd

SharePoint 2010 Advanced Developer and IT Professional Training

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Earlier this year I was fortunate to take a week off and virtually attend the SharePoint 2010 Ignite Developer training. This was an intense deep dive into the new capabilities of SharePoint 2010 and included a number of virtual labs where we got to practice new learnings on actual servers.

After digging around my email for links to these training materials for download I was pleased to find that this training has now been made public, including many of the virtual lab exercises! See links below and enjoy.

SharePoint 2010 Advanced Developer Training
SharePoint 2010 Advanced IT Professional Training

Certification Update – October 2010

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Over the last few months I have accumulated a few more certifications in ADO.NET 3.5, as I work toward MCPD 3.5, and SharePoint 2010. Check my About page to see a list of my current certifications.