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.

PC Building: Hyper-V Server

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Last winter I set out to build my own PC. This was something I had never dared try before but felt I was obligated to complete to truly call myself a geek.

This would not be a machine loaded with components with names like i7 and Radeon. I wanted to build a Hyper-V server; one that would host 4 or 5 virtual machines that I could experiment with, utilize for testing/training purposes, and do things that i just couldn’t do with my company laptop.

After a few months of shopping, giving NewEgg.com and Fry’s a bunch of money, and assembly in my spare time I now have something I am pretty happy with. (Given this is my first PC build)

I hope to use this box heavily over the next few months as I ramp up on SharePoint 2010 and try to complete my MCPD-EA.

Processor:
Intel Xeon X3440 Lynnfield 2.53GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Server Processor
Allows me to utilize the multiple cores for the multiple virtual machines and supports Hyper-V.

Motherboard:
Intel S3420GPLC LGA 1156 Intel 3420 ATX Intel Xeon 3400 series Server Motherboard
Paired with the processor and gives me plenty of SATA ports for a bunch of hard drives setup with on-board RAID.

Power Supply:
Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC “compatible with Core i7/Core i5” Power Supply
I think this should be plenty of power given I am using on-board video.

RAM:
Kingston 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM ECC Registered DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Server Memory Model KVR1066D3Q8R7S/4G (X2)
Pretty spendy but supported by the motherboard and 8GB is enough for the 4-5 virtual machines I want to run.

Hard Drives:
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAJS 320GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5″ Internal Hard Drive (X2)
Western Digital Caviar Green WD5000AADS 500GB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5″ Hard Drive (X3)
Initially, setup a RAID-1 with the Blue pair and a RAID-5 with the Green set, however, had to remove the RAID-5 array when the RAID controller consistently had problems and ended up corrupting one of the drives. I don’t know if it was the RAID controller or the drive but got rid of the RAID for now at least.

Case:
Antec Two Hundred Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Got a great deal from my local Fry’s Electronics. Makes my lame-o server look like a gaming machine, which is nice.

OS:
Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V

Xbox 360 with 3 Quarter Red Ring of Death + Best Buy PRP + Geek Squad = New Xbox 360 with No Data Loss

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Xbox 360 Red Ring of Death Last week, after a year and a half of almost constant Call of Duty and Halo gameplay, my Xbox 360 finally bit the dust. For a few weeks leading up to the 3 RRoD incident, when I would go to start a new Call of Duty: World at War Nazi Zombies match, it would freeze up and the screen would turn into a checkerboard. It took only about 4-5 matches of checkers before it had enough.

Luckily I was fooled into getting the Best Buy 2-year Product Replacement Plan (PRP) when I purchased the unit. This entitled me to an immediate full refund of the purchase price in the event of a failure rather than sending it off to Microsoft for a month.

Over 30 minutes after walking through my local Best Buy’s doors I had received my $350 refund and used it purchase a new Xbox 360 Pro at $250. I received the remaining $100 on a gift card.

The only issue was that I did not want to loose all of my data from my old Xbox so I hired the Geek Squad to work their Xbox 360 Data Transfer magic. (5 minutes of work for 1/2 hour in Geek Squad bucks, which equates to $29.99)

Today I am home playing my new Xbox 360 with all of the saved games and downloaded content (maps) in tact.

HttpWebRequest, HttpWebResponse, and the WebException

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Calling the GetResponse() method on the HttpWebRequest class yields some interesting results. It determines that a status code of anything else but 200 (OK) is an exceptional case and throws a WebException exception.

The following code demonstrates how to return the status code even if the URL in the request is not OK.

HttpStatusCode httpStatusCode;
HttpWebRequest httpWebRequest = (HttpWebRequest)WebRequest.Create("http://invalidsitename.net/");
try
{
    using (HttpWebResponse httpWebResponse = (HttpWebResponse)httpWebRequest.GetResponse())
    {
        httpStatusCode = httpWebResponse.StatusCode; //OK
    }
}
catch (WebException webException)
{
    if (webException.Response != null)
    {
        HttpWebResponse httpWebExceptionResponse = (HttpWebResponse)webException.Response;
        httpStatusCode = httpWebExceptionResponse.StatusCode; //Something other than OK
    }
    else
    {
        throw webException; //Invalid host name
    }
}
return httpStatusCode;

MCPD: Web Developer

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Last month I completed the final exam in the .NET Framework 2.0 Web Developer series to achieve the MCPD. Check my About page to see a list of my current certifications.

MCPD

MCTS: .NET Framework 2.0 Web Applications

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This week I completed the second of two exams to achieve the MCTS: .NET Framework 2.0 Web Applications certification. This is just one step toward the MCPD: EA certification. Check my About page to see a list of my current certifications.

MCTS-2Web

SharePoint Guidance: Released

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Microsoft patterns & practices SharePoint Guidance has been released to MSDN!

http://www.microsoft.com/spg

Updated: SharePoint Guidance 1.0 – Nov 2008

Here are a few of the topics you will find inside:

  • Architectural decisions about patterns, feature factoring, and packaging
  • Design tradeoffs for decisions many developers encounter, such as whether to use SharePoint lists or a database to store information
  • Implementation examples that are demonstrated in the Training Management application and in the QuickStarts
  • How to design a SharePoint application for testability, create unit tests, and run continuous integration
  • How to set up different environments including the development, build, test, staging, and production environments
  • How to manage the application life cycle through development, test, deployment, and upgrading
  • Team-based intranet application development
  • You might also see my name, along with the names of a couple of others from Avanade, in the Authors and Contributors section. (Updated to refer to SharePoint Guidance 1.0 – Nov 2008)