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SharePint at WPC12

One of my favorite weeks of the year is coming up – the Microsoft WorldWide Partner Conference.  One of the best meet-ups of the week has always been the SharePint event.  This year should be no exception.

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This year, the Microsoft SharePoint Marketing Group has worked with Pingar and 3 other software companies, Axceler, Rackspace, and Idera, to host a meet-up for partners that work within the SharePoint ecosystem during the week of WPC12.

You know what they say…  SharePoint by Day, SharePINT by Night!

This year SharePint will be on Tuesday, July 10, from 6-8PM at the Madison Avenue Pub, in Toronto.

WPC is a huge event, and while there are some important sessions for SharePoint partners, the real significant effort at WPC should be about meeting with other partners and working to grow your company’s network and connections.  I think this is why the WPC Connect portion of WPC has grown to be (at certain times of the week) the busiest part of the conference.  While it can be hard to find open time to meet with specific partners, at least SharePoint partners understand where they can meet their SharePoint peers and enjoy some good conversation.

If you haven’t already registered for WPC12, please do so at http://digitalwpc.com.

I’ll be meeting with partners at WPC Connect, attending a couple of the sessions, and hoping to meet everyone at SharePint!  If I haven’t already reached out to meet you, please reach out to me and let’s meet at WPC12!

I’m certainly looking forward to an amazing week in Toronto.

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This is too important of a list of PR principles to not make a note of. I’m placing a copy on my blog so I’ll have it when I need it. I’m sure that I’ll need it someday. Just because I’ve lived a perfect life so far (Ha! Ha!) doesn’t mean a crisis isn’t around the corner. Thanks, @ericatoelle, for the hat tip to this article.

Are you Wondering? Or Are you Wandering?

I had an interesting conversation the other day with a colleague, – a colleague who is from a Central European country. I’m not sure which one, exactly, but we were speaking about some new business ideas for SharePoint Directions, and she asked me if I was still wondering what to do.  The thing is, though, that due to her accent, I wasn’t sure if she used the word “Wondering”, or the word “Wandering”.  Even to hear her say the two words separately a few minutes later, my untrained and Western USA-educated ears had a difficult time trying to tell the difference  What a difference one letter makes.

It started me thinking, though, about my journey with SharePoint Directions.  – or in a bigger sense, with our journey in life.

Wondering

To wonder is to envision, to question your direction, to question your efforts, your capabilities and your talents. To wonder is also to read, to study, to pray, to ask, to listen, to watch, to reason, to make plans. We must wonder before we can grow. Are we too busy to find time to wonder? Do we make the time to wonder regularly? Do you wonder how good you can be? Wonder regularly and wonder often. It’s good for you.

Wandering

Wandering is the activity component to Wondering. Where To Wonder is to work from your chair, To Wander is management by walking around. Wandering is experimentation. Wandering is experiential. To wander is to try out your ideas, to practice that speech, to give that interview, to spend that extra hour with the client. To wander is to move into different circles and to expand into unknown areas that might be new and strange – until one wanders into them.
To wander is to act on your ideas, and to put your plan into practice.

I started asking myself if the time that I was spending on different tasks was time spent wondering or time spent wandering. It became easier and easier to make that judgment about what I was spending my time on.  I did find, interestingly enough, that I was spending too much time wondering, and not enough time wandering.  I don’t really know why it surprised me, or why I was a little saddened to realize that I hadn’t been wandering as much as I could have been.

I was struck by the simplicity of the concept between wondering and wandering.  I was struck by how much time one could spend wondering, without reaching conclusions.  It is only when wondering is followed by wandering that great achievements are made. And it is only when wandering is preceeded by wondering that people achieve at close to their capacity.

So, I will be trying to wander a bit more often. I will still be wondering – there is too much to learn.  I wonder if this bit of inspiration is only for me, or if it also applies to others.  I think that it might apply to others, but in this case, it only applies to me.

All because of one little letter.  Are you Wondering? Or Are you Wandering?

I think that you are seeing right now why my blog is still being published under the http://owen-allen.com domain, and not under www.SharePointDirections.com.  One of these days I’ll get around to putting the SharePoint Directions blog on-line, and that will be a work-only blog.  But for now, you get work mixed in with personal reflections…

SharePoint in the Cloud roundtable

Link to the Roundtable event page

I’m participating in a SharePoint in the Cloud roundtable event (#FocusRT21) later this week (Thursday, July 21, 11AM PT), that should be very informative.  There are some great experts on the roundtable, which will be available for the public to call into.  I do hope that you can join us.

SharePoint is having an impact in every direction where it stretches its legs.  Moving into the cloud is no different.  SharePoint has supported external applications for a few years now, with extensive Web service support.  With SharePoint 2010, SharePoint exposed native object models for .Net, JavaScript, and Silverlight, all designed to encourage more sophisticated remote clients for SharePoint – so that information and process stored in SharePoint could be leveraged in a distributed architecture.

SharePoint 2010 also introduced a service application infrastructure that enabled service applications to be subscribed to by different SharePoint farms, enabling different farms to stay in synch by accessing centralized resources.  This can be useful in a cloud environment – think of SharePoint farms at different plant facilities that are all leveraging a centralized product catalog, or business services.  SharePoint can be a client, in this way, as well as a server.  All that we have to do is to think about designing SharePoint applications from a broader perspective.

Office 365 is another example of SharePoint in the Cloud.  In this regard, Microsoft is offering SharePoint as a Service.  This is a little bit different than we have traditionally thought of SharePoint farms.  Office 365 will bring the collaboration and information sharing attributes of SharePoint to the world, but it won’t bring the application platform characteristics to the environment.  This will force SharePoint application developers to move to alternative ways of delivering their functionality.  It will be interesting to see if Microsoft decides that they do want to offer platform capabilities on Office 365 or if they will be satisfied simply adding functionality to their “SharePoint as a Service” offering.

Richard Harbridge (@rharbridge) has collected a good group of experts for the roundtable. I hope that you can join us on Thursday!

Link to the Roundtable event page

Flash video within SharePoint 2007

Today I got a question from a client about how to add support for Flash videos within SharePoint 2007.  I found a number of very old posts, and some that were more recent, but I had to cobble together a lot of different pieces to finally figure out how to create these steps to illustrate the process.

I hope that these steps are of interest, and save some time for someone who is looking to do the same thing again one day.  I’d love to hear how these steps could be presented more efficiently, or where some time could be saved.  One thing I learned, is that I’m glad that there are some companies that are trying to automate this to help enterprises with processing videos at high volume levels.  I’m helping one of those companies now — Ooyala — to come up with an easy way to manage video.  When that is ready to ship, I’ll let you know here.

Meanwhile – back to the steps…

  1. Download a Flash Video Player web part for SharePoint 2007
    1. There is a sample file available for free from Microsoft’s open source catalog, www.codeplex.com.
    2. Go to http://svp.codeplex.com.  This is the web part that you’ll be installing as part of this example.
    3. Go to Downloads section, and click on the recommended download.  http://svp.codeplex.com/releases/41778/download/110456
    4. Click through the License Agreement.
    5. Save the downloaded file to c:\downloads\SharePointVideoPlayer.wsp
  2. Deploy the web part to your site collection
    1. Open a cmd window as an Administrator
    2. cd c:\program files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\12\BIN
    3. Stsadm -o addsolution -filename c:\downloads\SharePointVideoPlayer.wsp
    4. Stsadm -o execadmsvcjobs
    5. For this next line, you will need the URL of your Site Collection.  In this command line, my site collection is: “http://shrpnt2007:28656
    6. Stsadm -o deploysolution -name SharePointVideoPlayer.wsp -allowgacdeployment -force -immediate -url "http://shrpnt2007:28656"
    7. Stsadm -o execadmsvcjobs
    8. Iisreset
  3. Activate the Site Collection Feature
    1. Go to Site Actions -> Site Setting -> Site Collection Features
    2. Locate SharePoint Video Player feature and click “Activate”
  4. The Above steps only have to be done ONCE.  Once the web part is activated as a Site Collection Feature, then you can add it to as many pages as you’d like using the below steps.
  5. Add the web part to your page
    1. Click Site Actions -> Edit Page
    2. Click “Add a Web Part”
    3. Add the “SharePoint Video Player” Web Part
  6. Modify the web part properties for the web part to point to the hosted flash video file
    1. Edit the web part properties
    2. Scroll down to “Video Player Properties”
    3. Modify entry for “FLV file”.  Use something that looks like this:
    4. <object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" id="ooyalaPlayer_6m3j0_gow1g8v5" width="640" height="480" codebase="http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/get/flashplayer/current/swflash.cab">
       <param name="movie" value="http://player.ooyala.com/player.swf?embedCode=MwdXlpMjqnvUZs3V8Tujt5d1oU_ItJSr&version=2" />
       <param name="bgcolor" value="#000000" />
       <param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" />
       <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" />
       <param name="flashvars" value="embedType=directObjectTag&embedCode=MwdXlpMjqnvUZs3V8Tujt5d1oU_ItJSr" />
       <embed src="http://player.ooyala.com/player.swf?embedCode=MwdXlpMjqnvUZs3V8Tujt5d1oU_ItJSr&version=2" bgcolor="#000000" width="640" height="480" name="ooyalaPlayer_6m3j0_gow1g8v5" align="middle" play="true" loop="false" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" flashvars="&embedCode=MwdXlpMjqnvUZs3V8Tujt5d1oU_ItJSr" pluginspage="http://www.adobe.com/go/getflashplayer"></embed>
       </object>
  7. Click OK and Exit Edit Mode.
  8. The above Flash embed string is for streaming a static video.  For streaming a live video, you follow the same approach, but the Flash embed string is slightly different, but only because the source file is a live streaming video and not a static streaming video.
<object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" id="ooyalaPlayer_6ubv0_gow38rxq" width="480" height="270" codebase="http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/get/flashplayer/current/swflash.cab">
 <param name="movie" value="http://player.ooyala.com/player.swf?embedCode=BrMWtjMjpJU-7gE0lQqvnK75Wulzo6kT&version=2" />
 <param name="bgcolor" value="#000000" />
 <param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" />
 <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" />
 <param name="flashvars" value="embedType=directObjectTag&embedCode=BrMWtjMjpJU-7gE0lQqvnK75Wulzo6kT" />
 <embed src="http://player.ooyala.com/player.swf?embedCode=BrMWtjMjpJU-7gE0lQqvnK75Wulzo6kT&version=2" bgcolor="#000000" width="480" height="270" name="ooyalaPlayer_6ubv0_gow38rxq" align="middle" play="true" loop="false" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" flashvars="&embedCode=BrMWtjMjpJU-7gE0lQqvnK75Wulzo6kT" pluginspage="http://www.adobe.com/go/getflashplayer"></embed>
 </object>

I’m a selfish blogger, and I’ve got a sneaky feeling that I’ll need this list of steps again and again. I hope that it will be useful to you, also.

Yes, even for SharePoint 2007.  After all, some of your best friends are still using SharePoint 2007!

SharePoint and Azure at PDC10

Tomorrow is the start of the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference, PDC10. Every SharePoint ISV should have one or two developers or architects in attendance, virtually, if not physically.

This edition of PDC is important because much of the focus will be on the Windows Azure platform, and Cloud Computing concepts.  I don’t think there is a bigger question that SharePoint ISVs have, than “What are the Cloud and Azure implications for SharePoint, and for my business?”

Now is the time to learn about Microsoft’s direction with the Windows Azure platform.  There are bound to be a number of announcements about the Windows Azure platform, and because the integration with SharePoint 2010 is not a direct integration, but is an indirect integration, most, if not all, SharePoint solutions will need to be re-architected.

Even if you have selected a different cloud provider than the Windows Azure platform, you will benefit from understanding Microsoft’s direction around Windows Azure.  Windows Azure focuses more on the Platform as a Service (PaaS) model, and is not an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or a Software as a Service (SaaS) offering.  This implies that more or less services are available to you as a solution builder.

There won’t be a lot of sessions about SharePoint specifically, but most of the Azure sessions will have a bearing on SharePoint development. There will be one session on SharePoint Online, but it will be viewable on demand, and not live.

Use http://player.microsoftpdc.com/ to see the agenda, and to play the sessions in a live streaming mode and for replay after the conference concludes.

I should stress that development for SharePoint Online and development for SharePoint and Windows Azure are different things at this point.  SharePoint solution builders need to understand that they need to have two approaches to deliver their solutions, or pick the best approach and work to deliver well through that channel.  I would love to be able to update this post to announce that a SharePoint solution builder can target SharePoint Online and the Windows Azure platform with the same approach, but that will not be true for a long time, if ever.  SharePoint Online is Not SharePoint on Windows Azure.

The timing for this event is also interesting, given the new announcements of Office 365 as the new name for the Business Productivity Online Suite.  I’m not sure that we’ll see much about Office 365, given that the PDC is owned by the Developer side of the campus, and not the Business side, but there should be mentions and maybe some additional information in the high-level keynotes.

 

Online Account Security

As we all use many, many online accounts, I’d like to present a public service message.  Read Omar Shahine’s post titled “Protect your Live ID now” and apply these principles to secure your online identity wherever you might have them, whether it is a Windows Live account, or a Google account, or another type of account.

I particularly like the idea to put your own random entry into the “Secret Questions” portion and then record your answer in your archive of remembered passwords.  Everytime I am prompted with one of these silly secret question things, I remember how silly they really are, and of Bill Gates’ visit to The Daily Show, at about 3:30 in this clip…  http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-january-29-2007/bill-gates-pt–1

Six Weeks In

It’s funny to see what has happened with SharePoint Directions after six weeks.   I feel like I’m still running as fast as I did at Microsoft, except that I’m doing projects and having conversations on my own terms – and feeling complete freedom and responsibility about them.  It’s turning out very well.  I’m grateful for all of you who are on my “Virtual Board of Advisors”, and those ISVs that provide great feedback and support.

The whole speaking thing is starting to take off.  I spoke at all three of the West Coast SharePoint Saturday events in September (SPS East Bay, SPS LA, SPS Vancouver), and last week at the SharePoint Palooza event in Seattle.  (That event deserves a separate post.)  I am writing this while on the way home from SPTechCon Boston 2010 and while I didn’t speak at this event, I was able to get a lot of work done, and am looking forward to speaking at SPTechCon San Francisco 2011.

The best session at SPTechCon that I participated in was Paul Stubbs’ session about Developer Patterns for Sandbox Development in SharePoint 2010.   The secret is Full Trust Proxies.  It’s too bad that BPOS won’t be supporting Full Trust proxies for a bunch of years to come, if ever.  By the time BPOS decides to support Full Trust Proxy, there will be a new approach to providing this capability.  But for now, if you are an ISV and would like to write for the SharePoint 2010 Sandbox, (and that is ALL of you!) remember this code:  “Blue Horseshoe LOVES Full Trust Proxies!”

 

Seizing the White Space

Seizing the white space

I’m reading the book, “Seizing the White Space: Business Model Innovation for Growth and Renewal,” by Mark W. Johnson.

Chapter 2 opens with an example from “An Actor Prepares,” by Konstantin Stanislavsky, which describes an actor who can’t get motivated appropriately for a scene. The actor and the director know what needs to happen, but the actor can’t find the right character preparation to play the scene. It requires him to be frightened of something off the set, and to jump under a table. The director instructs the actor to go through the motions of jumping under then table, and when he does, the actor finds that he then can feel the fear that he was trying to generate.
“sometimes you feel afraid and you dive under the table, the master conceded, but sometimes, if you dive under the table, you will feel afraid. Stanislavsky’s great contribution to Western art was to propose that while creative inspiration often leads to structure, just as often, structure unlocks creativity.”

I am an extremely successful procrastinator. I try all sorts of methods to shake myself out of a rut, to stop being distracted by the shiny and the new, at the expense of my current projects, but it is difficult. — often because I am at the place where the actor was — unable to generate the creative blast that I felt was needed to see into the project and to provide the desired thrust.

This quote shook me up a little bit and perhaps I can take away from it that by diving into the project, I can trust that the creativity will follow. This may seem like a simple concept to many, but to me, it might be more important. We will see. However, it’s good for me to observe that I did get this blog post done!

(I still haven’t finished the web site for the new company, SharePoint Directions, but that’s another story…)

See you again online!

Hello, World!

This is the new blog for Owen Allen.  I’ve had a great past few years over at http://blogs.msdn.com/oallen (I started blogging in July 2003), but it’s time for my own blog URL, as I’m taking the next step in my career and finishing an 8 year career with Microsoft.  I’m looking forward to learning how to use wordpress and I’d welcome any suggestions as to how to do blogging ‘right’.  🙂  See you online!

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