SharePoint as a Whipping Boy

A ‘whipping boy’ is an 15th century term for a boy who was designated to take the punishment when a prince or other such noble misbehaved so that the boy would be punished instead of the prince.  I’m not entirely certain what lessons this taught the young prince but my guess is that it was either 1) other people would be suffer for his mistakes so he should be responsible, or 2) that he would never be punished for anything so he was free to do anything he wanted. It would probably depend on how moral or empathetic the prince was or even if he cared about the boy being punished.  You might be surprised at how a dark ages royal parenting strategy applies almost directly to SharePoint.

SharePoint continues to move itself closer and closer to being the center of the business world and with each new release extends its fingers even deeper into Click to read the full post

Never Stop Learning!

Some recent comments from a member of one of the teams I work with reminded me again of how important it is to always keep learning.  People who think they have all of the answers tend to be the most ill-informed and self-absorbed individuals you will ever find and attempting to open their eyes is an exercise in frustration.  To resurrect some old farm wisdom: never try to teach a pig to sing, it just wastes your time and it annoys the pig.  Let the dinosaurs have their illusions as the world will pass them by soon enough.

If you think you know everything there is to know about whatever field you are in, check again.  Odds are that there is something you’ve overlooked or some aspect to your knowledge that is out of date.  More than likely there are entire fields of study that are closely related to your chosen path that you have no knowledge of. You might not even know that you you don’t know!

If you really are that good at what you do then seek out something where you are utterly clueless but have an interest and study it inside and out.  Preferably choose something that is outside of your professional domain if at all possible.  It is amazing how often completely unrelated disciplines intertwine once you start learning them.  Remember that ‘creativity’ is merely the ability to draw often unrelated items and concepts together for a purpose and the broader your mind, the more things you can find to put together.

Always keep learning, keep your eyes and ears open and never assume you have all of the answers.

Invasion of the Metro Gnomes!

They’ve been sneaking in, one at a time … quietly, so nobody would notice it until it is too late but someone has to speak out.  That’s right, we’re under attack!  One day you are using one of your favorite file shares without a worry in the world.  The next day you log in to see the carnage wreaked by a Metro Gnome

Metro on Sky Drive

While you are still reeling from that, another Gnome attacks your mail as well.

Metro on

Metro on Trillian

One day it is the UI you are used to, the next it is GIANT SPACE-EATING BOXES EVERYWHERE – with 3 heads – that all look like Elvis!

Now, I realize that these are Microsoft properties and that they are doing a full court press to promote Windows 8, including Win8’s Metro UI, so it is expected that these things would happen.

How then do you explain the Metro Gnome that attacked the Trillian Instant Messenger the other day?  Did the Gnomes develope super powers?  Is it Mind Control?  Have they somehow managed to leverage Reaper Indoctrination?

I don’t know the answer but am pretty sure that we’ll all be up to our eye sockets in Metro Gnomes by Halloween – and they will be attacking from more places than just Redmond!

Just moved in!

Hey!  It’s me, I’m back, at least for a while.

I have been out of the blog world for a few years but am back now and hopefully will be able to kick out some decent posts.  They won’t be frequent but should be useful.

The old blog is still is still alive over on VSPug but I will fully move from there in a few weeks.  I am very grateful to the operator over at VSPUG who keeps that site running out of his own pocket!  Hopefully, getting my content off there will help him move a little closer to freeing up some pocket change 🙂

I’ve brought all of my original posts here just to keep everything together but please bear in mind that many of these posts relate to SharePoint 2007, and often even pre SP1.  If you hit something that just ain’t right, drop me a note and I’ll see if I can’t get it cleaned up.

Also, I am new to this blogging software so please bear with me while I figure out what all the knobs, buttons and levers do.  I know not to press the big red one, though.  Big shiny red buttons are always ‘bad’

Hidden Gem in GMail Themes

The other day, our good friends at Google introduced Themes for your GMail.  Big deal you say?  Just some new colors?  Think again.  Specifically think more like DreamScene on the web because these themes change.  I don't know about all of them, but I picked “Tea House” last night and it was a night scene with a pagoda and rather peaceful.  This morning, I check Gmail and the same theme is now bright and sunny!

I've been watching it throughout the day and the sun that is on the theme has been moving across the sky with the time of day.  A very cool approach to theming on the web and it makes me wonder what some of the other themes do.

I realize that something like this won't change the world or help anyone make better widgets but it is a new take on what has normally been a rather boring part of the technology scene and that is refreshing all by itself.

Curmudgeon, Revisited

A while back, I mentioned the value of keeping an IT Curmudgeon around the office. Due to recent events, I must now amend that post.

At the time I wrote that, I was working in an office with one and only one such person and immediate evidence matched my past experience.  However, I have now spent two months working in an environment where there were two such people.  Specifically, these two were on opposite sides of me and their preferred method of communication was to yell to each other loud enough to cover the 15 feet that separated them.  You are probably starting to feel my pain now.

The last two months have been spent listening to these two complain about how standards are not what they used to be, Specs are not properly divided in accordance with guidelines from 1985.  The voluminous merits of fixed-width flat files.  Everything in .Net is so much more difficult than it was in COBOL.  Of course, those mainframes and mini’s were laid out so nicely, making it easy to find programs.  Naturally, text editing was far superior on a mini as well.  Oh, and do you remember when the AS400 came out??? Now THERE was a machine that shook the world … and so on … for two months … 8 to 10 hours per day.

If your office is equipped with two or more such people, do not place them in close proximity to one another.  Doing so afflicts all people within earshot with IT Reminiscence Aural Syndrome that cripples morale, creativity and productivity.  ITRAS also can damage hearing as those in nearby cubicles have been known to increase the volume on their IPODs to unsafe levels in the hope of blocking out the non-stop stream of I.T. Tall Tales and Legends.

Make sure that any and all curmudgeons in your organization are separated by as many layers of acoustic insulation as is available.  If they are not allowed to communicate audibly then their overall damage is diminished greatly.   If you won’t separate them for yourself then do it for the others around them.


There is a trend out there where people are taking perfectly good machines running Windows Vista and then uninstalling it in order to install the venerable Windows XP.  This process hasn't had a name up until now but I think I have come up with a good term for it : Devistafication. 

Here is how I would define it:

tr.v. de-vis'ta-fied, de-vis'ta-fy-ing, de-vis'ta-fies
The act of removing Windows Vista from a computer and then installing a different operating system, such as Windows XP.

de-vis'ta-fi-ca-tion  n
de-vis'ta-fi-er  n

I hope this helps to ease the language burden often associated with this task 🙂