Monday, 29 March 2010

BPOS, some wild guesses

BPOS, as you may already know, is Microsoft moving much of its Enterprise stack to the Cloud. SharePoint, OCS and Exchange BPOS can provide these services as fully Cloud. This will directly go up against Google's Docs, Gmail, and Talk.

Given how poorly Google has done in the Enterprise space this may not seem like a very good idea. But Microsoft is going to really push this thing and from everything I can gather Microsoft sees it as the future.

So what does it mean, if it works.

For an Enterprise you are going to be buying IT services more and more as subscriptions. This just carries on the outsourcing model of the past 10 years to a logical conclusion. For companies it means you will not have to have in house IT staff to do collaboration and knowledge management, which is probably the way it should be.

For any in house IT experts left with their own little domains, you better hope you are nearing retirement or retrain, because BPOS could be the last nail in the coffin of what once was a very comfortable life.

As for the current ecosystem of small to medium gold partners around Microsoft? Well this is a open issue, but I would say they are also toast. BPOS and all Cloud are going to push for larger organisations with more leverage. And as the same service is provided to more and more companies firms will start seeing IT more and more as a commodity, requiring less customisations and alterations.

Traditionally software houses have seen themselves like doctors or lawyers. You come in and tell them your problem and they figure out some way forward. Doctors and lawyers also have a pretty piss poor record of results, cost an arm and a leg, and usually make excuses for any failure namely the client did it. Sounds like IT eh?

In the future IT is going to be more like car makers, TV makers, or clothing stores. You go in to the store, go to the item you want and buy it. Maybe you try it on or test drive it but essentially you know roughly what you want and you buy it.

This movement has been the trend for some time. Take for example clothing. Traditionally you had to go to a tailor to be fitted for most outfits, over time more and more clothing went to off the rack until today the bespoke suit market is tiny. Bespoke is constantly reduced more and more to items that simply can't be mass stoked.

Actually everything is more bespoke than ever. Just in time production means that more of what you buy is then built for you rather then sitting in a warehouse than it was say 20 years ago. The thing is that it is bespoke but not customised to much of an extent.

IT is going in this direction. Architectures will mostly be scaled and secured in the same way autos are painted and primed.

This is an inevitable process of the marketplace and unless the state steps in to impose an old fashioned process upon IT it will happen. Look even at professions like medicine. Doctors do well for themselves but the real money is made by the companies that make the pills. A pill is medicine reduce to pure commodity, and its where the real money is.

Now playing sociologist for a moment the result of this will be that there will be more really rich people in software in 10 years than there were 20 years ago. Not just guys who make it with start ups, but also people with skills around global deployments, integration, managing back end clouds, etc.

But the IT middle class is doomed. Thousands of jobs in administration, support, installation, and programming are going to vanish. This will happen as IT becomes more and more important to every day life.

The process will be similar to the industrial revolution. And there is very little anyone can do about it.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Wikipedia Down

Wikipedia is suffering major technical problems today. Much of services is still down.

What is interesting is that Wikipedia goes down and almost no one cares. If Facebook went down...

Good bye IE 8

Without support for in text spell checking and the need to click a button and enter a spell checking mode IE 8 failes for me on a critical test.

I won't be using it anymore. Microsoft this was such a simple thing, how could you get it wrong. Firefox has done this for years, and that is where I will be going.

I have gotten so use to everything from my iPhone to my Word to my Flock browser correcting my spelling in real time I simply can't believe Microsoft, who have the most experience of all in doing this, overlooked putting it in their browser.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

BBC News - China condemns decision by Google to lift censorship

BBC News - China condemns decision by Google to lift censorship:

"China has said Google's decision to stop censoring Chinese search results is 'totally wrong' and violates its promise to abide by local laws"

Monday, 22 March 2010

Made the Change to IE 8 and so far happy

I so often find myself going against fads. As right now finally people seem to be getting off IE for more exotic browsers I found myself become frustrated with my old beloved Flock browser, which seem to be in need of an upgrade.

For those of you who don't know Flock is the Web 2.0 browser, aware in real time of you social networks, showing a ribbon for your cantact posts and photos it can keep you in touch with Flickr, MySpace, Bebo, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Digg communities which showing you photos from any web source.

The tool also offers click blogging and its the tool I use a lot to run my blogs.

But on Windows 7 I have not been entirely happy with this great tool. It hangs a great deal more than it does on my Linux boxes and I have decided to return to IE. This is a big step for me because I deeply hate IE because at work I have to use IE 6.

Well I have to say I have been very happy with IE 8 on Windows 7, it works very smothly and it has the same level of social tools integration, though not the awesome screen display.

But I am about to download Flock 3.0 beta, maybe the Social Blogging Browser which has been my main brower for years can win me back.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

BBC News - Microsoft Choice screen boosts Opera browser

Browser choice screen, Microsoft

Web browser Opera says that downloads of its software have doubled since Microsoft introduced browser choice to Windows users on 1 March.

Microsoft now offers customers a choice of 12 browsers rather than installing its own Internet Explorer browser as a default.

A screen offering users the chance to switch browser is rolling out across Europe as part of a Windows update.

BBC News - Microsoft Choice screen boosts Opera browser

BBC News - Facebook rules out installing 'panic button'

Facebook says it will not install a "panic button" on its main pages for users to report suspected paedophiles, but will develop its existing system.

The company says it will have links to organisations including the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (Ceop) centre on its reporting pages.

But the director of Ceop says there should be a button on every page.

The conviction of Peter Chapman for the murder of 17-year-old Ashleigh Hall led to renewed calls for a "panic button".

The convicted sex offender lured the teenager to her death using Facebook.

BBC News - Facebook rules out installing 'panic button'

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Big move in 140 characters at a time, Twitter takes on the world with @anywhere @everywhere

Twitter has announced technology that it hopes will further embed the
service into the fabric of the web.

@anywhere, as it is known, will allow people using websites such as
Amazon or the New York Times to follow new users or share media directly from
the page.

It was unveiled at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.

It is similar to Facebook's Connect service that allows people to log
in to other websites using their Facebook details and interact with friends.

Going Mobile

An interesting article in the BBC states that the mobile apps economy is expect to explode stating

A study done for Getjar, the world's second biggest app store, said the
market will grow to $17.5bn (£12bn) in the next two years.

What Enterprise developers have to keep in mind is that the long term environments for collaboration does not necessary involve a laptop or desktop.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

WSS 2.0 to WSS 3.0 Migratoin

OCS 2007 overview

Office Communications Server Roles overview. Very useful model. Edge servers are in a load balanced cluster at the "edge", thus the name. Director server needs not be load balanced, and will validate users who are logging in from external sites. A pool can take up to 200,000 potential users. Monitoring can consume massive sums of data but the pool will usually never need more that 100 GB of storage.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Is you frim Twitter away its IP?

There are a few principles that I am pretty certain are always true.

Firstly humans just have a instinct to communicate and share knowledge. Look at the millions of bloggers out their who produce sites without any real profit?

Today companies should be aware that their staff is twitting and posting much of what they learn at work. Staff naturally wants to capture and share the narrative of their lives because they are creative and social beings by nature.

Companies that don't provide a place for this internally will see information leaking out via twitter.

This is probably one of the key reasons to roll out a large and pretty open SharePoint internally. It gives staff a place to put what they learn with their own colleagues. People will always prefer collaborating with people they have regular contact to over just twittering to the Universe.

Quck and Dirty: What is better in SharePoint 2010

Well if you want the skinny on 2010 to make a pitch for 2010 over 2007 I would sum it up in this line:

"2010 will support improved Social Networking, improved ability for your users to find each other and share information together."

MySites was the weak arm of SharePoint 2007. SharePoint supports teams and departments very well. If does not necessary scale up or down well. It does not support entire Enterprises and their links to other Enterprises and hopefully 2010 better accessibility and performance will produce a tool that can sit at the top of a company and manage its internal and external IM.

But where SharePoint really feel apart was in trying to be a twitter or facebook of the company. It was not just that MySites lacked features, it was also that customizations of mySites were very difficult. Applying customizations to pre-existing sites was far more complex than it should be, and even if you did what you got was not that great. Actually I have rarely seen mySites used as anyting other than a document store.

SharePoint has a large hill to climb on this. Companies must know that other companies own most of the collaboration and knowledge creation of thier employees. Staff are collaborating on Twitter, Facebook, Buzz and using emails serves like Hotmail ratther than creating knowledge in the organization.

Social networking is key to overcoming this and keeping knowledge creation in to the firm where it can become IP.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Web 3.0 components

Sites in Web 1.0 were connected via nothing more than links. Pre-Google search was based upon text matching. Outside of some chat groups and usenet discussions their was no real interactivity.

Web 2.0 was essentially the rise of Social web. From Wikipedia to Facebook the entire Web 2.0 Event was about creating a more social interactive Web. Today users are in the process of embedding social networks in to the web presence.

Web 3.0 brings 3 technologies that have been around for a while in to a more finished piece of UI: Social, Semantic, and Spatial.

Social, Semantic and Spatial have all been around for a while. Social is dominated by Facebook and Twitter, Semantic is Google and Spatial technology is MapQuest, Google Maps and Microsoft Virtual Earth.

Web 3.0 promises to bring these three ways of connecting technology together. For example a classic Web 3.0 application is Augmented Reality with a browser like Layar. Layar enables you to map a Google search of Twitter search on to a Google map and even insert the information in to a graphic view of your surrondings.

I have been amazed by the potential of such tools. They open up the ability to do Social Mapping or Spatial Mapping which allow us to interact with our environments in radically new ways. We could, for example, now have real time mapping of where all the "fun" is in our local environment, or the "money" is, or where people go to "find love". Many of the more metaphorical uses of the English language may soon have a iPhone App that allows you to use them.

As for Microsfot position in this field: it has none that I can see. This is not really too bad since new technology consistently never comes from the labs of big firms but from the evolutionary battle of start ups.

Friday, 5 March 2010

SharePoint 2010 | Office 2010 | Stephen Elop | Microsoft Keynote Speaker | BPIO

Watch Stephen Elop, President of the Microsoft Business Division, announce the launch of Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 on May 12, 2010 at 11 a.m. EST. The live keynote focuses on the next wave of productivity that delivers:
SharePoint 2010 | Office 2010 | Stephen Elop | Microsoft Keynote Speaker | BPIO
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Microsoft's Courier: May the best OS win | All about Microsoft |

So, which is it? Is Courier a Windows-based tablet? Or is it a Windows CE-centric/Windows Phone OS-based tablet? Or is it a Microsoft Linux tablet? (Had to thow that in, in anticipation of my many Linux-loving fanboys in the Talkbacks.)
Microsoft's Courier: May the best OS win | All about Microsoft |
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BBC News - Man killed ex-lover over Facebook photo with new man

A woman was stabbed repeatedly by her ex-lover after he saw a picture of her with her new boyfriend on Facebook.

Paul Bristol, 25, was found guilty of murdering Camille Mathurasingh, 27, at her east London home in April 2009.

The IT technician, who lived in Trinidad and Tobago, flew to London within two weeks of seeing the picture and killed the accountant.

Bristol, who denied murder, could not accept "it was over" and had come to "win her back", the Old Bailey heard.

Bristol, who worked for the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Administration, and Miss Mathurasingh met during the three years she worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

BBC News - Man killed ex-lover over Facebook photo with new man
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Thursday, 4 March 2010

Do people like SharePoint?

IT departments, or maybe just IT people who blog, seem to universally hate SharePoint. And their point of view is not entirely off the mark. SharePoint is riddled with compromises that should not have been made. The source code produced is a nightmare, the administration model is confusing and inconsistent, and the UI is a mess.

People like to point to Google Docs, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networks as how things should have been done.

I have to take an opposing opinion. It is not a case that SharePoint has grown because Microsoft has forced companies to take it on in some mind control conspiracy. Vista proved that Microsoft has no such power.

SharePoint has grown because it is the only ECM that people actually do like to use.

And that is actually a bad thing.

Well its not entirely a bad thing. To quote British Conservative Leader David Cameron "it is a good thing and it is a bad thing." Users take to SharePoint. I have seen time and time again the take up explode on firms who had not strategy for promoting or controlling it. Users flock to the tool because it is fairly easy to use, employs a web based UI, and allows devolved solution design by local experts that can then be shared.

I don't have any proof so I can only state that I assure you that people take to using SharePoint in vast numbers and create a large number of solutions in it. I have seen it time and time again.

So what could be wrong with that? Well the problem is that people like it and IT hates it, and I see organizations fall in to the same trap time and time again. IT never learns to understand SharePoint or work with the business to provide Enterprise support. The end result is that SharePoint gets cluttered with inconsistent user generated solutions and does not work as an Enterprise.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

BBC News - Apple patent case 'could affect all android phones'

Apple's legal action against HTC may have "wider implications" for all phone makers using Google's Android operating system, an analyst has warned.

Ian Fogg of Forrester Research said that the case against HTC, in which Apple alleges infringement of 20 of its patents, could be the first of many.

Although Apple has not named Google in the suits, many of the named patents relate to operating system processes.

Google has taken the unusual step of publically supporting HTC in the case.

"We are not a party to this lawsuit," said a Google spokesperson.

"However, we stand behind our Android operating system and the partners who have helped us to develop it."

BBC News - Apple patent case 'could affect all android phones'
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6 Flickr Horror Stories | Geekpreneur

Pedophiles on Flickr

Perhaps the scariest creeps of all on Flickr though are the people who post no photos or profile details but who have a long list of favorites… all of them featuring children.

It’s a complaint that crops up with disturbing regularity in the Flickr help forum. Citykitty, for example, describes how one user added her as a contact, only to find that his favorites consisted of a long list of images containing young boys. Flickr icon, Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir, had a similar complaint after finding someone had marked photos of her children as favorites… and that all his favorites were pictures of children.

Flickr responded my extending the power of the “ignore” feature to prevent blocked users from adding users’ images as faves.

Of course, none of this means that Flickr isn’t a good place to hang out and show off what you’ve been pointing your camera or your iPhone at. But it does mean you have to be just a bit careful if you don’t want to be stalked, hacked, harassed or creeped out.

6 Flickr Horror Stories | Geekpreneur
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North Korea’s “secret cyber-weapon”: brand new Red Star OS - RT Top Stories

North Korea’s “secret cyber-weapon”: brand new Red Star OS - RT Top Stories

Red Star OS is a North Korean brand of Linux.
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Enterprise Wiki Layouts in SharePoint 2010

Additionally there’s a new Site Collection feature called “Enterprise Wiki Layouts” for creating a large-scale wiki with categories and page layouts.
iLove SharePoint: Preview - Wikis in SharePoint 2010

I think there can only be three views on Wikis in SharePoint 2007. People either hate all wikis, they don't hate wikis but they hate SharePoint 2007wikis, or they have never used SharePoint wikis in 2007.

I think SharePoint 2007 is essentially an alternative to Wiki Media, and it has all the problems of Wiki Media. Its very hard to use correctly, you need to have programming skills to format things, and you need to know what you are linking to before hand, which limits its "organic growth issues."

Beyond that you have a terrible "copy and paste" problem. Allowing you to copy and paste in word documents I guess is suppose to make SharePoint 2007 wikis easier to use, but I have found that it causes more trouble than it is worth. I have seen that most wikis that are not centrally controlled and extensively planned out inevitably become mess or formats and layouts that have been pasted in to the document and now are embedded HTML. Fixing a wiki of this kind can be a real nasty problem.

Personally I wanted to see SharePoint 2010 wikis more like the tool.

Wikispaces I have found is much easier to grow organically because pasting works better and editing is cleaner and has a better UI. Linking provides a button and a tool and I could work for hours without really "breaking" the wiki. SharePoint 2007 wikis could be broken. Formatting got to be a mess and links were hard to find. I kept finding I would make a link and SharePoint would create a new wiki page. All the time I would forget there was one page for the singular and one page for the plural. I could create a rule that definitions should be in the singular but this felt unnatural and I found myself lapsing. In the end I gave up on SharePoint wiki at home and moved all the wiki work I had done on SharePoint to my wikispaces page in the Cloud and have never looked back.

So SharePoint 2010 had a lot of nuts and bolts issues to resolve which so far it has not. There is still not a easy to use button to link a wiki and though their is a keyboard shortcut to help wiki linking its nothing like the Wikispaces tool.

Rather than repair the core WIkip Microsoft has seemed to have just created an Enterprise Wiki that uses SharePoint's Web Content Management Publishing to control the look and publishing of a wiki. Permission to speak freely on this one. It seems that Microsoft has taken the two of the worst functions and made one new function out of it. SharePoint has also allowed used to ad web parts to a body of a Wiki but again this seems to be combining two bad things to create an even more evil new thing.

Okay I have not had a chance yet to work on a SharePoint 2010 Wiki like I have worked on SharePoint 2007 wikis, but so far I have not seen my wish list satisfied. I realy didn't want to make a publishing wiki because frankly the publishing feature in SharePoint is kind of weak and not really what people like about the tool. SharePoint is about light weight easy collaboration, and the wiki has been a very weak part of it.

How to configure Alternate Access Mappings (AAM) successfully - From The Field

I am giving you this information because I found it the most useful hub for AAM data in SharePoint 2007. But rather than just Tweet it over I wanted to state clearly that there is probably no reason ever to be using this in a live production environment. If you find you are reading this late a night or on the weekend and you are trying AAM to get a live farm working you are probably already in trouble.

The one time I was going to use AAM was to allow the Central Admin server to work on the URL for the Intranet in a farm. In pre-production we got this working using AAM, but the difficulty caused us to step back and speak to some of the more level heads on our team. What we decided was that AAM would impose a great deal of risk on the project and we answered back on the requirement. Once we explained the risk to making your Central Admin a mapping to your intranet URL the client understood and we simply dropped the requirement.

So with that warning please feel free to read on.

To avoid many questions and simplify troubleshooting, I would suggest this order when configuring AAM, which worked for me so far :

  1. Understand what AAM is, and what is it being used for in your particular case. (Read the blog posts below).
  2. Create a top level site collection in the application that you are trying to configure ( like http://mymossserver )
  3. Browse the site, make sure it works
  4. Complete the network configuration for the alternate URL that you are planning to use ( like ). If you do not know how to do this part, get your network administrator involved. This is a fundamental requirement to get it working.
  5. Create the host header entries on IIS for the web application you are trying to configure. If you do not know how to do this, get your IIS admin, or system admin (whomever configures IIS in your environment) involved. This is a fundamental requirement to get it working.
  6. Then browse the site using the new url you have configured. If you have configured it correctly, you should be able to browse the sharepoint site with the configured URL ( ), but redirected to the default zone mapping you have at this point ( http://mymossserver )... This means the network is capable of transporting the request to IIS, and IIS is capable of handing the request to the correct SharePoint web application.
  7. Then add the AAM for the desired zone in central admin, and make sure you have ONE mapping configured for each zone. (intranet zone in this case) Beware, the default zone will be selected when you open the page, you probably want to CHANGE IT...
  8. Browse the site with the new URL ( Voila ! Note: If you added two mappings to the same zone, you will see the exact same symptom of getting redirected to the first URL mapping in that zone...

Click here to read full post: How to configure Alternate Access Mappings (AAM) successfully - From The Field
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Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Google Chrome Continues to Grow at Other Browsers' Expense

Chrome (Chrome) grew from 5.22% to 5.61% (0.39%) over the course of February. Internet Explorer (Internet Explorer) shrunk from 62.12% to 61.58% (0.54%), Firefox (Firefox) from 24.43% to 24.23% (0.2%), Safari (Safari) from 4.53% to 4.45% (0.08%) and Opera (Opera) from 2.38% to 2.35% (0.03%).
Google Chrome Continues to Grow at Other Browsers' Expense

IE 6 may be a terrible browser, but right now you just have to assume a IE 6 user.  IE 6 and Windows XP will likely be the desktop for some more years as companies struggle with finances.
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Apple over the years

Anatomy of Apple Design from Transparent House on Vimeo.

Funny all the Apple products that I got which crashed horribly just after the warranty expired seem to have been excluded.

Facebook | Fan photos from Robert Scoble

Facebook | Fan photos from Robert Scoble
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Is the Facebook imperative really so great for Corporate America? | Between the Lines | CEO Marc Benioff has been pounding the table that enterprise software should be more like Facebook. Does Corporate America really want or need this so-called “Facebook imperative”?
Is the Facebook imperative really so great for Corporate America? | Between the Lines |
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BBC News - Local government web use 'disappointing'

Basic problem

Socitm, which represents IT managers in councils, rated websites on many different criteria including whether citizens could find answers to their questions, if the site was up to date, if it had a consistent style that aided navigation and how easy it was to search.

Of the 433 sites reviewed, 3% got top marks of four stars, 24% got three, 46% got two and 27% won only one star.

Overall, the survey found that the number of satisfied visitors to council websites dropped by 18% during 2009.

"It is really disappointing that the performance of this lowest cost service delivery channel seems to have stagnated over the last year," said Martin Greenwood, author of the report.

This should not be taken as a criticism of web managers, he said.

"Responsibility lies with councils' top management, many of whom still do not recognise the key role of the website in reducing corporate costs through the efficient management of customer enquiries," said Mr Greenwood.

BBC News - Local government web use 'disappointing'
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Monday, 1 March 2010