Important information on SharePoint Server 2007 based products and SP2

If you have installed (or are in the planning stages of installing) SP2 on any of the SharePoint Server 2007 based products (this includes Form Server, Search Server, Project Server, etc) then you NEED to head over to the SharePoint Team Blog and take notice of an issue that has been found.  The post on the issue is at

http://blogs.msdn.com/sharepoint/archive/2009/05/21/attention-important-information-on-service-pack-2.aspx 

The short version is that the SP2 install has an issue with the activation date – this will not affect any data or settings, but can affect your SLA’s if you haven’t taken the action described in the article.

Austin Nerd Night

Michelle connected me with the Austin Nerd Night series, and things worked out (not going to be able to make it to Maker Faire Bay Area this year :-(  ) so I’m going to be presenting on the 28th on Smart Environments.  If you’re in town, come down to 6th street and hear both my talk on Bits and Atoms and a great talk on Innovation and company processes.  Find the details at http://austin.nerdnite.com/

The Online Component (How, Pt 1)

This is the part most people that read blogs see.  Why?  Well, it’s “The air that we breathe” – if you didn’t already have an interest in this space then you probably wouldn’t be reading this.  (Isn’t circular justification fun?) 

Anyway, the online components that I’m starting with are going to be:

Twitter:

If you don’t know what this is – you’ve probably not been paying attention to the Social Computing Scene (or online at all for that matter.)  Twitter is the current darling of the Hyper Connected crowd and as I write this has just really hit mainstream.

Twitter is a basic messaging system, the behavior of which tracks all the way back to mainframe chat systems written in COBOL and Assembly in the 60’s.  (Status) Messages are limited to 140 characters and can be entered from the twitter web site, SMS messaging, or through the Twitter web API that has been published.  Messages are highly unstructured, though unofficial structures are formed, refined and abandoned in almost real time.  One of the major features of Twitter is that all messages have a permalink and can be referenced by anyone.  It has been noted that a quick twitter app is in danger of supplanting “Hello World” as a demo/quick intro program.

Windows Azure:

This is the foundation of the Azure cloud platform, basically the compute and storage layer, plus the group of development tools to make it simple to work with the capabilities (and develop offline until you’re ready to deploy.)  Azure is basically a way to have control over code that can be executed remotely without worrying about setting up hardware or provisioning systems.  It has been designed to be a platform where code of a wide variety can be executed securely and without the need for system level maintenance and monitoring.  I’ll be using this to provide both web interfaces, always on services, and the ability to store data remotely to handle situations where connectivity with my offline components may be intermittent or bandwidth constrained. 

Microsoft .Net Services:

This is another set of online services that builds upon the Azure capabilities, providing pre-built features that are commonly needed.  .Net Services currently provides capabilities around Access Control, Internet Service Bus, and Workflow Services.  These are resources that can be used either by themselves, with Azure hosted code, or with local code to make development quicker and simplify those nasty code maintenance costs.  I’ll be using all of these component, starting with the Internet Services Bus and then expanding out through the Workflow Services for state management and ending up with a foray into security.

Live Services:

Live Services are a set of services that many people are already using and familiar with through such offerings as Live Messenger, Live Mesh, LiveID and the like.  I’ll be focusing here on some of the Live Mesh features, but spreading out through the rest for capabilities such as geospatial, search, presence and other functionality to take advantage of.

Note this isn’t a comprehensive list.  As this project is a work in progress, I’m sure I’ll tie some other components in, and may change my mind on some of the ones listed above.  There’s a lot going on in the Online space and things change faster than I can keep up, so I’m assuming I’ll get notified somewhere along the way about something really cool that I’ll need to add which will expand or take the place of something I’ve listed above.

Next – The offline component.

Bio Post

Philip Wheat started out in development back when you learned from Compute Magazine (by typing in the code) and had to know something about soldering to expand your memory with most computers. When he entered college he had his eyes set on Aerospace Engineering, but between the call of the code, and the job market at the time, he quickly realized that there was pay in knowing about his passion, and he completed his studies in Computer Science.

After his graduation, he worked in the field for a number of years, and seeing the state of the industry decided to go back into the Master’s Program in Computer Science – which was one of his better ideas as it brought him to the attention of Texas Instruments, which called him to their Dallas campuses and enabled him to work with the early stages some of the groundbreaking technologies that are in use today, such as ASIC design, DLP manufacturing, DSP development, and floor and wafer fabrication systems (plus some other things he still can’t talk about). But as incredible as the opportunities there were, the Internet Gold rush was on and he submitted to several former co-workers entreaties (well, maybe just tempting offers) and headed to Austin, TX to work with a (then) small consulting firm on the cutting edge of development and solutions delivery.

He spent several years at Catapult Systems as their most demanded consultant, being called in to Microsoft to do briefings on Collaborations, Portals, and other Web information management technologies (in addition to his project delivery role) before moving to a regional role with Avanade, Inc. There he led regional Collaboration Solutions efforts and was a primary resource globally for SharePoint technologies. During this time he ran dual projects in the Office 2007 TAP program that led to successful deployments of custom solutions based upon SharePoint 2007 even before official release of that platform. He currently works with the Microsoft Developer and Platform Evangelism group as the Community Architect Evangelist for Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana, engaging with Architects on the needs and requirements of their role and helping developers to be more involved in the Architecture space.

Some of his personal projects include Embedded Systems, Knowledge Management, Augmented Reality, Robotics, and Autonomous Systems. You’ll find him supporting groups of both geek social, and developer focus, and connecting with as many interesting people as he can. If you see him around, come up and introduce yourself, and let him know what you’re doing. He’s always interested in hearing what people are doing, and learning from the innovative people he knows, passionate developers, designers, and architects! If you want to keep up with where he is and what he’s doing, you can find out some of his current activities at his blog

(Phil is also an admirer of Jonathan Pryce and sometimes shows homage by referring to himself in the 3rd person when he talks about himself.) 

(See the director’s cut of “Curse of the Fatal Death” if the reference isn’t known to you.)

Coding Outside the Box Series (What and Why)

So what’s this all about?  You may have heard me talking about this during the spring, but with all of the activity and talks during March, I’m making myself sit down and put some of it together. 

The base concept of this series of posts is that if you want to be be your most effective in architecting and implementing solutions today, you have to take advantage of all the resources available.  Today there’s so much going on and things move so fast that we often either just look at the items that are top on the buzz list, or we reach for the tried and true because we know it works and we just need to Get Stuff Done. 

What I’m hoping to do here is take a number of technologies and tie them together in a way that’s different from the mainstream of just Desktop/Laptop development or Web Browser development.  My goal is to pull in some of the custom hardware that’s available today at very reasonable prices and tie that into some of the web services (lower case on that phrase) and use that to put systems together that can actually help me stay aware, in touch, and connected with the information and people I’m interested in.  Plus doing something like this helps be justify blocking out time to implement some of the things I’ve been talking about for a while.  I’ve had a number of people asking me to come speak on things such as Smart Environments, Ambient Information, Cloud Computing, and Adaptive Architecture – so in doing this I’ll both have some follow on information for them to continue the conversations that get started, and I’ll have the hardware and services put in place for examples.

So that being said – what are you going to get out of it?  Hopefully some ideas and inspiration.  Maybe some techniques.  I’m going to be doing the articles live – I have a rough outline of the first part of the series that I want to cover, but I can definitely tell you that where it ends up will be influenced by comments or observations from the blog here and through other mechanisms.  Let me know what you think.  Let me know what’s interesting.  And let me know when I put my foot in my mouth (because I will sooner or later.) 

So enough about the conceptual.  Next up, the first batch of technologies.