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  • Using Site Columns to lookup information across sites in Sharepoint 2007

    I shared a couple of links with fellow AMITPRO member James Cash earlier this week but thought it would also be worth a blog post as i don’t post enough about SharePoint.

    A limitation of the previous version of Sharepoint  (WSS 2.0) when using lookup fields was that it could only lookup information on that specific site

    This was a pain if you had information that you may need to reference in different sites

    For example

    I have a site that handles call logging, a site that holds customer documentation, a site i use for billing, etc,etc

    If i needed column to store customer information (out of the box) you had to create a customer list on every site. As you can imagine when you needed to change the customer list you had to make the changes in every instance of that list

    Thankfully the latest version of SharePoint can get around this (WSS 3.0)

    In the top level site i created my customers list with all the fields i needed (name, address,tel no, etc)

    I then clicked the “site settings” option and clicked “Site Columns”

    Then create a new site column, give it a name and select the lookup option

    (Set the Group it as you see fit, i usually create my own group for columns i have created)

    Set the “get information from” field to the customer list

    Set the “In this column” field to the customer name field and save the new site column

    The list is still stored in the top-level site but any sub-sites will have access to the site column which has access to the data!

    (click the “add from existing site columns” when you want to add it to a list or library)

    This isn’t new so i’m not going to claim any credit here!

    I also found these posts explained it well

    http://www.sharepointblogs.com/dortiz/archive/2008/01/24/leveraging-the-use-of-site-columns-part-i.aspx

    http://www.sharepointblogs.com/dortiz/archive/2008/02/27/leveraging-the-use-of-site-columns-part-ii.aspx

    There is also a solution that allows you to do with without having to setup site columns here though i haven’t tried this out yet (requires sign-up)

    Hope this is of help to someone!

  • Is this a wind-up?

    Have I stumbled across Microsoft’s next great advertising campaign or am i hopelessly wrong?

    I saw a post on SBSFAQ a couple of days ago where Wayne said his SBSGuru identity had been stolen and linked to another site

    I had a quick look at the site and since there were only three entries i thought i’d see if any more content appeared before blogging about it

    Then i got a comment on one of my recent posts saying

    “Hey, take a look at this. Sounds like Microsoft is accepting some responsibility for some past issues with SBS. I read all the way through this thing and don’t know if the guy is real, but it’s at least pretty interesting.”

    http://sbsguru.spaces.live.com/

    Initially i just thought this was spam as the “accepting responsibility for past issues” line seemed a little strange to me but i noticed the link was back to the SBSGuru page. I then received the exact same comment via email

    So i went back to the site and re-read all the content and watched the videos

    SBS Guru is supposedly one of the developers on the SBS Team and is looking to correct all the “bad posts and emails” they receive about SBS. It’s current focus is on wizards

    While this may normally seem like a perfectly good idea for a blog it’s the videos that make me suspicious

    He’s a little bit over the top for my liking and the whole thing feels “scripted”

    Take a look and let me know what you think

    Is this building up to be one great big April fools joke or am i doing the author (Tom?) disservice?

    UPDATE:  

    Just found this bit of text in the “profile”

    “Tom isn’t actually more than one person. In fact, he’s not even one real person. But, I’d like to think that if he was real, he’d be enjoying a nice caffeinated beverage about now and freestyling to the hum of his Small Business Server”

    Could someone let me in on the joke please? :-)

  • Data Centers

    Richard Tubb outed me over my data center “fetish” recently.

    I find anything to do with data centers fascinating. I just love reading about how they are put together and any pictures and videos i find are of huge interest

    I know it’s something I’ll probably never be involved with but i love the contrast in scale against the usual type of server installations i get involved with and the planning that goes into putting together a building that is secure and protected from as many eventualities as possible is mind-boggling (power failure, natural disaster, hardware redundancy, cooling, etc, etc)

    It’s probably really sad as well that i see a well cabled rack as a piece of art!

    Anyway i found this on wired, it’s not particularly interesting but shows the sort of stuff that catches my eye.

    It’s a series of pictures for the “worlds densest meet-me room”. A meet-me room is where hundreds of different carriers equipment is joined together so you can get all across the Internet (wikipedia definition here)

    I’ve got a couple of other interests for subjects i find fascinating that have no relevance to the day job. When i’m a bit “information overloaded” they do provide a welcome distraction.

    It’s a bit weird i’m such a geek that i turn to even geekier stuff to relax  :-)

    However, i know i’ve just said it’s not always relevant to the day job, a couple of years ago i was doing a search for data center cages and a came across this blog post. It was the first time i read Vlad’s blog. I subscribed and as he started talking about SBS community this, user group that that also grabbed my attention………not really sure what happened after that! :-)

  • Action Pack Changes

    Not that long ago Microsoft made changes to the way we got desktop operating system in the action pack. They moved to “non-oem” media and there was an awful lot of complaints at the time

    Thankfully they have taken all the feedback on board and made some changes.

    Check out the official line here.

    We’ll be getting Vista Business (SP1), a copy of Vista Ultimate, a stack of “readiness resources” and some incentives for selling Vista SP1

    Looks like Microsoft are going to use the launch of Service Pack 1 to give Vista a big push and it’s good they are listening to partner feedback

    Big thanks to Dave Overton for taking time out of his weekend to share this information. His post on this is here

  • Tools you take for granted

    Just saw Philip Elder’s post about USB adapters for hard disks

    I’ve been using USB hard disk adapters for years. The original one i had was USB 1 and game with an additional fiddly bit so you could use it on laptop drives as well.

    As soon as the SATA version become available (the one Phil talks about) i picked one up straight away, as it meant i only needed one cable for all drives (granted you have to carry the power adapters too!)

    So if you’re in the UK and Phil’s original post interested you i got mine from directusbstore.co.uk which recently became usbnow.co.uk – specific product here. They also have loads of other different usb gadgets

    So what tools do you take for granted? As i originally said i’ve been using these cables for ages and you sometimes assume everyone knows about these sorts of things.

    Care to share what lives in your “tech bag” on a permanent basis?

    Just to get started…..

    RJ45 couplers – use these to join two network cables together. I wouldn’t use one for permanent connection but useful when that cable isn’t quite long enough

    Crossover adapter – less relevant now as lots of equipment is autosensing but instead of specifically carrying a cross-over cable this adapter turns a standard cable into a crossover (or vice versa)

    What about you?

  • Internet Explorer 8 Beta now available

    From here…

    New features of note

    Activities: Select an address on a page is and you could click on a “get directions to here” menu option (look up type action) or you could “send” data elsewhere (blog this, show on my facebook, etv) – some pre-created activites are available here

    WebSlices: Not sure how to describe this…RSS allows you subscribe to site updates as a whole. My understanding of webslices is that you subscribe to “slices of the web page” for updates. If you wanted to track a friends facebook status, an ebay item, etc. You would subscribe to it as a webslice and get a more detailed connection over just an RSS subscription as a lot of this is setup by the web designer (someone please correct me if i’ve got this wrong!) More info here

     E-bay have great examples of these two features

    Domain Highlighting: A new security feature. Many malicious sites have stupidly complex urls that make it difficult to figure out what the actual domain is. This features makes the top level domain stand out from the rest of the address

    I’ll install this later on in the week as i only put beta stuff on “non-production machines” (my home computer!) and report back with my experiences

    I’m glad that IE8 is on the way. I’ve been pretty happy with IE7 but the gap between IE6 and IE7 was too long. Firefox helped on that front and it’s only good for us!

    UPDATE: About two seconds after i pressed the publish button and these links appeared on the Microsoft Download site

    Windows Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008

    Windows Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 for Windows XP

    Windows Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 for Windows Server 2003 SP2

    Windows Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 for Windows Server 2003 SP2 64-bit Edition or Windows XP Professional 64-bit Edition

    Report a Webpage Problem Internet Explorer 8.0 Beta Add-On

  • Paying for incoming mobile calls

    I just saw two articles that caught my eye…

    Ars Technica: Europeans may be forced to pay for incoming cell calls

    The Register: Should Europeans pay to receive phone calls?

    I wasn’t entirely aware that US mobile phone users paid for incoming as well as outgoing calls and the report mentioned in the articles suggests Europe should switch to a similar model

    My initial response was NO!

    If you read the comments on the article at The Register it gives some commentary on why it works in the US. I do understand that our per-minute call rate is high in comparison so does total call cost work out about the same but it’s just spread between two people?

    Let me put forward a scenario and as always any comments are welcome!

    Mr Smith is the only MVP in the UK for Microsoft Nothing 2008. Every month he attends his local SBS user group. Everyone there knows Mr Smith is the guy to speak to if you need any help or advice on Microsoft Nothing. Mr Smith is such a good guy he doesn’t mind helping out and gives out lots of advice and probably takes 5 calls a month that average about 30 minutes from fellow professionals

    So if we changed our mobile phone pricing structure Mr Smith would have to pay for 150 minutes of incoming calls as he’s such a nice guy.

    Is that fair?

    I’m not going to pretend to know all the ins and outs of the business models involved here but even if i did, would the typical consumer?

    Anyone want to tell me which system is better and why?

  • Sharepoint Event – April 2008

    Just trying to help spread the word…

    Vijay has organised a Sharepoint event in conjunction with Combined Knowledge…i think they employ just about every UK Sharepoint MVP so this should be an unmissable event!

    The event is on 29th April at 6.00pm for a 6.30pm start at Microsoft London, Victoria

    There will be more information available over the next week but with limited spaces i’d let Vijay know if your interested ASAP, especially as the Sharepoint user groups will be getting involved too

    I’ll certainly be going!