My WM5 device is an iMate JASJAR (aka the HTC Universal). This article describes applications and practices to make this device as handy as a laptop.
This is late warning, but tomorrow there is a free CorasWorks workshop at CTC from 8:30am to 5:00pm. If you would like to sit in, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org!
Despite my objections to mission statements (which all inevitably reduce to "all babies must eat"), I've written one for the Toronto SharePoint User Group to eliminate confusion and placed it on our website. After some rumination I removed the opening line which read "TSPUG is a place where SharePoint geeks learn from each other," to leave what you find below (mainly because I couldn't distill "learn together" to "all babies must eat," but also because a group of geeks is correctly a "gaggle" and it's too late to change the logo). But if the members demand it, I'll put it right back in.
The Toronto SharePoint User Group Mission ~
Like SharePoint, our aim is to be both collaborative and informative while instilling a sense of community among members.
Participation at meetings does not require membership and thanks to the participation of sponsors and volunteers, meetings are free to attendees (please RSVP).
TSPUG is not exclusive, and welcomes all those with SharePoint expertise to present or otherwise contribute at TSPUG events.
Our next meeting is Wednesday night, the topic is SharePoint 2006. We're again close to the limit on registrations (the room holds 50) so please RSVP on the website asap if you'd like to come. Bring your questions, it should once again be a barrel of fun.
I've been following MS sociologist Marc Smith's work for a few years now. In a nutshell, Marc's task is to mine data for socially-relevant information, and he's written some interesting papers on virtual communities.
Some time ago I was glad to hear that his focus was turning from the analysis of Usenet messages to e-mail in general. In particular, there are characteristics of communities and message threads that indicate quality (signal-to-noise), the sender's role in the community (leaders, learners, flamers, etc.), and the type of communication taking place (announcements, debates, Q&A, etc.). Some of the metrics used are total numbers of subscribers, contributors, and return visitors, frequency of posts, length of posts, length of message threads, and the number of contributors to a thread.
For example, threads with many messages where each contains little new content are easy to categorise as high noise. Threads usually begin with questions, and end with resolutions, so if a single user tends to be among the last 2-3 posters on a variety of threads, that person will tend to be an expert answering questions. If messages in a given community rarely receive replies, you can assume that it's either geared towards announcements or file distribution (if you find repeat contributors), or simply an unhealthy Q&A forum (many first-time contributors, few return customers).
Now point these same principles at e-mail, and you can really save people some time. I often talk about what a black hole e-mail has become for most companies, and how a great advantage of SharePoint is the ability to cut down on e-mail simply by creating more appropriate places to store knowledge. E-mail then becomes something more focused - a notification mechanism, or a place for sidebar conversations; e-mail can stop being this firehose of broadcasts and attachments. When used correctly, e-mail can be read and deleted. If a message needs to survive for any longer, it should probably be placed in a repository.
But back to SNARF. It's the first application designed specifically to infer metadata about e-mail with the goal of saving you time, and it works with any MAPI source. In addition to Outlook's built-in filters to color-code and sort messages, this could start saving people serious time. As Marc mentioned in a presentation, the long-term goal is to embed these techniques into Outlook. It's great to finally see a first step.
[SNARF Home Page]
On Wednesday in the MSDN Excel blog there was a nice piece on the integration of the new Excel Server and SharePoint. This was actually part 11 (of x) in a lengthy series on the Excel Server being released with Office 12.
The basic benefits are that you can now publish a spreadsheet to SharePoint and have more than the limited features currently available in the MS Office Web Parts collection. This particular post also describes how we'll be able to publish scorecard and KPI dashboards with the new tools as the screen clip below shows.
Check out the full-screen view of this image to see a query engine and inline graphs produced by Excel Server inside SP12.
I've said it before and I'll say it again -- I can't wait. Those in on the beta who were nominated by MS should (mostly) have BetaPlace access by now, the word is that PDC attendees will be getting a disc in the mail in the reasonably near future. Why not BetaPlace for PDC-goers? Well, it turns out you can't trust a couple thousand people in a room to keep a secret. When Steve Sinofsky (note: Steve's blog is here) recited the BetaPlace key during the PDC keynote it leaked in about ten minutes, so now we all get to wait a little while MS works through the added requirements for a DVD distribution. Oh well, I suppose it was worth a try.