Saturday, 17 September 2005

Fly softly, and carry a big stick...

I just found a great story linked from a new b5media blog (oops ) called, where a student pilot was out with his instructor in a Cessna 172 and the landing gear would not lock down. Talk about baptism by fire!

Anyhow, even better is the way they solved the problem. While the student ad his instructor flew around the airport for about an hour and fire crews stood by, a couple guys in a jeep raced down the runway with the aircraft flying a few feet away. they eyeballed the gear, grabbed a big stick, and - well - go watch the video. Nice.

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Random Stuff
Saturday, 17 September 2005 09:21:29 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Scoble's posted an interview with Rob Leferts, a program manager at Microsoft, who talks about the new workflow services that will be built into SharePoint in the next version, which is tentatively set to release in the last half of 2006.

There's all sorts of new features that take advantage of the two-way connection between SharePoint 12 and other Office tools, including the Office suite of applications like Word, Excel, Outlook and others.

What does baking workflow into SharePoint in the Office 12 release mean for business people? In a nutshell, it means a set workflow features that just shows up and notifies you that you've got something that needs to be checked on or completed. It also means users can create workflow and leverage it to suit their business needs.

Example: I open Outlook and I get a notification in Outlook that says I have a task pending to complete an employee's performance review, which points me to a SharePoint site where that document lives and is waiting for me to add my two cents. When I am done, I click a button in Word or whatever program I'm in that says I am done, and the workflow takes over and pushes the document on to the next step in the business process and notifies the next person. You can buy that kind of functionality and build it in to existing SharePoint sites if you really want to, but it's a lot of work and it takes lots of time (and therefore money). So, out of the box is a terrific thing. Some of us need that. Badly. 

Automating the processes that business follow in writing documents, managing tasks, and a variety of other things can be well-served by workflow automation, and the fact that they're building it into the entire Office system is not only nice to see happening, it's important to making SharePoint and the Office system in general better accepted and more usable - and therefore a more worthwhile investment.

  • What you have today in SharePoint: Share and save documents, control security, publish and get notified of changes, etc.
  • What you get tomorrow: Build workflow to share the document template, drive it through a process of step by step edits and reviews, get sign-off and then publish (or whatever). Note: Approvals are processed online, it's not an off-line process. You can take a doc off-line and work on it, then connect back to the server to sync it back up to its "home," then push the button to indicate you've completed your workflow task.

Expiration and document lifecycle policies can be created and automated, to ensure content is properly disposed of, flagged, reviewed or whatever. This is a pretty big deal in today's business world, where a document lifecycle process and program is - in some cases - legally mandated.

Lots of great stuff coming from these talented people, and lots of business uses and enhancements to look forward to for those of us that need to help workers better organize information and collaborate.

Again, it's going to be a very, very interesting year.

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Saturday, 17 September 2005 08:28:13 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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If you're like me and you disappeared for random business trips at the last minute this past week, and if your business trip didn't take to PDC in Los Angeles (neither did mine), you may have also missed out (like me) on the real-time updates related to the next version of the Office System products - currently known generically as Office 12 and the Office 12 servers.

Simply put, the Office user experience is changing significantly - and at first glance, the changes are pretty amazing and definitely fall on the "hey that's cool" side of the fence. Watch this Channel 9 video interview with Julie Larson-Green of Microsoft to get a sneak peek of what's coming.

Check Jensen Harris' blog here for Office 12 experience updates, too. Good stuff showing up there already.

Channel 9 tags for categorized videos and articles related to the topics:

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Saturday, 17 September 2005 07:54:52 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Got SharePoint? Over at The Dean's Office, Dustin Miller lists a long - and exciting in a geeky way - list of what's coming up in the next version of SharePoint - which is due for release in late 2006 as part of the next version of the Office system.

HUGE improvements coming, and v2 to v3 will be an upgrade, not a migration. Phew! Check out the list.

A good Channel 9 video showing/discussing SharePoint is here.

  • RSS on all SharePoint lists - and access to the feeds respect the SharePoint security model
  • RSS feeds are per-list and per-site (aggregated)
  • Support is for RSS 2.0
  • Out of the box blogs AND wikis! (and you get RSS feeds for those, too)
  • Lots of search improvements and enhancements
  • Outlook 12 will have an aggregator, IE7 also has one
  • WSS runs on ASP.NET 2.0, so ASP.NET v2 web parts are SharePoint web parts
  • Version history in all SharePoint lists - with line-by-line diffs! Nice!
  • Take documents off-line and bring them back
  • Workflow built in - see a Channel 9 video about that here
  • Document management significantly built out
  • Email enabled discussion boards - send email to a SharePoint alias and it shows up in the discussion list! Nice - great internal option to things like Yahoo groups. You can also sync emails, tasks and other stuff to a SharePoint site from the Outlook UI.

It's going to be a big year for Microsoft's Office and Office Servers. Huge, really.

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RSS Stuff | SharePoint | Tech
Saturday, 17 September 2005 06:45:09 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, 14 September 2005

My employer, Corillian Corporation, announced the other day that it's achieved certification under the international security standard BS7799, which is also the basis for the about-to-be-released ISO17799 standard. Without disclosing anything confidential here, I wanted to write a few of my own personal thoughts about the process and my experience in it, and what I think it means in the real world.

Those of us that have been involved in making this happen - which in the end really means every single person employed by the company - are excited about the achievement. We didn't just work to certify a portion of the company's operations, we did the full-meal-deal. I know that those of us on the security team all feel a real sense of accomplishment and success, while cautiously recognizing that we now have that much more to continue to live up to, now that we've arrived. After all, resting on one's laurels in the security world is a dangerous place to be, and security is a process, not an event.

What does it mean to be certified under the "7799" standard? Simply put, the certification says that the company has put in place a comprehensive security management system and program, and that it has shown evidence through a set of documentation and on-site examinations that it's meeting the complete set of standards without deficiencies. In other words, it means we've proven under close scrutiny that we have a solid security program that we take very seriously, and that it works.

I can't begin to explain the amount of learning I did in the process of doing my part in the effort to attain certification. I can tell you that I am convinced - well beyond the shadow of a doubt - that a strong security program and management system can and does contribute directly to the delivery of high quality of products and services. It's a lot of work to get to the point where certification is even possible, and many people dedicated incredible effort over the course of a couple of years to reach this point, but the value gained through the process is very high.

Every organization that deals with security issues and responsibilities should go through the process of certification under the standard. It would make for a much better operating environment, and would result in better-run companies. And in this day, age and operating environment, where trust and security are of paramount importance to business success, there's almost no excuse not to do so.

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IT Security | Tech
Wednesday, 14 September 2005 16:08:34 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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G_bsrch_logoGoogle has launched their Google Blog Search -and its good stuff. One of the best things in my book is that you get a list of highly-relevant weblogs before you get the text search results.

Some searches:

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Blogging | Tech
Wednesday, 14 September 2005 09:20:06 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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