Thursday, 10 December 2009

Re-launched SoulSailor/FluffyClouds Blog

Ant Clay has been working long into the night to merge/aggregate/re-launch his blog, and I must say it looks pretty cool ;)




Go check it out!

Post Ratings

Just noticed that Blogger have implemented “Ratings”, so I have had it enabled for a short while on my posts…


Image from the BloggerDraft Blog:


It’s been there since June 2008 but I hadn’t noticed it before and there doesn't seem to have much noise made about it – it is a “Blogger in Draft” feature so maybe why it’s been quiet and why I’m having issues (see below!).





Due to the issues below I have now turned off rating and gone for “reactions”!


Am trying to get the background of the star rating to something other than white.

Seems to be set via: expr:g:background-color='data:backgroundColor'

But I can’t work out how to overide this.

I’ve tried setting this to a colour manually: expr:g:background-color=’#EEF2D5’

No joy…

Tried adding:

<span class='star-ratings' background='#EEF2D5'>

No joy…

Tried adding CSS:

.star-ratings {



No Joy…

Tried adding:

<style type='text/css'>


* <Variable name='bgcolor' description='Page Background Color' type='color' default='#eef2d5'/>

* <Variable name='mainBgColor' description='Page Background Color' type='color' default='#eef2d5'/>



As the combination of the following two articles made it like like it ought to work:



No Joy…


Tried adding another background=’#EEF2D5’ to the DIV that is used:

<div expr:g:background-color='data:backgroundColor' expr:g:text-color='data:textColor' expr:g:url='data:post.absoluteUrl' g:height='42' g:type='RatingPanel' g:width='280' background='#EEF2D5'/>

And changing the DIV class to:

<div g:background='#EEF2D5' expr:g:text-color='data:textColor' expr:g:url='data:post.absoluteUrl' g:height='42' g:type='RatingPanel' g:width='280' />

No Joy…


Sensing a theme yet?


Google searches have been of little use, most useful posts/articles were:


> (the comments had some tips)

The reason, at least I think this is the reason, is that the background color is set in too many place for me to easily override, there also appears to be an external CSS called for the ratings…


Using the IE Dev Toolbar I have found no less than 5 (yes 5!!!) places that it is set to white…


1 - <div g:width="280" g:url="" g:type="RatingPanel" g:text-color="000000" g:height="42" g:background-color="ffffff">


2 - <iframe width="280" height="42" class="RatingPanelCustom" src="" frameBorder="0">


3 - <table class="zzRatingPanel" style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #000000;" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0">


4 - <span class="zzAggregateRating" style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #000000;">

5 - <span class="zzRatingEdit" style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #000000;">


Surprisingly the CSS ( doesn’t actually have colours being set (this CSS is really badly formatted by the way)….


I’d rather have stars than the “reactions”, mainly because they look ‘cooler’, but until I find a way (or some kind soul points it out to me!) I’ll go with reactions rather than a starred rating.



Tuesday, 8 December 2009

How many Matt's?


Most of us have multiple aspects to their lives. Should a blog (or other online presence) reflect this?


Yes. Absolutely.


Should someone maintain separate blogs for each key “aspect” of their lives?


Maybe. But probably not, in my opinion at least.


The way I look at this is that my blog is my thoughts, my opinions, my ideas, my commentary, irrespective of the content. I may blog about SharePoint one day, then photography the next, and some random nonsense the day after… Or indeed most of the time ;) Either way, it is me blogging it, this is the common thread running through everything…

I am also not overly fussed about maintaining multiple identities or brands, they would, in my opinion, overlap and merge to such an extent that trying to keep them separated/isolated wouldn’t work.

Maybe I’m wrong.


The readers of my blog may find the mix interesting, they may only bother with posts categorised/tagged with certain terms, I would like to hear what you think and how you read this blog.

Does this work?

Am I wrong, right, or (as I often am) in that delicious grey area in between? I guess, as previously stated: “It depends…”


But I believe that, in the words of Matt Groves and U2…


One Matt. One brand. One blog.

                                        -Matt Groves


One love, one life, one blood, you gotta do what you should, one life - with each other, sisters, brothers....


The way I look at it is:


I am me. I work. I play. I SharePoint. I take photographs. I have a family. I like to fish. I play golf (albeit badly). I like Rugby. I am me.


[Thanks to Tom Short and Ant Clay for providing the question, this post is based is based on the response I gave them]

Monday, 7 December 2009

Presentations – the 5 rules

I really enjoy delivering presentations.

My style is constantly evolving, but there are a few elements that will probably not change, I differ from the majority of my colleagues as I firmly believe that “traditional” presentations lack effectiveness.


There are are 2 main books I would point you at if you asked how to be a better presenter:


Presentation Zen Slide:ology


Presentation Zen (Garr Reynolds) is a general guide to delivering presentations, Slide:ology (Nancy Duarte) is more focussed on the slideware. Both are excellent reads!

[Thanks to Ant Clay for lending me Slide:ology]


You can get the “5 rules” that Duarte apply from within PowerPoint 2010!!!! Read the Duarte blog post here:


Open PowerPoint 2010 > Click on File > New >  In Available Templates and Themes click on Sample Templates


select sample templates

Open: Five Rules


Select 5 rules

Start the Slide Show (either hit F5 or from the Slide Show ribbon element click From Beginning)


This is well worth 5 minutes of your time….

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Good enough is good enough (?)

This has been a hectic month.

It has been a very hectic year.


Between work and family life I have struggled to get much done. I came up with a mantra for this year around February time, after my good friend Malcolm sadly passed away and I was thinking about priorities in life…


“Good enough is good enough…”


After some brief analysis of where my time was being spent I realised that my desire to exceed expectation and to over-deliver was sucking my time away.


So, I thought I could address this by focussing on delivering the “acceptable”, something that is “good enough”.


I have been told that my perception of “good enough” is what needs focus and attention.


Or maybe it doesn’t?


What is wrong with striving to be the best I can be? To author the best documents and content? To deliver the best solutions?


Image courtesy of Hugh MacLeod and

Image from:


I agree that sometimes “good enough is good enough” – but I can’t default to it…


Therefore I will continue to strive, to push and surpass. But when I need, or want, it to be, good enough will have to be good enough…

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

The “when” rumours are starting…

Just seen this:




That states:


"We expect Office 2010 and related products to be generally available in June 2010," a Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mail to eWEEK on Dec. 1.



Seagull in flight

Just been reminded of this shot I took on holiday this year but never published…


Seagull in Flight - by Matt Groves

“Seagull in flight” – Matt Groves (June 2009)


I like it ;)

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Dear Santa – can I have a 7D for Christmas?

After weeks drooling over online and magazine reviews, and generally suffering from geek-need-new-toy desire, I will be getting one!!


image couresy of

The Canon 7D


As usual, DPReview have an excellent (and detailed) review:


Official Canon micro-site for the 7D: (some good videos)


I am sooooo pleased that Mrs G is letting me have one ;)

[thanks babe, love you!!]


The main reasons I want need one are:


> 18MP APS-C CMOS sensor = awesome detail and no need to spend £x,000’s on new glass for a full frame body!

> 8fps shooting = wow! no more missed shots of the kids doing something hilarious ;)

> ISO 100-12800 = and the reports/reviews show well controlled noise at higher ISO, better for me shooting the kids indoors ;)

> 19 cross-type AF points and new dedicated AF sensor with point and zone selection = fast and accurate AF ;)

> iFCL metering system with 63-zone metering for Focus, Colour and Luminance = great exposures ;)
> Dual "DIGIC 4" = speed, low noise, sharp, sexy and slick image output ;)

> Full HD movie =  one Sony Handicam destined for ebay ;)

> Integrated Speedlite Transmitter = so my 580EXII will work off-camera further than 1m away (my cable is only 1m long!) with full TTL2 support ;)

> 3” Clear View II LCD – much better than the LCD on my 400D ;)

> Live View - not new to Canon but new to a 400D owner! ;)

> Magnesium body + environmental protection = virtually indestructible, well, OK, maybe not, but super-cool nonetheless ;)

> BULB-1/8000 sec shutter = twice as fast as the 400D ;)

> Richer info in the viewfinder = less looking down at the LCD ;)

> Top LCD panel – again, not new, but new to a 400D owner ;)

> Highlight Tone Priority & Auto Lighting Optimizer = great exposures ;)

> 2 continuous modes, 8fps and ~3fps ;)

> M-RAW and S-RAW ;)

> Massively customisable menus and settings ;)


Waiting until pay day will be a long wait though……….

New version of Picasa

There is a new version of Picasa available (3.5), it’s been out for a over a month but I’ve only just caught up on the Picasa Blog to see the news!




The face recognition looks really smart ;)

I really like this app, the basic edits are often all I need and the slick integration with Picasa Web Albums is great…


Go get it:

We are recruiting!

We are currently recruiting for several positions, please get in touch via the Trinity website or with me directly...

Usual company info is available here:

I've been here for over 5 years and I think it's a great place to work, we have a well established and exceptionally talented SharePoint team, we need more exceptional people to join us!

We offer excellent career development and have some really exciting opportunities in the pipeline!


Senior Consultants/Architects - £60-80k +


SharePoint Technical Specialist - £30-45k +


Senior Developers - £35k +


UX Specialist - £25-35k +


Please get in touch via our Website ( or with me (see below) directly, I am happy to answer any questions and if you'd rather have an informal chat then I'd like to hear from you...

At this time I do not want to hear from agencies, the roles are all permanent (although contracts may be offered from time to time).


Blog: (but you knew that as your looking at it!)
Twitter: @mattgroves