Saturday, 12 November 2011

SharePoint Saturday - The most important social feature in SharePoint isn't in SharePoint

My session at SPSUK went very well, even the demo behaving itself (mostly!)…

My slides are available below:

 

 

If you came along to my session I’d love to hear your feedback!

Friday, 16 September 2011

To (almost) quote Elvis…

 

Many of you will have noticed that earlier this year I dropped off the face of the social planet, someone even emailed me to ask if I was still alive!! [and mentioned that DM’ing me on Twitter seemed pointless as I hadn’t been there in weeks!!]

Basically, I needed some time away from things, my employer (Trinity) generously offered to support me and gave me some time off, I took this time to focus on what matters and to realign my priorities…

 

Elvis sang:

 

A little less conversation, a little more action please
All this aggravation ain't satisfactioning me
A little more bite and a little less bark
A little less fight and a little more spark
Close your mouth and open up your heart and baby satisfy me

 

(taken from ‘A Little Less Conversation’)

 

But that’s quoting directly…

 

What I’m saying is:

 

A little less “S” a little more “F” please

All this “S” aint giving me a balance I need

A little more “F” and a little less “S”
… [end of creativity, sorry] ….

 

Anyway, the point I’m getting to is this.

 

I need a better balance of “S” and “F”

 

Less More

 

-SharePoint

-Social media

-Stress

-Shovelling other peoples sh1t

-Sucking it up and getting on with it

-Cynicism (I know that’s a C, but it counts phonetically!!)


-Family time

-Friends (not more of them, but more time with them)

-Fishing

-Fun

-Fitness (yes, exercise, me!!!)

 

To this end I though I’d share a couple of gems that have helped (and I still refer to).

 

A great TED talk. 10 minutes well spent watching it Winking smile

 

 

Nigel makes some excellent points and observations, in a very insightful and entertaining way.

 

I never got very far with Dan Pink's 'Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us' but I’ve picked it again, hopefully to understand more about how I got where i was…

 

 

Also thought that this article on ‘The laws of Productivity’ was excellent:

 

 

image

[opens a PDF in a new tab]

 

 

I am still struggling with balance, but I’m getting there, it isn’t something you achieve overnight, or by flipping a switch, it’s taking effort every day.

 

I am now back at work (have been for a few weeks) and engaging more in social media, but with a better balance and (hopefully) not to the determent of things more important…

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Chromebook – initial thoughts…

I bought a Chromebook last week. A lot of people have asked: why?

 

So, I’ll tell you, and offer my initial thoughts and comments.

 

Why?

 

I used to have my personal email server and file storage running on a beefy server in my own personal datacentre garage. This is now in the cloud. To be precise it’s in Google Apps, with some local file storage on external disk (soon to be replaced by a QNAP NAS). The topic of Google Apps vs BPOS (as it was at the time) is a post for another day (I have one in draft that I never finished!).

Part of the rationale was (in Microsoft parlance) to eat my own dogfood – I was advocating the Cloud, but I wasn’t there myself, well, not really…

 

So, the point is: for the last couple of years my personal email, files, photos, etc have been in the cloud.

 

I have a laptop provisioned for me by my employer. I used to use this for some personal web surfing (etc) in the evenings/weekends but this meant that OCS/Lync, email, tasks etc were intruding on personal time, which, along with a few other factors, was contributing to the work-life balance tipping in the wrong direction.

 

So, the point is: I wanted something I could use entirely for personal use and avoid work intrusions.

 

 

So, I needed a device (laptop, tablet, netbook, whatever – I didn’t care) that allowed me access to my cloud data. So, I started looking for something to meet the following criteria:

 

Must Should Could Won’t
Have a proper keyboard

Have a pointing device of some sort

Be portable

Have wifi

Allow access to Google Apps

Have audio capability (speakers/mic or headphones/mic)

Play video

Play Flash

Have decent battery life

Allow me to use Chrome (by far my favourite browser)

Have speakers

Look good
Allow some work system/data access (just in case)

Have 3G

Have a webcam

Play HD video

Allow me to connect it to a TV

Have an ethernet port



Have massive local storage

Be expensive

Be a PITA to use/manage

Replace my Win7 laptop or Win7 Media Center

Be my ‘main’ PC/Laptop

 

 

So, a few of my ‘must have’ requirements ruled out the iPad (shame – I quite like them), others ruled out tablets (really didn’t want to have to mess around with docking stations just to have a keyboard) which left laptops and netbooks.

 

I really like the idea of the Dell Duo – it runs Windows (which I know and like, and can generally fix when it goes wrong) and is in a very cool form factor. But running an OS like Win7 on 2GB of RAM (with no option for upgrade) troubled me. They are also above my budget (circa £250), even on ebay they fetch around £350 second hand.

This is a shame – it would have fitted the bill nicely…

 

This left a raft of rather ‘samey’ netbooks and small laptops… Until I remembered the CR-48 and Google's plans to release a mass-market consumer device running Chrome. So I looked into this further.

The hardware was indeed available now in the UK (Samsung Series 5 or Acer AC700, see Amazon for details) and the OS was available in a pre-built VM to play with evaluate (which I did).

Although the performance of the VM could have been better (it isn’t optimised for the VMWare ‘hardware’ and you can’t (easily) get the VMWare Tools installed) I liked it, quick boot, easy to use, and just the web…

 

 

The Samsung looked better, but the Acer has a better spec, but the Samsung was available, the Acer will hit the market later in the year……

So I bought the Samsung:

 

Samsung Chromebook Series 5 - image from: http://www.gadgetreview.com

 

I have the 3G and WiFi version, although can’t see me using much WiFi as it will be mainly used at home (or the homes of friends/family) and occasionally when out and about, but not much…

 

Thoughts and comments

 

It’s a great device, I’m loving it so far, there are a couple of minor niggles, but all-in-all I’m impressed.

 

As it uses my Google account for login it knew my Chrome preferences as soon as I logged in, and seconds later it had all my apps/extensions installed to! I have had several PC’s/Laptop’s/etc over the years and this is the only one that felt that it was mine within seconds, I usually have to install/configure loads of ‘stuff’ to get to this point, not so here Winking smile

 

I have played around with the beta builds and even ventured as far the unstable dev build, and was VERY impressed with the OS re-installation routine. On my laptop, downloaded a small executable and plugged in a USB stick, the program created a bootable image on the stick, turned the Chromebook on (while holding down a reset button on the back) and it re-installed the latest stable build in around 5 minutes – and then (even with a clean build OS) i was back up and running with my settings/apps/etc a minute later. Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

As someone who’s done their fair share of Windows installs over the years I was genuinely impressed…

 

The browser itself runs fine, can be a bit sluggish if you have loads of tabs open (esp if the sites/pages you’re opening are full of Flash and high res images), but it’s well within realms of acceptability.

 

I haven’t had any need to use my Win7 laptop in the evenings since having the Chromebook…

 

Pro

-boots in under 7 seconds

-resumes from sleep in ~1 second

-gives me web access

-gives me access to my data in the cloud

-gives me access to my local data (as in local NAS)

-synchronises my preferences/settings/apps/extensions between all my computers running Chrome

-felt “personal” from the first time I turned it on

-plays SD video fine

-plays ITV coverage of the RWC fine!

 

Cons

-struggles with HD video

-perceivable slowing down when you have lots of tabs open (with ‘busy’ web sites/pages)

 

 

I did a quick comparison of boot time (and more importantly ‘time until usable’) between my work laptop (Dell Latitude E6500 with: Intel Core2 Duo @ 2.8GHz, 4GB RAM, 7200RPM SATA Disk, 64bit Windows 7 Enterprise) and the Chromebook (Samsung Series 5 with: Intel ATOM @ 1.6GHz, 2GB RAM, 16GB SSD, ChromeOS) the difference is staggering:

 

-Win7 took 55 seconds longer to get to the login screen

-Win7 took a 3.5 minutes longer to get to the point of being usable (although was still loading stuff)

-Win7 takes (on average) 30 seconds longer to resume from sleep (although on one test took over a minute)

 

 

Conclusion

 

The Chromebook is a great bit of kit and does exactly what I need it to do, and does it very well.

 

It isn’t for everyone, and certainly isn’t a main/primary PC choice, but as a second device I can’t find a major fault with it. I don’t care much about watching HD films/programs on it, so that doesn’t really bother me, and I can live with it being a bit slower if I have loads of tabs open (it’s still better than IE8/9 on Win7 in that regard though).

 

I think they are priced wrongly, I paid £240 for mine off Ebay, this is the price point they should be at, £400/£450 puts them into a price bracket that they can’t compete in.

 

All-in-all a thumbs up from me!

It’s been 24 years, where the f**k’s Webb Ellis?

 

Saw this last night, made me laugh out loud!!!

 

“…we’re thrashing everybody then we go and lose to France…”

 

#Brilliant!!!

 

 

 

I think the Blacks stand as good a chance as ever this time around, but playing the tournament at home (and “after 24 years” of expectation) the pressure on the team must be immense…

 

Wonder if they’ll be another popular fashion accessory in Auckland this year??

 

All Black Choker

Friday, 26 August 2011

Success on the new lake!

 

It’s my first season fishing on a members only water, and certainly my first time targeting Carp in a water notorious for being hard going (the water is around 15 acres, containing only ~70 fish, full of weed, making it hard to catch the fish, but that’s the challenge i was looking for!!!).

 

After several blank sessions ( a ‘blank’ is a session where no fish are caught) I’ve finally started making some progress.

 

I had a really nice 16lb Common Carp a couple of weeks ago on a mid-week overnighter:

 

Matt Groves (and a 16lb Common Carp)

 

 

This was caught from the deeper water fishing over a patch of shallow silt surrounded by deep silt and weed.

 

And then earlier this week I had a brilliant session landing 4 fish (I had 5 bites but lost one when it got into the heavy canadian pond weed that has choked the north end of the lake), of these 3 were my target species (Carp) and one Tench.

The main thing was that one of the fish was very special (to me anyway). Only last week I managed to finally bag a UK “twenty” which was also a new UK Personal Best (PB), and now I’ve done it again!!

 

Matt Groves (and a 23lb 12oz fully scaled Mirror Carp)

 

 

This is the 23lb 12oz Mirror Carp (a fully scaled Mirror Carp at that!) that graced my landing net at around 7am Smile


Was packing up to leave for work and as i was winding in the left hand rod the bite alarm on the middle one started beeping, thinking I had either knocked the rod with my leg or crossed lines I just carried on winding, until the baitrunner went nuts! It took a good 20 minutes to get it in through the weed...


The photo isn't very good. There was a dog walker passing who insisted on taking the pics and just wouldn't take ‘no’ for an answer, if i wasn't already late I'd have just slipped the fish back into the retainer sling and taken some myself after he'd gone, I wish I had, but needed to get to the office for a meeting (and shower etc beforehand).

 

There was a wonderful sunset the evening of the session, the iPhone managed to get some decent pics too:

 

Carp fishing sunset by matt groves Carp fishing sunset by matt groves Carp fishing sunset by matt groves

 

 

Anyway – I’m delighted with the new PB!!

 

Next target is a 25 pound Carp, or a “thirty” Winking smile

Monday, 15 August 2011

A great session at Bluebell Lakes and a new UK PB!

 

I had a great 48 hour session at Bluebell lakes with my father-in-law and my mate Mark.

 

The lake isn’t easy and we all struggled to get going, but over the course of the session I managed to land 5 fish (from 7 bites) for a total of 84lb including a magnificent (new UK PB) twenty pounder:

 

Matt Groves with a 20lb Common Carp

20lb Common Carp

 

Mark had one Carp (over 20lb) and three Tench - we won’t mention the duck he caught or the tree branches Winking smile

 

Slideshow of pictures below:

 

 

For those using devices that don’t support Flash (e.g. iPhone) you can use this link: Matt’s Bluebell lakes Album

Thursday, 11 August 2011

To the stupid woman seen on the BBC news reports from Manchester…


Dear Moron, 


Don’t be so silly. Please. I implore you.


Your kids don’t “have nothing”. That is a ridiculous statement.


What’s more, your anger appears to be mis-directed, you appear to be angry with the state and with other (generally decent) people.



Your kids have the same (provided by the state) opportunities for education, healthcare and social security that mine do. It’s exactly the same.



You yourself had the same (provided by the state) opportunities for education, healthcare and social security that I had. It was exactly the same.




The difference in the opportunities that your kids have is not because of differences in what the state offers, the additional opportunities that (I hope) my kids will have will be provided by me. In order to provide these I work very hard. If you are angry about this I strongly suggest you follow suit.


If you are unable, or unwilling, to put in some effort and get a career (or job) that allows you to provide the lifestyle and support to the kids that you want to provide then you need to seriously re-align your expectations.


As for your point about Mark Duggan, the man to whom you were talking outside the shopping centre makes a very valid point; it has nothing to do with the rioting/looting. I would like the news report to have included his full response…


Should there have been activity on the streets after this armed drug dealing scrotum was shot?


Well, yes, I think there should. It may surprise some of my friends to hear me saying that, but the streets should have been full of noise and activity. I think there should have been party poppers, ticker tape and marching bands.


Now, allow me to broach a subject that I know will cause you some offence, for which I apologise, but I feel it needs to be said.


The opportunities afforded to your kids by the state (which, as I established above, are the same as those afforded to mine) represents what can only be described as excellent value for money for you. Whereas, the same services represent less value for money for me, it’s not that I have fewer children than you (although I’m sure I probably do as both my wife and I have been able to successfully apply some basic self-control and family planning… sorry, I digress) or the kids that I have use less of the services available, it’s more that the mechanisms in place to fund them (they are free of charge directly, but are funded indirectly through taxation of various types) mean that I contribute significantly more.

That’s right, I contribute more, yet I don’t get more. We get the same.
Imagine that if you will.
Please, take a moment to consider it…


Allow me to tell a little story:

We (you and I) both go to a shop, we both buy the same block of cheese, you are charged £1 for the cheese, and I am charged £5 for the same cheese. It isn’t that I have better/more cheese than you, or you have worse/less cheese than I, it’s the same, and yet I paid a lot more for it.

Please indulge me while I carry this on another step:

We (you and I) both go to a shop, we both buy the same block of cheese, you are charged £1 for the cheese, and I am charged £5 for the same cheese. It isn’t that I have better/more cheese than you, or you have worse/less cheese than I, it’s the same, and yet I paid a lot more for it.

But then, due to the fact that you only had £1 but needed two blocks of cheese, the shop keep then gives you (for free) another block of the same cheese.
You now have two blocks of cheese, I still only have the one, you still only paid £1, and I still paid £5.
Imagine this scenario continuing for several years, each time you get an additional block of cheese without additional charge, and I still only get one block of cheese for my £5.
As I’m sure you can appreciate, the shop will soon go out of business if it continues to give away cheese to those paying the lower price for it, but the shop keep thinks it unfair to cover the cost entirely by raising his price to me, so instead he thinks that ending the free cheese deal (but still be prepared to sell you a block of cheese for £1, and only raising his price to me to £6) is the only way to remain open (and therefore able to provide us both with cheese).
While annoying to both of us, the shop keep has not targeted either one of us to keep him in business, you pay the same for the same cheese but don’t get any additional cheese for free, while I pay more for the same cheese.
Getting your cheese at the same low price, but no longer getting additional cheese for free, is something you’ll have to come to terms with. Sorry about that. But I’ve had to come to terms with paying £5 (now £6!) for the same cheese you get for £1.


Lastly, I would just like to add that your close supervision of your kids was admirable, to see that you’d clearly been keeping a very close eye on them all night (judging by the apparent lack of sleep you had before the interview and lack of time you had to shower, dress and prepare yourself to leave the house) and to want to take such an active part in keeping your children on the straight and narrow by escorting them around town is laudable. And to do all this while their father(s??) was out at work.


Great stuff. Keep it up.


Hopefully my sarcasm came through there. In case it didn’t, here is an alternate:


If you had a little more respect for yourself and your family, to say nothing of respect for others, you might be able to turn our life (and your kids futures) around. Try it, you might like it.



          Yours sincerely,




                    Me

Matt wishes to thank Dr Spencer Johnson. Without him the Cheese story above would nave been about a bottle of milk, or a loaf of bread, or something equally mundane. It works better when it’s about Cheese.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

My $0.02

 

To anyone questioning the Police reaction to recent events: cast your mind back to the G20 protests, the Police were slated for a swift and robust reaction, so they were directed from above to be more cautious, yet there are questions being asked now (obviously with the wonderful benefit of hindsight) about recent events and if the Police should have been more forceful earlier. It's especially irritating that the same people who slated them at G20 for being too harsh are slating them now for being too soft, FFS guys, give them a break.

 

As someone with strong family ties to the Police force my opinion may be biased, however, the on-the-ground bobbies are not given the support from senior officers or politicians, their actions are constantly questioned, and when they do react to provocation they are left hanging. Simply not acceptable. They (the on-the-ground officers) should not be expected to go out on the streets to be attacked with rocks and petrol bombs, and then use anything less than reasonable force to defend themselves, the public, and property. That is the job they are tasked with.

 

I don't mean to come across like Jack Nicholson's character in 'A Few Good Men', but, the safe communities in which we live are (albeit not exclusively) thanks to decent people putting on a uniform and dealing with unimaginable (to the majority of us) situations under incredibly difficult circumstances, I think we should simply say "thank you" and leave them to get on with their jobs.

 

 

Boris Johnson (interviewed on Radio 2 this morning) was spot on when he said that parents/teachers/blue light services have been failed by the authorities as they are in a position where they fear prosecution/reprimand for enforcing discipline and boundaries, hence the view from some of the criminals interviewed last night/this morning that they can simply 'get away with it'.

 

I knew exactly where the boundaries were growing up, because my parents (and grandparents), teachers, community leaders, local bobby, shop owners, sports coaches, neighbours (in fact largely any adult influence I had) were able to clearly enforce the boundaries of acceptable behaviour.

 

It seems this is no longer the case.

 

And it's a shame...

Friday, 15 April 2011

Toddle Waddle 2011–Update

The Toddle Waddle was today, all the kids were brilliant (most of the adults behaved themselves too).

 

Photos are below:

(iphone/ipad users can use this link instead: https://picasaweb.google.com/grovesfamilyuk/ToddleWaddle2011#slideshow)

 

 

So far the boys and their friends have raised nearly £458, it’s not too late to donate and help get over £500!!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

BPC Photos–third and final day

 

 

Ipad/iphone users: https://picasaweb.google.com/grovesfamilyuk/BPCUKDay3#slideshow/ 

 

Facebook links:

 

Album 1

Album 2

Album 3

 

Lastly: if you can spare a couple of £’s or $’s please donate to my son who is raiding money for the Meningitis Trust later this week: http://www.mattgrovesblog.com/2011/04/meningitis-trust-toddle-waddle.html

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Photos from BPC Day 2

Day 2 brought more sunshine and smiles at BPC!

 

Here are the day2 photos, including the ‘edited highlights’ of the conference party!

Please get in touch if you want anything removing…..

 

 

Ipad users can use this link (as the Flash embedded above won’t work!): https://picasaweb.google.com/grovesfamilyuk/BPCUKDay2#slideshow/5594988882541061682

 

The photos are also now on Facebook (tag and comment to your hearts content!):

 

Day 0 – Album 1Album2

Day 1 – Album 1Album2

Day 2 – Album 1Album2Album 3

Monday, 11 April 2011

Photos from BPC Day 1

 

Day 1 started with the keynote delivered by Chris Johnson, then it was into the sessions…

 

 

I did my session on “Office365, is it a viable option for you?” which went very well.

 

Later on we hot the streets of London for #SharePint at the Old Star.

 

Good day. Good fun. Bring on tomorrow.

My Slides from BPCUK–Office365, is it a viable option for you?

 

My session went well, struggled a little with timings but generally went according to plan!

 

Had some good positive feedback, I am yet to catch up with @soulsailor who will probably slate me for the use of words Winking smile

 

Deck embedded below:

 

 

 

If you have any questions, or would like to discuss Office365 further please grab me when you see me around at the conference, or get in touch via the “about me” page here on my blog.

Best Practice Conference – Day0

Here are the day 0 photos…

 

Some from the football, some from the bar Winking smile

 

 

Looking forward to tomorrow…

 

It’s been a really good day, not a cloud in the sky (and thankfully no ash!!)

 

Looking forward to tomorrow…

 

It’s been a really good day, not a cloud in the sky (and thankfully no ash!!)

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Meningitis Trust: Toddle Waddle

 

As you may remember, my son had Meningococcal Septicemia a couple of years ago…

 

                                                                   
   

 

Thankfully it was caught early enough and he has made (more or less) a full recovery (read my account of it here: http://www.mattgrovesblog.com/2007/11/sam-doing-well-now.html).

 

My wife is organising a “Toddle Waddle” (see: http://www.meningitis-trust.org/fundraising/events/toddle-waddle/) to raise money for the Meningitis Trust

 

                                 

 

We would both be very grateful for any donations received as this is a charity that is particularly close to our hearts: www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/samandrobert

 

 

Thank you.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

BPC Session confirmed!!

One of my sessions has been confirmed for the European SharePoint Best Practices Conference in April.

 

 

My session is on the first day (COM603) and will be covering Office365 (the next generation of BPOS):

 

In this session Matt will expand on the new offering from Microsoft for SharePoint 2010 online which is now branded Office 365. You will have heard the hype but is this new service something that you should consider? Find out the what, why and how of this new offering.

 

 

This should be a great session as I’m sure that it is a topic that will spark the interest of the attendees (although I am on at the same time as some really good speakers and sessions!!).

 

I’ll be around for the entire conference, so feel free to grab me if you’d like to chat through anything, I  will be blogging/tweeting (as you’d expect) so will see you on the back-channel I’m sure Winking smile

Monday, 7 February 2011

SUGUK Slides from Feb 3rd

Once again I was honoured to be invited to speak at the user group, especially speaking alongside John Timney (MVP).

 

As I have developed somewhat of a reputation for speaking at SUGUK and barely mentioning SharePoint I’d thought I’d continue in the same vein Winking smile

 

My first SUGUK presentation was on publishing SharePoint extranets using ISA 2006 (is it really that long ago!?!?), since then I’ve presented on several topics including social networking, business readiness and configuring authentication providers… So, for this one I thought an overview of where the Forefront Suite can fit into a SharePoint deployment/strategy and how it can add value.

So, related to SharePoint this time Winking smile

 

More info on the evening is available, as always, on the SUGUK site: http://suguk.org/forums/thread/25936.aspx

 

My session covered the wins available in Forefront, and quickly skirting over the elements of the suite that aren’t really relevant (e.g. Client Security).

I then went on to cover some of the basics of presenting to the user groups with a bit of call to action – if you’d like to present at a future session, please get in touch with the regional coordinators via www.suguk.org and if you’d like any help preparing just drop me a line, I’m more than happy to help!

 

The slides are available below:

 

 

 

If you open it in a larger window (icon on the bottom right of the embedded control) you’ll see the animations too!

 

Please get in touch: http://www.mattgrovesblog.com/p/about-me.html if you have any questions, I’d really like to hear your feedback (via the channel of your choice!).

 

Big thanks to Mark and Tony (once again) for organising, hosting and providing the food!!

 

UPDATE:

 

had a couple of question about mind mapping. I use MindMeister, this is a low cost online service (it’s all about the cloud, baby!!!) and find it excellent. They had to remove offline capability due to Google ditching Gears, but their replacement is due anytime now. Other than that I find it excellent. The real-time collab feature is simply awesome (used a lot with @soulsailor) and actually used the ‘playback’ of the map growing/evolving at an event as a back-drop while people entered the room and found seats (etc). If you want to try it, sign up (free) here: http://www.mindmeister.com/?r=503