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Showing posts from September, 2008

Blogger and Windows Live Writer

After a long time I finally decided to start blogging (Little help from Fox, Paul, and Natalya). I was first looking for a nice free SharePoint blog site (Wanted to eat my own dog food), but I really could not find one. So I decided to go with Blogger. I figured that I would simply edit my posts in Word 2007 and publish it to blogger… Umm yea it works but not completely. Since Blogger is owned by Google it uses Picasa web as its native Image repository engine. So, low and behold Word does not integrate with Picasa web, and I could not use Word 2007 to post images. So I needed to find another solution. I found an article on the web talking about a new product called:
Windows Live Writer… Hmmm never heard of it before. So I took a quick look and I was actually really surprised on how easy it was to use. It integrated with Blogger and Picasa web seamlessly. Here are some of the features that I use within Windows Live Writer:Creation of Categories Ability to manage all posts Visual di…

How to use the !important tag in CSS

"CSS" stands for: "Cascading Style Sheets'.  This means that the styles cascade and are applied in order as they are read by the browser. The browser reads CSS from top down. The first style is applied and then the second and so on. So if a style appears at the top of a style sheet and then is changed lower down in the document, the last one wins! For example, in the following style sheet, the div class "text" will be white, even though the first style property applied is black: #text{ color: #000000;}#text{ color: #FFFFFF;}The !important rule is a way to force styles out of order. A rule that has the !important property will always be applied no matter where that rule appears in the CSS document. So if you wanted to make sure that a property always applied, simply add the !important property to the tag. So, to make the div class text always black, simply add the
"!important" tag right before the closing semicolon. #text{ color: #000000 !impor…

Using Visio for SharePoint Wireframes

I started out my career creating custom forms, stationary, and illustrations/diagrams for a book publishing company. You can see my old illustration art here:*Keep in mind this was last modified back in 2004, so the resume is way out dated...* Back in 2004 I was working exclusively on a MAC. So when clients (Book Authors) sent us Visio files, we would cringe because all we saw was very rough boxes and squares. As my career changed to consulting, and my PowerBook laptop turned into a Dell Latitude, I started looking at Visio a little closer. After being  given a task to take screenshots and re-draw all SPS 2003 default pages and admin screens in Visio(~70 screens) I started seeing that this application could really be more than boxes and squares. So I put down my Illustrator, Freehand, and other vector programs and really dove deep into what Visio had to offer. I found it actually really easy to create great looking wireframes.
Example SPS2003 Home Pag…

SharePoint Branding Process

This post was originally created in a 26 page PPT deck that I created. Here are the highlights of that presentation.Anything is Possible: With the ability to create custom Master Pages/layouts, the amount of customizations are endless... Examples of Highly Customized MOSS sites: Games For WindowsGlue Mobile GamesHedKandiChoose ChicagoHawaiian AirAnd Many MorePlease keep the following in mindNot all projects are the same. Some require more 1 on 1 attentionSome defer all branding look and feel requirements to either their own internal marketing departments or external vendors for definitions.Some allow full creative freedom, while others are pre-defined.The ProcessThe process described in this post is intended for internal small scale sites. And not intended as a basis for all implementations!What is UI Design?User Interface Design is the process of creating a consistent, successful, integrated design solution.  This solution follows the information architecture and technical underpinni…

Creating Reflections In Photoshop/Office 2007

If you look around at most advertising today, you more than likely will see some type of glossy reflection. Either its on a logo, Car, text, or basically any element its there. If you go to you will see just about every object has some type of reflection to it. In Microsoft Office 2007 they have actually built this feature right into the Photo Tools Special Effects. The Photo effects are really great features and if you don't have Photoshop this might be a good substitute for you.To bring this blog back to Photoshop here are the steps you might take to create this effect.Create a base background color for your image. Add in your graphic that you want to make a reflection of.
In the layer panel, drag this layer on the "Create a new layer" Icon to Duplicate the layer 
Flip the duplicate layer Vertically
Move the layer just below the object Set the duplicate layer opacity to about 15%
Create a "Vector Mask" on the layer
Click on the V…

Office Live Small Business | Highlights

I would like to highlight a few reasons why I think Office Live Small Business is a great product. Just to be clear I am not a Microsoft Sales person, I am simply a consumer.It's Free (Check it out HERE)That's right boys and girls it will cost you nothing to create your own web site. If you want to have your own domain name without the "Officelive"  (Example: then it would be free for the first year and then $14.95 for every year after that. If you already have your own domain name registered, you can simply configure the DNS to point to Microsoft's Servers free of charge. But the best thing is that the hosting is free (Currently right now 1Gig)!It's SharePointBoth the Business Application side and the Public Website side are built on SharePoint technologies.It's Easy to useThe content management part of the product is basically like any other rich text editing application. I found it relatively simple to create pages and orga…

My Application Shortcuts

How often do you find yourself going to that zoom in/out dropdown to choose a Percentage? How often do you click on the scroll bars within your office applications? Well if you find yourself not getting on the application shortcut bandwagon you might be surprised how much time you are spending on clicking on those menus…
Here is a list of basic Shortcuts grouped by my most frequently used applications that will save you tons of time.
Zoom In – [Crtl] + [SpaceBar] + [Left Mouse Click}Zoom Into Specific Area – [Crtl] + [SpaceBar] + [Left Mouse Click and Drag}Zoom Out – [Crtl] + [Alt] + [SpaceBar] + [Left Mouse Click}Fit Stage to Window – [Crtl] + [0]Magic Wand Tool – [W]Eye Dropper Tool – [I]Marquee Tool – [M]Gradient Tool – [G]Switch Foreground and Background colors – [X]Crop Tool – [C]Visio:
Zoom in – [Ctrl] + [Mouse Scroll up &down]Move stage Left & Right – [Shift] + [Mouse Scroll up &down]Move stage Up & Down – [Mouse Scroll up &do…

Governance Topics and Roles

I have been on a Governance kick the last month or so. If you want to learn more about governance and how it relates to SharePoint you need to understand that it is split into two areas.
Roles/Responsibilities (~50%) Policies/Procedures (~50%) Below I have taken our standard model and summarized them into these main roles.
Core Team (PM's, Business Owners, Administrators) Infrastructure Service/Help Desk Application Administrators Application Developers Business Units (Owners, Contributors, Members) Trainers Business Analysis (TBD) Below is an example schedule with the types of roles that should attend.
Overview of Governance Checklist/Base Document:
Core SharePoint Team Business Units Application Administrators Roles & Responsibilities / Locations
Core SharePoint Team Governance Communication
Core SharePoint Team Site Use Confirmation & Deletion
Core SharePoint Team Application Administrators Infrastructure (TBD) My Sites
Core SharePoint Team Business …

I pulled a newbie yesterday

Well I thought that I had seen it all when it comes to quirky things in MOSS 2007 but again it always seems to find a way to throw me for a loop.

I was in the process of creating a custom content type. I based it off of the "Item" content type. I wanted to change the column from "Title" to "Client Name". Usually this is pretty standard when working with normal columns, simply click on the column name, change it and save. But when it comes to Content Types it's a whole new ball game. Since content types are simply a collection of site columns once your mage a change, everything changes…

Here is what I started with: (Figure 1). You will notice that I have the OOTB System "Title" and a bunch of custom Site Columns below. I figured I could just simply change the name of "Title" to "Client Name" and be on my merry way…
Figure 1
So when I clicked on the title column I was presented with the following screen: (Figure 2). I sa…

Creating Custom WCM Styles

When creating content on a publishing site through a Page Content HTML editor there are some basic styles that come OOTB: The styles are actually conditional and different styles appear based on the type of content selected.
Article By LineArticle Head LineArticle Title


Square Bullet List (Only for un-numbered lists)
Roman Number List (Only for numbered lists)

Link StyleYou can view the OOTB styles by going to "http://yourportalsite/_layouts/1033/styles/HtmlEditorCustomStyles.css"There is also the option of using the paragraph formatting dropdown to style your content.

So how do you create your own custom styles?

First you will have to create your own custom CSS file.Then you need to know how to classify your content. Use the following attribute in your custom CSS without the quotes of course. Replace the "yourstylename" with your own custom style name without spaces.
Images: ""Links: "…

SharePoint Branding Methods

A while back I put together a quick table of branding methods and if they were applied how deep would those changes be visible.
Here are some of the ways that you can implement your branding into Share Point: going from least visible to the most.
Content Editor Web Part Style
Add a content Editor Web part on a page, then click on the source button and add:
.ms-WPHeader TD{
background-color: #EEE;
border-bottom: 2px solid #000099;
Alternate Stylesheet:
Configure by going to: Site Settings > Modify all site settings > Look and Feel > Master Page > Alternate CSS URL > Click on radio button "Specify a CSS file to be used by this publishing site and all sites that inherit from it." > Add in URL of alternate style
Custom Theme
Create your own custom theme.�����������…

Gathering Brand Requirements: It’s like pulling teeth…

Ok, so maybe it's not that bad but in my experience clients really don't know what they want. Sometimes you get the people who just want a simple brand adaptation from an existing application, or public website. That's easy enough. Or they want to see some examples of designs that we have done for other clients. Sure no problem. Or you get clients that use the following terms when describing what they want their site to look like:
Flashy Cool Clean Wow factor Easy on the eyes New Aged Techy Lots of white space Fun (Umm yea... OK...)Never allow anyone to put a requirement in the SRS that a portal must be fun… So what does the client really mean when they want a site to be flashy, cool, or lots of white space? Well I have tried to streamline a few set of questions that draw those definitions out of the clients mouth and into my creative brief.
Sample Agenda for a branding JAD session:
You won't get through all of this but it is a nice take away for the clien…

A little bit about me…

Here is a little background of myself. I currently work for EMC Consulting as a Senior Practice Consultant.

I am 29 years old and have two amazing little boys (Gavin 3yrs and Bryce 11mths) and a wonderful wife (Karissa).

I got my bachelors degree in graphic design from Plymouth State College, in Plymouth NH. My first job was at a printing company formally named NEBS. I spent most of my time there creating custom forms and stationary, not a fun job at all… I then got a job doing illustrations and production work for a small publishing company in Atkinson, NH called GEX. It was a laid back 9-5 job, but it drove me crazy… I was also doing some web design work on my own at the time for some family and friends.

I took a leap of faith and Joined Internosis in July of 2004 as a production artist. My Manager took me under his wing and molded me into the consultant that I am today. He gave me the opportunity to explore my creative side and work on my consulting skills (Pre…