Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Price and value

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get." (Warren Buffett)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

TaxOnWeb down …

It is that time of the year again …those dreaded brown enveloppes with tax forms just arrived in our mailbox. Just out of curiosity I decided to take a look at where Belgian citizens can submit their taxes online – unfortunately no luck – the site is down.

Monday, April 06, 2009

A Web 2.0 solution for dying plants

“Homegrown Terra-rists” Ignite Video - The Botanicalls system and applications use networked open source hardware and software to allow plants to communicate with people on people’s terms - using the telephone, text messages or twitter.

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

Exploring Identity LifeCycle Manager 2007 R2

Update: see section about release data

A common issue in organisations is how to effectively and efficiently manage identities of users since data about users is maintained in a number of different systems (HR systems, AD,CRM, etc …) and needs to be pushed to a number of target systems such as SharePoint, Exchange, etc … Identity LifeCycle Manager 2007 is a product which provides an integrated and comprehensive solution for managing the entire lifecycle of user identities and their associated credentials.

The next version of Microsoft Identity Lifecycle Manager, Microsoft® Identity Lifecycle Manager "2" (ILM "2") is scheduled for release in the first quarter of calendar year 2009.

While the initial release was planned for first quarter of calendar year 2009 – I just found this blog post – ILM 2 Release Date put back a whole year.

I’m at TEC 2009 in Las Vegas at the moment, and it was officially announced by Microsoft today that the release date for ILM 2 is now Q1 2010, as opposed to the previously publicised date of “any day now”. We should be getting an RC1 version in Q3 this year.

Reasons why I wanted to explore ILM R2 (instead of sticking with the current version) - (For a detailed description take a look at Understanding ILM2 white paper)

  • It provides a SharePoint-based user interface that enables system architects and IT administrators to create rules governing users and groups using natural language descriptors and easy-to-use menu-driven controls.
  • ILM “2” provides powerful self-service capabilities for Office end-users, rich administrative tools and enhanced automation for IT professionals and .NET and WS-* based extensibility for developers.
  • ILM "2" will also include a simplified configuration of synchronization with heterogeneous identity stores through synchronization rules. This will enable customized solutions to be delivered more cost effectively in less time as they require less specialized application knowledge or programming skills.
  • New features in ILM "2" make it possible for users to manage their own identity information. IT can use ILM "2" to set policies to require workflows such as approvals for or notifications of these user-generated changes. For example, IT may choose to delegate management of mobile phone numbers to end users. Users would be able to use the ILM "2" portal to update this information. This helps keep identity data such as mobile phone numbers up to date so that users can be easily contacted in the process of doing business.
  • ILM "2" includes rich, visual workflow management based on the Windows Workflow Foundation, which enables IT to quickly define, automate and enforce identity management policies. IT can use the integrated workflow in the approval / rejection process for actions such as creating accounts, or delegating tasks. For further extensibility and customization, ILM "2" will ship with WS-* based APIs that enable customization at both the platform and solution level. ILM "2" consumes Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) workflows, enabling organizations to import and reuse existing WF-based workflows in ILM "2".

First thing to do is setting up a test environment to check it out - installation requirements for ILM R2 (I skipped the Exchange Server installation) – notice the 64-bit requirement…

  • Windows Server 2008 64-bit Standard or Enterprise Editions
  • Active Directory Certificate Services (Remember: that you will not be able to change your computer name or domain settings after you have installed Active Directory Certificate Services)
  • SQL Server 2008 64-bit Standard or Enterprise Editions
  • Web Server (Internet Information Server 7)
  • Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 SP1 
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0
  • Microsoft .NET 3.5 SP1 Framework
  • Exchange 2007 SP1 Management Console (if provisioning Exchange Server 2007 mailboxes)
  • Microsoft Exchange 2007 SP1
    Note: Only needed when using ILM “2” add-in for Office 2007 powered by SharePoint Server 2007

This looks really look – – for some more public SharePoint Server websites check out Ian’s Top SharePoint WCM Web sites (with thumbnails)

PS Would have been even cooler if they had added some Silverlight stuff in there …

SharePoint Designer 2007 available as free download

From April 1st onwards SharePoint Designer (SPD) 2007 is available for free, customers with Software Assurance (SA) who bought SPD 2007 are entitled to Expression Web. An interesting statement in Q&A on SharePoint Designer 2007 licensing changes is the following

SharePoint Designer “v-next” will be available simultaneously with the release of the next version of SharePoint, and it will also be a free download.

Related resources:

Try out Live Mesh

I must agree with Andrew – Get Hip to Mesh … it rocks  - I use it for synchronizing my Windows Live Writer Drafts folder on multiple computers – quite handy…

PS I haven’t tried Expanded Live Mesh for Mobile CTP but it definitely sounds cool as well.

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SharePoint Server 2007, Office and Windows Server 2008

After 5 years of working with Windows Server 2003 and SharePoint using Windows Server 2008 is a little different – as well as the installation experience – for some interesting links – check out Installing SharePoint Server 2007 on Windows Server 2008.

If you are setting it up as a demo machine on to which you also install Office 2007 remember that you will need to add the Desktop Experience feature without  it you will not be able to  save documents directly from your Microsoft Office application to a SharePoint Document Library.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

BIWUG April 2009 – Change of agenda

Because of some unforeseen interference we needed to change our agenda. The session about System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) will be postponed to the next BIWUG session. Next week we will have a session from the guys of Ometa who will be talking about their experience with SharePoint and ERP integration and next a session about migrations with Tzunami. The BIWUG board apologizes for this last moment change – if you are interested you can still register.

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