Saturday, June 21, 2008

Segway to talk about Vista and Groove

At Tech Ed I was working with Shawn LeProsse and tablet PC specialist and someone who believes in Vista like myself. Well you never know what you'll learn hanging with other like minded people but Shawn blew me away with the Snipper tool in Vista I didn't eve know existed. We all love to copy and pas things but depending on whether it's par of a web site or pdf or whatever there is usually some annoyance to getting the job done effectively. Well with the Snipper tool that all changes dramatically (I'll also be looking at going tablet pc much sooner).

In the Vista start menu type Snipper and you're on your way to using the quickest grab and go piece of software that is so easy to use it's a shame people didn't know about it (till now).

And if you are using a pen you can free hand draw the required detail you want to grab.

Let's me show you how nicely this works:
I opened Snipper. It drapes the whole screen and then you need only grab the mouse and choose your desired snippet and then you are given an option to paste, email or save right away. It's just that simple.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Teleworking and Groove - Making it work

As as prices continue to soar the option of workign off-site is no longer just a benefit of saving time and productivity, it also makes "green" sense and can have an economic impact for both employee and employer. BUT what if you haven't gone this route yet. How does one make the employer comfortable with letting you out of sight and not out of mind on your part or theirs. There are 3 components to this:

- Ensuring your boss can reach you easily
- Ensuring you have access to critical collaborators in your group
- Ensuring that you can deliver on time (meaning having access to critical documents and data)
- Showing online presence to your employer so that they know that at least you are "present"

In addition it is interesting to point out that many road warriors can benefit by being close to their clients and therefore offers additional productivity savings in terms of accessing clients quickly and more conveniently by starting from home base.

With Groove the above issues are not only handled within one application, groups of teleworkers can be kept as a workspace by employers so that notices that apply to this group specifically can be directed to them easily, real time and with traceability.

In times where shareholders are looking for value and greening of repsonsible companies, Groove is starting to look more and more like the "Green Technology Tool "of the year.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Error in "Contact Info" Tool

Be careful when filling out a v-card that is meant for a Groove workspace. A recent error surfaced recentlythat requires that a first and family name must be filled out in v-card or you will likely get an error.

A fix is in the works.

Groove 2007 Templates

It always makes sense to use templates rather than do things from scratch. Here is the best place to go and get up to date on time saving template tools:

Think of these as much richer versions of the Groove 3.1 Rapid Solutions templates. Each tool comes with detailed user documentation. Small rapid training videos will be coming soon because we all hate to read the User Guides :-)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Chris Rue rants on Groove

Chris is a great an insightful character (the Unknown MVP) who some months ago made a full length review of Groove. While I can't argue many points, there were some glaring differences of opinion or I should say rather that in the last few months many things have become clear and available that IF someone was communicating this to the community and to Microsoft the blog would be different. The MVP Summit allowed me to get a grip on the situation and start teaching people what the real story was and how working together would turn Groove into a tool everyone would derive a huge benefit from , a benefit they could hare with their clients. So stay tuned for the Emancipation of Groove (not just a Sharepoint client).

Best Group Sizes for Groove

There have often been discussions lately as to the feasibility of the size of a Groove workspace. This has as much to do behind the purpose of the Groove in the first place. In my opinion Groove was really designed for groups up to say 25 or so. But most collaboraiton is among groups of 5-15. But Groove can entertain much larger numbers. The trick is to make collaboration effective and many people will argue this till blue in the face.

Based on some of the workspaces I have worked with, Groove is on average comprised of groups in the 45 range and some are over 150 in size (developer group). Keep in mind you are only storing data that is part of the workspace not the data of 150 users. That said it came back to the collaboration being done and Groove has some minor issues with calendaring and notifications which just don't do well unless you use some amazingly clean and handy tools from Hommes and Process. Then Grove takes a big leap forward. Hommes and Process put back what was sorely missing from Groove when it became part of Office 2007.

Now things like dropping docs form anywhere into Groove (and precisely to the workspace you want is as easy and saving in Office) and emails can also be dropped to Grove workspaces with the flick of a mouse click. Do check

But back to the size issue.

I think you have to decide what it is you are trying to disseminate as information to a specific set of people in Groove and if you need to repeat specific messages but with different groups, how much versioning one does, if the information might be more of a dictation rather than a forum for discussion. And finally is there a need for people to be up to date on the data in a workspace?

Its not cut and dry and at a certian point (250 users) Groove should not be used as a solution but rather Sharepoint.

More on this again with a user group we'll talk about later.

MVP SUMMIT – No email but there was Groove

You would think that the last thing you would expect while on Microsoft’s campus is a lack of connectivity (but let me iterate this was in one building and no one is perfect, Steve Ballmer humorously made that point in the MVP closing keynote) . But there it was, at a least one building we were in particular became a study in patience. When it seemed I may have found a connection after 50 tries it seemed I was once again foiled from sending my emails BUT funny enough Groove actions and interactions (mail, IM’s, discussions etc.) were somehow bypassing this problem. I did however need to get some details of a meeting to the new MVP Community director Toby Richards and with 2 hours to do I was a little stressed. But Groove was there for me again. I just copied the email contents, put it into a Groove message and sent it to my Groove PG who, since he is a Microsoft employee, and had an internal link, took the message, popped it into an email and sent it off to my very important recipient (and cc’d me) . Imagine my surprise at how many people later told me were beside themselves with no email access. But at least there was Groove. The fact that Groove is a secure peer to peer collaboration tool means that as long as you can reach the internet you can get connected quickly, get your communications out and business done!