Monday, August 3, 2009

Moving my blog

Hi everyone. I am moving my blog from here over to a new site. So please check out for all the latest on what I am doing and some SharePoint Branding tips.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

SharePoint Saturday Toronto

Wow, it has been a great event! I have truly enjoyed participating in this event. I appreciate all the hard work that everyone involved has put into this one.

It has again been a crazy week for me. I have been all over the place, but have ended my week here in Toronto, Canada for a SharePoint Saturday. I was up first thing this morning and now I get to enjoy each of the sessions.

Right now I am sitting in Serge's session on search. He is teaching us all about how to improve search on your sites.

Lunch was a little crazy. Everyone went pizza crazy! But it was yummy. And they have different pizzas here than I have at home.

Then I sat in on Richard Harbridge's session on successful SharePoint implementations. It was one of the best presentation that I have ever attended! He was so great!

Now I am in Kamal's branding session. He demo'd a great wireframe tool! I will have to try it out. I normally use Visio to do my wireframes, but this Balsamiq wireframe tools looks interesting.

Ruven's presentation is up next today and then on to SharePint!!! --Okay, so I am sitting here in Ruven's presentation and am blown away by how powerful Mindjet MindManager is! I highly recommend you looking into this product if you do architecture of sites!!!

I am going to be doing some screencasts in the next couple of weeks leading up to SharePoint Saturday Baltimore. I will try to blog about these screencasts as well.

The first screencast that I plan to do is how to add a FavIcon to a website. Then I am going to create an alternate css file that will change the top navigation menu and how you can apply this to a site without deploying a custom theme to the server.

I hope that everyone has had a great couple of weeks. The next couple of weeks will be crazy for me with travel and User Group meeting on Tuesday night! :-)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Crazy First Half of 2009

Wow, what a crazy and wild ride it has been for me this first half of 2009! All I can say is I am glad it is over. Now that a few of the more complicated issues in my personal life are starting to wind down (yay, the divorce is final :-) ) I can look forward to the rest of the year and new experience just waiting for me.

The first of these is approaching fast. I am looking forward to doing some travelling and speaking at various SharePoint Saturdays in the next month. And we are planning our very own SharePoint Saturday for Birmingham in November.

I think that my next post will be about designing and implementing FavIcons in SharePoint. It is just one of those additional touches that make a site come to life.

Thanks everyone for all the support throughout this first half of 2009.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Finding my place in the SharePoint Community

For a while now, I have been trying to find my place in both my company and the SharePoint community.  At times it has seemed like more of a Mt. Everest than a small hill to find a spot where I would fit. There isn't really a logical place for a graphic designer in the world of SharePoint.  I was not technical in my background. Although I did grow up with a Computer Science professor for a father. I guess I come by a desire to continue to learn and expand my horizons honestly. So where would I fit.  I kind of got thrown into the SharePoint world without a life preserver.  I was told to help brand our site and a client's site, with no prior SharePoint work to go by.  So into the fray I jumped and I have tried really hard to not look back.  

It was somewhat of a shock to me how much once I started learning this thing that people call SharePoint how much I found myself wanting to learn more and more.  So it was no big surprise to my company when I told them that I might want to do more SharePoint.

They were a little taken aback when I decided to start a SharePoint User Group in Birmingham and went about this without them.  Because as we all know, the only successful user groups are the ones who are run by people who are passionate about what they are running and when the group isn't affiliated with a services company that only wants to use it as a sales pitch.  This has been more of a challenge than I thought.  It is hard to explain to management why I am unwilling to share all of my attendees information with them and why I won't press people to do work with us. They are slowly coming around. It just takes some time.

Our user group has been slowly growing and we are starting to get more and more people intrested in speaking and sponsoring the group.  I will admit that it is one of the hardest things that I do in trying to get it all organized each month. I have a ton of out of the office on my own time work that I need to do each month and I find that I have to put the user group as more of a priority at times. 

And now I am branching out and expanding my SharePoint boundaries once again.  In joining Twitter I have found a large group of like minded people who share a passion for what we do. The advent of the SharePoint Babes is great.  I think that this group of women have an important point of view that we will be able to share with our Community.  And having the opportunity to work with these SharePoint Babes to present a keynote/discussion group at SharePoint Saturday in the Ozarks is great!  I am looking forward to all the new people that I am going to meet in the next month at all the SharePoint Saturdays that I am going to attend.  I appreciate the opportunity that is being given to our community to share and present ideas and topics that we are each passionate about.

Thanks for taking me in and welcoming me to this great Community.  I am honored to be a part of it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What a Busy Week Already

Wow, this week has been a whirlwind and it is only Tuesday night.  So far this week, I have travelled to Atlanta for the Atlanta SharePoint Users Group meeting and taught a SharePoint Designer Level 1 class at New Horizons training center.  It has been a SharePoint full week.

The drive to Atlanta was easy yesterday afternoon and much tougher on the way back to Birmingham.  There were some pretty nasty storms on the way back. I thought for a minute that I was going to get blown off the road.  But, I just kept on going and made it back. There was quite a bit of lightning and at one point I enjoyed quite a strobe light style show with the lightning and my windshield wipers.

Today's class on SharePoint Designer was a really good one.  I had a great group of people who were attending the class. I was quite happy to mix a little more of some of my presentations in with the materials for the class.  It is also always a good time for me to promote the Bham SPUG.  I am always on the lookout for new recruits for my user group.  

The rest of this week is also going to be really busy.  I am going to be assembling materials for CTS's MOSS University session on Friday.  So tomorrow at work, I will be printing and collating binders for 13 people.  These sessions are always a great learning and teaching experience for the CTS SharePoint team and also the clients who we are teaching.  We have been lucky to get about 1 of these sessions a week.  We are well on our way to our goal of 50 sessions for the year.

Let's see, I am also working on some other projects at home this week.  I am working on a baby quilt for a friend. I am also working on an invitation design for one of my charity groups.  This one is for the VSA Arts of Alabama Art Partners event in August. My other big charity meeting for this week is my board meeting for the Children's Dance Foundation.  

Boy when you put it all in writing I seem like such a busy girl.  When do I have time to do all my other SharePoint things?  I am actually thinking that I need a vacation day off soon so that I can spend some quality time with SharePoint.  I almost feel like it is getting its feelings hurt and that I am falling behind on finalizing my presentations for SharePoint Saturday events that are coming up.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Why SharePointlessness?

Okay, so here it goes. The first of many blogs on Microsoft SharePoint and other things that I know about.Maybe I should start this out with a little bit about me and why you should keep up with my blog.

I am a trained graphic designer. I have worked in a few advertising agencies. Now I work for CTS, Inc, an IT Professional Services company based out of Birmingham, Alabama.

But what about SharePoint? How does it fit in? Well, I have been working with SharePoint for the last 3 years at CTS. As a graphic designer, I have been primarily focused on "how to make SharePoint not look like SharePoint." This is quite a good challenge. Web work is always a challenge and adding SharePoint into the mix is just another problem to solve.

Well, I just want to say I am up to the challenge. I have worked with the 12,000+ lines of CSS and have branded many different sites using SharePoint and other web products.

As an IT Consultant I have been lucky to work for a company that has decided to embrace my new found love/hate relationship with SharePoint. I am lucky to run the Birmingham Alabama SharePoint Users Group and to be able to participate in SharePoint Saturdays around the country.

This year so far has been full of changes for me. I am transitioning my position within my company from that of an internal focused marketing employee to a full time SharePoint consultant. This will allow me to work with companies and people to solve problems using this technology and to combine this challenging work with my love for design. It is a work of art and a labor of love to work with SharePoint and create a great User Interface that is easy to work with.

In doing these tasks, I have coined the phrase SharePointlessness. These are instances when you need to make something work and the sometime obvious choice is not the one that works. With SharePoint you are challenged to grow and stretch your imagination to solve the problem in the best manner. Despite the fact that SharePoint is simply a .NET application, sometime the easiest way or the code way are not the best way to solve the problem.

So, please forgive me if at times I ramble about things not SharePoint related or of a more design nature. And I hope that I can provide some information that will help you solve your problems with SharePoint and avoid SharePointlessness.

Thanks and Happy Reading!