OK - I never really got blogs until the last few days. I've been in Seattle, WA since before the Labor day weekend. I had decided earlier this year that I was tired of going to conferences and just seeing the inside of the conference venue and the hotel, so this time I took some time to go relax and look around Seattle. I had originally planned to only come in a few days before the conference (SMB Nation 2004) and then leave a few days after it. Luckily I was told that the Monday was the labor day holiday and I would be best to come in on the Friday.
So I've spent the week before the conference, touring around Seattle - I stayed out at Bellevue for the first week as I had a friend out there that had offered to show me around. Unfortunately the best laid plans go astray and they had heaps of worked dumped on her so I was left to my own devices. It was here that I learned about how good the bus system is in Seattle. They have a website which you can go to and it will help you plan out the route including which busses to catch and when. Very cool. What was even cooler was that they have this great applet that uses the GPS locater in the bus to show where it is at any given point in time - real time. And whats' more is that you can configure it to send you an alert when the bus reaches a certain point so you can rush out the door in time to catch it. Now that's what I call a great use of technology.
I visited Bumbershoot 2004 which was a real blast - it was a very enjoyable day even though I spent it by myself. Saw lots of great acts there and it was during this week that I thought “you know - I should blog this just for fun”. I made plan to get my own blog.
SMB Nation started on the Thursday evening with a visit to the baseball. Now this Aussie has never been to a baseball game before in his life so it was a real treat - what made it even more so was the invitation to a private corporate box so the view was incredible. I picked up the game quite quickly and was excited to see the Seattle Mariners beat the Boston Red Sox. On the Friday I I asked “The Susan Bradley” to set me up with a blog on the msmvps.com site. This was a little tricker than it should have been mainly due to the overloaded wireless network at the conference. Why do these conference venues NEVER have their Internet connections working properly? I mean it should be simple.
SMB Nation was a lot of fun. On Saturday included a presentation from Jeff Middleton which was on migration to SBS2003 using some very different techniques from the normal. I've been doing migrations similar to this for the past 2-3 years and have worked with Jeff recently on his documenting of the process as it offers even greater benefits (although for some it's technically more challenging) than the Microsoft recommended processes. Jeff is also writing a chapter for the Advanced SBS2003 book on migration and another on disaster recovery. During this presentation I don't think I heard anyone at all speak which was really strange - they were all transfixed as the master showed his methods and at the end got one of the best rounds of applause I heard all conference. Jeff is going to be working more in this area and has created a website specifically for migration. I would highly suggest keeping an eye on that site for all SBS'ers.
Sunday started with a minutes silence for the victims of Sept 11 which was intense. You could feel the power in the room as people remembered those who lost their lives on that day and also those whose lives had been affected thereafter by it. We then went into the various presentations - Susan Bradley gave on on SBS2003 Hacks - now this was really fantastic as Susan also got the support of two other SBS MVPs - Chad Gross and Jeff Middleton to present on some really cool stuff. Chad presented what he calls his “poor mans CRM“ which is basically some nifty work done with Windows Sharepoint Services to create a very basic but usable CRM system. Jeff then presented on how to get applications working in User Mode on XP systems rather than having to have the users run in Administrator permissions mode as seems to be the default by most people.
Later that day, I presented a session on Mobility with SBS which was well received and was pleased to see Dr Tom Shinder in the audience - Dr Tom has a penchant for mobile devices and I think he was excited to see just what you could do with our little SBS product. My presentation was a brief overview of the work I've been doing with Mobile devices in Australia for our customers and also work I've done with SBS2003's Remote Web Workplace (RWW). I'm also in the middle of writing a chapter on this same subject for the new SBS2003 Advanced Best Practices book which should be out soon. There were many great presentations at SMB Nation - One of the final presentations I saw and the entire reason this blog exists was done by Anne Stanton from the Norwich Group. I had spoken to Anne many times via email over the last 6 months and also then in person over the course of the conference and had found her to be quite a knowledgeable person. I was however unsure about how she would present her session. I didn't quite think of her in that way. I could not have been more wrong. Anne delivered a fantastic presentation on the S space in the SMB market. One of the key ideas she promoted was the use of a blog as a resource tool for not only technical knowledge, but also for marketing to our customers - something that I had never considered. Not only was Anne a fantastic presenter, I also found out that she is a real comedian with a style similar to Ellen Degeneres (hope I spelled that right). She had the audience totally transfixed as she explained how you could really use the blog as a good communications tool for your customers.
So there - that's my first ever blog. I'll probably move this to my new SBSFAQ.com site shortly when I get it all sorted. I'm rebuilding it using Windows Sharepoint Services just to see how far you can go with it. You can check it out (although it's by no means complete) at http://new.sbsfaq.com Note - I don't promise it's working and that link will die once I move it to the new server when it's good to go live. I also plan to start another more business focused blog on my business site www.correct.com.au so that my customers can see what I am thinking about.
Live long and prosper.