Friday, November 28, 2008

Changing the AssetPortalBrowser Behaviour

Following are some instructions on how to change the default behaviour of the AssetPickerDialog also known as AssetPortalBrowser.aspx

1) Change the paging size: That's an easy one!
go to the ProgramFiles\....\12\Template\LAYOUTS folder and edit AssetPortalBrowser.aspx. BEWARE. Do not edit with SharePoint Designer. It will change all the paths and nothing works no more.
On that page you will find a control called ObjectList1 of Type SMObjectList. It has a PageSize attribute wich you can change from 15 to anything you like really.

2)Changing the Default Sort behaviour: Tricky!
Sadly enough setting the SortDirection ad SortExpression on the Control will not come into effect as the sort is overridden every time the context changes. And the context changes every time the page is loaded. Thus, no matter what you set here it does not seem to work.
The Workaround includes some C# and visual Studio knowhow.
a) Create a new Class Library
b) Add References to the the Microsoft.SharePoint, Microsoft.SharePoint.Publishing and System.Web dlls
c) Create a new Class that inherits from Microsoft.SharePoint.Publishing.Internal.CodeBehind.AssetPickerDialog
d) override the OnLoad event and set the SortDirection, SortExpression and ExplicitView of the ObjectList1 Control programatically. Do this after calling the base.OnLoad() event to make sure the control is loaded correctly.

public class CustomAssetPicker: Microsoft.SharePoint.Publishing.Internal.CodeBehind.AssetPickerDialog
{ protected override void OnLoad(EventArgs e){
this.ObjectList1.SortDirection = "DESC";
this.ObjectList1.SortExpression = "Modified";
this.ObjectList1.CancelSortOperation = false;
this.ObjectList1.ExplicitViewName = "All Documents";

e) sign the assembly

f)install the assembly into the GAC either using gacutil or drag&drop it into c:\windows\assembly
g)fix up the web.config to allow the new assembly by I)adding it to the SafeControls list and II)the compilation\assemblies list
h)Change the Page directive on AssetPortalBrowser.aspx to inherit from your new class instead of the Codebehind class.

Voailla, you now changed the default sort to always show the last modified files and images first.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Data Views and the AdventureWorks Database

If you ever tried to get Data Views to work with the AdventureWorks DB you probably have had as much pain and frustration as I have had in the past.
First you'll need to get SSO set up to connect to the DB. That's simple once you know how!
Then you select the table you want and when you try to show the data you keep on getting error messages! The problem here lies in the fact that AdventureWorks uses Schemas everywhere. And you need to fully qualify your tables to be able to access them. SarePoint Designer is not clever enough and forgets to put the schema name infront of the select command.

Here are two possible solutions:
  1. simply write the select statement yourself instead of picking the table from the list. A simple statement like Select * From Production.Product will get you going in no time.
  2. Create a deidacted login for a specific schema and define the defauls schema.

Here are the steps for the latter option:

  1. Create a login on the SQL Server called AWProduction.
  2. Set its default database to AdventureWorks.
  3. In its user mappings give it pubilc access to AdventureWorks and specify the Default Schema to be Production.
  4. go to the schema definition on the AW database and give AWProduciton all the required permissions on the Production Schema.
  5. Set up a new SSO Application that uses the new AWProduction Login
  6. Use that SSO login for your Data Connection

Hope that helps!

Using Dataviews to edit and update SQL data

If you hooked up your dataviews with SQL data and enable editing you most probably have come across following error message:
The data source control failed to execute the update command

The reason for this can be manyfold, either you might have a data type issue where you have non numerical data being pushed into a numerical field or in my case as simple as a database constraint getting in your way.
Dealing with the select, update, insert and delete commands manually can be a bit of a pain. So I really like the ability to pick my table and let SharePoint Designer worry about the rest. Just a shame that SharePoint designer does not understand one simple rule. You can not update a column which is the identity column of a table. SQL server reserves the right to auto increment that column. How to fix it? two ways:

The simple way:
Start with a blank Data View and make sure not to add the ID column to the list.

What if you want to show the id though?
The hard way:
same as above but you then you add the ID not by using the Edit Columns... task but simply by adding a new column to the dataview itself (click into first column of the DataView, right click and choose Insert...Column to the left) and injecting the ID manually. Easiset way to do that is to copy one of the other fields and then changing its databinding to point to the ID field.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

People Search for WSS

Recently I attended a presentation by Ken Biswell from RedVespa and totally fell in love with their approach to People Search. He was presenting at the Wellington SharePoint Usergroup giving us insider tips and tricks for how to tackle a SharePoint project from the Business Analyst point of view and it was a great session.
So what was their approach to People Search? Simple! They generated WCMS driven profile pages which make it easy to update and copy/paste whole CVs into and created a separate content source which only indexes those pages. Thus the PM who is now looking for a person with a specific skill like ITIL or SCRUM can simply search the limited content source and get only the results that interest him/her without being bombarded with irrelevant results.
Simple, elegant and most importantly effective! Saving time keeping profiles up to date and saving time searching for key people.

Enabling WSS for Enterprise Search

Often when I present to my students the features of the search in WSS and the features of the search in MOSS I get the question "any chance we can have a free version of enterprise search in WSS?" And thanks to Microsoft the answer is yes!

With Microsoft Search Server 2008 Express it is a doddle to get enterprise search up and running in your organisation. It comes bundled with the core WSS features so you can install it onto a WSS box or have it standalone. The standalone option is great for scalability as you can dedicate the server for indexing and serving search queries.

What is included that the MOSS boys have already?
  • best bets: define the perfect searchr esult for specific keywords
  • keywords: define multiple synonyms for a keyword so abbreviations also get to the correct resutls
  • authorative sources: specify who's hot and who's not in your search results
  • federated search: a great workaround for searching the BDC
  • security trimmed results: Only see the results you really have access too.
  • Query and Results reporting: find out what your users are searching for and what results they were receiving. Great for optimising the keywords to better serve your seekers.

What's missing that the MOSS boys have?

  • load balancing for search, crawling and indexing
  • People search
  • Business Data Catalog Search
  • More API options to customise search even more

What's the end result? If you have a spare windows 2003 machine with 1-2 gb of ram and a bunch of spare space for the index , hook it up to the network, install search server 2008 express within minutes and start searching your sharepoint content, your existing intranet and internet and even you sql databases and favourite RSS feeds.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Integrating a people picker in your InfoPath Forms

We've all wanted to do it at one point or another. Either when creating our own workflow forms or when using Infopath to store business data in a SharePoint Form Library: A way to choose a manager, assistant or co worker using the people picker control.

It is really not that hard, once you realise that it is not called people picker but Contact Selector in Infopath. Available as an extra Active X control to place on your form.

Here a great short artcle by a fellow blogger on how to use the control.

In his blog he shows a screenshot of the finshed xlm schema where the fields themselves are repeating fields. no need for that though. simple non repeating fields within a repeating group is good enough.

Also you might want to have more than one selector on your page. Nothing simpler than that. Simply create a new base group (for example manager) and then right click the existing Person repeating group and choose Reference

Then choose the newly created group for the copy of the Person element

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

WSS 3.0 Installation Best Practices

Today comes another Rant on my blog. It's about MOSS and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Installation. Too many times now have I now come across a MOSS or WSS installation where the admin acocunt is also known as the System Account in WSS. This means creating workflows to interact with the admin becomes difficult, group belongings don't work as expected, emails don't work as expected. Effectively a whole bunch of things don't work as expected. So Please Please Please log on as a dedicated WSS account before doing the Install. And most importantly before executing the Configuration Wizard. That way your Central Administration will run using that dedicated account and not the Admin Account. I've seen cases where Central Admin was running under the Primary Domain Administrator Account. AAARGGHHH.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Installation of CRM 3.0 on Small Business Server Fails

I've come across two major hickups when trying to install CRM 3.0 on SBS.
The first, is the lack of a default SQL instance. Installing SQL Server 2000 or 2005 from scratch will solve that issue. Don't even think of installing SQL Express for CRM 3.0. Which brings me to the second common problem when installing CRM 3.0.
Reporting Services are installed already and the express SBS install fails. You will need to go down the advanced route and specify your Reporting Server url in the installation process. Don't specify the Report Manager url. But the root URl of the site hosting the SQL reporting services. http://servername or http://servername:
One last thing to remember. When installing CRM onto an existing Reporting Server you will need to copy the CRM css files fromt he install DVD\wwwroot\Microsoft CEMReports\rsstyles to C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL\Reporting Services\ReportServer\styles
there should be four files to copy: msrcm.css, mscrmx.css, mscrmp.css & mscrmxp.css. Otherwise your reports will look horrendous.

Installing CRM 3.0 onto a WSS or MOSS macihne

Over the next few weeks I will be diving into the depths of CRM 3.0 and 4.0 and see how the synergy of MOSS, WSS and CRM work to create powerful Enterprise apps for your small, medium or large organisation. To be able to fully appreciate the new features in 4.0 I will be taking a brief look at 3.0 first.

Here a couple of tips along the way:
Installing CRM 3.0 onto SBS.
Remember here that the default install of SBS will create a WSS SQL Express instance but no default instance. CRM needs a default instance (no instance name) running to install. So put the SBS Premium DVD back in the drive, look at the premium content and install the SQL Server that is part of the SBS Premium package. That is also one of the reasons why CRM 3.0 for SBS only works with SBS Premium and not SBS Standard.
when Installing SQL Server 2005 you can choose to install Reporting Services too. This is generally a good idea. But beware! It will clash with the express install for CRM 3.0 and you will need to do the advanced install and specify the Reporting Server manually.

Installing CRM 3.0 onto WSS 3.0
Should you have installed WSS 3.0 onto the SBS machine prior to installing CRM 3.0 be aware that CRM3.0 installs the management web onto port 5555 by default. So have that port available and not used for things like Central Administration. If you have used port 5555 already for one of your webs and can't change it, you will either need to run the CRM setup via command line and specify a custom port in the config file or pre-create the web you are going to use for CRM in ISS and specify that during the installation. SBS users, note that you will need to do the advanced installation option to specify the final web site to be used.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Major SharePoint Updates Released

Some major updates were released a couple of days ago fixing many issues with content deployment and performance, as well as including new features in the search and adminstration area. Definately worth checking out!

How To Share Authentication Cookies across ASP.NET V1.1 and ASP.NET V2.0 Applications

While scanning for interesting MOSS stuff on the net I stumbled across this little gem. Old news for sure, but a topic that had kept me awake at night some time ago. By fixing up the encryption and decryption key of the cookie values, one can share quite easily the same cookies across different apps and even subdomains. This allows for smooth Single-Sign-On style behaviour across multiple apps, even v1.1 and v2.0 apps, as you can also share the forms authentication cookie. Because Browsers only send the cookies based on domain, this will not work for cross domain requests (sub domains are ok). For cross domain scenarios a passport like structure will be needed with one cenrtal authentication service doing the work.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Best practices for WSS images folder

This is a topic that has been bugging me for some time now, and as I have not found a single post out there telling me otherwise I'll just go ahead and rant out aloud!

In WSS you have effectively two ways of storing files. either by uploading the files into a document library which is available via web, webdav and SharePoint Designer or via adding the files to a folder created through either webdav or SharePoint Designer (not via web). Each teamsite comes with such a built in images folder.

I have found that these "hidden" folders do have their use. Namely for images and files that are used for design purposes only. If your WSS site is using several images to make the site look pretty, those folders will keep them away from the main content of your WSS site and keep them nicely separated.
That way you only use document libraries for documents relevant to your enterprise and not for designing the WSs site. The biggest benefit in my eyes is hiding away those files from end users who might accidentally decide to move or delete the files and ruin your site.
The drawback is that you won't have the power of versioning and check in-out as youhave with libraries. But then how much versioning do you need for your gifs and jpgs? the master page is the one you want to worry about!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Free Elearning access for MODL courses

Some of you out there might not know it yet, but all MCTs get free access to all Elearning material on A great resource for gaining new skills. But also a prerequisite to teach MODL courses. Each MODL module will include one or two E-Learning courses for the students to complete in between sessions (the Expand bit of GEAR). and you will need to know the content of those modules before sending your students on a wild goose chase. 'Cause quite some content is pure revision and duplicaiton of the material you just covered in class. If you don't want your students to be all grumpy because they wasted an hour reviewing material you already had taught them, you should advise them which bits are revision and which are added content so they can work out their learning schedule better.

So how do you get access to all that wonderful E-Learning material?

Well, you will have to phone up your Microsoft Regional Service Center and get the access code from them.
apparently simple Instructions are viwable here:

But beware! the process is not that simple. the code consists of three blocks of 4 alphanumeric characters separated by dashes. If they say, we'll email it to you, don't hang up but wait until it arrives. First time I waited and 2h later nothing arrived. next time I waited on the phone and got the email, without noticing that I got the wrong code. I received the access code to the mcp site, not the e-learning content. Third time round I kept the operator on the phone while I verified the correctness of the code. That woked.

happy e-Learning!

Just a shame that your E-Learning catalogue is now rendered useless as you have no way of searching through the thousands of courses. Just sorting them and going through page by page.
I always use the main E-Learning site to find the course I'm interested in


don't go to the http version of the address. that will redirect you to
and you'll get totally lost and frustrated, you will be forced to use your catalog, which now is rendered usesless since it was spammed with thousands of subscriptions and you won't find what you are looking for.
use the https version and use the searchbox at the top left hand side. Much smoother.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Activating vpc images for MOC

Oh, man! One of those well kept secrets! If nobody tells you how it is not as easy as one might seem. I would have expected Microsoft to send out a bunch of keys in my welcome pack, but that sadly enough was not the case. So how do we get those vpc images running before the class starts?
The trick is knowing whom to ask. You would have expected to have this as part of the MCT FAQ but no, no info there. There used to be a link on the MCT homepage, but no luck there either.
After spending ages going through the MCT homepage I gave up looking for the link. It is gone.

This is how you do it:
Send an Email to "mslpkd" at microsoft with your request for product keys and your MCT ID (also known as MCP ID). They will then send you back a nice email with instructions and some time later another email with the keys you requested. You can request keys for Windows 2003, XP, SBS, and Vista. Then follow the instructions to change the product key of the vpc images during the activation process and activate the vpc by phone.
Remember to commit changes to the VPC after doing that and reusing that activated image for your class. You really don't want to go through the hassle of activating each and every image for a class of eight people every other week! At some point in stage you will have maxed out the amount of activatons you can do with those keys and simply send another email to the same address aksing for some more.
It really isn't that hard, when somebody tells you how to do it!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Are UAC related problems permission related or security related?

This is effectively the debate going on in my virtual classroom right now. One of the questions in Assessment 3-1 triggered the debate, as two of my students didn't choose UAC as a possible cause of a security related issue and two did.
The one side is arguing based on the material in the book. Several questions are expecting a textbook answer and UAC is explicity referred to in a paragraph above the security related issues and not under the security related heading.

This is the way I see it:
UAC is based on controlling access to ressources based on which privileges a user has at the time of executing a program. with UAC on, that would be the least priviliges required to run an applicaiton. Priviliges mean effectively permissions on files, settings and folders.
When we talk about security we usually differentiate between physical security, securing access to the data and securing the information itself.
  • We put our servers into locked rooms to secure the physical aspect
  • We put firewalls and passwords in place to secure access to the data
  • We put encryption in place to secure the information itself contained in the data.
Where does UAC belong? in the middle section. Securing access to data. By requesting elevated permissions or even an username and password to continue executing a piece of code or accessing a certain file or setting, we have another layer of access security in place to protect our systems.
Thus when anybody asks me if UAC could be a possible cause for security related installation or execution problems I'd go for "yeah, sure it is. look there first!"

Be sure to mention to your students that the paragraph in Module 3-1 headed "Security-Related Problems" should reall be labelled "Other Security-Related Problems" to avoid this discussion :-)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

5118 AL Module 3-1 Demonstration

Something I noticed today and want to share with fellow MCTs.
In Module 3-1 there is a flash based demo showing how to use the compatibility settings wizard through control panel.
The steps are really simple and you should demonstrate this directly on the vpc instead.

The reason I say that is twofold.
  1. one of my students actually had a problem loading the demonstration and missed out on it, which forced me to give everybody a quick run down anyway.
  2. you can easily answer questions using the vpc directly and show alternate paths. For example show the students that right clicking a exe file and changing the compatibility settings there will also allow you to troubleshoot that particular application.

Scenario IE7 Problem

One of my Students had problems getting the toolwire scenarios to run. The whole intro would work but when it came to the lab it simply would not load.
The labs use a vpc activeX control which in his case did not run under the custom security settings he had in IE7. After adding the site to the Trusted Sites Zone AND resetting the trusted sites settings to its defaul level of medium, the lab excercicse loaded correctly.

Just a tip if you come across this particular problem with your students in future

Who said what in livemeeting

One of the most useful tools I have found in livemeeting is the ability to hover my mouse over the input from my participants to find out who wrote that comment or drew the line. That has helped me initiate a discussion or get some more interaction out of the users by either praising the individual who added some specially good nugget of information or putting somebody on the spot and asking them to explain their answer so everybody understands the reasoning behind it. (which I have deemed to be true and accurate from the comment) Don't abuse this to inflict pain or shame on obviously incorrect answers!

But what about poll questions? Well you won't get around calling into the room for elaboration and comments as you can not see who answered there and then. But you could find out later...

How? Using Poll Reporting you can actually review after the session who answered what to the poll slides. But beware! that only works if you set up the meeting by setting up an event around it first. If you don't use Events, you don't see the reports. That has to do with the fact that you have a whole registration process around events and thus can keep better track of who is doing what with your meetings, recordings and thus, poll slides.

Friday, July 4, 2008

5118AL Teaching Tips

Over the next few Posts I will share with you all my experiences from teaching 5118 using MODL and Livemeeting.
Today I'll start with some general tips on organising the material

  1. Add page refrerences to the instructor manual & Slides

    The page numbering in the instructor manual does not match the student workbook. That makes it really hard to point things out to students in the book. I found it really useful to create references in my instructor manual and on the slides to the individual pages in the student course book so I could direct them to the correct pages without having both books open all the time. Directing the students is an important task during the session to encourage them to write into the book.

  2. Add Headings to the whiteboard pages

    to instruct the students about the task at hand. Using the slide name can be sufficient in most cases. That really helps the student remember what they are supposed to be doing right now.

  3. Create real world demonstrations

    Create a copy of one of the vista vpc images and bust it by killing the bcd config or deleting winload. That will show nicely how a startup failure looks like. and allows you to fix it in the demonstration. How to bust it? start the vpc using either a Vista DVD and enter Recovery Environment or make your own WinRE PE iso file. Before busting it, activate System Restore and create a manual restore point. You can use that in one of the demonstrations too! Much bettern than "ahhm, and now you would see XYZ". This image cna now be fixed using the console, the startup-repair or the system restore tool in RE.

  4. Upload flash animations and web pages to web server

    Normally I'd upload the flash animations for the course directly to the livemeeting session. But with 5118 the flash files don't work by themselves and only work in a web page. Thus I uploaded them to our webserver and made them available via a Web Page in livemeeting. As each student can control the media individually this way I asked them all to change their colour to green once they had finished viewing the content. That worked like a charm.

  5. Upload flash games to the web server

    uploading all flash media to a web server instead of to the livemeeting session directly also allowed each student to try out the sorting game themselves. and that was definately more fun than writing down the answers in the book or aksing them to start the game from the student cd.

  6. Check the assessment forms before you send them out!

    Most of them have Polarbear's Logo on the Feedback worksheet and I assume you might want to exchange that with your company logo. Also fix up the references on the feedback sheet. Two cells (E14 anf G17) are not referring to the answer sheet but have fixed values instead.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Vista Presentation settings on a Desktop

Ever wondered if you could change presentation mode settings also on a desktop?
In vista you can!
a littel tweak in the registry will get you going in no time

first, to activate the mobility center, create the key MobilityCenter under MobilePC, if it does not exist yet. then create a DWord(32 bit) value called RunOnDesktop and enter 1 for it's value


Then you are able to open up the mobility center on a desktop machine running vista using the exe called mblctr.exe

To change the Presentation Settings another tweak is required...

under MobilePC check that the key AdaptableSettings exists.
It will have no values yet.
Create a new DWord(32-Bit) called SkipBatteryCheck and set it's value to 1


Voilla, now you can set presentation settings and start using the features also on a desktop by calling PresentationSettings.exe

Charitable New Zealanders!

ASB has launched a cool campaign to raise emoney for St. Johns. They are selling off preloaded bank accounts at half price on trademe.

Yeah, you can bid for a bank account worth 250$ and only pay 150$ for it. Your payment goes to St. John, and ASB gives you back the full amount! The only problem is that the kiwis seem to have a grudge against free money. Currently five accounts are up for grabs and each one of them has a bidder paying more money than he's getting back. One charitable guy even bid 285$ on a 250$ account. Although I'm sure that was not quite the way it was intended to go, nobody from ASB or St.Johns will be complaining. More money towards charity!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Microsoft Official Distance Learning Courses

Course numberTitleNumber of sessions in number of weeks


Developing Web Applications Using Microsoft Visual Studio 2008

10 sessions, 5 weeks


Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment

10 sessions, 5 weeks


Managing a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment

10 sessions, 5 weeks


Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment

6 sessions, 3 weeks


Implementing and Maintaining Microsoft SQL Server 2005 (Available in North America and Europe, Middle East and Africa)

10 sessions, 5 weeks


Introduction to Programming Microsoft .NET Framework Applications with Microsoft Visual Studio 2005

10 sessions, 5 weeks


Programming with the Microsoft .NET Framework Using Microsoft Visual Studio 2005

10 sessions, 5 weeks


Installing and Configuring the Windows Vista Operating System

6 sessions, 3 weeks


Configuring Windows Vista Mobile Computing and Applications

4 sessions, 2 weeks


Maintaining and Troubleshooting Windows Vista Computers

6 sessions, 3 weeks


Supporting the Windows Vista Operating System and Applications

4 sessions, 2 weeks


Configuring and Troubleshooting Windows Server® 2008 Active Directory Domain Services (coming soon)

10 sessions, 5 weeks


Configuring and Troubleshooting Identity and Access Solutions with Windows Server 2008 Active Directory (coming soon)

6 sessions, 3 weeks

5118AL Maintaining and Troubleshooting Windows Vista Computers

Alas, I will be holing a 5118AL Distance Learning session next week. Starting 23rd June through to 07 July we will be holding three sessions a week and are planning on having loads of fun along the way. Vista has proven to be a groovy new OS and demand for training is rising steadily.
If anybody wants to join in on the fun, contact Felicity Neate at Ace training ltd
Here is the general outline of the distance learning course and what we will be covering over those two weeks:

Course Outline
Module 1-1: A Troubleshooting Methodology
This module explains what a troubleshooting methodology is, its role in an enterprise, and how it can be used to improve the support function within an organization.
  • Overview of a Troubleshooting Methodology
  • Overview of Troubleshooting Stages
  • Troubleshooting Component Areas
Lab 1-1: Preparing for Remote Troubleshooting
After completing this module, students will be able to:
  • Identify the users of the troubleshooting methodology.
  • Identify the most important troubleshooting component areas.
  • Determine which issues directly affect the troubleshooting process.
Module 1-2: Troubleshooting Operating Systems
This module explains how to identify and troubleshoot issues that affect the operating system's ability to boot and the services that it is running.
  • Overview of the Windows Vista Startup Process
  • Troubleshooting the Windows Vista Startup Process with Windows RE
  • Troubleshooting Operating System Services
Lab 1-2: Troubleshooting Operating Systems
After completing this module, students will be able to:
  • Identify the available recovery options in Windows Vista.
  • Determine the capabilities of each recovery option.
  • Troubleshoot operating system services.

Module 2-1: Troubleshooting Hardware-Related Problems
This module explains how to troubleshoot hardware-related problems and how to use Windows Vista tools to troubleshoot device problems.

  • Overview of Troubleshooting Hardware
  • Dealing with Physical Failures
  • Dealing with Device Driver Failures
  • Troubleshooting Printing in Windows Vista
  • Troubleshooting BitLocker-Protected Computers

Lab 2-1: Troubleshooting Hardware

After completing this module, students will be able to:

  • Identify basic types of hardware-related troubleshooting problems.
  • Determine problems related to hardware failures.
  • Determine problems that are caused by device drivers.
  • Diagnose common printing problems in Windows Vista.
  • Identify the recovery options for computers protected by BitLocker.

Module 2-2: Troubleshooting Security Issues
After completing this module, students will be able to troubleshoot issues that are caused by security-related configurations, such as User Account Control (UAC) and Windows Firewall.

  • Overview of User Account Control
  • Troubleshooting User Account Control
  • Implementing Windows Firewall
  • Implementing Windows Defender

Lab 2-2: Troubleshooting Security Issues
After completing this module, students will be able to:

  • Explain the User Account Control architecture.
  • Apply best practices for working with User Account Control.
  • Troubleshoot User Account Control-related problems.
  • Troubleshoot Windows Firewall-related issues.
  • Configure Windows Firewall by using Group Policy.
  • Troubleshoot Windows Defender-related issues.
  • Configure Windows Defender.

Module 3-1: Troubleshooting Applications
After completing this module, students will be able to troubleshoot problems that are caused by some applications which are not compatible with Windows Vista.

  • Windows Application Troubleshooting
  • Web Application Troubleshooting

Lab 3-1: Troubleshooting Applications
After completing this module, students will be able to:

  • Troubleshoot Windows application problems.
  • Troubleshooting Web application problems.

Module 3-2: Maintaining and Optimizing Windows Vista
After completing this module, students will be able to identify tools that can be used to maintain a healthy operating system and optimize its performance.

  • Maintaining Windows Vista
  • Optimizing Windows Vista Performance
  • Monitoring Windows Vista

Lab 3-2: Maintaining and Optimizing Windows Vista
After completing this module, students will be able to:

  • Identify Windows Vista maintenance tasks.
  • Identify Windows Vista optimization tools.
  • Explain the Windows Vista monitoring process.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

SharePoint architecture guidelines
This month's issue of the technet magazine features a great article by Pav Cherny covering the basics of the technical setup of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and how WSS, IIS and SQL all fit into the bigger picture.

One thing I'd like to add though is the use of Microsoft Search Server 2008 Express to enable cross site search features in WSS without forking out the money for a full MOSS installation. A great tool to add the power of enterprise level search to your WSS implementation
And what's even better... it's free!
I think that is worthy of a blog post in its own right. Watch this space. More info on SSE2008 coming soon!

Monday, May 5, 2008

NZ MCT: Mastering WSS 3.0 is here

NZ MCT: Mastering WSS 3.0 is here
Just came across a fellow MCT blogger in New Zealand.
Check out some of his articles on SharePoint!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Six Steps to Becoming MODL Certified

Recently I was asked if there was a step by step guide on becoming MODL authorised and I realised that I had not made one. So let me make up for it now.

Step 1: read, read, read
First of all you should really know what you are getting into. Microsoft has some information on MODL at their distance learning page
There you will find out about what courses are being offered in DL format, what the process is about and loads of marketing blurb about it.

MS partnered up with toolwire to deliver the labs which are now referred to as scenarios, as they are even more than just a lab. Toolwire has revamped their info on MODL and have an absolutely great site on anything you wanted to know about getting started with MODL.

Step 2: register at MCT Town Hall
llift is an online learning platform provided by Groxwork and they also host some live recordings referred to as MCT Radio. More importantly, they host two complete MODL recordings from MOdule 1-1 to 5-2 which you can review at your own time.

Step 3: prepare, practice, present
Preparation is key to success. Hosting a MODL session is like hosting a two hour presentation with demos infront of a packed room of people you can hardly see. And, although you could give it a second shot if you blundered your first teachback, trust me, you really don't want to go there. It is hard enough getting all the attendees together first time round.

How to prepare?
a) review all the recordings on town hall
b) follow my guide I wrote in Feb on prepping for MODL and getting up and running with Live Meeting 2007
c) do at least two trial test teaches with a live audience to get a feel for it.

Step 4:organise your MODL teachback
Once you're confident you can deliver a module in two hours without messing up completely, schedule your teachback. This again you will do at town hall At least two up to a max of eight people need to attend the event. I suggest going for three to five attendees. This can be tricky. as you will want to have good interaction which is not pre programmed. Thus the people attending should know the topic and material well without knowing the actual module too well. In other words fellow MCTs or people who have taken the course some time ago. Try getting three MCTs together at the same time! (Free beer normally works (especially in Australia)).
Once you have set a date, somebody from llift will get back to you to organise a technical setup session. Just to make sure you're equipped and ready to go. you will be testing Live Meeting, recording and audio. Make sure you record five to ten minutes including your voice, the technicians voice, any audio you are playing in the session (flash animations) and interactions on the screen. that twill give you a good idea on the lag between what you say and when it appears in the recording. Amend your delivery style accordingly!!

Step 5: deliver the teachback

This is it! the big day has come. Make sure you

  • have plenty of water at hand
  • have been to the loo recently
  • are in a quiet place
  • have the phone on silent or off completely
  • have the machine in presentation mode (vista only)
  • have all messenger, skype, icq apps closed down (non vista)
  • tested your microphone and speakers
  • have done any and all required spiritual rituals to apease the gods
  • prepared all your demo scripts and have them at hand
  • prepared all your instructor notes and have them at hand
  • started up the virtual machines which you will be using for demonstrations
  • included those apps in the live meeting session so you can easily switch between the presentaiton and the VPC
  • (duh) uploaded the persentation and flash files to the live meeting session (or asked the technician to do it for you) good tips for uploading LM 2005 slides to LM 2007 here:
  • keep a calm head, controlled voice and take your time when demonstrating or interacting (remember the lag)
  • never forget Murphy's Law.

Step 6: wait, wait, wait
It can take up to sixty days until someone at MSL is going to look at your teachback. And yes, they have other things to do as well. So expect them to take some time.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

yippee ki yay

Alas, I now can refer to myself as a MODL Authorised MCT.
Took only 6 weeks for the review board to look at my recording. Well within the 60 days limit they set themselves. Someone is going to celebrate today!
Why dit it take six weeks? I guess, ms learning have other priorities right now. But good things always come to those who wait. Now I just have to win the lottery for that saying to ring true every time.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

MODL teachback & Multimedia

As some of you might know, I recently submitted my MODL teachback. A really nerve wrecking experience. Worst part is sitting around waiting for the review. Up to 60 days! it's been three weeks now and feels like for ever!
During the teachback I was adamant not to use program sharing and a desktop microphone to capture the multimedia. Especially as I was skyping into the session and it would have made things rather complicated. What a lame way to share the animations anyway! Instead I uploaded the flash files to the live meeting session directly and shared them from within. Does this work with a conferecing system?
Sure it does!
Remember, when setting up the session you will be connecting the conferencing system to the LM session and be recording everything within the LM session itself.
When your participants connect to the LM session their audio will be muted automatically. this is to avoid echos, as you'd be listening to yourself a second after you spoke into the conferencing system. All you need to do is advise your participants to unmute the speaker in LM for the duration of the animation.

If you want the audio to turn up in the finished recording you must click the flash file and activate it. just running it does not seem to work. The ones I activated, turned up in the recording with video and audio. the ones I did not, and used the built in controls in LM to control, did not turn up on the recording but were simply five minutes of silence.

Friday, April 4, 2008

5105 Bootable USB Disk

In courses 5119 and 5105 they keep on talking about the different ways of deploying Vista images. Either by DVD or by Network share or by USB.
Taking into respect that your images will be several GB big, even in compressed state, USB sounds like a good alternative when using unswitched networks or slow 10/100 MB ones.

If you're not using PXE and SMS to push out the images you will need a version of Windows PE to help along the way. Now I'm a minimalist and hate having a CD with PE and a USB disk with my image. Why not have it both on the usb and boot from it directly?
Before you embark on that journey keep in mind that not all computers boot from USB! So make sure your environment is going to support your new deployment mechanism! Otherwise many hours will be going down the drain as your great and fancy bootable drive will never get used!

Before you go around all the forums and create a bootable usb disk with HP tools and windows 98 remember that you have the power of Vista at your finger tips. Well, should have! The new version of DiskPart that comes with the AIK detects usb flash disks and usb hard disks as if they were fixed disks. Thus you can clean them, repartition them, set them to active and format them with your desired FileSystem (NTFS). Once prepped all you need to do is copy the contents of your favourite WinPE ISO or WinRE ISO (see post from yesterday) onto the disk and you're up and running.
VistaPC Guy has a great step by step article on putting WinPE on your usb. read it here:

Thursday, April 3, 2008

5118 Vista Recovery Environment ISO File

I've been prepping 5118 as well as 5119 and came a cross a great idea. How about creating a real startup failure and recovery process for the students in the lab instead of using the simulation.

Following things you will need to do for this:
1) create a copy of one of the lab machines (Vista-CL1-02 is as good as any)
2) capture your favourite PE, RE or Vista Insall ISO
3) delete a super important system file like the winload.exe
4) make sure to save the changes by merging the disks

Ok, Maybe step 2 is not as easy as it sounds. So here is some help along the way:
Vista PC Guy has a nice article on creating PE images, where he also talks about creating bootable USB versions.
But we want a recovery image and not a PE image. More importantly we need the Startup Recovery tools "srt" loaded at startup. This is what you do:

1) Follow PC Guy's teps 1 thru to 8 to create a clean winpe image. Or use the one you extracted out of the 5119 course iso file using WinRar or PowerISO or IsoBuster or whatever ISO app you like.

2) Add the RE tools to the image by using the BuildWinRE tool located in the "C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Recovery" folder. Remember to use the WinPE Command Prompt instead of the standard one to have all paths properly loaded. It is as simple as defining the source and destination. In my case (having created the pe folder myself using AIK) it looked like this:

C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Recovery>BuildWinRE /source "C:\winpe_86\ISO\sources\boot.wim" /target "C:\winpe_recovery\ISO\sources\boot.wim"

3) final step is to take this RE image and make a bootable ISO file using oscdimg:

C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\PETools>oscdimg -lVistaRecovery -b"C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\PETools\x86\boot\" -n -h c:\winpe_recovery\iso winrecovery.iso

Important here is to remember to reference the, otherwise the iso won't start at bootup.

That's all, now you can start up your virtual machine using the recovery console, start the command prompt, and kill c:\windows\system32\winload.exe and then close the machine commiting changes.
The next time your student will start up that machine he/she'll see a wonderful error message and can boot into the recovery console and choose to repair the system following the steps outlined in the coursebook and simulation. No need for ten Vista Installation CDs!

By the way, it is a great iso file to burn to CD and use as Desktop Support Engineer to troubleshoot users computers.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

5119 Supporting Vista Lab 4 using VPC

If any of you have been prepping 5119 you might have tried and tried and tried to get lab 4 running just like me. But no matter what you do, the GPO settings are not pushed out to the computer. Even removing the PC fromt he domain and rejoining it had no effect.

This seems to be a problem with Virtual PC. Out of some annoying reason, VPC insists on controlling the clock of your vpcs. Thus, the vista machine is not properly synchronised with the domain controller and refuses to apply the group policy object as it is unsure about the computers compliance to the GPO rules.

I presume using Virtual Server, as advised by the course authors would solve the problem.

How to fix it:
In my case it was as simple as making sure that both domain controller and vista machine were using the same time zone and both ignored daylight savings. Then both machines showed the same time.
For good measure I also included Domain Computers in the GPO Filter rule. To make sure that the rule does not apply only to users, but coputers too.

First reboot did not do it, but after the second reboot the startup took, as expected, forever and once the logon screen appeared I could log on and gradually could see the newly installed apps.

If that does not do the trick, here is a little cheat:
Remember: computer configuration is applied at boot time, while user configuration is applied at log in time.

first, put adrian into the Martketing OU, then when editing the GPO:

instead of using Computer Configuration >> Software Settings >> Software Installation, use
User Confiuguration >> Software Settings >> Software Installation instead.

That will make the icons appear on the start menu as soon as Adrian logs into the target machine. This way the programs are not installed, but get installed on first use.

Ok, the install will complain that it is not configured for a per user install, but it at least demonstrates the point.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Pushing out your content across a SharePoint Internet Site

This is one feature I find every decent CMS should have. The simple ability to create a content item and then push it out to different areas of the website. Sadly enough MOSS does not do this out of the box. It is built on a Pull concept. I.e. you put a content query web part on another page and then start filtering it down to the items you want.
But what if you want one list with links to ten different areas of the website? Sure. Content Types will come in handy. Or even Summary Link Lists.
But often you will want to be very specific about where your content will appear when creating it and not go over the whole site and start adding new filter criteria to all your exisitng CQWPs or maintain loads of link lists.

One solution I found to this problem is using a combination of Summary Links and Content Query Web Parts. Build a Summary Link List into the Content Type that acts for your News. Now only show this list when in Edit Mode. Because we'll be using it as a reference list.
Once you have created your item start adding links to that list to all the different pages where you want your news to appear. -

Finally, and this is the tricky part, place a content query webpart into the pagelayout of your pages, or preferrably even the master page. Modify this Webpart now to use a custom Search query instead of the built in one and add the current URL of the page into the query expression. Effectively you're searching for all content where it can find the current url in the summary links. If it finds it, bingo, it will appear in the list.

A couple of hurdles to watch out for:
  • You can't add web parts to the master page. you will have to embedd the actual Server control into the masterpage if going down that route.
  • When trying to add the current URL you will need to do some server side scripting. Make sure that your trust levels are in order so that the code in the pagelayour ot master page is executed. Some Web.config tweaking will be required.
  • When modifying Content Query Webparts I have found the SharePoint Designer to be my best friend. Fast and effective plus Intellisense.

Tip: first try your luck with a WSS Page or a MOSS Page that you have detached from the Pagelayout. That way you'll be able to get the custom Content Query Webpart up and running much faster.

Friday, February 29, 2008

MOSS & Single Sign On: a simple How To

I'm planning on giving another couple of SharePoint courses in near future. 5060 and 5061. During each and every course my students aske me questions about topics that are not covered in detail in those courses. Such as examples for using Single Sign On (SSO) or Content Publishing. So now I'm making a VPC which will have it all. From Analysis Services KPIs to BDC and SSO. During my research I found two great blog posts on how to do SSO with MOSS:

Michael Hofer's Sharepoint Blog explains hot to use SSO with BDC. SSO will overcome the problems of using Mixed Mode Authentication to databases behind firewalls or outside of the domain. In one of the comments you will find a tip on how to use SSO to impersonate an application account set up in AD.

The second Post I found at Microsoft by the SharePoint Designer Team Blog explaining how to set up a Dataview in SPD using SSO to a Database. This post effectively uses an application account created in AD to connect to the DB and then SSO to connect to it. Works like a charm.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Usage Analysis and VPCs

Ever wondered why you are having troubles showing usage reports during any of your sessions? No? Well It nearly drove me mad. Whatever I did, no reports would show. Then I RTFM and remembered that the usage is analysed only once a day.
But when will that be?
If you need to know, look into the SharePoint_Config Database and open up TimerRunningJobs. There you will find two jobs of interest Office SharePoint Usage Analytics Processing and Usage Analysis. The one relates to MOSS and the other to WSS analysis processing.
So then I wanted to kick-start the process. Instead of dabbling with the last start date & time I decided to change the time on my vpc server. hahaha. that was funny. Next time I look, all times and dates have shifted by the exact amount of hours that I shifted the clock. Duh.
Now turning the machine off and the next day on again will not do it either. The Timer job will simply wait another cycle before attempting the processing. There is only one reliable answer. leave the VPC running over night. That will do the trick.
You can try to change the date & time of the last start time and recylce the timer service, but I didn't dare do such an incision to my now perfectly configured system.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Live meeting and headsets

Some of you might know, that LM2005 does not support VOIP. I.e. you have to use telephone conferencing to hear all participants. And let me guess, you don't have a headset for your telephone. But any bet you have a headset for your computer! Maybe even a bluetooth one for your mobile phone.
So how can we use that headset over a normal telephone line? Can't be done? Oh sure it can. Skype is the answer. Not only can you call anywhere in the world with Skype Out, but even better, toll free numbers are FREE. So you can sit in the sahara desert calling a toll free 0800 number in the uk, usa or germany and not pay a penny for it.
Simply use your existing PC or bluetooth headset with skype and start participating in live meetings around the world without the expense of international phone calls or buying expensive telephone headets.

Just keep in mind that you'll need the extra bandwidth to accommodate both the Live Meeting and the voip conversation side by side. But then, skype uses pretty good compression technology and the overhead is probably not be as much as you might fear.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Vista & ReadyBoost: speed is king & size does not matter

Hello everyone, now that many of us have Vista machines, some of you might have thought about boosting the performance of those machines. (Now why would anybody want to do that to such a (yawn) fast setup).
One reliable source of boosting the speed of the machine would be to plug in a usb drive into the back of the machine and set it up to assist ReadyBoost.

But beware! All drives are equal! Just some are more equal than others!

The most important thing to remember is that speed matters. And the speed of your drive is no different. If the vendor does not state it to be ReadyBoost compatible or “enhanced for ReadyBoost” then don’t even bother. The read & write speeds won’t be fast enough to get a performance gain and Vista will simply refuse to use it for its snazzy new feature.
That said, just having it say compatible will not necessarily make you feel an enormous performance gain. The “hidden” speed is important. The actual read & write performance of the stick will greatly influence how fast Vista responds on opening up complex apps like Photoshop or running Virtual Machines.
I tested a Transcend 2A stick against a DSE stick and found both to read at the same speed, but the Transcend 2A one wrote 4 times faster. Much better performance when plugged in than the DSE one.

So what to look out for? Make sure the drive claims to be ultra fast. Super performing or even publicly announces read & write speeds. Only few providers do that, because only few providers can actually boast about their performance.

Here are a couple I have found to be good in the past
Transcend 2A series. Skip the V series, they are cheap and slow. The 2A series is fast and responsive.
Apacer HT203 and HA202 are very good bets.

Sadly, the DSE USB stick you can get in Dicksmiths is not the best option, as it merely passes the minimum requirement for having the “enhanced for ReadyBoost” insignia. If you can get your Hands on a fast Apacer or fast Transcend, you’ll be much happier.

The last question you might ask is “do I need a big stick?” And here I’m happy to tell you that size does not matter for a change...:-) With 4GB of Ram and only being able to see 3GB of that I set my ReadyBoost cache to 3.5GB. Looking at the Performance Counters while testing out different scenarios I found a maximum of 2GB being used at any one time.

Final line: a fast performing 2GB USB drive will give you much more umpf than a slower 4GB at the same price.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

How to best share multimedia in LM2007

Livemeeting 2007 supports flash files! So instead of using app sharing and speakerphone to capture the audio, which is pretty cumbersome as I prefer using a headset when presenting, I suggest you simply upload the flash files directly to the livemeeting content.
Simply upload the files directly in LM and switch between the slides and the flash when needed. Remember to activate the flash controls before attempting to press pause in the multimedia. Best idea ofcourse is to do a dry run whenever you're presenting. But you knew that already...

If you're planning to record the session and are using conferencing for audio, make sure you have audio and conferencing set up so that both audiostreams are being recorded together, or you'll have some spots of silence in your recording, where the multimedia was playing.

Best Practices Live Meeting Session

Had to get up at an unholy hour today to attend the "Best Practices for Presenting LM2007" session today. I wish I had stayed in bed. They repeated a lot of How To information that was covered in other sessions already and the actual "best practices" bit was rather short. If you attended the e-learning session you really need not go to this one too.
That's all the sessions I'll be attending. If anybody has gone to the ten other ones MS is providing for free, feel free to share your experiences here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Free Livemeeting Training

So you want to become a MODL exppert in no time? Best bet is to participate in as many Livemeeting sessions as you can. That will give you the confidence and experience you'll need in the classroom environment.
One good way is to attend some instructor led LiveMeeting Session provided courtesy of Microsoft:

I just attended a session with an instructor called Deborah Crohn and it was great. I had already played with LM2007 and eagerly presented and prepared 2273-4-2 but I had never dared to click on the "Public Events" link on the space, I had set up for evaluation.
Man did I miss out on something. Those events are not necessarily public. And you can only see your events. As event organiser you can create events, registrations, assign meetings, polls, questionnaires and even Evaluations or Tests, which you can then share using the Web Page Sharing Tool in LM2007. Great stuff. Especially for classroom scenarios. The Events section gives you a wealth of personalisation and branding opportunities which mean that you need not go and create complex websites around your e-learning experiences.

How does this translate to MODL? Sadly it does not. for MODL you'll need a customised web site with links to the resources, scenarios and e-learning. But for non MODL courses this could be great!

One other thing. When you're using Conferencing instead of VOIP for the Audio and you wish to create Break-out rooms, you should advise your participants to use the call-back feature if available. Otherwise the audio stream will be a separate Attendee in the meeting. If your students do call in directly, as I did over Skype, then you'll need to identify the person's line in the list and drag that item into the break-out room together with the attendee.
In the image you will see some attendees with a phone next to their name. Those were called back by the system. And then some without a phone, like me. We're the ones which called in directly and need to be merried up manually with our corresponding caller X when creating break-up rooms.
Oh, and this whole concept only works with conferencing providers, which support sub-conferencing or when using voip.

Happy training!

How To upload a LM2005 Presentation to

Yesterday I told you to read my other post on uploading a LM2005 PowerPoint deck to LM2007. Well, I cheated. There was no post. Until now! The following instructions I received from a fellow MCT, who got it from somebody at MSL. No secret, just good advice.

When uploading a PowerPoint presentation that includes Live Meeting 2005 slides, inserted from the Live Meeting 2005 Add-in for PowerPoint, to a Live Meeting 2007 meeting, you may receive an error. The work-around is to convert the PowerPoint (PPT) file to a Live Meeting Presentation (LMP) file, then upload the LMP file to the meeting using the Alternate Uploader.

  1. Verify the Live Meeting 2005 Windows-based Meeting Console is installed on your computer. Click on the Live Meeting 2005 Windows-based link to connect to the installation page.Note: Installing the Live Meeting 2005 Windows-based console will not interfere with the Live Meeting 2007 Windows-based console. Each console runs separate of each other.

  2. Verify the Live Meeting 2005 Add-in for PowerPoint is installed on a computer running PowerPoint 2003. Click on the Live Meeting 2005 Add-in link to connect to the installation page.

  3. Open the presentation in PowerPoint 2003.

  4. Convert the PowerPoint (PPT) file to a Live Meeting Presentation (LMP).

    1. In PowerPoint 2003, click Export from the Live Meeting 2005 Add-in.

    2. Browse to the location you would like to save the file.

    3. Enter the name of the file.

    4. Click Save.

  5. Upload the Live Meeting Presentation (LMP) to a meeting that is already scheduled.

    1. Log into your Live Meeting 2007 conference center.

    2. Click Meetings under the Manage menu.

    3. On the Manage Meetings page, click subject of the meeting you would like to upload the file to. This will direct you to the Meeting Details page.

    4. On the Meeting Details page, on the right-side of the page, click Upload Files under the Action menu. This will direct you the to Upload Files page that contains the Alternate Uploader.

    5. On the Upload Files page, you will be prompted to install an ActiveX control. The ActiveX control must be installed to upload the file.

    6. After the ActiveX control is installed click Browse to find the Live Meeting Presentation (LMP) file you created in step 3.

    7. Click Upload.

    8. Click Done once all the files have been uploaded.

  6. Join the meeting as a Presenter and verify all the Live Meeting slides created by the Live Meeting 2005 Add-in for PowerPoint are displaying correctly

The important thing to remember here, is to upload the .lmp file via the web interface. If you try to upload the .ppt or .lmp file via the LM Console, it'll tell you off. Also if you try to upload the .ppt via the web interface. The only combination that worked for me was exported .lmp via web.

Happy uploading!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

MODL How To Get Started

If any of you aspire to become MODL authorised, let me warn you! You're pretty much on your own on this one.
The Material on Town Hall is all great to watch, but real Train The Trainer material is lacking here. And nothing is quite as self explanatory as everybody thinks. So here are some tips for ya all attempting to become MODL authorised:

How to Prepare?
  1. get a trial account at That will get you started with using LM2007 yourself.
  2. Install LM2007. And start playing with the setup.
  3. get some FREE LM 2007 Training.
    You'll be able to join some Live Meeting Sessions with some experienced instructors. Make sure to go to as many sessions as you can. That will cut down on your trial and error time dramatically. Especially the one about using LM2007 for e-learning
  4. Download the 2273DL course from the mct moc download site.
  5. Upload Module 4-2 to a new LM Session. try to avoid using the Meet Now space, as you'll want to use that for other tests and ad-hoc sessions. Better to schedule a separate event.
  6. Oh, before uploading the powerpoint slide make sure you've read my other post on uploading a LM 2005 adjusted ppt deck to a LM 2007 space. You'll get nasty errors if you simply try to upload the ppt file directly.
  7. Start testing your LM presentation skills.

Here a couple of hurdles I came along while testing the slides:

Don't look for the instructors manual. there is none. All good information is hidden in the powerpoint Notes. Totally Next Gen MOC Style. (I ask myself what came first, chicken or egg?)

Best thing to do is print out the ppt in Notes Mode. Make sure to resize the fonts on one of the notes pages, or it won't all print on one page. Sadly the default behaviour of printing out in Notes mode is to cut off any text that goes beyond the paper margin.
This will give you a great script sheet for the actual session. I also use this printout for my notes, timings and added value content.

Then go and download the Deliveryguide to the standard 2273 MOC Course. Why? Because it contains the script for the demo's you'll be doing. Well some of them. All the Demos in Module 4-2 are actually the Practices you'd be doing with your students during the normal classroom experience. So print out those pages with the practice scripts to make sure you cover all aspects.

When matching up MODL with MOC you'll have to do some translation in Module Numbers. Especially as 2273 actually is a combination of 2274 and 2275. Following list should help:

2273 MODL Lesson2273 MOC
4-2-4AddRead C
4-2-5AddRead D

As you can see, Lessions 4 and 5 Are not even covered in the Delivery Guide. You'll have to look for them on the Student CD under Additional Reading Material(AddRead).

Now here is a good note: The StudentCD that comes with the full download of the MODL Course is pretty much the same as the one for 2273. So no need to download it twice. Extract the TrainerCD, look into the Student Folder and go hunting for those additional modules. There you'll find the practice scripts for the remaining demos.

That's all for now. More Tips and Tricks coming along and if you have any questions post me on the mct modl newsgroup. I'm one of the few hanging around there.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Hello World

Having turned MCT last October I have found the path a little bumpy at times.
Not knowing where to go for the real advice, not knowing how to best teach MS Courses or any general advice on being an MCT and all that comes with it.

So I thought I'd create a blog for all those new MCTs out there and share my learnings with everyone. Not that anyone will be listening soon, but who knows, if I can help just one newbie to feel more confident with MOC (microsoft official courseware) then I've achieved all I could wish for.

To start off... Where to get the stuff once you're an MCT.
If you're working for a CPLS they will buy the course material for the courses. Often they will try to skip on the trainer pack, as it ain't cheap. So no stress, you can download most materials from the MC Courseware Library. Now that's a phrase that causes confusion alone.

The Official MCT Download Center is also known as Microsoft Offifical Courseware Library and can be found here:
You'll need to register and when asked for your partnerId, simply enter your MCP Id(aka MCT Id)

But you won't find all courses there anymore. MSL (Microsoft Learnining) have introduced a new Courseware Library where Courses MCTs can upload their own courses and start earning royalties on those. The Quality assurance process is not quite as lengthy as the one for MOC but then, you'll find out soon enough how much time was spent on Quality within MSL. They have promised to change this...
So where is the new Library?

Happy downloading you all. And remember, MCT use only.