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April 16 2018

Microsoft 365 Initiative Offer

18342_MW_Organic_siderail_300x250_Partner_Implementer

The right training means smooth deployment

Training empowers your Microsoft 365 team to proactively address deployment and usage challenges through a combination of valuable, flexible, and trusted training materials and resources. Your team will acquire the skills they need to ensure a smooth, informed deployment in Powered Devices, Collaboration, Security, Office 365, and Windows 10—or a combination that fits your needs.

Windows 10/Powered Devices:

20697-1 – Implementing and Managing Windows 10

20697-2 – Deploying and Managing Windows 10 Using Enterprise Services

10982 – Supporting and Troubleshooting Windows 10

Office 365:

20347 – Enabling and Managing Office 365

10997 – Office 365 Administration and Troubleshooting

Collaboration:

20339-1 – Planning and Administering SharePoint 2016

20339-2 – Advanced Technologies of SharePoint 2016

Security:

20537:  Configuring and Operation an Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack

20744 – Securing Windows Server 2016

July 23 2012

Three Reasons You Should Switch to Office 365

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Office 2013 will soon be here, along with a new and improved version of the cloud-based Office 365. If you’re looking to upgrade, you have to decide whether the traditional desktop version of Office is the way to go, or if Office 365 is a better fit for your needs.

Office 2013 is impressive, but Office 365 is a better value in most cases.

1. Cost
Microsoft hasn’t yet shared what the price tag will be for the new Office 2013. But, unless it follows the same bold path laid out in offering Windows 8 for a mere $40, history suggests the new productivity suite will start somewhere in the $150 neighborhood.

Office 365 plans start at $4 per month. Small businesses can get access to Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync in addition to the core Office productivity applications for only $6 per month. Larger businesses that want to take advantage of Active Directory integration can do so for $8 per user per month.

Breaking those down, it takes more than three years to reach $150 based on the $4 per month plan, and more than 18 months under the $8 per month plan. The 18 months is less time than a business typically gets out of an investment in the desktop Office software, but it also comes with more than the software itself.

Of course, those are the current subscription prices and plans for Office 365, so those figures are subject to change as well.

2. Updates and Maintenance
What else do you get with your Office 365 subscription? An IT department. Sure, you can set up your own Exchange Server, SharePoint Server, and Lync infrastructure. You can manage and maintain the desktop Microsoft Office software, and install the patches and updates every month yourself. How much will that cost?

Consider that implementing the same capabilities in-house requires servers, and network infrastructure, and IT personnel to install, manage, update, and maintain it all. Plus, you still have to buy and maintain the Office software itself.

With Office 365, Microsoft takes care of all the dirty work so you don’t have to. Updates, patches, and upgrades just happen in the background without you needing to worry about it. When the server crashes, its Microsoft’s problem. When a hard drive needs to be replaced, Microsoft will handle it. You get the benefits of using Office without any of the headaches of updating and maintaining it all.

3. Accessibility
Office 365 lives in the cloud. That means you have access to Word, Excel, Outlook, and other Microsoft Office tools from anywhere you can get a Web connection, and from virtually any device–Windows or Mac desktops and laptops, Android devices, iPhones, iPads, and other smartphones and tablets.

Office Web Apps provide basic features and functions for free.This isn’t quite the selling point it once was for a couple reasons. First, even with the desktop Office 2013 suite Microsoft is pushing users to save files to the cloud-based SkyDrive, or to a SharePoint server by default. So, there’s no reason the data can’t be accessible regardless of whether you choose Office 2013 or Office 365.

The second reason it may not be all that compelling is that Office Web Apps are already available for free from the SkyDrive site. So, even without Office 365 users can create, view, and edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote files from the Web.

For businesses, though, SharePoint, Active Directory, and other elements of Office 365 that go beyond simply creating and editing Office documents still make Office 365 a better value.

Your mileage will vary of course. There are a number of factors involved in calculating the cost of purchasing, installing, configuring, updating, and maintaining Microsoft Office and the accompanying back-end services versus the ongoing subscription costs associated with Office 365. Office 365 is a solid service providing tremendous bang for the buck, though, so it won’t be easy to beat the value it brings to the table.

July 20 2012

“Send to” Function not working properly in SharePoint 2010?

I recently had an issue with a  new install of SharePoint 2010.  A user was trying to send/copy documents between libraries on the site, and the “send to” function was not available, it was grayed-out.  After a little research, I found that there is an add-on in Internet Explorer that can cause problems with the “send to” feature of SharePoint.  To fix this problem, go to “Manage Add-ons” in the Internet Explorer tools menu.  Change the view to “show all add-ons”, and disable “STSUpld CopyCtl Class”.  Your “send to” should now work without a problem.

-Mike

August 30 2011

Configuring a split tunnel PPTP VPN in Windows 7

While working remotely I noticed my bandwidth would drop when I connected to our VPN. It appeared that all internet packets were being routed through our VPN connection. While this normally wouldn’t be a problem, I often found myself downloading large files and my connection performance was limited to the available bandwidth to the VPN connection. That’s when I learned about what a “split tunnel” vpn connection is. I wrote this article to walk you through the process of setting up your VPN to take advantage of this option in Windows Networking.

With a “split tunnel vpn” connection, the internet traffic is routed through the local gateway connection. All other network traffic works through the vpn connection as you would expect. This is a feature that is available with Windows Vista and XP PPTP VPN connections, but it isn’t the default setting.

Here is how you configure your VPN connection to use the local gateway:

Step 1

Right click on your VPN connection and choose “properties”

Step 2

Click on the “Networking” tab. This is where we will need to make changes to the TCP/IP settings for your VPN connection. If you are using V6 IP addresses or V4, you’ll need to make the change in both locations just to be sure.

Step 3

Click on the “Advanced” button to get to the Advanced TCP/IP options

Step 4

The VPN connection by default configures all packets to route to the remote server’s gateway. We want to turn this option off by clicking on the “Use default gateway on remote network” option.

That’s it! Once you have made those changes you will notice your internet packets are no longer automatically routing through the VPN server.

August 18 2011

SharePoint 2010 Document Content Types and Embedded Metadata in Word

In this post we will look at how to create new document content types and insert the metadata fields in the header of the Word Document.

Creating the Content Type

1. Make sure you are in the site where you want to create the content type. Click Site Actions | Site Settings.
2. In the Galleries section click Site Content Types.
3. Click Create.

4. Fill in the appropriate information on the form to create a new content Type. Give the content type a name.
Make sure to select “Document Content Types” on the Select parent content type from drop down menu. Make sure to select “Document” in the Parent Content Type drop down menu. Put the new content type in either an existing or new group. Click OK.

5. Scroll down to the bottom of the new site content type property page to find the columns section. Here you can either create new site columns or add an existing site column. The column will then be associated to the content type.

6. Content types can also have workflow, retention schedules and modified document information panels.

7. Upload a document template to

SharePoint Training

July 18 2011

Microsoft has officially released Office 365!

 

You might be wondering, what is Microsoft Office 365?

It’s familiar Microsoft Office collaboration and productivity tools delivered through the cloud. Everyone can work together easily with anywhere access to email, web conferencing, documents, and calendars. It includes business-class security and is backed by Microsoft. Whether you are a small business or multinational enterprise, Office 365 offers plans designed to fit your organization’s unique needs.

There are two plan families available:
Plan P – for professionals/small businesses
Plan E – for midsize businesses and enterprises.

Microsoft Office 365 for professionals and small businesses
This service plan is designed for up to 25 employees who want:

•A solution without dedicated IT staff
•Essential email, calendar, and website services
•Free online community support
•Month-to-month subscription

Microsoft Office 365 for midsize businesses and enterprises
This service plan is great for any size organization that wants:

•Advanced IT configuration and control
•Office Professional Plus, Active Directory or advanced archiving
•24×7 IT Administrator support
•Choice between monthly and annual contracts

Please contact an ISInc account representative for more information, or email [email protected].

November 7 2008

Coding CSS – Essential Firefox Add-Ons

If you spend any time coding CSS from scratch or debugging existing stylesheets, you know how tricky it can be to find that pesky error! Whether it is getting IE6 to play nice or just understanding where all that white space is coming from, these Firefox add-ons should help you do the job better and faster. I’ve only chosen a couple of my favorite add-ons and my favorite features of each. Feel free to include your favorite features or add-ons in the comments as this list is anything but exhaustive.

The Web Developer Toolbar by Chris Pederick has many useful features like an easy-access javascript disabler, a simple window resize to test 800×600 screen resolution, and an option to view all of the stylesheets associated with a page (easily searchable!).

One of my favorite features, however, is surprisingly simple and incredibly useful.  Using the Outline menu, you can outline any block level element on the page with just two clicks of the mouse.  Personally, I can end up spending minutes of wasted time adding borders to elements here and there trying to figure out why I am seeing too much or too little space in a certain area.  No need to do that anymore with this feature. It outlines your div tags for you, making spatial debugging a much simpler and faster process.

My other favorite feature in the web developer toolbar is the quick access to the W3C XHTML validator.  It will upload your local file and display your pass/fail status quickly and efficiently!

Next on my list is the Firebug add-on which again, has a wealth of useful and time-saving debugging tools.  My favorite, by far, is what I’ve coined as their CSS specificity revealer.  Ok, you got me, I just made that up.  The feature I’m referring to goes something like this:

1. You add some CSS rule

2. Your CSS rule doesn’t work

3. You can’t figure out why it doesn’t work

4. You wish to yourself there was some tool out there that could tell you if someone wrote a rule that is somehow overriding your own

5. You realize that firebug has that very feature and you’re going to use it now!

Launch firebug after you’ve installed it and click the “Inspect” button at the top of the console.  Now, watch the Style panel on the right hand side.  As you mouse over different elements on the page, you will see which rules apply to which elements.  You will also see which rules are being overridden by others as evidenced by the line through.

For instance, in the above example, the #description rule is overriding our normal <p> tag line height of 1.4em because #description is an ID (which will always have a higher specificity than a non-ID rule).

Personally, I think this feature of firebug makes it one of the best CSS debugging tools out there.

And remember, feel free to leave me some tips and tricks in the comments section if you have any!

October 10 2008

Record Selection and the Null Value Bug in Crystal Reports

One of the interesting issues I have found when building reports in Crystal is the nature of their record selection on blank data. More »

October 3 2008

Debugging CSS in IE6, hasLayout and Zoom

As I’ve learned to build website layouts purely in CSS, I have come across many hacks or workarounds for debugging browser inconsistencies. One that I never quite understood was the declaration

zoom: 1;

I knew that if I applied zoom: 1 to certain elements, a layout that once looked like the elephant man in Internet Explorer 6 would miraculously turn into prince charming. But what is zoom: 1? And why does it fix my broken layouts? This post is meant to shed some light on these issues without getting into the nitty gritty details.

To understand zoom: 1, we must understand the proprietary property hasLayout, courtesy of Internet Explorer (IE). The hasLayout property is an internal flag in IE that tells the browser whether or not a particular element is a “layout” element. IE makes a distinction between a layout element and a non-layout element in more ways than I can enumerate here. Suffice it to say that layout elements and non-layout elements are treated differently when IE renders the page. I have found that layout elements will interact differently with their floated and positioned neighbors. This usually manifests in strange vertical and horizontal spacing between the elements.

The hasLayout property cannot be altered by the style sheet author. It is internal. It is flagged as true by default for certain elements (like <table>, <body>, and <img>). It can also be triggered by the style sheet author by changing certain properties (like width, height, float, and zoom).

The zoom property is one of Internet Explorer’s proprietary CSS properties that allows the style sheet author to enlarge something.

zoom: 2;

The above zoom declaration does as you would expect, it makes something twice as big. So since the zoom property will trigger hasLayout, we can use it to force IE into giving certain elements “layout” which can help us with spacing issues between elements. In order to add zoom but avoid any detrimental effects, we just use

zoom: 1;

This keeps the element at the same size while still triggering hasLayout behind the scenes.

To use zoom: 1 to my advantage, my general rule of thumb has been to code my layouts by testing primarily in Firefox (or another standards compliant browser like Safari or Chrome). During the process of coding it, I will periodically test it in IE7 to make sure there are no major hiccups. Usually, I can get the layout working in both browsers without too many hacks. Once the layout is finalized in Firefox and IE7, I test in IE6. If the layout is way off in IE6, I immediately apply the declaration:

* { zoom: 1; }

which gives “layout” to all elements. This will often fix the major issues in IE6, and the rest is just pixel tweaking with conditional comments.

For a complete reference of hasLayout (much more complete than I have attempted here), read this article on having layout.

September 25 2008

Altruistic Linking

Have you ever linked to another web page using the phrase “click here“?

If you are a webmaster, a web author, or a web content editor and you answered yes to that question, keep reading because this blog post is for you.

Why is “click here” the enemy? Let me start with a little anecdote about a phenomenon known as Google bombing.

One of the methods that Google uses to determine what your page is all about is to look at the link text (or anchor text) that others have used to link to your website. So, if there are a million links that say Amazon and link to Amazon.com, there is a good chance that a Google search on the word Amazon will return a first hit to Amazon.com. Seems logical, right?

Google also has a button called “I’m feeling lucky” that is often overlooked. Try it out. Go to Google and search on “Innovative Solutions Inc.” Instead of clicking the “Google Search” button, click the button to the right that says “I’m feeling lucky.” This will take you straight to our home page. Why? Because the “I’m feeling lucky” button takes you to the first search result that you would have seen if you had done a regular Google search.

How does this relate to Google bombing? Once upon a time, somebody decided to use their knowledge of Google’s indexing system to further their own political objectives. In particular, I remember being introduced to the George Bush Google bomb when I was in college. What happens is, a particular blogger, website, or internet community puts out a request to their readers to create a link to George Bush’s bio on the white house website with the link text of “miserable failure.” Eventually, as the scheme gains momentum, there are so many “miserable failure” links to the president’s bio that the Google bots integrate those links into their knowledge base. Eventually, you could type “miserable failure” into Google, click “I’m feeling lucky,” and there was George Bush’s smiling face on your computer screen. Pretty knifing, yes?

The point of this anecdote is to teach you that link text matters. If Google uses your link text to determine what a website is about, why not provide more useful information than a generic “click here”?

This is a helpful link to our website:
Our favorite technical training center in Sacramento, CA – Innovative Solutions Inc.

This is not as helpful:
Click here to go to our favorite technical training center in Sacramento, CA – Innovative Solutions Inc.

That is why I call it altruistic linking. You are doing your neighbor a favor, you are going to help their search ranking by linking to them with appropriate keywords. And hopefully, in turn, they will do the same for you.