Archive for the ‘Collaboration’ Category

Talked to Julie from Nortel about AS1000 (?)

October 28, 2006

Nortel and Microsoft have formed a strategic alliance.  Nortel is supposed to be coming out with a IP PBX box geared towards smallish companies.  It’s designed to work with Live Communicator Server 2005 and the new Office 2007 version called Office something or another.  I don’t know what the status of it is, but it’s a product I’ll be watching. 

I’ve had an interest in getting something with this kind of functionality for quite a while.  We’ll see how it works out.

 The functionality I’m referring to, in case you’re not conversant with it, is presence awareness and telephony.  The big dream is to have one phone number that would ring at my desktop when I’m there, at my laptop when I’m there, or on my mobile.  It would automatically sense where I was and forward it to me.  

As I understand it, I’d have to pay for a SIP provider and then have the software / hardware internally to do this.  Julie said she’d get me pricing information on the product when she could.  I’m also going to be enquiring into their partner program. 

Communications and Collaboration is where I want to be going forward.


Community Server and Sharepoint v3

October 22, 2006

I have been pursuing an online means to support the small groups at the church I go to.  I’ve been digging around and have found two different means to do it.

 My first thought was to have the sites done with Sharepoint.  Version 3’s capabilities FAR outstretch the previous version.  It’s really quite impressive.  Sharepoint, for those that might not know, is a free download for the Server 2003 OS. 

 However, that’s where the free stops.  If you want to publish the site to the world, and have a LOT of named persons actually be able to contribute to the site and manage it without an administrator being involved, you have to have a CAL (Client Access License) for each user. 

That might not be a big deal for an intranet, since presumably, all of your users will already have a CAL.  HOWEVER, to publish it to the web for the world, it looks like there is something called an External Connector which allows the log-in process to write the users to AD.  The retail price on this that I have seen is about $8,000.  That was quite surprising.

It didn’t end there however.  In order to use SQL Server 2005 as a back end, each named user must also have a CAL to access the DB.  The way around this is to get a Processor license for SQL.  I think the pricing on this is about $6,000.  I didn’t actually look that up. 

After the sticker shock on the first one, I just couldn’t bear to look it up.  Perhaps when Microsoft releases these to the world the prices will come down. 

Community Server has pretty much the same limitations.   The external connector is required for Server 2003 and the processor license is needed for the SQL implementation.

I should probably mention that the number of users for the system is anticipated to be several hundred if not a couple of thousand.

For smaller sites, it might not be that big of a deal.

I contacted Telligent to confirm that this was the case and got an answer back from Rob Howard who seemed to confirm that the licensing I described was correct.

I’ve spent some time pondering it and thought of a couple of answers.  Use an Open Source DB.  I’m not sure this would be as hard as it seems.  I’ve not used any of them before, but $8,000 is a pretty good incentive to do so.  Community Server releases their source code so perhaps this might be viable to do.

The other idea I had was to limit the users to 10-20 subdivisions and have the access through these.  The problem with this, as I understand it, is that I would lose control of the granular access to sites.  I could have a group of administrators, but they would be able to control ALL the sites, not just their own.  This might be a viable option, as 20 CALS would be a lot cheaper than an External Connector.

I also have a copy of SUSE Linux 10 and will be looking into Open Source packages with similar functionality.  If you happen to read this and know of one, I’d love to hear about it.

I’d like to get a file repository, blogs, wiki, calendar, pictures and have the option to add more.  If each of these components had an RSS feed, that would be outstanding.

.NET and Programming in C#

October 21, 2006

Last year, I took some classes on Programming in C#.  I’ve always been interested in programming and am looking forward to leveraging these skills to assist in building web parts and other design work.  I’ve got a list about as long as my arm of projects I’d like to work on.  So far I haven’t actually started coding any of them.

I thought I’d mention it because it is through the North Dallas .NET User’s Group that I started to take an interest in it.  The group met in Plano (where I used to live) and I attended meetings for about a year before I decided to jump in with both feet and take the classes.

I took the classes at SMU – Legacy, now a sponsor for the NDDNUG.  The classes were based on MOC (Microsoft Official Curriculum) which I thought was TERRIBLE for actually transferring information.  The class format was lecture with hands-on-labs; if you call uncommenting code and recompiling “hands-on”.  Overall, I was significantly underwhelmed with the experience and would NOT be able to recommend it to anyone.

About the only good thing that came from the classes was that I started to take programming more seriously and started attending the Dallas .NET User’s Group, the C# SIG (a part of the Dallas .NET User’s Group) and also the North Texas SQL Server User’s Group.  I enjoy the meetings and learning new stuff from people who know WAY more than I do.  I’ve met a lot of really interesting people through there and would recommend all of these groups to anyone.

I don’t go to the North Dallas .NET group anymore because I’ve moved to north Fort Worth area (Watauga), but I’d recommend them highly also.

I went to the last meeting of the Fort Worth .NET User’s group and enjoyed it immensely too.  It’s a lot smaller than the Dallas or North Dallas groups and attendees have a great chance to ask questions that they might not get at one of the bigger groups.  I definately intend to keep going.

Dallas Fort Worth Small Business Server Partner Group

October 21, 2006

For the last couple of years, I’ve worked as the Secretary / Treasurer for the group of IT professionals with the DFW-SBS groups.  As part of our group, we have a Yahoo group to support the group:   It has been a fantastic resource for collaboration.  In large part, it is because of this group that I have come to have an inteerest in collaboration at all.  I have been AMAZED at the helpfulness of SO many people to help resolve issues that members are having. 

If you were to check out the group, you’ll see that a lot of times, I’m the one asking the dumb questions.  Despite that, they still let me hang out with them and admit to me being a member. In a lot of ways, I feel like (and I hope it is received as such) my contribution to the group is just to facilitate meetings and other group stuff.

As the Secretary / Treasurer of the group, I also interface with Culminis – a FANTASTIC support organization for IT professionals groups.  I have had a WONDERFUL time working with them, ESPECIALLY Stephanie Perkins.

I also get to be a part of an International group of individuals who have organized themselves as “Leaders of SBS Groups”.  I have learned a TON of information from them.  I have attended one meeting of these “leaders” a couple of years ago and have missed the last couple.  Despite this, I’ve had a great time lurking in the group and even post something every now and then.

If you’re not already plugged in with groups, I’d HIGHLY recommend it.