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All About Wor


I’m attending the SharePoint Connections 2010 in The Hague – 28 & 29 September 2010.

This conference covers 4 tracks:

  • Developer
  • IT-Pro
  • Solutions
  • Management

and features a host of great speakers across those 4 tracks – look for the hashtag #SPEurope for more information.

I’m looking forward to this for a number of reasons not least of which is the fact that I’ve never visited The Hague before and that this gives me a chance to organise a #sprunners event.

If you’re interested in running The Hague and/or you have a great route round The Hague, please drop me an email or leave me a comment at the end of this piece.

I’ll be there from Monday pm to Thursday am – if you see me stop me and say “Hello”.

Hope to see you there




To help advertise the 1st SharePoint Saturday UK event, we’ve had a set of buttons created to allow speakers, sponsors and attendees to add the info to their email sigs and blogs.  The buttons were the idea of Alex Pearce SharePoint MVP (@Alex_Pearce) and were created by him and Michael Lotter – the Founder and Chief Organizer of the SharePoint Saturday event – Big Thanks to both for their time and efforts.
Here’s the buttons :
I’ve added I’m Attending to my email sig…

The hugely successful SharePoint Saturday event is finally coming to the UK! 
The 1st SharePoint Saturday UK event will take place on Saturday the 2nd October 2010 at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole here
There is still some organising to be done but it’s coming together and it’s exciting to be involved!
There are some speakers and sponsors already signed up (and others looking to make themselves available) but we can always use more
There’s a huge amount of organising required to setup an event for 300 attendees and along with Brett Lonsdale of Lightning Tools and my Intelligent Decisioning colleague Mark Macrae I’ve been very busy with organising a venue, inviting speakers to speak and, importantly, sponsors to support the event which means it is free to attendees – an important part of the SharePoint Saturday format.  We’ve been supported all the way by the SharePoint Saturday organisation and in particular by Michael Lotter – the originator of SharePoint Saturday.
You can read all about the 1st SharePoint Saturday UK (and get access to Speaker and Sponsor forms) here and get yourself on the attendee list here.
Make sure you follow @spsuk on Twitter for the latest announcements regarding speakers, sponsors sessions and more.

On Saturday the 10th July I attended the worlds first SharePoint Retreat (#spretreat).

The SharePoint Retreat was organised by Andrew Woodward (@AndrewWoody) and Ben Robb (@benrobb) and was held in the London offices of cScape.

I was a last minute attendee after Andrew announced there was a vacancy during his Automated UI Testing session at the Nottingham SUGUK meeting, held in Strelley Hall on Thursday 8th.

My Journey To The SharePoint Retreat

Saturday morning dawned and I was up at 05:00 and on my way to the East Midlands Parkway (EMP) train station for the 06:39 to London.  It was an early start after a late night (01:00) and I was feeling tired.

The day was tipped to be a scorcher (30C+) and the temperature was already heading towards “HOT, HOT, HOT” as I stood on the platform.  EMP is a new station and therefore modern and clean but there is no WiFi and O2 (the carrier for my iPhone) is very, very limited <sarcasm>or is it just the reception display algorithm on my iPhone that’s wrong ? </sarcasm>

The train arrived, and like EMP, it was clean, modernish but, again, no WiFi and O2 reception is totally useless on this journey.  This is a ridiculous thing to not have in place for journeys between the middle of the country and the Capital – this is an EPIC FAIL

The 1.5 hours simply flew by as I, with no internet access, simply stared out of the window wondering what was to come at the SharePoint Retreat.

I arrived into St Pancras about 08:20 and Google maps managed to gain a signal long enough to predict that the walk to the cScape offices would take about 30 minutes and would be easily doable in the time but I didn’t fancy taking it on in the heat so I headed for the Tube – 1 stop on the Metropolitan line.

Of course, the Metropolitan line was closed for maintenance so I ended up walking – it ended up being about 20 minutes all in and even in the heat with a 17 inch laptop on my back it was a simple job.

The SharePoint Retreat

I arrived at the cScape offices and was let in by Ben where I met up with Andrew, James Fisk (@draken) who I already know and Nigel Price @(nigel_price) who I didn’t. 

Due to the Tube closures one or 2 attendees were going to arrive a little late but we set off about on time around 09:30. 

All attendees were arriving with a laptop – some had SharePoint 2010 development environments but not all.  SharePoint 2010 was to be used as the vehicle to surface our solutions but the learning behind this would go beyond any platform.

The Morning Sessions

The initial problem was set – “drive traffic to other parts of my website like the BBC and related news stories”  to all and the attendees split themselves into pairs to work for an hour on the problem.

Lots of discussion took place between the members of the pairs and Andrew and Ben were involved as the Product Owners (the guys with the requirements).

Some pairs questioned the Product Owners further – others didn’t and pressed on with their own assumptions/understandings (I know who I am).

The ZoomIt count down projected on the wall was a constant reminder of how quickly time was passing ……

At the end of the 1st hour, each pair talked about where they had got to in the hour that had just passed and some got up and made use of the projector to show and tell their current thinking – major kudos to them.

There were a range of solutions to the problem some of which were purely technical while others had gone so far as to consider the various user roles and the training implications.

For the 2nd session the problem was then added to by the Product Owner (mimicking real world last minute changes to requirements) and pairs were split up and reformed.

Another hour was spent progressing the problem and again a retrospective was carried out with most of the solutions beginning to converge on a SharePoint Search based solution.

Through both sessions we were supplied with coffee made by Woody and Ben – thanks again!

The Lunch Break

We were oblivious to the scorching hot temperatures (32C+) as we SharePointed with gusto and at the lunch break it was decided we would benefit from lunch in the local park so set off in crocodile fashion carrying Tesco bags full of picnic fare – including 2 bottle of white wine.

There were a few people sunbathing in the park but as good computer types we sheltered from the blistering sun under a tree and feasted on cheese, chicken, ham, bread buns (or rolls depending on where you come from), crisps, Twiglets, pork pies the works all provided for by 21apps. 

There was a moment when the police arrived in the park and we thought “Alcohol ban?” but they smiled, nodded and walked on like a scene from the (soon to end) ITV show The Bill.

The Afternoon Sessions

Returning back to the retreat, we moved round again and began to build some code – Woo Hoo!

A webpart that called the SharePoint Search API was the common theme and some pairs got further than others – but all invoked the Great God “Google” and it’s up and coming fellow deity “Bing” to seek enlightenment. 

All pairs were meant to delete their code as they moved from one hour to the next but this seemed to be happening less and less as the sessions rolled on.

At the end of the sessions, Woody and Ben ran a retrospective on the day and we compiled a list of positives and negatives which we then all ranked –  valuable input into the planning for the second SharePoint Retreat.

The SharePint Session

It’s impossible for 2 or more SharePoint people to get together without lifting a pint and the first SharePoint Retreat was no exception.  The bar was handily placed but a few feet from the cScape offices (did the barman say “Hi Ben” as we walked in? ;->).

A round of drinks were ordered (cheers Woody) and we stood outside on Farringdon Lane quaffing our drinks and reminiscing about the event.

It was decided by all that that the first SharePoint Retreat had been a great success that should be repeated for others to enjoy.

The Journey Home

I headed for the 20:15 train back to East Midlands Parkway and sat back and relaxed as I was knackered, leaving the train at 21:45 I arrived home at 22:15 absolutely knackered.

Jerry Springer Style “Final Thoughts”

Getting together with a bunch of people who are very enthusiastic about SharePoint is always a great thing.

Being with other people sparks ideas, thoughts and generally improves everybodys knowledge and ability.

I think I expected more coding to be required

I didn’t really go too far into the Show & Tell retrospectives, and didn’t use the projector or white board to show our solutions at the end of each hour long session – I will next time

I’d like to attend another in the Midlands

Final thanks to Woody and Ben for organising and sponsoring this


29/5/2010 Update

Due to a change in personal circumstances Tracey and me will no longer be travelling to Australia and will not be attending #AUSPConf this year.  Adrian will be there flying the Intelligent Decisioning flag on his own.

We’re both very disappointed at not being able to make this trip as there were a number of people we were looking forward to re/meeting – ah well – here’s to next years conference

29/5/2010 Update End

Along with Tracey (@WorPet) and Adrian (@iddycol) I’m going to the Australian SharePoint Conference #AUSPConf which is being held in Sydney on the 16th & 17th June.

We’re planning on a few days staying with @iddycol in Brisbane before travelling to Sydney around the 12/13th June.

While in Sydney I have a few ideas of things to do (such as walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge) and I also think I’m going to pull together a SharePoint Runners (#SPRunners) event.  This will be the 2nd such event I’ve organised (see London 2010 for the other) and the third continent that I’ve took part in one – anyone else done 3 yet ;-)?

Details/route to follow…..

Are you interested?  Do you run in Sydney?  Have you got a 5 – 6 mile route that takes in the Sydney sights?  Let me know




So I ran the Ashby 20 on the 21st March 2010 with Bunde.  After last years efforts when I was beaten by the Ashby Gorilla I was more than a little nervous as I lined up at the start.  The nerves weren’t eased any when I spotted the Gorilla hovering around in the background – it seemed a bit surreal to see this Gorilla (who has become my running Nemesis) drifting around in the crowd – how weird.

The gun went and we were off – the gorilla was behind me so all I had to do was stay ahead of him.  With 1,000 runners taking part the 1st mile is a bit crowded and I felt I wasn’t making progress – this was driven home when I heard a spectator say to her daughter “Oh look!  Here come’s the gorilla – lets cheer him”.  A quick look over my shoulder confirmed that the gorilla was close.  It seemed like one of those nightmares where you are being chased and can’t get away.

Through the 1st mile in 7:40 and the sun came out.  Miles 2,3 & 4 were completed in 7:30 each and a fifth mile (the toughest part of the course) in 7:40 made me think that I had lost him, surely he couldn’t maintain that pace in the gorilla suit?  I never looked back to check as I would have been gutted if he had still been there.

Every footstep that came near me, every shadow that appeared on my shoulder was a worry and I had a real scare when a guy dressed all in black with black hair overtook me!

On we ran and our pace began to slow down but we completed 10 mile in 76:32 & 13 mile in 1:40.  16 mile was up in 2:05 which beat my Kilomathon time the week before by 2 minutes and this is a much tougher course.

I had a quick look back for the gorilla at the 19 mile mark where I caught him up last year but he was nowhere to be seen.

We sprinted the finish, crossed the line with a time of 2:39:22 (27 minutes faster than 2009), I glanced over my shoulder and the gorilla was nowhere to be seen.

I collected the world famous Ashby 20 sweatshirt and goody bag with my mission will and truly accomplished.


I’m writing this with 8 weeks to go to my 2nd tackling of the Virgin London Marathon which takes places on Sunday the 25th April. 

I’ve just had a quick review of my recent training scheduled and the remaining training/race schedule before the big event.

The previous 3 weekends have featured 2 hour, 2 hour 20 and 2 hour 30 runs and put me bang on for the Marathon and here’s how my remaining schedule pans out:

28th February 2010 – "The Beast"

The Beast is a Double or Quit trail race or approxmately either 5 or 10 miles – the runner decides on the day whether to do 1 or 2 laps of the course hence the "Double or Quit" and features deep water, steep hills and 32 obstacles.

I’m running The Beast with my usual running partners Bunde & Mark Macrae (@m_macrae) and I’ll also be in the race with others that I know from Twitter and British Military Fitness (@the_dobster).

As I said, The Beast has a "Quit" option after the 1st lap (or 5 miles) but I’m planning on completing 2 laps and notching up 10 miles in the process.

The weather forecast is currently showing a maximum temperature of 4C, heavy rain and 35 mph winds so it’s gonna be very wet, very muddy, very cold and very, very difficult.

10 (tough) miles

Update – I completed the "double" version of The Beast in 1:27

14th March 2010 – The Kilomathon

The Kilomathon is a world first as it’s run over a distance of a Kilometre equivalent of a marathon i.e. 26.2K instead of 26 miles making the distance a little over 16 miles.  The race I’m in is the 1st in a series of UK based runs and starts in Nottingham and finishes in Derby – this is a history making run (so the web site says) and I’m looking forward to taking part in it a lot.

I’m taking part in this with Bunde and a couple of Twitter runners – @the_dobster and @nimblerunner.  I’ve not met @nimblerunner yet so that’s another thing I can tick off.

@nimblerunner has organised a “Pasta Party” in Nottingham the night before and I’m attending to meet a few more runners and load up on carbs for the race.

16 miles

Update – I completed the Kilomathon in 2:07

21st March 2010 – The Ashby 20

I’ll be taking part in the Ashby 20 for only the 2nd time.  The Ashby 20 is a fairly tough 20 mile run (you what?  A race called the Ashby 20 is run over a distance of 20 miles :-0).  Described on the race website as rural and undulating I can confirm that it’s both.

I’m running this with the usual suspect Bunde.

I’m hoping to better last years time and I’m gunning for the gorilla this year (see 2009 Ashby 20 for why)

20 miles

Update – I completed The Ashby 20 in 2:39:22

28th March 2010 – Steady Weekend Run

After the exertions of the previous 2 weekends, I’m planning to take a bit of a break and drop my weekend run down to around 1.5 hours in which I reckon I’ll cover about 10 – 11 miles with Bunde

10 – 11 miles

Update – I ran about 9.5 miles in 1:16 and I feel tired and sore

4th April 2010 – 3 Hour Run

This is the planned final long run before the marathon with Bunde.  I reckon 3 hours should just about get us back to the distance of the Ashby 20 which is as far as I go before the full 26.

20 miles

Update – I called a halt to this about half way roubnd as my groin was giving me real gyp and I reckoned better to live to fight another day than to press on – disappointing

11th April 2010 – Steady Weekend Run

Tapering towards the marathon begins – a steady weekend run with Bunde of maybe 1 and a half hours.

10 – 11 miles

18th April 2010 – Steady Weekend Run

Tapering towards the marathon continues – I’m not planning a run at all as I’m in London from the Saturday morning and staying there ‘til Wednesday night.

0 miles

Week Commencing 19th April 2010 – Steady Midweek Runs

I’m in London attending the SharePoint Evolution Conference 2010 and I’m planning to host a “SharePoint Runners” event where conference attendees drag themselves out of bed really early and trot around London. 

Wednesday 21st April marks my last London Marathon training day, leaving me 3 days ‘til the race.

15 miles

So along with the remaining 6 weeks of steady midweek runs – 6 miles, 3 times a week (108 miles), I reckon I’ve got another 210 miles or so to get through before the off.

I’m looking forward to it all and especially the marathon – it’s such a great feeling when you’re running (hopefully!) down the Embankment and can see Big Ben in the distance with only a little over a mile to go.

It’ll be different this year as it’s not my first time and I know what to expect.  I’m hoping that I can improve on my previous time of 4 hours and 9….


I’m developing a set of Nintex workflows for a project that ID are on and while I think Nintex is a superb product, allowing complex workflows to be developed, and deployed into Sharepoint solutions and on the whole it makes me go "Woo Hoo!", there are a few things that make me go "Doh!".

Doh! – 1

When adding the integration action Call A WebService

make sure you specify the correct url to your web service otherwise you’ll receive a 401 Unauthorised when you click the Refresh button – don’t spend ages messing around with the credentials, check the URL! – Doh!


I’d been reading about “God Mode” on Twitter and decided to give it a whirl. 

I created a folder on my “C” drive and renamed it to “GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}”.  The icon changed from the normal folder to the Control Panel icon.

Clicking the GodMode folder opens up access to just about every setting that you can set in Windows. 

I’d also read that God Mode can cause issues with various installations of Windows (particularly 64 bit version) but on my Windows 7 64 bit installation it works like a champ.

Anyway, onto an RDP session, I started up Windows Explorer and browsed back to my local drive C, a few files and folders are displayed then “Crap!” Windows Explorer is restarting.  Restarted Windows Explorer, browsed back to my local C drive, a few files and folders are displayed then – “Crap!” again  Windows Explorer is restarting

The wheels of my head were moving slowly and it eventually came to me that this was “God Mode” related so I renamed the God Mode folder to be “GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C.old}”.

I restarted Windows Explorer, browsed back to my local C drive and all was well.

I wondered whether this was cos Windows Explorers was trying to display God Mode for a remote machine so I created a God Mode folder on the RDP machines local drive which resulted in the same issue for Explorer.  Deleting the folder using the DOS command RMDIR GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}, fixed Windows Explorer.  The RDP machine is running Windows 2008 (64 bit).

For those who are interested in such things, the application event log showed this error:

Faulting application Explorer.exe, version 6.0.6002.18005, time stamp 0x49e02a1e, faulting module ntdll.dll, version 6.0.6002.18005, time stamp 0x49e0421d, exception code 0xc0000374, fault offset 0x00000000000aef37, process id 0x21c4, application start time 0x01ca92a8b68a04e0. 

So it appears that there are certain versions of Windows that don’t work very well with “God Mode”, however, if you try it and it doesn’t work it’s a simple matter to put it right (if you don’t mind command lines"!).


I was lucky enough to attend the recent SharePoint 2009 Conference in Las Vegas and one of the great things I did there was to catch up with the SharePoint Runners (or #sprunners on Twitter) and www.mapmyrun.com.

The SharePoint Runners are a group of people who are involved with SharePoint in their working lives and like to run in their own time.  The meetings were held at 06:30ish and it was tough getting out of bed early on a morning after late nights of eating/drinking and having fun SharePoint development/reading 🙂 but it was very rewarding, meeting as I did a number of fellow Twitterers that to that point I’d only ever exchanged Tweets with.  It was also kinda weird running down the strip and we received a number of “encouragements” as we made our way through the die hard gamblers/drinkers who were still to go to bed.

Anyway, I was glad I joined up with the #sprunners so when I signed up to attend the SharePoint Evolution 2010 Conference which is taking place in London from the 19th – 21st April, I thought maybe I can organise a similar thing.  While the Las Vegas #sprunners event was great, I’d like to think that the SharePoint Evo #sprunners event will be a similar great event as I’ve put together a preliminary route which takes in a number of the London “sights” and the final couple of miles of the London Marathon – an event which takes place only days later Sunday 25th April and which I’m running in!

As I’ll be at the tapering down point of my training, the route is only 4.7 miles but it should still be a great run taking in a crossing of the river Thames, Big Ben, Houses Of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, The Mall, Whitehall and Downing Street – bring your cameras if you’ve never been to London before!

The finer details of this are still to be put in place but I’m planning to run all 3 mornings – setting off at about 07:00ish and reckoning on the route taking about 40 – 45 mins depending on the pace of the day. 

As with the Las Vegas #sprunners event, I’ll be looking to get some #SPRunners “We run this town” running shirts that I’ll be giving out at the “Exhibitor Evening Reception” on the 19th or before if you can find me out and about on the Sunday night before – “stop me and ask for one”.

Please leave a comment at the end of this post with your European running shirt size If you’d like to take part.  Don’t worry if you don’t sign up, just turn up and run.

See you at SharePoint Evo


Update: Here’s one of the mighty fine t-shirts I’ve had produced for #spevo #sprunners who’ve signed up

Apologies for the carpet – it’s not my house!

I’m planning an initial distribution of these at the #spevo footy tournament on the Sunday night before the conference and I’ll have some with me during the conference so if you see me, stop me and ask for yours.