General


For the love of all that is holy, don’t try and do this in SharePoint designer.  I’m still not entirely sure what was going on, but it’s not pretty.

Let’s say you have a page that you want to put some custom CSS on.  You could open the page in designer and modify the corev4.css.  What this actually does is copy the file from the web application root to a _styles directory in your current site collection and then in the background re-link everything to it.  This is handy, except that the one thing that it doesn’t re-link to it is Themes.  Any themes you select still only make changes to the root corev4.css file, which (if you’re following along) is overridden by the copy you have in your site collection.  Short story: your new site collection isn’t themable.

The solution: Only update the styles you specifically want to change, and do it directly on the page your editing…in the web browser.  In the ribbon under Editing Tools:Format Text, there’s a drop down for HTML Markup.  Choose to Edit HTML Source, and just drop your custom css in between <style></style> tags and close the window.

The net upshot is that this doesn’t break the site definition template that your page is based on (which IS what happens when you try and do the above in SharePoint Designer).  Another bonus is that the style is truly page dependent.  If you reopen the HTML source, you’ll see that SharePoint has renamed your styles with an .ExternalClassHASH.

Slick, easy, and it doesn’t break anything.  Too bad it took me like 4 hours to figure out.  Hopefully I’ll save you the headache.

Addendum: If you’re editing a web part page, you may notice that you don’t have an HTML Markup button on your ribbon.  You can get around this issue by dropping a Content Editor web part on your page.  Once it’s there and you go to enter content, you will see that you now have an HTML Markup button.  You can drop the style into the content editor web part (in HTML view) and it will work the same way…just for that page.

So, like many people of my ilk I’ve had a gmail account since way back when you needed an invitation to join. (You actually might still need an invitation to join, I have not tried to create a new account recently.)

I’ve also had my own domain for more than 10 years now. It used to host its own mail, but after much gnashing of teeth, and the ability to transfer being made nearly transparent, I converted my domain hosted email to a Google Apps account. It worked flawlessly and I have been happy for many, many years.

…and then Google decided that it wanted it’s Google Apps accounts to have more of the functionality and features normally saved for it’s own full Google accounts. A noble desire, for sure, but it came with it problems of it’s own. For you see, Google accounts and Google Apps accounts used separate authentication structures. This allowed for one to be logged into both (or more) accounts at the same time. However, upon conversion, the Google Apps accounts now use the *same* authentication cookie as the Google accounts do. You can not log into both accounts at the same time, unless you use two different browsers.

So, option 1 is: Use two separate browsers to log into both accounts. While I am perfectly capable of doing that (and I use multiple browsers as it is for work), mentally, I was not willing to make that sacrifice to my normal workflow and have Google open in two different browsers (it used to be two tabs next to each other in Chrome.) There is some good news, though.

There is an option 2: You can configure your two accounts to allow for “multiple sign-ins”. What this does is both accounts are logged in (in the same tab even), but you’re only looking at content for one account at a time. So you can be looking at your mail, and then hit the account drop down in the top left and be looking at the mail for your other account. There are some caveats, but it’s all detailed here:
Using multiple accounts simultaneously. I’m using it now and so far I have no complaints.

I’ve always been a big proponent of fixing problems. And I don’t mean band aid solutions. I mean looking at logs, testing ideas, and permanently fixing something that’s broken. I have often been (and will probably continue to be) at the receiving end of poor performance evaluations and mounting management frustration because of my “attitude”.

I have found vindication.

This article, Nobody Ever Gets Credit for Fixing Problems that Never Happened, was written a decade ago. If only I’d read it then.

I have often been amused at my own ignorance. More than a few times over the past 10 years or so I’ll stop and reflect back on a situation and think, “Wow, I didn’t know a damn thing back then, did I?”

Today, as I perused the giant repository of information called the internet, it struck me again. I’ve been pondering this whole SharePoint thing recently, from the what-business-value-does-it-actually-provide perspective. And I’ve been testing and playing with different aspects of the software. Recently, that has been the My Sites social media experience that they now tout. Now, I have long been of the opinion that social media has no place in the workplace. It is a distraction at best and a productivity killer at worst. I know, I’ve killed my share of productivity. However, it would seem that the business world is moving in this direction. Blogs, tweets, networking, all ways to stay connected…to your business associates. Fine.

This presents a problem, however, when the institution hoping to implement this idea does not have the back end infrastructure to support it. SharePoint is a Microsoft product, and as such, it is tied very heavily into Active Directory. Most places don’t use Active Directory solely as their identity management system as many institutions long ago implemented mainframe systems to house human resources and financials information. Unfortunately, Microsoft has made Active Directory so robust and useful that it’s hard to deny it’s benefits from a systems management standpoint. So, now you have a particular employees information stored in two places: the human resources system and the IT system.

Ideally, you’d only have one system, but that’s never the case. At best, a company will undertake a project to synchronize their multiple directory services. At worst, the two systems never talk to each other. Usually, there’s some hybrid fix that allows limited functionality both directions.

(This is the part where I made the initial “Ah ha!”. See, I’d been at institutions in the past that implemented these synchronization projects, and I’d thought, “What’s the point? The IT folks will keep doing their thing and the human resources/financial folks will keep doing their thing. So, really you’re just making more work for me.” Context is everything.)

So the question becomes, “How does one present the idea that synchronizing a directory system is in the best interests of everyone?” The initial answers are, it isn’t. Like I said previously, neither IT nor human resources will probably immediately take advantage of the integration. In fact, they probably won’t ever take advantage. However, it would make any application development inside of the system infinitely easier on the authentication side. You wouldn’t even need to necessarily change current authentication methods if the systems were synchronized. People could keep using old thing the way they’re used to, but now the data available is more useful and complete.

Here’s the second “Ah ha!” moment. I am not the first person to realize this. Hell, I’m not even in a statistically significant cross-section of the number of people that have already had this thought. But again, it didn’t occur to me prior to now because I wasn’t forced to think about it. Context is everything.

So the next question becomes, “How do I change my context without actually changing my context?” This is clearly an incredibly useful ability to cultivate. Past experience indicates that it’s not possible. I wouldn’t be where I am now had I not actually changed my context. However, I am not naive enough to think it’s not possible. I’m just hoping it’s not another 10 years down the line that I look back and think, “Wow, you didn’t know a damn thing then, did you?”

This is representative of my entire existence:

Source:www.xkcd.com

Since she called me last week to ask (she’d forgotten when it was…)

I passed my belt test.  I did get abused pretty good in the process.  I’m reasonably certain I’ve broken my big toe on my right foot.  I passed, though, so who cares?  Woohoo!  Purple belt!

Here’s a clip of the Colbert Report:

Colbert Report Wikipedia

Here’s the article that it spawned:

New Article

I love Stephen Colbert.

I fell for it. Hook, line, and sinker.

I had no idea they were planning a party for me. Even when I walked in the front door and they all yelled, “Surprise”, I still thought it had been a mistake. I was thinking, “Oops, did they mistake me for Max?”

Then I saw Tano and Dave and Serge…and knew. I’d been had. I walked back out the door.

On my second arrival, I saw my parents. I pointed and said, “What? You…ooooh. Argh!”

Then I walked out the door again. After my third arrival, I was content to accept my fate. The funeral theme was hilarious: ‘In Loving Memory…’ cards, death certificate, individually wrapped handkerchiefs, a band playing dirges. The wheelchair was a nice touch as well.

I am a firefox convert.  I just downloaded a bunch of extensions.  I now have weather, advanced tab features, media player functionality, and mouse gestures.

I figure it’s only a matter of time before I buy a Mac.

When talking to a young women in the attempt to gain her name, phone number, beverage of choice, bra size, etc., do not scan the crowd behind you for other targets.

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