For my new job, which I’ll be starting in a little over three weeks, I’m going to be working heavily with Microsoft SharePoint (MOSS 2007 – I’ll leave the versions for another post) and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4 (again a guide to version can wait for another post). Whilst there is loads of information out there about development with these two platforms, what someone starting out with these needs to some hands-on experience.
It’s wonderful reading about creating custom workflows in CRM but right now I’m suffering from serious information overflow because I’ve got all these theoretical concepts flying around in my head without being able to see how they work in reality – a picture is worth a thousand words but an hours hands-on experience is worth a thousand pictures.
Microsoft has been kind enough to provide free pre-configured demonstration Virtual PC disk images for free that allow you experiment and test without the cost or time spent in setting up your own server. The images themselves are about 4Gb to download. Considering all the software installed on them that isn’t too bad. The trouble is that Microsoft has split these images into 700Mb self-extracting rar files that have to downloaded separately and extracted, which requires upwards of 8Gb of free space.
Over the past couple of weeks I have made several attempts to download the files but I have yet to get a working copy on my machine. I have had problems with disconnection’s, running out of disk space (my bootcamp partition was too small) and corrupted files when they did download. The fact that I have to download multiple files is a serious pain in the ass. Why can’t Microsoft provide the disk images as a single file and embrace BitTorrent for distribution. I’m sure it would be a lot quicker and less error prone.
In the meantime my new employer is sending over a portable hard drive with the disk images on it for me to use.
In just two weeks C&W in Guernsey, the only supplier of telecoms infrastructure on the island, has suffered from power surges in their equipment that has, as a minimum, affected broadband users and possibly damaged users equipment. The first surge may have taken engineers several days to rectify the problems. The second surge, last night, was fixed by engineers working overnight.
What is surprising about this is that C&W equipment is being so easily knocked-out by power surges. Surely they must be using some form of UPS and it would seem ludicrous to me to us a UPS that doesn’t offer surge protection… unless of course they are trying to cut costs in order to make more profit.
[Disclaimer: I may be a little biased as I still haven't received my long awaited broadband upgrade]
I’ve just realised, whilst sat here at the airport waiting for my flight to Jersey, that this is going to be my new office in a couple of weeks. Not the airport, but just a table with my laptop and iPod. Once again I’m living in exciting times. My brain feels like it is about to explode with all the new information I’m having to acquire for my job.
I’m desperately trying to fill my head with as much knowledge as possible about Microsoft Dynamics CRM as that is what I’m going to be working on first. For the last month I have been desperately trying to learn as much as possible about it but I have yet to get my hands on a working copy of it. Hopefully today, whilst I am in Jersey, I will be able to grab a copy of the virtual PC image with all the software pre-loaded.
Microsoft has been trying to make itself F/OSS friendly recently. From agreeing not to sue open source projects to working to provide a bridge between it’s proprietary source management system (TFS) and the much loved open source alternative SubVersion. Microsoft seems to be trying its best but still appears to be keeping open source at arms length.
The question is: is Microsoft ready to get into bed with open source itself. Enter Zend. Zend is an Israeli company that has grown up around the open source scripting engine PHP. Previously Microsoft announced that it would be working with Zend to provide better support for PHP under Windows Server.
In the last day or so it has become apparent that Zend is laying some of it’s staff. Erick Schonfeld has speculated that this may be to make Zend more attractive to a prospective purchaser. With Microsoft on the verge of finally to a deal to buy (some if not all) Yahoo, it may Zend may also look attractive if Microsoft is to continue supporting the applications that Yahoo has running on PHP.
There is also the long awaited dynamic language support for .Net. Maybe PHP could be leveraged to bring more hobbyist developers over to the .Net platform. Obviously there is the question of getting the .Net framework ported over to alternative operating systems, however Silverlight has demonstrated that they might not be adverse to that idea.
Of course, Oracle has also previously shown an interest in PHP and it would sit nicely alongside MySQL, which that previously purchased. And then there is IBM, who also seem to be embracing open source as their extensive use, distribution and support of Java show.