Things you didn’t know you didn’t know

Try this now:
  1. Launch Notepad.exe
  2. Enter some text
  3. Close Notepad
  4. When Prompted to Save press Ctrl+C
  5. Click on the Cancel button to return to Notepad
  6. Press Ctrl+V
  Now if you are as big a geek as I am (and you didn’t already know this was possible) you are probably staring at your screen thinking that this may well be one of the coolest things ever and wishing you had known about this before as you recall all those error messages that you’ve had to copy out by hand or retype into a search engine in the past.  I’m sure there are many more features of Windows like this one that you don’t know about, maybe there are a few you do know so why not share them here.  In the meantime have a look at these keyboard shortcuts for IE8 http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-vista/Internet-Explorer-8-keyboard-shortcuts and while you’re at it have a look at the rest of the Camwood website or the Camwood SharePoint website (http://sharepoint.camwood.com/) to find out what you didn’t know you didn’t know about the services we offer. Just out of curiosity, in step 2 above how many of you actually typed “some text”? :-)

An easy way to save money for the enterprise desktop

I’m on my way back to London after presenting to a client in Glasgow, travelling economy class on the train. It wouldn’t be too bad except for the unruly kids demanding constant attention from parents that seem to have given up on the concept of discipline and authority. This has left me thinking two things – one, I now understand why the windows are sealed shut on the train, and two – whatever happened to my business class, five star IT consultancy lifestyle of a few years ago? The answer is something I’d rather not go into here, but the end result is clear – we all live in a changed reality. Companies want value for money more than ever. The days of spending time in three room suites overlooking the coast in another part of the world are over. One way to save money for the enterprise desktop is to provide applications that your users need, rather than deploying applications the company think you use. This can be achieved using Camwood Survey, an application that can measure human interaction with each application on each desktop. Most products in this space say that they can achieve this functionality, but this tends to be based on an open and close time of an application. Just because an application is open all day doesn’t mean it’s being used, or that interaction with the application is required. Camwood Survey can actually tell how frequently an application is being used, providing you with real time data on your environment, saving you money on licenses that are not being utilised. Think of it as a small investment up front to reap the rewards later. We have plenty of ideas like this that can revolutionise your desktop – so come and talk to us and see how we can help.

Microsoft announce 2010 Office Migration Planning Manager

Microsoft has now announced the 2010 version of Office Migration Planning Manager (OMPM) and it’s available for download on the Microsoft Download Center.  OMPM helps IT Pros discover and assess the compatibility of existing Office documents for conversion from the binary document formats (Office 97-2003: .doc, .xls, etc.) to OpenXML formats (Office 2007 and beyond: .docx, .xlsx, etc.). Additionally, OMPM 2010 adds features that assess macro compatibility with Office 2010 and 64-bit Office compatibility.  The toolkit also contains the Office File Converter (OFC), which enables bulk document conversions from binary to OpenXML formats. http://blogs.technet.com/b/office_resource_kit/archive/2010/08/04/office-migration-planning-manager-ompm-2010-is-released.aspx

Life as a team leader at Camwood

As a small introduction to my first Camwood blog I would like to state that I am one of the newest team leaders currently at one of Camwood’s larger accounts.  I have for many years worked with software vendors, businesses and service providers managing, deploying, supporting and developing application portfolios.  I felt a good idea for my first post to the Camwood blogs I would ask myself the following question:  “What makes me get up in the morning and come to work?”  The obvious answer, of course, is “the money”, but many studies have shown that money is not a very big motivational factor for many people and that is definitely true for me.   So what is it that motivates me and many of my colleagues? I would personally break it down to these factors:
  • Challenge – Each application comes with its own set of issues to overcome and is a puzzle waiting to be cracked.  Once you put these applications into an entire portfolio all working together, that challenge is multiplied many times over.
 
  • Variety – Even though many businesses share a core set of applications, there are numerous examples of applications that are specific to each business.  Many times I will come across an application that I have never seen before.  It will then be up to me, often with minimal support, to work out how the application works ‘under the hood’ and for what purpose.   These applications will often work with other systems which lead us to learn about other areas of IT such as development, networking, server administration and security etc.
 
  • Understanding businesses – I find it very interesting to learn how businesses operate.  One day I could be talking to an engineering business using tools like infra-red cameras and lasers, the next I could be dealing with a finance company working with live data feeds and spreadsheets.  Each one uses their products in different ways.  Each company will have their own cultures, ethics and interesting ideas to understand.
 
  • People – In my role, I meet many people from all walks of life.  We have all had to develop the skills to articulate solutions to technical & non technical people, management to end users, all with their own perspectives, requirements and understanding.  As for my colleagues, I have had the opportunity to work with many gifted people.  Due to the broad spectrum of skills required to manage applications and the many paths that have led people to Camwood, there is definitely room to learn more from fellow colleagues.
 
  • Fun – It’s not all work and no play here at Camwood!  Camwood have a great culture of meeting together for fun and the environment that Camwood and their partners/customers cultivate make working for Camwood much more enjoyable.
  So why did I choose to join Camwood?  I believe Camwood offer all of the above but Camwood have an impressive list of customers, have some very talented people to learn from and work with, a lot of opportunities and some great characters to make the day even more bearable.

A little learning…

is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring. Whilst delivering a training course on MSI application packaging, this quote from Alexander Pope sprang to mind. I recalled a situation where a little knowledge of MSI packaging had proved to be dangerous indeed. The desktop support team at a global law firm had been tasked with packaging applications (how hard can it be? Open up Wise, do a snapshot, compile the MSI and then deploy it. My pet monkey could do it). The support guys enthusiastically packaged about 100 applications (It is easy! They launch ok. Nothing appears to have broken. No time for testing, let’s get them out there). And out they went, on at least 200 desktops. Things were going swimmingly for the first few weeks. And then….disaster struck. The helpdesk calls were flying in at an unprecedented rate. “I can’t log in”, “My PC doesn’t work”, “I NEED to check my email” – and slightly more colourful uttering’s from a multitude of irate lawyers. The culprit was a package for a proxy client, which installed fine but on uninstall deleted a stack of CurrentControlSet registry keys and some Winsock DLLs, basically corrupting the IP stack on hundreds of PCs. Oops. The Desktop Manager realised that this “MSI business” was slightly more complex than he had imagined. Having felt the heat, he decided to bring in some expertise to resolve the immediate issues and organised training for his staff. When we at Camwood talk about Packaging Best Practices, Component Management, ICE Validation, Stringent Quality Review Processes and Defined Standards, we are not employing technical jargon in order to “dress up” a relatively simple task so that we can charge more money for it. Disasters do happen with badly packaged MSIs. Not always as large-scale and destructive as the one mentioned above, but embarrassing nonetheless. We can offer you the benefit of our expertise through workshop-based training courses. The courses will not just impart information; you can get that from Google. The objective is to deliver knowledge and understanding. Knowledge can be regarded as the application of information and understanding is the synthesis of knowledge, the “why” as opposed to the “how”. And if you are seeking Wisdom? This is the fruit of experience and for this; we suggest you use our application consultancy service. Why learn from your mistakes when we’ve spent years learning from ours?