5 Surface Pro 3 Tips and Tricks

After using the Surface Pro 3 Empired has provided to me for a few weeks, I have rounded up all the tips and tricks I’ve had to use in order to get the most from it. Hopefully this saves some time for others going forward.

1) How to fold out the kick stand properly

One of the first things someone told me was that the kick stand is fragile and needs to be used correctly or it would be in for repair in short order. Check out this post from Darryl Webster on how best to adjust the kick stand.


2) Making the Surface Pro 3 Pen’s eraser button work

One of the cool features of the Surface Pro 3 is that the top button on the pen is supposed to open OneNote. This didn’t work in my case, but was an easy fix. I just de-paired and then paired the pen again in one note. To get the pen to re-pair just hold down the eraser button for seven seconds until a light starts flashing on the clip, and then go to Bluetooth and pair the device “Surface Pro Pen”

3) Always have your USB cable

Quite a few of my colleagues were unaware of the fact that the Surface Pro 3 charger actually includes a USB port. This is such a handy feature for travellers as it means one less power pack to bother putting in the bag.

Darryl Webster gave me another tip for this which was zip tie your phone cable to the Surface Pro 3 charger cable. Good advice as it means no matter where you are, if you have your Surface Pro 3 charger, you’ll have a phone charger.

4) Touch/Typecover Function Key Lock

When I first received my Surface Pro 3 none of the function buttons on the typecover worked. This was frustrating as it meant I couldn’t change brightness, mute the volume, or use Home, End, Page Down or Page Up quickly. After a long while someone clued me onto the fact that hitting Capslock + FN will engage or disengage the function lock button. If you can’t use those keys on your touch or typepad then try hitting Capslock + FN first.

5) Where do I put my pen?

This one frustrates a lot of people, myself included. Where do you put your pen? There is a magnetic area that you can attach a pen to under the charging port on your Surface Pro 3, but this is weak and I’ve dropped my pen multiple times when walking to a meeting.

If you are using a dock, the left hand side of the dock has a magnetic area which will hold the pen very securely, however it is a little counter intuitive that it is on the opposite side from the magnetic area on the Surface Pro 3 itself.

I’ve also had colleagues who tuck it under their type or touchcover. This works, but over time frays the hinge of the cover, and makes it a bit manky. It can also scratch the display, so this probably is not your best option.

If you bought a Type Cover, then an adhesive backed felt loop will have come with it. Put this on the back (not the hinged part) of the Surface Pro 3 for a convenient pen holder that won’t lose your pen.

The best option is to check out Clean Stylus at http://cleanint.com/cleanstylus-surface-pro/. They offer a series of accessory stylus holders that can also colour match your cover.


2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 41,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 15 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Presenting at TechEd Australia and TechEd New Zealand for 2013

It has been a long time between updates as things have been staggeringly busy, however I had to share my sessions for the upcoming TechEd Australia and New Zealand.   I’ve been attending TechEd events since 2006 and speaking at them since 2009, and these events are responsible for some of my fondest memories at conferences.  If you have an opportunity to attend a TechEd event and you haven’t before, then you really need to go!

I can’t wait for either of these events, and I really hope to see you there.   Of course the best part of these events aren’t the sessions, they are the incredible people that you meet.  If you see me wandering around the events, please grab me and say “Hi” or even better suggest that we go grab a beer or coffee and talk technology, I will never say no… unless I’m on my way to present a session 🙂

TechEd Australia

There is an great speaker line up for Australia in the Office 365 and SharePoint track, and if you are a disciple of these areas I’d highly recommend grabbing yourself a TechEd Ticket before they sell out.  The speakers in this track include Ben Walters, Ben Fletcher, Elaine Van Bergen, Brian Farnhill, Yoni Kirsh, Shyam Narayan, Al Speirs and more.

I’ll be lucky enough to team up with a few of these folks to deliver the following sessions :

Configuring and Collaborating with the new Office Web Apps for SharePoint 2013

While SharePoint 2013 will allow your users to collaborate, what about your users on mobile devices, tablets or other situations where they do not have access to a full office client? Office Web Apps 2013 fills that niche and add functionality that will enhance the SharePoint 2013 experience for your users, but this leaves another component to understand, design, implement and maintain.

Join Mark Rhodes, Senior Consultant at OBS and SharePoint Server MVP as he demonstrates all the improvements and changes made to Office Web Apps 2013. Mark will show key differences to previous versions, explain the design considerations and show you how to install, configure and maintain your new Office Web Apps farm for your SharePoint 2013 environment.

Note: This session is also very relevant to Lync 2013 and Exchange 2013 environments.

Microsoft Office 365 Deployment with Ben Walters, Yoni Kirsh and Jeff Medford

Come learn the best way to get Office 365 deployed. This session details the new Office 365 deployment process that enables you to quickly begin piloting Office 365 and move this pilot into production with the right set of features to meet deployment requirements. The session reviews the approach and outcomes of the deployment process and dives deep into the tools and actions used to simplify the Office 365 deployment

Using Windows PowerShell Magic to Manage Office 365 with Ben Fletcher

A great way to manage Microsoft Office 365 is through the Office 365 Admin Center. However, when you need to do a lot of configuration, managing Office 365 through PowerShell can boost productivity. In this session we explore PowerShell for Office 365 and have some PowerShell fun!

TechEd New Zealand

The speaker line up for New Zealand is just phenomenal, and I can’t wait to watch a few sessions.  There will be presentations from Wictor Wilen, Neil Hodkinson, Wayne Ewington, Debbie Ireland and more.  These are some of the finest minds in the SharePoint community,  believe me that everyone out there has something to learn from these guys!

I’ll be delivering the following sessions at this event, and I can’t wait.  Its not a very well kept secret that New Zealand is my favorite audience, you guys get so enthusiastic about your tech!

Configuring your SharePoint 2013 Farm for Apps

SharePoint 2013 introduced the App Model to SharePoint, allowing for potentially quicker and easier development of Apps, however the developers do not get all the fun. SharePoint Administrators still need to configure their farm for Apps which is not as easy as just deploying a Service Application. Join Mark Rhodes, Senior Consultant at OBS and SharePoint Server MVP, as he explains the requirements for hosting Apps on your SharePoint 2013 farm and how you can install and configure your farm to protect your users and your environment. This session will demonstrate how to configure your SharePoint 2013 farm to host Apps from end to end.

SharePoint Forensic Deep Dive

If something were to go wrong with your SharePoint environment tomorrow would you know? Relying on end users to alert administrators of a problem is not the best way to monitor your environment, but fortunately your SharePoint farm has a few tricks up its sleeve. Join Mark Rhodes, Senior Consultant at OBS and SharePoint Server MVP as he introduces you to the diagnostic and monitoring features of SharePoint. Learn about the Health Analyzer, Logging Database and Developer Dashboard and how you can utilise these features to quickly and easily troubleshoot problems, or even detect them before they become an issue. If you have a production SharePoint farm then this is a session not to miss, unless your uptime is not a concern of course.

Early Bird Tickets available for NZ and AUS SharePoint Conferences

I’m already looking forward to these events, so I’m happy to mention that there are now early bird passes available for both events, at the early bird prices (NZ – 650.00 and AUS -725.00) for the two day event. These will go fast and are limited to the first 250 people registering. You can also get a great discount if you have 5 or more people register.

See http://www.sharepointconference.com.aufor the 2012 Australian SharePoint Conference, which is in Melbourne March 20/21

See http://www.sharepointconference.co.nz for the 2012 New Zealand SharePoint Conference, which is in Auckland 28/29 March.

After an AWESOME planning weekend, with the organiser team on the Gold Coast earlier in December, we have an agenda up on the sites. This will be improved in the next few weeks, but gives you a taste of what is to come! FIVE tracks this year, as we introduce a new track – “Office, Productivity and BI” – lots of great sessions in there.

The Voice of a Customer track has changed names to “Case Studies” – and as it aptly describes, will be a collection of Customer stories – these are shorter 25 min sessions, which means we will have 20 Stories to share!

We have more great technical content for both Developers and IT Pros…and speakers from the USA, UK, Canada, India, New Zealand and Australia. More details will come throughout January…

IN addition to the two days packed with informative sessions, and lots of learning, you can also register for one (or many) of the GTTP (Get to the Point!) half day workshops. There is a selection of around 12 different topics, for all levels – and two full day workshops also. Check out the site for more details.

Anonymous Form Submission with SharePoint 2010

I had a colleague ask me for help regarding anonymous form submission to a SharePoint 2010 list.  At first this had me scratching my head, all the permissions were set correctly, however after sleeping on the problem I realised I had seen exactly this before, and if I’d seen it before maybe I had blogged about it?

Well it turns out I had, however it had not come across from the migration from the old blogging platform I had previously used to WordPress when I came over here about 18 months ago.  A quick republish and https://mrhodes.net/2008/08/08/anonymous-access-to-lists-in-moss/ was online.

Fortunately the bulk of this article is still valid, however as it is SharePoint 2010 it makes more sense to do this operation in PowerShell :

In case the text isn’t clear :

Get-SPFeature -Site http://www.sitename.com | ?{$_.DisplayName -like “*lock*”}
Disable-SPFeature -id <<Insert ID from Previous Command>> -Url http://www.sitename.com

The only “Gotcha” with this is that much like in MOSS 2007 you must toggle your Anonymous access settings before this will take effect.  To do this, I quickly set the anonymous access on the site collection to “Nothing” then immediately set it to “Entire Web Site”

SharePoint Server MVP 2011!

Took me a few days to blog this (I twittered and facebooked it) but better late than never,  I am thrilled to announce I have been given a SharePoint Server MVP Award for 2011!

I love working with everyone in the community, so a huge thank you to everyone out there for making SharePoint such a cool community to work within 🙂

Presenting on Private Clouds at TechEd Australia 2011

I will be presenting this year at TechEd, this session is a continuation on the themes I have presented on in 2010 at both TechEd Australia 2010 and also the Brisbane Infrastructure Group on System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 and “Cloud Secret Sauce and what you can cook with it” (with Ben Fletcher)

The session I am presenting is titled “Turn Bare Metal into Silver Lining with SCVMM 2012…Today!”

Turn Bare Metal into Silver Lining with SCVMM 2012…Today!

Have you wondered what it would take to build your own private cloud? Going from bare metal to Hyper-V to a Cloud used to take a significant amount of time and expertise, but with the soon-to-be-released System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012, building a private cloud is easy and inexpensive, and with the beta of SCVMM 2012 you can do it right now! .

Join James Bannan and Mark Rhodes as they perform a live provision of a Private Cloud, taking a blank server from Bare Metal to Silver Lining. This session will explain the core technologies of Data Center Fabric and Private Clouds with Hyper-V R2 and SCVMM 2012, and include comprehensive live demonstrations of all of the steps necessary for you to go home and build your organization a Private Cloud, today!

Hope to see you there!  Don’t forget that if you are a member of a local usergroup you can grab a heavily discounted TechEd ticket by contacting your local user group leader.  If you are a member of the Brisbane SharePoint User Group, please feel free to contact me for more information.

Cannot access User Profile Service Application after provisioning Synchronization Service

If you are having problems accessing the User Profile Service Application after you provision the User Profile Synchronization Service, such as the receiving the following rather unhelpful Correlation ID when trying to access the User Profile Service Application :

The answer is nice and easy – just perform an IIS Reset.  For some reason if you have Central Administration on the same server, you will not be able to access the User Profile Service Application management area until you do an IISreset.  This is one of the steps mentioned in Spence Harbar‘s excellent article on setting up the User Profile Synchronization but it still manages to catch me out from time to time.

In the event you are having other problems with User Profile Synchronization I recommend you visit the blog post I mentioned earlier, it is effectively the bible for setting up User Profile Synch.

Enabling “Fuzzy Search” for SharePoint Server 2010

I like a challenge and one of our consultants really asked me for a hard one last week – implementing “Fuzzy Search” on SharePoint 2010.  This was not actually something I’d ever heard of before, so it took quite a bit of research before I was able to figure out what it was and how to implement it.  “Fuzzy Search” is a search that returns results not distinctly asked for when performing a query.  For instance searching for “Jon” should return results for “John”, “Jon” and perhaps even “Jean”.

The first clue from the consultant was “I think it needs the Speech platform installed on the server”.  I actually immediately dismissed this as it sounded pretty unlikely, why on earth would SharePoint Server 2010 require a speech server installable?

Soon enough I’d figured out that there is a cmdlet in SharePoint 2010 called “New-SPEnterpriseSearchLanguageResourcePhrase”, which by looking at the existing LanguageResourcePhrases with Get-SPEnterpriseSearchLanguageResourcePhrase contained a word and an alias for a word, which will allow a “Fuzzy Search” returning search results based on an alias name.

However even after I had uploaded a whole heap of new aliases based on my culture “en-AU” I was still not getting any results.  Out of desperation I installed the Speech Server platform binaries mentioned by my colleague and after a quick restart everything started working!

Here are the steps to get it working :

  1. Download the Microsoft Speech Server Run Time from here : http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=f704cd64-1dbf-47a7-ba49-27c5843a12d5.  Most likely you will want “EN-AU” as this appears to work off Browser settings not server settings.
  2. Install this onto the Server that does the crawling and searching, if in doubt put it on all of your app servers.
  3. Restart the application server
  4. Grab this file “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office Servers\14.0\Bin\languageresources.txt” and make a copy of it to “C:\Windows\Temp” – this directory may change based on your SharePoint 2010 installation.
  5. I’d recomend using Excel to edit the file and strip out any languages you do not want. I would recommend retaining “en-US”.
  6. Remove any columns except for the original word and its alias.
  7. Insert the following headers “Name” and “Nickname” for the alias.
  8. Run the following PowerShell script
asnp microsoft.sharepoint.powershell
$langinfo = import-csv C:\windows\temp\AU-LanguageResources.csv
foreach ($line in $langinfo) {
New-spenterprisesearchlanguageresourcephrase -Name $($line.Name) -Language "en-AU" -Type "Nickname" -Mapping $($line.Nickname) -SearchApplication (Get-SPEnterpriseSearchServiceApplication)
start-sptimerjob "prepare query suggestions"
(Get-SPEnterpriseSearchCrawlContentSource -SearchApplication (get-SPEnterpriseSearchServiceApplication) -Identity "Local SharePoint Sites").StartFullCrawl()

This will likely take a couple of hours to go through, but the end result will be that your search will now be nice and fuzzy!  You will need to replace the culture (en-AU) specified with your own.  Cultures such as en-US and de-DE already exist in the database, so there is no point re-adding these.

I have to admit this is very cool!  and I was actually really thrown by the requirement of the Speech Server platform, my guess would be it has something in the API that is required by SharePoint Search to process aliases.  I was also quite surprised I was not able to find anything out there at all regarding this particular operation, even the cmdlet seems to be seldom used.

Update 9th Feb 2011 : If this is not working for you, it is worth noting that the culture selection seems to work off the users browser culture, not off the server culture.  If you have multiple cultures using your search, then it could be worth doing this for all of them that may apply.

Update 11th Oct 2011 : Updated import-txt to be import-csv, which actually exists.  Lesson learned, do not write powershell scripts from memory. 🙂

I am presenting at the Australian and New Zealand SharePoint Conferences

Just a quick post that I will be presenting at the Australian and New Zealand SharePoint Conferences this year.

Last year’s SharePoint conference was one of the best conferences in Australia that I have been to in recent years, it had a staggering amount of knowledge, excellent speakers and it was really fantastic to see a huge amount of Australian SharePoint professionals gather in one place.  If you are going to one conference this year, I would highly recommend that you make this one a priority.  Tickets start at $775, which compared with some of the other conferences is a steal!  And if you get in now you can get one of the Early Bird tickets for $620!

I will be running a session at both – I am still trying to come up with a catchy title, but for now lets call it :

Turn your Head and Cough : SharePoint 2010 Performance and Health Monitoring

An amazing amount of new and exciting features were added to SharePoint 2010 for IT Professionals, a major investment being Server Health and Monitoring Infrastructure. In this session Mark will look into these features in-depth, focusing on guidance for keeping SharePoint installations healthy and running at peak performance. Mark will also go into detail on supporting features such as Diagnostic Logging, the Developer Dashboard and the SharePoint 2010 Logging Database; illustrating how to successfully use these features and more, to troubleshoot issues quickly and accurately. If you have a production environment running SharePoint 2010, then this is a session not to miss!

I will also be doing a Get to the Point – this is a four hour training session in which I will be expanding upon my session greatly by working with participants in labs to demonstrate these features in depth :

SharePoint 2010 – Monitoring and Troubleshooting Health and Performance for your SharePoint Installation

SharePoint 2010 introduced a dazzling array of new Monitoring Functionality, but where do I start? How do I improve the time it takes to load my site and why won’t my solution deploy? In this session Mark will introduce and explain improvements made to this Monitoring Functionality, and how best to leverage these improvements for analysis and troubleshooting SharePoint 2010 Farms Servers, Web Applications and Site Collection. This session will be valuable for IT Pro’s and Developers. If you have the ability to log into to your SharePoint server, this is a training session you can’t afford to miss!

This session will cover off :

  • Developer Dashboard
  • SharePoint 2010 Logging Database
  • Diagnostic Logging improvements
  • SharePoint Health Analyzer
  • Web Analytics
  • and more!

Tickets for this Get to the Point can be purchased at Conference registration for an additional $350, which is a great price for four hours of hands on training.

I really hope to see you there!