Microsoft Search: Introduction

Microsoft Search may be the most underrated feature available as part of Microsoft 365. Maybe that’s because Microsoft themselves haven’t been promoting it that heavily, or maybe it’s because it is associated with Bing, the mention of which usually prompts the question “Bing still exists?” But those people are missing out on the potential productivity benefits that comes from having one search tool to find your data across all your Microsoft systems as well as yes, public Bing search.

This was a common scenario for me in my previous job: I’m trying to help a client with an error they’re encountering. I have an error code or message to work with. I copy the error text into a new tab in my browser and hit enter to run a search. My results will include any company resources, e.g. if we’ve documented this problem before, or chatted about it in Teams. It will also include public Bing results. This makes it a one-stop shop to check the work resources first and then move on to public results if there isn’t anything.

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PowerShell: Updating Site Scripts and Designs

This post begins a series on SharePoint site provisioning, unpacking some of the problems I’ve faced and overcome in building solutions.

Site scripts and site designs are a great feature of SharePoint. They allow for developing and using templates on SharePoint sites that can do many useful things like:

  • Create a list or library
  • Apply column or view formatting on a list or library
  • Apply a site logo image
PowerShell icon
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SharePoint: Desktop Sync Files

What Goes Where?

The first question to consider when planning a file structure in Microsoft 365 is what files go where. That’s more complicated in an online cloud collaboration system than it is for one person on the computer. It needs to make sense for everybody and it needs to be able to easily maintain proper permissions.

OneDrive icon: a blue cloud

My typical guidance is this: it comes down to who owns the file. If the file is just for you, go ahead and put it in your OneDrive with whatever folder structure you want. But if the file is for others to also access, it should be in SharePoint with a group owning it.

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CiviCRM: Overview

The platform I worked with more than any other in my previous job was CiviCRM. CiviCRM is an open-source CRM system aimed primarily at non-profits that builds on top of an existing WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal website. Drupal is the most powerful because Drupal has great permissions control already and CiviCRM can tie in to those, but the others are fine, too.

CiviCRM logo and wordmark

After a few years, I have a pretty good sense of the strengths and weaknesses that CiviCRM offers and will do a quick breakdown here.

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IT on Film: Flight Attendant Episode 3

In episode 3 of The Flight Attendant (HBO Max), Megan agrees to do some corporate espionage against her husband’s large company. It isn’t clear what the company is – maybe it will explain as the story continues in later episodes – but it is clear that he has access to some significant trade secrets. So Megan encourages her husband to bring his laptop home, then casually finds the file and copies it to a jump drive.

Megan in Flight Attendant
Megan

Two things immediately stood out to me as problems with this scene from a basic IT perspective.

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WordPress: .com vs .org

For years I’ve built most of my sites using the open source WordPress platform, i.e. WordPress.org. I recently decided to try the free offering of WordPress.com instead.

Setup

Setup is significantly easier on WordPress.com. If you already have a web host, setting up your own may not be much extra work, but if this first time setting up a website, there is always some degree of hosting configuration to go through before installing WordPress. I won’t detail those steps here and they will vary by the hosting provider, but at minimum you’ll need to pick a hosting provider, set up payment, buy a domain or point an existing domain to it, and install WordPress. It might be much more complicated like setting up databases, uploading the WordPress code yourself, and so on.

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Security Essentials: Multi-factor Authentication

I typically have two main pieces of advice for basic information that anybody can and should do.

  • Use multi-factor authentication everywhere it is offered
  • Use a password manager to generate good passwords, remember them, and make your life easier with auto-fill

I’ll look at the benefits of a password manager in another post soon. But first, let’s look at multi-factor authentication.

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Microsoft Ignite News Day

Today was the first day of the spring edition of Microsoft Ignite, the primary conference for Microsoft IT professionals. The first day always includes a lot of news for upcoming features which tend to get dumped all at once the same time as the opening keynote. After reviewing several of these news blogs and watching video sessions most of the day, here are the features which stand out to me. I will not cover nearly everything, but provided some links for more details.

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Microsoft Viva Topics: User Experience

In my previous post, I walked through my thoughts on the configuration process for the new Microsoft Viva Topics functionality within Microsoft 365. In this post I’ll dive into what the experience is like for users once it is configured.

Creating / Editing a Topic

You can edit a topic page similar to editing any other SharePoint page, but there is a lot less flexibility. It has a predefined set of features and you cannot add other web parts.

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