• Getting my Geek on!

    Posted Jan 26th, 2015 By in Miscellaneous, Technology With | No Comments

    A Modest Computer for my LightSwitch Development! (says sarcastically)

    On Friday afternoon I purchased the last few components I needed for my dream machine work (and play) desktop at home. I’ve been acquiring the necessary pieces during the last couple of months, and finally had the last few available to begin the build. With the help of everyone in my family, we tackled the build the next day on Saturday.

    The Recipe for my Ultimate Time Killer

    Case: Fractal Design Define R4 with Window Black Pearl AXT Mid Tower Case.
    Power Supply: ​XFX XTR 850W
    Motherboard: ​MSI X99s SLI Plus LGA 2011-v3 Intel X99 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
    CPU: Intel Core ​i7-5820k
    Cooler: ​Corsair Hydro Series H105
    GPU: ​EVGA 04G-2983-KR GeForce GTX 980 Super clocked 4GB 256-Bit GDDR5 ACX 2.0 PCI Express 3.0
    Memory: 8 x ​ADATA XPG Z1 8GB 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 2133 (PC4-17000) Model AX4U2133W8G15-QRZ
    SSD: ​4 x Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-7TE250BW)
    HDD: ​Seagate Constellation 3TB 3.5-Inch Internal Hard Drive SATA III 7200 rpm  w/ 128MB Cache
    Operating System: ​Windows 8 Pro 64-bit

    I’d been culling the internet for all the reviews, recommendations, and advice. I think I put together a pretty good recipe for a great machine. With the photography stuff our family does, and the new GoPro I received for Christmas, I need something with some graphics capabilities. The i7, the GTX 980 SC, the SSD drives, and the 64 GB of RAM should all set me up with the power to do what I want to do.

    The Sweat Equity

    The actual build took only a few hours. The rest of the day was spent trying to figure out why the dang thing would not boot up. We did everything by the book, so it was a frustrating day of double checking, triple checking, and removing and reinstalling components.

    DreamMachineUndressed

    All this troubleshooting took us into Sunday as well, when finally I swallowed some humble pie and took the final project to the folks at Memory Express. My wife and I were prepared to leave the machine for their techs to look it over; fully expecting to get a call that something was defective or broken. Much to our surprise, the guy at the counter plugged the thing in and guess what… it booted into the bios!

    Turns out that the monitor we were using at home was broken!! We had spent an entire day trying to figure out why the dang thing wouldn’t display the bios on boot up, when it was the stupid monitor that was not working all along.

    Oh well! It didn’t take long to get back home and plug in a “good” monitor. Once fired up, it took all of 30 minutes to; configure the SSD as RAID 10, install Windows 8.1, and download and install all the drivers for everything.

    UnicornWith all that done, I let the machine loose on some ARMA III…image_18

    … and then pulled myself back onto my exercise ball chair after being blown away by what I saw. I can’t begin to explain how much this machine rocks. I’ll try and find some time to blog about it, but considering the performance I am getting from this bad boy, I may not pull myself away from the computer to find the time to blog anymore!

    What’s Next

    Tonight I will be; first spending time with the family of course, and then I’m going to put the machine through its paces with some hard core programming, a little bit of video editing, and yeah, some more ARMA ;-) I might go to bed at some point, but not sure yet. We’ll see how it goes.

    Monitors!! I need more monitors. Maybe even another GPU, and then some more monitors.

    Oh yeah, my Oculus Rift. I almost forgot. I need to hook that sucker up too.

  • Why I Love Office 365

    Posted Sep 29th, 2014 By in Citizen39, Cloud Computing, Office 365, SharePoint With | No Comments Why I Love Office 365

    Being a registered Microsoft Partner comes with some great privileges. Of course, we have to pay for the partner membership, but none the less the benefits of the partnership far outweigh the costs.

    Office365-logo-small

    One of those benefits includes access to an Office 365 subscription. In Citizen39’s case, an Enterprise E3 subscription to Office 365.  This E3 subscription is way more than what my small business needs, however it is important that Citizen39 walk the talk when it comes to marketing the services that Citizen39 offers. So, with our own Office 365 subscription, we can clearly demonstrate to clients that, in fact, we use Office 365 ourselves.

    Citizen39 gains an important trusting relationship with our customers when we demonstrate that Citizen39 runs it’s business in the cloud. It is often the demonstration of our own Office 365 implementation that gives customers that real-world understanding of how to solve their own problems. Quite often our customers will relate to the same business problems that Citizen39 has had, and we can then show them how easy those problems were solved by using our own Office 365 subscription.

    These next few sections provide an real-world look into how we use Office 365, and how we are using Office 365 to overcome past business challenges.

    Our Top 5 Office 365 Features

    With so many great features in Office 365 it would be ridiculous to expect that we would use every single one of them. Here is what we use today, and what we expect most other customers will get the quickest return on.

    1. Email

    We used to manage our email, including calendars, using Google Apps. As a small business, Gmail was a great tool. It is free and is simple to use. If there was one challenge with Google Apps is that it was expensive to maintain. By expensive, I mean it time to administer a Google Apps based email account. If your a person who does not have that experience nor comfort for administering things in Google Apps, then you’ll quickly find that the time quickly adds up – and time is money.OutlookEmailScreenshot

    We now use the enterprise class email services that come with Office 365 subscriptions, including the use of both the downloadable Outlook email client, and the online email tools. What’s more is that we have found that setting up and managing email accounts in Office 365 is much easier that Google Apps – and our customers are telling us the same.

    With the ability to use the email tools on all of our desktop, tablet, and mobile devices, we are always connected whether we are at our desk, or out at customers sites, online or offline. This includes the calendaring features too, which has been huge for us.

    2. Calendar and People

    OutlookCalendarScreenshotAlbeit the Office 365 Calendar and People are generally grouped in with email features, we feel these two features should be in there own grouping. The Calendar and People features provide us a huge boost in productivity when we are dealing with our stakeholder relationships. Again, these can all be integrated, and synchronized, with other features – such as automatically synchronizing with your contacts in Outlook.

    3. Word, Excel, PowerPoint

    We’ve always used Microsoft Office products. Yeah, there are other free tools too, like the similar functioning Google Apps that are out there, however with the tight integration, or “interoperability”, that each Office product has with each other has provided us a great deal of value with our own business processes. WordScreenshot

    A great example of how this Office interoperability has helped is how we process monthly billings. We manage employee timesheets using SharePoint (the “Team Site(s)” in Office 365), which is integrated with Excel and Word. Most of our month-end invoicing processes are now automated, which proves to be a huge value for us.

    4. SharePoint

    We can’t say enough good things about SharePoint. Gone are the days of shared drives, disconnected and unsynchronized Drop Box and Google Drive accounts. SharePoint has allowed use to have a single source of truth for all of our information, for all of our stakeholders.

    From documents to customized lists of data. We leverage SharePoint to collaborate both internally, as well as externally with our stakeholders. SharePointScreenShotFor example, we create SharePoint sites for our customers so that they can easily collaborate with us on their project information. Combine the great integration with the other Office tools, we often collaborate in real-time; dynamically updating documents (like the way Google Docs does) and holding online screen sharing meetings.

    And because Citizen39 has SharePoint development expertise, we are always finding new and intuitive ways to solve problems with SharePoint.

    5. Yammer

    Not many of our customers know about Yammer… yet. YammerScreenshot

    Yammer brings more social aspects to what we do when we collaborate, especially with customers. Yammer is one of those features that will really drives engagement with our customers. Where SharePoint is what we use to manage and collaborate on information, Yammer is what we use to engage our stakeholders with that same information.

    So there you have it. Still on the fence? Let me know what your thoughts are about Office 365.

    Cheers,

    Paul

     

     

  • ComponentOne Studio for LightSwitch

    Posted Sep 29th, 2014 By in Business, LightSwitch With | No Comments ComponentOne Studio for LightSwitch

    This is a great video case study from ComponentOne. If you were ever on the fence about LightSwitch, this may help…

     

  • Part-Time C# and SharePoint Instructors Needed

    Posted Aug 24th, 2014 By in .Net Development, SharePoint With | No Comments Part-Time C# and SharePoint Instructors Needed

    The Fall season is quickly approaching, and NAIT is still in need of part-time instructors (see here).

    Even if you don’t think you have the ability to teach, you do. Most of the material is laid out for you and ready for you to deliver. All you need to do is show up, champion something that you have a passion for, and have great conversations with new friends.

    I am more than happy to share my experience with you, and even mentor you on how to deliver a class. The money is great, and the experience will be something that will pay dividends for your career and personal goals.

    Example Classes

    Take a look here for examples of the classes you may be interested in delivering…

    Call me at 1 780 893-5300 and I will be more than happy to chat about what this opportunity can mean for you.

  • July 2013 – Citizen 39 Update

    Posted Jul 28th, 2014 By in Business, Citizen39 With | No Comments July 2013 – Citizen 39 Update

    Six months since my February 2013 update. Six months since any real activity on the blog should tell you a lot about how busy I’ve been.

    The contract that I started at the beginning of the year is ending on August 1st (this Friday). It’s been a crazy first two quarters, and a lot has been achieved. The strategic plan that was executed early on in the year is certainly showing a great return today. The networking and marketing efforts has set Citizen39 up for a great deal of work in the next half of the year.

    We’ve already started a couple of other new contacts, and have two more that are approved but waiting for agreements/contracts to be signed off. The expected upcoming work includes a variety of things, such as; SharePoint deployments, custom software and database development, and web and eCommerce work.

    Sales and Marketing

    For this next quarter, the focus will be on sales and marketing. Interesting is that the company did not have to do much sales and marketing to get the business it is getting today. Companies are coming to us for help, which is nice.

    We’re about to engage a resource for the development of a marketing plan, and then we’ll be executing on it shortly thereafter. Considering how busy we already are with the work we have, a solid sales and marketing strategy is going to rocket the company towards even more success.

    Capacity Planning

    Speaking of hiring resources, a strategic goal this quarter is to bring on some like-minded folks to help Citizen39 grow. Interested?

    We need people who are passionate about helping other people. SharePoint, Office 365, and web application development are all areas of fast growth for us. Project Managers, Business Analysts, and Senior Systems Analysts are what we need. We’ll pay you well, but more importantly, you’ll become a core member of the Citizen39 family, and will enjoy the benefits and rewards that employee ownership brings.

    Interested? Call me directly at +1 (780) 893-5300!

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