System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) Documentation

My client is considering using System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) to monitor their SharePoint Farm.  Coming out of a meeting with Microsoft, we got this set of links from the rep to give us an overview of what SCOM is and how it might help us with SharePoint monitoring.  Seemed like a useful set of information to share.

SharePoint STSADM Command Line Reference

Because I usually can’t find these details when I look for them, I thought I’d post the links.  Note that if you go to the top level reference page for STSADM at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc261956.aspx, not all of the commands are listed (e.g., Adduser), whereas the links below seem to contain everything, including operations that were added as part of SP1.

STSADM Operations: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc262643.aspx

STSADM Properties: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc263358.aspx

SharePoint Navigation Settings Error: ‘The page has been modified by another author on…’

If you try to make changes to your site’s navigation settings and get the error ‘The page has been modified by another author on…’ with the date and time that you just tried to make the changes, there’s a fairly quick fix.  Apparently this is a known issue that Microsoft has on its list to fix.

  1. Go to the site’s Navigation configuration page (http://[servername]/[sitepath]//_layouts/AreaNavigationSettings.aspx) and make a list of content headers that have been corrupted.  Look in the ‘Selected Item’ box at the bottom under Navigation and check the URL for each content header (Documents, Discussions, Lists, etc.).  If it is very long with lots of duplicated code (BaseType=n multiple times, etc.), it is one of the problems.  Don’t try to save, just click Cancel.
  2. Go to View All Site Content (http://[servername]/[sitepath]/_layouts/viewlsts.aspx). Click on each of the lists in the content sections that have problems, then Settings, [List Type] Settings, Title Description and Navigation.  Change “Display this document library on the Quick Launch?”  to No.
  3. Open SharePoint Designer and go to the Web Site view.  At the bottom of the Web Site view screen, choose the Navigation option.  Delete the corrupted content heading link(s).
  4. Back on the SharePoint site, go to View All Site Content, click on the unlinked lists from step 2 and re-link them to the Quick Launch.

While you are looking at the navigation, be sure to change all of the absolute URLs (those which contain ‘http://[servername]’) to relative links by removing the server information.  If you ever change your DNS entries or try to move the site to another server, the absolute links won’t go where you want.  In general, always use absolute links!

reCAPTCHA: Click here…You just translated a book

There is an neat article in today’s Sunday Boston Globe entitled Click here…You just captured a book (or Click to Translate in the online version).  It describes the way that the reCAPTCHA project takes advantage of the typing that we all do in those little windows that ask us the type the characters we see to prove that we are real humans.

Alan Turing did artificial intelligence work in the 1950’s and, among many other things, tried to devise a foolproof way to tell computers and humans apart.  The Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart (CAPTCHA, sort of) pays homage to him and was invented by Luis von Ahn.

The reCAPTCHA project takes things one step further.  Since we’re typing what we see in those little windows anyway, why not use the effort in a constructive way?  By having us type words that computers have had problems recognizing when they scan books, we can help to "translate" the text.

In the example window below from the reCAPTCHA Web site, you can see the two words "request" and "under".  One of the words is a test to see if we know what we are doing; the other is an indecipherable word from a book scan.  When we type what we see, we’re solving one tiny bit of a bigger problem.

image reCAPTCHA logo

If you manage a Web site that uses the CAPTCHA test to block ‘bots, reduce spam, and such, consider switching to the reCAPTCHA project as your source.  You’ll be helping a noble cause (digitizing the world’s books) and have an endless source of those tough to read little words.  Oh, and it’s free.  Click on the reCAPTCHA logo to the right to learn more.

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Lookup with Picker Data Type for a SharePoint List

While researching the issue I mentioned in my previous post, I ran across this neat thing at CodePlex: http://www.codeplex.com/lookupwithpicker/Wiki/View.aspx.  Here’s the brief description:

Microsoft Sharepoint Server 2007 lookup control with element picker for custom list.
This control is useful if you need to choose lookup data from large lists. This control supports single and multi select mode.

I haven’t downloaded it, so I can’t vouch for its specific implementation, but it’s something that I’ve been meaning to look into.  Most folks don’t realize that they can create custom Data Type controls for use in their SharePoint lists.  Now, I wouldn’t recommend going out and developing a custom control for every little thing, but if you have some Data Types that are very commonly used across your Web Application, this is an option that you should definitely look into.

This particular custom control looks like it would be useful in selecting from any long list with text values.  You might also consider a custom control if you need to look up images or something that feels clunky using one of the existing set of control options.