Some light reading after the SharePoint Conference

I’ve managed to pickup some reading materials while in America that are going to keep me busy for some weeks.

Microsoft SharePoint 2013 Administration

First up was a book (Microsoft SharePoint 2013 Administration) I picked up at the AvePoint during a book signing during the SharePoint Conference.

Two of the Authors Randy Williams and Chris Givens kindly signed it for me – it was really great to meet these two authors after many years of reading their books.

Authors Randy Williams and Chris Givens at AvePoint book signing.
Authors Randy Williams and Chris Givens at AvePoint book signing.

Alcatraz 1259

Second up was a book (Alcatraz 1259) from Alcatraz Island signed by the author Willam G. Baker himself who happened to be there just after finishing his parole aged 81. He is one of the last living cons who served in US Penitentiary Alcatraz and shares his account of life there in the book.

Alcatraz 1259 author William G. Baker during book signing.
Alcatraz 1259 author William G. Baker during book signing.

I hadn’t appreciated the history of the Island, the Penitentiary or the prisoners and guards up until the audio tour. Up until this point I had just seen it as a prison in America that featured in the movie The Rock but the Island has a fascinating past – one that I am looking forward to learning more and more about.

I’ve struggled to put Bill’s account of life on the Island down since we brought it – once done I’m going to find a guards account of life on the Island among others.

MCSA Windows Server 2012 exams

During the SharePoint Conference, I took the opportunity to update my Microsoft Certifications – more about that another day.

To complete the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) in SharePoint I have to pass 70-410, 70-411 and 70-412 also making me a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) in Windows Server 2012.

MCSA Windows Server 2012 reading
MCSA Windows Server 2012 reading

Happy reading I guess.

Bill Baer meets Florence

This evening I have had the great pleasure of meeting Bill Baer and his wife.

Meeting Bill Baer
Meeting Bill Baer

With @jamescallaghan and family @ SPC14.

Try to meet these lovely people during the conference – such a pleasure. Takeaways…got to the #SCP14 welcome reception, keynote keynote keynote, sub-keynote sub-keynote sub-keynote, attendee party, and ask the experts (what’s next…MCM)…

Bill Baer & James
Bill Baer & James

Thanks for finding the time to meet with me this evening, Bill – I look forward to repeating this in the future. You’re a true inspiration and someone I’ve looked up to since getting started with SharePoint.

My #SPC14 treasure map – mapping out the Expo hall!

So I have an early draft of my expo hall treasure map mapped out! Do you have yours?

#SPC14 expo hall treasure map
#SPC14 expo hall treasure map

One tip I’ve read repeatedly is to know how to navigate between the various session rooms and the expo hall efficiently. While I’m not aware of any map that’s available for the session rooms yet I’ve taken the time to map out the expo hall and contact some vendors to arrange meetings with them.

I’ve made use of the expo floor map that’s available through the MySPC website and used OneNote on my Surface Pro to map out particular stands as a starting point as to where I will try to visit. I want to say hi to the folks who are partners with ClearPeople and those who I have worked with before as well as other vendors that interest me.

#SPC14 sessions spreadsheet updated, preparation tips and holiday advice wanted!

Update: 23/02/2014 I’ve updated the #SPC14 sessions spreadsheet one last time to include some missed sessions and a request to have sortable start and end dates.

With just under two weeks left to go until #SPC14 I would imagine a lot of you are running out of time fast trying to finalise your plans for the conference.

Updated sessions spreadsheet

To help I have updated my #SPC14 session spreadsheet again – it now includes time and room information for all the available sessions (as of 17/02/2014).

Spreadsheet containing all the SharePoint Conference 2013 sessions
Spreadsheet containing all the SharePoint Conference 2014 sessions

The spreadsheet of all the SPC14 sessions can be downloaded with this link.

Preparation tips

Since this is my first conference I’ve done plenty of reading about what to expect and how to prepare etc. There are some really great posts on Yammer and LinkedIn as well as guides such as Mark Freeman’s survival and readiness guide. Rather than rewrite what is already on the web I thought I would share a summary of the tips I keep seeing repeatedly.

Firstly I’ve filled my Outlook calendar with all the sessions I want to attend (including alternatives incase a session is not what I had thought it would be), meetings with partners and peers, agenda information such as #SPC14 organised events, social events I’m attending and breakfast and lunch times.

Participate in the community – join the #SPC14 Yammer network, LinkedIn network, follow the #SPC14 hashtag on Twitter and Facebook group. Reach out to your peers or those people’s blogs you regularly visit and see if you can meet-up to say hello and thanks for the help! Your welcome to ping me an email ( or a tweet (@jamescallaghan).

Make use of the MySPC App that has just been launched to organise your schedule beyond the capabilities of the spreadsheet I have produced.

Have your information cached or printed so that you can use it offline – I have read that the internet was extremely bad at previous conferences however it seems that Microsoft is not going to allow previous problems to be repeated this year.

Make sure you visit the exhibition hall – you never know who you might see not forgetting the #SPC14 swag you might find!

Post-conference holiday advice wanted!

Can you offer us any advice?

Travel guides

Travel guides

My partner and 6-month-old girl are joining me – we’re flying in from the UK and having a short holiday after the conference. We’re going to drive over to the Grand Canyon before heading across to Los Angeles and then San Francisco before flying home.

I’m looking for any great tips or suggestions for things we should do that we might have missed from the travel guides we are reading.

PS. Thanks for the traffic

I’ve been astonished at how popular my spreadsheet has been – I’ve had over 2,500 unique visitors since publishing it…that’s approximately 25% of the conference attendees!

Please do drop me a line or a tweet (@jamescallaghan) if you want to say hello! I look forward to seeing some of you at the conference.

All #SPC14 sessions available in a single spreadsheet!

Update: Wednesday, 8th January 2014. This post has seen an incredible amount of traffic which I have found to be a very rewarding experience- thank you! I’ve lived up to my word and managed to export the speaker information. Both the spreadsheet and PowerShell script has been updated to include this information.

Something I have found frustrating with the SharePoint Conference 2014 website over the holidays is that you have to browse through the sessions as search results pages. It makes planning how I want to fill my days at the conference very difficult.

Spreadsheet containing all the SharePoint Conference 2013 sessions
Spreadsheet containing all the SharePoint Conference 2014 sessions

I also wanted to sit down with my colleagues to see if there are any particular sessions that interest them. Without all the sessions available in a format such as a spreadsheet this would become a very tiresome task.

There was no way I was going to do this by hand – at this time there is about 183 published sessions and 12 pieces of information per session that would require me to use copy and paste 4392 times and click between a browser and Excel 600 times…no thank you

Jumping the gun the a little maybe as I have yet to register (this is top of my to-do list when I’m back in the office on Monday and I’ll kick myself if this is available when you register!) but I broke out PowerShell and wrote a script to download all the information for the sessions from the SharePoint Conference (#SPC14) website to a spreadsheet – both of which you can download.

PowerShell script to export all the #SPC14 sessions to Excel
PowerShell script to export all the #SPC14 sessions to Excel

A spreadsheet of all the SPC14 sessions can be downloaded with this link and the script is available here.

By no means is this script particularly complex or elegant – but I really wanted this information in a spreadsheet and pretty fast so forgive me if it is not up to my usual standard…the key thing is I achieved what I set out to do and can share it with you all. The last piece of information which I’m still trying to export are the speakers for the sessions – I’ll update if I manage it.

I hope you find the #SPC14 session spreadsheet helpful – see you at the conference!