ECM Explained

In my last post, I discussed the various capabilities of SharePoint. SharePoint does a lot of things, but one of the key out-of-box functions is content management. When I mention content management/ECM to clients and prospects, people often wonder what the term is, what it means, and why it is important. So let’s dive into the concept of ECM.

What is ECM?

ECM is an acronym for Enterprise Content Management. There are concise definitions out there, but I find them more confusing than helpful. I decided to split the acronym up and explain each word in more detail.

See the rest of this post on Avastone’s Blog…


SharePoint Success???

You’re probably wondering what the title to this post is all about. Let me explain.

SharePoint is a unique product offering from Microsoft in that it can do so many things. Microsoft Exchange handles mail and calendars, Lync does internal IM and SharePoint? Well, the list includes content management, collaboration, social computing, business process management/automation, business intelligence, websites, records management…the list goes on and on.

See the rest of this post on Avastone’s Blog…

How to turn homework in on time (hopefully)

I know we are not the first parents to struggle with this, nor are we the last.

God blessed us with a great son. I could spend a long time listing his great traits here, but I want you to make it to the end of this post. Let’s just say my wife and I are both pleased with how he’s turning out. One thing we struggle with is homework.

Several teachers have commented that he needs to get better at turning assignments in on time. Sometime he doesn’t write it down, other times he forgets his homework at school. Then there is the whole idea of actually doing it. Think that’s enough? He actually leaves completed work at home, thereby making it late.

We have a new policy: 8:30 bedtime. For each assignment he fails to turn in on time, bedtime gets moved up by five minutes. (Thanks for the idea, mom.) We’re still working out the system for earning back bedtime.

The Business Analyst in me decided to document the process of getting homework turned in on time. I printed a copy and hole-punched it. I think it’s in his binder. In the interest of making families a happier place to be, I share it with you. Feel free to suggest modifications to the process.

1. Write assignments down in Assignment Notebook

  • Your notebook is your notebook. Feel free to use it as you want to. If you want to break Memory Work, Handwriting, or Spelling down by day, then do it.
  • Write the assignments so they make sense.

2. Put all books/sheets/other things in backpack

  • Bring things home that are due in the next two days, so you can work ahead if you need or want to.

3. Bring homework home

4. Do homework

  • Do things neatly and correctly the first time.
  • Take your time and show pride in your work (like you show pride in making a good throw to first).
  • Have mom and/or dad check the homework to make sure everything is right.

5. Pack up all finished homework, books, workbooks, etc.

  • Put things into the correct folder as each thing is done.
  • Make sure bag is packed as soon as all homework is done.
  • Leave everything where you put it; don’t take it out again.

6. Take homework to school

7. Turn in homework

The iPod Armband, or “Do you HAVE to be a complete and utter jerk to work here?”

I recently started weight training and was in need of an armband for my 5G Video iPod 80GB. In the past I’ve found the Apple Store to have the best selection. Off I went, and here is my story…

Walking into the back of the Apple Store where the cases are…

Searching for an armband for the Classic…

Still can’t find it. Is there an associate handy?

I’ll grab this guy when he’s done…

“Need something?” asks a tall Apple store associate with the hip orange shirt and WiFi bankcard machine in holster. (Cash registers are for suckers.)

“I’m looking for an armband for the iPod classic.”

“They should be right on the bottom.” OrangeShirt continued in a condescending tone. “Now the classic is basically a disk drive. It’s got moving parts, so I wouldn’t recommend jogging with it. It pops out and – BOOM – it’s ruined!”

“Actually, I need it for weight training. Nothing too heavy,” I retorted quickly.

OrangeShirt was quick with a volley back over the net. “Even still, it’s really not meant to be on the move.”

A few thoughts went through my mind in a split second as I began searching the wall for a case, including:

“It’s an iPod, not a Victrola.”

“How many times have I dropped my iPod in its case over the last two years?”

“If it couldn’t be moved, why make an armband for it?”

After finding a case, I turned to the next question. “I have the 80GB 5G – will it fit in this case? I know they’re similar.”

“On the back of the box there is a list with all of the models it’s compatible with.” It was said with a tone that seemed to imply that helping me select a case was a waste of his time.

I rephrased my question. “The box says iPod Classic 120GB and iPod Classic 80/160GB. The sizes aren’t that much different, are they?”

Once I heard him say “back of the box,” I could tell this was going nowhere. And fast.

I figured the easiest thing to do at this point would be to open the box and check out the design. As I did that, I put a small tear in the front of the box. I didn’t trash it, but it was enough to damage the pristine nature of the tagboard. Keep in mind we’re talking about a display box for a $30 iPod case.

OrangeShirt piped in before I could go further. “Be very careful sir we have a…” I was waiting for him to say that any further damage to the box would require that I purchase it.

He didn’t get that far. I closed the box up, and said “Let me look and see if there’s something else here.” He walked away.

I could have done any number of things at this point: asked for a manager, reopened the case and tried it out, bought the case and returned it if it didn’t fit my needs. None of those seemed worth the trouble. I decided to vote with my feet and wallet; I put back the case, walked out of the store, went to Best Buy across the street, and bought an armband. It was only $22.

For some reason, I can’t get over this dude at the Apple store. I know their products are cool and chic. I love the design of their Macs. I’m looking forward to getting an iPhone when the contract is up for renewal.

But this experience put a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t want to feel like I’m talking to Dieter from “Sprockets” every time I need an accessory or have a question about something. Maybe he had a rough day to that point. Maybe he works on commission and was worried about losing a sale on a MacBook Pro.

After sharing my experience with a colleague, he didn’t seem that shocked. So what’s your experience with the Apple store? Feel free to leave a comment.

Never mind, mom.

25 Random things

There’s this “25 Random Things” deal going around on Facebook, so I finally bit and took a crack at it. I thought I would publish it here for posterity’s sake. The one thing I didn’t mention was how much I love Milwaukee. Feel free to comment.

25 Random Things – This seems way too self-indulgent…

  1. My wife rocks.
  2. Now that I know what Liberal Arts means, I can safely say I became a liberal arts student at 10 and will remain one until the day I die. (I’m personally holding out hope of becoming omniscient in heaven – for the Kennedy Assassination alone.)
  3. I have a great family and thank God for the blessing they are.
  4. I am also blessed to have a great church family, some of whom are closer than my actual family.
  5. Of all of the educational institutions I’ve attended, I am proudest to call myself a Milwaukee Lutheran Red Knight. I even bleed MLHS Red. 🙂
  6. Of the many adults who shaped me in my formative years, I’d set these apart from the rest:
    1. Jerry Fangmann (Grade school teacher and coach)
    2. Wallace Wilde (Scoutmaster)
    3. Rozanne Schwarz (German teacher)
    4. Joan Moeller (English teacher)
    5. Pastor Harrmann (Religion teacher)
  7. IT Consulting found me for a career, and I like it more than I am willing to admit. It’s cool to be on the cutting edge of stuff.
  8. At the same time, I like doing things the old-school way: shaving with soap and brush, using a fountain pen, carrying handkerchiefs, mixing cocktails like they did a long time ago, and keeping a journal. I’d love a smoking jacket (I don’t smoke) and maybe even a straight razor with strop.
  9. Much of #8 comes from watching way too many old movies. It doesn’t make sense for me to go hi-def until Turner Classic Movies does.
  10. I am fascinated with Black Music: Jazz, Blues, Gospel, Soul, R&B, Funk and Hip-hop. Junior Wells, Louis Armstrong, and Missy Elliott (among others) make for interesting playlists.
  11. One of my childhood idols was Paul Joseph. I was the 4th Grade Weatherman at Northwest Lutheran.
  12. Baseball: Babe Ruth, Basketball: Michael Jordan, Golf: Jack Nicklaus, Romance: Me. (Ask Nicole.)
  13. Lest you think me arrogant, I make up for #12 by falling short in many other areas.
  14. Moving about outdoors is regenerative. Camping, sports, and cycling back-country roads with a map and compass allow me to face civilization again.
  15. Leaving Law School was one of the best things I ever did.
  16. One (of many) reasons why #14 is true: I became free to read all of the plays, novels, and short stories I was supposed to read in high school and college but never did. I have since experienced many good books.
  17. I accepted Jesus sometime in grade school, but until recently did not understand or experience God’s Grace on a personal/emotional level.
  18. The Joshua Tree is and will always be my favorite album of all time. It changed the way I saw life and gave me the courage to be myself.
  19. The only thing that would make coaching baseball more rewarding would be to have my (late) Grandma Paape in a lawn chair behind our dugout. I’d exchange smiles with her, watch her live and die with our fortunes, and maybe even ask her advice.
  20. Baseball is wonderfully simple and complex at the same time. As if that weren’t enough, it is the sport that gives us the most perspective into our past. Wonder why I’m a baseball fan?
  21. I am a jack of all trades and master of none.
  22. One of the many ways I pay homage to my Grandparents’ generation is by having a liquor cabinet in my living room.
  23. I am seemingly the only Eagle Scout alive who doesn’t also have his Order of the Arrow. The best news there is that one can earn OA as an adult.
  24. Everyone in my immediate family is a Type “A” personality. It made for fun times!
  25. There are more than a few statements I would have loved to put here, but they were way too inappropriate/irreverent for my Facebook page.

Then and Now

Yesterday was the 20th Anniversary of the first date I had with this girl named Nicole, who became my wife. While not the event of an anniversary, this was definitely cause for celebration. We went to see Quantum of Solace, the latest installation in the 007 Series. Along the way we grabbed a quick meal and bought Nicole some sunglasses. (How 1980s of us to hang at the mall.) We almost toilet-papered our friends’ house (we got caught trying to TP his parents house on that fateful day) but decided against it. I thought a then/now was in order, so here goes:





Ronald Reagan

George W. Bush

We drove in… 1979 Chevy Nova, manual transmission on the column, later changed to a 3-speed Hurst shifter. This car was two shades of brown (three including the rust).

Black 2001 Saturn LS200


Student and carpet-store helper

IT Consultant

I wore… Bugle boy jeans (tight-rolled, baby)

Oversized polo

Red Knight swim jacket,

Sebago Campsides with no socks

Dress pants, shirt and coat.

US Enemies Communism and the Eastern Bloc (We didn’t know the Cold War would end soon.)

Militant Radical Muslims

We went to…

Cocoon: the Return

(The Naked Gun was sold out – I should have picked Rattle and Hum.) NEVER take a date to a sequel when she hasn’t seen the original installment.

Quantum of Solace

Cost of gasoline



Before the movie… I was late. It takes a lot of time to shower and preen after swim practice.

Eyeglass shopping without the kids.


5′ 10″

6′ 1″

After movie food/drink…

Dessert and coffee at The Coffee Trader (R.I.P.)

Leftover pumpkin pie and a Vesper


150 pounds



Midnight (from my parents)

~10:00 (The sitter can’t stay forever.)



Brown (OK, a little gray too!)

Written Communication

Notes passed between classes

E-mail, IM, texting

MLHS Freshman Religion Teacher

Mr. Pollock

Mr. Pollock

Theater Admission



Quick fact lookup

Milwaukee Public Library’s Ready Reference (people who took phone calls and found facts for you)

Google/The Internet

Brewer pitcher most likely to wind up on the DL

Teddy Higuera

Ben Sheets

Person I most wanted to go on a date with

Nicole Potosnyak

Nicole Strelow

Web Wednesday: Google

You just logged onto the Internet. You were curious about something. Maybe it was Sidecar recipes, maybe it was SharePoint prerequisites, or perhaps you wanted to read about the life of Townes Van Zandt. Only problem is, you don’t know where to start.

Enter Google. Google is the most-used search engine in America. Click on the address bar of your browser and enter Enter one of the searches above or pick something of you own. Voila! All of these links appear and you can explore. The internet makes sense again. And you won’t have to figure out how to publish an Access database in Citrix.

(In case you were wondering there is a great deal of sarcasm to this post. It’s amazing how many novice internet users don’t use Google or another search engine. My dad once called me in the middle of a meeting to ask for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s web address. All he had to do is search for it. How many more of you folks are out there? Feel free to reply.)