SharePoint Shines at the Olympics, Plus Office Olympics Winners, and a New Magazine

By Dan Holme

Greetings from Vancouver, host city of the XXI Winter Olympics, February 12-28, 2010! I arrived here last week to support the broadcast of the Olympics on NBC, which will share the Games with US audiences in high definition on its many networks and online at NBCOlympics.com.

If you’ve read my columns and articles over the years, you know I was lucky enough to act as the Microsoft Technologies Consultant for NBC at both the Torino and Beijing games. In fact, it was during Torino that I fell in love with SharePoint and its ability to support rapidly deployed, “big win” solutions to collaboration in an enterprise.

It’s Monday morning in Vancouver, home of what some are calling the “2010 Wetter Olympics.” But today there’s a gorgeous dusting of snow on the mountains across the water and while, yes, it rains now and then, I’ve no doubt that the snow they’ve been making will be more than enough.

The athletes so far seem to be happy, though someone pointed out that this may be the first Winter Games ever where athletes need allergy medicine… there are actually cherry blossoms in town! But I tell you—if the night of the 12th (Opening Ceremonies) is anything near as pleasant as last night was, I’m all for it!

I am looking forward to sharing with you some of the things we’re doing with SharePoint here in Vancouver, but I am pre-empted this week by a really cool announcement from Microsoft itself, also about the Olympics and SharePoint 2010.

US Olympic Committee Passes the Torch to SharePoint 2010
I’m particularly thrilled to share with you that Microsoft and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) have teamed up to bring Winter Games content and information to reporters through a new press portal powered by--drum roll--SharePoint 2010. That’s right, the USOC’s PressBox site is powered by the beta version of SharePoint 2010 which, among other things, is a real testament to the strength of the product even in its pre-release state.

Through the site, the USOC is able to provide journalists covering the Games a single destination for accessing information about events, participants, and venues. The site features articles, statistics, photographs, and athlete information, adding depth and color to coverage.

Building the site on SharePoint 2010 technology, the site exposes RSS feeds to enable real-time access to breaking news and personal updates from athletes who are using Twitter, Facebook, and blog posts. SharePoint’s enhanced search enables rich sorting of athlete information, sporting events, article authors, and more.

Deploying content for an event like the Olympics is a high-stress, big-stakes undertaking. The USOC is able to leverage the capabilities, manageability, and scalability, of SharePoint 2010 to tackle the challenge. And journalists can take advantage of the content in new, dynamic ways.

It’s pretty amazing to me that all of this is being entrusted to a version of SharePoint that is so new, it’s not even “finished” yet. In the midst of a week that was characterized by hype around unreleased devices, here’s an enterprise putting a tremendous amount of faith into a product we can all get our hands on, today.

Office Winter Games Winners
Microsoft announced the winners of the Office Winter Games contest. The Office team is sending bloggers Amber Borowski Johnson and Dylan Derryberry to report live from the Games as members of the credentialed press. The idea is to show how Office 2010 can be used in a variety of settings – on the PC, phone and in the browser – to share information and get work done.

Amber Johnson is a busy mom of two who lives in Colorado and can be found skiing, hiking, and blogging at Crazy Bloggin' Canuck and The Denver Post's Mile High Mamas. Dylan Derryberry is a sophomore at Colorado Mountain College, and his blog, the CMC Mountain Times, chronicles his college experience and the various activities held across campus. Kind of crazy that both come from Colorado!

SharePoint Demo Virtual Machines
And in technical news, Microsoft released a pair of virtual machines with which you can demo and test SharePoint 2010. The machines can be downloaded from Microsoft’s site.

You’ll find a domain controller and a SharePoint/SQL server. Of course, they’re Hyper-V, but I’ve heard stories of success using WinImage to convert them into VMware machines. That’ll be on my task list this week—I’ll report my results next week.

SharePointPro Connections Magazine Is Coming
Finally, last week I narrowly averted giving my editors a coronary by turning in two articles detailing what’s new in SharePoint 2010. One, focused on changes for IT Pros, will appear in Windows IT Pro Magazine’s March issue, hitting the stands later this month.

The second will be in the inaugural issue of the brand new, SharePointPro Connections Magazine, which will be published concurrently with the SharePoint Pro 2010 summit in Vegas next month.

But even if you can’t join us in Vegas, you can subscribe to SharePointPro Connections Magazine and get all the latest and best information for IT pros, developers, and decision makers.

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