Andrew's Blog

Random Thoughts of an ASP.Net Code Monkey

You're Gonna Eat Lightning and Crap Thunder!!

March 2, 2008 13:59 by Andrew Westgarth

rocky3 Yes the rumours are true!  I, Andrew Westgarth, will be running the BUPA Great North Run on Sunday October 5th 2008.  This is one of the biggest half marathons in the world and I am very pleased to be able to take part.  It may come as a surprise to many of you that I have decided to do something like this.  I would imagine anyone who's met me or seen pictures of me would not attribute sports with my physique.  On the contrary I play football 2-3 times a week (well sometimes I attempt to play ;-)) and I like to get to the gym.  My goal over the past few years has been to increase mass and put on more muscle, something I started to achieve last year by gaining a stone, but due to illness at the turn of the year I've lost it again so it's back to the drawing board :-(.  I read many articles about losing weight and how tough it can be, but I read very little about trying to put a bit of weight on and how very hard that is.  I thought about setting up another blog for my training record but I think I'll blog about it here instead, saves having to update multiple sites and prevents one having little content.

I recently emailed Mike Ormond at Microsoft about his experiences last year whilst training for and running the London Marathon.  Mike kindly obliged with some great tips which I will use along with others that I've read and gained from  other sources.  The opportunity to run the Great North Run represents a great personal challenge and an opportunity for me to raise funds to help out people less fortunate than myself.  I will publish full details of the charity(ies) I'm raising money for when I get my documents from the Great Run Committee.gnr_logo

Today I started the first part of my training.  My plan is to play football on Monday Nights, Wednesday (possibly) and Thursday nights; Gym Circuits on Monday Morning, Wednesday Morning and Friday Morning, have a run (gradually increasing miles) on a Saturday and resting on a Sunday :-).  I'll see how this goes and how it fits with my plan to bulk up - but those are my initial thoughts.  So this morning I got up, had breakfast (well I must improve on that in future!) and about an hour later went out and completed a 3.35 mile run, completing the distance in about 30 minutes and it was at a very sedate pace :-).  I was quite pleased with myself, although some of the music I left on my iPod were very motivating (Vince Di Cola's War; Training Montage; and Bill Conti's Gonna Fly Now) unfortunately Eagles and Carpenters ballads whilst I love the music, didn't exactly inspire me to keep the pace!  Any suggestions for suitable training music would be very much welcome.  All in all a successful first start - but I'd love some tips for a proper warm down routine, I ended off by doing sit-ups, press-ups and back extensions but I'm sure I should be doing something more suitable.  More training updates next week! :-).

MSDN and TechNet Roadshow Dates Announced

February 26, 2008 02:31 by Andrew Westgarth

The dates and venues for the MSDN and TechNet Roadshows for 2008 have been announced.  So register soon to avoid disappointment.

MSDN Roadshow Dates and Venues

TechNet Roadshow Dates and Venues

I'm registered and will be attending the Newcastle MSDN Roadshow so I hope to see some of you there!

I'm A Recovering Alcoholic!

February 24, 2008 15:31 by Andrew Westgarth

THINK! Drink Driving - Drinking buddyThere, that got your attention now didn't it?  Then the advice I was given a few weeks ago worked!  I am a virtual tee totaller and have always been amazed at how many people respond with complete shock and amazement when I tell them that I don't DRINK!!  I mentioned this to someone in conversation a couple of weeks ago and they said I should respond by saying I'm a recovering alcoholic!  This seems to be quite an extreme measure to take in order to explain why I have made a personal choice.  For the record I am not, nor have I ever been an alcoholic!  I have made a decision not to drink.  I am not a complete tee-totaller as I very, very occasionally will have an alcoholic drink.  My reasons for not drinking are that I usual drive a lot of places, plus I am in the position where I can take it, I am able to have a good time without it.  Plus a lot more of my friends like to have a drink when we're out so I'd rather be the driver in the group.

I don't often write about topics such as this on my blog, as I try an keep it technically based, until I can set up an additional personal blog for my personal thoughts - although should I add my thoughts to this blog - what do you think?  However I was reading a piece in todays Sunday Times by India Knight - Put Shame Back Into Boozing which stirred up a lot of my opinions on the subject.  In todays society it would appear that it is perfectly acceptable, and now considered the norm for a night out on the town to have to result in an individual getting absolutely bladdered, not able to remember what happened during the night, in order to have a good time.  Alarmingly this appears to be the opinion of many age groups, not just those younger than me (I'm 27) but also those older!!  I am not against people having a good time and enjoying a drink.  I am not preaching about the demons of drink all I am saying is that I agree with the article's sentiments and believe that no longer should it be accepted that binge drinking is a norm.  We should look to the examples on the continent, for example Spain, whereby 24 hour drinking is normal but moderated.  I worry that complacency and acceptance of extremes is setting a bad example for our youth, this coupled with the glorification of what I consider to THINK! Drink Driving - Smart substitutionbe bad social examples in the media such as the antics of music stars such as Pete Docherty and more recently Amy Winehouse are having a detrimental affect. 

One other gripe I have is the exhorbitant cost of soft drinks in pubs!  Why does it cost more for a pint of coke etc than for a pint of lager!  Yes this can be the case!  I believe the mark up on soft drinks is massive and that publicans and owners make massive profits on the often vile and incorrectly mixed soft drinks, personally I stick to fruit based drinks.  I can go to a local supermarket and buy a 2 litre bottle of soft drink for anything from 40p to £1.50 yet I can expect to pay £1.50 for half a pint of soft drink in many pubs and clubs!  Some towns and pubs have a scheme for drivers to get their first drink at a bar for free on production of car keys, but not many and even when it is present it's not well publicised.  How about a fair deal for those who chose to drive for their group or who chose not to drink.

My friends accept that I don't drink and I wish I lived in a society whereby others accepted it and didn't react in amazement when I explain my position.  I have very good nights out with friends, I will dance and ride bucking broncos etc and generally have a good time out with friends without a drink and I get to laugh at what they get up to when they're half cut! :-).  Remember myself and other people who choose not to drink can be great to have along in any party as they make sure you get home safe and stop the temptation to potentially drink drive.

Windows Server 2008 has RTM'd!!

February 4, 2008 06:59 by Andrew Westgarth

Great news and well done to all the teams involved with Windows Server 2008 - Earlier today it was announced that Windows Server 2008 has RTM'd

-  Now all I need is for to upgrade their servers and I can get my blog moved to IIS7!!

Also check out a video of Alex Hinrichs talking about shipping Windows Server 2008 on Channel 9 - and there is also an interview with Carlos Aguilar Mares, Development Lead on the IIS team, which I recorded for VBUG whilst out at Tech Ed -

VBUG Peterborough - First Meeting - Team Foundation Server with Richard Fennell

January 30, 2008 14:53 by Andrew Westgarth

Tonight I travelled to Peterborough (Big thumbs up to National Express East Coast for the free wi-fi access to all passengers!!) for the first VBUG meeting of a new VBUG region.  We have a new coordinator in Jyoti and I would like to thank her for all her hard work in getting the meeting together and a big thanks to Johnston Press for hosting the event for us and supplying plenty of additional swag. Big thanks also to Richard for travelling to Peterborough to present.

We had a great evening filled with technical content, pizza and the obligatory swag.  Richard covered many aspects of TFS and gave a good overview mixed with personal experience and tips and tricks.  To access Richard's slides please go to DDD5 Presentation - Team Foundation Server and why not also check out Richard's Blog - But It Works On My PC!!

This is the start of a new region for VBUG so we welcome you to attend if it is local to you.  If there is a topic you would like to see covered at forthcoming meetings please contact me through this blog or contact VBUG, alternatively if you would like to speak at a VBUG meeting please contact VBUG and we will look at putting a meeting together.

VBUG Newcastle - .Net 3 - The Game Challenge With Oliver Sturm

January 30, 2008 01:29 by Andrew Westgarth

The details of the next VBUG Meeting in Newcastle have been announced.  I am very pleased to announce that we have Oliver Sturm visiting to cover .Net 3.0 and to put some fun into it with a Game Challenge!

Topic: VBUG: '.NET 3 - The Game Challenge' with Oliver Sturm

.NET 3 - The Game Challenge

Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) are two important pillars of Microsoft's next generation development platform. Since Visual Studio Orcas has been released, these components are becoming relevant in every day developer life. This session provides an overview of both technologies by demonstrating their combined use in a network enabled Connect Four game.

Location: Royal Station Hotel, Neville Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 5DH

Price: FREE

To Register go to:

PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE OF VENUE.  The issue of venues is a particularly pertinent one with the Newcastle Area and one which I would like to discuss with any delegates who attend this meeting or who regularly attend VBUG/SUGUK Meetings in the North East.  I have a number of options which I will be outlining and discussing at this meeting.  If you have any thoughts on any locations in Newcastle or the surrounding area which would offer a FREE monthly evening venue for VBUG and SUGUK meetings with good transport links, please let me know.

SQLBits 2008, 1st March 2008 - Birmingham - Registration Now Open

January 30, 2008 01:20 by Andrew Westgarth

Tony Rogerson has sent through details of the forthcoming SQLBits 2008 Community Day in Birmingham.  Registration is now open and I expect that it will fill soon so if you would like to attend please register quickly and support Tony and the rest of the team on what looks to be a great day.


SQLBits LogoMicrosoft

Registration is now open for SQLBits 2008 March event.

Come and join us at the Lakeside Conference Centre in Birmingham for SQLBits (the sql); believe me the sessions are way better than the punch line! We have kept costs low with help from our sponsors, so low in fact it's free to attend again.

20 technical Sessions broken up into 4 tracks covering all areas a SQL Pro is interested in and on top of that a recruitment panel and new product demonstrations - something for everybody - Development, DBA, Business Intelligence and of course SQL Server 2008. Check out the confirmed sessions.

Technical Sessions end at 5pm but the day continues first with a Recruitment panel and New production demos and then into an informal networking and social evening at our Group By drinks reception - a great opportunity to relax and chat about our holidays, hobbies, ok - get real - more SQL!

Register quickly; we ran out of places in 8 days at the October 2007 event.

Register Me For SQLBits 2008

Technical Session List:

SQL Server 2008
Making more of SSIS in 2008
Reporting in SQL Server 2008
SQL Server 2008 – Declarative Management Framework concepts & database problem solutions with policy management.
Where do you live? Intro to spatial indexing
SQL Server 2008 TSQL Enhancements

Business Intelligence
Using Analysis Services as a data source for Reporting Services reports
Extending SSIS with custom Data Flow components
Master Data Management (MDM)


SQL Server High Availability and Disaster Recovery Overview
What Are You Waiting For?
I/O! I/O! It’s off to disk we go...
Introduction to SQL 2008 Performance Data Collector
"SELECT TOP(@x) Name FROM MyFavouriteDMVs ORDER BY MyRanking"
Administering SQL Server 2008 and 2005 with Windows PowerShell
Transient data in SQL Server
Getting to grips with Service Broker.
2005 SQLCMD Scripting
Understanding LINQ in .NET Framework V3.5 and Beyond
Development Life Cycle using Visual Studio Team Edition for DB Professionals
Making the leap into Advanced SQL

Tony Rogerson, SQL Server MVP
UK SQL Server User Group

Gold Sponsors

Idera Logo

 Quest Logo

Evening Sponsors

Huntress Logo

Silver Sponsors

MySoftJobs Konesans Redgate

SQL Bits March 2008 - Sessions Loaded, Get Voting

January 4, 2008 00:51 by Andrew Westgarth
1st March 2008 sees the next SQL Bits Community Conference which will be at the Aston University Lakeside Conference Centre; the organisers are expecting around 500 people for this exciting one day 4 track - 20 session conference.

Proposed sessions are now available on where you can also vote for your favourite 10.

Voting closes in a couple of weeks so please do your voting today!

CANCELLED!! - SharePoint User Group and VBUG North East Meeting - December 10th 2007!

December 10, 2007 01:52 by Andrew Westgarth

Unfortunately, we have had to cancel tonight's meeting due to illness.  Apologies for very late notice.  We hope to reschedule in the New Year.  Keep an eye on and for news of a new program of meetings for the North East in the New Year!

Happy Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year to all!

SQL Bits II (the SQL!) - 1st March 2008 - Birmingham - Call for Speakers!

December 7, 2007 07:50 by Andrew Westgarth

Tony Rogerson has just sent the details through regarding the opening on speaker session submissions for the second SQL Bits event, this time held in Birmingham on Saturday 1st March 2008.  This is another great community event, it's free, it's on a Saturday and if SQL is your bag then I recommend attendance.  Even better if you feel like speaking why not submit a session?

The October SQL Bits was a resounding success, we had 321 delegates on the day and feedback was brilliant, hot on the success of that conference we have started the planning for the next SQL Bits conference which will be held at the Lakeside Conference Centre in Birmingham on 1st March 2008.

We are looking for sessions that cover any topic related to SQL Server, Database Administration like Design, High Availability, Tuning etc.., Development like coding (application, CLR etc..), Business Intelligence - “ SSAS, SSIS, SSRS etc...“ Basically anything you think relevant and would interest the general SQL professional using SQL Server whether full or part time.

Please submit your sessions to, any problems or questions please email me and I'll do my best to answer.

Sessions are 60 minutes; although we can split the sessions up into multiples if you feel you only want to do part of that time.
The deadline for session submission is 25th December so get your session proposals in quickly!


Post calendar

<<  May 2024  >>


The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in anyway.

© Copyright 2024