Andrew's Blog

Random Thoughts of an ASP.Net Code Monkey

Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor

February 7, 2007 19:20 by Andrew Westgarth

At the recent EVO Launch event I mentioned a tool called the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor. This tool cans your system and produces a report which will inform you of any issues which may prevent upgrading to Windows Vista, recommend ways to resolve them and it can help you choose the right version of Vista to fit the way you use your computer. I hope this helps anyone who is looking to upgrade to Vista but is not sure whether or not their machine is capable.

To download the Upgrade Avisor go to the upgrade section of the Windows Vista site.

WebDD - Review

February 5, 2007 05:07 by Andrew Westgarth

Yesterday I attended the first WebDD event at Microsoft Campus, Reading, UK. Once again this involved a 600 mile plus, roundtrip from my home in the North East of England. Was it worth it?

Oh Yes! This was another great event and big pat on the back must go to Phil, Dave and the rest of the team for organising such a great day!. Big quodos for getting Scott Guthrie to attend and speek on so many interesting topics. He was a big pull and I haven't seen crowds like there were, pushing to get into his sessions, I likened it to crowds at a footie match to one delegate! Unfortunately for the speakers in the other two rooms they had a hard time of it from what I hear as unfortunately some of their attendees only attended some sessions because they couldn't get into Scott's. That said seeing as the sessions in Chicago One were being recorded all day, I took the opportunity to see a session by Bruce Lawson who covered "Web Accessibility: What, Why, How and Who Cares?"

Bruce gave a very interesting a humourous session discussing an area which I feel very passionate about and one which I do try to work towards. I have been interested in Web Accessibility since the final year of my degree, indeed I covered Web Accessibility for a research chapter in my degree, and also have an interest in Human Computer Interaction since being introduced to the concept in my first year of Uni. Bruce outlined reasons for having accessible web sites and even provided a couple of examples of where it has yielded results for businesses by enabling all users to use a company's site and also the legal requirements of a company to provide an accessible site. This was an excellent session and gives me more knowledge for my work. Thanks Bruce!

I attended a session by Hristo Deshev, of Telerik, after lunch on Developing ASP.Net AJAX Components. This looked to be a very interesting session and compelling viewing, however Hristo was clearly nervous talking to such a larger audience, I think Chicago 1 was pretty much full, and as English was clearly not his first language his presentation, which was highly technical, was very hard to follow. That said as the session was being recorded I am looking forward to reviewing the session again when I can download the video, and indeed working through the example. This is a very interesting area and one which I would like to experiment with and use in my applications. Hristo works for Telerik and they provide a very extensive series of ASP.Net controls which I have been using for years very successfully.

Of Scott's sessions I attended the first part of End to End Web Sites, Sneak Peek at "Orcas" and WPF/e. I only attended the first session of End To End Web Sites as I saw a similar session at Tech Ed Europe last November so I chose to use the second session to see Bruce's session. Scott's session was great, however I will look at the slides when he posts them on his blog, so I can pick up the new things added which are different to the version given by Matt Gibbs. I enjoyed the session on "Orcas" and I am really excited to see the new tools in Visual Studio "Orcas" and will be looking to cover this more in the coming months. A public beta is expected in the Spring! With a release of sometime later this year. The last session of the day which I saw was on WPF/e, the essential idea behind this is the hosting of WPF content in the browser by ustilising a player downloaded once by the client, an idea which is often compared to Flash. This looks to be a very exciting area and expect to see a WPF/e version of my Code Monkey appearing here very soon.

The mix of clientele was again very different however there were a lot of familiar faces at the event and it was great to mix with designers and have a little insight into their interests, especially as a lot of us work alongside them day by day. Microsoft Event staff did a great job once again. Sausage/Bacon/Egg sarnies as soon as we got there brought massive brownie points, they went down very well with all attendees, along with the rest of the support staff who helped make this a great event.

Overall this was an excellent day and I'm looking forward to the next one already! Now we have two great community events in the form of WebDD and DDD. Make sure you keep an eye on those feeds to keep up to date with what's happening! It was also great to spot quite a few attendees who made the trip down from the North East, I recognised a lot from VBUG. Let me know what you thought of the event too.

WebDD a great event and big thanks to Phil and Dave!

Windows Vista Parental Controls - Activity Logging

February 5, 2007 03:44 by Andrew Westgarth

A question that was posed to me at the recent VBUG EVO Launch event was do Parental Controls have to be enabled in order to get the Activity Log reports? I have looked into this further and played with my installation of Vista RC1 and have found that yes Parental Controls need to be enabled to track the Users' activity on the machine. This can be turned off but by default when Parental Controls are enabled on a user, so are the activity logs. The actvitity logs can also only monitor standard users they cannot be used to monitor Administrator Accounts.

FOr more information check out the section on Parental Controls in MSDN Library.

Review and Slides: VBUG EVO Launch, Newcastle, Tuesday 20th January 2007

February 2, 2007 21:09 by Andrew Westgarth

On Tuesday evening, John Price and I delivered the VBUG North East EVO (Exchange, Vista and Office) Launch Event. Big thanks go to John Price for presenting with me, sharing the work, providing great support, delivering a great presentation and travelling from the East Midlands, it was very much appreciated John, Thank You! Thanks must also go to John Timney for arranging the venue and to BT for providing the venue.

We had a good turnout and the topics we covered were well received. Plenty of swag was distributed. We covered Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft Office System.

Admittedly there was an awful lot of content and there was possibly too much to cover in one session. I will bear this in mind for any future launch events and indeed, in my own presentations. Thanks go to those who attended, I hope you all enjoyed the event and if you have any questions about the EVO Launch, previous or upcoming events, or questions about VBUG please email me on northeast@vbug.com.

The slides are available in both pptx (Office 2007) and ppt (Office 2003-97) formats:

I look forward to seeing you at the next event in late March, early April, further details to follow soon.

CodeWorks Connect - Collaborative Tech 360 - Think and a Drink conference - Thursday 29th March 2007

February 2, 2007 09:30 by Andrew Westgarth

Codeworks Connect is hosting an event at the Sage, Gateshead, Newcastle on Thursday 29th March 2007. Here are the preliminary details they sent me.

Microsoft's Rob Gray and Chris Rothwell will deliver the keynote speeches at our fantastic IT conference on 29th March at The Sage Gateshead, Newcastle.

Collaborative Tech 360 is our exciting and innovative aimed at you - the sillicon valley of the North East.

This event will look at the collaborative and communication technologies that are re-shaping the way companies are conducting business and people are living in today's connected economy. The event will cover a variety of industry and technical perspectives around the collaboration theme from some of the industry's big hitters, with excellent Q & sessions and networking opportunities.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Rob Gray, Microsoft's SharePoint Product Marketing Manager
  • Chris Rothwell, Microsoft's Office Client Product Manager
  • Alison Brewer, Propositions Marketing Manager for Mitel
More Speakers to be confirmed in the coming weeks

Further information on this event and booking options will be follow next week but if you have any questions regarding the event please contact Vikki Carr on 0191 556 1125 for more information

Categories: Events
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WebDD - It's almost here!

February 2, 2007 09:30 by Andrew Westgarth

Well WebDD is tomorrow, and I am really looking forward to it. The list of speakers is great and I'm really looking forward to seeing Scott Guthrie speak. Scott's Blog is immense and a great source of information for ASP.Net Developers such as myself and he regularly posts in the ASP.Net forums and even finds time to answer many many emails, mine included, wow!

I saw a talk similar to Scott's two parter delivered at Tech Ed - see my post earlier - delivered by Matt Gibbs and it was great, I'm interested to see the differences in Scott's Talk. Also I am looking forward to seeing talks on Accessibility and Usability, two areas of great interest to me since my University days. WPF/E is being covered too and this looks very interesting and definitely worth a look, in fact there is so many good sessions I'm still not sure of what I'm exactly going to see. The schedule is on the WebDD site. If you're attending say hi.

ASP.net AJAX v1.0 Officially Released!

January 24, 2007 05:13 by Andrew Westgarth

Today ASP.net AJAX has been officially released! Finally after all of the CTPs, Betas and the Release Candidate we have the full release of a product which has developed since it's early ATLAS days. It's time to update all of your development projects from the betas/RC1 to the full release!

Download the full release from the ASP.net Ajax Website NOW!.

Categories: ASP.Net | Microsoft
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Vista and Office Launch Online!

January 18, 2007 19:41 by Andrew Westgarth

The official in person Windows Vista and Office 2007 Launch Event in Reading has been full for a long time now, but the great news is that you can take part in the launch event online. The Keynote is being streamed over the internet and can be viewed by all you don't need to register just remember this URL - http://www.microsoft.com/uk/launch2007/dev/default.mspx and go there tomorrow to see all of the sessions and the keynote on the web!

There are also copies of Windows Vista and Office 2007 for you to win if you take part in the day 2 coding sessions online. These are two practical scenarios wherehy you will have a chance to develop a solution for Windows Vista and Office 2007! Cool! Mike Ormond and Ian Moulster have posted more information about this.

Go to the URL NOW - http://www.microsoft.com/uk/launch2007/dev/default.mspx and bookmark it then set up a reminder in Outlook and remember to go back tomorrow and take part in this unique Online Launch event!

I will be at the event on and around the VBUG come and say hello and tell me what you think about the event, ask about VBUG and if you have any feedback about my blog then please let me know.

Students - Interested in an Industrial Placement at Microsoft?

January 17, 2007 07:47 by Andrew Westgarth

Microsoft are currently advertising for Students to apply for a placement with them in the UK. The key theme is that Microsoft would like you to pitch your passion and tell them why they should offer you a work placement? You need to register for places on the tour events in order to pitch to the panel of Judges. They are holding four events - Midlands 5th February 2007, London 7th February 2007, Manchester 9th February 2007 and Edinburgh 16th February. Places are filling fast so register today. For further information and to register go to http://www.microsoft.com/uk/academia/pitchyourpassion/default.mspx.

Advanced Security Training for ASP.NET Developers

January 17, 2007 07:47 by Andrew Westgarth

The guys at NxtGenUG are teaming up with Dinis Cruz once again to offer an excellent two day security training course. The course will cover topics such as security principles, .Net Framework Architecture, Threat Modelling, Vulnerabilities, Secure Coding and many more. Dinis Cruz is a very passionate security expert and is very keen on training developers to develop secure applications and to do everything they can to prevent attacks. He is a very passionate speaker and I have had the pleasure of seeing him at a number of events and have enjoyed the information he has presented and I learn a lot every time I see him present. This is a course well worth taking a look at. For more details please go to http://www.nxtgenug.net/course.aspx?courseid=2. If you attend the course why not let me know how you get on?



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

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