Andrew's Blog

Random Thoughts of an ASP.Net Code Monkey

DDD North 2013 Announced and Session Submission Open

July 1, 2013 21:00 by Andrew Westgarth

On Saturday I attended the inaugural DDD East Anglia and took the ideal opportunity to announce the details for this year’s DDD North!  The event has been in the planning stages for a while and work continues apace.  I’m delighted to announce that we will be returning to the University of Sunderland on Saturday 12th October 2013 for DDD North.  The University of Sunderland’s Sir Tom Cowie’s Campus at St.Peters’ is a fantastic venue and was a fantastic place to study when I was studying for my degree many years ago.  We are working hard with the University of Sunderland, Sunderland Software City and Sunderland City Council to make sure this is the best DDD North yet! 

dddMedDDD North has launched a new site at http://www.dddnorth.co.uk and improvements and functionality is being added hourly at present as we ramp up our efforts.  The DDD North Call for Speakers is now open and will remain open till early-mid August before voting will commence so get your session submissions in now!  We’d love to see some new speakers submitting sessions as the original premise of DDD Events was to encourage and introduce new speakers.

DDD North is a free event and would not be so if it were not for the support of our fantastic sponsors.  If you know of any business or groups who would like to sponsor DDD North, we have a range of packages available and are open to discussions about suggestions, please get in touch using the contact form.

In the meantime keep an eye on www.dddnorth.co.uk for more news and sessions being added daily.  I look forward to seeing you at DDD North 2013 at the University of Sunderland!

Global Windows Azure Bootcamp April 27th 2013

March 11, 2013 21:05 by Andrew Westgarth

bootcamp

Are you interested in getting started with Windows Azure and have are free on Saturday April 27th 2013?  Then why not join me in Bradford at the Global Windows Azure Bootcamp being hosted by Black Marble?  I’ll be joining Microsoft Integration MVP, Robert Hogg, Windows Azure MVP, Steve Spencer and Microsoft Alliance Manager, Linda Hogg to deliver a one day deep dive class which will help you get up to speed with developing for Windows Azure.  This is a great opportunity to get real hands on experience with developing on Windows Azure from professionals who are actively developing solutions on the Windows Azure platform.  Windows Azure is a fantastic platform to develop on and we hope to see many of you at the event getting up to speed with development.

To register for the Bradford event please go to - http://www.blackmarble.co.uk/Register.aspx?Event=Global Windows Azure Boot Camp&Date=27-Apr-2013 and make sure to check out the list of pre-requisites for the bootcamp - http://globalwindowsazure.azurewebsites.net/?page_id=171 – please arrived prepared as we hate for you to miss out on the good stuff and spend the day getting your laptop ready Smile.

If you’re not able to get to Bradford but would still like to take part in the Global Windows Azure Bootcamp be sure to check out all the locations worldwide where other events are running -http://globalwindowsazure.azurewebsites.net/?page_id=151

Windows Azure IaaS Slides

January 18, 2013 19:46 by Andrew Westgarth

On Wednesday we celebrated the third birthday of NEBytes, a user group in the North East of England for Developers and IT Pros which I am a co-founder of.  We were delighted to partner up with the SharePoint User Group for the event and welcomed Dr. Bill Ayers to speak on Agile SharePoint Development.

In addition we’d planned to have a speaker visit to talk about Windows Azure IaaS at the event but unfortunately had problems sourcing a speaker due to a number of issues.  I therefore stepped in and reviewed some content from Microsoft and presented it at our event.  This was an interesting way to prepare for a presentation and I hope those who attended found the material and demos interesting and easy to follow.

I am currently spending a lot of time on the PaaS (Platform as a Service) side of Windows Azure and it was interesting for me to delve into the IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) elements of Windows Azure.  There is quite a comprehensive offering and whilst I haven’t spent a huge amount of time in Amazon Web Services, apart from using an EC2 instance for Load Testing, I feel it’s growing fast and new features are coming on board frequently.

A few people asked for the slides after the presentation and here they are http://www.andrewwestgarth.co.uk/presentations/WindowsAzureVirtualMachines.pptx

Blog Now Hosted on IIS 8.0–DiscountASP.Net

September 22, 2012 11:04 by Andrew Westgarth

On Thursday night I was having an email conversation with Takeshi Eto from DiscountASP.Net about the hosting of my blog.  I’ve been hosting my blog with DiscountASP.Net for nearly five years and have been very, very happy with their service – always up to date often offering services faster than other hosters and very quick turn around of support tickets if ever I’ve had any issues – they also host the NEBytes site.

Well on Thursday I was asking about migrating my site onto IIS 8.0 hosting and enquiring when it would be available.  Well during the same conversation Takeshi posted a blog post announcing the arrival of Windows Server 2012 hosting to their US data centre with the team also working to bring it to their European datacentre -http://blog.discountasp.net/windows-2012-hosting-arrives-in-us-data-center/.  So the first thing I did was select the upgrade on my account and my site has now been migrated across to a new Windows Server 2012 platform and is running on IIS 8.0 Smile

Global ASP.NET Hosting Leader - Click Here

I also took the opportunity to upgrade the underlying platform of my blog, BlogEngine.Net, to 2.6.0.5 after not having upgrade from 2.0.  At the same time I’ve tinkered with the theme so I can present more content in my posts and I’ve also fixed a number of issues that I haven’t had time to investigate before now, for example my tweets are now displayed correctly in the bubbles above.  I’ve got a couple rough edges to smooth down like the search page but everything else seems ok.

DDD North 2012 Accommodation Suggestions

August 28, 2012 12:18 by Andrew Westgarth

As we are under an hour away from registration opening for DDD North 2012, which is being held at the Bradford University School of Management I thought it would be useful to put together a few links to help with accommodation choices.  This list isn’t extensive as last year’s event as it was held in my home town, but I will keep adding to this list based on comments and recommendations.

As I say I’ll keep adding this as I uncover more options.   For the agenda and more details about DDD North 2012 please visit http://bit.ly/dddnorth2

Categories: Events | DDD North
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Winners of the 2012 Imagine Cup UK Final are from the North East!

April 25, 2012 20:38 by Andrew Westgarth

Yes that’s right, today when I was at Microsoft UK Headquarters attending a day full of content on Visual Studio 11 and Team Foundation Server 11, the results of the 2012 Imagine Cup UK Finals were announced!  I heard the results were being streamed live at 4pm so when the time cam I hooked up to the broadcast and watched with bated breath for the results.  I’m delighted that both of the finalists from the Imagine Cup North East finals finished in the top two places, a fantastic achievement in the first year that the North East Colleges and Universities have been involved!

Teeside 0x32 came a very, very close second with their Cloud Doctor idea, a method of linking medical expertise around the world to provide help and assistance to those who don’t have access to medical treatment.  I remember seeing this idea presented impeccably at the Imagine Cup North East final a couple of weeks ago and I was blown away at how polished and ready the Web Application, Architecture and Windows Phone application was!  Well done to the guys for their fantastic idea, effort and hard work and I know that the judges had a very hard job in picking a winner because the ideas from both of the winners of the Imagine Cup North East finals were awesome!

The 2012 Imagine Cup UK Final winner is Team EyeWorks and they have created a combination of hardware and software to provide a Mobile Intelligent Retinal Analysis solution.  Combining Neural Nets, Windows Phones, Custom Lenses and Windows Azure they have come up with a fantastic idea to help with the early detection of diseases which cause loss of sight!  Again this is another fantastic idea and if you attended the NEBytes event in March you will have seen the team present their idea.  I honestly don’t know how the judges chose between the two because both ideas are fantastic!  Well done to everyone involved in Team EyeWorks and wish you all the very best at the 2012 Imagine Cup World Finals in Sydney later this year, do the North East and the UK Proud!!!

NxtGenUG Manchester Slides

April 23, 2012 22:59 by Andrew Westgarth

Thanks to all the attendees who came to my talk on IIS8 last week at NxtGenUG Manchester Daresbury.  Apologies for the delay in posting the slides, you can now get them on my Slides & Resources page and the direct link for the IIS 8 Presentation slides is - http://www.andrewwestgarth.co.uk/Presentations/IIS%208%20–%20Platform%20for%20the%20Future.pdf

Imagine Cup North East Final Looms

April 2, 2012 20:54 by Andrew Westgarth

The Imagine Cup is a great competition for students to get involved in and something I’ve covered previously http://www.andrewwestgarth.co.uk/blog/post/2012/02/01/You-Can-Change-the-World-Through-Technology.aspx. Well 2012 is the first year that the North East has got involved and the competition is really hotting up as the teams hurtle towards the deadline for submitting their Round Two entry in the Software Design competition.

Last month we had three teams present their ideas to the group at NEBytes and in return all of the attendees gave each team lots of useful feedback ahead of Round Two.  All of the teams were asked some very searching questions about each of their respective entries and gave them a great exposure and practice in presenting their idea and answering questions, they all handled it very well and we all hope they benefitted from the experience.

The final of the North East regional Imagine Cup competition will be held on Tuesday 10th April and I am delighted to have been invited to join the panel of judges along with David Dunn, from Sunderland Software City, Ben Nunney, from Microsoft and Ajay Sood from Orchidsoft.  The panel will have the task of selecting the team(s) from the North East who will go forward to the UK Final and who knows then on to represent the UK in the World Final in Sydney, Australia!

This is the first time the North East has got involved and the buzz at the hack day and subsequently seeing some of the teams at NEBytes last month has been amazing and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the teams have come up with at the final next week.  I hope this is the start of a long association between North East students and the Imagine Cup.

Release Candidates of Application Initialization and Dynamic IP Restrictions Released

April 2, 2012 20:08 by Andrew Westgarth

Two new Release Candidates for the following IIS Extensions have been released today:

  • Application Initialization for IIS 7.5 (the replacement for the previously released Application Warmup beta extension)
  • Dynamic IP Restrictions for IIS7/7.5

Application Initialization for IIS 7.5

Application Initialization is a feature which is coming in IIS 8.0 and is now also available for IIS 7.5 (please note this feature is not available for IIS 7.0).   This module helps to eliminate the lack of feedback experienced by users when an application is first accessed and is not “warmed up”.  Through the use of this module Administrators can enable a website to return a splash page while waiting for the application to be ready for example.  The module also enables seamless recycling of pre-loaded application pools with no noticeable impact to users, something I am sure many application developers will be able to take advantage of.

Dynamic IP Restrictions for IIS7/7.5

The Dynamic IP Restrictions module provides Administrators and Hosters with the facility to mitigate or block Denial of Service Attacks or brute force attacks on passwords by temporarily blocking IP Address from where potential attacks are emanating, this is done by monitoring patterns of traffic and matching those to patterns which would indicate attack.  This can be configured on a server and site level.

Sean Eagan, Program Manager on the IIS Team has a more detailed blog post with links to documentation and download links for both the Release Candidates of Application Initialization and Dynamic IP Restrictions - http://blogs.iis.net/shauneagan/archive/2012/04/02/release-candidates-for-dynamic-ip-restrictions-and-application-initialization-now-available.aspx

I will be looking to cover both of these extensions in both my talks at user groups and also in more detail here on my blog.

Categories: IIS | IIS7
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Want to Hear About IIS8?

April 1, 2012 21:59 by Andrew Westgarth

With the recent release of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and the Windows Server 8 Beta I’ve been looking at the new features in IIS8 such as:

  • Web Socket Support
  • Application Initialization
  • Configuration Optimization
  • SNI Support
  • and many more…

If you would like to know more and are in the Manchester area why not come along to NxtGenUG Manchester on Wednesday 18th April 2012 where I’ll be giving my first in a number of sessions on IIS8.  For more information or to signup please visit the NxtGenUG Website

iis-8



MCTS

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Disclaimer

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

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