Andrew's Blog

Random Thoughts of an ASP.Net Code Monkey

Introducing North East Bytes (NEBytes) a new Microsoft Usergroup for the North East of England

January 4, 2010 22:39 by Andrew Westgarth

nebytes-logo-final

I’m pleased to announce a new User Group in the North East of England, based around Microsoft Technologies, North East Bytes (NEBytes) – http://www.nebytes.net .  We have decided to start this group in order to help Developers and IT Pros in the community with the constant battle to learn, stay current and broaden their knowledge.

We run monthly meetings every third Wednesday of the month (except on the second Wednesday in December – to allow time for Christmas parties and shopping!) at Newcastle University.  Each meeting consists of two one hour presentations (one Developer topic and one IT Pro topic) and we have refreshments, food, giveaways and prizes.

Attendance at our meetings is completely FREE!! The venue is provided kindly by the University, our Speakers kindly provide their time for free, and we as organisers provide our time for free to organise the events.  We will provide refreshments and we also provide hot food, all we ask is if you would like to partake in the the hot food, please make a small donation towards the cost via the open contribution box at each meeting.

Our Launch event is to be on Wednesday 20th January 2010, we are delighted to have Mike Taulty visiting to cover Silverlight and James O’Neill to cover Hyper-V.  We are really looking forward to this great event and hope to see lots there to help us celebrate our launch!

Andrew, Jon, Damien and Ben.

DDD8 – 30th January 2010 – Call For Speakers Open

December 11, 2009 11:18 by Andrew Westgarth

Yes folks, the date has been announced so put it in your calendar!!  The eighth Developer Day Event at Microsoft’s UK Campus in Reading has been announced for Saturday 30th January 2010!  Call for speakers has now been open so if you’ve always thought of submitting a session – get to it!!!   It’s a really rewarding experience and a great way of getting experience.

I’d better get writing my abstract(s) for submission!  The link to submit yours is - http://developerdeveloperdeveloper.com/ddd8/

Black Marble and Microsoft – Free Visual Studio/ALM Event in London 17th Dec 09

December 8, 2009 13:46 by Andrew Westgarth

Black Marble and Microsoft have announced details of a FREE event covering Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and Application Lifecycle Management in London on Thursday 17th December 2009.  Full Details are below:

Microsoft and Black Marble present Visual Studio 2010 and Managing the Application Lifecycle.

Click here to register for this event

Date - 17-Dec-2009

Session - All Day

Time - Registration from 9:30am, Event Starts at 10:00am. Lunch at 12:30pm. Event ends at 4:30pm.

Location - Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, London NW1 4LE

Type - Seminar

Welcome to the Microsoft/Black Marble exploration of developer tools and application lifecycle management, now taking place in London for your convenience.

Visual Studio 2010 is being designed inside and out to give developers and development teams every advantage in getting the next ground-breaking application to market – quickly. The upshot is that your business gets to reap the rewards of tomorrow's efficiency today.

Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2010 will deliver new capabilities that embrace the needs of the users in the application lifecycle – from architects to developers, from project managers to testers.

Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) is the coordination of all aspects of software engineering - including the formulation and communication of business and technical requirements, code design and architecture, project tracking, change management, coding, testing, debugging, and release management - by using tools that facilitate and track collaboration among and within work teams.

Application development is one of the most strategic activities in IT. Whether the business goal is improving customer satisfaction, streamlining operations, or extending into a new market, the applications that underpin business initiatives and provide differentiation are critical to success. Application development teams that predictably deliver business-critical applications can help a company maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace and drive top-line growth.

Come along and find out how Microsoft's Developer Tools are changing as well as how Team Foundation Server, Best Practice and Testing can be implemented to help your business manage its application lifecycle successfully.

Great Profile Pictures by Mandy Charlton Photography

December 8, 2009 09:58 by Andrew Westgarth

Profile Portrait One     Over the last few years when I’ve been fortunate enough to have sessions accepted at various conferences, user group meetings and events, I’ve been asked for a profile picture.  Most of the time I hide behind the picture of the Code Monkey, designed by my good friend and excellent designer, Roddy Lang.  However increasingly I’ve been recognising the need to get some decent pictures taken.  One problem!  I HATE having my picture taken as I’m never happy with the results, be that because of low self image, or the fact that what I see in the mirror is not what I see in the picture.  So a few weeks ago I contacted a local photographer, Mandy Charlton of Mandy Charlton Photography, and set her the challenge of taking some portrait shots of me which hopefully I would like at least one.

I’d been following Mandy Charlton on Twitter for about 18 months and had seen some of her work through tweets and posts on her Blog.  We arranged the shoot on a Sunday morning in Newcastle and spent an hour taking various poses and shots in lots of Being Supported by a Walldifferent locations.  Mandy has the ability to make the subject of her shoots very relaxed and comfortable.  Even better the results are amazing!  I was extremely pleased with the results of my shoot and I was very, very impressed with the speed with which my gallery was available to be reviewed.  Mandy offers a variety of formats for purchase, but I went for digital downloads as they were more suited for my intended use.  The results are in this post, and once again I have to say I’m very, very pleased with them.  Thanks Mandy!

So if you are in the North East and looking for some great portrait shots, family photos, wedding photography, maybes even a boudoir shoot, get in touch with Mandy Charlton Photography – you won’t be disappointed!

Is it Reggie Kray?Or Maybe It's Ronnie KrayHell It Might Even By Stick!

Richard Todd OBE, 1919-2009

December 7, 2009 22:51 by Andrew Westgarth

Richard Todd OBE as Guy Gibson in The Dam Busters I just wanted to write a note to recognise the sad passing of Richard Todd OBE.  It was his excellent portrayal of Wing Commander Guy Penrose Gibson, VC, DFC and Bar, DSO and Bar, in the 1954 film The Dam Busters, that sparked my deep interest in the wartime life of the Royal Air Force 617 Squadron.The Dam Busters Poster

I was saddened to hear late on Friday night of his passing, not only was he a great Actor, in  fact my yardstick for a good war film is to check whether he or John Mills are in the case, he was also a real life war her, having been in the Parachute Regiment and one of the first to land in France on the 6th June 1944.

The Times has an excellent obituary of this true gentleman - Richard Todd: actor who played Guy Gibson in The Dam Busters | Times Online Obituary 

What to be British is “it means fairness, good sense, decency, kindness, politeness.” – Richard Todd OBE

SuperChristmas 2009 in Newcastle

October 23, 2009 11:26 by Andrew Westgarth

SuperMondays, in partnership with Thursday Fizz, Girl Geeks, VBUG and Refresh Teesside are proud to announce:

super_christmas_1-300x75

SuperChristmas is the Christmas party that brings our organisations together to round off an excellent year and to set the scene for 2010. The party will start at 7:00pm on Thursday 17th December 2009 at Hoults Yard.

Tickets are on sale for £10 You can buy them here...

The ticket price includes a hog roast, ceilidh dancing, and as much free beer/wine/soft drinks as the budget will allow...all served in a farm house theme decked out with bales of hay!

Everybody is welcome, so please do invite your friends ... there will be no presentations on the night so leave your laptops, notebooks and netbooks at home!

Looking forward to seeing you there!

partners_2

Sparkling Websites and New Enhancements for the MS Web Platform Announced

September 24, 2009 22:42 by Andrew Westgarth

This morning Scott Guthrie announced a new program to help Small Web Development Companies (10 employees or less) and individual Web Developers who develop Web Sites and Services.  The program runs for three years is free to join, all that is payable is a $100 fee on exit.  Benefits of the program include:

  • Windows Web Server 2008 R2 – licenses;
  • SQL Server 2008 licenses;
  • 1 Expression Studio 3 license;
  • 2 Expression Web licenses;
  • 3 Visual Studio 2008 Professional licenses
  • and more…

For full details of the announcement see Scott Guthrie’s blog post and to register visit the WebsiteSpark portal.

Announcements from the IIS Team

Today has been a day for announcements with the IIS Team also announcing a list of new releases – Bill Staples has full details of the releases – which are:

For more information refer to iis.net and to Bill’s blog post, I’m off to read up on today’s great announcements.

Categories: ASP.Net | IIS | Microsoft
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VBUG Newcastle – W2008R2 and Windows 7 - Links

July 8, 2009 22:45 by Andrew Westgarth

Thanks to Richard Fennell for stepping into the breach this evening and covering the content for us so well.  As soon as I have a link for the slides from the event, I’ll publish it here on this post.

In the meantime here is the link for you to be able to get a key for the Windows 7 Release Candidates you may have picked up at the event - http://technet.microsoft.com/evalcenter/dd353205.aspx?ITPID=clminis

Keep an eye on this blog and Jon Noble’s for more information on forthcoming events for September onwards – enjoy the summer!!

UPDATE! – Here’s a a link to download a pdf of last night’s slides - http://www.blackmarble.co.uk/ConferencePapers/2009/VBug%20Newcastle%20-%20Key%20features%20in%20Windows%207%20and%20Server%202008%20R2.pdf

Monkey Decides to Go On His Travels!

July 8, 2009 14:01 by Andrew Westgarth

Nope not me, although I am planning a three week trip to Australia later this year to visit friends, but Timmy my partner in crime.  A couple of Friday’s ago I got to work and noticed that he was missing from his place on my desk and all that was left was this note:

Timmy's Au Revoir Letter

Well he returned to my desk on Monday, so I guess he’s had a bit of fun and is back for a while.  I suppose I’d better take him on my travels a little more often then!  Some pictures of his travels have appeared online:

Collage of Timmy's Holiday Snaps

Awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Award for 2009

July 1, 2009 23:53 by Andrew Westgarth

Today I received an email from Microsoft to tell me I’d been awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Award for 2009, to follow the award which I received in 2008.  I am very pleased, and once again extremely humble to be associated with a great group of very clever people around the globe.  I hope I can continue to server the community in the best way possible over the next year!  First thing on my list is more blog posts as I’ve been neglecting my blog over the last six months and I have lots of content to cover!!

Categories: MVP | Microsoft
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