Andrew's Blog

Random Thoughts of an ASP.Net Code Monkey

Three Great Events in The North East in April!!

March 24, 2010 21:50 by Andrew Westgarth

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As part of the Microsoft Tech Days UK 2010, a week of free events for Developers and IT Professionals, there are three great events of note running in the North East.  The Sharepoint User Group are hosting a great night at the Cinema in Stockton, and then NEBytes are pleased to welcome Jesse Liberty for a special evening of Silverlight in addition to the Monthly meeting covering Office 2010 and Preventing SQL Injection Attacks.  Best of all- all three events are FREE!!!!

Monday 13th April 2010 – SUGUK – Sharepoint 2010 and Free Screening of Clash Of the Titans at Stockton-on-Tees Showcase Cinema

sugukMicrosoft and Combined Knowledge have funded a great evening to celebrate the launch of Microsoft Office Sharepoint 2010.  Join the Sharepoint User Group at the Showcase Cinema in Stockton-on-Tees to see a short presentation on the new features in Office and Sharepoint 2010, followed by an Open Mic “Ask the Experts” session on general SharePoint topics such as business adoption, Sharepoint designer, VS 2010 and Office focussed development in general, before settling down with Popcorn to watch a free screening of the new blockbuster – Clash Of The Titans!

For more information and to register - http://suguk.org/forums/thread/23041.aspx

Friday 16th April 2010 – NEBytes – Jesse Liberty – Silverlight Geek – Newcastle-upon-Tyne

nebytes-logo-final On Friday 16th April 2010, NEBytes are pleased to welcome Jesse Liberty, the self styled Silverlight Geek and a Senior Program Manager in the Silverlight Development Team at Microsoft, to Newcastle as he makes his way round the UK as part of his UK Tour .  Jesse will be delivering the following session:

Building A Highly Extensible, Decoupled Silverlight Open Source Application with MEF and RIA Services using Lean, Test Driven Development, An International Team of Volunteer Programmers,  and lots of Advil.

This talk will use the Silverlight HyperVideo Platform open-source project on CodePlex as a case study in building highly extensible Silverlight applications. Among the topics we will focus on are:

  • New features in Silverlight 4 and how they made life easier
  • The Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF) added to Silverlight 4
  • WCF RIA Services for connection to a back-end db
  • Handling inter-module communication when the requirements are that modules cannot assume which other modules will be created, there can be no dependencies on order-of creation and unanticipated modules must be able to communicate with existing modules.
  • Using Markers, Injected Markers and polling to trigger events while viewing a video.
  • A Quick introduction to Lean, TDD and Kanban.

NEBytes are also looking at putting on a Geek Dinner afterwards, so if you’d be interested in attending let us know when you register for the NEBytes – Jesse Liberty – Silverlight Geek Event

Wednesday 21st April 2010 – NEBytes -  “Office 2010” and “Preventing SQL Injection Attacks” – Newcastle-upon-Tyne

nebytes-logo-finalOn Wednesday 21st April 2010 NEBytes will be holding their regular monthly event and will be covering the topics of Office 2010 and Preventing SQL Injection Attacks.  We are pleased to welcome Colin Mackay to cover Preventing SQL Injection attacks and we are very pleased to have NEByte’s very own Jonathan Noble and Ben Lee covering Office 2010 at the event:

Office 2010 - Ben Lee and Jonathan Noble

This summer Microsoft will release Office 2010. While this is more of an evolution from Office 2007 rather than the revolutionary jump from Office 2003 into the world of the Ribbon UI, there are still a number of new features in the desktop applications that make this release interesting. In addition, 2010 sees Office head into the cloud with the all-new Office Web Apps. In this session, NEBytes' own Ben Lee (@Bibbleq) and Jonathan Noble (@jonoble) will highlight their favourite new features across the whole suite and also demonstrate how to manage, secure and deploy Office 2010 to the desktop, including delivery using App-V.

SQL Injection Attacks and Tips on How To Prevent Them - Colin Angus Mackay

In light of some recent events, such as the man who was convicted of stealing 130 million credit card details through a SQL Injection attack, it is imperative that developers understand what a SQL Injection Attack is, how they are carried out, and most importantly, how to defend your code against attack.

In this talk Colin Mackay will demonstrate a SQL Injection Attack on an application in a controlled environment*. He’ll show you where the vulnerable code lies and what you can do to harden it.

Although this talk uses C# as the application language and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 as the database engine many of the concepts and prevention mechanisms will apply to any application that accesses a database through SQL.

* Demonstrating an attack on a system without the owner’s consent is a breach of the 1990 Misuse of Computers Act, hence the controlled environment.

Colin Angus Mackay is a Software Developer living in Glasgow. He has been programming since the age of 9 starting with a Sinclair ZX Spectrum. He became a professional software developer in 1994, using a Smalltalk based language called Magik. In 1996 he started using C++ commercially and in 2002 migrated to the emerging language of C#.

Colin has received a number of awards including Code Project MVP (for 5 years) and Microsoft MVP (for 3 years). He is a member of the British Computer Society and a Member of the Institution of Analysts and Programmers. He is currently the chairman of Scottish Developers and has organised the last two Developer Day Scotland conferences (with a third in the works).

You can find out more on his blog at: http://blog.colinmackay.net.

Go to the NEBytes April Event Registration Page and sign up now!

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

January 4, 2010 22:39 by Andrew Westgarth

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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:

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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!

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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



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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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