Andrew's Blog

Random Thoughts of an ASP.Net Code Monkey

Awarded Microsoft MVP Award for IIS!

July 1, 2008 23:07 by Andrew Westgarth

This afternoon I received an email from Microsoft telling me that I've been awarded the 2008 Microsoft MVP award for my efforts in the Internet Information Services Community over the past year.  This is a great honour to be classified in the same group as the many other great MVPs who do great work throughout the community.  I hope I can continue in the same way in the coming months and years.

Categories: IIS | Microsoft | MVP
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Twitter Power - Fix Outlook.exe Process Never Ending with Skype

June 19, 2008 23:26 by Andrew Westgarth

This morning I was installing the Conferencing Add-in for Microsoft Outlook so I can set up VBUG Online Meetings and send out invitations direct from Outlook when I mentioned on Twitter that I'd been having problems with the Outlook process constantly running despite my having closed/shutdown Outlook.  This has been a really big annoyance for me for a while and I hadn't found the solution.  Thanks to the power of Twitter I've been able to sort this problem now and identify what was causing it.

Usually behaviour like this is attributed to a bad add-in running in Outlook.  Well I checked my list and found I had a couple of add-ins which I didn't recognize.  First was an iTunes Outlook add-in.  What was iTunes wanting with outlook, well I believe it is linked to the ability to sync calendar and contact information with my nano - something I've never wanted to do as I have a Windows Mobile 6 phone for that, so I removed that add-in.  Next was Xobni an outlook plugin which I was trying out but have decided to remove as I don't really need what it offers.  So now I tried running Outlook and exiting but found it was still leaving the process behind. 

One of the tweets I'd received mentioned Skype as a potential problem so I shut that down, fired up Outlook and then closed Outlook, checked in task manager and the process had successfully closed.  I then started Skype, then Outlook and then closed Outlook and checked and the process was still running.  After a little searching in the Skype forums I found the fix for my problem - http://forum.skype.com/index.php?showtopic=97020 - and it seems that the problem is known and it appears that it's just the way Skype works - what !! if I closed a program I don't expect another one to keep it running!

It appears that the View Outlook Contacts "feature" in Skype causes Outlook to remain running in the background.  The fix is to go into Skype, goto the View Menu and uncheck View Outlook Contacts.  If this option is greyed out you need to run Outlook, return to Skype while Outlook is running and the option should no longer be greyed out, allowing you to uncheck it.  Now Outlook shuts down and the process ends properly!

This "feature" is a problem in my mind - why can't Outlook Contacts get store in some form of cache in Skype so therefore not needing a permanent connection to Outlook?

The power of Twitter and social networking has helped me to fix this problem and I hope I can repay that in future through my interactions with Twitter, Facebook etc.  Special thanks go to @mehfuzh, @blowdart, @garyshort, @markjbrown, @recumbent and @james_a_hart who helped me out with some very useful time and tweets!

Categories: How To
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SUGUK Newcastle Meeting Date Changed - Now 3rd July 2008

June 19, 2008 23:05 by Andrew Westgarth

The forthcoming SUGUK meeting in Newcastle which I mentioned in my previous post, SharePoint UserGroup Returns To Newcastle! 26/6/08 - MOSS Architecture Whiteboard Session, has now changed date to the 3rd July 2008.  Once again the registration URL and further details - http://suguk.org/forums/thread/11086.aspx

IIS 7 for ASP.Net Developers - Black Marble Community Event on Wednesday 2nd July 2008

June 10, 2008 22:48 by Andrew Westgarth

black_marble_logo_motif On the evening of Wednesday 2nd July 2008, I'll be presenting a session on IIS 7.0 for ASP.Net Developers at Black Marble's Community Evening in Bradford.  This event is part of a full day of sessions which Black Marble are hosting.  In the morning they're hosting a session on Overview of the current and future states of Microsoft’s Real World SOA and Business Process Automation platform and in the afternoon they are hosting a TechNet in the North session - Microsoft's Vision for Unified Communications - delivered by James O'Neill and then I will be completing the day with the community element.

The abstract for my session is as follows:

IIS7 for ASP.NET Developers

One of the biggest and best new features of Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista is Internet Information Server 7.0.  IIS 7.0 is the latest and most significant release of Microsoft's Web Server. With this release comes a new extensibility model which gives developers more options than ever before, more diagnostic tools with which developers can debug and locate issues. During the session Andrew will investigate the new architecture, look at extending, configuring and developing for IIS7, take a look at its management user interface, and introduce the debugging and diagnostic facilities within IIS7.

For more information and to register for this event go to - http://www.blackmarble.co.uk/events.aspx?event=Andy%20Westgarth%20on%20IIS7

Windows SideShow for Windows Mobile Developer Preview Released

June 10, 2008 22:40 by Andrew Westgarth

I first saw this announcement on twitter last week, that the Windows SideShow team had released a Developer Preview of SideShow for Windows Mobile 5 and 6 devices - http://blogs.msdn.com/sideshow/archive/2008/06/02/sideshow-on-windows-mobile-released-techready-2008.aspx and over the weekend I installed SideShow for my Windows Mobile Device.  I have an O2 XDA Orbit, which is a Windows Mobile 6 Device, and a variant of the HTC Artemis.

The installation process is reasonably straight forward and the documents provided give detailed and easy to follow instructions of how to install the preview.  SideShow is a really cool feature of Windows Vista and something I covered at the Exchange, Vista and Office (EVO) launch events which I took part in and spoke at last year.  I covered a couple of devices in previous blog posting CES - So Many New Toys! - Windows Vista SideShow and with the addition of Windows Mobile support it opens out the platform a little more.  The key use of SideShow will be through mobile devices, remote controls for Media Centre and other devices such as Fridge Magnets etc. 

I'd read about a PowerPoint controller gadget for SideShow - http://gallery.live.com/liveItemDetail.aspx?li=fe99f5dc-e62d-46e0-a294-1ec3aa4960c4&bt=8&pl=7 and went and installed this gadget to really see what it could do.  I use a variety of devices for controlling PowerPoint when delivering presentations such as the Wireless Notebook Presenter Mouse 8000 and the Microsoft Presenter 3000 one of the devices is a mouse and the other is purely a remote presenter device.  The PowerPoint controller gadget takes this to a new level and allows you to view the presenter view of your presentation, advance and reverse through your slide deck.  This added functionality of seeing notes etc.

I'm really enjoying the experience with this preview on my device, if your interested in SideShow and you have a Windows Mobile device - what not take a look?  I'm hoping to see more gadgets and functionality coming through, i.e. possibly gadgets so we can control media centres using a mobile device.

UPDATE - for more information and a screenshot tour of the PowerPoint SideShow gadget on Windows Mobile see Chris Craft's excellent blog post

SharePoint UserGroup Returns To Newcastle! 26/6/08 - MOSS Architecture Whiteboard Session

June 4, 2008 20:35 by Andrew Westgarth

The SharePoint User Group are hosting there next Newcastle meeting on Thursday 26th June 2008.  The details of the event are:

John Timney (MVP & MOSS Principle Consultant at Capgemini) and Philip Hunter, (MOSS Technical Lead from BT) will be hosting an open forum whiteboarding session on MOSS, WSS and best practice for architecting platforms using these products.

Although we cannot guarantee being able to answer every obscure question, we'll do our best! Participation is welcomed and expected from the audience, especially when the hosts get themselves in a mire and need rescuing. This is not death by powerpoint not product central, its an opportunity to ask your questions about architecture, platform sizing, backup and recovery, server virtualisation, publishing, database sizing, central admin, DNS, IRM, records management, support strategies, how best to handle Requests for Change. No topic is off the cards and we expect a healthy discussion to determine what might be a good architecture for your specific requirements, and what issue you might face in deploying MOSS or WSS either for your own compnay, or for customers.

Come along, sit yourself down and take part! 2 hours of free consultancy.

Venue:

BT Innovation Place
Delta Bank Road
Riverside Park
Innovation Place
Metro Centre, Gateshead
NE11 9DJ

Time 6.30 - 8.30 pm

http://local.live.com/?v=2&sp=Point.t4t652gvtvyw_NE11%209DJ%20(postcode)%2C%20United%20Kingdom___&encType=1

To register go to http://suguk.org/forums/thread/11086.aspx

Developer Day 7 - 22/11/08 - Call For Speakers

June 3, 2008 10:30 by Andrew Westgarth

Developer Developer Developer Community Events Developer Developer Day returns to Reading on Saturday 22nd November 2008, and the call for speakers is now open, giving plenty of time for anyone who would like to submit a session, to prepare an abstract and think about what they would like to speak about.

So if you have a session, double session or grok talk you're interesting in submitting please go to http://www.developerday.co.uk/ddd/agenda.asp and fill in the short form.  Also as there is plenty of time before DDD7, if you would like to have some practice at delivering your session why don't you contact your local VBUG group or any of the other great Usergroups in the UK, I'm sure they'd love so have some new session for their groups to see.

Developer Day events and usergroups offer great ways for new speakers to gain experience and feedback with delivering technical presentations.  If there is a topic you're passionate about why not start off with a 10 minute Grok Talk at DDD or your local usergroup and then build up your confidence and presentation from there, before you know it you'll be delivering full hour long sessions.  Go on give it a go!!

I'm planning on submitting a couple of new sessions for DDD7 so I'm off to think about my abstracts now :-)

NxtGenUG - FEST 08 Thursday 12th June 2008!

June 2, 2008 10:27 by Andrew Westgarth

Here's the latest information on NextGenUG's great FEST 08 event running later this month.  Check it out!

FEST08 the annual NxtGenUG one-day event takes place at Microsoft Reading on Thursday 12th June.  As ever it's going to be an action packed day with great content from the likes of Mike Taulty ,Oliver Sturm , Dave Sussman and other top speakers.  No doubt there will be bundles of 'swag' and prizes and Pizza somewhere down the line - there always is when the NxtGenUG Boyz are around.  There seems to be a few more of them this year with the Cambridge and Southampton crews joining in the mix.

So got to http://www.nxtgenug.net/fest08/ for details and to register your place.  It's free to all NxtGenUG members and a mere £49.99 to non-members - bargain!  Oh and also if you're around the night before there is a G(r)eek dinner to toast Daniel Moth on his way to the states.  http://www.nxtgenug.net/ViewEvent.aspx?EventID=140 is the link to signup to."

New Site for IIS 7 AppCmd samples

May 29, 2008 23:45 by Andrew Westgarth

Steve Schofield, IIS MVP, recently set up a new site - http://www.appcmd.com - which is a great resource for commonly used appcmd scripts.  Appcmd is the new command line administration utility for IIS7.  I've used the Tech Preview of the PowerShell provider for IIS and I use the IIS7 Manager a lot but I still like to work with APPCMD an awful lot and this new site is definitely going to be top of my list for daily checks to see any new content.  Go take a look and let Steve know what you think.  Also if you have any favourite APPCMD Scripts also let Steve know and they may get posted.  Thanks for starting this site Steve, it's a great resource.

Categories: IIS
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MSDN Roadshow Newcastle - Review

May 19, 2008 17:43 by Andrew Westgarth

On Friday 16th May 2008, Newcastle hosted the MSDN Roadshow event - www.msdnroadshow.co.uk.  This was the last Roadshow event of 2008 and if the other locations were anything as packed as the Newcastle one then I reckon they must have been great successes.  I was on hand as ever representing the UK Community showcasing VBUG, Developer Day events and the rest of the great work done by other user groups throughout the UK.  I got to speak to a lot of new faces and plenty of information was picked up from the UK Community Area where I was.  I hopefully will see a lot more of those new faces at local events and even hopefully national ones :).

Once again the DPE Team put on an excellent day of Technical Sessions and fed all the attendees well with a selection of pastries, ice creams, sandwiches and drinks throughout the day.  The concept of hosting the events in cinemas is one which I am familiar with having presented in a cinema when over at IMTC in Dublin last month.  For a presenter this format is great as we get to use massive displays and have a comfortable position in which to talk to a large audience.  From the other side attendees get to see presentations on a great screen, in comfortable surroundings.  The only downsides of facilities such as cinemas, are the time it can take to fill and empty the screen, the lack of an actual breakout area (we used the Cinema Foyer - which worked well) and the darkness of some cinemas.  I very much like the venue as an option and wouldn't be surprised to see similar being used again.

The technical content and delivery by Mike Taulty, Daniel Moth and Neil Kidd was as usual a very high standard.  With some very refreshing humour added, particularly by Neil - who wasn't afraid to point out some of Microsoft failings :).  All in all this was another excellent day.  Well done to the DPE team and all those who played a part in putting the Roadshow together as it was another enjoyable and useful event and we hope to see the team back in Newcastle again!



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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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