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Random Thoughts of an ASP.Net Code Monkey

VBUG Conference featured on NxtGenUG Podcast 43 - The One With Bruce....

November 4, 2007 14:44 by Andrew Westgarth

The latest podcast, Number 43 -, from Dave McMahon and Richard Costall, from NxtGenUG, features interviews from the VBUG Conference.  Dave interviewed Keynote Speaker, Ken Spencer and they discuss the Microsoft Regional Director Program and the keynote and sessions which Ken presented at the conference.  Dave catches up with delegates Mark Whitelock and Martin Sarosi from Engica, he talks to Rob Macdonald about the conference agenda and Dave chats with Tim Leung and I about our first conference as Vice Chair and Chair respectively, and our thoughts on the conference and VBUG.  This podcast along with their other productions are well worth listening and subscribing too.  Tim and I turned the tables on Dave after our interview and the results of that will be found on the forthcoming inaugural VBUG Podcast coming very soon...  watch this space!

Book Review: IIS7 Implementation and Administration

November 1, 2007 04:15 by Andrew Westgarth

IIS7ImplementationAndAdministration This year I made my first steps on to the speaker circuit with a presentation on IIS7 for ASP.Net Developers.  IIS (Internet Information Server) is used the world over by many web developers on which to host their applications.  I have been dealing with IIS for a number of years, in both a Developer role but also as Administrator of a number of web servers and web farms.  This is where my interest in IIS has come from over the years.  IIS is a very stable platform and with IIS7 we know have, what Microsoft term as the most significant release of IIS since version 1.0, and I have to agree.

I recently got hold of a copy of this book: IIS7 Implementation and Administration written by John Paul Mueller.  This title appears to be very popular, and after speaking to Martin from Computer Manuals it would appear that is flying off the shelves. 

As stated earlier I am able to attack a review of this title from both an Administrators point of view and that of a developer.  The book is well structured and  at just over 360 pages in length it slotted nicely into my laptop backpack for carrying around with me on my recent engagements.  Split into three sections - Using IIS7; Configuring Older Applications; and Configuring Application Security  - the book is a great starting guide to using IIS7.  The first section gets the reader to grips with the basics of working with files and the new UI within IIS7 and gives enough information and detail with which to get up and running with IIS7.  In the Configuring Older Applications section, John Paul, guides the reader through working with ASP, IIS6 Manager and other application types such as PHP and ColdFusion.  This a key section for those looking to upgrade to IIS7 and take advantage of the new features and integrated pipeline but still running ASP/PHP/ColdFusion etc applications in addition/instead of ASP.Net Applications.

The final section of the book primarily covers Application Security, but also covers connecting to databases, globalization, application performance and application configuration.  This final section is goes into quite a high level of detail and although I have covered .Net Roles and Profiles quite extensively I still found this section very very useful.  In my presentations I cover the ApplicationHost.Config and Administration.Config files and this section covers the structure of the configuration files well and covers the question of administration delegation well and highlights the associated risks and benefits.

This book was a joy to read and I think that is suitable for beginners and experienced developers and administrators alike.  The book covers a lot of the new features which many developers are aware of, but now they are integrated into the pipeline, administrators can now read about and understand to help communicate with developers on an more level plain.  This book is a great guide to IIS7 and I would recommend it to anyone who has either previous experience with IIS or who are just getting into it and want to know more about IIS7 as a development and hosting platform.

Book Details:

Title: IIS7 Implementation and Administration

Author: John Paul Mueller

Publisher: Sybex

Link to purchase on Computer Manuals :

UK MSDN Flash - Keep 18th and 19th March 2008 Free!!!??

November 1, 2007 03:28 by Andrew Westgarth

Yesterday I received the UK MSDN Flash Newsletter edited by Daniel Moth.  In the intro Daniel intimated that something big will be happening on the 18th and 19th March 2008 and it will probably be in London.  I am very intrigued now as I'm sure many of you are too.  So as Daniel says - keep the dates free, you have been warned.

If you don't subscribe to UK MSDN Flash Newsletter, it is released fortnightly and well worth subscribing too -

Categories: Microsoft
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CANCELLED: VBUG Newcastle: Developing on the Windows Live Platform with Martin Parry - 1st November 2007

October 30, 2007 04:53 by Andrew Westgarth

Unfortunately, this Thursday's VBUG Meeting in Newcastle - Developing on the Windows Live Platform with Martin Parry - has had to be cancelled due to Martin no longer being able to make the trip for personal reasons.  We hope to reschedule this event for another evening soon. 

In the meantime if you are looking for a topic to be covered in the North East soon, I am looking at planning the next six months of VBUG meetings and would welcome any topic requests/suggestions.  Please contact me via VBUG or via the contact page on my blog.

Categories: Events | VBUG
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VBUG: Daniel Moth Comes to Coventry on Thursday 1st November

October 29, 2007 14:04 by Andrew Westgarth

danielmoth On Thursday 1st November Daniel Moth will be in Coventry covering Visual Studio 2008 for Web Developers so if you are in or based in or around Coventry why not go along on Thursday and listen to Daniel, who is an excellent speaker and this session is well worth attending.  Registration is free and the details are:

Topic: VBUG: Visual Studio 2008 for the web developer” with Daniel Moth

Visual Studio 2008 (formerly code named “Orcas”) brings with it a host of features for the web developer. In this session, we demonstrate the benefits you can get out of the Visual Studio toolset when working on your existing ASP.NET 2.0 projects as well as for new ASP.NET 3.5 projects. There are many improvements in the IDE so we’ll need to focus on JavaScript Intellisense and debugging improvements, the new designer, CSS enhancements and a few more.

Location: Coventry City Council's Corporate Training Centre, Mill Lane, Coventry. CV1 2LQ

Price: FREE

For more information and to book online go to:

HOWTO: Enable Scaling on NVidia Quadro NVS 120M

October 29, 2007 11:06 by Andrew Westgarth

At the recent VBUG conference I had an issue with my video adapter in my laptop.  I arrived after sitting in traffic getting from one side of Reading to the other to get to TVP, and got through registration and went into Chicago 1 to prepare for the opening and keynote of the VBUG Conference.  I plugged my laptop into the equipment so I could present the opening section of the conference.  But found that although the display via the projection equipment was fine, the display on my laptop had resized my screen down to just a small 1024x768 resolution screen in the middle of my laptop screen :-(.  I was more than a little concerned by this as I was presenting again in Chicago 1 over the course of the two day conference, and back in June I had presented in Chicago 2 with no problems.  I spent a little while trying to get it to expand the display to the full width and height of my screen to no avail, and so decided to look at it later.

Later on during the day I found out what the problem was to do with an update to the nVidia driver (which I installed in July) settings changing a default setting relating to the way in which the display extended.  I managed to fix this minor issue and thought I'd post details for anyone else who has a similar setup to avoid the ensuing panic and frustration which built up as I tried to figure out what was wrong.

I have a Dell Latitude D820 and the graphics device in this setup is the nVidia Quadro NVS 120M 256MB. To get your display to expand to the full available screen no matter which resolution you are running under do the following:

Go to the nVidia Control Panel (This can be accessed via the context menu on the desktop or via Control Panel)


Select the Display option and then on the following screen:


Next Select Change the panel scaling


Next select "Use NVIDIA Scaling" to force the display to scale out to use the full screen available.

I hope this is useful to owners of this laptop graphics card, let me know if you've suffered this pain too.

DDD6 - Registration Full in a Day!!

October 25, 2007 06:37 by Andrew Westgarth

I've just been alerted by Gary Short, to the fact that DDD6 Registration is full already!  Wow, full in one day!!  There is a waiting list in operation now, so keep registering - you may still get a chance to get to DDD6.  Important! - If you have registered but find that you can't attend please let Microsoft Events know so they can allocate your place to someone on the waiting list.  This just proves how popular the DDD events are!

TechNet On the Road is Returning to Newcastle in December!

October 24, 2007 15:31 by Andrew Westgarth

The TechNet team are returning to Newcastle in December for a series of events.  I was at the last event last month where Steve Lamb and James O'Neill covered Virtualisation on the Windows Server Platform.  This was a great event and was heavily weighted towards demos as opposed to lots of slides.  This was a different type of event for me as it covered IT Pro topics, however it was very interesting and an enjoyable day.  The TechNet team are coming back to Newcastle in December and if you're an IT Pro and the topics are of relevance I suggest you register quickly to firstly reserve your place, but secondly to show how welcome these events are in the North East.

Viral Tarpara and Andrew Fryer will be covering Beyond SharePoint: Advanced Solutions in Business Intelligence and Enterprise Search with Microsoft Office Performance Point Server 2007 (MOPPS) and Microsoft Enterprise Search -

James O'Neill and Steve Lamb will be covering How to take online backups of running applications via System Center Data Protection Manager AND how to provide secure remote access to applications via Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services -

Andrew Fryer will round off the day with an evening session - Eight reasons to migrate to SQL Server 2008 -

Register now to avoid disappointment.

Categories: MS Events
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Recruiting in IT - Recruited, or Recruiting - Had Many Problems?

October 24, 2007 15:14 by Andrew Westgarth

In the past year I have been involved in a number of conversations with fellow UK Developer Community Members about the subject of Recruiting in IT and primarily the problem of getting the right people in to fill positions in our organisations.  Colin Mackay has proposed a session for the forthcoming DDD6 and this has been voted on to the agenda.  Colin now needs your help with questions for the panel.  The details of the session, have been sent to me by Colin for more details read below.

A panel of experts will answer the audiences questions on the subject of recruitment chaired by Colin Mackay. This session is for you if you are looking for a job and want to find out what companies are looking for. You are trying to hire someone but don't know what to look for. You have been burned in the past and don't want to repeat the experience. You have a question about recruitment no one else seems to have an answer to.

There will be a question box on the day for you to post your questions, but if you want to email in advance, you can email your questions to Submissions by email close at 23:59 on the 23rd November.

The panel is:

Sarah Blow: Founder of Girl Geek Dinners and software Engineer at Cardinal Health.  She has grown up around technology and HR with parents in both industry sectors and works closely with Women & Technology and companies to create a better understanding about how women may be recruited in different ways to men.

Barry Dorrans: Senior consultant for Charteris PLC and Microsoft MVP. When interviewing he takes the red pen and becomes intellisense for whiteboards.

Frank Kerrigan: Development team lead for Erinaceous Insurance Services in Glasgow. His team writes enterprise applications for internal customers using C# and SQL Server. Frank has been in devolvement and support of enterprise systems for 15 years.

Karl Lightfoot: Recruitment Consultant that for the last 9 years day in day out has only been recruiting developers in the Midlands region for the largest IT Recruitment consultancy in the UK. He has successfully recruited for large and small corporations through different market states of the supply / demand of talented Developers from Visual Basic 3 to .Net 2005.

Students! - Web 2.0 Competition

October 24, 2007 15:04 by Andrew Westgarth

Sarah Blow, organiser of the Girl Geek Dinners has a great competition running, but time is running out to enter as the prize is two conference tickets for the Web 2.0 Expo in Germany from the 5th to the 8th November.  This competition is open to Female University Students in the UK.  This is an excellent opportunity and this looks to be an excellent conference with a great line up of speakers including Tim O'Reilly and Kathy Sierra.  For more information and to enter go to the Girly Geekdom Blog -


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