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Random Thoughts of an ASP.Net Code Monkey

TechNet on the Road and Vista After Hours

August 16, 2007 14:43 by Andrew Westgarth

Earlier this week these two events were highlighted by Phil Cross of Microsoft in an email I received.  TechNet on the Road will be running in Reading, London, Manchester, NEWCASTLE and Falkirk.  Vista After Hours is running in Manchester, NEWCASTLE, Falkirk and London.   These look to be great events for IT Pros and even for Developers who have an interest.

The following information on the events was taken from the latest Technet Flash Newsletter:

TechNet on the Road
This new-style TechNet event, featuring powerful product demos, will start by explaining the environment we'll be working in, and then use Windows Deployment Services to jump straight into a server deployment. The new server will form part of a server cluster. We'll generate workloads to run on the cluster, using Windows Server Virtualisation, with which we'll create a number of Virtual Machines - Domain Controller, DNS and DHCP VMs. We'll also create a Windows Server 2008 'Server Core' installation. Next we'll explore clustering further, specifically the failing over of workloads between nodes. We'll close with a session dedicated to managing this infrastructure, using tools such as System Centre Operations Manager (SCOM, formerly Microsoft Operations Manager, MOM), System Centre Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) and PowerShell, the fantastic new command-line shell and scripting language.

20 September 2007, Manchester: Creating and Managing a Virtual environment on the Microsoft Platform

21 September 2007, Reading: Creating and Managing a Virtual Environment on the Microsoft Platform

25 September 2007, Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Creating and Managing a Virtual environment on the Microsoft Platform

27 September 2007, Falkirk: Creating and Managing a Virtual environment on the Microsoft Platform

03 October 2007, London: Creating and Managing a Virtual Environment on the Microsoft Platform

Vista After Hours
You may be familiar with Windows Vista at work - whether you have deployed it or are evaluating it - but have you ever thought about the possibilities of Vista outside work? This session, aimed at IT professionals, explores not only the built in elements of Vista (such as Search, Photo Gallery, Windows Movie Maker, and the Networking and Sharing Centre) but also how you can extend your Windows Vista Experience with Windows Media Centre, Xbox 360 and specific applications to open up a new world of gaming and home entertainment.

20 September 2007, Manchester: Vista After Hours

25 September 2007, Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Vista After Hours

27 September 2007, Falkirk: Vista After Hours

03 October 2007, London: Vista After Hours


I am thinking of attending at least the Vista After Hours event in Newcastle and maybe the full day on Windows Server 2008 too, so if you're attending I might see you there!

Win a ticket to TechEd Developers with NxtGenUG and Microsoft.

August 6, 2007 10:16 by Andrew Westgarth

NxtGenUG is offering one lucky winner a ticket to Microsoft?s premier European developer conference : TechEd Developers in Barcelona : November 5th - 9th 2007. To be in with a chance to win the ticket register on the NxtGenUG site and enter the TechEd ticket treasure hunt. [Terms and conditions apply]. Visit the NxtGenUG TechEd home page for more details...

MIX:07 UK! - Registration Open Now!!

July 27, 2007 14:30 by Andrew Westgarth

MIX:07 UK Logo

Registration opened this week for MIX:07 UK. There is an early bird price on offer at present of £199 which is only available till 10th August. There is a great line up planned and this looks to be a great event. To register to the MIX:07 UK website -

MIX UK! - September 11th & 12th 2007

June 24, 2007 23:43 by Andrew Westgarth

MIX:07 UK Logo

Last week Microsoft announced the forthcoming MIX:07 2 day conference in the UK. This is lined up to be a UK based event based on the MIX event held in Las Vegas in April, however the content will be updated to reflect developments since then.

Registration is not open yet, however to register your interest in the event and to get all the info as soon as it's available visit the MIX:07 UK website -

TechEd Europe 2007 Dates Announced, PDC Postponed

June 1, 2007 00:00 by Andrew Westgarth

The registration for TechEd Europe 2007 opened last week. The dates for Tech Ed Developers are 5th - 9th November and Tech Ed IT Forum 12th - 16th November 2007. Currently there is a Super Early Bird offer open for registrants until 31st July 2007.

Once again the event is to be held in Barcelona and this year is a full five day conference. This an excellent event to go to and learn from, I managed to learn an awful lot last year, if you get the opportunity to attend, grab it with both hands.

On a separate note PDC has been postponed, which is a shame, but it appears that the decision has been made for the right reasons. For further information visit

VS Orcas Beta 1 and Longhorn Server Beta 3 Released this Week!

April 26, 2007 10:30 by Andrew Westgarth

Phew, what a busy week on Monday we had the announcement that Visual Studio Orcas Beta 1 had shipped. The ISO images of this are available to MSDN Subscribers currently but they will be made available soon. There are also VS Orcas Team Suite Edition and there is a VS Orcas Team Suite Edition with Team Server (Which I'm downloading now - boy it's huge!). To get these downloads and to keep an eye out for the release of ISO images got to this link -

If that wasn't enough, I arrive at work at 6:30 this morning to find an email telling me Longhorn Server Beta 3 had shipped! I'm currently downloading this too! Can't wait to take a look at it! To download it go to also why not take a look at the coverage on Channel 9.

Upcoming VBUG North East Meetings

March 23, 2007 14:54 by Andrew Westgarth

We have a number of events planned for VBUG in the North East of England over the coming months, indeed we have a meeting a week on Tuesday. Here are the details of the forthcoming events. For the events in May, July and beyond further information will be available soon.

Tuesday April 3rd 2007 - Creating Rich User Experiences with Expression, WPF and "WPF/E" with Mark Johnston

Mark Johnston, Developer & Platform at Microsoft UK, will introduce ?WPF/E? and Expression. ?WPF/E? is the codename for a new rich internet technology that allows developers & designers to create very rich applications that are delivered cross-browser & cross-platform. He will introduce the technology, show some sample apps & create an app using Expression & Visual Studio tools. Expression is a range of tools aimed at designers wanting to create rich user experiences on the desktop & on the web.

Venue: - Northumbria University, Ellison Place, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 8ST - Virtual Earth Map

Time: 18:30 - 21:00 (19:00 Start)

To book email or call 01753 649680

Thursday May 31st 2007 - IIS 7 For ASP.Net Developers with me, Andy Westgarth!

With the launch of Windows Vista came Internet Information Server 7.0. IIS7 is the latest release of Microsofts Web Server which will form part of the forthcoming Windows Longhorn Server. With this release comes a new extensibility model which gives us more options than ever before. During the session we will investigate the new model, look at extending IIS7, configuring IIS 7, develop new modules for IIS and take a look at the new UI for managing IIS7.

Venue: - Newcastle Full details to be confirmed

Time: 18:30 - 21:00 (19:00 Start)

To book email or call 01753 649680

Wednesday July 11th 2007 - Ruby On Rails with Dave Verwer

This session gives a first look at Ruby on Rails as both a language (Ruby) & a web development framework (Rails). With all of the buzz & hype around this new technology, this session will give a view of it from the perspective of somone familiar with Microsoft .NET development tools and technologies. It will cover some of the basics of Ruby as a language & will then show some of what can be done with Ruby on Rails.

Venue: - Newcastle Full details to be confirmed

Time: 18:30 - 21:00 (19:00 Start)

To book email or call 01753 649680

For information all events running across the country at various venues go to the VBUG Events Page and take a look, or why not subscribe to the VBUG Events RSS feed?

Hope to see you at an event soon!

New User Group for the Bristol Area

March 23, 2007 14:39 by Andrew Westgarth

Guy Smith-Ferrier, one of the Four Chaps From Blighty, emailed this week to tell me of a new user group for the Bristol Area. Here's the information Guy sent through:

The UK has a new user group, The .NET Developer Network ( The .NET Developer Network is a free user group based in Bristol (England) that serves .NET developers in the South West of England. The aim is to develop and promote the .NET developers, architects and IT pros of Bristol and the South West. Through monthly meetings we expect to generate a lively community and act as a focal point for the professionals of this area.

The first meeting is on Monday 23rd April 2007 (St. George's Day) and features a whole evening with Mike Taulty (Microsoft Developer Evangelist) giving two sessions on LINQ:-

  • Introduction to Language Integrated Query ? Language Changes in C# 3.0 and VB9 that facilitate LINQ
  • LINQ and Advances for Data Access

More details available here. To attend you need to be a member (it's free, just register) and then sign up for the meeting (see the details on the site).

Come down to the first ever .NET Developer Network meeting and be able to tell people that you were there at the very beginning.

MSDN Roadshow 2007 Harrogate

March 14, 2007 00:05 by Andrew Westgarth

Today, I attended the MSDN Roadshow in Harrogate. The community was well represented with myself and Phil Winstanley in attendance on hand to answer questions and queries about how the community can assist developers. Phil is the Regional Coordinator for Manchester VBUG and is also involved with the organisation of DDD and he is one of the principal organisers of WebDD. On top of all that Phil is an MVP and ASP Insider.

The day was split into five sessions, each comprising of 60 minutes on the following topics plus 10 minutes on Office 2007.

The sessions were very interesting and I saw some new content on LINQ and through Daniel and Mike's sessions I have been able to see how it can be used in Real World Applications as previously the sessions I've seen on LINQ have left me wondering if it can actually be used in an enterprise environment, but now I have the initial threads of interest to go and look into it further to look at how it could be implemented. Mike Ormond's session on AJAX development showed how to extend ASP.Net 2.0 applications to take advantage of the AJAX for ASP.Net 2.0 Library and how to begin to optimise AJAX enabled pages. I have been using AJAX for quite a while now, approximately 12 months (Betas, Release Candidates etc) and after this session I realised there are still some things I can learn.

Mark Johnston covered WPF and WPF/E and took delegates through developing applications for both using Expression Blend, Design and Visual Studio 2005. Mark also showed some interesting examples of how WPF is being used. Martin Parry finished off the day by exploring the Windows Live platform. This includes Live Messenger, Live Search, Live Expo, Live Spaces, Live Contacts, for more information on what's available visit the Live Developer Centre. As mentioned previously I saw a session of Windows Live at Tech Ed and it is certainly a very interesting platform to work from. It is expected there will be further detail on the platform at the upcoming MIX 07 Conference. Martin demoed building apps to make use of the SDKs for developing apps against Virtual Earth, Live Search and Live Contacts.

All in all it was a very useful and interesting day and well worth attending. I recommend the MSDN Roadshow events to anyone who can attend, they are usually very well attended and full of lots of useful information and thought provoking sessions. Keep an eye on MSDN Events for future events and why not sign up for the MSDN Flash Newsletter, which is sent out by the MSDN team fortnightly with some interesting articles and details of both Microsoft and Community events around the country.

For all of the slides and additional resources from the MSDN Roadshow go to

Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 Update for Windows Vista

March 8, 2007 01:55 by Andrew Westgarth

Wow no posts for a while then three come along at once, sorry they've come at once been a little busy.

Just released is the Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 Update for Windows Vista. This release had previously been available as a beta but has now been fully released and can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center at the following link:


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