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Random Thoughts of an ASP.Net Code Monkey

Windows SideShow for Windows Mobile Developer Preview Released

June 10, 2008 14:40 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 - 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 - 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

Windows Vista SP1 Beta Announced

August 30, 2007 10:38 by Andrew Westgarth

Yesterday, the Windows Vista Team, announced on their Blog, the forthcoming release of a beta of Windows Vista Service Pack 1.  The release of the beta is expected to be in the next few weeks, with the team working on a full release for the first quarter of 2008.

For more information check out the following:

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!

Developing Web Applications using Visual Studio 2005 and IIS7

June 21, 2007 10:39 by Andrew Westgarth

I got into work this morning and checked my feeds and noticed this post - Solution/Hotfix: Developing web applications using Visual Studio 2005 and IIS7 from the Web Development Tools Team.

A hotfix has been released for Visual Studio 2005 to aid F5 debugging with Visual Studio 2005 and it also enables debugging with Vista Home Versions! Check it out now!

EVO Launch Scotland - Slides, Answers, Links and Samples

March 31, 2007 00:09 by Andrew Westgarth

On Tuesday, 27th March, I delivered the EVO (Exchange, Vista and Office) Launch event at the Microsoft Offices in Edinburgh for VBUG Scotland. In this packed session I attempted to cover as many of the new features for Developers to be aware of in the new products Vista and Office 2007. Unfortunately the session overran and thanks to those who stayed that extra bit longer to hear some more. The slides are linked below, if you wish to take a look at them and if you have any questions please email me using the contact form and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

I enjoyed coming up to Scotland and enjoyed delivering the event, gained more experience and had some interesting conversations with delegates, listening to opinions on the new software and their experiences with Vista and Office. Questions were plentiful and interesting and a couple which I had to do some further research on are detailed below.

  • Network Access Protection - How is it configured and how is it managed in infrastructure - is it a Vista only feature?
  • Manifest files in UAC aware applications, are the elevation rights defined for application or process?

To tackle Network Access Protection, this is a feature which enforces policies on networks as to requirements for clients to connect to the network, this is achieved by checking computers against a defined security policy. The infrastructure involved primarily includes servers running Windows Server "Longhorn" and a Network Policy Server (NPS) which enables centralised policy configurationa and evaluation of the client health state. There is also a Network Access Protection Client currently in beta testing for Windows XP Clients. For more information see the Technet Network Access Protection pages.

Manifest files in UAC aware applications are used in applications to inform the Operating System of what the application needs, this will become a mandatory requirement for applications as Operating Systems evolve even further. The manifest schema is used to allow developers to set attributes to detail the requested execution level - for more information see the "Developer Best Practives and Guidelines for Applications in a Least Privileged Environment Documents on MSDN.

Resources, Slides and Code Samples from the session

Daniel Moth's Blog - A great source for lots of Vista examples, Daniel covers UAC, Sidebar, Sideshow. Indeed the samples I used were created with the help of his MSDN Nuggets

Check out Channel9's coverage of Windows Vista, plenty of Videos and Screencasts to take a look at

Windows Vista Developer Centre on MSDN and go and download the Windows SDK (warning this is a very big file!).

For more resources see the slides from the session. The slides are available in both Office 2007 - pptx format and Office 97-2003 ppt format:

Hello World SideBar Gadget Sample

NextGenUG EVO Launch Event

March 8, 2007 01:55 by Andrew Westgarth

A lot of the community groups are holding EVO Launch events at the moment and NxtGenUG recently held their event in Coventry and from the article on their site it looked to be a complete hoot! Of particular interest is Dave McMahon's show stealing ReadyBoost song, check out the article and watch the video, hosted on Soapbox, of Dave's ReadyBoost Song.

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:

Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor

February 7, 2007 11:20 by Andrew Westgarth

At the recent EVO Launch event I mentioned a tool called the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor. This tool cans your system and produces a report which will inform you of any issues which may prevent upgrading to Windows Vista, recommend ways to resolve them and it can help you choose the right version of Vista to fit the way you use your computer. I hope this helps anyone who is looking to upgrade to Vista but is not sure whether or not their machine is capable.

To download the Upgrade Avisor go to the upgrade section of the Windows Vista site.

Windows Vista Parental Controls - Activity Logging

February 4, 2007 19:44 by Andrew Westgarth

A question that was posed to me at the recent VBUG EVO Launch event was do Parental Controls have to be enabled in order to get the Activity Log reports? I have looked into this further and played with my installation of Vista RC1 and have found that yes Parental Controls need to be enabled to track the Users' activity on the machine. This can be turned off but by default when Parental Controls are enabled on a user, so are the activity logs. The actvitity logs can also only monitor standard users they cannot be used to monitor Administrator Accounts.

FOr more information check out the section on Parental Controls in MSDN Library.

Review and Slides: VBUG EVO Launch, Newcastle, Tuesday 20th January 2007

February 2, 2007 13:09 by Andrew Westgarth

On Tuesday evening, John Price and I delivered the VBUG North East EVO (Exchange, Vista and Office) Launch Event. Big thanks go to John Price for presenting with me, sharing the work, providing great support, delivering a great presentation and travelling from the East Midlands, it was very much appreciated John, Thank You! Thanks must also go to John Timney for arranging the venue and to BT for providing the venue.

We had a good turnout and the topics we covered were well received. Plenty of swag was distributed. We covered Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft Office System.

Admittedly there was an awful lot of content and there was possibly too much to cover in one session. I will bear this in mind for any future launch events and indeed, in my own presentations. Thanks go to those who attended, I hope you all enjoyed the event and if you have any questions about the EVO Launch, previous or upcoming events, or questions about VBUG please email me on

The slides are available in both pptx (Office 2007) and ppt (Office 2003-97) formats:

I look forward to seeing you at the next event in late March, early April, further details to follow soon.


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