North East Bytes - a Microsoft technology usergroup in North East England.

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PowerShell MVP for another year

My 2014 started out with the news that I've received my 4th Microsoft MVP Award for PowerShell, which contrasted wonderfully with the end of 2013 when I had a rather nasty fall and was lucky to not break a few bones (although I do still feel pretty sore).

I've learned from experience not to bother making New Year's Resolutions, but going forward I do have a plan to work smarter (see my last post on The Phoenix Project) and to take advantage of working in a tall building to get some exerise up and down the stairs!


You've got to read this!

If you work in IT (heck, even if your business has any IT - so that's all of you), then there's a book that you should read; "The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win".

Regardless of your specific role, I'm certain that you'll learn something useful (and more importantly, actionable). I've changed my approach to doing a few things already based on lessons I've taken from the book and I still need to process some more ideas around how to do stuff better. I expect that I'll be reading it at least one more time through so that I don't miss anything that I could make use of.

One month ago, I'd never heard about this book. Of all the interesting and useful things that I took away from the Microsoft Global MVP Summit this November, I suspect that this will have the greatest impact. Fellow PowerShell MVP Steven Murawski often talks about DevOps and recommends this book in his presentations. He's such a fan of the book that he brought a bunch of copies to give out and I was very glad to receive one after hearing him extol its virtues. (Thanks Steven!)

Having read the first few chapters on the flight back from Seattle, on landing I purchased the Kindle edition from Amazon UK so that I could carry it around on my Kindle and phone in order to reduce the barriers to being able to consume it!

Personally, I love the approach that this book takes. By encompassing so much useful information about ITSM, DevOps methodologies and much more in a novel with an engaging storyline, I was able to read it much more easily and quickly that many of the dry technical texts that bog down our industry. I think that it also helped me to digest the information and apply it to my work situation more easily, even though I work in a significantly different type of organisation to that in the story.

The bottom line is that this isn't just a good book, it's an important book. You should read it at the first available opportunity. We'll all be the better for it.


Free events for IT Pros in Newcastle on 25th November

On Monday 25th November, St James' Park in Newcastle is the venue for three free events for IT professionals covering a range of Microsoft technologies.

During the day, the MVP Cloud OS Relay and SQL Relay 2012R2 have great line-ups of MVPs and other experts in Windows Server, System Center, Hyper-V, Office 365, Azure, SQL and Business Intelligence.

In the evening, the Windows User Group takes over with an event covering Windows 8.1, deployment, MDOP and Office 2013.

The schedule for the Cloud OS event is at and free sign-up is at

The SQL Relay event has sold out, but if you're desperately interested in any of the sessions at you can register for the Cloud OS event and switch tracks throughout the day if there's capacity in the room.

Sign up for the evening event is at

Hopefully I'll see you there!


Microsoft UK Tech Days Online starts tomorrow

For 3 days (6-8 Nov) Microsoft UK is running their Tech Days Online event, covering (day 1) Windows Client for IT Pros and Developers, (day 2) Server and Cloud for IT Pros, and (day 3) Visual Studio, Azure, Dev tools for Developers.

The late morning slot is where the headline content is because on Wednesday they have an intereview with outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, and on Thursday they have me ;-) talking about PowerShell, with a focus on Desired State Configuration.

As The Register says, "Microsoft TechDays Online is a lovely opportunity for IT pros and developers to beef up on the latest developments in Microsoft client, server, cloud, system management and developer tools technologies."

It's all free, and you can register at


PowerShell 4.0 DSC presentation at NEBytes

For those in or around North East England next Wednesday (28th August), I'm going to be doing a presentation at NEBytes on PowerShell 4.0, with a focus on Desired State Configuration.

If you haven't heard of DSC before, it's a really big deal - a new set of cmdlets and language extensions provide the ability to declaratively specify the configuration of your environment and maintain the desired state of your systems.

I'm going to cover what DSC can do for you, showing how to define and deploy configuration scripts, as well as touching on some of the other new features of PowerShell 4.0.

The event is free to attend, but we do ask that you register here:

As if PowerShell DSC wasn't enough, we've also got my partner-in-crime, Andy Westgarth talking about developing with Windows Azure Media Services.