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

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NEBytes May Event - Making Powerful use of PowerShell 2.0 Easily

I'm a bit slow posting this one, especially since I was the one who planned it from the start, but better late than never. Next Wednesday evening, 19th May, I will be presenting at NEBytes in Newcastle on PowerShell 2.0. Here's the overview...

With the launch of Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2, PowerShell became part of the core OS and added a bunch of 2.0 features. In this session, aimed at existing users of PowerShell as well as beginners, we'll cover some of the new aspects of PowerShell which IT Professionals can use easily to manage their Windows systems. This will include remoting, background jobs, advanced functions, script debugging and more. There are some deep concepts at play here, but this session will make them accessible enough for you to start working straight away. For those with no experience of working with PowerShell, there will be a quick on-ramp to get you going.

Also on the bill is a developer session from Phil Pursglove entitled The Need For Speed: A Developers Guide to Velocity (aka AppFabric). That doesn't mean anything to me right now, so I'll be interested to hear that presentation myself.

The event is free (as usual), and if you want to come along, sign up at Eventbrite.


NEBytes / UK Tech Days events in April

Next month we'd already planned an event on the 3rd Wednesday as usual, when we had the opportunity to become part of Silverlight Geek, Jesse Liberty's tour of the UK & Ireland. It was too good a chance to pass up, so we're doing the regular event and a special one-off...

On Friday 19th April, Jesse will be joining us to deliver a session on "Building A Highly Extensible, Decoupled Silverlight Open Source Application with MEF and RIA Services using Lean, Test Driven Development, An International Team of Volunteer Programmers,  and lots of Advil."

This talk will use the Silverlight HyperVideo Platform open-source project on CodePlex as a case study in building highly extensible Silverlight applications. Among the topics we will focus on are:

  • New features in Silverlight 4 and how they made life easier
  • The Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF) added to Silverlight 4
  • WCF RIA Services for connection to a back-end db
  • Handling inter-module communication when the requirements are that modules cannot assume which other modules will be created, there can be no dependencies on order-of creation and unanticipated modules must be able to communicate with existing modules.
  • Using Markers, Injected Markers and polling to trigger events while viewing a video.
  • A Quick introduction to Lean, TDD and Kanban.

Registration is open and is free as usual. We are exploring the possibility of following Jesse's session with a Geek Dinner (although that won't be free). Keep an eye on the NEBytes site for more details on that.

You may want to sign up for that one as soon as possible - with the recent announcements over Windows Phone 7 Series development using Silverlight, this topic is hotter than ever.

In addition, we'd already planned April's regular event on Wednesday 21st April, where Ben Lee and myself are going to cover Office 2010, and Colin Mackay is coming to talk about "SQL Injection Attacks and Tips on How To Prevent Them".

The Office 2010 session isn't just going to be your typical tour of sparkly new features, although we will do a bit of that for people who like that sort of thing (I know I do). We're going to have some proper IT Pro content in there, so if it's your job to deploy and manage the Office suite, this session is for you. Hopefully we'll manage to fit in one or two cool things that you can go and teach the boss to help make them look good too.

Registration for the 21st is also open now.

It's also worth pointing out that we're running these as UK Tech Days fringe events. The main Tech Days events run in London, 12th - 16th April, with a full line-up for developers and for IT professionals. There are a variety of fringe events in London that week, and around the country, being run by various usergroups from this week into May.

You can follow all the UK Tech Days events by searching for the #uktechdays tag on Twitter


17th March - A good day for tech events

North East Bytes: Visual Studio 2010 and System Center

The March meeting of NEBytes is looking like a really good one with two excellent speakers making the trip up to Newcastle. For developers, we have Richard Fennell of Black Marble taking about Visual Studio 2010 and for the IT Pros, Matt McSpirit of Microsoft is coming to talk about System Center in the R2 Wave.

Richard is offering to let the audience vote on the content of his session; with so much to cover in Visual Studio 2010, he wants to make sure that his session hits the top four topics that people are interested in.

Matt's session also has a lot of ground to cover, but as a Microsoft Partner Technology Advisor, he has plenty experience to know which are the bits that are most important to the people using the technology: With more and more organisations thinking about virtualisation, there has never been a better time to investigate what the complimentary System Center management tools can bring to the table.  From deep monitoring, patching, backup, and virtual machine management, the System Center Management Suite is the most comprehensive, unified management solution in the marketplace today, for organisations big and small.  In this session, you'll learn about a number of the key technologies making up the suite, how they are licensed, and how they can help you achieve a new level of efficiency and control.

If you fancy joining us:

NB. There's a football match in Newcastle that evening, and from past experience, we know that means parking is a bit of a nightmare. You may want to check out Newcastle City Council's information on car parking before setting off.

NITKon 2010 PowerShell Day

For those closer to Norway than North East England, there's a real PowerShell treat in store for you:

The Norsk IT Konferanse 2010 (NITKon 2010) is running from 15th to 17th March in Oslo, and the 17th is going to be PowerShell Day, with Bruce Payette, Principal Developer on the PowerShell Team at Microsoft, along with PowerShell MVPs Dmitry Sotnikov, Thomas Lee and Ragnar Harper. That's a great line-up and if I wasn't already busy I'd be really temped to see if I could get there!


NEBytes February Event: Direct Access and Dynamic Consumption in C#

After over 80 attendees enjoyed the North East Bytes launch event in January, we've got another great event lined up for this month.

Direct Access has been the most requested session topic recently, so I'm very pleased to have two presenters to cover it at this meeting. We're glad to welcome Dr Dan Oliver (Managing Director of Sa-V Ltd a Newcastle based Infrastructure Optimization Microsoft Partner) back to speak, and coincidentally the day after I'd confirmed Dr Dan, Conrad Sidey from Microsoft also offered to do the session. I'm happy to say that they're going to collaborate to present Direct Access together.

From speaking to people in the IT pro community, I don't think that people are as excited about Direct Access as they will be when they realise what it gives them...

While an IT pro may sell Direct Access to the management as a "better VPN", where drives can be automatically mapped at logon and all the good stuff that the user gets from logon scripts that connect to resources on the LAN, users are pretty much used to "getting by" with the VPN they're already using. Where the story is really improved by Direct Access is that laptops hooking up to various connections around the world now stay under the scope of management, the same as any other domain computer that's wired to the LAN. I'm sure I don't need to go into detail about all the benefits of that!

There are a lot of people who appear to be scared of the requirement for IPv6, and in fairness if you don't currently have any IPv6, that isn't an insignificant barrier to entry, however you don't need your whole network to be IPv6 enabled in order to use Direct Access.

And for developers, Oliver Sturm is an experienced presenter who really knows his stuff, so his session on Dynamic Consumption in C# 4.0 should be a good one.

It should be a really good event, so grab your ticket:


Windows Server User Group

If I lived in the South East of England, I would've been going along to meetings of both the Active Directory User Group and the Windows Server Team. For those of you who do live an easily commutable distance from London, you might be interested to hear that these two groups have merged and now exist as the Windows Server User Group (WSUG).

The site is a little bit basic at the moment, but there are online forums there covering a range of Active Directory and other Windows Server topics, and knowing Mark Parris and Mark Wilson who are running the group, there'll be lots of good things to come. Even if you wouldn't find it easy to get to the group's meetings, if you work with these technologies, it may be a site you'll want to check out.