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Twitter, Usergroups and Podcasts (or “What the heck have I been up to lately?!”)

I know that I’m a sporadic blogger at best, but I’ve been more sporadic than usual this year. You more than likely haven’t been losing sleep wondering where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to, but here it is anyway. Frankly, I’ve got a baby who, although well behaved, takes up a lot of time when I’m not doing my day job, but that hasn’t been enough to stop me taking big gulps from the firehose of life! ;-)

Tweeter Tags

I’m very much sold on Twitter (I’d love for you to follow @jonoble) and I’ve made quite a few friends locally who I may not have otherwise met if not for the service. In discussing Twitter with those friends, we decided that we’d been quite lucky to find each other as Twitter doesn’t make it particularly easy to find like-minded people. From those sorts of conversations, we built Tweeter Tags. The first meeting that we had was on 28th December (which was actually the first time that all of the team of 4 had met) and by 5th February we’d taken version 1 of the site into public beta.

Tweeter Tags basically lets you add tags (they can be whatever you want) to your Twitter account. You can browse through the tags, see who else has added them, see what other tags those people have added and then follow them on Twitter. “Why would you want to do that?” – I can hear the uninitiated among you ask; well it’s simple really…

Twitter may be labelled as a “micro-blogging” platform, but I prefer to describe it as “broadcast IM” – like Instant Messaging, but where other people can see the conversation and join in. Like any conversation, it flows better and you gain more from it if you have things in common with the other parties. That’s what we’re trying to enable.

If you’re already using Twitter, it only takes a moment to sign up to and tag yourself. We’ve got a bunch of new features planned for the site in the near future, so follow @TweeterTags and add to your RSS reader to keep up to date.

PowerShell Presentations and Podcast Interview

Last month I went down to Microsoft’s London office at Cardinal Place to a TechNet event where James O’Neill and Richard Siddaway were talking about PowerShell V2. Following on from that, I sat down with Jonathan Medd for a very enjoyable interview for the Get-Scripting podcast, where we talked about Tech·Ed, why PowerShell and its community are so great, and Tweeter Tags.

In the evening Richard had arranged a meeting of the UK PowerShell User Group where I did a presentation entitled “Hitting Moving Targets with PowerShell”. In fairness, the title was more snappy than the presentation because some initial technical glitches with Live Meeting (it was streaming live online too) meant that I had to sit in front of my laptop to drive what people were seeing and talk into James’ for the online audio. I still think it went pretty well though.

I spent most of the time talking about the PowerShell scripts that I use to manage bits of the Windows Infrastructure at Newcastle University, but I’d put a couple of slides and a demo in at the end to talk about using PowerShell with Twitter* and Tweeter Tags. Funnily enough, in the pizza break afterwards that was nearly all that people wanted to talk to me about! I’ve put the slide deck on SkyDrive if you’re interested.

* James subsequently wrote an excellent post about PowerShelling Twitter, which included this fantastic Hugh MacLeod cartoon:

Back in Newcastle, I did an introduction to PowerShell at the February Super Mondays meeting. I’m definitely a fan of Super Mondays – monthly IT community events held on the University campus, which cover a range of topics by the members of that community. I only had a short time, so this one was all demo. I used the Start-Demo script from the PowerShell Team Blog to run through a demo file (which I have put, along with supporting files, in my SkyDrive Public folder). I’ve got to say that I really enjoyed presenting and listening to content from the event. If future months are half as good the Super Mondays crowd will just keep on growing.

The very next day, I was on campus late again for a meeting of VBUG Newcastle, where Eric Nelson presented on Parallel Development with .NET 4.0. I’m working with Andrew Westgarth from VBUG to put on user group events in for developers (his area) and IT Professionals (mine). I’ll have more to say about that in another post very soon!


Free events in Newcastle next week

I’ll be at these two events next week on the Newcastle University campus. If you’re in the area, come along – they’re both free…

I will be preseting a brief introduction to Windows PowerShell at this month's Super Mondays event in the Beehive (Old Library Building) on the 23rd at 18:00. These events are growing rapidly and well worth attending - the topics are usually diverse enough that there should be something of interest to everyone. See for the full line-up and the Upcoming link if you're attending. I hope to see you there.

The postponed VBUG Newcastle developer event on "Parallel Programming in .NET (VS2010)" with Eric Nelson has now been rearranged for Tuesday 24th February at 18:30 in Claremont Tower room 118. Sign up at:

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