North East Bytes - Microsoft Technology Usergroup in the North East of England

New Opportunities with Orchid Software!

Orchid Software, valued supporters of NEBytes, are looking to fill three fantastic roles!


Who are we?

We are Orchid Software, the North East-based development house behind Orchidnet - the UK's number 1 intranet product. Our software is used every day by over 150,000 people across a wide range of sectors, and organisations as diverse as ITV, Nissan, Pinewood Studios, Northern Rock and the Royal Academy of Music rely on Orchidnet intranet software to bring their business operations online.

What do we do?

We develop and build Orchidnet, our own proprietarily-developed intranet software. Orchidnet is a feature-rich intranet product, with 90 applications that let organisations bring their business operations online using nothing more than a web browser. Our applications include everything from traditional business tools to social media functionality, .

How do we do it?

Working closely with our customers is what sets us apart from the competition. Our success comes from creating software based on real-life requirements, and we take a long-term approach to each of our installations. As well as customer development, our commitment to wider R&D helps us adapt our software to new technologies and changing business practices as they arrive.

Who are we looking for?

We have three positions available:

· Senior Web Development Manager

· Head of Technical Support

· Web Developer

The Web Developer role is suited to candidates with good technical knowledge and software development experience; the other two roles also require technical ability and knowledge of development, in addition to experience of managing a team and coordinating projects to meet specific deadlines.

Our people tend have a few things in common: an incredible initiative, real intelligence and a passion for what they do; if you're clever, ambitious, and want a career with a company that is going places, then we would like to hear from you.

For more information check out

ByteCast 10: Its all a bit MIX’d up

Welcome to this months Bytecast, today for your pleasure and enjoyment we have Damien, Andrew and Ben. Topics include the recent MIX conference, an unhealthy dose of WP7 news and some other general techyness.

Get the file here: ByteCast 10: Its all MIX'd up


(Don’t forget you can subscribe to NEBytes ByteCast via iTunes, or just follow the RSS feed in your favourite player: NEBytes ByteCast feed or NEBytes ByteCast feed for iTunes)

NEBytes May 2011: Special–The Natural Laws of Software Performance

Join us for our fifth event of 2011, where we are very happy to welcome Kendall Miller, Principal at eSymmetrix as he tours the UK.

Date: Tuesday 10th May 2011

Time: 18:30 – 21:00

The Natural Laws of Software Performance

Just like you can't defeat the laws of physics there are natural laws that ultimately decide software performance. Even the latest technology beta is still bound by Newton's laws, and you can't change the speed of light, even in the cloud!

Kendall will dive into examples of how technology has changed the tactics of high performance but is still at the mercy of these natural laws. Understanding them will help you create applications that scale without arcane tricks or endless hardware. No actual Physics will be abused in the talk, just bad software.

Kendall Miller is one of the founding partners of Gibraltar Software, an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) that develops & markets commercial applications for .NET developers including: Gibraltar – an application logging & monitoring platform; and VistaDB – a small-footprint, SQL Server-compatible embedded database engine. Both products are used by customers around the world ranging from individual consultants through Fortune 100 companies and governments.

Before starting Gibraltar Software, Kendall worked for multiple startups leading their technology development from concept through profitability. In each case, he's focused on translating Enterprise-level performance and capabilities down to smaller companies. Using multiple generations of Microsoft technologies over the past 15 years, Kendall is experienced with the details of modern .NET development as well as the challenges that have stayed the same for generations. You can follow his blog at or follow him on twitter @KendallMiller.


The event will be hosted in Room 120 of the Claremont Building at Newcastle University. For a detailed campus map -

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Windows Server User Group–Online Meeting–Connecting On-Premise Applications with the Windows Azure Platform

The Windows Server User Group emailed us this morning to let us know about a great event which is running for IT Pros and we’re delighted to pass on the information:

Connecting On-Premise Applications with the Windows Azure Platform

With the all the interest in Microsoft Windows Azure, it’s natural to ask “what does that mean for IT Pros?”. There’s loads of information to help developers write applications for the cloud, but what about those of us who do infrastructure: servers, networks, and other such things?

One important element is integrating on and off-premise systems and, to do this, Microsoft has created Windows Azure Connect – a new Windows Azure service that enables customers to setup secure, IP-level network connectivity between their Windows Azure compute services and existing, on-premise resources. This allows Windows Azure applications to leverage and integrate with existing infrastructure investments in order to ease adoption of Azure in the enterprise..

It’s taken a long while to set up but the Windows Server User Group (WSUG) is running a Live Meeting on this topic (thanks to a lot of help from Phil Winstanley, ex-MVP and now native at Microsoft).

Our speaker will be Allan Naim, an Azure Architect Evangelist at Microsoft. Allan has more than 15 years of experience designing and building distributed middleware applications including both custom and off the shelf Enterprise Application Integration architectures and, on the evening of 22 March 2011 (starting at 19:00 GMT), he’ll spend an hour taking us through Windows Azure Connect.

Combined with the event that Mark Parris has organised for 6 April 2011 where one of the topics is Active Directory Federation Services (AD-FS), these two WSUG sessions should give Windows Server administrators a great opportunity to learn about integrating Windows Server and Windows Azure.

Register for the Azure Connect Live Meeting now. Why not register for the AD RMS and AD FS in-person event too?

NEBytes April 2011–Performance on the Web and Desktop

Don't Make Me Wait, Faster Websites 101

Gone are the days when we were willing to sit and wait five, ten, fifteen seconds for a webpage to load. We're all paying good money for lightning fast broadband connections but still often find ourselves frustrated with a site that takes an age to appear. Good news is there are plenty of techniques, tweaks and configurations we can apply to get the experience of browsing are site much like flicking through the pages of a magazine. Page speed doesn't just impact user experience. There are plenty of analytics metrics that could benefit from a boost while we're at it.

In this session I aim to:

● convince you speed matter to a number of stakeholders

● cover some best practises we can apply to our code and servers

● show you some tools to help you test the speed of your site and how to identify where to focus your efforts when your short on time.

Duncan McDougall is web application developer at Equator, a Glasgow based digital agency. He specialises in website performance optimisation and frequently blogs on the subject. Though mostly working in .Net he has helped improve the performance of websites on a number of setups.

To contact Duncan please visit his blog’s contactform or get in touch via Twitter @duncanmcdougall.

Windows Performance and Problem Troubleshooting Made Easy with Richard Diver

In this session Richard will share with you some of the most common Performance issues faced with
Windows servers, both Physical and Virtual. Richard will show you the key performance counters to
monitor along with their acceptable thresholds along with some other tools that can help with the
diagnosis of problems with applications running on Windows.

Richard has developed his career as an IT Pro over the last 11 years, 4 of them have been working directly for Microsoft in Belgium, UK and Australia. Richard has developed and reviewed several books and training courses on the topics of Windows Performance and Troubleshooting, the main highlights of his career have been presenting at Microsoft events and working with Mark Russinovich.

As promised Richard has very kindly provided his handout and slides for download:

Date: Wednesday 20th April 2011

Time: 18:30 – 21:00


The event will be hosted in Room 120 of the Claremont Building at Newcastle University. For a detailed campus map -

Pizza sponsored by Orchid Software


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NEBytes March 2011: Automation extravaganza

Computer, Earl Grey Tea, Hot - John Price

Ok, so this is a little more difficult to arrange with home automation, but controlling lights, heating, curtains and just about every other device in your house just by talking to it, is actually Science Fact! Take a tour around our automated house and see what’s possible with a little effort.

John’s background is in Point of sale for the retail sector, in particular petroleum. He has been working as a developer for as long as he can remember, in fact his first development job was at 15, whilst still at school!

John worked for 10 years at Wella GB as a developer developing systems for hairdressers before doing 4 years designing hardware for various platforms. John even had a hand in designing a 286 motherboard!

John then worked for Meggitt Petroleum Systems as a Technical Architect designing Point of Sale terminals and Back Office systems for major oil companies across the world. John says he has been lucky enough to visit 26 countries as diverse as South Africa and Japan doing this.

John has developed some desktop and enterprise level applications using an obscure 4GL called Omnis.

Since then he has been working with .NET since its inception and was part of the beta program for 1.0 and have built a web site in ASP.NET

Numerous projects later John has specialised in media devices for XP and XP embedded and media center, along with mobile applications for devices ranging from symbian hardware through Pocket PC to Windows Mobile 6.1, the Vista versions and some Windows 7.

John is also a pilot and is fortunate to have an aeroplane at Coventry airport, at the flying club. John can usually be found on the airfield most Saturdays either flying the 'plane if the weathers good, or flying the bar if its not!

PowerShell: Beyond the Blue Command Window - Jonathan Noble

When PowerShell first came along, a lot of people simply saw it as cmd.exe with a different background colour. Familiarity is a double-edged sword: it makes people comfortable, but it also breeds contempt. With the release of PowerShell v2, Microsoft added the scripting environment they really wanted to release from day 1, but PowerShell is running in many other places beyond the blue command window.

Join former PowerShell MVP Jonathan Noble on a tour of PowerShell hosts; from the basic shell, to SSIS and the web.



The event will be hosted in Room 120 of Claremont Tower (Building 32) at Newcastle University.  For a detailed campus map -

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ByteCast 9: Tri-Winning

Hello everyone, this month you have Jon and Ben discussing varying technology items including all sorts of win including Jons tip of the month - Problem Steps Recorder:

Get the file here: ByteCast 9: Tri-Winning

Note: I've changed the ID3 tag slightly as iTunes does naughty things when it imports them. The change should bring everything into line for iTunes and all other players.

(Don’t forget you can subscribe to NEBytes ByteCast via iTunes, or just follow the RSS feed in your favourite player: NEBytes ByteCast feed or NEBytes ByteCast feed for iTunes)

NEBytes February 2011: Packages of Content

Good Things Come in Small Packages – Package Management on .Net - Sebastien Lambla

Sebastien will be giving us an introduction to Package Management on the .Net platform with OpenWrap.  He will demonstrate it's capabilities, uses and how it measures up against other solutions on other platforms

Sebastien, is the director of Caffeine IT, a consultancy he created to help companies adopt the right technologies for the right reasons, has been obsessed with .net since 2000, and has secret love affairs with anything geeky.

Avviso: A Content Management Framework for SharePoint 2010 with Rik Hepworth

As a follow-up to his session last year on using SharePoint 2010 for content publishing, Rik will demonstrate and discuss Avviso – a content publishing framework for Microsoft SharePoint 2010. Avviso allows content authors  to create highly visual, impactful pages without technical skills. At the same time it enables quicker creation of site-specific designs and templates by web professionals. Suitable for internal and external web sites, Avviso takes the basic publishing functionality in SharePoint 2010 and enhances it, delivering a more user-friendly, flexible toolset. Rik will demonstrate Avviso and talk about some of the thought processes behind its inception and development.

For more info on Avviso check out Rik's Blog Post -

Rik is the IT Director of Black Marble, a Microsoft Gold Partner based in the North of England. Black Marble specialises in Biztalk and SharePoint-based business automation.
In addition to making sure Black Marble's own systems deliver, Rik leads the IT side of Black Marble's SharePoint practice. Rik has been delivering SharePoint solutions since Black Marble’s involvement in the beta of SharePoint 2007 and presents regularly for Black Marble and their partners on this and other topics.


The event will be hosted in Room 120 of the Claremont Building at Newcastle University.  For a detailed campus map -

Register for NEBytes February 2011 - Packages of Content in Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom  on Eventbrite

ByteCast 8: Reboot

In a attempt to get this Bytecast stuff back on track we’ve now got a new schedule… we are going to do one recording a month releasing in the first week of the month.

In this edition we cover the IE9 GUI and some other browser related topics

Get the file here: ByteCast 8: Reboot

(Don’t forget you can subscribe to NEBytes ByteCast via iTunes, or just follow the RSS feed in your favourite player: NEBytes ByteCast feed or NEBytes ByteCast feed for iTunes)

NEBytes January 2011: It's Our Birthday!!!

What's New in ASP.Net MVC 2.0 and 3.0 with Andy Gibson

ASP.NET MVC has been making waves over the past 2 years within the ASP.NET community and quite rightly so with features such as promoting separation of concerns, strongly typed views and a great routing system but it doesn't stop there. ASP.NET MVC 2.0 is now publicly available and is also being shipped with Visual Studio 2010 and hot on its heels is version 3.0 which adds Microsoft's new Razor view engine to the mix. But what new features have been brought to the table? What has changed? And most importantly, how will you be affected by upgrading from 1.0 or even 2.0?

This session will bring you up to speed with all the information you need to know delivered through slides and more interestingly, live demos. Topics covered include (but not limited to)

- Razor

- Model-Validator Providers

- Optional URL Parameters

- Template / HTML Helper improvements

- Improved Dependency Injection / Inversion of Control integration

- NuGet Package Manager

- Additions and updates to MVC Attributes

- Visual Studio integration improvements

- Breaking changes from MVC 1.0/2.0

- Pros and cons to MVC

- To upgrade or not to upgrade (or simply, Advice)

We will look at features brought in by both v2.0 and v3.0 of the MVC framework and provides a good source of information for those looking to learn more or to upgrade existing projects.

Andy Gibson is a .NET Application Developer at Equator in Glasgow with a background in web application development including ASP.NET MVC, PHP and jQuery. He is always on the lookout for new technologies to play with and loves to learn what he can about things especially in the web development arena.

Keen to give back to the community, Andy has spoken at a number of community events including DDD8, DDD Scotland 2009 and Epicenter 2009. He is currently the chairman of Scottish Developers, a user group for programmers all across Scotland, for which he organises various talks and events including DDD Scotland.

In his spare time (not that he has much), Andy enjoys table-top wargamming, computer games, Formula 1 and writing more code.

What's coming in 2011 and Windows Phone 7 discussion with ...You!

In a change to the normal event format rather than having a dedicated topic and speaker we're going to split the talk into two parts.

First up Ben Lee and Jon Noble will take you on a rollercoaster view of what's coming down the pipe for ITPro's in 2011/2012… including:

  • Forefront Endpoint Protection
  • Lync
  • System Center Configuration Manager 2012
  • Azure for the IT Pro

And then for the second half we'll open the floor and get some discussion / debate going. Topics include:

  • CES - what looked cool
  • Windows 8 ARM
  • Windows Phone 7 - 3 months on

Think of it as Bytecast - Live!

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