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

Sponsor – Developer opportunity

The following post is by NEBytes sponsor Sunderland Software City:


Vacancy – Software Specialist

The Sunderland Software City project is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government. It is tasked with supporting the software industry in the North East of England.

Software Specialist

This role will provide direct technical consultancy to new and established software companies in the North East of England. As a member of the Software City team you will undertake technical due diligence, prepare technical specification documents and submit business proposals.

The successful candidate is expected to have in-depth knowledge of technical architecture and proven experience in the software industry.

The deadline for applying to this role is noon on 28th May 2012

Candidates applying to this role are required to take an online assessment test. For further details please refer Sunderland Software City website

Scott Hanselman’s User Group Tour of Scotland

Yes that’s right, Scott Hanselman is touring Scottish User Groups in July!  Kudos to Gary Park of the Aberdeen Developers User Group for arranging this and if you can make the trip up to Scotland for any of Scott’s sessions I whole heartedly recommend it, Scott is a great speaker, very engaging and delivers fantastic content!

Scott will be presenting at four different User Groups and the details are below:

For more details see Gary’s post on his blog in addition to Scott’s own posts on the tour -

NEBytes and SUGUK May 2012–Threat Modelling and SharePoint Workflows

Join North East Bytes for our fifth event of 2012 where we are delighted to partner with the SharePoint Usergroup Once Again.  Following on from the great events that we've had over the last two years, we've lined up another great event for your benefit.  We are delighted to welcome Neil Dixley, from Sage, to guide us through the process of Threat Modelling, and we welcome Tony Hughes from TSG to give us the rundown on Nintex Forms and Workflow for SharePoint 2010.   Register now, you won't want to miss this opportunity!

Date: Wednesday 16th May 2012

Time: 18:30-21:00

Nintex Workflow and Forms 2010 with Tony Hughes

Nintex Workflow 2010

Nintex Workflow 2010 adds a drag-and-drop workflow designer, connectivity and advanced workflow features to the Microsoft SharePoint 2010 platform. Tony will demonstrate how Nintex Workflow 2010 can reduce development time and empower users to automate their own processes in minutes.

Nintex Forms 2010

Nintex Forms 2010 is a web based designer for the Microsoft SharePoint 2010 platform that enables custom forms to be created within SharePoint quickly and easily. Tony will demonstrate how Forms can be designed and consumed on most common mobile devices from the internet, anywhere and anytime.

Tony Hughes is a Senior SharePoint Specialist at TSG (Technology Services Group), who have kindly hosted for SUGUK many times in the past.

Tony has been involved with SharePoint since 2001 in consultancy, pre-sales and sales roles. Working across a wide range of business sectors in both the private and public sector Tony is highly skilled in conveying the business benefits of SharePoint Technologies to a range of audiences in a non-technical fashion.

Modelling Security Threats with Neil Dixley

Threat modelling is a powerful and effective way of discovering and closing security vulnerabilities in applications. This session will look at techniques and tools available and includes an interactive example.

Despite being one of the senior engineers on a ‘Subprime’ project  in the USA, Neil survived and spent most of the last 10 years working in the north east for Tombola, Codeworks and now Sage. Neil is also one of the funkiest banjo players this side of the pond.


The event will be hosted in Room 1.02 of Claremont Tower at Newcastle University. For a detailed campus map -

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Eventbrite - NEBytes May 2012 - Threat Modelling and SharePoint Workflows

The 2012 Imagine Cup UK Final Results Are In

As many of you who have attended NEBytes events recently will know we have been doing our very best to support all the teams who have taken part in the 2012 Imagine Cup North East.  Well today was the final of the UK Competition and the results are in.  We are delighted to announce that the two teams which went through from the Imagine Cup North East Finals finished first and second in the UK Final!!!!!!!!!

This is a fantastic result not only for the teams but for the North East community as a whole!  This is the first year we have seen participation in the Imagine Cup competition from the North East and we hope to see this continue for many, many years to come.  The standard of entries from the North East teams alone was very high so we can imagine that the UK judges had a real difficulty in choosing the eventual winner!

The winners of the Imagine Cup UK Final were Team Eyeworks, who presented their idea at NEBytes last month and the very close runners up were Teeside 0x32.  Both entries were fantastic and we really hope that both teams continue to develop their fantastic ideas!  We hope to welcome both of the teams back to NEBytes very soon to get their reaction on the result and to find out their next steps!

Well done to all of the teams who took part in every single stage of the competition and good luck to Team Eye Works when they travel to Sydney to represent the UK in the 2012 Imagine Cup World Final!!!!

Imagine Cup North East: Team Eye Works

At our March event we had the pleasure of welcoming Team Eye Works to NEBytes to present their entry in the 2012 Imagine Cup.  We asked the team to provide us with a blog post about their project and so I’ll hand the content over to them:

Mobile Intelligent Retinal Analysis (MIRA)

Imagine Cup entry by Team Eye Works


Four students from the North East of England have been bought together to make up Team Eye Works. The team is competing in the Microsoft Imagine Cup. Consisting of 3 students from Northumberland University, and one student from Newcastle College, the team came together with a wide range of skills, with the intention of tackling one of the world’s great problems.

The Problem

A lot of people take the gift of sight for granted, and don’t realise how easily this gift can be taken away from them, due to everyday conditions, which, if detected early, can be prevented.

In the UK, recent studies have shown that 2 million people were living with various degrees of sight loss. It has been shown that 50% of the 2 million cases could have been prevented, and the World Health Organisation has discovered that 90% of people suffering from sight loss are living within the developing world.

Out of the various causes of sight loss, the main contributors are cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration.


Team Eye Works have proposed to tackle this problem by making a mobile platform app capable of detecting the symptoms of the previously mentioned causes of sight loss.


This shall be accomplished by creating a piece of software which will be capable of analysing an image of the human retina to detect different abnormalities. This will be done by comparing the taken image against a library of images. The library of images shall contain pictures of retinal abnormalities. By using Microsoft Azure, the software will be able to upload and download images for analysis. It is important to use a system such as Microsoft Azure, as it can contain, and store a large amount of data, which will be available almost anywhere in the world, without the need for a physical backup. This will allow Team Eye Works’ solution to be used globally. Apart from the cloud, the mobile app will also be able to do a local comparison of the retina image using neural networks. A different neural network will be trained beforehand for each disease and used on the mobile app to quickly analyse the retinal image and give a probability of infection. As internet connectivity is not as reliable in developing countries this feature is required. It was decided to go with the neural network approach to effectively use the limited memory and computational power of mobile phones, as the approach of comparing retinal image with the image database (used by the cloud) is highly expensive, demanding a lot of computational and memory requirements.

Whilst the software is a very important element of the proposed solution from Team Eye Works, hardware is just as important. The solution will be developed for Windows Mobile technology, and will require other physical elements. Currently there is no mobile device on the consumer market that has a suitable camera and lens package. This has meant that Team Eye Works have researched, and developed a lens attachment and an apparatus used for chin rest and the camera stand, that will be capable of allowing mobile devices to capture best quality image of the retina, which will be suitable for the image analysis. The image displayed below shows the flow of the proposed system.


NEBytes April 2012 - Automating the Platform of the Future

Join North East Bytes for our fourth event of 2012.  Following on from the great events that we've had over the last two years, we've lined up another great event for your benefit.  We are delighted to welcome Richard Custance, from Sage, to give us the rundown on provisioning and deploying applications on Windows Azure, and we have our very own IIS MVP, Andrew Westgarth, giving us the run down on IIS 8.   Register now, you won't want to miss this opportunity!

Date: Thursday 26th April 2012

Time: 18:30-21:00

How to ‘Smartly’ Provision and Deploy a .Net Application on Windows Azure with Richard Custance
The session will show how Sage UK Ltd has leveraged the Windows Azure Platform to migrate the server-side components of one of its leading lower mid-market desktop applications, Sage 200 ERP, to the Cloud. 
Sage 200 ERP is a .Net 3.5 / 4.0 (c#), single-tenant, traditional Windows Form client-server, line-of-business application. Not sold as an off-the-shelf application, Sage 200’s five and a half thousand customers are trained and supported by a large Sage Business Partner community. Sage 200 is fully customisable with a large eco-system of Sage Developer Partners providing add-ons, amendments, and extensions to the core product.  
The technical challenge posed to the Sage 200 R&D department was how to transition elements (server-side components including data and documents) to the Windows Azure Cloud whilst maintaining all the business logic, features, and customisations supported in the current desktop.
From this session you will learn how ‘being clever’ with Windows Azure as helped the Sage 200 team deploy, provision, host and run Sage 200  in a clustered-multi-tenant environment in the Cloud.
Richard Custance is Technical Architect at Sage UK Ltd, based in Newcastle. Richard has worked for Sage UK for 18 years and in that time has seen the Sage 200 application (formerly known as Sovereign and Line 100 and MMS) re-written / re-engineered from its original DOS implementation that it was in the early 90s to the .Net 3.5 / 4 Windows application that exists today. Now, as the Sage R&D team plans to move Sage 200 to the Cloud, Richard’s role as an architect has been to determine how the application (including its many 3rd party customisations and add-ons) can be dynamically provisioned and deployed on Windows Azure.
IIS 8 Platform for The Future with Andrew Westgarth
With the release of Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista, Internet Information Server (IIS) received a major update and this has continued through IIS 7.5 which was released with Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7. Now we sit on the verge of another update with the upcoming release of Windows Server 8 and Windows 8 which bring with them IIS 8.0.
In this session we'll set the scene with a quick run through of the building blocks put in place through IIS 7 and 7.5 and then deep dive into the features coming in IIS 8.0 which enable Developers and IT pros to deliver optimised, advanced interactive applications using technologies such as HTML5 and Web Sockets whilst also making use of scalability and configuration enhancements on the underlying platform.
Andrew Westgarth is a Technical Architect at Sage (UK) Ltd working on large scale web applications. Andrew is very active in the UK Developer Community, attending and speaking at multiple events, supporting users and other User Groups. In the past he has spoken at the Irish Microsoft Technology Conference, VBUG's National Two Day Conference; Developer Developer Developer Day 5 and local User Group meetings. Andrew has experience in VB6/.NET; C#; ASP.NET and Internet Information Services. Andrew's current technical interests include IIS 8.0/7.5/7.0, IIS Extensions and Windows Azure; Personal Performance Improvement and Best Practices.
The event will be hosted in Room 1.02 of Claremont Tower at Newcastle University. For a detailed campus map -
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Eventbrite - NEBytes April 2012 - Automating the Platform of the Future

MUCUGUK Lync tour 2012 - Newcastle

The Microsoft Unified Communications User Group UK (MUCUGUK) is hitting the road in May with a series of events up and down the country, including one in Newcastle.

This is that this is just one of a series of events they are running up and down the country in places that don’t normally get much attention in the IT Pro world so show them some love and get signed up…

The events run over a full day, are free to attend and even better include lunch and refreshments through the day.

The content is designed to cover all of Lync’s bases; taking you through an introduction to the platform, using Lync as a PBX, resiliency / DR planning, third party integration and even helping you out with creating a business case. So as you can see it doesn’t matter if your already a Lync IT Pro, an overstretched Systems Administrator or IT Manager there should be plenty of stuff to take away from the day.

The full day’s agenda is as follows:






Registration and coffee.






Introduction to Lync.



Coffee break.



We have a PBX, how do we move to Lync?



High availability and disaster recovery.



Sponsor Session - A10 Networks.






Using an existing video conferencing solution with Lync?



Deploy our own or use a cloud offering, if cloud who's?



Coffee break.



All of this sounds good, how do I get my boss to agree?



Q&A and wrap-up.


Places are limited for each event so head over to Eventbrite and get signed up. See you there in May….

Upcoming Microsoft Community Events

At last night’s meeting I mentioned a number of upcoming events, for both IT Pros and Developers both in our region and nationally.  Here is the information on each event and the registration links:

Windows 8 for Application Developers

IT Camps

Building a Private Cloud

Manage Consumer Devices on a Corporate Network

Virtualising Servers with Hyper V

Some events have already filled up so don’t wait too long to book your place on an event which interests you!

NEBytes March 2012 - Imagine a World With Metro

Join North East Bytes for our third event of 2012.  Following on from the great events that we've had over the last two years, we've lined up another great event for your benefit.  We are really excited to welcome the local teams entering this year's Imagine Cup event and we'll also be taking a look at the future of Windows with the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 both from a consumer and developer's viewpoint   Register now, you won't want to miss this opportunity!

Date: Wednesday 21st March 2012

Time: 18:30-21:00

Imagine Cup North East teams
We are pleased to welcome the teams from Imagine Cup North East who have entered the Imagine Cup competition this year.  Each team will be pitching their projects and their entries.  Come along to support our local entrants and give them some real world feedback on their projects and solutions which they can then use to strengthen their entry into this year's competition with the eventual aim of winning the UK final and competing with the rest of the world at the world final in Sydney, Australia! 

This is a great opportunity for our community to support the students and future of our community!
Touching the Future With Windows 8
As you are probably aware Windows 8 has been available in two "preview" editions for the last three months. You'll have read a lot about Metro and its implications and probably even downloaded and installed one of the previews yourself. In this talk NEByte's own Jon Noble and Ben Lee will provide a recap of what we know so far about Windows 8 and offer their opinions on what's good, what's bad and what to keep an eye on. Towards the end of the session Ross Dargan from Waterstons, who has been developing specifically for Windows 8 for the last three months, will share some insights about WinRT - the new development framework in Windows 8
The event will be hosted in Room 1.02 of Claremont Tower at Newcastle University. For a detailed campus map -
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Eventbrite - NEBytes March 2012 - Imagine a World With Metro

Microsoft IT Pro Camp, Newcastle, 27th March

Over the coming months, Microsoft are running events for IT professionals across the length and breadth of the UK, including a return to the North East. I went to the Microsoft Campus last week and had a taste of the new format, which is unlike the TechNet presentations of the past. These events are smaller and very interactive - there's a real opportunity for attendees to shape the topics covered throughout the day.

As I said, these are smaller events, so you need to get registered fast! Here are all the details from Microsoft:

Event:Consumerisation of IT/ Manage consumer devices on a corporate network
Date:27th March 2012
Location:Novotel Newcastle Airport, Ponteland Road, Kenton, Newcastle upon Tyne
This year the UK Tech.Days team have changed the format of our traditional Tech.Days theatre events into a series of ‘Boot Camp’ style seminars. The aim of these is to allow IT Professionals to have more discussion time with evangelists like Andrew Fryer, and each other to share common problems and solutions – and we’re looking for your help to share these with your users.   
The Newcastle Event will host approx. 70 people with a mixture of discussions and practical demonstration. Although there will be a loose agenda, it will be PowerPoint-free event, allowing the hosts to focus on the questions that our guests ask.
For the event in Newcastle, we will be focusing on the Consumerisation of IT:
·         How key Microsoft technologies such as System Center 2012, SharePoint 2010, Windows Server 2008R2, Exchange 2010 or Office 365 and Windows 7 come together to help you deliver flexibility and support for devices and desktops.
·         How to use the latest tools to manage your estate, deliver applications flexibly, manage devices such as iOS and Android as well as Windows, implement IP Sec, reduce anti-malware costs, implement Direct Access and secure remote access.
·         We'll also help you think about what you need to build into a "Bring your own device" or BYOD policy.
Registrations are now open and can be found here