Thursday, 20 March 2008

2008 IT Pro Community Launch Event

Tuesday 8th and Wednesday 9th of April sees the 3rd combined IT Pro User Group events in Reading at the Microsoft offices in Thames Valley Park. The event will involve all of the UK IT Pro User Groups and will have a massive range of breakout session - something for everyone may be.

I've had a quick look at the agenda and if you are interested in Sharepoint, Groove, Exchange, Hyper-V, Terminal Services it looks like this could be the event for you, check it out here.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Install Fest Success

Thursday 13th March saw the NxtGenUG - Southampton pre-launch Install Fest take place at St. Andrews Hall in Southampton and what a great event it was.

We had a cracking turn out of 35 attendees many of whom brought lap tops and DSC00055some desktops even made it through the door all ready to install their free copy of VS2008 standard together with a years free trial of Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 CTP with a voucher for a free year trial when SQL Server is finally released later this year.

The evening started a little later than expected due to excessive traffic, something that we try not to do too often but we had specifically told people to come at 18:30 preparing for a 19:00 start. Whilst we were waiting we had a little practice on guitar hero and I must say I was completely rubbish so its probably a good job I couldn't have won anything anyway.

So everyone had arrived by 18:45, the pizzas were ordered and the talks began. After a quick intro and welcome by John, I kicked off the talks with my first DSC00048feature of VS2008.

I introduced my WPF stop watch application with lovely glass effect (see left..beautiful) that would keep us all on track and started the timer. My first session was on Multitargeting and went pretty smoothly although just missed the end of my five minute slot, doh! I'd implemented the timer to start the theme from the Countdown TV show when there was 30 seconds left just to put the pressure on a little more.

Next up was John with a gripping demo of how to easily install Windows Server 2008, he didn't quite manage to fit it into a five minute slot, another victim to the stop DSC00046watch!

Finally, Neil joined the demo clan by giving us a tour of SQL Server 2008, once more the stop watch took its victim with no remorse and the session overran - lessons were learned by us all after the first five minute sets and it was soon my turn again.

A quick breeze through C# 3.0 features including Lambda expressions, Automatic Properties and Extensions Methods saw my next slot out and so the pattern continued, Myself, John, Neil etc. My next couple of sessions thankfully ran to time with a small hiccup in my LINQ to SQL session but other than that I was pretty happy with the way things went.

I must say a big thank you to both Neil and John for putting the time and effort into those presentations, I know from my own experience that it was quite nerve wracking and took a lot of effort to put them together even though each segment only lasted 5 minutes.


Now, the reason why our launch event was slightly earlier than the "real launch event" was because my wife and I are expecting our first child on Saturday 22nd March, we figured that anything closer than Thursday 13th may have been pushing our luck a little and would almost definitely have meant that I couldn't take part. So I explained to everyone that I had my phone on just in case I got "the call" and I may have to leave unexpectedly, what I hadn't banked on was the pizza guy phoning me and for a moment my heart was in my mouth.

After the sessions ended it was pizza, beer, install and guitar hero time. Those with laptops and desktops started installing whilst others starting drinking and eating pizza. The guitar hero competition consisted of attendees pairing up together to gain their highest possible score on the two guitar hero pods that Microsoft had kindly loaned us for the evening. The winners of this wonDSC00054 Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition, SQL Server 2008 CTP5 and not for resale Enterprise Edition redeemable voucher when SQL 2008 is released as well as a copy of VS 2008.

At the end of the evening we had a little quiz about the contents of the evening and the winning team walked away with 6 Re-Sharper licences which were kindly donated by JetBrains.

All in all I think every one that came enjoyed the event, I know I certainly did. So many thanks to everyone that made it such a great evening and look forward to seeing you at our next event - Mike Taulty on the Entity Framework, should be a good one!


P.S. If you did attend the event any feedback you have would be greatly appreciated, please go here to fill out your comments.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

DDD Ireland

May the 3rd 2008 sees a DDD-styled event take place in Galway in the west of Ireland. Why not make this an excuse to go and spend a bit of time in the emerald isle.

If you've not been to a Developer Developer Developer (DDD) day before check out the agenda from DDD6, it's a basically a day for developers by developers and a great place to learn about new/existing technologies and working practices from guys that are actually doing it rather than people just peddling products. It's also a good place to meet other people in the community.

The agenda for this event is now available, so get on board, register and have a great time!

UK 2008 Launch Event "Swaggily Fortunes"

Wednesday March 19th 2008 is of course the UK 2008 Launch Event.  As part of the event, NxtGenUG are running one of their gameshows, which will take place about 6.00pm during the evening drinks and nibbles.  "Swaggily Fortunes" is a take on the well known TV Quiz show in which teams of contestants are asked, for example, "We asked 100 Developers ... To Name a .NET Language".  Those teams that guess correctly what the answers were get to win some fantastic "swag" -- after a few rounds of mayhem!
You can help be part of this 'great' occasion by going to and answering 8 short questions.  Your answers will go towards making up the choices which the teams have to guess.  The NxtGenUG lads have run this several times in the past always to great reviews, and it makes for a fun, relaxed way to wind down from the days sessions.

NxtGenUG Fest '08 Announced

Save the Date : June 12th 2008 - That's the date for Fest08 - The NxtGenUG boys annual conference. This year the subject is "Data Today, Data Tomorrow". Registration is open, the agenda, speakers and sessions will be updated over the next couple of weeks Fest08 is FREE to paid up NxtGenUG members. Non members can take advantage of a special early bird rate, What are you waiting for?