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A Space for All Things .NET Related

GeekPost Weekly Newsletter Volume 1 Issue 6

By James Hippolite, in , posted: 20-Nov-2009 09:14

Geek Post

Volume 1 Issue 6

Friday 20 November 2009

Hippolite Musings

Tena Koutou Katoa,

I learned two new things this week.

  1. I'm the developer responsible for maintaining the internal Email Signature Builder at Telecom.  I received some logo updates this week.  They were PNG files.  I dutifully implemented them.  Some users came back and said that when they drafted emails, the logo looked fine, but when the emails were received, the logo looked "grainy."

    Doing a quick poll of the water cooler, I discovered that IE sometimes has trouble rendering PNG.  Not sure what relevance that has to Outlook, but I subsequently replaced the PNG files with JPG.  Problem solved.
  2. I've got a new location for by Bible Reader application.  It's here:
    That's right, I've learned how to create and populate sub-domains.  Now I'm dangerous!


Developer News

See above

Telecom News

See above

Security News

All's clear on the Western Front

Product News

Greetings from the Windows AzureT platform team!

The November version of the Windows Azure SDK and Tools was just released.  New in the November 2009 SDK:

  • Windows Azure Service Runtime managed library: The latest version of the Service Hosting Runtime API includes support for enhanced communication between roles and for runtime notification of service configuration changes. Direct communication between role instances enables new application development scenarios, including applications that distribute state across role instances. Service configuration changes include an increase or decrease in the number of request role instances and changes to the values of configuration settings.
  • Windows Azure Diagnostics managed library: The new Diagnostics API enables logging using standard .NET APIs. The Diagnostics API provides built-in support for collecting standard logs and diagnostic information, including the Windows Azure logs, IIS 7.0 logs, Failed Request logs, crash dumps, Windows Event logs, performance counters, and custom logs.
  • Certificate Management: Enhanced support for SSL certificates in Windows Azure and in the Windows Azure SDK enables the secure automated deployment of certificates to services hosted on Windows Azure.
  • Variable-size Virtual Machines : Developers may now specify the size of the virtual machine to which they wish to deploy a role instance, based on the role's resource requirements. The size of the VM determines the number of CPU cores, the memory capacity, and the local file system size allocated to a running instance.
  • External endpoints for worker roles. A worker role may now define any number of external endpoints for HTTP, HTTPS, and TCP, and specify the desired port number for any external endpoint.
  • Persistent local resource storage: Developers can now choose to persist data written to a local storage resource at runtime when the role is recycled.
  • Windows Azure Storage Client managed library: The Storage Client library provides a .NET API for accessing the Windows Azure storage services.
  • Improved Development Storage: Development storage provides a high-fidelity simulation of the Windows Azure storage services in the cloud. Tables can now be created dynamically in the development storage Table service and are no longer required to be generated in advance.
  • Updated samples: The samples included with the Windows Azure SDK have been updated to demonstrate new features. The samples now include both C# and Visual Basic versions.

Windows Azure platform team

Situations Vacant

Top 3 From LinkedIn

Trainer News

Monthly LiveMeeting Sessions

This month, the MCT Virtual Summit site was redesigned and this will now be your main online MCT Readiness Resource throughout the year, we invite you to check out the new changes. 

You will notice the new name and a new log in process. We are excited to now offer monthly MCT Readiness presentations: our Third Thursday Sessions will offer new content each month AND we will store all presentations, thus building an MCT Readiness library for you to use 'on demand'.

To login and check out the new MCT Readiness Virtual Event Platform, simply use your MCP ID at the log in page HERE.

Last month's sessions are now available for download. Visit the October LiveMeeting page to find all presentations and recordings to be added to your virtual backpack.

To attend the Live Meetings Login to the Virtual Event Application with your MCP ID.

The live sessions will be presented using Microsoft Office LiveMeeting 2007.

Please make sure to install the console in time on your computer (the download can take up to 20 minutes).

Installation and Testing

Important: to receive audio and video install the windows based console, as the web based version does not support these functionalities.

We hope that you enjoy exploring the new MCT Readiness Virtual Events and looking forward to seeing you online.

Kind regards,
MCT Community Event Management Team

Training News

See below (Events)


Highlights from a Terrific Summit Week

By Andy Warren

PASS Summit 2009 is now over but still looms large in my thoughts. What a terrific week. Attending the Summit is such an immersive experience: so many people to connect with, unfettered access to Microsoft, non-stop learning opportunities and such a great spirit of camaraderie that surrounds the conference. It makes it hard to get back to life in the office again.

This was, by all accounts, one of the best Summits in recent memory. There are so many highlights to share, but here are a few of the standouts.

We had over 3000 total registrations-2232 attendees and 807 pre/post-con attendees. That's only a 9% drop from our record year in 2008. Given the economy and how other conferences have experienced 30% to 40% drops, I'm really impressed. Our community obviously sees an incredible amount of value in PASS and the Summit.

Dot Net News

SQL Server Growth in the NZ Fire Service

Presented by Geoff Laws at the Wellington SQL Server User Group on Thursday 19 November at Intergen.


Data is important to an organisation especially the NZ Fire service. We depend on accurate data to be respond quickly to emergencies, to place our fire stations in the right locations, to manager our operational rosters, and to measure our performance as a few examples.

Our use of SQL Server has grown significantly over the last 5 years and continues to support our organisation. This presentation looks briefly at the history of the Fire Service, where we are today, and covers the emergency response systems including the associated incident data.

We outline the NZ Fire Service IT technology platform and highlight the major SQL Server databases and business applications.  Finally we look at how we are leveraging current technology to improve SQL Server performance and resilience, cover our SQL Server monitoring, and highlight some of our data challenges.


Geoff Laws is the Application Support Manager at the New Zealand Fire Service.

After completing a BSc in Computer Science, he started as an analyst/programmer and has progressed through various IT roles focusing on developing, maintaining, and supporting business applications.

He has 30 years IT experience including programming, analysis, help desk, application support, database administration, project management, and application management.

He currently manages a team of seven and still enjoys the hands-on experience of managing applications and databases.


Adrian started by explaining this is the last meeting for the year, and he's looking for people to assist him as Treasurer, Events Coordinator, Speaker Liaison, Web Master (my job, hands off!).  Contact to volunteer today!

The early part of the presentation would suit more of an in-house orientation, but the latter part and Q&A were very good.  Geoff spoke about something called Double-Take, a third-party tool for replicating data.  But, instead of working with SQL Server at a transaction level, it's more like an I/O mirror for SAN disks.  People found this discussion to be worth-while.

Events Schedule

In this section, I highlight dates, times and venues of events either I am presenting at, or of interest to METTLE.  I'm available for bookings.

Date Event Venue Speaker
24-Nov-09 After 5 Series: Microsoft Online Services Auldhouse Wellington Nick Bowyer
25-Nov-09 Wellington SilverLight User Group Wellington SLUG TBA
26-Nov-09 SharePoint 2010 Overview Part 2 Wellington SPUG Mark and Chan
1-Dec-09 Microsoft Unplugged MSDN Sessions for Developers 1:30 - 5pm Wellington Intercontinental John-Daniel Trask, Mike Zeff, Ryan Tarak


Cool Physics Experiment:

Book Review


Introducing Windows 7 for Developers, by Yochay Kiriaty, Laurence Moroney, Sasha Goldshtein, and Alon Fliess

Please enjoy the Foreword to Introducing Windows 7 for Developers:

Windows 7 is arguably the best version of Windows ever. This might sound like a generic marketing claim, and if you consider that each version of Windows has more functionality, is more scalable, and supports the latest advances in hardware, each version of Windows is better than the last and hence the best version of Windows up to that point. Windows 7, however, not only delivers things that satisfy the basic check boxes required of any new release, but does it with an end-to-end polish that surpasses previous Windows releases.

Of course, Windows 7 couldn't be the great release it is without standing on the shoulders of the major advances and innovations of its predecessor, Windows Vista, but there are some differences in how Windows 7 was developed. Windows 7 is the first release of a Windows consumer operating system that actually requires fewer resources than the previous version-something that's pretty amazing considering the addition of all the new functionality. Reducing the memory footprint, minimizing background activity, and taking advantage of the latest hardware power-management capabilities all contribute to producing a sleek, yet modern, operating system that runs more efficiently on the same hardware that ran Windows Vista.

Another change from previous releases is the way Microsoft worked with PC manufacturers and hardware vendors. Throughout the Windows 7 development cycle, it kept them apprised of coming changes, shared tools and techniques, and sent engineers onsite to help them optimize their software and hardware for the new operating system. By the time of Windows 7 general availability, most partners had over a year of deep experience with the operating system, giving them plenty of time to tune and adapt their products.

While the under-the-hood and ecosystem efforts deliver the fundamentals, Windows 7 introduces a number of features that more directly enhance a user's experience. For example, the redesigned taskbar makes it easier for users to keep track of their running applications, navigate between multiple application windows, and quickly access their frequently used applications and documents. The Windows taskbar, which hadn't changed significantly from Windows 95, had become as comfortable as an old pair of slippers; but once you've used the new interface for any length of time, you'll feel cramped if you have to sit down at an older version of Windows.

Windows 7 also unlocks PC hardware devices that are becoming increasingly common, creating a platform that empowers applications to deliver more dynamic and adaptive experiences. Mobile PCs now adjust display brightness based on ambient light and have GPS and other sensors that give Windows a view of the world immediately around it. With the infrastructure and APIs for these devices delivered in Windows 7, applications can integrate with this view to provide users with information and modes of operation specific to the local environment.

As a user of Windows and a former independent software vendor (ISV), I know how disconcerting it is when an application exhibits user-interface constructs different from the ones we've grown to consider modern by the newest operating system release or version of Office we're using. It's also frustrating when you experience the seamlessness of an application that integrates with the operating system in a way that blurs the line between it and the operating system, and then run into others that seem to flout their nonconformity or shout that they were developed for 10-year-old operating systems.

The key to great software is not to force the user to learn idiosyncratic user-interface behaviors, feel like they're in a time warp when they run it, or wish that it took advantage of their PC's capabilities like other applications do. To delight the user, you need to keep abreast of technology and user-interface trends, recognize when your application can and should take advantage of them, and deliver valued innovation to your customers. Being on the cutting edge of the platform's capabilities helps your applications stand out from the competition and conveys the message to your customers that you're hip.

This book is a great one-stop resource for learning how you can make modern applications that use new PC hardware capabilities and allow users to quickly access common functionality. From using taskbar icons that show the progress of long-running operations, to taskbar icon jump lists that provide easy access to common tasks and recently used documents; from location APIs you use to deliver the most relevant results, to library APIs that allow you to integrate with and access a user's existing document collection; from a ribbon control that exposes the extent of your application's functionality and features, to supporting a touch interface for intuitive interaction-this book is your complete guide to bringing your applications into the 2010s.

For a programming book to be worth reading in this day of instant access to online documentation and code samples, it must provide complete and coherent introductions and overviews to new concepts as well as clearly explained and straightforward code samples that are easy to reuse. Yochay, Sasha, Laurence, and Alon have delivered both in this book that's sure to become your Windows 7 programming companion whether you program to .NET or Win32 APIs. I've started adding Windows 7 functionality to the Sysinternals tools and the description and example of how to exploit the taskbar icon's progress display enabled me to enhance the Sysinternals Disk2Vhd tool literally in a matter of minutes. I know I'll be turning to this as I continue to update the tools, and I'm confident you will too, as you strive to give your applications that extra edge.

Mark Russinovich
Technical Fellow
Windows Division, Microsoft Corporation

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JamesHip's profile

James Hippolite
New Zealand

Welcome to my technical blog. 

Here, I attempt to distill the Microsoft Certified Professional Developer knowledge I have accumulated since first qualifying MCP in 1996.  This blog started on 13 September 2007 as an off-shoot from my mixed up personal blog.  But it took a shot in the arm from Scott Hanselman's talk at TechEd New Zealand 08 "32 Ways To Make Your Blog Suck Less".