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TechEd Day 3 – AppFabric

Nov 10, 10

Most of the sessions I attended today have covered the new technology of Windows Server AppFabric. As well as getting some in depth information on the existing technical details we’ve also been fortunate enough to get to view some of the brand new functionality (such as Caching) that was only revealed to the developer community 2 weeks ago at the PDC. AppFabric is a long promised technology platform that provides a number of services: Caching Service Hosting (eg WF,WCF) Monitoring Service Bus Access Control A view more details …. Caching This service could well be of use to us in scaling our ASP.net apps as it provides a viable alternative to ASPs current SessionState model. Service Hosting This is the bit that most excites me as it provides for the deployment, hosting and persistence of Workflows and WCF endpoints (ie running WF instances and WCF services). All of the Hosting, Tracking, Monitoring and control panel functionality(plus more) I had to code by hand for the Rio project is covered by this. Two years ago when we attended the PDC in LA this part of AppFabric was announced and was code named “Dublin”. So to finally see it delivered and demoed was great. (PDC 2008 : “Dublin”) Monitoring This “does exactly what it says on the tin”. It monitors the health of WF & WCF! Service Bus Connecting 2 disparate systems via a secure messaging paradigm (MSMQ … I think?). The systems don’t need to be on the same domain or even be .NET apps. Access Control Unbelievably this is nothing less than federation of a huge variety of the many different identities a user may have on the web : Passport, Facebook, GMail …. So for example you can choose to federate an AD account with a Facebook account to authenticate a user. Sounds very dodgy to me ! I can’t see HSBC letting users sign on to our AD using Facebook credentials ! 😀 Of course all of this new technology is key...

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TechEd Day 2

Nov 09, 10 TechEd Day 2

Posted by in TechEd 2010

Today has been pretty intense and we’ve all had the chance to get some pretty good insights into a multitude of various technologies. I started the day with a look at what’s new in .NET 4 after which I went to a Developers overview of SharePoint 2010, something that’s likely to make an appearance in our technical landscape fairly soon. It looks like a powerful tool but looks tricky to configure and handle. I also managed to squeeze in a lunchtime session on what makes good IT Architecture and …. it was pretty deep and very philosophical ! This afternoon I attended a crash course for architects on Cloud Computing which has helped to fill in some of the gaps behind Microsoft’s drive towards this new technology platform. My final session of the day was on a brand new technology being rolled out to both Windows Server and Azure …. AppFabric. This was the highlight for me today and when I return I’ll definitely be exploring this new technology in more detail. It can provide WF hosting, Monitoring and Caching across multiple servers. Today’s session was specifically on distributed caching something that could prove of use in our ASP.net apps. Tomorrow there are further sessions on hosting WF and WCF endpoints. It will be VERY interesting to see what it can offer...

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The Onward March of the Cloud

Nov 08, 10 The Onward March of the Cloud

Posted by in TechEd 2010

Today was the official start of the TechEd with a keynote speech in the afternoon. In 2008 whilst attending the PDC in LA we were present when Microsoft launched Azure and announced nothing less than a complete re-focus of their core business model away from software supplier to a service provider … in the shape of “The Cloud” Two years on this is now maturing into a concrete set of tools and products and is very much the core of what Microsoft see as the future. This is a huge risk and involves a considerable investment in time and resources, no less than 70% of Microsoft’s development effort is invested in to developing and supplying Cloud technologies. However I have to say that whilst the technologies and frameworks are extremely fascinating I remain to be convinced that they can persuade people to abandon their own infrastructures and port their environments to MS’s hosting services in the Cloud. Time will tell but they certainly seem to be betting the Farm on this one. Included in the keynote was a very impressive end to end demonstration of Cloud computing from the newly released Windows Phone OS to the newly announced Office 365 (Office in The Cloud) We also got to see some quite mature management tools for Azure allowing a user to manage the Cloud environment from Windows systems centre on the desktop aswell as remotely. Also allowing the intergration of existing intranet environments and domains with public Cloud servers. A lot of the TechEd sessions are related to these new Cloud developments in the Microsoft world and I will be attending a couple to keep an eye on these emerging technologies. I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into the varied sessions over the next few days from .NET4, WCF, WF, AppFabric, Cloud Technologies, Architecture Best Practices,MVC, SQL Server 2008 … the list goes on … yeah bring it on! 😀 We finished up the day by going out for a most enjoyable (& very...

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Beer & Sausages

Nov 07, 10 Beer & Sausages

Posted by in TechEd 2010

After an early start (5am ugh!) I’ve finally arrived. Kieran & I flew in from Heathrow and after registering at the TechEd we headed off into the night determined to go native … first stop the Reichstag then some beer, sausages & apple strudel followed by a quick trip to the Brandenburg gate. Not bad considering we’d only been in the country about 5...

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TechEd here we come …

Nov 03, 10

Yay … techy heaven here we come … On Sunday I’ll be off to the Microsoft TechEd in Berlin. Have to say I really enjoy these events. You get to see all the latest tech developments in software design, and coding practices, plus you can chat one to one with the Microsoft experts, most of which actually worked on the tools & frameworks we use … yeah baby ! This year there’ll be myself, Kieran, Jon & Tuck off to Berlin. Sunday I’ll be meeting up with Kieran at Heathrow then it’s off to the Fatherland. Unfortunately the only German I speak is that gleaned from war films and the heaps of War Comics I’ve read over the years … so my conversation with the local population might prove limited! so … “Achtung !” … and … “Hande Hoch Tommy !”...

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Who’s afraid of the Boogie man….

Sep 17, 10 Who’s afraid of the Boogie man….

Posted by in Miscellaneous

Wowzers !!! Last night we went to see, hear and generally inhale the genius that is Jooles Holland & his Rhythm & Blues Band. Boogie Woogie, Blues, Jazz, Swing, Big Band …. enough to satisfy even the biggest musical appetite. The sax solos were mental … they were full on INSANELY BRILLIANT!! 😀 As you can tell I’ve been a big fan of the music of Jooles Holland for a while and sitting only 6 rows from the stage was a musical feast we avidly gorged ourselves on. People, (including us,) were dancing in the aisles and generally whooping it up big time. Definitely going to see if we can catch another concert of his sometime soon in the...

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Mont Ventoux

Sep 09, 10 Mont Ventoux

Posted by in Cornwall & Provence 2010

We had a lazy start to today with a tasty French brunch of cheeses, pates and fresh French bread. This afternoon we drove up to Mont Ventoux which is a dizzying 1912m above sea level. The views were breathtaking, literally. The wind was so strong it felt like it was sucking the air out of our lungs. The temperature dropped from about 25C at the base to about 9C at the top. Mont Ventoux features every now and then in the Tour de France. It’s certainly popular with cyclists on holiday. The village we stopped at at the foot of the mountain was filled with cyclists who were on their way up or had just returned from the 21km trip up the mountain. In fact the road way up to the summit even has its own cycle path. Most of the cyclists were in fact Dutch, we counted at least a few dozen. I guess they’re learning the hard way that not everywhere is flat! Overtime it seems that the various cyclists have written messages of encouragement on the roadway up to the summit. A lot are in Dutch but the one that caught our attention was on the very summit itself. It simply read thuis, “Home”...

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More Romans …

Sep 08, 10 More Romans …

Posted by in Cornwall & Provence 2010

Today we went to the nearby town of Orange to view the Roman Theatre. It was pretty spectacular and as Annelies & I sat in the stalls that could house 8 to 10,000 people you could quite imagine the plays and mimes so beloved by the Roman masses taking place. Orange is of course also famous as the principality associated with William I the leader of the independence movement in Holland. In 1568 he declared the Dutch republic and led the revolt against the Spanish rule ….. here my knowledge runs out and much to Annelies chagrin so does hers ! We had an interesting evening meal in Orange during which I spent most of the time trying to coax any facts out of Annelies. (there weren’t many!) By the way … completely unrelated …. but the owners of our Gite have got a really cute little dog called Robbie...

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Taranis is still angry …

Sep 08, 10 Taranis is still angry …

Posted by in Cornwall & Provence 2010

01:20 – Wow … we’ve just come in off of our balcony after spending 20 minutes watching the biggest thunderstorm I’ve ever seen. It’s been going now for about 5 hours and looks set to go on throughout the night. 11:38 – Storm is over and the gorgeous Provence weather has returned. We must have had about 5cm(2 inches) of rain last night but all seems back to normal...

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“Le Petit Pompei” – Part Deux

Sep 07, 10 “Le Petit Pompei” – Part Deux

Posted by in Cornwall & Provence 2010

After last night’s storm we had a leisurely breakfast (which lasted the whole morning!) until the afternoon wind seemed to waft back the warm Provence weather. We decided to go back to Vaison La Romaine again to see the Medieval part of the town. It was well worth it. The Medieval town was built on the opposite bank of the river to the Roman town around a large 12th century fortification. The medieval town is not only perfectly preserved but is still in contemporary use today. Its cobbled streets wind upwards towards the castle through a maze of small houses, shops, art galleries and restaurants. The view from the top was fantastic. Below the fort and adjacent to the Roman town is a 12th century cathedral on a site that traces its origins back to the fourth century when the Roman Empire adopted Christianity. It’s been extended and rebuilt in places but has been a place of Christian worship for over a staggering 1600...

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Taranis is upset …

Sep 07, 10

Taranis, god of thunder of the ancient Gauls, is displeased. After days of sunshine and almost stifling heat we’ve had continuous thunderstorms, lightening and torrential rain all last night and through this morning. However I have to say I find it rather refreshing and invigorating.

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“Le Petit Pompei”

Sep 06, 10 “Le Petit Pompei”

Posted by in Cornwall & Provence 2010

Provence’s proximity to Italy has meant that, even before Julius Caesar conquered Gaul and added it to the young Roman Empire in 58 to 51BC, it had already come under Roman influence. Today we visited Vaison La Romaine, a beautiful Provencal town with oodles of interesting Gallo-Roman history. There are two major sites that have been uncovered by Archaeologists with entire villas, roads, shops, Roman baths and an amphitheatre on display. We were able to walk down collonaded avenues and roads complete with pavements, statues, frescos and mosaics just as they were nearly two thousand years ago! Just the idea of people living, working and going about daily life within the same walls and avenues we were able to walk down and touch was thrilling! Vaison La Romaine also has a well preserved medieval centre including castle and cathedral which we didn’t get to see as we were so absorbed in the Roman quarter …. I think we might go back ! 😀 By the way there’s a prize if you can guess what I’m sitting on in the picture below ….. I’ll give you a clue : They were communal and wouldn’t have smelled too sweet back when the Romans used...

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Busy doin nothin

Sep 05, 10 Busy doin nothin

Posted by in Cornwall & Provence 2010

Spent the day lazing in the sun and around the pool. Ahhh … this is the...

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La Douce Provence

Sep 04, 10 La Douce Provence

Posted by in Cornwall & Provence 2010

Well here we are again in the Provence. We were here 3 years ago a little further south in Isle sur la Sorgue. This time we’re in a place called Valreas, quite near to Orange … of William of Orange fame … so a nice Dutch connection there. Our Gite is absolutely gorgeous set among the vineyards, olive trees and cypress trees of “La Douce...

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