The blogs of Black Marble staff

XP Club January 2009 Meeting

The XP Club did not manage to book the usual venue, the Victoria Hotel Pub in Leeds, for this months meeting as it was already booked. So for one month only, on the 14th of January, will be next door to Victoria Hotel Pub at the O'Neils from 7pm.

Also, it has been decided there will be no technical presentation this month, we will meet to discuss the issues and politics around the club, including club's constitution, bank accounts, rough strategy for the future and so on. You are all welcome to come along and help to shape the future of the club, help with some duties or just come to meet-up with fellow geeks.

As of February we will be back at the Victoria Hotel Pub.

Do you want to know what Microsoft is up to in 2009?

Black Marble’s Annual Technical Update returns on the 21st January at 2pm … and we’re ready to reveal what little gems you may have missed in 2008, and what you can expect in 2009 and beyond.  If you’ve never been to a Black Marble event before, this is a great introduction, it covers the products you know, and those you didn’t know were there.  Looks like a great turnout this year. so come early, and join us for a fabulous lunch! 

And don’t forget, from 6pm Ed Gibson, Chief Security Advisor to Microsoft UK is returning to speak his mind – his third visit to Black Marble, and always a popular event.

First thoughts on Windows 7 Beta

I had the PDC CTP on my Netbook and that was OK so I had not expected any major issues. That said it has not been without problems, but all the issues I have logged as part of the beta program have been related to hardware detection (missing base stations and ignored physical Wifi switch state) on my Acer laptop. However, these issue can be worked around i.e. don’t use sleep or hibernate. so have not stopped be using the beta on my primary PC.

As to using Windows 7, I like it. I am find the revised UI easy to use, and it certainly seems faster than my Vista build on the same PC, but this might just be the fact it is fresh install on a formatted disk.

I will report more then I have used it for a few days in the real world

Free CodeRush ( and bits of Refactor Pro ) Xpress for C#

One of the great announcements at the PDC was that Microsoft and DevExpress have done a deal to giveaway a version of CodeRush which includes some of the more popular features of CodeRush and Refactor Pro

For those of you lucky enough to come to our evening event with the legendary Oliver Sturm, you will have already got it or its fully featured versions. I would not endorse this product if I really didn’t believe in it. To answer someone's question at our event, every developer at Black Marble is given a copy (full) of CodeRush and Refactor Pro.

you can get the Xpress version here (tell them boss sent you ;) )


Seasonal Spirit at Black Marble

Once again, Black Marble, with friends and family, had a great Xmas lunch at the Chaophraya in Leeds.  Everyone who attended enjoyed the food, the company and the great gifts!  I’m now looking forward to the first Annual Black Marble Magic Show in the New Year  on our next Home Day!

I would like to take this opportunity to wish staff, friends, customers and partners a wonderful Christmas and prosperous New Year.


Black Marble and Microsoft Architecture in the North

At the start of December Black Marble was very proud to co-host Architecture in the North with Microsoft.

I would like to thank everybody who came and to the great Microsoft speakers who came to educate us all.


Session Decks

Sustainability from Data Centre to the Cloud - Matt Deacon 

Architecture Guidance - Simon Thurman

Making Sense of Windows Azure -Simon Davies

Oslo,Microsoft's vision for the future of Modelling - Robert Hogg


I will be posting an update of Oslo Resources shortly.

Top tip, we will be announcing an event on Governance shortly, keep an eye on Linda’s blog for details.


[Resource] Visual Studio tools, utilities and add-ons

as a part of my collected sets of links here is a set of useful tools and links for Visual Studio



IronPython 2.0 can be downloaded from here



Microsoft Code Analysis Tool .NET (CAT.NET) v1 CTP - 32 bit - here

-CAT.NET is a snap-in to the Visual Studio IDE that helps you identify security flaws within a managed code (C#, Visual Basic .NET, J#),V1 contains rules to detect - Cross Site Scripting - SQL Injection - Process Command Injection - File Canonicalization - Exception Information - LDAP Injection - XPATH Injection - Redirection to User Controlled Site


Research Tools

there are quite a few tools which while still research tools , worth mentioning

PeX – here

- PeX is a white-box test generation

Contract tools – here

-  The tools enable runtime and static checking of managed contracts.

Chess- here

- Chess is a tool for finding typical problems in multithreaded applications