Part of the Global Windows Azure Bootcamp

Have you heard about the Global Windows Azure Bootcamp?  Around the world in 80+ locations, community groups are running an Azure Bootcamp on the 27th April – mainly organised by MVPs, this is an event with over 3000 attendees! From the UK to the USA, in Asia, the Pacific and Australia – liked-minded individuals are coming together to share what they know about Windows Azure.  Supported by the Microsoft Azure team, this is a fantastic opportunity to show the world what the community can do with Azure and how you can get up to speed with developing for it!

Here in the UK, there are at least four Bootcamps taking place, including the event we are hosting here at Black Marble HQ.  If you’re free, why not join us?  MVPs Robert Hogg, Steve Spencer, Richard Fennell and Andy Westgarth will be presenting and supporting the attendees throughout the day.

If you have already registered, or plan to, please familiarise yourself with the prerequisites first!

Look forward to seeing you there!

The Agenda for the Architecture Forum in the North

Eagerly anticipating our Architecture Forum in the North – now in its fourth year!  Taking place on 8 December here in Yorkshire, it is shaping up to be a great day!

We have a great range of speakers lined up and this is a sample of what you can expect from some of the Microsoft Speakers:

Andrew Fryer – Technical Evangelist in Microsoft DPE – All SQL, No SQL, Some SQL

The trusty old relational database has been around for forty odd years,  but will it survive another forty and if so in what form. In this session we’ll look at how the demands of modern business are changing the what and how of data management.

You can follow Andrew on Twitter.

Simon May – IT Pro Evangelist in Microsoft DPE – The Future of IT: making sense of Big Changes

We can all feel that IT is changing, be it the new devices we’re expected to support or the new “cloud” services we’re told to embrace or investigate.  In this session Simon May, Microsoft IT Evangelist will explain the big trends that IT are knocking on the door of the IT department and help you to start thinking about how you can respond in secure, managed and scalable ways.  Cloud, Consumerisation, Big Data and Social are explored during this session and you’ll be left able to see the wood from the trees and where Microsoft’s stack solves problems.

You can follow Simon on Twitter.

Steve ‘Planky’ Plank – Cloud Computing Evangelist in Microsoft DPE – Business Agility and the Cloud

In the 1950s almost no organization owned a computer: too expensive. They ran their computer programs on the computers of large “computer companies”. Calling on immense compute power helped them make more profitable decisions. Today, almost all companies use computers and so the playing field is more level: or is it? Some progressive organisations are finding that not only can it be more economical to use the compute and storage engines of specialized “cloud computing” providers, but also they can respond in an agile way to the organization’s needs. In some cases they can go from an architecture diagram on a whiteboard to a live deployed service in under 15 minutes. It can be de-deployed, when the business need has passed, in less than 5 minutes. Organizations can scale their environments to predictable and unpredictable waves of business activity within minutes. They can try business ideas out with only a fraction of the attendant financial risk associated with building and deploying a large app to support them. Cloud computing achieves this in the modern world by creating a separation between the app and its underlying infrastructure. This session discusses how that separation is enabling modern organisations to profitably respond to business needs faster than has ever been possible and so realize true business agility.

You can follow Planky on his blog.

Giles Davies – Developer Tools Technical Specialist in Microsoft DPE – What Architects need to know about Visual Studio 11

Giles will be exploring what’s new in the architecture tools in Visual Studio 11.

You can follow Giles on Twitter.

Plus, we will be joined by Black Marble’s Robert Hogg, nFocus’ Danny Crone, Microsoft’s Simon Thurman and Gibraltar Software’s Gary Short!

Connected Development–Another great Northern Event!

WP7COMP WinnerCan’t make it to London for Microsoft TechDays?  Microsoft is running Connected Development in the heart of Yorkshire, with the top industry speakers from Microsoft and Gold ALM partners Black Marble and nFocus.

Highlights include Microsoft Developer Evangelist Mike Taulty on the latest news from MIX, TFS Product Manager Martin Woodward on TFS for Everyone and Black Marble discussing their Award-winning Windows Phone 7 application – TFS Phone Explorer.

This event takes place at our usual venue: The Holiday Inn Leeds/Bradford.

Visit the TechDays site for more details including how to register.

Date: 26 May, 9:30am – 4:30pm

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Black Marble’s Annual Technical Update for Microsoft Technologies

We are delighted by the response to our Annual Technical Update for Microsoft Technologies this year.  The event is perfect as an introduction to Black Marble events, as well as providing a Roadmap for all-things Microsoft.  Ideal for planning your business’ IT needs for the next twelve months.

Having raised your interest, the bad news is that the event is actually full-up and we are running a waiting list, but the good news is we are running an overflow event in early February.  The demand for that session is also picking up so please get in touch soon if you want to secure a place! Email events@blackmarble.co.uk for more information.

Our afternoon event brings our ALM MVP and Ranger, Richard Fennell to the fore with DevExpress’ Gary Short – they will be exploring Agile Development with Cool Tools.  There are still some places available for this session.

Those of you already registered to attend – look forward to seeing you on Thursday.

A Series of Fortunate Events

Robert Hogg(RobertHogg)Visual-Studio-2010-Beta-2-Public-Downloads-2

We are delighted at Black Marble to announce a great series of events to brighten your days through the darkness of Autumn and Winter.

Kicking off in September with the first of four Visual Studio events exploring the different products available – from Express to Ultimate – to help you determine which is best for you and your business.

21 September – Black Marble / 12 October – Microsoft London 
16 November – Black Marble / 14 December – Microsoft London.

Middle of October we are running our Mix in the North event – focusing on the highlights of MIX, the conference for web developers and UX designers working the Microsoft platform.  Joining us are Microsoft’s Michael McClary (@michaelmcclary), Will Coleman (@will_coleman) and Mike Taulty (@mtaulty).  As well as some great demos of Windows Phone 7, we will have a Microsoft Surface available for you to try.

During the evening, we will be welcoming companies who have signed up to (or want to sign up to) WebsiteSpark and BizSpark.

November starts with a day full of SharePoint greatness – the morning explores the key features we use having worked with SharePoint 2010 for over a year, and during the afternoon we are focusing on using SharePoint for Content Management.

December see a return of the Architecture Forum in the North – this year’s title is “Tools and Methods for Architects” and we are once again joined by Matt Deacon, Simon Thurman, Simon Davies, Giles Davies and Mark Richardson from Microsoft.

And top it all off, following the success of our Open Day we are opening our doors once more in December – join us for drinks, mince pies and plenty of Christmas cheer!

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Ready for our Close Up Now

Interviewing Richard FennellFilming at Black Marble Recently, Black Marble took part in a Video Case Study for Microsoft, extolling the virtues of how we use SharePoint and   the Microsoft platform for working with our customers.  It was an interesting experience – we usually prefer to let the technology do the talking – but the company (CredComms) putting it together were great, very professional, and soon put us at our ease.

You can view the results for yourself here.

Tech Update Wows the Crowd

Some of the Tech Update CrowdBlack Marble's Rik Hepworth and Microsoft's Matt McSpiritOur Annual Tech Update went well – a good turnout, asking intelligent questions over a great lunch and soaking up our view of the Microsoft Roadmap for 2009, 2010 and beyond. 

Feedback was positive as ever, with comments that it exceeded expectations which were already high!  Rik Hepworth has blogged on the key Microsoft technologies to look out for.    

Guest Starring in today’s event was Microsoft’s Virtualisation Specialist, Matt McSpirit, aka Virtual Boy pictured here on the right with Black Marble’s Rik Hepworth.

New Year … More Free Events

Welcome to 2010 … and more great events from Black Marble!  The 27th January kicks off with our Annual Tech Update – a complete roadmap of all things Microsoft.  We will shine a light on the big releases of 2009, the highlights of Office and Visual Studio 2010, as well as the releases you might have missed.

The afternoon tackles Azure for the IT Manager and Decision Maker – what is the business value of Microsoft’s cloud offering? Is it the way forward for your business? Black Marble will be joined by Microsoft’s Simon Davies to explore how your business can benefit, and how the model will work for you.

The evening brings Social Media Expert Eileen Brown on board to discuss Using Digital Marketing and Social Media to Build and Maintain your Online Brand.

Come along and join us for our first event of the year … it’s FREE and the food is always great!

The Second Architecture Forum in the North was a Big Success

Black Marble hosted the Second Architecture Forum in the North, and was delighted to welcome back Matt Deacon, Simon Thurman and Simon Davies from Microsoft.  this time they were joined by Mark Richardson and Giles Davies from the Developer Tools team.

Simon Davies (left)

Simon Thurman (left)

The theme of this year’s Forum was the Professional Developer’s Conference (PDC) that took place just two weeks before in Los Angeles.  Matt Deacon, Chief Architectural Advisor from Microsoft opened with the State of Nation.  Simon Davies was next up, exploring Azure – Past, Present and Future.  Simon was then joined by Black Marble’s Robert Hogg to discuss AppFabric.  Finally before lunch, Simon Thurman MC’d the Web Session introducing Black Marble’s Leon Nightingale (SilverLight 4), Barry Wimlett (MVC) and Rik Hepworth (SharePoint 2010).

 

Lunch was a lively affair with round table discussions taking place over Turkey and Stuffing sandwiches and mince pies!Richard Fennell (left) and Mark Richardson (right)

Barry Wimlett (right)After lunch saw Simon Davies return to the stage to discuss Data Services, followed by the Visual Studio 2010 team with Mark Richardson, Giles Davies and Black Marble’s Richard Fennell.  The day was wrapped by  Robert Hogg’s presentation on SQL Server Modelling (formerly known as Oslo).

And another lucky attendee walked away with an XBox!