Seasons Greetings! And the Return of the Black Marble Brigade

Ep01_2011We love Christmas at Black Marble and our Black Marble Christmas Adventure has already begun – please follow the NMC Logoadventure online to find out what peril has befallen Santa this time, and how the team can save him!  

Our website has it’s Christmas style on -  and our office is decorated from top to bottom!  Advent calendars are everywhere too Smile

Plus, once again we are supporting The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) and Bletchley Park with our Christmas Cards, and I encourage you all to do the same.

Merry Christmas!

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Can we Build-IT?

startBlack Marble’s Robert Hogg, Steve Spencer and Rik Hepworth flew all the way to Anaheim in California in order to bring you the highlights and key announcements build_logoaround Windows 8!

On 12 October, at The Holiday Inn in Yorkshire, we will bring our take on the news for IT Professionals in the morning, and for developers in the afternoon.

Come for the whole day – a great lunch is provided!

“We reimagined Windows,” said Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft, in his keynote address to the thousands of developers in attendance. “From the chipset to the user experience, Windows 8 brings a new range of capabilities without compromise.”

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 aids West Yorks Fire and Rescue Services with SharePoint 2010

wyfrs-logoIn case you haven’t seen it yet – we have had a Case Study published on the Microsoft Case Studies website, highlighting how our use of Microsoft Best Practices for SharePoint 2010 greatly improved the collaboration experience for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Services.  Initially carrying out a Health Check to improve the implementation of SharePoint 2007, Black Marble returned to assist in the migration to SharePoint 2010.

“Around 60 per cent of the brigade’s 1,900 staff are now using it through My Site portals in SharePoint Server 2010. They provide users in the organisation with a rich set of social networking and collaboration features.” 
– Katy Pinder,  ICT Project Manager, West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service

If you are interested in migrating your SharePoint 2003 or 2007 to SharePoint 2010, why not get in touch with Black Marble?  You can reach us on +44 1274 300175.  You can also come along to our SharePoint Migration event on 24 March – attendance is free.

Black Marble’s Social Network

Consider this a reminder of all the different ways you can engage with Black Marble.

@roberthogg@richardfennell@sdspencer@rikhepworth You can follow us on Twitter.  Keep up to date with where we are, what events are running, what key staff are blogging about and generally any breaking news. @blackmarble
Do Programmers Dream in Byte Code? 
But it works on my PC!
Steve Spencer
When Software Attacks!

Read our blogs – Robert Hogg, Richard Fennell, Steve Spencer and Rik Hepworth (all listed on the left).

Plus all the BM-Bloggers in one place (right)

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  You can like us on Facebook – catch up with conferences and events we’re attending, as well as our Photo albums. facebook
Black Marble on LinkedIn You can join our Network on LinkedIn (right) – ask questions, start discussions, we’re around to answer any queries you have.  Plus keep up to date with our news and events.

Or follow Black Marble on LinkedIn (left)– any new services, staff changes and news.

Black Marble Network on LinkedIn

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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.

Holidays are coming … Part 3 of ‘Going Postal’ now live!

Banner01In case you hadn’t realised it, but at Black Marble we LOVE Xmas!  Not only have we decorated the office … but we’ve XmasJumpersalso added some festive fun to our website! 

The top banner looks great this year, and as ever the Managers have slipped into their Xmas finery ….

And of course, not forgetting our Xmas card … another 7-part outing for the BM Brigade, as they uses their Windows Phone 7s to spring into action and save Santa from Junk-Mail!Episode3

Plus Part Three of ‘Going Postal’ is now live on our website … this time, Windows Phone 7 proves its versatility in saving our heroes!  Can your app do that?

Plus, don’t forget we are supporting Bletchley Park and The National Museum of Computing with every card we send … please contribute too, and help maintain these great institutions for the future!

And finally … do you have Visual Studio TFS installed?  Think it could do with a check-up?  Invite one of our consultants on site in December and be in with a chance of winning an XBox with Kinect!  What better way to enjoy Xmas!

Episode 2 of the BMXmas Adventure–Going Postal–Now Live!

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Episode Two of this year’s Xmas Card Adventure is now live on our website – want to know what the BMBrigade find on reaching their destination?  What has happened to Santa?!  Can our heroes’ Windows Phone 7’s help save the world this Xmas??

Enjoying the adventure?  Watch out for Episode Three on 8th December, when General Junk-Mail’s fiendish plot is revealed!

And this year, find out how our customers can benefit from our skills in Visual Studio with an ALM Health Check … and gain the opportunity to win an XBox with Kinect!

5 Great Reasons to get a Visual Studio TFS Health Check …

… from Black Marble this December

Black Marble has always been proud of its strong credentials for the work we do, and this year we are encouraging our customers to take advantage of them too!

This year we have 5 Great Reasons for you to take out a Visual Studio Health Check from Black Marble:

1. Gold ALM Partner – Black Marble is the first UK partner to achieve the new Gold standard in the ALM competency.  Microsoft re-launched the Partner ALM Ranger RichardNetwork this autumn, and to ensure customers know they are getting experts in their field, they raised the bar for companies to reach the Gold standard in individual competencies.  At Black Marble we ensured our staff were suitably qualified and experienced, in order to be ready to achieve Gold when the new competencies were launched and we were delighted to be the first UK partner to do so!

2. Engineering Director Richard Fennell – Microsoft Most Valuable Professional in Visual Studio (ALM).  Richard is in his third year as a Microsoft MVP – recognised as one of the best and brightest from technology communities around the world for his contributions on Visual Studio (ALM).

3. And Richard is also an ALM Ranger (see right)!  ALM Rangers are selected from Microsoft Staff, MVPs and Industry Leaders and deliver out-of-band solutions for missing features or guidance.

4. Black Marble is an Inner Circle Partner – Black Marble has been a member of the Microsoft Visual Studio Inner Circle programme for over a year.  The programme is an initiative from Microsoft to engage with key application life-cycle management (ALM) partners worldwide, and Black Marble is one of only a few in the UK. As an Inner Circle partner we work closely in a reciprocal relationship with the Microsoft experts, both nationally and internationally, receiving specialised training and early access to the next generation of Microsoft Developer Tools.

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5. Our Xmas Elf Check offer

And this December, we are giving away FOUR sets of XBox with Kinect to customers who engage Black Marble in December to carry out a VS TFS Health Check.  With one draw a week, this is a great opportunity to get hold of the fast-selling, must-have gift for Xmas … and for your business to benefit from our skills, knowledge and experience!

To find out more, call 01274 300175 or visit:

http://www.blackmarble.com/XBoxElfCheck