MonthNovember 2009

VBUG Newcastle – A tour of SysInternals

Richard Diver, Microsoft Premier Field Engineer, returned to Newcastle on the evening of 25th November 2009 to give a tour of some of the SysInternals tools which are available for IT Professionals.

Process Explorer


Process Explorer can be used as a replacement for Task Manager.

Hide when minimized to always have it available.

CPU History can be viewed by opening the System Information graph.

Allows sorting of Parent/Child processes.

Enough data available to choke a whale.

The target icon can be used to find the process attached to a certain window/application.

Highlighting of processes can be found under Options -> Configure Highlighting.

Process Monitor


Process monitor is a real time file, registry and process thread monitor.

When in doubt, use Process Monitor.

Enhancements over Filemon/Regmon include:

  • More advanced filtering
  • Operation call stacks
  • Boot-time logging
  • Data mining views
  • Process tree to see short lived processes

ProcMon can see associated files or registry settings.

If using ProcMon on another machine, you need to capture data first over a period of time, then bring it back to analyse.


MsConfig.exe == Bad, don’t use.

Autoruns.exe, is better than MsConfig, due the facet of having a lot more options to remove disable start-up process in a number of places.

Boot execute should be empty.


Barcamp Bradford

Bradford’s first ever Barcamp event was held on 14th November 2009 at the WOW Academy and the National Media Museum in the heart of the city.

I thought this was a very interesting Barcamp, due to two main things in particular. First point was the amount of first timers, people who had never been to Barcamps before, around 80% of the attendees which meant a lot of new content and ideas were discussed making it very refreshing.

Barcamp Bradford

Second point, this Barcamp was held over two different venues, which split the day up nicely. The morning was held in the WOW academy and after lunch it was moved over to the National Media Museum about 10 minutes walk from the starting point.

Sessions I attended during the day were:

Rethinking the Presentation (Stop the killing):
This talk was given by Ian Smith. Ian talked about how to stop death by Powerpoint, and how we should think and plan presentations through using mind maps etc. before even reaching for the computer. He also gave some top tips on how to present and use presentations without boring people, and why we shouldn’t use Powerpoint for everything which we present on. Ian’s slide deck for this talk can be found on here.

Barcamp Bradford

Visual trends in web design since 1996:
Monica Tailor gave this presentation showing various different design trends which we have seen throughout the years in web design and how we sometimes still use them. Monica showed examples of Frames, Drop Shadows, Tiled background images, Tables Of Contents, Flash intros, Tabbed navigation, Candy buttons and Blog designs. She then talked about current trends such as Transparency, Font replacement, Hand drawn fonts, large fonts and that we have to accept the users of Internet Explorer 6 will have to expect something slightly different with it being an older browser with older technologies.

Barcamp Bradford

Google’s Hidden Gems:
John Mclear, gave a run down of Google projects including Google Android, Analytics, Webmaster tools, Adwords and Adsense etc. and the hidden gems we can find within them.

Photography is not a crime – Know your rights as a UK photographer:
I presented this session following on from the response I received at Barcamp London 7, and I was interested to get a general concensus of views within Bradford around this topic. I talked about what rights you have as a photographer in the UK. I also showed a short video which was filmed in London, again about photographers rights, but it also brought up some important points about photography in public, security cameras and the Big Brother state. An open discussion was held at the end of the session and some important points/subjects/ideas were raised by the attendees.

The ultimate to do list – 101 goals in 1001 days:
Alex Wolf gave a very interesting presentation on a project she is working on called ‘101 of a Wolf’ which involves completing 101 goals in 1001 days. More information about her project can be found over at the blog.

Free Software:
This was a round circle discussion led by John Leach regarding the ins and outs of free software and how people can use it and contribute to free software projects.

Barcamp Bradford

Barcamp Bradford are hoping to hold another event around May 2010 next year, however I may have to visit earlier than that due to the fact that I didn’t have a walk round the National Media Museum whilst I was there which looked amazing.

A big thank you should go to Ian Green for organising the event and to the following sponsers: Screen Yorkshire, Yorkshire Forward, National Media Museum, Panoetic, Frogtrade, Shipley College, BMedia, GREEN Communications, University of Bradford and Challenge CLC.

Dorkbot Newcastle

The ever popular Dorkbot event returned to Newcastle on the evening of 17th November at the Centre of Life.

Demonstrations and presentations were given regarding TouchScape, Humaniquarium and Chipdisco.


A very hands on presentation showing what this new start company from Newcastle has been working on based around multi-touch technologies. The TouchScape team includes Cassim Ladha, Karim Ladha and Wayne Smith.


A presentation given my Robyn Taylor, Guy Schofield and John Shearer. The Humaniquarium is a way to entice viewers to interact with the humans inside. Hand movements on the window relays information directly to the people inside changing the output of the mood or music at the time.


This session was presented by Brendan Ratliffe. I’ve seen him play one of his sets earlier this year at the after party of the first UK Makers Faire held in Newcastle. This presentation went into how he produces his music by using ‘Tracking’ and a demonstration of some of the software which he is currently working on.

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