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want some bling bling for your asp.net?  okay, how about some blinq?

what is blinq?  well, it’s best described as a scaffolding tool for asp.net data.  point it to your database and you’ll get some asp.net pages for CRUD on your data using LINQ.

check it out here: BLINQ

update: my first look

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i’m a huge fan of the universal remote control…but not the ones that you point at eachother and “learn” the codes…i’m talking programmable.  it used to be that hard-core home theater fanatics were the only ones that could get them, and they were RF controlled and had to be programmed by the pros.

enter logitech.

they have a line of harmony remote controls that are programmed via the web/usb — very cool.  you just enter your model number(s) of your device(s) and it configures the remote.  you set certain activities (macros) so all you do is click one button ‘watch dvd’ and your tv turns on to the right input, the receiver turns on, and the dvd player turns on, etc.  it is very slick.  get a new device, just plug it back in and update.

i’ve had the harmony 659 for a while now and it has been great and reliable.  recently i started building out my home theater ‘stuff’ and acquired a new tv and xbox 360.  I figured with the xbox i’d use the harmony remote for xbox 360 and got it.  it sucks.  it looks cool, but sucks.  it doesn’t control my cable box well for some reason and the numbers to change channels are just way too small.  i’ve not been happy with it.  but i was too lazy to return it in time, so i was stuck with it.

i finally couldn’t take it anymore, and went out and got the harmony 880.

sweet!  i updated everything (i wish logitech would change their site so i could have one login and choose the remote i want to configure, but i guess they figure not too many people will have many universal remotes ).  at any rate, it updated quickly and controlled everything beautifully — even the cable box.  i’m as happy as a kid in a candy store.  it’s even rechargeable so i don’t have to worry about batteries.

yeah, i thought about the 890 for the added bonus of RF control, but i couldn’t justify the extra dough for that feature alone — i don’t have any walls to penetrate, etc.

so, if you have a stack of remotes, stop whining and get yourself to a store that sells the harmony from logitech…you’ll be glad you did!

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i’m pondering another thought from the same individual who posed a previous question to me.  part of the comment was also regarding the release of software.

this came about after news of WinFX being officially renamed to .NET Framework 3.0.  some of the comments made were dealing with learning a new framework and wishing microsoft would slow down the train on releases.  in my response to the comment, i had to think about releases…here’s a comparison (again using PHP as a comparitor because the comment was on an asp.net group)…

  • Feb 2002: .NET 1.0 released (beta starting in 1999)
  • May 2003: .NET 1.1 released
  • Nov 2005: .NET 2.0 released (beta starting in 2003)
  • EOY 2006: .NET 3.0 to be released (which is really .NET 2.0 +)

compare that with PHP (only the latest two major versions)

  • May 2000: PHP v4 released (beta starting in 1999)
  • Jul 2004: PHP v5 released (beta starting in 2003)

so when i look at these, i don’t see a real difference, but yet there are no complaints over releasing new versions of PHP which do include new features (and even broken back compat features)!  I see .NET 1 to .NET 2 (i’m not counting the dot release) as a 3 year release cycle.  “.NET 3.0” is another year after that, but no significant ground-breaking core framework features…again it is framework+.

so i wonder, do we release software too quickly?  being on the inside, i consistently see NUMEROUS requests for more frequent releases.  in fact, in our interactions with the open source community, that is one of the top 3 criticisms…not releasing soon enough.

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announced RIGHT NOW.

bill gates will shift priorities in 2008 to be more focused on the rather than microsoft.  effective in 2008, he will become a part-time resource to microsoft.

ray ozzie will assume his role (chief software architect) effective immediately.  steveb will remain CEO.  billg will remain chairman.

read all about it here (and see the press conference).

i like what bill had to say…that there has been a disproportionate attention given to him regarding microsoft lately.  i think there is history with bill gates, but for the past 5 years, steveb has been microsoft for me.

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recently i posted an opinion to one of my local user group lists in response to something that irks me as of lately.  granted a few years back this may have been a valid statement, but i don’t think it is anymore.

the comment was something along the lines of this (paraphrasing): why use asp.net when you can use php and get what you need for a fraction of the cost.

it caused me pause to consider the various scenarios, but i’ll settle for simplicity on the hosted scenario for comparison, because quite frankly, i’m calling b.s. on those type of comments lately (unless someone provides me with specifics).

generally speaking, that type of statement refers to the point that linux is free, php is free and mysql is free — the classic “lamp” stack (LAMP=linux, apache, mysql, and pick your ‘p’-php, python, perl, etc.).  now really, let’s examine this.

  • – free. supported by community. commercial distributions are available from vendors, namely Zend — and for ‘corporations’ that may be the route most go
  • Linux – free. hmm…kinda. is there a distribution that isn’t sold anymore? not really. can you download their distributions…sure, but again, ‘corporations’ aren’t (and if they are i’d argue, shouldn’t — can anyone say accountability) doing that, they are acquiring the licensing and support agreements — okay, so it may be free, but the support isn’t — so it’s just another way of pricing
  • dev tools – some free, good ones aren’t. from what i hear people use *mostly* dreamweaver and zend studio for some great php development…neither of which are free.
  • – free.  again, kinda.  the community edition is.  they offer more reliable builds in the pro/cluster editions, which aren’t free.  from their site the community edition is:

MySQL 5.0 Community Edition is for open source developers and technology enthusiasts who want to get started with MySQL. It is released early, released often, and includes the latest features under development.

let’s contrast that with asp.net environment:

  • Windows – not free. I must start here, because generally this is the basis of any non-microsoft statements. No, Windows is not free. Microsoft is in the business of selling software, this is one of them. *BUT* Windows doesn’t have to be expensive…see later comments.
  • ASP.NET – free. A part of Windows server. So once you have the license for windows, you have an organizational (and community) supported framework.
  • – free. licensed? yes, but still no cost. Limitations? yes, but few for *most* purposes (note: if you are using shared hosting, then you aren’t getting super advantages of all the enterprise editions anyway).
  • dev tools – Visual Web Developer Express is free

so there you have it…they are both “free” for using.  well, hosting is still cheaper for linux! really?  because a check at one provider shows the same features available on BOTH platforms for $2.95/month.  No difference in cost for Windows and yes, that includes a SQL database as well.  well, if i host it myself then i still have to buy windows! true.  but i’d argue you should be *buying* your operating system anyway…if your system is mission critical to your business, it seems only the smart thing to do to have someone accountable for the software you are using.  *BUT* windows doesn’t have to be expensive.  think outside the box.  do you really need windows enterprise edition for a web host platform?  no.  most hardware (i’m not evening mentioning hardware costs in this comparison because that is a sunk cost and both have to incur it) vendors will put windows web edition on it for $100 or so.  that’s all you need — it will run asp.net, sql express, etc.  can it be a domain controller? no, but do you want that in your front-end hosting environment anyway?!  there is also SPLA licensing — look into it…it’s a pay-per-use plan that allows you to scale!

the days of open source being SOOO much cheaper than a microsoft solution are over and waning away in my opinion.  the evidence is in the efforts microsoft is doing to bring that barrier down, what hosters are doing, etc.

anywhoo — just my lame 2 cents for the day.  if there is imperical evidence that this scenario (shared hosting of a simple web site) is SOOO much cheaper on LAMP, i’d love to see it, because i haven’t yet.

[UPDATE: added dev tools bullet which i neglected…thanks Joe]

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