Aug 18

Owning an Internet domain is like owning a virtual property lot.  You can build a website on a domain, place ads on it, or resell it for a profit.  In addition to the initial purchase price, each domain requires an annual renewal fee.  If you fail to pay the fee, the domain returns to the market, and someone else can buy it.

Fortunately domains are not very expensive.  There are many low-cost domain sellers like GoDaddy.  Domain prices vary by top-level domain (TLD, i.e. the suffix after the final dot, such as .com and .org).  GoDaddy prices range from $11.99 for general domains (gTLD) such as .com, to $29.99+ for country-code domains (ccTLD) such as .co for Colombia.

The good news is that many domain sellers offer deep discounts on domains for the first year.  But the important thing to remember is: 

The annual domain renewal price is often much higher than the initial purchase price.

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Aug 16

Wow, I nearly fell out of my chair when I read this little gem on TechCrunch:

Android chief Andy Rubin wrote in a 2005 email, “If Sun doesn’t want to work with us, we have two options: 1) Abandon our work and adopt MSFT CLR VM and C# language – or – 2) Do Java anyway and defend our decision, perhaps making enemies along the way.”

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Aug 12

Broken Computers. Copyright © Paul Downey. Image used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

A new study by Gartner shows that 94% of newly purchased PCs run Microsoft Windows 7, four percent run Apple OS X, and two percent run Linux.  This number is boosted by corporate IT departments, which are conducting massive rollouts of Windows 7.  Many enterprises are still running Windows XP because they had decided to skip over Windows Vista, which was widely panned due to software incompatibilities and overzealous security. 

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Aug 03

WordPress is the most popular open-source blogging software in the world.  It’s powerful, mature, reliable, and best of all, free.  All of my blogs use WordPress hosted on Linux.

When you visit a WordPress blog, the WordPress software processes the blog text before displaying it on a web page.  WordPress filters out unwanted code and formats the text so the web browser can properly interpret it. 

One of the most noticeable filters is Texturize, which modifies blog text to “present a more readable and visually attractive output.”  Texturize replaces quotes with smart quotes that better show the start and end of the quote.  It also replaces sequential hyphens with dashes, and sequential periods with ellipses, etc.  For example:

Copyright © WordPress

This is a wonderful feature, except on websites like C# 411 that display a lot of source code.  C# compilers expect regular quotes, not smart quotes.  So any code copied from a WordPress blog and pasted in a development environment will generate compiler errors.  This can be frustrating to your programmer readers.

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Aug 02

If you are looking to embed a YouTube video on your website, there’s one important step you must take so it plays properly on the iPhone and iPad.

Quick Background:  Because Steve Jobs hates Flash, and most web videos were originally encoded in Flash, many web videos won’t play on Apple’s iOS devices, which means the iPhone and iPad.  Fortunately the YouTube player on these devices can detect a Flash video and play it automagically.  But only if you use the correct embed code.

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Jul 25

Hamburger Hölle. Copyright © liesmich. Image used under license.

UPDATE:  Google has restored Thomas’ service and data.  It turns out that Google had a very good reason to suspend Thomas’ account.  However, Google will be reviewing its policies to hopefully be more transparent and allow for appeals.

Thomas Monopoly is having a really bad week.  Thomas (real name Dylan M.) was a Google fan: he owned Google stock, paid for Google storage, and had moved nearly his entire digital world to the Google cloud.  Then Thomas allegedly did something wrong, and Google terminated his digital life. 

Google accused Thomas of violating its Terms of Service and apparently killed his entire online presence.  Thomas lost his website, email accounts, banking info, student records, 7 years of correspondence, 4,800 photographs and videos, 200 contacts, 500 articles saved for scholarship purposes, Google Voice messages, all his bookmarks, documents, backups, calendar with doctor’s appointments and important meetings, community calendars, medical records, and some very important notes.

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Jul 20

SUSE, an Attachmate Business Unit, and Xamarin, a startup co-founded by Mono legend Miguel de Icaza, are partnering to provide continued support for Mono, the open-source .NET Framework.  The agreement grants Xamarin a broad, perpetual license to all intellectual property covering Mono, MonoTouch, Mono for Android, and Mono Tools for Visual Studio.  Xamarin will assume support for these products and continue to develop and sell them.  Existing customers can purchase upgrades.  Priority support is also available for an extra fee.

Copyright © Xamarin Inc.

Xamarin’s immediate plans for both MonoTouch and Mono for Android is to make sure that the major bugs are fixed.  I just received notification today that a critical bug open in MonoTools since last October has finally been assigned to be fixed.  This is excellent news for .NET developers and provides further evidence that .NET isn’t dead.  Xamarin provides the best way to build fast, native .NET apps on iOS and Android.

SUSE/Xamarin Press Release
Announcement by Miguel de Icaza

Jul 14

Titanic. Copyright © Paramount Pictures.

I saw the James Cameron movie Titanic again the other night.  In the scene shown above, the band plays on with grace and dignity, while the ship slowly sinks, and all hell breaks loose around them.

That’s when it hit me: .NET developers face a similar fate.  Do we ride Microsoft .NET to the bottom of the icy Atlantic, or try to jump on one of the HTML5+JavaScript lifeboats?  Or perhaps more likely, .NET isn’t really sinking after all, and this controversy is just another molehill made into a mountain by the frenzied blogosphere.

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Jul 13

Peace & Quiet. Copyright © Chris Chidsey. Photo used under license.

DotNetBaby says, “I’m an expert on sucking, and I can assure you that C# doesn’t suck.”

YourLanguageSucks is a wiki on theory.org that lists reasons why the most popular programming languages suck.  There are long lists of reasons why Java, JavaScript, C++ and PHP suck.  But the list for C# is very short:

  • Supports ‘goto’.
  • Two distinct sets of collections: non-generic and generic.  Stack and Queue have the same name in both their generic and non-generic flavors, but then we have Hashtable (non-generic) and Dictionary (generic).

The first reason is easy to discount: just avoid using goto!  The second reason is valid, but not really an issue if you use only generic collections, as I do.

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Jul 06

Microsoft logo, Copyright © Microsoft Corp. Red Heart Rising, Copyright © Bernhard Aichinger, image used under license. Android logo, Copyright © Google, Inc.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.  This seems to be Microsoft’s new mantra for mobile. 

Microsoft missed the initial smartphone wave in spite of having a decade head start with Windows Mobile and the Pocket PC.  Now Microsoft is playing a hurried game of catchup with Windows Phone 7. 

But the immediate future is not looking good for Windows Phone.  The most recent data from comScore shows that Microsoft’s share of smartphone subscribers is only 6% and continues to fall.  Whereas Android’s share is 38% and rising at a fast clip.  Apple’s 27% share of smartphone subscribers is also growing, though at a slower rate.

The Android explosion is not all bad news for Microsoft, however.  MobileCrunch reports that Microsoft is earning 5 times more revenue from its patents on components of the Android operating system than it is from Windows Phone.  That’s $150 million from Android versus $30 million from Windows Phone.

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