Sep 28

Microsoft has launched a new WebsiteSpark program for independent Web developers and companies that build Web applications and Web sites for others.  The program enables qualified developers to receive FREE software, support and business resources from Microsoft for three years.  The purpose is to help independent Web developers expand their business and build great Web solutions using ASP.NET, Silverlight, SharePoint and PHP.

WebsiteSpark provides the following free software licenses:

  • 3 licenses of Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition
  • 1 license of Expression Studio 3 (which includes Expression Blend, Sketchflow, and Web)
  • 2 licenses of Expression Web 3
  • 4 processor licenses of Windows Web Server 2008 R2
  • 4 processor licenses of SQL Server 2008 Web Edition
  • DotNetPanel control panel (enabling easy remote/hosted management of your servers)

The only two requirements to join the program are:

  1. Your company builds Web sites and/or Web applications on behalf of others.
  2. Your company currently has less than 10 employees.

If you meet these requirements, visit the WebsiteSpark website to enroll in the program.  As part of the enrollment process, you can pick either a network referral partner (for example: a Web host or an existing Microsoft partner), or enter a referral code that you have received at an event or from a Microsoft employee.  Or you can send an email to to get a referral code quickly.

Sep 18

In a move that will only reinforce the public’s view of a greedy music industry, a consortium of music industry groups has begun lobbying the U.S. Congress to receive what they believe is their fair share of revenue from online music performances.  This includes fees for the free 30-second song samples that feature their work on websites like iTunes and

The story from CNET indicates that music officials believe they should be paid a “performance” income from Apple and others for all online music including the free samples, just like when a song is played on the radio or at a sports game.

“If you watch a TV show on broadcast, cable or satellite TV, there is a performance fee collected,” David Israelite, president and CEO of the National Music Publishers Association.  “But if that same TV show is downloaded over iTunes, there’s not.  We’re arguing that the law needs to be clarified that regardless of the method by which a consumer watches the show there is a performance right.”

I agree that everyone in the music food chain should get their cut from music sales, but collecting a fee from 30-second samples?  The music industry is clearly over-reaching (once again) and apparently doesn’t understand the concept of FREE samples.  See, the idea is you give a little clip away for free with the hope that customers will pay to buy the whole song.  I don’t know anyone who gets their music just by listening to these short clips.  Most people just steal their music outright.

Sep 17

Many people steal software because they are too stupid to know that it’s wrong, or too dumb to get a job so they can pay for what they are stealing.

Though many pirates will tell you how smart they are because they’re getting stuff for free while the rest of us have to pay.  It does sound smart, I guess, if you can get beyond that whole moral “stealing is bad” thing and the threat of bad karma.

But the stupidest pirate of all is the one that asks the software maker to help them steal their own software.  Dushyant was dim enough to join the CodeSmith forums on the CodeSmith website and ask, “can any one post me the serial key to trick the CodeSmith Professional”.

The CodeSmith moderator answered straight at first: “You will need to contact sales for a key (

But the stupid pirate asked again.  So the CodeSmith people decided to play with this dolt and responded:  “enter this as the key: CS50P-0NLY4-1D10T-W0ULD-TRYT0-45KU5-TH15Q” which loosely translates as “only an idiot would try to ask us this question.”

You think Dushyant would finally realize he’s been served, but staying true to form, he responded, “The key you provided does not work to as serial key to crack the version.

Read the thread at

Sep 11

A pizza with radius z and crust height a, has a volume calculated by:


From Stefan Tanase

Sep 08

Text-to-Speech avatarThere’s a neat website that demonstrates text-to-speech technology.  Enter any text, and an onscreen avatar will say it aloud. 

You can choose male or female voices from the USA, UK, Scotland, Australia, India and South Africa.  You can also apply various special effects such as changing the pitch, speeding or slowing the speech, and adding echo, reverb or flange.

It’s a bit freaky when the avatar’s eyes and face follow your mouse pointer around the screen.

Text-to-Speech Demo

Sep 02

The NFL has punted the popular social network Twitter.

On Monday, the National Football League announced that players, coaches, and other team personnel can use social networks such as Twitter and Facebook during the season.  However, they are prohibited from using social networks starting 90 minutes before a game, through the game, and until post-game interviews are complete.

The rules extend to people representing a player or coach, such as agents, friends and family, and even include the media covering the games.

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Sep 01

I’m in my third decade of selling software.  What’s amazing to me is how much easier it is today to market and sell software over the Web, versus back in the “old days” when we had to mess with disk duplication and mailing, snail mail correspondence, cashing checks and postal orders by hand, and providing support through dialup electronic bulletin boards.

Perhaps the greatest change is how relatively easy it is today to launch an effective global marketing campaign on a limited budget.  If you’re selling software that provides true value at a reasonable price, you don’t need a Microsoft-sized budget to reach your potential customers.

So here are a few suggestions for an inexpensive marketing campaign:

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