Free Book on ASP.NET

Charles Carrol of LearnASP has released a free book on ASP.NET. This is a really good starting place for anyone learning the ropes.

I can remember when I frequently visited for the quick tutorials when I first started working on ASP at Lanka Online in '99.

Changes to the Default Handling of ActiveX Controls by Internet Explorer

All you developers who have created sites that use ActiveX controls need to know this.

Due to a recent lawsuit against Microsoft, changes are going to be made to IE6 so that it displays a message to the user before showing ActiveX controls on the page. This includes most pages with Flash content and other ActiveX controls.

Microsoft is giving a pre-release version of IE6 that you can download and test your pages to see how the site will look in the new IE. There are workarounds that you can do too such as using JavaScript to load the controls from a script.

To download the pre-release and for the workarounds visit Note that you can have your current IE version as well as the new version running on your machine at the same time.

VB .NET Resource Kit

There are some really great stuff in this resource kit that can be downloaded from MSDN.  

While the .NET Resource Kit is targeted at VB programmers, it comes with tons of real 3rd party controls for free that work just as well for C# programmers as well as VB.NET programmers.

Here are two extracts from the introductory letter on the resource kit by Chris Dias (Group Program Manager, Visual Basic Product Team).

The information on the Visual Basic .NET Resource Kit CD is organized by common development task: Windows programming, Web and XML Web services programming, mobile device programming, and data access. Each of these major categories is further organized by several common subcategories, including Conceptual Overviews, Code Samples, Step-by-Step Walkthroughs and Quick Start Guides, Training and Certification, Best Practices Sample Applications, Recommended Reading, and Sample Book Chapters.

The CD also contains an impressive collection of free .NET controls from leading control vendors such as ComponentOne, Dundas, Infragistics, SAX software, and others. Building and distributing your applications using these controls will dramatically reduce your development time.

Cool Dialog Tip

I've got a really cool tip for you guys with Dialog connections. Dialog let's you divert calls to a special number (777012012). Whenever anyone calls you, when the divert is on, they get the 'mobile phone is switched off' message, even if your phone is switched on. But you immediately get an SMS that someone tried calling you along with their number. 

I can already think of a number of uses

  • When you want to avoid calls (or at a meeting) just divert all calls to this number and then you can see who is calling you even though the caller thinks your phone is switched off.
  • You can set the divert to activate when 'not reachable' on your phone (like when I'm traveling to Kandy and the connection goes off), then whenever you get connected to the network you get a list of SMS of the people who tried calling you.

One thing to note is that I'm not sure if there are any charges involved. I got the tip from my good friend Siva and he mentioned that he didn't get any additional charges on the bill. I checked the Dialog site (it looks much better now) but couldn't find any info on this service, so try this at your own risk.

This doesn't seem to work with KIT connections though.

ASP.NET 2.0 Will Create History

I have a feeling that ASP .NET 2.0 is going to be truly revolutionary. Just take a look at the table of contents for this book.

Microsoft will be releasing an Alpha version this month at their PDC conference.

Just imagine:

  • DataGrids without any code for sorting, paging.
  • Project-less development in VS.NET
  • Visual Inheritance in ASP.NET
  • Pre-compilation of applications
  • Code-Free Data Binding
  • The GridView Control
  • Master Pages and Site Navigation
  • Security Server Controls
  • Password Recovery Control
  • Role Manager

The list goes on... I can't wait to get my hands on this stuff!

Free VOIP – Skype

This is truly revolutionary. Skype let's you have voice conversations with your friends and it's really really good quality. Check it out at, once you installed it give me a ring, my username is 'merill'.

MCSD.NET – Check!

Finally, took my last exam for the MCSD.NET today. This was the Designing and Implementing Databases with SQL Server 2000 exam and I scored 87%.

Now I only need to take the Administering exam on SQL Server to get my MCDBA. But that'll have to wait till November as I don't have the time or the money to spend on exams for now.

The Power of the Human Mind

I got this in the mail today:

The paomnnehil pweor of the hmuan mnid.
Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in
waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht
the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae.

The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm.
Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but
the wrod as a wlohe.

Amzanig huh?

I wondered whether this logic would work with Chris Brumme's hardcore stuff on the CLR. Here you decide:

For nramol PoIvknes, a bitlablte tpye eepoxss the bteys of an ojbcet in the GC haep dcreitly to uemaanngd cdoe.  Tihs osvolibuy mnaes taht the betys msutn’t be meovd by a GC raotlecion utinl the ugmannaed cdoe has sepptod acsciensg tehm.  In msot cseas, the PonIvke leayr can aatoluamtcily pin the betys for the limetfie of the clal.

Did it make any sense? Here's the original stuff:

For normal PInvokes, a blittable type exposes the bytes of an object in the GC heap directly to unmanaged code.  This obviously means that the bytes mustn’t be moved by a GC relocation until the unmanaged code has stopped accessing them.  In most cases, the PInvoke layer can automatically pin the bytes for the lifetime of the call.

Moving to Microsoft Visual Basic .NET

Thanks a lot for everyone who came to the seminar yesterday. I hope you all saw the power and productivity gains of moving to the .NET platform. I started working with .NET nearly two years ago and have never looked back. The rest of the development world pales in comparison to what you can do with .NET.

As promised you can download the presentation and code from here.

I feel that not a lot of developers in Sri Lanka know enough about .NET. .NET is going to one of the key development skills required in the future. We Sri Lankans need to master these technologies to keep our competitive edge over our conterparts from India and other countries.

I'm trying to do my little part by holding seminars. I would really love to hear back from you all on the seminar and your ideas on how we can improve it. Please click on the Comment link below to leave your comments (especially the constructive criticisms) or email me at