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Latest learning tracks I am investigating






























Font servers for your web site

Just discovered font servers. The idea is that instead of using font family preferences and counting on someone’s browser to have good looking fonts installed; use fonts, that you select, from a remote content delivery service. 

Google fonts

you may already know about Google fonts at https://www.google.com/fonts. You search or browse for fonts and get link code like so, <link href=’https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Open+Sans’ rel=’stylesheet’ type=’text/css’>. Use the font on your page like so,    font-family: ‘Open Sans’, sans-serif;

I just did some googling and found some more that are also free:


http://brick.im/  search and click to add fonts to a bucket, then get a link like so, <link rel="stylesheet" href="//brick.a.ssl.fastly.net/Aileron:400">

Adobe Edge Fonts

https://edgewebfonts.adobe.com/index   Search for or select a font, you get a link like so: <script src="//use.edgefonts.net/abel.js"></script>,  use the font in your style sheet like so, font-family: abel, sans-serif;


http://redfonts.tk/   search for or click on a fonts and you get a style link like so: <link rel=’stylesheet’ type=’text/css’ href=’http://redfonts.tk/pre/FlNua’/>. Use it in your style sheet like so,  font-family: ‘Amable’;

So when your boss or site reviewers complain about fonts not being uniform, here is a way to fix it.

3DMotive courses through Udemy

New, to me, Online learning site

Just discovered this place Coursera, https://www.coursera.org/. Here is what they say about themselves

“Coursera provides universal access to the world’s best education, partnering with top universities and organizations to offer courses online.”

It looks like another MOOC like EDX. This one though, charges fees for many of the courses. The fees look very reasonable and it says there are 1150 free online courses as well.

It, like EDX, appears to be a coop of universities. I see Harvard, Penn State, Berkley, Stanford even.

Very promising.

The World Wide Telescope

One of the cooler things on or off this planet is an open source project called the World Wide Telescope at: http://worldwidetelescope.org/

It is a free (as in beer and in speech) project under the auspices of the .NET foundation http://www.dotnetfoundation.org/. Here is the intro to their description:

“WorldWide Telescope is a visualization environment that enables a computer to function as a virtual telescope—bringing together archival imagery from the world’s best ground- and space-based telescopes for the exploration of the Universe-”

you can try it out with the webclient html 5 viewer here; http://worldwidetelescope.org/webclient/.

The current installer requires >NET and Windows 7 or better. MAC user will need Parallels or equivalent.  It is open source and Mono does support .NET 4 http://www.mono-project.com/docs/about-mono/compatibility/ so some ambitious Linux developer should be able to port it to that platform.

In the mean time just use the webclient in your favorite browser. It is awesome

Open source Music production tools I use

Audacity is the tool everyone should start with to learn: http://web.audacityteam.org/. It not only receives input from your sound card but also audio interfaces such as  http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/US16x08 which can send 8 signals/channels, not just 2. So you can mix 8 channels down to stereo. It is the recommended tool for PODs or audio  blogs.

Reaper is a DAW or digital audio workstation software http://www.reaper.fm/. There are others but this one is not only a great starter tool, it is the most cost effective DAW I am aware of.   Here is more info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/REAPER

Online are many guitar tab files that you can not only read, but are animated and you can hear the music through attached midi files. The two main tools for reading and playing these files are: http://sourceforge.net/projects/tuxguitar/  and http://www.guitar-pro.com/en/index.php

Hydrogen is a great and fairly easy to use software drum machine. It is also a midi device, so it can receive events from you controller http://www.hydrogen-music.org/

JACK on windows http://jackaudio.org/faq/jack_on_windows.html. It connects audio and midi using system drivers. kind of a software patch board. It is new to windows but has been on Unix OSs (Linux, OSX) for years

.NET Coding Educational Resources

Microsoft’s ASP.NET site has several resources keyed to the Learn menu tab on the home page.

Here are some topics I am interested in:





LightSwitch is a technology for rapidly building a form and grid frontend for databases. Resources:

Odata security

Help and getting started site

10 things to know about Lightswitch HTML client

Visual studio lightswitch features

Lightswitch on channel 9

Understanding Lightswitch

Required Field Validator for Form Fields in Edit mode

I’ve been tasked with making some fields such as textboxes in the edit template of a FormView to be required fields. This is for an ASP.NET 4 web app. I am testing the use of ASP.NET RequiredFieldValidators controls for this. This is a simpler task than I thought. The documentation only directly refers to examples that use new entry or insert mode fields. You have to read between the lines to understand that this control can be used in fields that contain values without requiring an edit action from the user. The reason is this control only compares the field’s value to its initial value property which by default is an empty string. In testing I found that as long as the field has a non-empty value it won’t interrupt form submission: as long as this user doesn’t make the field blank, the form fields can be submitted without problems. If there are circumstances where fields are intentionally blanked on use, one can change the initial value property of the control to some other value to trigger a required field entry validation.

One can also combine this control with the Ajax Control Tool Kit controls too. More on this later.

Google: How dependable is it any more

Part of Google’s success until now has come from proving itself to be a reliable institution on the web. today I got a notice from them that causes me to question that reliability. They have suddenly decided to no longer allow new Google apps small business or individual accounts. That is their prerogative but they evidently did this with no prior notice. This really jarred me. The disturbing thing is that this isn’t an isolated event. There seems to be an emerging a pattern where Google is changing and discontinuing several of their services without significant consideration for the impact this will have on the people they serve.

Evidently being a reliable institution doesn’t seem to be a desirable part of their business model. They seem to be becoming just another short term opportunist.

I have come to rely a great deal on Google both as a source of information and for their services. This new business direction is going to cause me to reconsider whether Google is still a reliable provider of these things in the future.

Online Educational Oportunities


Here is what their site says: EdX is a not-for-profit enterprise of its founding partners Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that features learning designed specifically for interactive study via the web. More…


Stanford Center for Professional Development


Their site summary: View online, without charge, webinars and seminars presented by Stanford faculty, industry experts, and senior researchers.


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