Visual Studio Code and Alien Invasions

One thing that got pretty heavy mention at the MVP summit was Visual Studio Code. Turns out this is awesome. I reckon that if aliens ever come to earth it won't be to steal our water or turn us all into their slaves or whatever. It will be to get hold of Visual Studio. It is the best place in the universe to write code. 

Visual Studio Code is a lightweight development environment that takes the essence of the Visual Studio development process and makes it work on Lunix, Mac OSX and Windows. It is designed to be extensible, so that you can create bindings for your own development process and programming language (although there are lots available already). And it's free.  Great stuff.

Perhaps by beaming the installer out into space we can save ourselves an alien invasion or two. 

Free C# Course and a Shiny New Kindle C# Yellow Book

I've spent the last couple of weeks swearing at HTML files. Who would have thought that converting a Word document into nicely formatted markup could be so difficult. Anyhoo, I've finally managed to get the text into some sensible shape and it now has a proper Kindle table of contents.  If you have already bought my C# Yellow Book on Kindle,  then you might like to update your copy.  If you haven't you can get one here.  And why not?

Of course the original version is available at the usual place. And I've also added the entire content of our First Year programming course from last year. This includes over 100 slide decks, practical sessions and the assessed coursework. The content is free for anyone who wants to teach C# or learn it. Enjoy.

Page Navigation in Windows Phone Applications


I got asked a question about Page Navigation in Windows Phone applications. Having a spare 10 minutes I thought I’d record a tiny screencast about it, which you can find here.

It tells you how to make a multi-page Windows Phone application and then navigate between the pages. You can find the sample application here. The text that is referred to in the screencast is the Windows Phone Blue Book, which you can find here.

Capturing Objects with Autodesk 123D Catch


Autodesk 123D is slowly replacing FreeCad as my favourite place to create 3D models for printing. This is because I’m spending ages trying to get my head around how to use it. Turns out that designing things in 3D is much harder than 2D. Who’d have thought?

Of course the perfect way to make a 3D model of something would be to wave a camera at it and then have something crunch all the images and then drop out a design. That’s what Autodesk claim to have done with their 123D Catch application for iPhone and iPad. I’ve not had a chance to try this yet (the lack of an iPhone is slowing me down a bit here), but if you’ve got one you might like to give it a whirl. You should be able to convert the resulting scans into stl files and then get them printed.

This, of course, brings along lots of new and scary issues. If I go to an art gallery or shop and scan all the things I find interesting I can then go home and make my own versions. Basically, copyright problems are now moving into the third dimension…

Kinect Manager available for download

Kinect Mgr Demo
You’d think I’d look more pleased that it is working…..

Today I finished all the chapters for my upcoming book about the Kinect SDK. As part of the book I’ve made a wrapper class that makes it a little easier to use the classes in the Kinect for Windows SDK. You can use it to start a Kinect running and then bind to events that driver generates when new frames are available. The frame events are processed on a “round robin” basis so that the driver will not get new data from the sensor until it has been processed by your application. This makes it work well even on low performance machines that might not be able to keep up with the events generated by the Kinect sensor. The manager also generates status messages.

You can download the class, along with a program that demonstrates it, from here. For it to work you must have installed the Kinect for Windows SDK from here. And of course you’ll need a Kinect sensor – either the Xbox 360 one or the Windows one will work fine.

08101 Battleships Tutorial Podcast

tyre tracks

Another day of stuck at home. Not that I’ve spent all my time here. I also managed to find time to walk through a snowstorm and then queue for 45 minutes in the Post Office. What joy.

Anyhoo, since it is looking unlikely that I’ll be able to make my tutorial tomorrow I’ve recorded another podcast for those on the 08101 module who are just getting started with the coding.

I’ll have another one tomorrow for the next stage.

TechDays 2010 Portugal Session Resources

TechDays Portugal 2010 My Office

ACA009 Creating Windows Phone Games

Here is the content from my session. Thanks for being a great audience.

The code works on the current version of the CTP for the Windows Phone system. You can download this from here. If you want to use demo 3B to serve out accelerometer information to your phone app make sure that the program is running with Administrator privileges, and that you have modified the URL in the Phone Starlight program to address this host (localhost should just work).

If you want to get started with Windows Phone you can find a list of useful lines (and some FAQ entries) here.

ACA004 Giving Robots Life with the .NET Micro Framework

I left Oscar the robot powered up overnight by mistake. I was very impressed to find that he still had plenty of battery power left this morning. Fortunately nobody had been sending movement commands to him via the secret URL otherwise he could have gone anywhere!

If you want to get hold of a robot and Fez controllers you can go to:

If you want to get hold of the Web Server board you can go here:

If you want the most powerful Micro Framework board I’ve ever seen you can go here:

The Micro framework at Microsoft can be found here. There are links to platform manufacturers and a very useful forum. You can even propose enhancements to the platform.

Geek Night Files

DevDays 2010 Geek Night Setup
My name in lights…

After the fun and games of Geek Night I’ve now put all the source files and the presentation up.

  • You can find the presentation here.
  • You can find all the sample code here.

There are also some more audience pictures on Flickr. Click on the picture above to find your way to my photostream and take a look. I’m off to find a tram, a train and a plane now…

I’ve got a new Windows Phone


Unfortunately it’s not real. Like many other facets of my life, it exists only within the mind of my computer. However, it does work, and I can write programs for it using the latest version of Visual Studio.

If you want your own Windows Phone 7 Series device you can head over to here to perform a one stop download that gives you all the tools you need, including Silverlight, XNA and the emulator.

If you are feeling rich (or are a student on Dreamspark) you can even signed up for the Developer experience here.

isobuster for your Dreamspark Images


If you are making use of your Dreamspark access to get hold of lovely free Microsoft software then you might have noticed that a lot of the good stuff arrives as ISO disk images. The idea is that you burn these images to disk and then install the software on them.

However, if you have a netbook with no CD-ROM drive, or are simply in a hurry I can recommend IsoBuster. This tool lets you copy files from ISO images onto your hard disk or memory key so that you can install programs from the disks without needing a physical disk.

There is a copy you can pay for, but I’m told that the free version will do all you need to get hold files from a disk image. IsoBuster is also useful if you have a damaged disk that you need to recover.

New Free Stuff

The smartest thing I did last year was to give something away. The result of putting the "Famous Yellow C# book" up on the blog has been a huge increase in traffic and thousands of downloads over the last few months.

Loads of people have been in touch saying how useful it has been to them. A number of courses are using it as one of their texts and it has even made its way onto the digital bookshelf of some leading software manufacturers. And of course quite a few new typos have been discovered....

I got a query today from someone who is moving from Java to C# and I remembered that some time ago I wrote some notes about this. I put them up on this site ages ago, but I've tidied the text up, converted it to pdf and put it in a coloured cover (this time orange). You can find the new material alongside the Yellow book on the same site:


The C# Yellow Book is now in PDF

Students lucky enough to come to Hull get a free copy of my C# programming book (this year in a snazzy yellow cover). If you come to see us on an Open Day we will also give you a printed copy. Until recently the only way to get sight of the book was to come to Hull and get one.

However, that has now changed, you can now download a PDF of the book from /c-yellow-book/.

Please let me know what you think.