People often ask me which books I’d recommend on ASP.NET, ASP.NET AJAX, or Silverlight. They’re sometimes taken aback when I reply that I can’t recommend one because I don’t read computer books any more.

Which isn’t quite true. I do read computer books every now and then when I’m trying to get the lay of the land with a new technology. But I rarely read books on Web stuff because I do ASP.NET, ASP.NET AJAX, and Silverlight for a living and if I don’t already know everything that’s in those books, I’m not doing my job.

Nevertheless, publishers frequently send me books in hopes that I’ll recommend them to colleagues. Recently two ASP.NET AJAX books have come across my desk that I like a lot and can heartily recommend to anyone. The first is Programming ASP.NET AJAX by Christian Wenz. (Full disclosure: at the publisher’s request, and after reading galleys of the first edition, I contributed a quote/endorsement that appears on the back cover.) The second is ASP.NET AJAX In Action by Gallo, Barkol, and Vavilala. Both offer great background on AJAX as a technology, both have juicy details that will make you a smarter ASP.NET AJAX programmer, and neither regurgitates the documentation. What’s more, each book tends to answer questions that the other does not.

In case you haven’t heard, Microsoft has just announced that they will publish the source code for version 3.5 of the .NET Base Class Library. For details, check out this blog post from Scott Guthrie.

As if that weren’t exciting enough, I am now the owner of my very own gas turbine engine (see below). It’s a JetCat P-60. It weighs slightly less than 2 pounds and produces 13 pounds of thrust with a maximum rotational speed of 165,000 RPM. It burns real jet fuel with a max consumption of 8 oz. per minute. This is a dream come true for me, because when I was in aero school years ago, my professors told me that it was impossible to build a miniature gas turbine engine. I’ve wanted to build one ever since, but now I don’t have to because you can buy them off the shelf. How cool is that?


So what am I going to put it in, you ask? I could mount it on my desk and use it to heat the office this winter, but I have a better idea: put it in something that flies! I have a nice little aircraft sitting in the spare bedroom (what my wife refers to as “hangar 2”). As soon as I get the turbine and electronics installed, I’ll post pictures.