It’s been a while since I found time to write a blog post. I’ve been occupied with a heavy teaching load, customer visits, and all the business stuff that’s necessary around year end. I usually try to use December to catch up. This year it’s been harder than usual because so much has happened around .NET and Silverlight.

For starters, Visual Studio 2008 and version 3.5 of the .NET Framework have shipped. That means ridding your PC of prerelease versions and doing a clean install of the RTM bits. Scott Guthrie has a helpful post on all the VS 2008 Beta 2 stuff that needs to be uninstalled before you install the RTM version. I delayed installing Visual Studio 2008 on all my machines until Microsoft updated the Silverlight 1.1 Tools Alpha to work with the RTM release. If you haven’t already downloaded the Tools Alpha, you can get it here.

The ink was still wet on 3.5 when Microsoft released the ASP.NET 3.5 Extensions CTP, which, among other things, includes a preview release of Microsoft’s forthcoming Model View Controller (MVC) framework. I’m interested to see how MVC is received by ASP.NET programmers. I know some folks who believe MVC is the best thing that’s happened to ASP.NET in recent years. I know others who think MVC is overhyped. What do you think? Will you be using it in your projects? I’d love to hear your opinion, in part because I’m trying to decide how much coverage I should devote to it in classes, conference sessions, etc.

Microsoft also released a plug-in for Expression Encoder that simplifies the process of publishing Silverlight Streaming apps. No more creating manifests and manually zipping Encoder output files; the plug-in does that for you.

Of course, the biggest news in recent weeks was Microsoft’s announcement regarding Silverlight. There won’t be a Silverlight 1.1, it turns out; instead, the next version is titled Silverlight 2.0. Version 2.0 will do all the things we expected 1.1 to do: C# in the browser, for example, and an enhanced XAML rendering engine that supports a richer (and more WPF-like) dialect of XAML. But there’s more, and not all of it has been announced. Keep an eye out for further (exciting) developments.

I picked up a copy of Adam Nathan’s Silverlight 1.0 book and can heartily recommend it to developers looking for an introduction to Silverlight. One thing that really jumped out at me when flipping through the book is how small the Silverlight 1.0 feature set is compared to WPF. Adam’s WPF book is more than twice the size of his Silverlight book. That will change with Silverlight 2.0, and for me, the changes can’t happen fast enough.

On the model airplane front, I haven’t had much time to work on airplanes and jets lately. I hope to take some time off Christmas week to begin building a new B-25 model to replace one that I crashed earlier this year. The to-do list for this spring includes (hopefully) installing a larger turbine in my jet–going from a JetCat P-60, which produces 13 pounds of thrust to a P-70, which produces 17 pounds–and installing the old turbine in my Yellow Aircraft F-18, which currently runs on a ducted-fan engine. I’ve noodled in my shop enough in recent weeks to convert many of my airplanes over to a new 2.4 GHz radio system that eliminates frequency conflicts and uses GUIDs to bind transmitters to receivers (preventing someone else from flipping on a radio and accidentally shooting down your plane). Changes come slowly to the RC aircraft industry, but 2.4 GHz is a change whose time has come.

I’ve also managed to add a few cool books to my comic book collection. The latest is a key Silver Age comic that I can remember buying in a drugstore when I was 8 years old:

I’ve been looking for this one for a while but couldn’t find a reasonably priced copy. I got a good deal on this one and decided it was time to bite the bullet. Maybe I’ll paint myself silver and bring along a surf board when I do my next conference…