What a week! I returned home after a week in India only to come down with the crud that’s going around. Between the congestion and the jet lag, I’ve had way too little sleep this week. But I did manage to get a few things done.

A pal at Microsoft clued me in to a new Silverlight-driven site called Heroes Happen Here. What’s really cool is HHH’s Silverlight comic viewer, with which you can keep up with the exploits of Microsoft’s super-hero: Steve Donnell, Software Developer. Maybe if I show this to my kids, they’ll think I’m cool, too.

On a slightly different front, one of my favorite airplanes of all time is the B-25 Mitchell. That’s the plane flown by Doolittle’s Raiders, and it’s one of several warbirds that played a vital role in the Allied victory in World War II. The B-25 was built by North American Aviation, the same company that designed and built the P-51 Mustang. The name “Mitchell” comes from General Billy Mitchell, who was a controversial (and even castigated) figure in his time but today is regarded as the father of American air power.

Last year I built a B-25 model. It flew three times and crashed twice, each time the result of engine failure stemming from a faulty fuel tank.

Over the holidays this year, I built the new B-25 pictured below. It measures 85″ from wingtip to wingtip. It’s powered by a pair of Saito 82 engines and outfitted with third-party fuel tanks that should prove more reliable than the stock tanks that came with it. It’s scheduled for its maiden flight tomorrow if the temperature reaches the mid-50s as predicted. It’s a far cry from the sunshine and mid-80s that I enjoyed in India last week, but in February in Tennessee you take what you can get.

B-25 MitchellB-25 MitchellB-25 Mitchell

I built a cool new Slverlight sample this week. You can view it at:


Once the picture of my jet appears (it may be a little slow to load the first time, and no, I didn’t use the Downloader object to provide a progress UI), click anywhere in the page and drag the mouse around with the left button held down. I’ve been wanting to build a sample like this, and yesterday I sat down and did it. This sample really shows off the benefit of vector graphics, because you don’t lose resolution when you zoom in on XAML objects. Even the bitmap shows more detail when magnified, because the image that I download is substantially larger than the one I display.

A lot of my time in Silverlight these days is spent building “eye candy” demos to show off the power of the platform and (hopefully) get wows from audiences. Look for more demos like it soon.