Scott Guthrie: “This post is the first of several “mini-posts” I’m going to do that talk about a few of the new ASP.NET MVC 3 Beta features in more detail.  In today’s post I’m going to discuss the new @model directive that is now supported with the new Razor view-engine, and which helps make view files more concise and cleaner.”

“Dynamic Methods in View Data”

Phil Haack: “Earlier in this post I mentioned the mismatch between property names, ViewModel vs View. I also talked about this in a video I recorded for MvcConf on MVC 3 Preview 1. Originally, we wanted to pick a nice terse name for this property so when referencing it in the view, there is minimal noise. We liked the property View for this purpose and implemented it for our view page first. …But when we went to port this property over to the Controller, we realized it wouldn’t work. Anyone care to guess why? Yep, that’s right. Controller already has a method named View so it can’t also have a property named the same thing. So we called it ViewModel for the time being and figured we’d change it once we came up with a better name.”

“ASP.NET MVC 3: Layouts with Razor”

Scott Guthrie: “You typically want to maintain a consistent look and feel across all of the pages within your web-site/application.  ASP.NET 2.0 introduced the concept of “master pages” which helps enable this when using .aspx based pages or templates.  Razor also supports this concept with a feature called “layouts” – which allow you to define a common site template, and then inherit its look and feel across all the views/pages on your site.”

“50 Free CSS/(X)HTML Templates”

Noupe: “To keep you moving throughout your creative adventure, we have gathered some cool and absolutely Free CSS and XHTML Web Layouts. You can download and use them for your own personal and/or commercial use. Please read the license agreements carefully before using the templates; the licenses can change from time to time. Feel free to express yourself in a new style and… do not forget to share your opinion with us in the comment section below!”

“50 Useful jQuery Plugins to Enhance your Forms”

Aquil Akhter: “Here we present some useful plugins and tutorials that will let you create awesome forms for your websites — whether it’s a sign up form or contact us form. You can enhance its functionality and usefulness with these plugins. Since these forms are used by the visitors of your website to interact with you, they are of great importance and for this reason you cannot just ignore them as they play an important role in the success of your website.”

“100 Useful Free Textures”

Noupe: “Textures are not necessarily used in fashion-related or grungy websites; more often they are applied subtly to lend a personal tone to otherwise lifeless and faceless design elements. Textures are also often be used in combination with other elements such as typography, lighting and colors. They are most common for backgrounds, but are also use to fresh up a flat and boring appearance of design elements. Texture adds dimension to virtually any style of design, if applied properly. They also add a certain level of realism, creating a less formal, more inviting and aesthetically pleasing atmosphere that reflects our environment — after all, plain flat surfaces rarely exist in reality.”

 Cade Metz: “Steve Jobs has apparently weighed into the debate over Apple’s decision to deprecate Java on the Mac, and his terse explanation was promptly deprecated by Java founder James Gosling. According to, a concerned Java developer emailed the Apple cult leader on Thursday to ask about Apple’s plans for the platform, and as he’s been known to do from time to time, Jobs responded.”

“Ubuntu moves away from GNOME”

Joe Brockmeier: “The big news at the Ubuntu Developer Summit? Moving to Unity as the default interface for Ubuntu Desktop with Natty Narwhal (11.04), rather than GNOME Shell. Earlier this year, Canonical representatives had to deny that they were forking GNOME with the work on the Unity interface.”

“F# Goes Open Source”

Miguel de Icaza: “F# is a fascinating language, but I had not really spent much time with it as we could not really distribute it as an open source compiler limiting its usefulness in the Linux and Mac worlds. Now F# can become just another language that developers can use.”

Since my youngest children will probably never read my Blog (especially while they are children) I can tell you this: Time to slap these kids around with holiday commercialism… So here is my rough sketch of X-mas swag—the table summarizes:

“Moxie Girlz Art-titude Dollpack – Sasha”

My daughter keeps asking for this—and, no ladies, my daughter is not “manipulating” me (y’all are telling me a whole lot about your fathers).

Let me be specific: my daughter is asking for a Moxie girl doll (she even carried around a ragged expired coupon to help me get one). My choice on my daughter’s behalf is “Sasha.”

“MasterPieces Mysteries of the Pyramids 3D Pyramid Puzzle 365 Pieces”

Since my daughter is supposed to be educated in the classics (the African ones at her imaginative core)—and I say ‘supposed’ because I do not consider her progress satisfactory, this puzzle is meant for my daughter literally put her ancestral core back together.

In the same manner that young, middle-class American families in the 1950s valued learning Greek and Latin (Roman), touching on The Old Kingdom should be considered fundamental for serious African-feeling peoples.

“Ravensburger The Solar System—Set of 8 puzzleballs”

My youngest son should have this (he really doesn’t need any stereotypical toys because he has tons, seriously). what he really needs is more of my time—like we need to go camping or something.

“50" Hi Performance Nylon Glider: Green Fractal by X-Kites”

What my youngest son teaches me is that being a father is physical. This big-ass glider is a promise to this kid that I’m going to get my old ass out into a field and fly this thing with this boy.

This aircraft is also a reminder to me and my son that his grandfather, my father, was a licensed pilot. So model airplanes is something very special to me.

“The Last Airbender—Appa Deluxe Figure”

My daughter went crazy over the Last Airbender movie and the DVD series. But these air-bender toys should actually shared between the two children. However, my youngest two children have two different mothers—so now you know what kind of “evil” man I am (and I’ll see you church next Sunday).

So my daughter should keep the toys with her since she has an order of magnitude fewer toys than her brother.

Warning from a fellow consumer: “As soon as she got this toy she was [disappointed] with it. Its hard to fit Aang into the seat, its small in general, and the face looks terrible.”

“The Last Airbender 3-3/4" Figures Aang”

My daughter often calls her brother “Aang,” casting him in the role, often against his will. So I’m pretty sure this will work out for her very well—until she starts pining for the rest of the action figures.

Tip: don’t buy the “Aang” “spirit-mode” doll just get the figure here and ‘encourage’ your child to make that glider he flies around with…

Other picks from the past…

This other table (below) summarizes stuff I’ve already bought for my children:

“Ravensburger Illustrated World Map—240 Piece puzzleball”

This purchase seems to be a hit… only time will tell… what is important about this globe is that there is no “correct” rotational axis, normal to the equator (placing Europe on top of Africa). Also there are no political boundaries.

“Ghost in the Shell W.H.A.M. 1/24 Scale Tachikoma—Metal Finish Version With Ishikawa”

Like, I’ve been saying: getting toys for my youngest son is a challenge. This one from Japan, inspired by the Ghost in the Shell TV series (not the film), worked out well.

“Darice Chalkboard—Black”

This is one of these gifts that often vanish from the hands of my children. Sometimes I feel like I’m supplying the ’hood with educational gear (which fine with me—what is not fine is adults taking these tools from the children).

Me having more rapt attention from my children would have made this item more effective for my little ones for many years (instead of just a few). I’ll keep trying.

Such attention comes from both parents keeping the same standard of behavior—even happy couples in the suburbs can command such attention spans from their brood.

“Wild Planet Explorer Ops Survival Watch”

I got two of these for my kids. This children’s tool had mixed results. I think I got these for my little ones when they were too little. The mothers, not being madly in love with me (for “obvious” reasons) and failing to understand the value of things coming from me (more of a subconscious, ironically childish thing from these ladies—none of these mother’s, by the way, are younger than me), seem to let these items slip away from the children. I’ll keep trying.

 BBC: “Outward signs of mourning have declined, if not been abolished in more secular societies now: but our sense of sadness and loss endure, and instead of this being called mourning, it is called ‘trauma’. ” It’s the Blues, baby!

“Alternative sleeping surfaces, part 2: If you want a real Japanese futon, you’ll need this tool, too”

Core77: “The real deal is thinner and fluffier than the ridiculously dense slabs that most Americans think of as futons, and I could only find one workshop in all of New York City that makes them the traditional way. In Japan futons are traditionally meant to be folded up each morning and placed in a closet, freeing up useable square footage in a space-tight country; thick American futons are impossible to fold at all.” American furniture, our f’n prairie schooners and Spanish Galleons, suck!

“Comment: Vitamin D is essential to the modern indoor lifestyle”

Michael Holick: “…we know that immune cells called macrophages activate vitamin D, which causes cells to make defensin proteins that specifically kill infective agents like tuberculosis bacteria. A Japanese study recently found that children receiving 1,200 IU of vitamin D each day reduced their risk of getting the flu by almost 50 percent. Every tissue and every cell in the body has a vitamin D receptor protein. It’s estimated that upwards of 2,000 genes are directly or indirectly regulated by vitamin D.”

“Certificates of Deposit in Inflationary and Deflationary Times”

Visual Economics: “What happens when deflation hits is that all of that cash you have sitting in your certificates of deposit, savings accounts, and other liquid vehicles is that the after-tax benefits of holding this money in these places is zero. While these investments do provide you with some return on your money, it is a wash when you factor in tax considerations, so in essence cash is simply that—cash. It’s not bigger of an amount than when you deposited it last month or one year ago. In order to make money on your money in deflationary periods, you have to look beyond certificates of deposit, money market accounts, and savings accounts.”

“Eleven jailed over Van Gogh theft”

BBC: “The investigation found that none of the museum’s alarms and only seven of 43 security cameras were working.”

“Watch ‘Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child’ Now!”

Tambay: “Well, not here exactly, but if you have a Netflix account, you CAN watch it now, just a few clicks away, because it’s just been added as an Instant Watch title. So, no need to wait for the DVD…” You can also read my (PDF) poem.

Via Slashdot: “…‘The mainstream press acts surprised that Microsoft’s chief software architect is resigning, but InfoWorld’s Woody Leonhard explains through a review of Ozzie’s efforts at Microsoft how the Redmond giant has consistently ignored and squandered the design savvy that Ozzie has tried to bring to the table. If you ever wondered why Microsoft’s products like Windows and Office are so bloated and underwhelming, while Apple’s are almost always wonderful experiences, this analysis will solve that mystery. And you too will wonder how Ozzie could have lasted so long at a company that doesn’t believe in design.’”

“Apple May Pay $625 Million For Messing with Texas”

Ryan Tate: “The plaintiff was a Yale computer science professor with a company called Mirror Worlds incorporated in New Haven, Connecticut and under a slightly different name in Tyler, Texas, part of a region known for its friendliness to patent claims.”

“Why don’t we kill each other as much as we used to?”

Maggie Koerth-Baker: “Proof of things you already suspected: Human society is not more violent today than in the past. Quite the opposite, in fact. (At least, as measured by statistics based on Western European historical records.) ”

“The Graying of the World”

Via FREAKONOMICS: “It’s true that the world’s population overall will increase by roughly one-third over the next 40 years, from 6.9 to 9.1 billion, according to the U.N. Population Division. But this will be a very different kind of population growth than ever before—driven not by birth rates, which have plummeted around the world, but primarily by an increase in the number of elderly people. Indeed, the global population of children under 5 is expected to fall by 49 million as of midcentury, while the number of people over 60 will grow by 1.2 billion. How did the world grow so gray, so quickly?

“Transparency Is Not Enough”

Dana Boyd: “Data transparency is not enough; danah boyd powerfully argues that the character of data depends on its interpretation and states her case for data literacy. If people are ignorant about how data is generated, selected and interpreted, power accrues to those who can ‘spin’ the data to support their opinions and biases. Using the example of publicly available sex offender data, released under Megan’s Law, boyd shows that understanding the complexity of data is just as important as making it transparent.”