Remoat Home Automation Software

June 30, 2012 17:31 by docbliny 

Since I missed the May Home Automation Month, I really need to make up for it somehow. So here’s a quick video of Remoat (, a little utility I’ve been putting together in my spare time. It’s not really production-ready, but I’ll make the source available for the hackers out there.

Currently it needs/supports the following:

  • Windows Media Player: Plays music from your library.
  • MiCasaVerde Vera: Allows you to turn on binary devices, such as lights that you’ve got configured.
  • mControl 2.X: There’s some old code in the package from when I was running mControl on my WHS box (which had sequential disk failures and in the end killed my RAID –> switched to a QNAP NAS). Unsupported.
  • Windows Vista/7 speech recognition: This is required (part of the operating system anyway).
  • Windows text-to-speech: You can specify which audio device is used for speech output. This lets you hook up a pair of speakers that are always on and have the PC hooked up to you’re a/V system for better quality playback. Part of the operating system.

Why does System.Speech.Internal.SrgsCompiler.CompileStream() default to “es-us” CultureInfo?

April 23, 2011 09:16 by docbliny 

UPDATE: Nevermind, this is a patch for the "es-us" culture which has the ID 0x540A.

I been trying to track down why I can’t get GRXML files that have ruleref elements pointing to external files working with Windows 7 (64-bit), and ran into the following line of code:

culture = (backend.LangId == 0x540a) ? new CultureInfo("es-us") : new CultureInfo(backend.LangId);

Note the "es-us" locale. Weird. Now back to banging my head against the original problem.

Microsoft MIX 09 Keynote

March 18, 2009 10:25 by docbliny 

Here’s a quick rundown of the items covered during the initial Mix09 keynote. View keynote.




Beta available today.

Allows you to compare the rendering of a web page in different browsers. Supports both local installations of browsers and a cloud-based service to render in other browsers.

Read more on the Expression Blog.


Shipping today.

ASP.NET 4 and VS 2010

Even better IDE for C#/VB and web developers.

Web Platform Installer

Version 2.0 beta available today. Now allows web applications to be installed along with any dependencies.


  • FastCGI/PHP and .NET full trust
  • SQL Data Services
  • .NET Services

Commercial release this year.

Silverlight 3

Two surprises from left-field: Out of Browser and Multitouch support!

Current Numbers

  • 350+ million installations
  • 300,000 Developers & Designers
  • 200+ partners worldwide
  • 200+ Microsoft Products and Websites
  • 10,000’s of apps globally

Silverlight 3 Media Enhancement

  • GPU hardware acceleration
  • New codec support (H.264, AAC, MPEG-4)
  • Raw bitstream Audio/Video API, use .NET to access stream data
  • Improved logging for media analytics

IIS Media Services

  • Free for IIS
  • On-demand smooth streaming
  • Live smooth streaming
  • Edge caching
  • Web playlists
  • Bit-rate throttling
  • Advanced logging

Silverlight 3 Graphics

  • GPU acceleration and hardware compositing
  • Perspective 3D
  • Bitmap & pixel API
  • Pixel shader effects
  • Deep Zoom improvements

Application Development

  • Deep linking, navigation and SEO
  • Improved text quality (ClearType)
  • Multi-touch support
  • 100+ controls available
  • Library caching support (finally! Like a Global Assembly Cache for Silverlight)
  • Eclipse Support for Silverlight (on the Mac)

Silverlight 3 Data

  • Data-binding improvements
  • Validation error templates
  • Server data push improvements
  • Binary XML networking support
  • Multi-Tier REST data support

Out of Browser

Run Silverlight applications on the desktop for both Windows and Mac.

  • Extend media experiences
  • Companion applications for your website
  • Lightweight data snacking applications
  • Simple consumer friendly experience
  • Safe, secure, sandboxed environment
  • Built-in auto-update support
  • Build offline-aware applications
  • Integrate with underlying operating systems

Download Size

Total size: ~4.4MB. 40k smaller than Silverlight 2!

  • Thousands of new APIs
  • Hundreds of new features
  • New codecs
  • Out of browser support


  • Single beta planned
  • Ship later this year
  • Silverlight 3 Beta
  • Expression Blend 3 Preview
  • Silverlight 3 Tools for Visual Studio 2008
  • IIS Media Services

Expression Blend 3

Be sure to watch the keynote by Bill Buxton. Great energy and view on design.

View keynote

View Interview

  • SketchFlow
    • Flow diagram for different parts of an application.
    • Wiggly” controls. Working controls that look like conceptual prototypes.
    • Free viewer application to view “sketches”.
    • Supports multiple options.
    • Supports displaying transitions with animations.
    • Supports giving feedback. Notes and drawing on the sketches directly. Send to Blend and view in context.
    • Export to Word to auto-generate documents for clients.
  • Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator import
  • Behaviors
  • Designing with data
  • Source code controls
  • XAML, C# and VB code Intellisense

New tool: On The Fly

February 23, 2009 19:45 by docbliny 

I’ve added a new tool to the downloads page called On The Fly .NET. It’s a simple utility that lets you type in C# or VB.NET and run it. I use it mainly to test little snippets of code and for writing samples when I want to make sure they actually compile (and possibly run). It has basic syntax highlighting and code completion so it makes it easier to test things or check the name of a property/method.


I haven’t done any thorough testing, but you’ll need at least .NET 2 and might need 3 since it currently imports some of the base WPF classes.

To output a result, you can simply use Console.Write()/WriteLine() and the content will be displayed in a separate window. It’ll remember some basic settings such as the code you last typed. You’ll need the Main function to exist as that will be the starting point of the dynamically compiled application, but you can always get the default template in the correct language which contains the required stub code by clicking New….

WinFX/Avalon and transparent windows

April 5, 2006 00:58 by docbliny 

EDIT: Daniel reminded me I should update my blog once in an eternity. Please see his comment for RTM info:

This information is a bit dated.  With the RTM release, you can now do the following:

    Window window = new Window();
    window.AllowsTransparency = true;
    window.WindowStyle = WindowStyle.None;

This will create a borderless window that allows transparently.  Regarding software acceleration, you'll find this interesting:

- Daniel

Original outdated post:

Just a quick tip. If you've searched online for a way to make a transparent, borderless, or shaped window in WPF (formerly known as Avalon) and you've found the Win32 Interop method of HwndSource and UsesPerPixelOpacity, you might want to just switch to using a Popup with AllowsTransparency set to True. Just remember that currently (February 2006 CTP) this will mean that hardware acceleration won't be used (oh please, please, please add hardware support...)