Two of the most essential languages you will ever learn in your life are CSS and ASP.NET.

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets. They allow you to define common elements among your web pages. Make one change and it appears on all of your web pages at the same time.

ASP.NET is Microsoft’s web application framework. It’s probably the best web framework out there. You can do all sorts of powerful things using the basic tools of the framework.

Here are two tutorials for CSS and two tutorials for ASP.NET. CSS first:

  • Using Pseudo Classes – The first of two parts. If you’re not familiar with advanced selectors, then you’ll want to go back to the basics first, but these tutorials will get you familiar with CSS pseudo classes. You can do some cool things with those.
  • CSS Absolute Positioning – Let’s get back to some basics. This tutorial will teach you about positioning your elements on the page.

Now for a couple of ASP.NET tutorials:

While you’re studying these tutorials, take some time to browse a few of the other CSS and ASP.NET tutorials on these websites.


What I’m calling cloud computing companies might be a bit misleading. I am not necessarily talking about companies that provide cloud computing services, although two of these companies do provide cloud services. These three companies, however, are three of the largest companies currently operating in the cloud.

The companies are Google, Amazon, and Facebook. They are the three largest web-based companies. And they all operate in the cloud, though in completely different ways.

Note that all three of these companies own their own datacenters. Google has several datacenters worldwide. Because it’s core business is indexing the Web, Google has managed to provide free cloud services in order to attract new traffic and to capitalize on the traffic it is already receiving. Google has perhaps been the most creative in the ways that it incorporates cloud computing into its business model.

Amazon got an early start on e-commerce by building a huge department store brand online. That required the use of extensive computing assets. In the last few years, the company has taken its computing assets and offered them in the way of services to others in the cloud computing services industry.

Facebook has gone in a different direction. It uses its own datacenter as a computing asset to allow the benefits of cloud computing to affect its level of service on its core product – social media.

As you can see, there are different ways to make use of the cloud. All of them are viable, and valuable. How are you going to make cloud computing work for you?

Revolutions, true technology revolutions, only come about once in a decade of blue moons. You can say that Gutenberg kicked off a revolution with his famous press. Firearms kicked off a revolution in warfare. The airplane sparked a transportation revolution, as did the automobile. The telephone and television both lead to a revolution in communication media. But the Internet beats them all.

Here are five reasons the Internet is the revolution of technological revolutions:

  1. For the first time in history, you can reach everybody in every country of the world. OK, maybe not practically, but theoretically. Still, that’s powerful.
  2. Not just anyone could operate the Gutenberg press. You had to have the economic status to afford one and the intellectual or literary status to learn how to operate it. With the Internet, you can be a worldwide publisher with much less clout.
  3. Worldwide communication at the speed of light.
  4. Permanence. Everything you do online is a permanent record. Delete it off your local server and it still exists somewhere else.
  5. The Internet is cost effective and cost efficient for more people in more places than Gutenberg’s press, or its descendants, ever was.

I’m sure there are other reasons the Internet is more powerful than Gutenberg’s press. Can you think of any?

Do you know where you can go for great AJAX tutorials, other AJAX resources, and AJAX downloads? Try AJAXAtoms, a trusted resource on AJAX and other programming information.

Just take a look at some of the cool AJAX downloads available at AJAXAtoms:

  • No spam e-mail image link using AJAX
  • Using AJAX for paging on a datagrid control
  • AJAX and dropdownlists using ASP.NET and C#

In addition to these downloads, and more, you can also watch the following AJAX-related videos:

  • Build a web chat application using ASP.NET 3.5, LINQ and AJAX: Junnark Vicencio
  • Using the conditional updatemode of the updatepanel
  • Determining whether an asynchronous postback has occurred
  • Using Javascript to refresh an ASP.NET AJAX updatepanel

Plus, you can get these AJAX tutorials:

  • Using textboxwatermark in a formview: ASP.NET AJAX control toolkit tutorials
  • Using the slider control with auto-postback: ASP.NET AJAX control toolkit tutorials
  • Understanding ASP.NET AJAX localization: ASP.NET AJAX tutorials
  • Manipulating dropshadow properties from client code: ASP.NET AJAX tutorials

And if that isn’t enough, try some of these AJAX resources:

  • Control ID naming in content pages
  • Dynamically adding an accordion pane
  • Databinding to an accordion

All of this, and more, is available at AJAXAtoms. Take the tutorials, download some of the resources available, and watch the videos. Improve your AJAX programming skills.

Here’s an interesting tidbit: Best-selling authors are now turning down publishing deals in order to self-publish. So does that mean the rest of us should too?

You’ll have to read the article, but the interesting thing is this guy turned down a $500,000 advance. That’s a big paycheck. For someone who’s never been faced with that big of an advance, it might seem like a stupid move. But is it? Let’s do the math.

Let’s say your typical royalty is $2.50 per book on a $25.00 hardbound book. How many books do you need to sell to make $500,000? Answer: 200,000. If you don’t sell that many books, then you got a loan you don’t have to repay. If you do sell that many books, then you don’t make any additional money on that first 200,000 copies. You’ve already got it. That’s why it’s an advance. So, if your book only sells 200,005 copies in, let’s say, five years, you’ll make an additional $12.50 on that book for a grand total of $500,012.50. That’s just barely in the six figure range.

But if you are a fairly well known author with a fan base already established, you can self-publish your own book, market it digitally, and keep 70% of the sales.

So let’s say you do this and set a price for your book at $10 per soft copy. You sell 50,000 copies at that price and keep 70% of the sales price. You do this in 3 years. That’s $350,000. Even if it takes you five years – the same amount of time it took you to sell 500,000 copies through your publisher – then that’s still to your advantage. How? Because you still own the publishing rights. You can keep selling that book for the rest of your life. It could potentially make you a thousands of dollars more than going the big publisher route because if your book doesn’t sell enough copies, they’ll let it go out of print.

Now, let’s reduce the numbers for a first-time author. If your advance is a mere $10,000 on your first book, at $2.50 per copy, you’ll still need to sell 4,000 books to earn your pay back. Let’s say your book does really well and sells 50,000 copies. You’ll only get royalties on 46,000 of those, so you’ll make $115,000 on your book. Let’s say you do that in two years.

Now, let’s look at the self-publishing numbers. At $7 per book, you only need to sell $16,500 copies in the digital format to earn the same amount of money. If it takes you two years to do that, then you’ve done a lot better by self-publishing because you’ve got the rest of your life in ownership rights to take your writing to the next level.

Self-publishing makes a lot of sense. Don’t you think?

If you’re 18 years old, you’ve likely grown up with the Internet. Today’s young people are changing the way the world works all the way around. It’s exciting to be living in these times. And while there are new technologies popping up all the time, I think it’s safe to say that these five Internet technologies are here to stay in one form or another.

  • Online videos – It seems like videos were made for the Internet. After all, it’s a medium that lends itself to multimedia all too easily. YouTube, Hulu, Netflix … it just keeps getting better, and I think online video will get better too.
  • Social media – From Facebook to Twitter, social media has made the world a better place.
  • News aggregators – You can have the news you want delivered right to your desktop where you are most likely to read it – any time you want it. This is a powerful technology and I’m surprised it isn’t more widespread.
  • Mobile apps – The iPhone and the Android have made mobile communications world class technnologies. This is still a virtually new technology, but my hasn’t it grown!
  • e-Book readers – If you thought people would never trade their paperback for a digital e-book reader, you were wrong. Not only are the Kindle and the Nook very popular devices, but they are driving book sales higher and higher.

These five Internet technologies may be young still, but they can’t be ignored. Much like a three year old.

Technology is an interesting thing. Until the 20th century, the world pretty much ran on an even keel. Then, we saw airplanes, automobiles, telephones, televisions, and computers (not to mention the thousands of other inventions that entered the great leap of technological innovation). Computers have advanced beyond our wildest imaginations.

For instance, at one time no one would ever have thought that the average individual could turn one computer into multiple computers with just one switch in a matter of minutes. But it’s true.

If you think that last sentence is a bit “out there” and science fiction, I assure you that it isn’t. Today, all you need is a computer and a virtualization software package and you have ten computers sitting right there on top of your one. Not stacked. On the hard drive.

The way it works is like this: You install the virtualization software and choose your configuration settings. You can then install multiple operating systems on that one machine. Each operating system acts as a separate computer so you can run applications, save files, and do anything that you can do on a single computer on that one machine as if you were working on multiple computers.

You can do this even if your name is Joe Schmo, and if you can afford the software.

CSS and ASP.NET are two programming languages worth knowing for today’s Web programmer. OK, let me back up a minute. CSS is one of the most powerful programming languages in Web development today. ASP.NET is the leading applications framework. Both can do incredible things. Here are 5 tutorials websites where you can learn CSS and/or ASP.NET. I hope you get some use out of them.

  1. CSS Atoms – Let’s start with CSS. This site covers the basics and then some. Learn everything you can from these world class CSS tutorials.
  2. ASP.NET Tutorials – Learn all about charts, databases, graphics, and tons of other ASP.NET knowledge from this great directory of awesome tutorials.
  3. Dot Net Tutorials – The perfect ASP.NET tutorials website. Learn everything you ever wanted to know about programming for ASP.NET.
  4. Programming Help – More than just an ASP.NET tutorials website. You’ll also learn to use great tools like Visual Studio 2010.
  5. The Web Made Easy – Here’s a Web tutorials website that lives up to its name. With these tutorials you’ll learn CSS in a hot flash. Oops! Did I say that out loud? They also throw in some HTML5 for your health and welfare.

These 5 tutorials websites will expand your knowledge of CSS and ASP.NET well beyond their current boundaries.

Where do you get your technology news? I’ve discovered 10 websites that provide extraordinary technology news – every day. Don’t start your day without reading at least two or three of these highly praised, and highly trafficked, technology news websites.

  1. CNET – If you’re looking for a new computer, digital camera, video camcorder, or any technology, CNET is the best place to find reviews.
  2. Ars Technica – Covers Microsoft, gaming, science, business, and technology policy news.
  3. Engadget – Delivers the latest technology news on a wide variety of topics.
  4. GizmodoGizmodo covers technology news along with cool reviews.
  5. MashableMashable is the leading Web 2.0 news website and covers a wide spectrum of social media technology as well.
  6. ReadWriteWebReadWriteWeb is Mashable’s leading competitor in the Web 2.0 and social media technology realm.
  7. SlashdotSlashdot has a wide range of topics it covers, but it leans toward the open source side of technology.
  8. TechCrunchTechCrunch is one of the oldest and most popular technology news sites around. Their news is straight and hard core with no gimmicks.
  9. WebProNews – Everybody who is anybody online reads WebProNews. It is one of the Web’s leading news sources.
  10. WiredWired’s crowd is a bit more hip, but they love their technology.

When it comes to technology news, these are the sites you can’t do without.

If you’ve been a coder for more than a few months, you’ve probably met your first nightmare. A coding nightmare is that project that you thought was going to take a few minutes, but it turns into several hours spanning across multiple days. You’re ready to pull your hair out, or worse, jump off a bridge.

Have you had one of those types of nightmares yet? Don’t worry, you will.

So how do you handle it when you get the coding nightmare? First, remember, it isn’t your fault. And it isn’t your customer’s fault either. Well, it might be your customer’s fault, but don’t tell them that. Sometimes, however, things just happen. More than likely, you are dealing with code that has been touched before.

You’ll quickly find that running through code written by someone else, even a professional and experienced coder like yourself, can pose problems. The reason is because different developers have their own way of doing things. It’s not wrong or right, just different.

After you’ve determined what the problem is, isolate it. If you’ve figured out, for instance, that your CSS is corrupted, don’t just fret about it. Take your CSS file and separate it from the rest of the website. Take a look at each line of code separately. Take your time. Coding is tedious. Correcting coding issues is even more so. With time, and some patience, you can figure out the problem and turn your coding nightmare into a huge victory.