Lachlan B's Blog

Moving from classic ASP to MVC5

So the past few weeks I've been re-writing my website. Previously it was written in Classic ASP (yes, you read that right) and it was running off a Microsoft Access database. Yes, you read that right too.

The code has served me well since I launched in 2006, and can I point out, that was NINE years ago. I have to salute classic ASP for doing a pretty bang up job. The site rarely went down, it was never hacked (apart from a mountain of comment spam) and it was all-in-all, pretty good fun.

But the past couple of years has seen a huge improvement in website coding. It's all so much easier and more fun now, so I figured I might as well rewrite it in ASP.NET and move it to MVC. So here's the full stack of technologies:

  • Bootstrap for the front end - fantastic library once you get your head around it

  • JQuery for the little ajaxed archive box over to the right

  • ASP.NET MVC4 for the back end

  • Entity framework for talking to the DB

  • SQL Server for the DB

The whole thing was coded using Visual Studio community edition and SQL Server express. Half was written on my desktop, and the other half was written on my MacBook air running a windows 7 VM using Parallels - a process that ran surprisingly well. I synced the code between the two machines using Git Gui, another process that...

Top 10 guitar solos of all time

A few days ago I saw this. And I think it's an abomination. I guess I deserve all that I get reading anything from the nme :)

So in an attempt to give a bit more credence to the guitarists who actually, you know, know how to play the guitar, here's the guitar solo's that I think really re-defined the art of the electric guitar.

1. Deep Purple - Lazy

In 1972 Deep Purple decided to record the rock album of all time. Every solo on this album is a killer, and every song is a killer. Deep purple have always been an amazing live band and this really shows up in their chemistry.

2. Eddie Van Halen - Eruption

In 1979 Eddie Van Halen exploded all over his first album and boy was this a stunner. For years nobody could work out how he did it and called him a cheat! But we know the truth.. the guy was a genius!

3. Yngie Malmsteen - Far Beyond the Sun

In 1984 Malmsteen released "Rising Force" and defined a new style of metal - neoclassical. Similar to Van Halen a lot of people thought that his records were sped up - how could anyone play that fast?

4. Joe Satriani - Crushing Day

In 1987 Joe Satriani sat down and recorded the epitome of instrumental rock. The classic "Surfing with the alien". Too many great solo's to choose from, so ...

Shoot Em Ups Album

Remember those cool games in the 80's where you shot everything in sight? Those were the best games. The music was sometimes pretty cool too - and made even better when bought into the present with some MASSIVE GUITARS.

Shoot 'Em Ups

This collection features Doom 2, Commander Keen 4, R-Type, Ghouls and Ghosts, Double Dragon, and two tunes from the obscure Japanese PC only shoot-em-up games named Touhou!

Track listing:

1. Deep Mountain (Touhou #7 Stage 1) - 03:06

This is the first song that I'd recorded in a while. I went for a different approach with contrasting between the clean guitars and then the monstrously heavy 7-string, and then back to the acoustic. Compositionally wise it's pretty simple, just repeating the main melody 3 times, but it's the arrangement that (hopefully) makes it interesting. Ideally I would have liked to expand the heavy section, but in a short burst it leaves you wanting more.

2.

Julia Gillard on North Korea...

Hey Gillard,

I notice that you've recently been to the South Korea. It's fun hey! I went there a few years ago myself and learnt some pretty amazing things, and when I came home I told all of my friends. Now I noticed that when people asked you about stuff that goes on in North Korea, you basically had no idea what to say and stuck to what your script writer had written.

But you're our prime minister! You could be telling the Australian public and the world so many more important things! I can think of nine right now!

1. Why don't you say something about the 200,000 people that are detained in the concentration and detention camps, or how about the 400,000 people who have died due to torture, starvation, disease and execution?

2. Or how about mentioning the infanticides, the rounding up of the handicapped & elderly, the persecution of Christians, and the political manipulation of the Great famine?

3. Or about mentioning the great confiscation? You know, how at the end of last year everyone's money was confisticated and replaced with the new currency that wasn't worth anything?

4. Why don't you tell the people about Bureau 39 of the North Korean Workers' Party? You know, the group that are responsi...

Modernising church worship music vs keeping it traditional

Mark Peterson recently wrote an article titled Contemporary v Traditional: 8 reasons it's hard to choose. I'd like to comment on this issue as it is one that is very close to my heart!

To be upfront - I play guitar. Not wimpy acoustic guitar, but screaming 80's metal guitar. I like to lather on the distortion and see how fast I can play.

I don't have much of a choice. I love heavy metal. I LOVE it. I can't play piano, I can't play hymns, and I don't have a clasically trained voice. With that in mind, I think there are some guidelines that we can follow to determine if we should be playing contemporary or traditional music at our church.

Let's say I turn up to church, and there's one hundred people in the congregation. Everyone is older than 70, and they are eager to get down and start belting out the hymns. If I was to turn up with a big rock band, cranked it up and started playing Hillsong tunes, it just wouldn't work. People wouldn't be able to sing, the rhythm that I'd be using would put them off, songs wouldn't sound how people are used to hearing them... it would be a disaster. The purpose of playing music is to encourage people to worship God with their voices, and boy would the music style be absolutely detrimental. It would honestly be better if I hadn't played...

Kim Jong Il knew how to turn on a light

Hey look, according to the official North Korean news, Kim Jong Il knew how to turn on a light for chickens!

Hey and for bonus news, a fire happened somewhere in Australia.

Incredible news reporting.

German Toehider review translation

We have some nice reviews of the bands CD's in German over at Here's the english translation:

Bird's Robe Records: Toehider are the greatest rock band ever known!

With this self-confident statement and a big wink, bandleader, singer and guitarist Mike Mills describes his progressive-rock-band from Melbourne / Australia (Australia again?).

One probably has to imagine Mills as creative-insane. Who else would have the idea to record and release a full EP every month, in one year? These 12 EPs have in the meantime been distributed to the people on 2 CDs, but Mills wants more. With their debut-album, To Hide Her, (attention word-joke), Toehider publish their idea of timely progressive rock music. How it sounds? Eclectic, multi-layered, compact, different and very very happy. The boys are completely nuts, but are apparently in charge of - and furiously engaged with their instruments.

Style-limits are foreign to them, the majority of the songs are distributed - to simplify it - on furious hard-rock tracks with a Umphrey's McGee style magic, and more quiet, partly acoustic titles.

Apart from the instrumental cabinet-pieces, Mike Mills voice excites... ok, its high, but strong, secure and variable he sings his parts. The partly detailed vocal-arrangements (The Most Popular Girl In School - do I hear some Qu...

Cam Blokland covers Surfing and Passion and Warfare!

Adelaide guitarist extraordinare Cam Blokland is the man! In In 2010 he did a gig where he played the ENTIRETY of Surfing With the Alien... check out the highlights here.

Pretty awesome huh?

So guess what he's going to be doing this year??

Covering the ENTIRE ALBUM of Passion and Warfare!!!

If there's one guy who will pull it off it's Cam... so stay tuned!


Stephen Merchant and I

I am starting to think that Stephen Merchant and I should be friends, but the problem is that we have too much in common.

- We have the same birthday. This would get confusing, we'd have to share the same birthday party. We'd both be trying to take the limelight, and people wouldn't be sure who to pay the most attention to. I think of course it should be me, and Steve would think the same thing, so the night would have a continual undercurrent of uneasiness that wouldn't make anyone happy.

- We are both tall skinny ectomorphs. Ok, this might actually help both of us. When standing next to each other people might start to think that being tall and skinny is the way that normal people should be. But then I'd probably get annoyed that Steve is taller than me, and he'd get annoyed that I'm shorter than him, and no-one would be happy.

- We are both allergic to dust and cat hair. If you got us both into a dusty room with a few moggies we'd be effectively useless. And we'd both resent the other person for it.

- We both agree that the "lord of the rings" movies make no sense. If you got us together talking about our mutual distaste for these movies then no-one else could ever fit a word in. We'd probably disagree with each other about how much the other person hates each movie.

- We have both r...

Catching trains in melbourne....

I think that Australia really needs to invest in a high speed rail linking Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.

The existing rail services between Australia's major cities are slow, infrequent, and can be more expensive than air travel!

The situation at the moment at Melbourne airport is ridiculous - there is no train to and from the airport, the car park is the largest car park in the southern hemiphere and super expensive, and taxi's are crazy expensive.

High-speed rail is being rolled out in countries across Europe, the US and Asia as a way to link up major cities, reduce congestion and battle pollution. I was recently in China and went on the train from shanghai airport to shanghai, and it was incredible. I've also been on the bullet train in Japan, and it's a fantastic way to travel. Super fast, safe & quick!

What do you think?