Photoshop? Gimp?? Nope. Paint.NET!

I was never really a designer, but I always had to use Photoshop in support of web development I was working on.  Over the years, Photoshop (as have most Adobe products) became more and more bloated, slower and complicated to use.  I honestly, can’t even tell you what version of CS it’s on by now.  It simply became too unwieldy for the simple tasks of cropping, resizing, optimizing that I was doing.  About a year or two ago I stumbled across the free .

I seriously think most web developers and also probably a good deal of hobby Photoshop user will find this great alternative software handles just about everything you need. Now, since it’s written in .Net it will only work on Microsoft operating systems, furthermore you will need to have the appropriate .Net libraries installed as well, but for most Windows operating systems they are installed by default. 

Since leverages the .Net libraries on your PC, the installer is incredibly small (I think its less than 4mb!).

Version 3.5.5 which I’m running has a feature set that I reminds me of Photoshop circa 5 or 6; things like Layers, a very familiar Tool palette, Effects, Filters, History, Lighting adjustments.  Honestly, it would take me longer to list them all, then for you to download and try it!  One downside is that it doesnt have as many filters and effects as Photoshop, but it does appear to have some way to add plugins (haven’ tried though).

The last thing I want to say is that it is SUPER FAST – startup, in use – shutdown.  It’s simple, intuitive and gets the job done with none of the bloat. and’s free ASP.Net 4, MSSQL 2008 hosting

After months of being too busy, I got a chance to rehost the blog.  This time I’m trying out a free & Microsoft SQL Server hosting service from  I also switched from the XML powered version of to use a SQL server backend.  I needed to do a find and replace, removing all [dbo]. and GO references in the installation script, however, after that the BlogEngine setup SQL worked flawlesly and within a few moments I had a partially working site.

the hosting specs;

when you setup your Somee account you choose the .Net flavor you want 2, 3.5 or 4

  • you can also choose MS SQL2005, or 2008R2.  Both are Express editions (a big reason I dont want to use, as they only allow Access databases)
  • you get 150mb of storage space
  • you get 15mb of SQL data storage, and 20mb of SQL log storage
  • you get a FTP login (another big reason I dont want to use
  • you can host on your own domain (again, Brinkster only allows subdomain hosting)
  • they do place a banner of ads at the top
  • and a link back to down the bottom.  (Though Brinkster has no ads, so far I’m ok with it)

The site management tool is basic and as a free customer you only have a few things you can do; custom errors, report on storage space, setup SQL login, backup your databases, do restores… things like this.
You cant set granular file permissions or create pw protected directories.

Still getting a few odd errors saving certain types of data into BE’s tinyMCE editor windows now and then. will work it out and post the fix.