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MVP again!

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

It was a special day yesterday, definitely one of a kind.

12 months after I was awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award, I was greeted by a Windows 8 (my platform of choice ever since Developer Preview) email notification that I was renewed for year 2012.


I am speachless.


It’s a very special feeling, because it really comes out of the blue in a way: it really AMAZES me to learn how much Microsoft cares about its communities worldwide, and clearly wants to see ME smile for one more year!

There’s so much going on in my life at the moment, and you can tell by the slowdown in blog posting… but that will actually be a good reason for another story in the very near future.

THANK YOU Microsoft, and congrats to all new and renewed MVPs!

Farewell PHP, all hail C#

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

I started getting serious with programming with Visual Basic 5, so ASP (3.0) was the perfect candidate when I decided to do some web development.
Soon ASP exposed some of its limits and for reasons that I couldn’t really tell right now, PHP became my language of choice, instead of Truth is, I’ve been coding 99% percent of my recent web projects in PHP, with MySQL as the backend database.

Well I’m not sure if it’s me doing something sneaky behind the scenes but I’ve been totally unsatisfied with performance and reliability of my websites lately. I even switched several VPS and dedicated servers without actually finding out the root of some pretty serious issues, so now it’s time for me to give up. Or better yet.. evolve! I finally decided to drop PHP in favor of ASP.NET and started rewriting my projects modules one at a time (some actually being windows applications for the several schedules tasks I have in place).

Today I decided to put the first huge batch of modules in production, hence this posts. If you’re using my Xbox Live gamercards, know that they are now powered by some brand new ASP.NET coding. The good news is that they seem to perform much faster so far, and they also render slightly better (this is pretty easy to notice in the ‘Big Sig’ template).

While I’m in this process, I also have plans to move most of my projects to a new domnain called Luvisoft. Why Luvisoft? Well, that’s a very long story that I’ll probably cover in another blog post. :)

So this is it for now: as 90% of the core functions and modules have been rewritten and never tested in production, I’d be very grateful if you could report any issues or bugs you may find, as well as general impressions or comments about the new gamercards. Thank you!

MVP Award for 2011

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

I just got an email a few minutes ago, informing me that I’ve been awarded the Microsoft MVP Award 2011 for Xbox.

I’m totally speachless, as this is my first time as an MVP!


If you’re not familiar with the program, check out the official Microsoft Most Valuable Professional website.

I’ve been a regular in several Microsoft’s communities from quite a good while (newsgroups in the good old days, various tech forums, and the forums above all), so I had the chance to know some members of the program with time.. and that’s why I’m even more honored and excited to join such an exceptional group of people.

A HUGE thanks goes out to Microsoft, to Alessandro Teglia, and to everyone else who brought me to this point. Obviously I’m not familiar with the insights of the program at all, but here’s hope that this will open up a few new opportunities to give back something more to a Community I truly and deeply love. :)


Tagxedo.. neat!

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

I knew something like this existed, but Tagxedo really looks like the best of its kind.

Not only it creates a ‘word cloud’ by aggregating multiple sources (websites, rss, twitter etc..), but it also lets you shape the cloud in a handful of ways – here’s the stunning result with a violin key based on by blog.

Tagxedo word cloud

[via Be_Lead blog]

New server, new design

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

I’ve started moving my websites to a new server I got: WP7applist came first and now it’s my blog’s turn. For the record, I went from a small dedicated server in Italy, to a pretty good VPS in the UK with Xtraordinary Hosting, and the performance increase have been impressive so far!

With the move, I took the chance to update the blog’s design and drop the pre-made theme I had in favour of a new one I designed. Nothing fancy, but you can tell it’s strongly inspired to the Metro UI which I literally love lately so yeah.. I’m pretty happy of the results so far.

Oh and if you’re reading this it also means that your DNS cache has been updated and you’re indeed browsing the brand new server. Things should be smoother from now on!

New XBL Gamercard generator + new designs

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

As I said earlier, I’m at work to improve my XBL Gamercard generation service lately.

One thing I never put much effort on (shame on me!) is the actual “generator“, where you can choose a design and create your own gamercard. Well I’m trying to fix that, and if you want a sneak preview head on to for the first draft.
Feel free to tell your friends & family about it and do provide some feedback, as I’ll be working on it a lot in the near future. :)

While we’re on the subject, don’t miss the 2 new designs I just added: one replicates the new (it would have been ‘new’ if I did it a few months ago actually) look of gamercards on the forums, and for the other one I have to credit Genio del Male, who gave the idea in a tweet.

New gamercard, more designs likely coming

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

People have been using my Xbox Live gamercards ever since I first released them a few years ago, and traffic has grown substantially when MGC decided to close down their services ( :( ).

I’ve been actually debating for a while whether I should move my gamercard generator to its own domain, polish it up a little bit (or better yet, A LOT), add more layouts and styles etc.. I’m still not sure if that will happen but I do like doing gamercards.. a lot! So I’ll definitely try to improve them in the short term.
For a start, enjoy a new gamercard design, specifically designed for forum sigs. It’s quite obviously a tribute to the “new” design, that I honestly like a lot.

Feel free to create your own and let me know what you think in the comments or via email. :)

Hello world! It’s me again.

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

I really have lost count of how many times I wrote a “Hello world” blogpost here on, but yeah.. here we are again. And – for those interested – let me spend a couple minutes to explain what is going on.

Those who know me, also know that I’m a geek, and that I love it. I have some very strong passions in life: my girfriend, programming, Xbox, mobile devices, and.. my girlfriend. Putting it all together, when I’m not with my girfriend I’m most likely trying to build something cool and new for the Xbox Community, or collaborating with awesome people and websites doing the very same thing.

The problem with this approach is that “you can’t be everywhere at once, and you can’t do everything“. I’m not sure if it’s a good or a bad thing that I’ve learned that on my own, but that’s the way it is. The point is that – as long as you do all this for passion, and passion alone – once in a while, you gotta put something on hold, abandon a cool project/idea, and focus on those that intrigue you the most, or capture people’s interest the most.

As a consequence of this, is the first website of mine that will be changing a lot, and if you are reading this you may have noticed already. First and foremost, the website is now based on wordpress and it’s actually going to be my very own blog (like it was ment to be when I first registered this Internet domain). Some tools/services may be put on hold, while others will stay. I’m making decisions based on the interest I’ve seen in the last few months towards the various areas of the website, but they are NOT final. We will see how it goes :)

There’s so much more going on, and so much more to say, but that’s it for now. Feel free to sign up to the new site and do visit once in a while if you’re interested in knowing something behind the scenes of my current and future projects, my everyday “job”, and my passions. I can’t promise that I’ll be able to entertain you, but hey I’m so glad that I have my personal blog back.