Frequently Unasked Questions II

Awhile back, I wrote a Frequently Unasked Questions post, in which I answered questions based on popular search results for this blog.

Since then, the search terms leading to this blog have changed a bit, so here are some more answers to questions that nobody actually asked me…

Visual Studio Express 2013

For some reason, the majority of recent search results involve Visual Studio Express 2013. I don’t know why: I’ve posted one blog entry about it, mentioning that it’s been released, and that I’m trying it out.

In fact, most people end up following the download links I provided. That’s weird because when I search for “Visual Studio Express 2013”, my blog is nowhere in the top results.

Does Visual Studio Run on Windows RT


WinRT is Microsoft’s new application platform. It’s based on COM, and supports .NET. Applications developed for WinRT are officially known as “Windows Store Apps”, and also variously known as “Modern UI Apps” (based on the “Modern UI” phrase used in documentation) and “Metro Apps” (based on the “Metro” name used in earlier documentation).

These applications can be written in .NET or in Javascript, and will run on WinRT or Windows 8 platforms.

Since Microsoft is pushing Windows Store Apps, it’s conceivable that future versions of Visual Studio will be developed to run on WinRT, but the current Visual Studio 2013 appears to be a run-of-the-mill Windows application.

So if you’re planning on buying a Surface tablet with the intent of using it as a development platform, think twice. You’ll need a Surface Pro or better, so that you can run Windows 8 rather than WinRT.

Is Visual Studio Express free?


Although to use open source terminology, it’s “free as in beer”. You can download and use Visual Studio Express at no cost, subject to the licensing terms.

The Express version has some limitations compared to the Professional and Ultimate versions of Visual Studio, but if your budget is small (or zero, like mine), it’s a great option.

Okuma TCP ports MTConnect

Okuma’s MTConnect adapter works for OSP-P200 CNCs. It may work on P100 Mk. 2 and P300 CNCs, but I haven’t tried it. The Okuma MTConnect adapter runs on port 5000 by default. If you’re setting up an MTConnect agent to collect data from the adapter, you should configure it to look at that port.

Incidentally, Okuma now has its own tag on Stack Overflow. (I only noticed this new tag a few weeks ago.) If you’re a THINC developer and need to ask a question about THINC API, or about Okuma CNCs, there appear to be some folks from Okuma monitoring this tag and answering questions, so be sure to tag your post with “okuma”.

MTConnect Tutorial

I’ve written quite a few articles about MTConnect. Just search for “mtconnect” in the search box for my blog. If you have specific questions, feel free to leave me a comment or contact me.

Additionally, I’d like to promote two excellent resources for MTConnect.

The first is the MTConnect Forum. This is a discussion forum frequented by people who are very familiar with the MTConnect standard. Members here are involved with everything from writing the standard to implementing the standard to bringing it to the shop floor. If you have questions about any aspect of MTConnect, someone here can answer it.

The next is the MTConnect User’s Portal. This is a wiki maintained by users of MTConnect, and has quite a lot of information about the standard. Note that it is not intended for sales or marketing, so you won’t find information about specific products.


So there you have it. A few more answers to questions that I was never asked. Thanks for reading.


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