Windows Universal Apps Programmer

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Windows Universal Apps

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I am now starting down the long road of updating my apps to Universal Apps. SOme thing have changed, mostly in dealing with the sensors. The sensor are more consistant between Windows App and Windws Phone Apps. An interesting side effect is that I reuse alot of code between my apps, now I can created a “super” project that contains all of the apps together to help sort out the common features.

Surface Power Cover Retrospective

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After having the Surface Power Cover I find the old saying “Having is not always the same as wanting”. The cover works well but is quirky. Touch pad buttons are very hard to use, no solid feel to know if this has been clicked. Reversing the cover as down to use the Surface as a tablet, the Surface fails to recognize the battery. The quirky thing is when the cover is attached, the Surface Stylus (or Wacom Stylus) turns off. I will keep the cover, maybe invest in a new type cover (the old one had an unusual bulge around F1 and F2), but it is a far cry from what I hoped it would be. If I had to do it over, I would not purchase the cover. Sorry MS, good idea, bad implementation.

Surface Pro 3

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Surface Pro 3 was announced this morning in NYC. I am impressed. The screen size is 12” vs the 10.8” for the previous Surface tablets. The Surface will come in I3, I5 and I7 versions and ship with a new keyboard design and pen design. The weight of the Surface Pro 3 with keyboard is less than a Mac Air book. Note many of the audience was using the Mac Air book to take notes. Even though the New Surface Pro 3 is larger, the weight is less that the Surface Pro 2 the unit is thinner at 9.1 mm.

The aspect ratio is now 3:2 with a resolution of 2160 x 1440, this is change from the standard 1920 x 1080 that has been prevenient in lap top and the Surface Family for the last few years. Another change is the keyboard has been redesigned to handle being in a user’s lap. It has a second set of magnets that lock the Surface keyboard in place. Making typing much more like a traditional laptop. The hinge, allow adjustment from 22 deg. to 150 deg.

The other change is a new pen, thicker and more features. Like single click to start up the tablet for note taking. Thinner optical stack on the screen, reduces parallax making writing more true. Adobe showed off a prerelease of Photoshop written for the Surface 3.
I will be heading down to a Microsoft Store tomorrow to look at the new Surface 3 to get a fell of it for myself.

Window 8.1 update

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Well this weekend has been fun, I have had a 50% failure on updating to Window 8.1. The Surface RT went well and only took less than an hour or so. The Surface Pro which had a preview copy of Windows 8.1 also updated without a problem, well except it uninstalled some applications and removed them from the computer. The warning stated that you will have to reinstall your apps (Which Microsoft uses to describe the Modern App not full applications). Fooled me, it uninstalled Visual Studio and everything else. This is annoying, but not has bad as the other two system. The desktop find the update in the store, but fails consistently installing it. It does gibe me useless error codes. Note this system did not have the preview on it. The last system is the portable, which had the preview. It cannot see the update in the store. This one I think I am going to have to rebuild from scratch, which will take a week or two. Oh well, and I found out that Microsoft release GDR3 to developers. I think I will hold off on that one until I get the other two computers up and running.

T-Mobile and Windows Phone

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I see that T-Mobile has two new Windows phones by Nokia, both excellent devices, the Nokia Lumia 925 being the better of the two. The Lumia 521 is no slouch, but only has 512mb of memory. I am unclear if I should recommend either. T-Mobile has the annoying habit of obsoleting the windows phones at the drop of a hat. For those who has the Nokia Lumia 710, T-Mobile was one of the only Windows Phone suppliers that did not update the phones to 7.8, this means only 11 months before the phone was obsolete. The next Nokia phone the offered was the Nokia Lumia 810 which was available in December of 2012 and phased out by March 2013, that was less than 6 months of life.

There is a hint that GDR2 will be available, but who knows past that. T-Mobile’s track record for the Windows Phone 7/8 platform is dismal. Even with there new own “Bring You Own Phone” plan, they do not support either the Nokia Lumia 710 or Nokia Lumia 810. If T-Mobile is listening, you are doing a disservice to the Windows Phone products and more importantly, your customers. I am just waiting until my contact expires in a month or two to jump ship after a decade of service with them.

Channel 9 Series on Windows Phone 8 Development for Absolute Beginners

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I have always enjoyed listening to classes from Bob Tabor, and his newest on Windows Phone 8 is maybe one of his best. I had downloaded the series for a friend, but I started watching and became intrigued. This ties up a lot of loose ends that I have been missing. Thank you Bob.

BUILD 2013

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BUILD 2013 has come and gone. There were some up moments, but mostly things unanswered, well for the Windows Phone side. I was invited and attended the BUILD 2013 Innovators Party at the Thirsty Bears pub. Good event and great venue. The Stout was very tasty as was the catered food. A large notch above the normal pizza party events.

Nokia Developers Dinner

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On Nov 7 Nokia hosted a Developer Appreciation Party. I went and had a good time. Some interesting announcements were made, talked to many people. Now I am waiting for the new phones to arrive.

The night before I went to a Meetup at the Microsoft Store in Valley Fair shopping center in San Jose on game development. Good talk by Kenny Spade on gaming. Not happy that XNA/Xbox is deprecated in WP8.

Windows Phone 8 Launch

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Sitting at my computer waiting for the launch to happen.

  • Windows Phone shared the same core code as Windows 8
  • 191 countries and 50 languages
  • 120,000 apps on the Windows Phone store.

Product Features

  • New live tiles – on Lock Screen
  • New face book at to lock screen
  • 46 out if 50 popular apps on WP8
  • SDK available tomorrow
  • Data sense reduce and monitor traffic and data plan 45% on average more data
  • Kids corner to protect you phone from you kids – I understand the need

Windows Surface RT Tablet

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I had a chance to play with the Surface Tablet on Friday at the Microsoft Store in south bay. I liked it, good feel, quick and responsive. Did not like the membrane (standard) keyboard, but that is minor issue.