Tim Murphy's .NET Software Architecture Blog

Windows 8

Windows 10 Tech Preview–First Impressions

This post is my impressions of Windows 10 after a couple of weeks of use. First let me set the stage though. I have been using Windows 8 since the RC. So I am very comfortable with it. At the end of my first 30 minutes with the Windows 10 Technical Preview I was screaming at my Surface Pro “What idiot asked for these features”. Of course after using it for a while that has subsided. The upgrade worked seamlessly on my generation 1 Surface Pro. All my apps showed up, both Store and desktop apps. There ......

Review: Windows 8.1 Preview First Impressions

I have been using Windows 8 since just before the release candidate came out. While don’t see it as a perfect operating system I really enjoy it in both Metro mode and desktop mode. So what does the 8.1 Preview bring to us? Start Button The public screamed and Microsoft responded. They put a start button on the task bar in the desktop. I never use the button because there are already three other ways to accomplish the same thing (the keyboard Windows button, the hardware button on the Surface Pro ......

Review: Surface Pro 128

At the BUILD 2013 conference this year the attendees were lucky enough to get Surface Pros as one of the give-aways. I realize this is a device that has been in the market since January of this year, but I wanted to record my thoughts as a user and a developer. Pros There are a number of things that I really find attractive about the Surface Pro. One of them is the screen which is crystal clear and bright. It is especially impressive after seeing the screen on the Acer W3 which looks like it belongs ......

BUILD 2013 - Build for Both: Windows and Windows Phone

This review is more person to me since I have known Matt Hidinger for a couple of years now and the fact that he just announced that he is leaving Chicago to join the Windows Phone team at Microsoft in Redmond. So let me first say congratulations to him again. Now I can’t say that I always agree with Matt, but I do respect him. One area that we disagree on (at least from his statement during this presentation) is that the official Twitter app is a good platform example. His point was more that they ......

How Can Project Spark Inspire Young Developers

At the BUILD conference last week there was a demonstration of Project Spark at the end of the first day’s keynote. I was amazed and inspired by the possibilities presented by this game/development environment. The inspiration came from the fact that it could teach a new generation of Minecraft hooked kids to program. It could grab their attention and hold it with amazing graphics and at the same time teach them the basics of writing code. From everything I have heard there is a drop in enrollment ......

Building apps that work Together

Writing apps that stand alone will only get yon so far. If your app can allow the user to leverage other applications and share data you Can have a real winner on your hands. Jake Sabulsky started off by explaining that you should be concentrating on the core functionality of your app and letting the framework take care of the features that users require these days. This is implemented be leveraging contracts. When Windows 8 was released it included the File, Share and Pickers contracts. With the ......

BUILD 2013 Session–Alive With Activity

Live tiles are what really add a ton of value to both Windows 8 and Windows Phone. As a developer it is important that you leverage this capability in order to make your apps more informative and give your users a reason to keep opening the app to find out details hinted at by tile updates. In this session Kraig Brockschmidt cover a wide array of dos and don’ts for implementing live tiles. I was actually worried whether I would get much out of this session when Kraig started it off with the fact ......

BUILD 2013 Session–What’s New In XAML

If ever there was a session that you felt like your head was going to explode, this one would do it. Tim Heuer proceeded to try to fit as many of the changes and additions to XAML as he could in one hour. There were a number of improvements that struck me. The first was the fact that we no longer need to put stack panels in the AppBar in order to add buttons. This has been changed to a CommandBar which at the very least makes the markup read more cleanly. Now if they would just bring this same improvement ......

Review: fotor for Windows 8

Editing images can be a tedious task, especially depending on how far from what your eye saw the image comes out of the camera. There are thousands of photo editing applications out there so it is a delight when you find one that works well and makes the process simple. I believe that fotor fits that description. I found that fotor makes most simple adjustments such as brightness, contrast, sharpness, color temperature and cropping. It also has the added features of special effects such as borders, ......

Beginning PHP On Windows 8

It is always interesting to find out what technology I will have to work with next. One of the latest that I’ve had to learn is PHP and since I am running Windows 8 I had to get it working in that environment. At first I tried just downloading the Apache server files and running that, but then you have to deal with possible collisions between Apache and IIS. In the end I found out that it is easier to setup PHP for IIS. The first thing you need to make sure that the IIS feature installed. Then you ......

Leveraging Generation App

Generation App is the place for developers to get started building solutions on the latest Microsoft technologies. I originally understood it to be for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 development, but you can sign up for a 30 day adventure to build web apps and framework based apps as well. When you sign up you get a list of subject areas to study in order to create the best application possible. You also get daily emails with links to content to help you progress and helpful YouTube videos. The real ......

New Yahoo Mail App For Windows 8 - Review

I had heard that Yahoo was bringing out a new web interface, but I was surprised to find a Windows 8 app show up in the store as a featured app. Given this is my mainstay for mail no matter what company I work for or what internet provider I am using. Now the question is how much benefit does it give over the Windows Mail client? For basic functionality the Yahoo Mail app is well laid out and easy to use. It makes quick work of operations like moving messages to folders or creating and replying to ......

Microsoft Changes Developer Account Registration Requirements

Over the last couple of weeks I have noticed that Microsoft seems to have changed the requirements for Corporate accounts. These requirements were not in effect when I originally setup the account for the company that I work for. We also recently had our corporate account canceled without explanation and are in the process of working to get it reinstated. This all seems to revolve around rules to increase confidence that in the producers of content. They are now having Symantec validate a company ......

Microsoft Build 2012 Day 1 Keynote Summary

So I have finally dried the tears after watching the Keynote for Build 2012. This wasn’t because it was an emotional presentation, but because for the second year I missed the goodies. Each on site attendee got a Surface RT, a Lumia 920 and a voucher for 100GB of SkyDrive storage. The event was opened with the announcement that in the three days since the launch of Windows 8 over 4 million upgrades have been sold. I don’t care who you are that is an impressive stat. Ballmer then spent a fair amount ......

Windows 8/Surface Lunch Event Summary

Today was a big day for Microsoft with two separate launch event. The first for Windows 8 and all of it’s hardware partners. The second was specifically to introduce the Microsoft Windows 8 Surface tablet. Below are some of the take-aways I got from the webcasts. Windows 8 Launch The three general area that Microsoft focused on were the release of the OS itself, the public unveiling of the Windows Store and the new devices available from its hardware partners. The release of the OS focused on the ......

Review: Logitech t620 Touch Mouse and Windows 8

It isn’t very often that I worry much about hardware, but since I heard some others talking about “touch” mice for their Windows 8 machines I figured I would try one out and see what the experience was. The only Windows 8 compatible touch mouse that they had in the store was the Logitech t630 Touch Mouse. At $69 it isn’t exactly a cheap purchase. So how does it work with Windows 8. First it works well as a normal mouse with touch scroll capabilities. Scrolling works both horizontally and vertically. ......

October 2012 Chicago IT Architects Group Meeting Recap

It seemed very ironic that the day we have a presentation on the architecture of building applications for Windows 8 the Surface tablet is opened for pre-order. Tom Benton started the evening enlightening the attendees on the user experience for those who had not seen it yet. He even passed around his table from last year’s Build conference for everyone to play with. This was followed with a tour of the capabilities and structures that make up a Windows Store App on Windows 8. Taking it to its conclusion, ......

October 2012 Chicago IT Architects Registration Open

This month Tom Benton will be presenting The Platform and Architecture of Windows Store apps in Windows 8. This is a subject that was requested by attendees over the last few months. Tom has been presenting this topic in Redmond recently and this should be a great discussion. As usual we are interested in hearing what topics that community would like to see presented. Leave any ideas in the comments of this post. If you have a topic you are interested in presenting please contact me through this ......

Windows 8 App Wish List

As I have been using Windows 8 more some of them apps that come with the system have been missing some features that I would like to see. So Microsoft, here is my wish list for some new features. Skydrive Copy files from one folder to another in Skydrive Get public and read only URLs of a file OneNote MX Print a page Mail Accept/Reject appointments Sort inbox Search inbox (use the search charm) Print email Store Keyword search (use the search charm) del.icio.us Tags: Windows 8 ......

Review: Windows 8 - Initial Experience

I originally started this post when I had the Windows 8 preview setup on VirtualBox image. I have since put the RTM bits on a Dell E6530 that is my new work laptop. It isn’t a table so I am not getting the touch experience, but as a developer this makes the most sense for the moment. This is the first Windows OS that I have had to spend much time exploring to even get started. The first thing I ran into was when I clicked on the desktop icon I was lost. Where is the Start menu? Where are my programs? ......

Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone 8 Announcement

Today Nokia and Microsoft had an event to officially introduce the Lumia 920. Below is a rundown of some of the things I found interesting. As a person who likes photography there was a lot to drool over. The main feature that caught my attention was PureView with its optical stabilization. This alone should improve the majority of you pictures. Add to that the SmartShoot Object remover that uses multiple images to remove unwanted people or objects that move through your picture and you never have ......