Prabhu Kumar

a tech twaddler..

Archive for the ‘General’ Category

A festive feel for the 404 page?

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Was just playing around with JavaScript and came across this snowflake tutorial by Kirupa, we have a fancy 404 page now :)

Try this – http://www.techtwaddle.net/404

Snowfall effect – http://www.kirupa.com/html5/creating_falling_snow_in_html_js.htm

Written by Prabhu Kumar

December 18th, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Posted in Development,General

My next job

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Today was my last day at Samsung. I completed 3 years there this July. My next job takes me to a new city and my domain takes a 180 degree turn from device drivers and firmware to something more related to the web.

I will be joining Microsoft, Hyderabad as an SDET in the Bing team.

Next monday, 12th September, will be my first day at Microsoft. I’m really excited and I know there is a ton of things for me to learn. Really looking forward to this!

Written by Prabhu Kumar

September 9th, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Posted in General

A quick update: Mango on my HD7

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This is going to be a quick post. Just over 2 weeks ago I got the Windows Phone Mango invite I was waiting for; my HD7 has been running mango in full glory since then. The installation took a long time but went pretty smoothly, backing the data up takes most of the time. I am really liking the Mango update, this is what windows phone should have been when it launched. Multitasking, IE9, better facebook integration in people’s hub and a plethora of other features. The voice command integration in mango is exceptional, and I find myself using it quite often. Being able to listen to an incoming message, compose a reply and send it, all using only your voice, is really amazing (or magical, as some might call it) and works really well.

Strangely, I am not using the multitasking feature all that much. Somehow I have an obsessive compulsion to keep the backstack clean all the time. Whenever I am done using the phone, I keep pressing the back button just to make sure there is nothing on the stack. I have a feeling I’m not alone.

In other news, AppHub gets some new features and Windows Phone is expanding to new markets. More importantly, Microsoft’s pubCenter, finally, will be available to developers outside of US of A. According to Todd Brix’s post, pubCenter should launch to new markets (including India!) before the end of 2011. I can’t wait to try out adCenter. You can read Todd’s post here,

http://windowsteamblog.com/windows_phone/b/wpdev/archive/2011/07/20/windows-phone-developers-get-new-app-hub-features-mango-app-submission-just-one-month-away.aspx

Written by Prabhu Kumar

July 21st, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Windows Phone Mango 7.1 SDK Beta 2

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The developer tools for Windows Phone Mango were updated to Beta 2 a few days ago. You can find the bits here,

Web Installer – http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=26648

ISO file – http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=220415

You can read this WindowsPhoneGeek article on installation instructions.

On June 29th, Microsoft also released Mango for developers,

http://windowsteamblog.com/windows_phone/b/wpdev/archive/2011/06/29/developers-get-goody-basket-full-of-mangos.aspx

I am still waiting for my invite. Looks like they are sending out invites starting from the list of supported countries, which unfortunately, India is not a part of. I’ll write when I get the invite and let you know how the installation goes on my HD7.

Written by Prabhu Kumar

July 3rd, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Windows Phone Mango Developer Tools

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The consumer side of Windows Phone Mango was unveiled yesterday by Microsoft. It brings in some great new features like multitasking, IE9, fast application switching, maps, web marketplace etc to name a few. I was also impressed with enhancements to bing like local scout, bing vision and bing voice. With the NoDo update fiasco now behind us, I think the expectations are set just right for the ‘mango’ update which will be coming this fall ;) One thing that annoys me is the feature-market fragmentation that’s happening with Windows Phone. What’s the deal with making some features available only to a few markets! Just look at the way zune services and their features are split region-wise. It’s horrible and needs fixing.

Nothing was mentioned about Microsoft’s ad framework, PubCenter, and its expansion plans. It’s been close to 8 months since windows phone came out and PubCenter has expanded its market by zero, zilch, nada! There were talks a while back that it will be made available in europe, I don’t know how that’s working out. Hey you, make it global already! And show us some pay-per-impression love.

Tools

You can download the Windows Phone Developer Tools 7.1 Beta from here, (web installer) http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=77586864-ab15-40e1-bc38-713a95a56a05&displaylang=en

And if you don’t believe in web installers, here’s the link for downloading the ISO file, http://download.microsoft.com/download/0/0/D/00D22BA8-E716-4272-93D8-C4D98F0567AE/WPDT_v2_Beta_en1.iso

Aaron Stebner’s post contains some more links and other useful information, do take a look, http://blogs.msdn.com/b/astebner/archive/2011/05/24/10168008.aspx

And remember to install Visual Studio 2010 SP1 first.

You have a good day while I watch the ISO getting sucked from the interwebs at mind-numbing speeds.  /s

Until next time…

Written by Prabhu Kumar

May 25th, 2011 at 11:17 pm

MIX’11 : Windows Phone Sessions

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Here is a list of all windows phone sessions from MIX this year, (list taken from AppHub)

Day 2 Keynote
Joe Belfiore

Application Design for Windows Phone
Megan Donahue

XNA Game Studio for Fun, Profit, Danger, Excitement and Windows Phone 7 Games
Rob Miles

Expert Lessons: Top Tips to Building a Successful Windows Phone Application
Stefan Wick

Who Would Pay For That Feature? Adding Analytics to Your Windows Phone 7 Applications
David Poeschl

Rx: A Library for Managing Asynchronous Data and Events in Your Windows Phone 7 Application
Jim Wooley

What’s Coming Next to the Windows Phone Application Platform
Andrew Clinick

Building Windows Phone 7 Applications with the Windows Azure Platform
Wade Wegner

Going Mobile with Your Site on Internet Explorer 9 and Windows Phone 7
Joe Marini

Get Ready for Fast Application Switching in Windows Phone
Adina Trufinescu

What’s New in the Windows Phone Developer Tools?
Vibhor Agarwal

Multitasking in the Next Version of Windows Phone, Part I
Darin Miller

Multitasking in the Next Version of Windows Phone, Part II: Using Background Agents
Peter Torr

Flickr API: Tap Into Billions of Photos for Windows Phone 7
Markus Spiering

Sensor and Camera Access in the Next Version of Windows Phone
Mark Paley

What’s New for Windows Phone Development with Silverlight?
Shawn Oster

Windows Phone Architecture – Deep Dive
Istvan Cseri

Analyzing and Improving Windows Phone Application Performance
Jeff Wilcox

What’s New for Windows Phone Development with the XNA Framework?
Brian Hudson

Making Money with Your Application on Windows Phone
Todd Brix

Enhanced Push Notifications & Live Tiles for Windows Phone
Thomas Fenne

Creating Windows Phone Applications Using Expression Blend
Unni Ravindranathan

New Data Access Features Coming to Windows Phone
Sean McKenna

All Thumbs: Redesigning an Existing UI to Suit Windows Phone 7
Ward Bell

The Tale of Two Apps: Making a Splash in the Windows Phone Marketplace
András Velvárt, Bálint Orosz

Over 1500 new API’s have been added to the next version of Windows Phone, called Mango. And yes, all existing devices will be updated to Mango, the update can’t come soon enough :)

Written by Prabhu Kumar

April 24th, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Windows Phone 7: Freeing up space after installing the pre-NoDo update

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Like I mentioned in this post, if you installed the pre-NoDo update, the process would have required a fair amount of storage space on your primary drive depending on how much content you have on your phone. The Zune software takes a backup of your phone’s content before updating the OS on the device. This backed up data stays on your machine, here’s how to move the data to another location so you can free up some space on your primary drive.

On your machine navigate to the following location,

C:\Users\<user-name>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Phone Update\

the folder AppData is hidden, so you’ll need to enable the option to show hidden folders. And depending on your configuration you may also need admin privileges to move stuff around. The Windows Phone Update folder contains the data backed up from your device,

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All the data is present inside the RestorePoint folder. Move this folder to another location to free up space. Make sure you keep this backup of the backup safe, just in case something horribly bad happens to your windows phone 7 device.

Written by Prabhu Kumar

March 12th, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Windows Phone 7 – The pre-NoDo update

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A quick post, about two days back I got a notification on my HD7 saying that there is a update available to be installed. Yes, it was the pre-nodo update that you might have read about on the windows phone blog. Just installed it, and it completed without any hitch. Reading several reports about some devices having trouble installing the update (particularly the Samsung ones) and some even getting bricked, I was wary at first. I waited two days and there were no reports of issues with any of the HTC devices. I went ahead and installed it today.

The only downside is that you might need a lot of space on your primary drive, close to 8GB for me, depending on how much data your phone contains. The update process backs up all the data in your phone, just in case something goes horribly wrong. The whole process took about 45 minutes, majority of the time for data backup. The OS version was updated from 7.0.7004.0 to 7.0.7008.0.

Now if we could just get the NoDo update.

Written by Prabhu Kumar

February 24th, 2011 at 11:53 pm

What happens when you delete all the start screen tiles?

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remove-all-tiles  Well, the start screen disappears and all you see is the application list, which normally shows up when you scroll to the right. Pretty interesting I thought. So the start screen is basically a shortcuts screen on steroids, much nicer looking and with tile notifications.

Written by Prabhu Kumar

February 13th, 2011 at 9:41 pm

My shiny new gadget

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About 3 months ago when I had tweeted (or twit?) that the HD7 could be my next phone I wasn’t a 100 percent sure, and when the HTC Mozart came out it was switch at first sight. I wanted to buy the Mozart mainly for three reasons; its unibody construction, smaller screen and the SLCD display. But now, holding a HD7 in my hand, I reminisce and think about how fate had its own plan. Too dramatic for a piece of gadget? Well, sort of, but seriously, this has been most exciting.

So in short, I bought myself a HTC HD7 and am really loving it so far. Here are some pictures (taken from my HD2 which now lies in a corner, crying),

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Most of my day was spent setting up the device. Email accounts, Facebook, Marketplace etc. Since marketplace isn’t officially launched in India yet, my primary live id did not work. Whenever I tried launching marketplace it would say ‘marketplace is not currently supported in your country’. Searching the forums I found an easy work around. Just create a dummy live id with the country set to UK or US and log in to the device using this id. I was worried if the contacts and feeds from my primary live account would not be synced but that was not a problem. Adding another live account into the device does import your contacts, calendar and feeds from it. And that’s it, marketplace now works perfectly. I installed a few trial and free applications; haven’t checked if I can purchase apps though, will check that later and update this post.

There is one issue I am still facing with the device, I can’t access the internet over GPRS (see update below). Windows Phone 7 only gives you the option to add an ‘APN’ and nothing else. Checking the connection settings on my HD2, I found out that there is also a proxy server I need to add to access GPRS, but so far I haven’t found a way to do that on WP7. Ideally HTC should have taken care of this, detect the operator and apply that operators settings on the device, but looks like that’s not happening. I also tried the ‘Connection Settings’ application that HTC bundled with the device, but it did nothing magical. If you’re reading this and know how to fix this problem please leave a comment.

The next thing I did is install apps, a lot of apps. Read Engadget’s guide to essential apps for WP7. The apps and games I installed so far include Beezz (twitter app with push notifications), twitter (the official twitter app), Facebook, Youtube, NFS Undercover, Rocket Riot, Krashlander, Unite and the list goes on. All the apps run super smooth. The display looks fine indoors but I know it’s going to suck in bright sunlight. Anyhow, I am really impressed with what I’ve seen so far.

I leave you with a few more photos. Have a great year ahead. Ciao!

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Update:
Well, turns out that the Vodafone Live GPRS Plan is not supported by HD7. I had to switch to a different plan, Vodafone Mobile Connect (VMC), which is much much more expensive than the first (about 4 times as much). Anyways, I have it working now.

Written by Prabhu Kumar

January 23rd, 2011 at 5:42 pm