# Sunday, 09 March 2014

"Windows Store App Development" by Pete Brown takes the reader through all aspects of building a Windows 8 application using C# and XAML.

The first two chapters describe the UI principles that make a successful Windows 8 application - an app that works for both touch and keyboard input; and an app that provides a good experience for the user.

The book is broken into 23 chapters - most of which cover some specific development concept or how to use a set of controls. For example, there is an entire chapter on various available text controls and how to use them to render great-looking text in your application.

My favourite chapter is "Controls, binding, and MVVM", which breaks down the Model-View-View Model pattern into easy-to-understand terms and shows how to apply this pattern in an Windows 8 application.

Overall, the book does an excellent job covering the key concepts of XAML development and diving deep into the use of the tools. It serves as both a reference book and as a manual to get started on this platform. I have used it as each of these.

The only drawback is that this book is specific to Windows 8 and does not cover any of the updates introduced in Windows 8.1. I don't know if Brown is planning an update to cover these. However, the vast majority of the book is still relevant, even if you are developing for Windows 8.1.

Review-Windows Store App Development by Pete BrownShortly after I acquired this book, Pete was kind enough to sign it for me. He preceded his autograph with the challenge: "Get off your ass and write some apps!" And I did. Thanks in part to Brown's inspiration, I now have 14 apps in the Windows Store.

If you are new to Windows 8 development, Brown's book is a good one to get started with.

Sunday, 09 March 2014 15:48:22 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 04 March 2014

This week, I'm breaking form. I am going to feature multiple apps (which I’ve done before) and I’m going to feature apps written by me (which I have not done before).

For the past few months, I’ve been creating Windows 8 and Windows Phone apps that feature videos of a sports team. The apps are all branded with the prefix “SportsTube”, such as “SportsTube – Michigan Sate Football” or “SportsTube – Michigan State Basketball”.  So far, I’ve created apps for 7 teams and I have a few more in the works.

I’ve been using Paul DeCarlo’s excellent Cross-Platform Cloud Kit, which makes it easy to create an app for each platform simultaneously.

I’ve created a page to make it easy for users to find all my SportsTube apps: http://sportstube.azurewebsites.net

MSUFootball[1] IUBasketball[1]

Tuesday, 04 March 2014 15:30:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 03 March 2014
Monday, 03 March 2014 22:19:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, 02 March 2014

3/2
Today I am grateful for all the kind birthday wishes yesterday.

3/1
Today I am grateful I made it safely to Columbus last night, despite driving while exhausted.

2/28
Today I am grateful to see so many old friends and to meet so many new people this week.

2/27
Today I am grateful for the amazing job that @ChadGreen and his team did in making my first CodePaLOUsa a great success. #cpl14

2/26
Today I am grateful I was able to finish all the training, scheduling, expense reports, travel booking and other required administrivia yesterday so I can now focus on important things.

2/25
Today I am grateful that I am attending CodePaLOUSa for the first time.

2/24
Today I am grateful for audiobooks, which make a long drive more pleasant.

2/23
Today I am grateful for a trip back to Louisville, KY.

2/22
Today I am grateful for a couple days at home to catch up on things.

2/21
Today I am grateful I was able to spend half the week in and around my old Kentucky home.

2/20
Today I am grateful for 1. Lunch with my old friend Patricia Desmarais 2. A packed classroom last night for my workshop at the University of Cincinnati. 3. Reality Tuesday Coffee House in Park Hills, KY. 4. The opportunity to know Jim Weirich and those whose lives he touched these past few years.

2/19
Today I am grateful for 1. Spending an afternoon with my son Nick. 2. A front-row ticket to the Louisville-USF game 3. Lunch with Jonathan Hunt whom I haven't seen in over a year 4. Skyline Chili

2/18
Today I am grateful for a successful workshop last night. It was the first time I demoed App Studio.

2/17
Today I am grateful to learn something new every day.

2/16
Today I am grateful for the opportunity to be a Lector and Eucharistic Minister at St. Francis Catholic Church these past 10 years. Today is my last scheduled day as a Lector.

2/15
Today I am grateful for 1. A great crowd to hear my presentation at Avanade. 2. Discovering, on my way out of Chicago, that downtown Portillo's has a drive thru.

2/14
Today I am grateful to John for last night's basketball ticket and to Patrick and Susan for a place to stay last night.

2/13
Today I am grateful for 1. Great student groups who came out to hear me yesterday at the University of Toledo and at Eastern Michigan University 2. Lunch with my old team in Toledo.

2/12
Today I am grateful for the anticipation of a full day.

2/11
Today I am grateful for the flexibility to attend conference calls while sitting in my living room, sipping coffee in my pajamas.

2/10
Today I am grateful that I found 3 unused gift cards in my desk.

2/9
Today I am grateful for a night in my own bed and a chance to catch up on things at home.

2/8
Today I am grateful for: 1. Lunch with Joseph Guadagno and his brother; 2. A Coyotes hockey game last night; 3. An unexpected Alice Cooper concert between periods

2/7
Today I am grateful that my recent travels have allowed me to avoid a couple weeks of sub-freezing temperatures back home.

2/6
Today I am grateful for my cousin Sharon, whose positive attitude in the face of ovarian cancer and chemotherapy is humbling.

2/5
Today I am grateful that my mother is heading home after weeks in a hospital and a rehab center following her recent back injury.

2/4
Today I am grateful for the diversity of cultures, colors, and ideas that makes my country great.

2/3
Today I am grateful for the opportunity to pay off a large amount of sleep debt the past 2 nights.

Sunday, 02 March 2014 16:00:56 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Here's something I just learned.

You can take a screen capture of a your Windows 8 phone by simultaneously pressing the Windows Home key (at the bottom center, on the front of the phone) power button (at the center of the right edge on my phone). When the screen is captured, you will hear the sound of a camera shutter, similar to when you take a photograph. For me, it usually takes several attempts in order to hold down the buttons simultaneously.

PhoneScreenCapture-Fig1

After you take the screen capture, you will find the captured image in the phone’s Photos application – in an album titled “Screenshots”.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014 21:21:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 25 February 2014

I've never found a Windows 8 Twitter client that I like (I've been using the default web site or the in-browser Tweetdeck), but I've been giving Tweetium a try and I like it. It allows you to view your timeline; "Connect" tweets - directed about or to you; "News" tweets - tweets on popular topics; Direct Messages; and each of your Lists. The interface is intuitive and I displays many tweets at once, including attached twitpics.

Today's "News" section features tweets about comedian Harold Ramis, who passed away yesterday, including many by his friends.

My favourite feature is when you click an embedded hyperlink, it launches Internet explorer in two-thirds-screen docked mode, but keeps Tweetium on left third of the screen, so you can still see your tweet and maintain your current position in the Twitter list.

I'm testing the free trial version, but you can upgrade to the full version for $2.99.

Links

TweetiumOnSurface[1]

Tuesday, 25 February 2014 07:28:50 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 24 February 2014
Monday, 24 February 2014 18:01:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, 22 February 2014

I didn't know Jim Weirich well. But I knew of him. And I knew the impact he had on others.

Those of us who have been engaged in the community could not help but be aware of Jim.

Jim had a reputation as an excellent Ruby developer; but, more than that, he had a reputation for sharing his knowledge with others. At conferences, he would explain Ruby concepts to experienced and novice developers alike and taking the time to make sure you understood it. I first met Jim when I attended his "Ruby Koans" session at CodeMash 5 years ago. Most people worked the Koans in either the morning or the afternoon session, but I was a slow learner and I stayed for the entire day, trying to figure them out. Jim was patient and answered all my newbie questions.

Jim also had a reputation for being friendly to everyone he met. Some people called him "Ruby Santa Claus" - partly because of his large size and his thick white beard, but also because of his quick smile and friendly outlook. I last saw Jim on the final day of CodeMash this past January. Walking past the Neo booth, I shouted "Hi, Jim." He smiled and asked how I was doing. It was a brief interaction, but I'm glad I have this as my final memory of the man who touched so many lives with his smile and his teachings.

We lost Jim earlier this week. He collapsed at work Tuesday evening and died shortly afterward.

To Jim's family and to those  closest to him - especially Joe, Leon, and Doug - I send my prayers and my condolences. To the rest of you, I send this challenge: No matter how well you knew Jim Weirich, take his life as an inspiration to share knowledge and joy with those around you.

IMG_1674-M[1]
Jim Weirich at CodeMash 2009

Saturday, 22 February 2014 14:44:32 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 17 February 2014
Monday, 17 February 2014 17:01:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 10 February 2014
Monday, 10 February 2014 23:24:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)