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PDX-UX meeting (9/29)

In case you're not already aware, the PDXRIA user group has recently gone through a few changes.  Previously the group had focused primarily on ColdFusion and Flex.  The group is now called PDX-UX, has a new user group leader, and has a new focus (as outlined below).

Hello All,

I'm here to announce some changes to this group. If you saw this message on the PDX RIA Yahoo Groups site you can ignore this.

Simeon has passed on management of the group and with the management change the group itself will be changing quite a bit. In some ways, the PDXRIA group is going away and a new group is starting up: PDX-UX.

"The PDX-UX user group is located in Portland, OR. Our members share their experiences and knowledge around designing and developing next generation user interfaces and user experience. PDX-UX meets on the third Thursday of the month at Thetus Corporation’s office."

What does this mean?

The new group is sponsored and managed by Thetus (where I work). The work of managing the group is done by myself and Sarah Allen (another Thetus employee). Most of the meetings will be held in a very nice, new Thetus space in downtown Portland.

The group is no longer focused mostly on Adobe technologies but on user interface design and development, with an emphasis on development. We will cover any and all related topics no matter the platform. Over the coming year we hope to have presentations on design techniques, HTML5, data visualization, and language and platform specific tools and libraries. We will be focused PRIMARILY on client specific topics, but client related server-side stuff is a possibility.

The group will be hosted on Google Groups.
https://groups.google.com/group/pdx-ux?hl=en

For those of you who have been members since the PDX CFUG days, ColdFusion is not likely to be covered. For those of you who are Flash/Flex developers: those will most likely be covered. We will keep this Adobe group site as long as we still qualify as an Adobe Group.

Thanks,
Ryan Miller

I know Ryan, he's a good friend and will do a great job with this group.  So why does this matter to you?  Because tonight is their first meeting and it's going to be a show and tell of different apps with different designs built by different companies.  I'll be there showing off two apps, the first is the RunPee app built for Windows Phone, and the second is that same app rebuilt in Metro and running on a Windows 8 slate.  Exciting, eh?

The meeting is tonight from 5:30 to 7:00pm at Thetus Corporation in downtown Portland (map).  Food and drinks will be provided, hopefully I'll see you there!

tags: WP7 | wpdev | windowsphone | bldwin | metro

Mobile: The Market, The Web, and Windows Phone's Future

This month we had Jason Grigsby of Cloud Four presenting at the Portland Silverlight User Group. Jason also runs Mobile Portland, and gave a great presentation on the state of mobile, where it's going, and where we might want to strategize our efforts. His presentation was only 53 minutes long. I've watched it twice, and I was even there in attendance (it's really that good).

WHO: Jason Grigsby
Jason Grigsby was one of the project leads on the Obama iPhone Application and helped design the user inferface for the Wall Street Journal's Blackberry application. He founded and organizes Mobile Portland, a local mobile group.

Jason is a co-founder of Cloud Four, a small start-up focused on mobile and web development. He blogs at http://CloudFour.com/blog and provides a frequent updates about mobile as @grigs on Twitter.

TOPIC: The Market, The Web, and Windows Phone's Future
There are few things more frustrating than reading the tech press in the United States try to cover the mobile market. First Microsoft’s mobile efforts are going nowhere. Six months later, it will be bigger than the iPhone by 2015. Say what?

Let's back up for a moment from the day-to-day horse race coverage of Android versus iPhone and look at what the big picture trends are in the mobile market. What makes mobile unique? What makes a mobile product successful? And finally does Microsoft have a chance to get back into the mobile game?

Mobile: The Market, The Web, and Windows Phone's Future from Portland Silverlight User Group on Vimeo.

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | PDXSLUG | wp7dev | Mobile | Mobile Web

Windows Phone "Mango" Hackathon (7/18)

The Portland Windows Phone User Group will be having our July meeting on Monday the 18th. For our next meeting we’re using a hack-a-thon format.  It will be a full afternoon of creating, hacking, and helping you with your apps for Windows Phone “Mango”. Details are below, look forward to seeing you there!

FYI, I have three devices which have “Mango” installed to help you test your apps.


WHAT: PWPUG - July 2011 Meeting

WHEN: Monday, 7/18/2011
11:30 a.m. Lunch / Networking
12:00 p.m. Presentation on new “Mango” Features
1:00 p.m. Hackathon, Demos, Help with Apps
4:30 p.m. Wrap up & giveaways

WHERE: Microsoft PacWest Office (map)
1414 NW Northrup St
Portland, OR 97209-2798

WHO: Kelly White
Kelly White is a Windows Phone Development MVP and has a passion for startups and ideas that can change the world. Kelly co-founded both the Portland Silverlight User Group and Portland Windows Phone User Group with Erik Mork. Kelly presents regularly at User Groups and Code Camps throughout the Pacific Northwest on Silverlight and Windows Phone 7 Development.

TOPIC: Windows Phone 7 Hack-a-thon
This event is follow-on from the Windows Phone 7 Unleashed Events that were held last fall.  The format is less structured, and more hands-on.  Whether you need help developing, architecting, pricing, integrating ads, or are just getting started, this is the place to be.  Our primary goal is to help you get ready for when “Mango” apps can be published to the marketplace later this fall.  We’re happy to share lessons learned from our own experiences (e.g. Alchemy, RunPee).  If you find yourself to have been inspired by MIX and just want to get together and hack a cool app, we’re more than happy to jump in and help you with that as well.

NOTE: Devices will be available for testing your apps.

If you are new and want to learn, then this is the place to be.

Sponsors: While you are at it, consider visiting our premium sponsors that make these meetings possible:

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | wp7dev | PWPUG | XNA

Why Attend Microsoft Gamefest 2011

In about a month our summer vacations will be starting to wind down and the kids will be getting ready to go back to school.  At that point we'll also be a month away from the BUILD conference and yet still have no word from Microsoft on how Silverlight fits into Windows 8.  While Microsoft's silence is discouraging, I'm super excited right now.  Why?  Because in just over a month I'll be driving up the Seattle to attend Microsoft Gamefest for the very first time.  Woohoo!

Gamefest has been a conference that I've always wanted to attend and yet never been able to schedule time for.  This year is different.  I absolutely will not miss Gamefest this year.  I registered and booked my hotel last month (staying at the Sheraton).  I'm even taking the family with me, and why shouldn't I?  The conference is only two days long, and Seattle is such a short drive from Portland.

Perhaps you're  wondering why I'm making such a big deal out of what has typically been an Xbox focused conference.  If you know me then you know that I'm very focused on Windows Phone and lonst interest in Xbox Live Indie game development.  This year Microsoft Gamefest has a very large focus on Windows Phone.  Just check out the conference details and see for your self.

If you are thinking of building games for the Windows Phone then you really need to attend Gamefest this year.  I'm not going to try and convince you why you should attend.  Either you see the opportunity in front of you or you don't.  I will say that the early bird registration ends July 29th ($450 vs $550).

If you are a Windows Phone developer who uses Silverlight for all your games then you should still consider attending Gamefest.  You'll benefit immensely as a game developer by attending this conference, and eventually you will be adding XNA to your skillset (don't try to fight it).  Considering how the mobile markets are positioned right now, you've actually got a once in a lifetime opportunity placed in front of you.  What are you going to do with it?

tags: WP7 | wp7dev | XNA

WP7 Mango Beta 2 - Get it now

This is the update you've been waiting for...

  1. Read Brandon Watson's blog post - all of it
  2. Download the Windows Phone Developer Tools Beta 2

You'll notice that with this update you now have the chance to update your retail phone to Mango. I'm in the process of doing this myself. Listed below are the high-level steps you'll need to follow (as suggested by Brandon Watson).

  • Read the instructions before updating, there are important steps you need to follow to the letter.
  • Update your retail phone to Mango.
  • Rub it in your friends' faces that you have Mango and they don't.
  • Build Mango apps.

So go get the bits, get registered for AppHub if you haven't already, get Mango on your phone, and then have a blast building new and exciting apps for Mango.

tags: WP7 | Windows Phone | mango

Making Money with WP7

I gave a presentation at Portland Code Camp on my Alchemy game for Windows Phone 7.  The game has been live for about 2 months.  I was very transparent with my numbers and my experience in trying out different pricing strategies.  I talked about the challenges of maintaining a mobile app, and what process I went through when I found I needed to do an immediate rollback.  I've also made the slide decks used in this presentation available for download (presentation, alchemy case study).  Hopefully you find this interesting.

Making Money With WP7 from Silvertail Software on Vimeo.

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | wp7dev | Portland Code Camp | Alchemy

Portland Code Camp 2011 - Recap

Earlier this month I participated in the Portland Code Camp.  Talk about an awesome event, over 500 attendees showed up and participated on what turned out to be the first non-rainy Saturday in months.  While many of them could have instead been partying at the beach they instead choose to focus on their professional lives in both teaching and learning from others.  Each year I am completely amazed by the dedication of the technical and professional communities here in Portland, Oregon.

Originally I was scheduled for just 2 sessions, but I did finally end up speaking in 3.  I wound up filling in at the last minute for a speaker who became sick.

In the first session I had about 30 people and we talked about the importance of UX in your mobile applications.  None of the crowd had really seen Windows Phone 7, so I spent a lot of time talking about it and what is new in Mango.  I then talked about some of the UX paradigms and how those can be translated over to over platforms (e.g. Live Tiles -> Widgets in Android).  We spent a while talking about the importance of push notifications and why you need them.  While I had a slant of what works in Windows Phone 7, really the discussion was about the general UX paradigms and how you can build a more engaging mobile experience regardless of what platform you choose.

My second session was on Making Money with Windows Phone 7.  That session was recorded and the slide decks are also available for you to download (see my other post).

My last session of the day was sitting in on a panel with Walt Ritscher, Bill Moore, and Joe McBride.  We had a blast talking about how UI/UX is changing because of mobile, kinect, and html5.  It was a very well rounded crowd, with most people coming from a background of using a non-Microsoft web stack.

Final Thoughts

One observation I took away from code camp is that really we're all in this together regardless of what our technological background is, and what unites and excites all of us is creating these engaging and immersive user experiences.  At the end of the day it's all about UX, as that's the language that each of us speaks and understands.  With this perspective it really makes the "silverlight vs html5 / silverlight is dead" discussions seem like trivial, petty, and entirely useless conversations.  The technology isn't what matters, it's the human element or what we commonly refer to as the User Experience (UX).

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | wp7dev | Portland Code Camp | mango

Speaking at Mobile Portland - Recap

During the end of April I was able to share a 10 minute presentation for Mobile Portland on my Alchemy game.  I did a small demo and spent most of my time sharing actual numbers from the success I was seeing.  You can watch the presentation below.  I was the 4th of 5 speakers and start at 46:20.  My goal was to create a “successful” game in Silverlight and be able to use that as a case study for why developers should consider writing apps for the Windows Phone platform.

Mobile Demolicious, April Mobile Portland from Mobile Portland on Vimeo.

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | wp7dev | Alchemy | Mobile Portland

Get Free Advertising for your WP7 App

Here’s the deal:

  • Any developer that publishes 5 new apps between April 1 and June 30, 2011 gets FREE advertising for 1 of their 5 apps.
  • Impressions will run across MSN, Windows Live and Fox Sports mobile browser ad network for Windows Phone 7 devices.
  • There is a limit of up to 4 offers per developer  (no gaming with multiple emails, multiple mailing addresses or variations of name)
  • There is a limit of 200 offers in total
  • This is open to all US based developers (that meet the legalese: 18+ years old,…); contest rules are at http://bit.ly/WP7DevOffer

Each developer that has at least one new app published and submitted will get a status email weekly so they know how they are doing.

After June 30, 2011, you’ll receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to redeem your offer. You will be able to choose which one of your five apps you would like to have advertised for free across the Windows Phone 7 Mobile Ad browser network. Your app will receive 25,000 impressions, which is about 60 days of promotion.

Like I mentioned above, prizes are limited to the first 200 winners so don’t delay!

FYI, for everyone that attended one of my code camp sessions (or watches the online recording) please use the event code of K9AIP and the date of 6/4/2011 when you submit your entries.  Hopefully I'll also see you at the next Portland Windows Phone User Group meeting.

tags: WP7 | wp7dev | PWPUG | Portland Code Camp

Portland Code Camp 2011

The Portland Code Camp for 2011 is tomorrow (6/4).  I'm assuming that most of you knew about it already and had already pre-registered.  If not then don't fret, you can still show up tomorrow morning and they'll take care of you at the door.

This is a code camp that you want to make sure you don't miss.  Lots of sessions on HTML5, Android, Windows Phone, WCF, and Azure.  Scott Hanselman will be giving the keynote during lunch on Lego, Open Source and Sucking Less: An Overview of the MS Web Stack of Love.

I'll be presenting two sessions:

 

Making Money with Windows Phone 7

Striking it rich in a mobile marketplace is a very intriguing and yet intimidating idea. Here's some of the questions I faced when first getting started:

  • How many hours does it really take?
  • Do I have to have a device?
  • What if I don't think I have a good idea?
  • Is a designer really necessary?
  • How can I compete against an Xbox Live title?

In this session I break down my experience with Alchemy, a relatively successful Silverlight game. I talk about the approach I took which has allowed the majority of my revenue to come from sales and not advertisements. I'll be sharing hard numbers and analytics, and tips that I believe are best practices for building an engaging and compelling app.

 

Windows Phone "Mango"

Windows Phone 7 turned a lot of heads last year when it entered the mobile ecosystem. Last week the new features for Mango were announced and now the platform stands on its own as a serious competitor and a great strategic play. In this 2.5 hour “hands-on” session we’ll be diving into the newly released beta tools for Mango and building apps that showcase how to take advantage of these new features. If you’ve been waiting to jump on the Windows Phone bandwagon and are now thinking about testing the waters, this is the session for you to get your questions answered.

tags: WP7 | wp7dev | Portland Code Camp | mango

Windows Phone 7 Unleashed Portland - (5/6)

All Day (10 hours) of Hands on Programming, B.Y.O. Laptop!

Windows Phone 7 is HOT! Come check out Windows Phone 7 Unleashed for everything you need to know to develop for WP7. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or you’re just starting with .NET development, there’s something in it for you.

The first half of this deep dive event is lecture and hands on lab. At the half point mark of the day, you’ll have a solid foundation for building WP7 applications.

The second half of the day is going straight to code.

Build the best app and win a $500 (1st place), $200 (2nd place) or $100 (3rd place) American Express gift card!

Free MarketPlace tokens for those putting their application into the marketplace (a limited supply of these, organizers of each event will collect names and we will distribute)

Telerik is sponsoring a $5,000.00 Grand Prize for the best application over all of the WP7 Unleashed events that are submitted to marketplace. The top 25 will be selected and then one of the top 25 will be randomly picked for the prize (So get your app into the marketplace after the event). They are also giving EVERY attendee a free set of their $99.00 WP7 Controls.

PDSA, Inc. is pleased to sponsor the WP7 Unleashed Events. They will be giving 2 lucky winners from each event a chance to win four 1 hour long videos on Silverlight. In addition 1 lucky person will win our Haystack Code Generator for .NET at each event that allows you to create the business and data classes and the WCF services that can be consumed by Windows Phone 7 applications!

O’Reilly will be giving away a free ebook to every attendee (Many WP7 titles) and will also donate a few books to raffle at each event.

Food and Drink (Water, Sodas) will be provided.

In order to deliver the best possible experience for attendees, seating at these events is VERY limited. Register now!

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | wp7dev | XNA

Windows Phone 7 Hackathon (4/29)

The hackathon held on Monday was a success, especially for having such a short notice. Many folks expressed an interest in having a follow-up hackathon at the end of this month, so that's what we're going to do.

Reminder: Anyone who publishes an XNA game to the marketplace will get a sweet XNA jacket (already gave one out on Monday).

To help us plan for food, please visit our Facebook Page to let us know if you're attending.

WHAT: Windows Phone 7 Hackathon

WHEN: Friday, 4/29/2011
11:30 a.m. Lunch / Networking
12:00 p.m. Hackathon, Demos, Help with Apps
4:30 p.m. Wrap up & giveaways

WHERE: Microsoft PacWest Office (map)
1414 NW Northrup St
Portland, OR 97209-2798

DETAILS: This event is follow-on from the Windows Phone 7 Unleashed Events that were held last fall. The format is less structured, and more hands-on. Whether you need help developing, architecting, pricing, integrating ads, or are just getting started, this is the place to be. Our primary goal is to help you get your app ready and submitted to the marketplace. We’re happy to share lessons learned from our own experiences (e.g. Alchemy and Soak Your Head). If you find yourself to have been inspired by MIX and just want to get together and hack a cool app, we’re more than happy to jump in and help you with that as well.

This is the place to be, whether you're new and want to learn, or want the latest info on what's coming in the "Mango" release.

NOTE: Devices will be available for testing your apps.
NOTE: A light lunch and snacks will be provided.

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | wp7dev | PWPUG | XNA

Windows Phone 7 Hackathon (4/18)

To help us plan for food, please visit our Facebook Page to let us know if you're attending.

WHAT: Windows Phone 7 Hackathon

WHEN: Monday, 4/18/2011
11:30 a.m. Lunch / Networking
12:00 p.m. Hackathon, Demos, Help with Apps
4:30 p.m. Wrap up & giveaways

WHERE: Microsoft PacWest Office (map)
1414 NW Northrup St
Portland, OR 97209-2798

DETAILS: This event is follow-on from the Windows Phone 7 Unleashed Events that were held last fall. The format is less structured, and more hands-on. Whether you need help developing, architecting, pricing, integrating ads, or are just getting started, this is the place to be. Our primary goal is to help you get your app ready and submitted to the marketplace. We’re happy to share lessons learned from our own experiences (e.g. Alchemy and Soak Your Head). If you find yourself to have been inspired by MIX and just want to get together and hack a cool app, we’re more than happy to jump in and help you with that as well.

This is the place to be, whether you're new and want to learn, or want the latest info on what's coming in the "Mango" release.

NOTE: Devices will be available for testing your apps.
NOTE: A light lunch and snacks will be provided.

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | wp7dev | PWPUG | XNA

MIX Day Two Keynote - My thoughts on what to expect

Yesterday at MIX11 the keynote featured IE9, what’s coming in IE10, and the HTML5 strategy.  Yawn.  I’ll concede that Microsoft made the right move in not mentioning Silverlight at all.  This is “browser wars 2.0”, and nothing matters but the browser.  The browser is more important that Silverlight or even Windows Phone, I get that.  But that doesn’t mean that I have to be excited about it.  Moving on…

Obviously today’s keynote will be focusing on Silverlight 5 and what’s coming next for Windows Phone 7.  We got a preview of what to expect during the Silverlight Firestarter last December, and during Mobile World Congress earlier this year.  I consider it to be very significant that for the first time in MIX history, Silverlight doesn’t have to share the stage with MVC, Atlas/JQuery/Javascript, or whatever else they want to cram into the keynote.

I’m excited to see what new phone features and APIs get announced today.  For musicians their sophomore album is really important in identifying who they are and where they’re going.  I think this same “long view perspective” should be taken with Windows Phone.  With that said, what I’m really hoping to hear about are not the new features on the phone, but what changes they are making to the marketplace submission process.  I’m definitely spending way too much time in what should be a simple task of submitting an update.  C’mon guys, throw me a bone here.

So what won’t be announced or hinted at today.  How about the tablet/slate strategy?  We already got a preview of that yesterday when Sinofsky showed his version of IE9 (or was it IE10?) running on an ARM processor.  The reaction was almost absolute silence in the audience, because most people had their mouths wide open and were thinking “Holy Shit!”  That was totally cool.  I’m expecting that to be a huge part of PDC later this year.  Wow.

One last thing I want to say, and hopefully I don’t get in trouble for mentioning this:

At MVP Summit we got the chance to listen to Steve Ballmer.  I really like Steve, I always have.  For the last year Steve has been slammed with questions over how Microsoft is going to respond to the iPad.  Microsoft is being quiet about their strategy and keeping their cards close to their chest.  I’m sure many shareholders appreciate this, I know I would.  However, the developers (at large) seem to think that because Microsoft isn’t telling them what they’re working on, then Microsoft obviously must not be working on it.  It seems like this type of attitude permeates the MVP community and is even championed by some of the press.  This attitude frustrates me to no end.

The Apple community doesn’t get to know jack-shit about what is being worked on or will soon be released.  Yet everyone in that community trusts Apple to do the right thing, and to innovate in such a way that will change their lives instantly and for the better.  Why can’t the Microsoft developer community (and MVPs) have that same mindset and trust for Microsoft?  Just because Steve Ballmer isn’t announcing what Microsoft is working on right now (e.g. a slate strategy) doesn’t mean that they aren’t paying attention and that they’re not actively working on it.  I mean, come on, this is just way too obvious and they’d be crazy not to be targeting on it.  A little trust goes a long ways.  Believe me, it’s a lot more fun (and healthy) to hope and believe, and to be excited and surprised rather than to be an untrusting cynic.  Deep breaths…

I hope you’re as excited as I am for today’s keynote.  It feels as though it were Christmas morning and I’m getting ready to open a present that was sent to me personally from Steve Ballmer and Joe Belfiore.  Awesome!!!

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | MIX11

PDX Windows Phone User Group - April Meeting

The Portland Windows Phone User Group will be having our April meeting on Monday the 18th. For our next meeting we’re using a hack-a-thon format.  It will be a full afternoon of creating, hacking, and helping you with your apps. Details are below, look forward to seeing you there!

FYI, rumor has it that at least one Samsung Focus will be given away as swag. Stay tuned for more details on how to win.


WHAT: PWPUG - April 2011 Meeting

WHEN: Monday, 4/18/2011
11:30 a.m. Lunch / Networking
12:00 p.m. Hackathon, Demos, Help with Apps
4:30 p.m. Wrap up & giveaways

WHERE: Microsoft PacWest Office (map)
1414 NW Northrup St
Portland, OR 97209-2798

WHO: Kelly White, Erik Mork
Kelly White is a Windows Phone Development MVP and has a passion for startups and ideas that can change the world. Kelly co-founded both the Portland Silverlight User Group and Portland Windows Phone User Group with Erik Mork. Kelly presents regularly at User Groups and Code Camps throughout the Pacific Northwest on Silverlight and Windows Phone 7 Development.

Erik Mork is a Silverlight Consultant and Trainer. He is a Silverlight MVP and Silverlight Insider who has been working professionally with Silverlight since the 1.0 release and is best known as the creator of the popular Sparkling Client Silverlight Podcast. He is an active contributor to community screencasts and Silverlight Open Source projects.

TOPIC: Windows Phone 7 Hack-a-thon
This event is follow-on from the Windows Phone 7 Unleashed Events that were held last fall.  The format is less structured, and more hands-on.  Whether you need help developing, architecting, pricing, integrating ads, or are just getting started, this is the place to be.  One of our goals is to help you get your app ready and submitted to the marketplace.  We’re happy to share lessons learned from our own experiences (e.g. Alchemy).  If you find yourself to have been inspired by MIX and just want to get together and hack a cool app, we’re more than happy to jump in and help you with that as well.

NOTE: Devices will be available for testing your apps.

If you are new and want to learn, then this is the place to be.

Sponsors: While you are at it, consider visiting our premium sponsors that make these meetings possible:

tags: WP7 | PWPUG

Windows Phone 7 Contests

Shameless Plug for PDX Windows Phone User Group

For those of you not attending the PDX Windows Phone User Group, you can always start now.  The next meeting is during the lunch hour on April 18th.  Here are some of the reasons why you should attend and become a part of this group.

  • Excellent presentations
  • Lots of swag (Xbox Kinect, Phones, Books, etc)
  • Networking
  • Free help getting your app created and launched into the marketplace.
  • Awesome contests – read on

 

$99 Windows Phone Marketplace Rebate

Get a $99 rebate for your Marketplace fee when you successfully publish two Windows Phone 7 apps that are profiled in the Windows Phone 7 Developer Program (Microsoft Platform Ready for WP7) and in the Marketplace by April 15th, 2011 (see details).

 

April Contest

Microsoft has been having an ongoing contest to submit an app and get a free Samsung device.

If our user group can publish 20+ apps to the marketplace in the month of April then our group will also win an Xbox Kinect.  Erik and I have decided that Xbox Kinect will be given to the person who submits the most apps.

Remember, in order to get your apps to count you must submit them to the user group contest.  Please make sure you use this new event code:  K9AIP

You can use the date of the event you attended as 4/18/2011.

NOTE:  If you’ve previously created apps but haven’t yet submitted those to this sweepstakes, then be sure to get those submitted as well.

I’ll be holding extra nerd dinners and making myself generally available in April to help out individuals get their apps completed and submitted.  You can think of it as free consulting, no strings attached.  Just let me know (kelly@whitepdx.com) if this is something you need.

 

April-May Contest

Microsoft, Telerik, and PreEmptive recently announced a program for user groups to get access to free tools for developing Windows Phone 7 applications.  You probably already knew that the phone tools from Microsoft were free, but these additional tools include Telerik’s RadControls for Windows Phone, as well as PreEmptive’s Runtime Intelligence for Windows Phone.

The gist of this contest is

  1. You get the tools to create the app
  2. You create the app
  3. You publish the app
  4. You keep the app and all the revenue it makes.
  5. You notify me (kelly@whitepdx.com) and I then contact Telerik and inform them about your app.
  6. They then send us $100 for our user group, which means more swag, better food, more contests, etc.

 

Ongoing Contests

If you publish an XNA game for the Windows Phone then I’m going to give you one of these exclusive XNA jackets (at least until I run out of jackets).  These are sweet jackets and I’ve got multiple sizes, all you have to do is

  1. Create an XNA game for the Windows Phone
  2. Submit it to the marketplace and get it approved
  3. Submit your XNA game to the user group contest as mentioned above (event code K9AIP)
  4. Demo your game at one of our next user group meetings

 

Final Thoughts

I guess you can say there’s a lot of effort being made into getting apps developed for Windows Phone.  Personally, I’m ok with that.  Microsoft is coming into this space and they have some catching up to do.  I see this as an opportunity, no wait, a *huge* opportunity for developers such as you and I.  Don’t discount the significance of the Nokia deal.

While it’s easy to sit back and have a negative outlook at where Microsoft is right now, doing so means you won’t be able to be a part of the worldwide growth explosion that is happening in mobile.  If you wait even just one year before you jump in with both feet, you’ll be that much further behind, and your negative outlook will be a result of opportunity lost.  If you don’t believe me now, then let’s wait and talk after I get back from MIX.  We’ll have a nerd dinner on the 18th for those of you who aren’t able to attend the user group meeting during lunchtime.

tags: WP7 | PWPUG

Jeff Paries on Farseer Physics in Silverlight

Jeff Paries, Silverlight MVP and author, presented two weeks ago at the Portland Silverlight User Group on using the Farseer Physics Engine in Silverlight. This was an amazing presentation. I was blown away by what could be accomplished just by wiring up behaviors in Expression Blend. It's as simple as drag and drop, really.

NOTE: We're now recording each PDXSLUG meeting, so if you ever miss one you can check it out http://vimeo.com/pdxslug.

Farseer Physics in Microsoft Silverlight from Portland Silverlight User Group.

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | PDXSLUG | physics | farseer

Portland Windows Phone User Group - March Meeting

The Portland Windows Phone User Group will be having our March meeting next week.  The topic is on using PreEmptive's new Runtime Intelligence product to build analytics into your application.  We'll also be covering the newly released WP7 tools from Telerik.  Details are below, look forward to seeing you there!


WHAT: PWPUG - March 2011 Meeting

WHEN: Monday, 3/21/2011
11:30 a.m. Networking / Showing off apps
12:00 p.m. Presentation
1:00 p.m. Wrap up & giveaways
~1:30 pm. Testing apps on devices

WHERE: Microsoft PacWest Office (map)
1414 NW Northrup St
Portland, OR 97209-2798

WHO: Kelly White
Kelly White is a Windows Phone Development MVP and is the Principal of Silvertail Software. He has over 10 years of industry experience building web applications, and has a passion for startups and ideas that can change the world.  Kelly co-founded both the Portland Silverlight User Group and Portland Windows Phone User Group with Erik Mork. Kelly is a regular guest on the show "This Week in Silverlight" on the Sparkling Client podcast. Kelly presents regularly at User Groups and Code Camps throughout the Pacific Northwest on Silverlight and Windows Phone 7 Development.

TOPIC: Using PreEmptive Runtime Intelligence and Telerik Controls
Microsoft, PreEmptive, and Telerik recently announced a program for user groups to get access to free tools for developing Windows Phone 7 applications.  In addition, each app built and deployed to the marketplace by our members which uses these tools results in $100 for our user group.  Woohoo!

I'll be walking through some of the Telerik controls and discuss how and where you want to use them.  I'll also be demonstrating how to use PreEmptive's tools to both obfuscate your app and instrument it for analytics.  Well go over the Runtime Intelligence reporting capabilities using an app that I deployed in the marketplace last week.  The last thing I'll show is how to notify Telerik so our group can take advantage of that $100 bonus.

Showing off Apps
This is when you (the audience) will get 5 minutes to stand in front of the room and show off you app (3 minutes for presentation, 2 for Q&A).  You can either show it working on a device or in the emulator (device is recommended).  If you do not have a device then I’ll be happy to lend you one of mine.  Just bring your compiled XAP and I’ll load it up for you.

Showing off apps is done on a first come, first served basis.  Don’t worry, this part of the meeting won’t be recorded.

Sponsors: While you are at it, consider visiting our premium sponsors that make these meetings possible:

 


About Portland Windows Phone User Group

The goal of this user group is educate and assist developers on the Windows Phone platform. The group does have typical meetings where presenters speak on a topic. However, the group does devote a large portion of time to members sharing knowledge in helping others to create apps/games and get them tested and approved in the marketplace.

Lunch

A light lunch will be provided (sandwiches and chips from Costco).  However, please feel free to bring your own lunch.

Schedule

11:30am Networking, Showing off apps
12:00pm Presentation
1:00pm Wrap up & giveaways
~1:30pm Testing apps on devices

Format

The showing off of apps will be done on a first come, first served basis.  Meeting presentations will be recorded and made available for online viewing.  Please email me if you’re interested in presenting a topic (kelly@whitepdx.com).

Testing Apps on Devices

If anyone is interested in testing their apps on an actual device, I’ll be available after the presentation to help.  All you’ll need to bring is your compiled XAP file.

Parking

There is a couple of parking garages and areas within a few blocks of the new location. We hope to have more information on parking opportunities for our members prior to the meeting. Plan to arrive early to find parking. Parking will not be validated.

Sponsorship

Please email me if you or your company is interested in becoming a sponsor of the group.

 

tags: WP7 | wp7dev | PWPUG

Startup Weekend (April 1-3)

Startup Weekend is happening in Portland again, this time April 1-3 at OTBC in Beaverton.  Talk about a great experience.  Be sure to put it on your calendars and take part in the early bird registration.  I'll be there pitching and working on some ideas involving Windows Phone 7, feel free to join me.

 

Startup Weekend Portland set for April 1-3

Startup Weekend Portland, part of an international effort, supports startup development over a 54-hour weekend marathon.

Portland, OR – 28 Feb. 2011 – Startup Weekend Portland is open to entrepreneurs, developers, marketing folks, students, lawyers, angel investors, and anyone who wishes to spend an intense and intensely fun weekend building a team to start a new company. 

Under the guidance and encouragement of business leaders, mentors and investors, attendees pitch their business ideas at the beginning of the event.  The most viable ideas are then chosen by the attendees and teams form organically around their favorite concept.  Over the weekend, teams are coached, guided and taught by members of the startup community to produce a working business model by the end of the event.  All teams present to a panel of judges, comprised of successful entrepreneurs from the local community, and a winner is chosen. 

The keynote speaker for Sunday evening will be Intel fellow and USB co-inventor, Ajay Bhatt

Register by going to the web site.  Early Bird Ticket prices are $59 and include an official Portland Startup Weekend tee shirt. After March 14 ticket price will be $84.

A “Startup Bootcamp” workshop will be held the prior Saturday, March 26 to orient and jumpstart the attendees to get the most out of the Startup Weekend. The cost for the Bootcamp is $16.

Notable companies who have emerged from Portland are CPusage, Mugasha Get Gathered, Life Grant, Startup River, and TreasuRecycle. Startup Weekend events in other cities have launched Foodspotting and Mimmix among others.

...

Startup Weekend is a non-profit, global organization partially supported by funding from the Kauffman Foundation.  Startup Weekend events are currently held in over 100 cities in over 30 countries with new cities added every month.  One event which created worldwide interest was Startup Weekend in Tel Aviv, Israel for Israelis and Palestinians. The two groups coming together and cooperating to build businesses created a positive buzz around the globe and especially in the Middle East.

tags: WP7 | Startup Weekend

March PDXSLUG Meeting - (3/8)

WHAT: PDXSLUG - March 2011 Meeting

WHEN: Tuesday, 3/8/2011
6:00 p.m. Pizza (by Vertigo)
6:30 p.m. Presentation
~9:00 p.m. Afterwards at Rock Bottom

WHERE: Webtrends (map)
851 SW 6th Ave.
Portland, OR 97204-1337

WHO: Jeff Paries
Jeff Paries is the Lead Silverlight Developer with Ascentium.

Jeff has a strong background in 3D graphics and animation, and is also an accomplished author and instructor in those areas — he has authored several books and numerous magazine articles related to 3D.

An early adopter of Silverlight, Jeff’s interests lie in developing animation concepts and methodologies within Silverlight. As a developer with design experience, Jeff’s mission is to help bridge the gap between design and development. His book, “Foundation Silverlight Animation” works to further this goal through a user-friendly, scenario-based approach.

TOPIC: Farseer Physics in Microsoft Silverlight
The Farseer Physics Engine is an easy to use 2D physics engine that supports a range of platforms, including Silverlight and XNA. There is a set of Expression Blend Behaviors that can easily be used by simple drag and drop to turn objects into physics objects. The Behaviors are available for both Silverlight and Windows Phone 7. Come and learn how to utilize the Farseer behaviors to create physics simulations, simple games, etc. Also, see how to access physics objects from the code-behind.

Warmup - Using Isolated Storage in WP7
At the beginning of the meeting (6pm) Gary Foubister will be demonstrating how to save and read data from Windows Phone 7 Isolated Storage.

Sponsors: While you are at it, consider visiting our premium sponsors that make these meetings possible:

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | PDXSLUG

Portland Windows Phone User Group - February Meeting

The Portland Windows Phone User Group now has a solid location and timeframe for our monthly meetings.  In the spirit of Mobile Mondays will be meeting on the 3rd Monday of each month from 11:30am to 1:30pm at Microsoft’s new downtown office space.

Lunch

A light lunch will be provided (sandwiches and chips from Costco).  However, please feel free to bring your own lunch.

Schedule

11:30am Networking, Showing off apps
12:00pm Presentation
1:00pm Wrap up & giveaways
~1:30pm Testing apps on devices

Format

The showing off of apps will be done on a first come, first served basis.  Presentations will be recorded and made available for online viewing.  Please email me if you’re interested in presenting a topic (kelly@whitepdx.com).

Testing Apps on Devices

If anyone is interested in testing their apps on an actual device, I’ll be available after the presentation to help.  All you’ll need to bring is your compiled XAP file.

Parking

There is a couple of parking garages and areas within a few blocks of the new location. We hope to have more information on parking opportunities for our members prior to the meeting. Plan to arrive early to find parking. Parking will not be validated.

Sponsorship

Please email me if you or your company is interested in becoming a sponsor of the group.


WHAT: PWPUG - February 2011 Meeting

WHEN: Monday, 2/21/2011
11:30 a.m. Networking / Showing off apps
12:00 p.m. Presentation
1:00 p.m. Wrap up & giveaways
~1:30 pm. Testing apps on devices

WHERE: Microsoft PacWest Office (map)
1414 NW Northrup St
Portland, OR 97209-2798

WHO: Kelly White, Erik Mork
Kelly White is a Windows Phone Development MVP and is the Principal of Silvertail Software. He has over 10 years of industry experience building web applications, and has a passion for startups and ideas that can change the world.  Kelly co-founded both the Portland Silverlight User Group and Portland Windows Phone User Group with Erik Mork. Kelly is a regular guest on the show "This Week in Silverlight" on the Sparkling Client podcast. Kelly presents regularly at User Groups and Code Camps throughout the Pacific Northwest on Silverlight and Windows Phone 7 Development.

Erik Mork is a Silverlight Consultant and Trainer. He is a Silverlight MVP and Silverlight Insider who has been working professionally with Silverlight since the 1.0 release and is best known as the creator of the popular Sparkling Client Silverlight Podcast. He is an active contributor to community screencasts and Silverlight Open Source projects.

TOPIC: Portland Windows Phone User Group Kickoff
This is our first meeting in our new space and at our new time.  We’ll start off with a summary of announcements from Mobile World Congress where Brandon Watson will be discussing the “State of the Union” for Windows Phone 7.  We’ll then dive into a discussion on the state of the current mobile ecosystem.  iPhone is clearly at the top with Android closing the gap, but what about Windows Phone 7?  Does it make sense to go after this platform right now, or should you focus your limited time and efforts elsewhere?  How much money are developers really making?  How should you price your app?  Is now a good time to quit your day job and get in as an app developer on the ground floor?

Showing off Apps
This is when you (the audience) will get 5 minutes to stand in front of the room and show off you app (3 minutes for presentation, 2 for Q&A).  You can either show it working on a device or in the emulator (device is recommended).  If you do not have a device then I’ll be happy to lend you mine.  Just bring your compiled XAP and I’ll load it up for you.

Showing off apps is done on a first come, first served basis.  Don’t worry, this part of the meeting won’t be recorded.

Sponsors: While you are at it, consider visiting our premium sponsors that make these meetings possible:

 

tags: WP7 | wp7dev | PWPUG

MIX11 - Early Bird Registration

The last day for MIX11 early bird registration is this Friday (2/11/2011).

This early bird discount is not insignificant (contrasted to the $100 early bird discount to Google IO).  You'll save $500 on your conference pass ($1395 becomes $895), as well as receive one free night's stay at the Mandalay Bay when you book 2 or more nights through MIX.  Those saving alone make it worth going a day early to attend the workshops.

I've blogged previously on why I'm attending MIX11.  If you do decide to attend, then I highly recommend you make the effort to also attend the workshops.  I'll be sitting in on John Papa and Mike Taulty's Silverlight Boot Camp, as well as Adam Kinney and Grant Hinkson's Windows Phone 7 Boot Camp.

Hopefully I'll see you there!

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | MIX11

February PDXSLUG Meeting - (2/8)

WHAT: PDXSLUG - February 2011 Meeting

WHEN: Tuesday, 2/8/2011
6:00 p.m. Pizza (by Vertigo)
6:30 p.m. Presentation
~9:00 p.m. Afterwards at Rock Bottom

WHERE: Webtrends (map)
851 SW 6th Ave.
Portland, OR 97204-1337

WHO: George Clingerman
George isn't really much of anyone. George is just a family guy who loves to play around with game development in his spare time. He's not an expert and he's no professional, but he has fun and he's been awarded the Microsoft XNA MVP award for his contributions to that community for the past five years.

By day George is a coder, he used to do .NET but recently switched it up and now works out of a Linux shop doing Perl development just to see if he could (they haven't fired him yet so he seems to be catching on quickly!).

While George is busy having fun with XNA he runs a small tutorial site called XNADevelopment.com, helps out on the App Hub forums, manages a blog on GeeksWithBlogs, wrote an Xbox LIVE Indie Game for small children and recently just wrapped up a book for Wiley called Professional Windows Phone 7 Game Development: Creating Games using XNA Game Studio 4 which just goes to show you they'll ask just about anyone to write a book.

TOPIC: WP7 & XNA - Because all developers want to be game developers right?
It's rumored that Windows Phone 7 allows you to develop applications using Silverlight (you've heard those rumors right?) but did you know there's another powerful framework available for the phone? A framework that provides a way for many to fulfill a life long dream? With the XNA framework .NET developers can finally quickly and easily build games not just for the PC and for the Xbox 360 but also for Windows Phone 7! Finally, you can look your childhood self in the eye, the one that sat doodling in math classes dreaming of someday making a game like Pong but even better, pull out your WP7 device and show past you the XNA game you wrote while nodding your head sagely saying, "That's right past me, future us rocks!"

Come learn how you can fulfill your dreams with a quick introduction to the XNA framework and the basics of getting started with simple 2D game development.

Warmup - Programming against the Game Loop
At the beginning of the meeting (6pm) George Clingerman will present some of the challenges business developers have learning to program against the game loop among other topics he's sure to babble on about.

Sponsors: While you are at it, consider visiting our premium sponsors that make these meetings possible:

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | PDXSLUG | XNA

Windows Phone Developer Tools Update - January 2011

When Windows Phone 7 was initially released, one feature that was noticeably missing was copy/paste.  A few months ago it was announced that this functionality would be added and an update would be released sometime after the first of the year.  While the phones haven’t gotten this update yet (and rightly so), Microsoft has released the Windows Phone Developer Tools January Update which will allow you to start building/updating your existing apps.  Most apps won't need to be recompiled to take advantage of this new functionality.  However, testing your app before a new OS release is always a good thing.

NOTE: This January patch incorporates all modifications from the previously released October 2010 patch.  In other words, if you're installing the tools for the first time then you don't need to install the October patch if you install this one.

I’ve noticed a few folks whining on Twitter and asking why Microsoft didn’t release the update to the phones at the same time.  It is very standard procedure to make the update available to the tools and developers first (iOS and Android follow very similar procedures).  At CES Microsoft announced that this update would be made available to phones in the next couple months.  Honestly, that timeline fits perfectly into the schedule of current apps I’m getting ready to release.

When you download the tools update you’ll notice two files are available for download.  You’ll need both of them.  Please read the installation instructions and notice that you must already have the Windows Phone Developer Tools RTM version installed.

Important Installation Instructions
There are TWO separate installations for the Windows Phone Developer Tools January 2011 Update.
Step 1: Follow the link to download WindowsPhoneDeveloperResources_[language]_patch1.msp (Windows Phone Developer Tools January 2011 Update)
Step 2: Follow the link to download VS10-KB2486994-x86.exe (Windows Phone Developer Tools Fix)

The Windows Phone Developer Tools January 2011 Update includes:

  • Windows Phone Emulator Update – Exposes copy/paste functionality in the Windows Phone 7 emulator. For more information, see How to: Test Copy and Paste in Windows Phone Emulator. End users can use the copy and paste functionality only after receiving the corresponding update to the Windows Phone 7 operating system.
  • Windows Phone Developer Resources Update – Fixes a text selection bug in pivot and panorama controls. In applications that have pivot or panorama controls that contain text boxes, users can unintentionally change panes when trying to copy text. To prevent this problem, open your application, recompile it, and then resubmit it to the Windows Phone Marketplace.
  • Windows Phone Capability Detection Tool – Detects the phone capabilities used by your application. When you submit your application to Windows Phone Marketplace , Microsoft performs a code analysis to detect the phone capabilities required by your application and then replaces the list of capabilities in the application manifest with the result of this detection process. This tool performs the same detection process and allows you to test your application using the same list of phone capabilities generated during the certification process. For more information, see How to: Use the Capability Detection Tool.
  • Windows Phone Connect Tool – Allows you to connect your phone to a PC when Zune® software is not running and debug applications that use media APIs. For more information, see How to: Use the Connect Tool.
  • Updated Bing Maps Silverlight Control – Includes improvements to gesture performance when using Bing™ Maps Silverlight® Control.

WPDT Fix includes:

  • Windows Phone Developer Tools Fix allowing deployment of XAP files over 64 MB in size to physical phone devices for testing and debugging.

NOTE: In the case of a successful install you will not see a completion screen.

See also the announcement by Brandon Watson and the announcement on App Hub.

tags: WP7 | wp7dev

WP7 at Mobile World Congress

I won't be at Mobile World Congress this year, but maybe you will be.  If so (or even if you're considering) then you might be interested to know about the following event:

Windows Phone Wednesday 2/16, the App Developers Conference at Mobile World Congress

Calling all developers!!!!
If you are interested in learning more about developing apps for Windows Phone 7 then do we have the event for you...

“The Why and How’s of Windows Phone 7
Presented by Microsoft

Join us on a whirlwind tour around the landscape of the Windows Phone platform. The daylong session will examine all aspects of development on the phone, including building apps and games, marketplace monetization, tips and trick for certification and an open panel discussion where you can get answers to your burning questions.

Get in on the ground floor with us and see what makes us different!”

Day long sessions includes:

Time

Session Title

Speaker

9:30-10:00

State of the Union

Brandon Watson

10:00-10:30

Platform Overview

Larry Lieberman

10:30-11:30

UX/Metro Design Review

Bryan Agnetta

11:30-11:45

Break

 

11:45-12:45

Mobile Web Platform Futures

Joe Marini

12:45-1:45

Lunch

 

1:45-2:45

Panel discussion

 

2:45-3:00

Break

 

3:00-4:00

Business of your App

Todd Biggs

4:00-5:00

Silverlight/XNA overview

Rob Cameron

FYI, the conference pass gets you into the ADC as well as into the Expo Hall at Mobile World Congress.

If you are interested please send an email to creators@microsoft.com with the following details:
First and last name
email address for the invite
Company name

You'll want to sign up early as they only have 200 passes available.

Obviously this is a great opportunity for developers to get the latest and greatest info on WP7.  I'm hearing that none of these sessions will be taped.  If you do attend this event then please live blog or tweet whatever you can.  I'm really intrigued by Brandon Watson's "State of the Union" session.  Mark your calendars, I'm assuming that will be a good day to check for WP7 news on Twitter.

tags: WP7 | Mobile World Congress

MIX11 Conference

I was scheduling out the list of PDXSLUG meetings for the new year and just realized that we won't be having our normal meeting in April.  During that month our typical meeting time falls on the first day of Microsoft's MIX11 conference.  I'm sure we'll do a special event later in the month, something informal similar to what we did last year.

MIX MIX is a great conference, and definitely a must-attend if you consider yourself a web developer trying to stay on top of the new technologies coming out of Microsoft.  However, now that Microsoft does stream live both the keynotes and many of the sessions, as well as making the keynotes and all sessions available for viewing later (stream/download), you may be wondering why you should pay to attend this conference.  Will you get a phone or any "good" swag?  Probably not, as historically the MIX swag pretty much sucks.  Although one year we did all get copies of Vista and Expression Suite 1.0, but then again, that was Vista and not Windows 7.

Unless I have tickets to watch the NCAA Basketball tournament then I'm always attending MIX in person.  That's the way it's always been and I imagine that's how it will stay.  Why?  Why pay to attend when I can watch the content for free?  I've previously blogged my reasons for attending conferences.  Interestingly enough, swag does play an important part in this decision, especially this year.  The bottom line is I don't go for the sessions, I go for everything else.

MIX11 registration hasn't opened up yet, but it will soon (late January).  If you register by February 11 then you'll save $500 on your conference pass, and receive one free night hotel when you book two or more nights at the Mandalay Bay.  That's a great deal, and please don't proscratinate and miss out on it.  Be sure to join the MIX email newsletter and be among the first to learn about open registration, special offers, speakers and technical content for this year’s event.

MIX11 Event Details

When:

April 12-14, 2001
MIX Boot Camps on April 11

Where:

Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Cost: Full Price Conference Pass - $1395
MIX Boot Camps - $295

 

Hopefully I'll see you there.  Make sure to register for the workshops, otherwise you're wasting the whole trip (IMHO).

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | MIX11

More LG Optimus Tips

Here's a few tips I recently learned regarding my Windows Phone.

  • You can make your Windows Phone appear in Windows Explorer and access it as though it were a USB drive (instructions).  I did this, nothing special here, you'll be able to see the images/music/video on the phone.  Nothing to see here, keep moving on...
  • It's possible to enable your Windows Phone for USB tethering as a modem (instructions).  I haven't done this.  I'm sure it's not "officially" supported and by doing this you may be violating whatever agreement you have with your mobile carrier (e.g. AT&T, T-Mobile, etc).  If you're seriously in need of wireless connectivity for your laptop then I'd suggest you instead take a look at the AT&T's Mifi 2372.
  • If you're like me and are using the Windows Phone from PDC10 then you'll need to change the number that is dialed for voicemail.  You can do this under Phone -> Call Settings -> Voicemail Number.  If you're on AT&T then the number you should put in there is your mobile number.  This is a totally obvious solution that took me way to long to figure out.
  • The January update for Windows Phone 7 is supposed to be massive.  I'm so happy that the carriers aren't involved in distributing updates, otherwise I'd probably have to wait until June of next year.

Windows Phone 7 just keeps getting better and better.  It will be interesting to see what kind of ads Microsoft chooses to run during the Super Bowl.

tags: WP7 | LG Optimus

Firestarter Bus - Swag for First 40 on the Bus

I blogged earlier about the free bus ride from Portland to Redmond for the upcoming Silverlight Firestarter.    We'll be leaving at 5am sharp and don't want to leave anyone behind, so the question is how do I motivate you to wake up early so you don't miss the bus?  How about we give away swag for the first 40 people to show up and get on the bus?  Consider it done!

The bus ride is sponsored by Microsoft, the Portland Silverlight User Group, and the Portland Windows Phone User Group.

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | PDXSLUG | PWPUG | SLFS10

Portland Startup Weekend - Recap

Last weeked I participated in the the Portland edition of Startup Weekend.  I didn't have an idea that I was already working on, so I went for the experience and a chance to network with others in the Portland startup scene.  I had an absolute blast and will definitely be attending it next year.

My team didn't win the Portland event, instead that honor went to a team with a product called taggrThey had an absolutely amazing idea.  You should definitely check out their website and watch this 90-second video which explains what tagger is.  Wow.

My team had an idea on helping people buy and sell parking for game day events.  I've uploaded a video showing off the Windows Phone 7 app that I built for the contest.  While we didn't win overall, we did win the award for best demo.  Check out the video below where I give a walkthrough of the app.

Game Day Parking from Silvertail Software.

tags: WP7 | Startup Weekend

Firestarter Bus - A Rolling Hackathon

Silverlight Firestarter

I blogged earlier about the upcoming Silverlight Firestarter.  Since that time there's been tons of discussion about the future of Silverlight.  What's super exciting now is that Scott Guthrie will be keynoting the event and talking about the future of Silverlight.  Last week Tim Heuer tweeted that they'll be showing off the next version of Silverlight at this event.

Did you hear that?  Silverlight 5 baby!  Microsoft showing off a preview of it now lines up really nice for having a beta version of Silverlight 5 ready at MIX11.*  Talk about exciting news!  I'm curious if you're still content with just watching this event online, or would you rather attend it in person?

The Portland Silverlight User Group is partnering with Microsoft to charter a bus to drive developers up to Redmod to attend the Silverlight Firestarter in person.

We'll be leaving around 5am (at the latest), and will be getting back around 10pm (at the earliest).  There is no cost to ride the bus.  I've got an inside source telling me wifi might be available.  What a perfect opportunity for a rolling hackathon.  We've got plenty of room, so talk to your boss, get the day off, and we'll go participate in what's starting to feel like a mini-MIX conference.

Register for the bus ride at:
http://slfs10-portland.eventbrite.com/

 

*Disclaimer: I'm not an MVP, I'm not on the insider's list, and I have no inside information.  I'm just a regular guy making observations and calling the shots as I see them.  Don't blame me if the Silverlight 5 beta ships before then.  :)

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | SLFS10

Review: LG Optimus from PDC10

I recently had a friend ask what I thought of the LG Optimus that was handed out at PDC10.  I feel like I'm in a good position to have an opinion on it, as I've been using it as my personal phone for the last 2 weeks, rather than just leaving it in the box.

First of let me say that this is a "solid" phone.  It doesn't feel light-weight or cheap.  As far as look and feel, this phone holds it's own when compared against the iPhone 4 (I can say that because I currently carry and use both).  The LG Optimus has a much better feel than the other LG carried by AT&T (that one has a slideout keyboard).  When contrasted with the HTC Surround, the LG Optimus is thinner and feels better built.

I’ve put this phone in the hands of multiple managers in at least 3 different AT&T stores.  Each of them has said the LG Optimus is their favorite Windows Phone 7 device, even when compared against the Samsung Focus.  Why? because of the form factor and how solid it feels.  I should mention that each of these managers also use an iPhone 4 as their personal device.

When I first got my Windows Phone I took my SIM card from my iPhone 4 and slid it into the LG.  It took some time to get the position just right (see photo).  I still need to pick up a micro-SIM adapter from Amazon.  The voice and SMS messaging worked right out of the gate.  I needed to configure the APN settings in order to get data to work (blogged about here).  After using the phone for 10 days I realized that I couldn't send/receive MMS messages (think pix and video messaging).  That's when I started visiting all the different AT&T stores.

At the last store which I visited, they swapped in multiple SIM cards and ultimately verified that I could send/receive MMS on the store's Samsung Focus, but not on my LG Optimus.  I was told this isn’t that uncommon with international phones purchased overseas and brought over here.  I was further told that it's something to do with AT&T’s network and the phone not being built/tested for it.  Really?  Everything else was working fine: SMS, data, voice, just not MMS.  Because of this last fact I stopped using the LG as my personal device and switched back to the iPhone 4.  This was last Saturday.

Yesterday I took the liberty to tweet my frustrations.  I thought I was polite and cordial about the whole matter, but honestly I was fumming inside.

Twitter is amazing.  Earlier today I got a response to my tweet with a link which showed others experiencing my same problem.

The instructions were a little scary, but I went through the steps below and now MMS messaging works on the LG Optimus which I got from PDC10.  Note that you're using a built-in LG app to adjust these settings.

  1. Dial ##634# (this will cause a MFG app to appear in your app list)
  2. Launch the MFG app (password is 277634#*#)
  3. Select "7. Engineer Menu"
  4. Select "6. Other Setting"
  5. Select "Set network profiles"
  6. Select "_PROV_ATT_US_310_410.xml" from the list of available profiles

That's it, once I did this I could send/receive MMS messages.  My phone is now complete and works for everything (voice, data, SMS, MMS).  Should I need to reset my device to the factory settings then I'll need to go through these instructions again.

I'm so happy.  Don't get me wrong, there's things with the OS that need a ton of work.  For example the camera takes pictures of a quality similar to my Droid and not nearly as good as my iPhone 4, and the browser is not nearly as sharp as the browser on the iPhone 4. The team has a big list of stuff to be working on, and I'm good with that.  I'm happy with this initial release, and I'm confident the updates will flow at a pace that pleases me.

If you were at PDC10 and got one of these devices then I challenge you to not leave it in the box but instead use it.  Be fair though, and try it out for at least 2 weeks.  I don't believe you can adequately provide feedback on Windows Phone 7 without using it for at least that long.  The LG Optimus is a simple and yet beautiful device that complements the simplicity of the Metro and other concepts in Windows Phone 7.  Hopefully it will come to AT&T pretty soon so other people can enjoy it.

tags: WP7 | PDC10 | LG Optimus

PDC10 - Recap

PDC10

Last week I recorded a show with Erik Mork where we talked about PDC10, the announcements, the content, the activities, and the swag.  One of us may not have sounded too enthused about having attended the conference (you’ll have to listen to find out who).  Last week I also got an email from a friend asking me if I was happy with having attended PDC10.  I’m starting to get the vibe that some folks were disappointed with PDC10.  Here’s my take…

When I walked away from PDC10 I was 100% satisfied.  Why?  I can promise that it’s not because they handed out Windows Phones for each attendee (though that was awfully nice).  First let me say that I attend conferences for a variety of reasons:

  1. Ask-the-expert sessions
    1. One-on-one opportunities to ask questions to team members
  2. Workshops
    1. Often taught by actual team members
  3. Opportunities to participate in user studies
    1. Giving feedback on the technologies that matter most to me
    2. Being the “squeaky wheel”
  4. Networking with other industry professionals
  5. Networking with Microsoft employees
  6. Swag
  7. Be included as part of Justin Angel's entourage
  8. Tweetups
  9. Sessions
  10. Keynote Announcements

When I mention “team members” I’m talking about Microsoft team members.  This would be Joe Stegman, Mike Harsh, Pete Brown, Jesse Liberty, Tim Heuer, John Papa, Shawn Hargreaves, Yochay Kiriaty, Jaime Rodriguez, Clint Rutkas, Karl Shifflett, Scott Hanselman, Phil Haack, Glenn Block, those kinds of team members.  I’m not name-dropping, these are people that I had actual conversations with, and because I’m a “squeaky wheel” they actually know who I am.  These guys are more than happy to answer questions, help you with your app, and help you be successful.  To be fair, Joe Stegman will most likely only remember me as a punk Boise State fan.  Meh.

At PDC10 I stayed a day later and participated in an all-day workshop for Windows Phone 7.  It was a deep dive on tips and tricks from team members.  About half of my time was spent getting answers to questions on apps I’m currently building.  You can listen to me talk about my experience with Jesse Liberty (begins at 6:15).  That extra day of workshops and one-on-one time was the most important thing that happened at PDC10.  During MIX10 I came a day early to participate in the workshops.  Mike Taulty and John Papa did a Silverlight 4 Bootcamp that was absolutely phenomenal.  Seriously, Mike’s opening session was the best Silverlight presentation I’ve ever seen, period.  In my experience, workshops at a Microsoft conference are worth their weight in gold.

You might be surprised to see how high swag is on my list.  Let’s be honest, attending conferences is expensive in both time and money.  Many professionals are trying to maximize their opportunities while remaining platform agnostic and I’m not any different.  That means I’m much more likely to go to a conference such as Adobe MAX where I can get some “bleeding edge” hardware, rather than one that typically hands out nothing (e.g. MIX).  This is playing a huge factor as I’m evaluating what conferences to attend next year.  The question is which conference will give me the best bang for the buck?

Believe it or not, the Silverlight community is fairly small.  The WP7 community is even smaller.  The XNA community is the smallest of all.  Getting out and being a part of these communities is pretty easy.  You’ll find that these are tight knit groups who are more than happy to welcome newcomers.  I’m not going to extol the benefits of networking, but I will say that conferences are the best place to do it.

Let me summarize by saying that I don’t attend conferences for the sessions or the keynote announcements.  Honestly, you shouldn’t attend conferences for those reasons either.  Your boss will be quick to tell you that the sessions are recorded and broadcast for free, and he’s right.  If your primary reasons for attending PDC10 were the sessions and keynotes then it’s no surprise that you were disappointed.  I’d have been disappointed too as there weren’t any “big” announcements.

I attend conferences for everything else, and my advice is that you should do the same.  As the old adage goes, you get out what you put into it.

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | PDC10

Setting up WP7 from PDC10 for AT&T

Last week at PDC10 I was one of the many developers who walked away with a brand new LG Optimus (LG-E900).  Yeah, I finally got my Windows Phone 7!  Since then this phone has taken on the following roles:

  1. Used as a developer phone
  2. Used by my wife for her personal phone
  3. Used by myself as a personal phone
  4. Back to being a developer device
  5. Now sharing role of personal phone with iPhone 4 (swapping sims)

As you can guess I've had to reset the phone multiple times.  You can do that by going to Settings > about > reset your phone.

If you plug in a SIM card you'll quickly notice that data isn't working unless you're on WIFI.  In order to get data to work on your phone you'll need to manually configure your APN setting.  To do this, go to Settings > cellular > add apn.  You'll then enter the following information:

  • APN:  wap.cingular
  • Username:  wap@cingulargprs.com
  • Password:  CINGULAR1

Thanks to Ryan Cain for originally digging up this information. 

tags: WP7 | PDC10 | LG Optimus

State of Silverlight - PDC10

During the PDC10 and the last few days there's been some discussion on the state of Silverlight, and some speculation on what Microsoft may plan on doing with it.  Mary Jo Foley summed it up best:

After I published a blog post last week about Microsoft’s shift in its Silverlight strategy (based on an interview I did at the Professional Developers Conference with Server and Tools President Bob Muglia), there were a lot of concerned and angry Silverlight developers and customers.

Heh, no kidding. Since then a lot has been written on the subject.  Today I shared some of my thoughts with Erik Mork on the Sparkling Client podcast. Listed below are links to the original articles by the key contributors in this story:

More thoughts by key individuals:

Silverlight is not going away, it is and will still be used for the same purposes as before.  Silverlight is the future of application development on mobile devices for the Windows platform.  This discussion has been somewhat interesting, but sadly more just a waste of my time.  I have no desire to speculate or debate this anymore,  Say what you want, I'm very busy doing Silverlight application development for web, desktop, and mobile platforms.

Lastly, please feel free to come to the PDXSLUG meeting on 11/9 and ask Scott Stanfield (CEO of Vertigo) his opinion on the topic (http://portlandsilverlight.net).  He’ll be talking about HTML5 in the context of his company being known predominantly for their amazing work in Silverlight.

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | PDC10

WP7 Unleashed - Boise Recap

On Monday of this week we hosted our last WP7 Unleashed event.  We were in Boise, Idaho, lovingly known as the city of trees.  We did have 70 people registered for the event, and the room was pretty close to being full.  No driving for Erik and I this time, instead we were able to fly thanks to one of our sponsors, Wirestone.  The Boise crowd was great, I absolutely love hanging out with these guys.

Each event seems to have one or two gliches and this was no exception.  Unfortunately the location we were in did have wireless connectivity issues.  Wewe had more people than they had available IP Addresses.  It kinda sucked, but honestly that's a good problem to have.

Below are the teams who submitted apps for the contest.  NOTE: the attendees only had two and a half hours to create these applications.

Golf Score Tracker - This app is your digital scorecard and can work for both regular golf as well as frisbee golf.  You enter in the course name, number of players, number of holes, and the names of each player.  After each hole you enter in the scores.  At the end of the round it automatically tallies the scores and tells you who was the winner.


Time Tracker -  Every independent consultant needs a time tracker app and this is that solution.  You first enter in the project data.  The app has a project data screen, a time entry screen, and a reports screen.  Data is persisted locally.


Hang Ninja -  This is a traditional hangman game, only the victim being hanged is a character that closely resembles Kenny of South Park.  The next version would allow the user to swing the victim back and forth using the accelerometer.  Cartman would be prould.


Billable - This app was built by an individul from Seattle who missed all our previous events, but did make the trip to Boise.  The app is to be used in boring meetings where people's time is being wasted.  It works in both landscape and portrait.  At first you enter in your bill rate (e.g. $1000/hr) and then start tracking the parts of the meeting that are not applicable to you.  The app calculates how much money was wasted with you being present in the meeting.  It also includes a conversion for other currencies.


SOS - This app allows an individual to push a button and send a text message to someone which includes a link to their geocoordinates via Google Maps.  The team fould that they couldn't use Bing Maps becase SMS would mangle the Bing Maps Url, something to do with the tilde.


Pimp Name Generator - This tool's primary use is in determining pimp names for all of your interns.  You enter in their first and last name, and then the app randomly determines what their pimp name should be. If you didn't like the suggested pimp name then you can click a button to have it generate a new one.


Freefall - This is a Silverlight game where a character is falling towards the ground.  This is done by zooming in on an image of the ground, and once the character gets zoomed in to a certain level then he crashes into the ground.  A future version would include ways you could move the character via the accelerometer as he is falling.


Congratulations to the Winners!

  • 1st place - Billable
  • 2nd place - Freefall
  • 3rd place - Hang Ninja

tags: WP7

Portland Windows Phone User Group Meetup (11/8)

The next meetup for the Portland Windows Phone User Group is scheduled for Monday, November 8th.  What’s so special about this date?  It’s the first day that phones are available in the US!  Woot!  Details are included below (light swag for those who attend).  Look forward to seeing you there.

Next Meeting:
When: October 11 from 6pm – 8pm
Where: Lucky Lab Tap Room – 1700 North Killingsworth St, Portland, OR
Map: http://bit.ly/luckylab

Agenda:
6:00pm – Introductions
6:15pm – Tutorial on unlocking phones for development
6:30pm – Hackfest

 

 

tags: WP7 | PWPUG

HTML5 Crash Course w/ Scott Stanfield on 11/9

Scott Stanfield will be in town for the next Portland Silverlight User Group meeting and will be talking about HTML5.  Confused?  Don't be.  I'm pretty sure Scott hasn't gone over to the dark side completely, but I've got a list of questions that will help me get to the bottom of this.  (j/k)

I'm expecting a great discussion on why and when to choose HTML5 vs some other plugin architecture (e.g. Flash/Silverlight).  This is a meeting you'll be sure you don't want to miss.

 

WHAT: PDXSLUG - November 2010 Meeting

WHEN: Tuesday, 11/9/2010
6:00 p.m. Pizza (by Vertigo)
6:30 p.m. Presentation
~9:00 p.m. Afterwards at Rock Bottom

WHERE: Webtrends (map)
851 SW 6th Ave.
Portland, OR 97204-1337

WHO: Scott Stanfield
Scott Stanfield is the CEO of Vertigo Software, Inc., a Microsoft Gold Partner specializing in designing and building unique software. Scott is a proud member of the Microsoft Regional Director community and participates in the Microsoft Partner Architect Council. He is a frequent public speaker, keynoting for Microsoft and other industry events. Before starting Vertigo in 1997, Scott worked at Pixar in Point Richmond, California, which happens to be the current home of Vertigo. Scott holds a BS in Computer Science for Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

TOPIC: HTML5 Crash Course
It's been nearly a decade since the last big changes to HTML, which frankly weren't all that interesting. But this time it's different. With all the excitement around the latest features and browsers, it's time to take a closer look, especially if you've been heads-down on Silverlight, like I have been. If you haven't had time to look into the HTML5 family of technologies, it's time to start.

Warmup - Connecting to the Cloud With Windows Phone 7
At the beginning of the meeting (6pm) Gerald Aden will present his strategies for connecting to the cloud with Windows Phone 7.

Sponsors: While you are at it, consider visiting our premium sponsors that make these meetings possible:

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | PDXSLUG | HTML5

Portland Windows Phone User Group

Many of you know that I'm super excited about the opportunities with Windows Phone 7.  Erik Mork and I thought it made sense to start a new user group in Portland where individuals could meet, share ideas, and collaborate on this new platform.  We’ve had one meeting where we determined the goals, meeting times, topics, and format.

This group is very democratic, where outside input is not considered, but instead everything is determined by those who actually attend the meetings.  While we do have a mailing list, right now emails on that message board are worthless compared to the voice of a member who actually attends (at least until the number of emails more than doubles the number of voices).

The vision is to have this be a “working” user group, so bring your laptop and prepare to code.  Projects can be done, either for profit or for fun.  Presentations will be short and informal, more of a show-n-tell format.  Right now it's all about helping individuals can come together to find other developers interested in Windows Phone development.

I imagine that as devices become available to everyday developers we’ll see this evolve into more of a traditional user group.  The group’s website is located at http://pdxwinphone.org/.  The group also has a mailing list which can be found at http://bit.ly/pdxwinphone.

This will be an interesting group to watch.  Right now we have 8 people who attend and 20 people on our mailing list.  There is the potential that the attendance numbers for this group could go through the roof.  It all depends on how the public responds to and adopts Windows Phone 7.

I hinted at this above, but honestly I'm fully expecting this group to transition to a traditional user group over the next 12 months.  At that time we’ll be looking at meeting in the new Portland Microsoft Office, located in the Pearl.  I really feel this group needs to meet downtown because that is where the majority of the startups in Portland are located.  My primary goal with this group is to make people successful, not just to help them learn a new technology.  I measure success using the following guidelines:

  • Does this group help startups find developers?
  • Does the group help developers take their ideas to market?
  • Does the group help developers find other developers who then take their ideas to market?
  • Does this group grow developers who are then finding jobs creating Windows Phone apps?
  • Are the companies in Portland using this group as a resource to find and hire Windows Phone developers?

Everything I've mentioned is subject to change depending on your feedback.  Come to a meeting, get involved, let's build some cool apps.  See you soon.

tags: WP7 | PWPUG

WP7 Unleashed - Seattle Recap

Last week we had another WP7 Unleashed event, this time it was held in Seattle.  The event sold out almost a week in advance with 100 registrants.  Erik Mork kicked off the event at 8:30 am and presented the first session.  This time we had David Kelley doing the second session, as well an extra session on User Experience.  I was responsible for the 3rd session covering Sensors, Application Lifetime, Tombstoning, Launchers and Choosers, and Isolated Storage.  Laurent Bugnion was in town and able to swing by to show off some of the projects he's been working on.  We were also fortunate to have some of the Windows Phone team members available to answer questions.

By far, I thought this was our best event yet.  Brian Henderson recorded the sessions, which can be watched online at http://bit.ly/WP7Seattle.  General information about these events can be found at http://www.windowsphoneunleashed.com/.

Now we're using beta hardware at these events, and this time it showed.  One of us forgot to bring the Micro USB cable for the Samsung Taylor.  Surprisingly, we couldn't get it to sync using a cable from the LG.  ARGH!  However, someone from the audience had a cable for an HTC HD2 and we were able to use that to sync the Samsung and deploy apps to it.  Honestly, I didn't see that one coming.

Erik Mork and myself left Portland just before 4:00am and drove up to Seattle.  Traffic was good, in fact too good.  We arrived at the front dooor at 6:30am.  Yawn.  We had no trouble getting back though, and arrived back in Portland at 11pm.  The travel may seem tough, but it's totally worth it for these events.  It's amazing the number of people that brought apps they'd been previously been working on and just wanted to see run on an actual device.  I had a blast with this even and would definitely do it again!

I probably should mention that the last event schedule in the Pacific NorthWest is next week in Boise (10/25).  Register now at http://wp7-boise.eventbrite.com/.

Below are the teams who submitted apps for the contest in Seattle.  NOTE: the attendees only had two and a half hours to create these applications.

Drive by Nummies - This car racing game was written in XNA, and somewhat reminded me of the original Spy Hunter.  It's useful for deciding which restaurant you should go eat at (where you crash the car).  The game included a main menu, a high score menu, and the ability to earn points and upgrade your car.  It uses keyboard controls right now, but will utilize the accelerometer later.


Booya - This app was an MSN client and made great use of a panorama control.  It was nice to see the app had enough content to take advantage of the depth provided by the panorama.  The app would viewing news items, highlighting what has been previously visited, and would expand out to show stories and photos.


MPG -  This Ferry app (not fairy), would tell the user when the next ferry will be coming by.  It fires up Bing maps, pulls data from a json feed, displays the ferries on the map and updates lat/long.  Future features will figure out where you are, where the next ferry will be, how long it will take to get there, and provide a recommendation.


Messerschmitts - This game that animates planes and clouds with a Bing maps control underneath.  The user touches the planes to cause them to crash.  It includes a high score screen which keeps data in isolated storage.


Light Beam -  This XNA game is a particle system and doesn't have scoring yet.  The user manipulates a light beam via gravitational points and wind controls.  the goal is to get the particles to move through the hole (see top right corner).


UFL (Ultimate Free Loader) - This app was built by a member of the Windows Phone team and was my favoriate idea from this event.  Ultimate Free Loader is an app about surfacing free stuff.  People report and share bounties.   It makes good use of Pivot control.  Fresh, stale, and old bounties would be displayed according to your location.  Users could mark new bounties, or mark bounties as empty (e.g. someone ate the last leftover donut).  Including pictures would be a future feature and would be optional.


Congratulations to the Winners!

  • 1st place - Booya
  • 2nd place - MPG
  • 3rd place - Drive by Nummies

tags: WP7

Silverlight Firestarter - 12/2

Silverlight Firestarter

Light up your Silverlight skills with the all-new Global Silverlight Firestarter!

December 2, 2010 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm pacific time — It's completely free!


What is the Silverlight Firestarter?

  • An Event. A one day, global, live streamed and on demand event keynoted by Scott Guthrie.
  • Training. New self-paced labs and walk through videos.
  • Interactive. Watch live and ask the Silverlight product team questions during the event.
  • Why Silverlight? Silverlight is a powerful development platform for creating engaging, interactive user experiences for Web, desktop, and mobile applications when online or offline.

Something for Everyone

  • Just starting out with Silverlight? Watch our On-Ramp sessions to get you started.
  • Already Building business applications? Watch live to improve your skills and understanding.
  • Got questions? Chat with the Silverlight product team live or in person.

Firestarter Live Agenda

Time Presenter Session Details
8:00 am Scott Guthrie  Scott Guthrie Silverlight Firestarter Keynote
9:00 am Yavor Georgiev  Yavor Georgiev /
Jesse Liberty  Jesse Liberty
Building Compelling Apps with WCF Using REST and LINQ for Silverlight and WP7
10:00 am 15 minute break
10:15 am Dan Wahlin  Dan Wahlin Building Feature Rich Business Apps Today with RIA Services
11:15 am John Papa  John Papa MVVM: Why and How? Tips and Patterns using MVVM and Service Patterns with Silverlight and WP7
12:15 pm Lunch break
1:00 pm Silverlight Today and Tomorrow (Special Guest Panel)
1:30 pm Tim Heuer  Tim Heuer Building Real World Silverlight Apps
2:30 pm 15 minute break
2:45 pm Scott Guthrie   Mike Cook &
  Jossef Goldberg
Tune Your Application: Profiling and Performance Tips
3:45 pm Jaime Rodriguez  Jaime Rodriguez Killer Performance Tips for Silverlight Windows Phone 7
5:00 pm After Party!

Sessions are subject to change.

After the live event keep fueling the fire!

Dive deeper with additional hands on labs and videos that build on the live session content, accelerating you ahead of the crowd.

  • Watch the entire event on demand!

  • Plus, new self-paced labs and walk through videos

  • On Ramp Labs (100 level)
    • Hands on labs specifically focused on helping new developers get up to speed quickly on Silverlight
    • Do you know WinForms? HTML? ASP.NET? Want to learn Silverlight? We have a lab for you!
  • Building Better Business Apps (200-300 level)
    • Hands on labs focused on taking advantage of Silverlight to build real world business applications
    • Apply Data Strategies, Patterns, Out of Browser, RIA Services, and much more using Silverlight
  • Turnabout is fair play! Watch a video of our experts doing the labs themselves.

tags: WP7 | Silverlight

WP7 Unleashed - Bellevue Recap

Last week we had another WP7 Unleashed event, this time it was held in Bellevue.  There was a total of 125 people that registered for this event.  We got started just after 8:30am, and had an extra session on User Experience by David Kelley.  Overall it was a really good event.  The only downside was having to leave at 3:30am to drive up to Bellevue, and then driving back to Portland and getting home just before 2am.  Was it worth it?  Absolutely! 

Below are the teams who submitted apps for the contest.  NOTE: the attendees only had two hours to create these applications.

Happy Tweets - This app looks at your tweets and using an algorithm to determine how happy you are based upon your tweets.  It used the panorama control, shows a user's happiest and saddest tweets, and changes background color based upon how happy the user is.


Lockdown - This app locks the device and then if the device is bumped /moved it will flash, vibrate, and email the user with the coordinates of where the phone is now at.


Druminator - In this app your are playing on a set of drums, and plays audio through the speakers.  A user can change their drum kit, and also listen to backing tracks while they're hammering away.


Bosstinator - In this app you add projects and tasks with estimates and then send them to your boss.  This is great for when your boss walks into your office at 4:58 and asks you for an estimates, demanding that you get it to him before you go home.


Megamillions - This app will generate lucky numbers.  The numbers would spin via storyboards and the user would touch the numbers to stop them while they were spinning.  The team who built this previously only had 2 weeks of Blend experience.


NIMBY - Not In My BackYard.  With this app you type in a neighborhood/city/state and it retrieves data from Zillow (lat/long, neighborhood home value index, city home value index, # of foreclosures (neighborhood/city).  Future features will include info such as crime statistics, and auto-recognizing which the neighborhood you are in.


I'm loving WinPhone7 - This is a little simple game using the accelerometer where you move the phone different parts of an image would animate either apart or towards each other.  The goal is to move the image parts back together and thus solve the puzzle.


Apartment Searcher - This app helps you search apartments.  It uses location services to find your current location, and then finds all available apartments within a certain radius.  It then displays the available apartments on a Bing maps control.  A future feature will be clicking on one of apartments on the map to pull in all the details. Right now you can also ask for directions to that apartment using the Bing  Maps routing services.


Power Point Remote Control - This app allows you to remotely control your PowerPoint presentation from your phone.  You can queue up and do multiple presentations.  Any slide notes are included on the bottom of the phone under the slide.  Communicates is via http on the network.


Episode Finder - This app helps you find a specific episode for a TV show.  A user can input in any part of the episode title (e.g. Firefly and "James" = Jamestown in Season 1).  The app queries IMDB.  Wildcard search is enabled by using percent signs.  Right now it only searches against the episode title.


Congratulations to the Winners!

  • 1st place - I'm loving WinPhone7
  • 2nd place - Power Point Remote Control
  • 3rd place - Lockdown

tags: WP7

First Windows Phone 7 Ad

I absolutely love this commercial!  While I do identify with it many of the characters in it, I'm proud to say that I've never dropped my phone in a urinal.  No comment on whether or not my wife has ever thrown pillows at me. 

tags: WP7 | Really

WP7 Unleashed - Portland Recap

What an awesome event!  Unfortunately I didn't take my camera, but Erik Mork has a recap with pictures, so be sure to check it out.

The day started with registration at 8am.  Everyone brought their laptops and came prepared to write code.  One individual's laptop died the day before so he brought in a desktop workstation.  Talk about hard core!  That's what I loved about this event, everyone was ready to learn and expected to write code.  No one was there for "free pizza" or to get a free day out of the office.

Windows PhoneThe first session was an overview of the phone.  We had two devices there, and we made sure that everyone got to play with the phone and experience its features.  The night before I had customized one of the phones as much as I could, uploading songs, pictures and movies.  I really wanted people to get a feel of what it would be like as a personal device.  My Xbox live account was tied to the phone, as was my Facebook account.  I had even purchased a song from the marketplace.  This was a demo phone, yet it seemed like folks were scared to really play with it because it looked like it was "my phone".

After the first session we jumped straight into the hands-on-labs and writing a Windows Phone 7 app in Silverlight.  Then we had another session on using web services, push notifications, and the trial api.  Then another hands-on-lab.  Food was brought in so we had a "working lunch".

After lunch I presented my session on sensors, tombstoning, launchers, and choosers.  Once that was done we jumped straight into the final hands-on-lab.  Individuals that finished the lab had a working app that demonstrated all the features we had talked about (except push notifications).  Then the contest started.

We had lots of innovators in this group.  A few formed up into teams to build their app for the contest, but many built the apps on their own.  There was lots of ideas.  None of the two apps were the same, and only one of the apps was a twitter client.  What was really interesting is that we had the majority of the teams deploy their apps to a device and demo it on a phone, rather than using just the emulator.

Prizes were given away for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.  We're talking about cash ($500, $200, and $100).  Winners were determined by attendees voting for who they thought should be first, second, and third place.  Points were assigned, it was a lot like the voting to determine who wins the Heisman Trophy award.  The presenters only got involved if a tiebreaker was needed. We were done and out of there by 6pm.

This was an awesome event.  It will be happening again in Seattle, Bellevue, and Boise.

We're thinking of having another one of these in Portland, the time frame would be mid-November.  If you're interested then please let me know.  Whether or not we do it again in Portland depends on how much demand there is.

tags: WP7

WP7 Unleashed Training

Last week we held a free Windows Phone 7 Unleashed training event.  I thought the event was an amazing success, but I'd love to hear what you're thoughts on it are.

Unfortunately we had to cap the attendance and not everyone who wanted to attend this free training was able to participate.  Previously I mentioned that we'd be doing this training again in Seattle, Bellevue, and Boise.  If you weren't able to attend the event in Portland, then hopefully you will be able attend one of these other events.  There is no cost to attend, however registration is required. 

I'm also trying to gauge the interest and see if there is enough demand to do this event again in Portland.  The time frame would be early to mid-November, with the same format as what was done before.  If you do have interest in adding such an event please let me know.


Windows Phone 7 Unleashed

All Day (10hours) of Hands on Programming, B.Y.O. Laptop!

Windows Phone 7 is HOT! Come check out Windows Phone 7 Unleashed for everything you need to know to develop for WP7. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or you’re just starting with .NET development, there’s something in it for you.

The first half of this deep dive event is lecture and hands on lab. At the half point mark of the day, you’ll have a solid foundation for building WP7 applications.

The second half of the day is going straight to code. Build the best app and win a $500 (1st place), $200 (2nd place) or $100 (3rd place) American Express gift card!

In order to deliver the best possible experience for attendees, seating at these events is VERY limited. Register now!

NOTE: Each attendee is required to bring his/her own laptop with the free software required for the labs. Specific software details to be announced shortly after the final API release on 9/16.  System requirements and installation instructions can be found here:  http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff402530(v=VS.92).aspx

Session 1 – Introduction to Windows Phone 7 Programing.

In this session, we start with a discussion of windows phone, the architecture changes made from 6.5 to 7.0, the hardware specifications and then move into the beginnings of building a WP7 application including :

  • Sensor overview
  • Application life cycle
  • Splash screen and the importance of 1 second / 19 second loading
  • Files associated with project template
  • Application Bar
  • Live Tile
  • Application Icon

The session will end with a brief discussion of the Windows phone 7 Marketplace before the entering into the HOL.

HOL – The screens that will be built during this session are:

  • Project Set-up
  • Live Tile
  • Splashscreen
  • Home Screen with Application Bar

Session 2 – Connecting to Services

In this session, we will discuss how Cloud Services help to bring power to the phone.  We will be binding to a rest based services and show how to search and display the information received.  In this session we will also talk about Navigation, passing information between screens, simple page animations while working with List and detail information.

HOL – The screens that will be built during this session are:

  • Search Screen
  • Display Screen
  • Detail Screen
  • Additional Application Bars

Session 3 – Recording Data

In this session we will be working with the Camera to capture and crop photos, record audio files, take notes, saving location, sharing (sending emails and SMS messages – and if time permits sending to twitter or FB) and saving everything using isolated storage.  We will discuss tombstoning and how it effects your application process, including the when, where and whys of saving state).

HOL – The screens that will be built during this session are:

  • Add New Wine
  • Record Audio
  • Picture Capture and Crop
  • My Wines

tags: WP7

Portland Windows Phone - mailing list and meetups

Many of you know that Erik Mork and I are super excited about the opportunities with Windows Phone 7.  We thought it made sense to take our efforts to the next level and start an informal group where individuals could meet, share ideas, and collaborate on this new platform.

Initially we’re going to try and meet on the second Monday of every month, which would put our first meeting on October 11.  The time, location, and format may change depending upon feedback from you.

Next Meeting:
When: October 11 from 6pm – 8pm
Where: Lucky Lab Tap Room – 1700 North Killingsworth St, Portland, OR
Map: http://bit.ly/luckylab

Agenda:
6:00pm – Introductions
6:15pm – Installing the Tools and Getting Started
7:45pm – Discuss potential topics for next month

You can join our Google Group to receive updates and learn more:
http://groups.google.com/group/portland-windows-phone

tags: WP7

Mobile Development - Which Platform?

A friend raised a great question on the PADNUG mailing list today (emphasis mine):

After seeing this:

http://www.engadget.com/2010/08/11/android-gps-navigation-x-wing-edition/

I'm really considering playing around with Air apps on my droid phone. That's a nice looking app that someone built just for the fun of it (it's not on the app store, doubtful it ever will be don't you think?). I'd like to be able to build Silverlight apps for my phone, but that's unlikely. Erik says Silverlight on Android is a big maybe: http://www.sparklingclient.com/silverlight-android-maybe/ (congrats Erik you were on the first page of the google search for silverlight and android).

I'm concerned that MS will ignore Android in favor of putting resources into Winphone7. The combination of Air + Android is very friendly to developers. Add in the momentum that Android has gained in the past 6 months plus the sheer numbers of handsets, well Air + Android seems like a valid choice. Winphone7 has zero handsets in the hands of consumers so far. Great development environment though, but not free (I've never used the free version of VS, so no idea there).

I'm ignoring the iphone completely here because Apple has very clearly said that if you don't code in Obj-C you won't get your app on the store.

Another thing that worries me a bit about Silverlight: I don't have any apps that I use that are in Silverlight. I noticed this the other day when I was using Balsamiq. Pandora, TweetDeck and Balsamiq are all great app experiences and are all made in Air. What's going on there? Is Silverlight just not catching the eye of independent developers?

Android

Let me begin by saying that I am not a fan of Android.  I've owned my Motorola Droid for 9 months.  I've had to reset it by taking out the battery at least half a dozen times.  I don't have many apps on it, I've tried to keep it clean.  I think it is a great phone for email and I love it much more than the blackberries I've had in the past.  The new 2.2 version of the OS is a much needed improvement.  The MS Exchange support is great.  The GPS Directions app is a must have.  With that said I hate my phone.

I've spent a while over-analyzing the Android marketplace.  I have a dozen or so free apps, but only one that I've actually purchased.  That was a very painful process.  The app that I paid for is psx4droid.  I have only one game that I've tried to play which is Final Fantasy VII.  The music was choppy, the video stuttered, the game was near unplayable.  That game definitely was pushing the device beyond what it could handle.  Maybe the emulator was poorly coded, or maybe my device just isn't that great.  I did get to a save point, so let me know next time you see me and I'll show you the experience I had.

My takeaway?  If you want to write high-performant games, don't develop for Android.

Silverlight - Windows Phone 7

I want to talk about my friend's observation that Silverlight is not catching the eyes of independent developers.  First let me say that I think his observation is right on.  We don't see a lot of free Silverlight OOB apps like we do with Adobe Air.  Maybe that's because the Silverlight guys are trying to make money instead of giving away great software for free.  Who knows, however I must concede that most of the Silverlight developers I know are capitalists.  Here's what I think.  I believe that many independent developers are jumping to develop for the marketplace rather than jumping to developer for a technology.  Trust me, once the Windows Phone 7 marketplace is live and the devices are in the hands of the consumers, then you'll be seeing thousands upon thousands of developers jumping to this new opportunity.

Apple and Objective-C

The last thought I have is about developing for "iDevices" and being forced to use Objective-C.  I used to rail against Objective-C as being total garbage, reasoning that I would never code in that cruft because my expertise was thankfully in the pristine world of C# and LINQ.  Why should I stoop to coding in a "lesser" language?  I was an arrogant prick (probably still am).  I must concede that Objective-C isn’t that bad.  The APIs aren’t that bad.  There are libraries out there like cocos2D that are pretty freaking amazing.  If you’ve got a CS background then you definitely don’t have anything to be scared about when learning this language and platform.  If you don’t have a CS background then it *may* be a bit tougher initially, but you’ll get over it and be just fine.

With that said there are still some philosophical questions you should still to ask yourself:

  • Is this a platform you *want* to develop for?
  • Are you willing to purchase the required hardware?  Note: both a Mac and either an iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch are required to develop apps.

And perhaps most importlantly:

  • Are you willing to strip away all your preconceptions and allow yourself to become a part of their culture?

Let's be honest, Apple users are primarily designers, at least this was the case in my background, and I'd wager that it's probably the case for most of you.  Traditionally developers haven’t gotten along well (or perhaps at all) with designers.  The whole Mac vs PC thing is more a reflection of the culture fight between developers and designers, then it is between the actual platforms.  If you're going to develop apps for that platform then you really need to understand the users of that platform.  Any anthropologist will tell you that the best way to understand a group of people is to integrate yourself in with them.  If culturally you can make this change then there is no reason why you shouldn't be developing for the Apple platform.  Let's be honest, that's where all the money is right now.  I mean, they have paid out over $1 billion dollars paid out to app developers.

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | Android | Objective-C

Speaking at PADNUG (4/6)

Tonight I'll be co-presenting at PADNUG alongside Jason Mauer.  Jason will be talking about OData and XNA, and I'll be talking about developing for the Windows Phone 7 platform (notice how they dropped "Series" from the name).  I'm excited to talk about WP7 any chance I get, but I'm also worried that in this instance I won't have very much time.  We'll see what happens.  If there is enough demand then perhaps we'll schedule another hackathon for folks interested in getting started with WP7.

Afterward PADNUG I'll be part of the crowd heading over to Gustav's and would love to talk more about WP7 development and answer any questions.  I'm getting ready to submit my sessions for the Portland Code Camp, so please let me know if there is something that you'd like to see.  Right now I'm leaning towards speaking on 1) the WP7 marketplace, 2) tips and tricks learned in developing WP7 apps, and 3) heading up a Saturday evening hackathon.  Let me know what you think.

tags: WP7 | PADNUG

PDX Nerd Dinner (3/30)

The next nerd dinner in Portland is tonight (Tuesday - 3/30) at 6pm in the food court in Washington Square Mall. We'll be eating mall food and discussing WP7, Silverlight, XNA, and whatever else geeks you out.

BTW, if you're thinking of getting started with WP7 development, I recommend first watching the following 2 sessions from MIX before you download and install the tools:

  1. Joe Belfiore: Changing our Game – an Introduction to Windows Phone 7 Series
    (http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/CL01)
  2. Charlie Kindel: Overview of the Windows Phone 7 Series Application Platform
    (http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/CL13)

On a side note, I tried posting this on nerddinner.com. I added a dinner and then tried searching for it and it isn't there. Has anyone ever been able to post something on that site? Seems like this was more of an idea for the MVC book, rather than something useful that people could use.

tags: WP7 | Nerd Dinner

Boise Code Camp 2010 - Slides

Thanks to everyone who came to my sessions yesterday.  I've uploaded the slides/examples for download.

tags: WP7 | Boise Code Camp

Boise Code Camp 2010

This weekend is the Boise Code Camp (Mar 27-28). These guys do a great job putting on a great show. I know it's short notice, but if there is anyway you can attend then know that I whole-heartedly recommend it. While I'm there I'll be presenting two sessions on developing for the Windows Phone 7 Series platform (WP7). I'm currently scheduled for right before/after lunch on Saturday.

  • Building Games in XNA for the Windows Phone 7 Series

    We'll first walk through an overview of developing XNA games for the Windows Phone 7 Series (WP7) platform, and then examine the tools provided for building these games. We'll then jump into a demo of creating an XNA game similar to MineSweeper for the WP7 platform.

  • Developing Silverlight Applications for the Windows Phone 7 Series Platform

    We'll first go through an overview of the Windows Phone 7 Series (WP7) application platform, and then examine the tools provided for developing WP7 applications. The majority of the session will be a demo of building a WP7 application in Silverlight.

While this is a code camp and I'd prefer to spend most of mine time in the code, I realize that with this topic I'll be doing a lot of explaining and QA at first. Let me make this clear, there will be code. However, I've also discovered that I'll need to be prepared to spend some slides and time discussing other things such as developing for the enterprise and how the marketplace works. I'm assuming that most of my audience will be folks who most likely haven't downloaded the tools, and watched all the MIX sessions. If I'm wrong in this assumption then please correct me.

If you're planning on being there then please do find me and say hi. I'm excited, the Boise Code Camp is always a ton of fun and always worth my time in attending. One thing you might find interesting is that when we do the planning for the Portland Code Camp it is Boise that we look to as example for what we define as success.

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | XNA | Boise Code Camp