Going Old School on Windows 8

The other day I was browsing some archives on an old disk drive and came across the T64 formatted binaries of some demo software I wrote for the Commodore 64 in the 1980s. Demo software is fun to write and is more about tricks and optimizations than business rules or data models. I had written…

Dogfooding Windows 8: I Tell All

The other day I read an article about Windows 8 and “six long-term Windows 8 users tell all.” The premise? Several columnists over at ZDNet had been using Windows 8 for quite some time, and were interviewed about the experience. You can read about the results in the original article. I am also a writer.…

Koch Snowflakes on Windows 8 with XAML

A few years back I wrote a little program that would generate Koch snowflakes in Silverlight. After brisk walk in the cold weather today, I decided it was time to port it over to Windows 8, more just to see how easy it would be. It turns out it only took about 5 minutes to…

It’s Deja Vu All Over Again… Timing… Timing… Timing… Azure Storage Keys and Your Computer’s Clock

< p class=”MsoNormal”> The demo code for my upcoming book on Windows Azure storage inexplicably began reporting that “The remote server returned an error: (403) Forbidden” on every operation. Investigating the problem using the integrated Visual Studio 2012 Server Explorer to view objects in cloud storage was also problematic… Visual Studio reported that the “current…

Introducing MyComix Reader, Version 0.5

As I wrote the Contoso Cookbook app and accompanying labs for Microsoft last winter, I found myself thinking that it would be cool to build another end-to-end Windows Store sample – one that could go beyond the basics and demonstrate fun features and programming techniques that Contoso Cookbook did not. At the same time, I’ve…

Manipulating Navigation State in Windows Store Apps

I received an interesting question from a customer today. He wanted to know how to manipulate the navigation history to skip a page in the backstack in a Windows Store app. In other words, he wanted to do in Windows 8 something similar to what NavigationService.RemoveBackEntry does in Windows Phone 7.1. The scenario he presented…

Paraffin Bug Fix and Future Ideas

Things have slowed down enough I was able to get around to fixing a small bug in Paraffin where I was accidentally including .ParaffinMold files in the .WXS output. Also, as I finally caught up with the cool kids and finally started using ReSharper. Since I love fixing bugs at compile time instead of runtime,…

IntelliTrace: Making On Time Shipping Possible

Last week the Microsoft Central District asked me to come down and do a road show through Texas and Arkansas. What a road show it was; seven flights, six different hotels, and 20+ hours driving between places in six days. But it was all worth it because I got to talk about my favorite feature…

Answering your Windows 8 Questions

I’m extremely excited to be a part of an event this coming Tuesday, November 13th, geared towards answering your questions about Windows 8. An estimated 4 million PC users upgraded to Windows 8 during the first weekend of its release. I’m assuming several of you reading this blog were a part of that wave. While…

A CoverFlow Control for Windows 8 and Your Surface RT

A few years ago, I needed a CoverFlow control for a Silverlight project I was working on. Since Silverlight didn’t include a CoverFlow control, I did a little searching and found an open-source XAML CoverFlow control on CodePlex. So I downloaded the code, tweaked it a bit, and quickly had a control with the basic…

Building Location-Aware Apps for Your Surface RT

Microsoft’s Surface RT lacks a GPS receiver (bummer!), but you can still use WinRT’s location API to build location-aware apps for it. As long as you have a WiFi connection, the location API can determine where you are with a reasonable degree of accuracy – sometimes with astonishing accuracy – using WiFi positioning. Furthermore, you…

Fun with the Accelerometer on Your Surface RT

One of the cool things about Microsoft’s Surface RT is that it comes with a rather complete array of sensors. Among those sensors are an accelerometer, which allows software running on the device to sense the acceleration along the X, Y, and Z axes in real time. As a practical matter, that means software can…