31 July 2010

Support Details: A Quick Way To Get Basic Tech Support Info

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Have you ever given remote PC Tech Support or received it?. Well, one of the very first questions made when that happens is going to be about your Support Details.

This mean the very most basic data you can give about your system.

Support Details is a web app that recollects this basic data and allows you to send it as a E-mail or to download it as a CSV or PDF file. The only thing you need to do is to load the page and the basic details will be there.

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A nice and simple app, that may be too simple as i think it could easy expand to recollect a lot more details for installed version of Silverlight, .NET Framework, Java, Shockwave, PDF reader, among other things.

The only observation is that this tool is only focused in the basic support details for OS based tech support. Otherwise it would also need to be able to grab all the host hardware main support details. But for what it does is ok. However, the app should be updated and expanded as the concept is good and can be explored a lot further.

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Support Details

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via YungSang

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23 July 2010

Flisti: Free And Simple Online Polls With Zero Requirements

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Flisti is a Free Online Polls service that lets you create a poll the fastest way yet, as it don’t requires any kind of registration. You can start creating your poll from the homepage itself via a very easy to follow web form.

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The homepage also serves as your user dashboard as Flisti will remember what polls you have made or voted in if you let it. That means if you accept to keep a tracking cookie from the site. As long as you have the cookie. Flisti will be able to track what you have done while using the service. It is up to you.

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There only three other things to see in the site beyond creating a poll:

  • 1.-Checking out the newest polls created
  • 2.-Checking out the polls with the most votes
  • 3.-Voting in Flisti polls.

Other than that, there is nothing but creating polls.

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Once you have created a poll, Flisti gives you a easily shareable url for the poll landing page (ad supported). So other people visiting Flisti can view it and vote on it via the Flisti Poll tracking lists (Latest or Top).

From there, the poll can also be Tweeted, Buzzed or Liked. If it has been shared, you will also be able to see how many times that happened and where.

And finally, if you want to use the poll in your blog, you can grab the code to embed it as a widget.

Conclusion

A really good, simple and fast way to make a online poll. The fact it got no registration takes all the friction out of the service and makes creating a poll something very impulsive given how easy and fast is to do so. Totally recommended.

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 Flisti

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Simler.com Is Dead

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If you try to load up www.Simler.com right now, you will be redirected to The Simler Blog where the last blog post in it reads:

With Heavy Hearts…

Today we are sad to close the doors on Simler. We had some lofty goals—to change the world by building on common interests. And although we are closing Simler today, we’d still like to believe that we made a positive impact on some of your lives. We know that some of you met new people that seemed like long lost friends on our service, because we did too. So on an individual level, we did do precisely what we set out to do, simply manifested in a different way.

We thank each one of you for your support over the last year. We have drawn encouragement and inspiration from many of you, and look forward to continuing to cultivate these relationships in other ways. So please keep in touch with at least one of the endless ways that we have available to us in this modern age!


Ryan “MrG” Goodwin and the rest of the Simler team

So, that means Simler is dead and to make matters worse i only noticed a week after it happened and at the time this post was written. Simler has been dead for over a month.

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What was Simler?.

Simler was a Tag Based Social Messaging Network. For it to be truly understandable you would need to think back to Pownce, if you happen to know what that was and then add Tags as the focus of it. But if you don’t really remember Pownce or you are curious about what Simler was. You can read my fairly extensive preview i posted about it from back when it originally came into the social web scene.

Simler was the brainchild of Ryan Goodwin as you can read in a interview i also posted here in Appatic. It is even a better read now that the project is dead.

I liked Simler  a lot when it launched. So much i wrote a long and detailed post about it and also posted that interview as i wanted the site to succeed. It was fresh take on the same idea Pownce originally brought to the table and it had the potential to be as good for having conversations as Rejaw.

Hell, i even went as far as winning a t-shirt of the site i still like quite a lot. It really had captured my interest.

Why it failed?.

There are many reasons why a project fails. Even when it is a project that you could argue and rationalize was really good. I do not intend to state i know all the reasons, but i do can offer you some reasons of why it failed for me and for some others that used it.

I.-Growth Problems

Simler originally launched as a private beta web only project. It was a modest success. The community was lively, friendly and you could really hang out on it. Site was well thought out and as far as i tested it, everything worked as it should and it was truly cross-browser and cross-platform in terms of how it worked in a browser.

Then as it was turned into a public beta, something went horribly wrong while it was in its initial development.

It then started loading slow, being glitchy in the still nascent Chrome and downright Horrible in IE7 or even in the still new at the time IE8.

And as i have said many times, like with the failure of Pownce. If your Web project don’t supports IE well (at least IE8), don’t expect that your web project manages to get popular enough or be around long enough to have a impact. It is really that simple.

II.-Promoted At The Wrong Time

The strangest thing about Simler was that, its creator (Ryan G) decided to promote the site when it was obvious that it was not working well enough but in two browsers (Safari and Firefox) and when it was also clear it had not reached a version 1.0 release.

What was worse is that it don’t even had a Mobile Website, a proper API, a Demo Desktop Client or  a Demo Mobile App. All things that people expected to be available when it was pushed into public beta. After all, it was launched in 2009, not 2007.

So why it was decided, it was a good idea to promote something that didn’t even worked right or had options for people to decide how to use it?.

I also want to state and clarify that i did complained and talked about this with Ryan (the creator, founder & ceo of it) at the time, but he was enthusiast on Simler getting all it needed soon enough. That of course never happened.

III.-Lack Of Coverage

Simler managed to get the attention of RWW and Mashable. But never got to be profiled by Techcrunch and other mainstream sites. It also didn’t updated with what it needed in order to generate follow-ups by RWW or Mashable, the biggest blogs it got initial coverage. The later is also a tragic because they even had advertised in Mashable’s feed. Yet they didn’t bothered with a single Follow-Up

IV.-Multiple Broken Promises

If you are a new web project without a big audience. Never promise early adopters, the blog press and your beta users a feature or release you are not anywhere near to deliver. And what its more important; Don’t promise it multiple times and then continue to fail in delivering it.

Unfortunately, this was the sad case of Simler. It promised a 1.0 release, a mobile site and a iOS app that they never ended up delivering widely. 

For example, they originally were supposed to reach version 1.0 by late 2009. At least that was what i was told. I was originally going to run my full review of the site in November or December of 2009 based on when version 1.0 was supposed to be reached.  Almost 9 months passed and Simler never reached version 1.0. It was stuck in 0.9 during all its uptime. The same thing happened with the promised mobile site and mobile app.  The API was also never mature or stable enough for it to be used according to some Simler users that tried to build something out of it.

V.-Design Flaws

Simler was all about letting its users relate by having threaded conversations based in common interests, that could be engaged via network-wide available Tag Streams.  But that focus had two major design flaws:

1.-Unlimited Tags and Tag Streams

The number of Tags a user could have and could use had no limits or boundaries.

This created the problem where conversations were scattered  in endless tag streams and tag abuse got to be rampant.

2.-Reply to a Reply In A Thread Could Create Another Thread.

Threaded conversations let anyone reply to a reply reply.

No, that is not a typo. This means you could reply to what someone had replied to a reply for a message and this was turned into its own thread within a thread. And what was worse is that it could go that way endlessly.  This resulted in confusing notifications for conversations you would not really could care about and it pretty much diluted a conversation and the purpose of having threaded conversations in the first place.

Other important design flaws were:

3.-Not a open site

While Simler was about all about conversations. If you were not a user and was curious to see how Simler worked. You could not easily navigate the site and check how people were using it like you could in Pownce or Rejaw.  It was not possible to have a good idea of how the site really worked without joining.

Maybe the rational for this was that it was also partly modeled off Facebook. But a Social Network and a Social Messaging Network (twitter,plurk,pownce,rejaw,etc) are two different things. What works for a Social Network, will not work for a Social Messaging Network. Don’t make it hard for the user to make up its mind or force him to register a account just to check out what is your site about.

4.-Not enough documentation

For such a rich social messaging network. you would expect it to have enough documentation on how things work and should work. But nope, that was not the case.

5.-No promo materials or extensibility. 

If you were a user in simler and liked it enough to want to promote it. You could not do so.

There were not a selection of Badges and Widgets for you to take out and put in your blog.

Conclusion

Simler was a excellent concept badly implemented. but what truly killed it was that it was also badly managed, just like it was in the case of Pownce and Rejaw.  It truly proves that you not only need to innovate, but to make sure you create something innovative everyone is able to use and then support it well, so it grows well.

But i still hope to see a Social Messaging Network like Simler and Pownce eventually succeed.

R.I.P Simler.

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BingPaper: Set Bing Daily Photo As Your Wallpaper, Automatically

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Almost everyone loves the Bing Daily Photo (a.k.a Photo Of The Day Background) and the proof of that is you can now get a Bing branded Screensaver and there is a series of Bing Windows 7 Themes.

But some may not want to go that far and would only like to have the daily photo as a wallpaper, without having to set it up manually themselves.

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BingPaper is a .NET/WPF based Open Source app from Codeplex that lets you automatically set your desktop wallpaper with the Bing Daily Photo everyday. All without you having to do anything but having the app running. It is really as simple as that.

You can also choose different Bing Daily Photos from 8 supported countries:

  • 1.-United States
  • 2.-Australia
  • 3.-Canada
  • 4.-Japan
  • 5.-Germany
  • 6.-China
  • 7. New Zealand
  • 8.-United Kingdom

The only downside to the app is that it is best suited for Netbooks (9 to 11 inches) screens and resolutions as BingPaper takes the Bing Daily Photo directly from Bing.com. And that image is not in high resolution like the ones that comes in Bing Windows 7 Themes.  But for netbooks and mid’s. BingPaper should be perfect. The app works in XP, Vista & 7.

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BingPaper Info

BingPaper                                      <— Direct Download Link 

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22 July 2010

SWF.me: Host Your SWF Files For Free

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.SWF is the default file format for multimedia Adobe Flash files and Adobe Shockwave games.

Pretty much every single interactive, multimedia display and online game file you get to see online is a SWF file. 

If you are a Flash developer and you make games, interactive displays or full blown flash websites compacted into a SWF file. The easiest and most common to do is to either test locally  offline within a browser or put up a FTP and check how it behaves live from another computer. But it is always better to have a proper host for the file to try things out as depending of what you have made it can weight anywhere from 1mb to 100mb. The later heavy ones are rare because devs prefer to split a project in several SWF files instead of having just one and then just “string them up” across one or several HTML files (website pages) to avoid slow load times or to make things more bearable. or at least that is how it see it.

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SWF.me is a free SWF file host that lets you upload your SWF projects and gives you a landing page with a simple url and also a basic page views counter. All for free, the only tradeoff is that it is Ad Banner supported. But if you are OK with that, SWF.me is a great choice to test or store SWF files that gets to have a actual true live landing web page. So it could be useful for any Flash dev.

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SWF.me  

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21 July 2010

Paper Critters: Online Paper Toy Creator And Gallery

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PaperCraft is the art of making any kind of figures or structures out of Paper. Paper Toys are Paper made figurine constructs made from a printed paper pattern that you can later customize in whatever form you want by painting it.

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Paper Critters is a online flash based Paper Toy creator  that takes the art of Papercraft a small step further. With it, you can design a virtual paper toy that gets to “live” in little flash widget square or as a actual physical paper toy. It is up to you.

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While the paper critters all got a specific figurine form. You get to customize it by virtually painting on it just like how you would physically with the site Paper Toy Creator. Once you have it the way you want it; You can save it into the Paper Critters gallery with the other Paper Toys that have been designed in the site.

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So far there are 60,000+ paper critters in their gallery. But if you want to, you can also print the customized paper toy pattern, so you can take it offline into the real world. Print it and it will be exactly like the one you did in the site. If you prefer to have it as a virtual creation, then you can keep it so in a destination page you can bookmark and share for others to view and comment on it. Or take it to your blog/website as a embeddable Flash widget.

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Paper Critters is a really cool site with a also very cool take con papercraft you should check out. just check what a  guy called Peter Lopez did with some Paper Toys created at the site and tell me i am wrong:

                            

Thought so. Now go and try it out for yourself.

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Paper Critters

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20 July 2010

Microsoft Points Converter

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Microsoft Points are the Global Currency used for Xbox Live, Games for Windows, Windows Live Gallery and Zune Marketplace by Microsoft. While many question their implementation. The reason of their existence is because it was easy to set up and track at the time of their introduction compared to handling credit card transactions and fees. But more importantly because as a Virtual Currency; It is immune to Dollar Exchange Rate fluctuations with the local currencies of the all the countries where the services mentioned above have to be supported.

In the U.S.A, 80 Microsoft Points translates to 1 Dollar. But once you have things costing 150, 250, 300, 350, 450. Many consider it a hassle to handle the conversions of what the real cost is. This is only more of a hassle if you happen to be outside of the USA. unless you got a Microsoft Points Calculator.

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Microsoft Points Converter is a .NET 4.0  based Open Source Portable App from Codeplex by Jaime Keeling. That lets you convert any amount of Microsoft Points into actual Money. 

It also comes with a quick predefined guide of Microsoft Points common amounts, that show you their equivalence to real money.

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The best part of the app is that it got international support. So you can use it to calculate Microsoft Points worth if you live in any of the following supported countries:

  • 1.-United States
  • 2.-Canada
  • 3.-Mexico
  • 4.-United Kingdom
  • 5.-Australia
  • 6.-Japan
  • 7.-Singapore
  • 8.-India
  • 9.-Taiwan
  • 10.-Norway
  • 11.-Sweden
  • 12.-Switzerland
  • 13.-El Salvador
  • 14.-Europe Union

It is a self contained portable app, so it don’t requires any installation of any kind. The only thing you need to use it, is to have a the .NET 4.0 Framework installed. It works in XP, Vista & 7.

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Microsoft Points Converter Info

Microsoft Points Converter                                    <— Direct Download Link 

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19 July 2010

freeSFX: Free Sound Effects For Any Occasion

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All of the following things use professionally or semi-professionally produced sound effects:

Radioplays, Movies, TV Shows, Radio Shows, Video Games, Short Films, Animated Films, Machinima, etc, etc.

Usually all of these get their sounds from a sound effects studio by the bulk for a monthly/yearly fee or they get custom made by a sound effects studio for all the sound needed for a specific work and that gets charged by the whole time that takes to develop all the sounds needed.

But what if you are only making a little flash game, producing a little short film or creating a piece of machinima just for fun?. then you would need to have a place where you can get them for free.

freeSFX is a online repository/database/network site of 100% free sound effects that you can download and use in anything you want.

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So, with freeSFX you can:

  • 1.-Connect with people that produce free sound effects,
  • 2.-Search for sound effect via keywords
  • 3.-Browse sound effect by category
  • 4.-Play and sample sound effects on site.
  • 5.-Download them in mp3 or wav format.

And the best about this site is that everything is well organized and documented. so looking for a specific sound effect is easy and fast to do.  The site gets new sounds on a daily basis and while the selection may not be as vast as the one from a specialized sound studio. freeSFX already got well over 1000 free sound effects you can check out. The only requirement is for you to register for a account in the site.

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freeSFX

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8bitcollective: Upload, Share, Download And Enjoy Chiptunes.

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8bitcollective is a social network based around chiptunes and chip-fusion music. For those wondering what exactly is chiptune, here is a good summary on it from Wikipedia:

A chiptune, or chip music, is music written in sound formats where all the sounds are synthesized in real time by a computer or video game console sound chip, instead of using sample-based synthesis

8bitcollective is all about chiptune music sharing. So you could see it as a sort of Last.fm kind of site but only for sharing and enjoying chiptunes and the like.

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You don’t need to be a member to enjoy all the tunes available in the site directly or download them at ease. but if you like the site and want to make your own chiptune music to share or show appreciation for your favorite tunes in the site. Joining is only 5 minutes of your time.

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I personally enjoy chiptunes and given this is the best and current site on this scene. I thought it was worth posting about it. If you are fond of all the console video games from the 80’s and early 90’s. You too could like this site as there are some really good chiptunes in it.  The only thing missing is a option to also embed the tracks in a blog. But given that you can download them freely. that is something that for the moment you will need to address on your own.

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8bitcollective

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Word To XAML Converter Add-In For Word 2010

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Now, this is something quite useful for both .NET/WPF developers and Silverlight developers. That will make creating properly crafted documents and putting them into a app a lot faster and easier.

Word To XAML converter is a Open Source Add-In for Word 2010 from Codeplex by Michael Scherotter. That lets you write/edit any document(s) in Word and then just convert it/them to XAML, as a component that you can then integrate to your WPF or Silverlight app right away without having to do much more than that.

Project Description
A Word 2010 Add-in that converts the Office Open XML (WordprocessingML) to XAML:
For WPF, the document is converted into a FlowDocument element.
For Silverlight 4, the document is converted into either a StackPanel element containing TextBlock elements or a RichTextBox.

       Usage

  • 1.-Install the WordToXaml Add-in (in the Releases Tab)
  • 2.-Start Word; you should see a XAML Tab on the Ribbon Interface
  • 3.-Open any document in Word 2010
  • 4.-Switch to the XAML Tab and select the appropriate options
  • 5.-You can preview the WPF or Silverlight document directly from Word by pressing the Preview button
  • 5.1.-Previewing the Silverlight XAML opens the XAML in a test Silverlight page running on the file system (You'll need to approve the Silverlight plug-in here). You can then copy the XAML directly from there.
  • 6.-From the File menu select Save & Send...XAML Document to save the XAML document to a file

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So this way, you don’t need to conform to produce low quality or sloppy documents or work extra to get them good. You can use Word 2010 and do them right from the let go and then just covert them into XAML right away from within Word. A time saver available via a simple Office Add-In.

For the full guide with preview screenshots, please visit the project page or if you want to try it out already and check for yourself, just click and download it from where indicated.

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Word to XAML info

Word to XAML converter                  <— Direct Download Link

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18 July 2010

Appatic Search Now Asynchronous (AJAX) Again.

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I have returned to the Blogger AJAX Search Gadget for the Blog search as there were 3 complaints recently about the custom search i had replaced it with was way too slow and wonky.

Now it is instantaneous again.  So search at ease.

I am aware that as Appatic amasses more and more posts. The more valuable and useful Appatic Blog Search becomes. Sorry for the inconveniences anyone may have experienced with the Google Custom Site Search i had in place before.



Open eBook Reader 1.0 BETA

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Open eBook Reader is a .NET/WPF based Open Source eBook Reader app by Oscar Arrivi that as of this moment is focused in supporting the Fiction Book 2.0 file format. But that according to the description of the project it plans to support the most used eBook file formats too later on:

Project Description

Open eBook Reader is a desktop application that allows users to read books with FB2, EPUB, Mobipocket, etc. file formats.
It provides a great reading books experience in your computer through its Flow Document Reader component from Microsoft WPF platform.
About of Open eBook Reader
The purpose of this applicaton is to have a simple application that allows you to read a wide range of ebooks file formats from the open standards perspctive.
The first release of the software just supports the Fiction Book 2.0 file formats. Next relases will support more formats and will implement more functionalities such as bookmarking and reader notes.

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I do hope that is just the case,as it would make this app quite interesting as a way to have a good universal eBook reader app around. Right now the app is in beta state but a update could follow shortly.

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Open eBook Reader                           <— Direct Download Link

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17 July 2010

Swf2XNA: Port Flash Games To XNA A Lot Faster

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Are you a Flash Game Dev, but you are curious or interested in XNA game development?. Well, now there is a way that will allow you to port your Flash Games to XNA faster and easier.

Swf2XNA is a Open Source app by Robin Debreuil that will let you take most of your flash game components and port them to XNA.

Swf2XNA is now live! This is an open source (BSD) program that allows you to make Windows/XBox/WP7 games by leveraging Flash for assets and layout, as well as using Box2D visually. It makes 2D games in XNA quite simple to make!

There is a reasonable amount of documentation, some videos, and a lot of sample code and components. If you have any questions, feel free to email or ask on twitter (I’m there more often than anywhere – @debreuil).

So now you could make 2D games that can work in Windows, Xbox and Windows Phone 7 and don’t just have them in a website.

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via Robin Debreuil

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16 July 2010

Windows Phone Developers Tools BETA

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Windows Phone 7 is now just two months or so away from launch. And with that in mind, Microsoft has now finally released the Windows Phone Developers Tools to a BETA state. This means that while there will be a lot of refinements to these tools in the coming 2 months. In terms of features and app deployment they should not have but marginal differences to the RTM release of this first version.

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Windows Phone 7 is a big opportunity to extend into another medium for any Silverlight or XNA dev. Suddenly, if you already had a Silverlight app or a XNA game. The Windows Phone Developers Tools will let you reutilize what you already have made to port it to the phone. IT is also a good opportunity for those still in the fence of developing with Silverlight or XNA to make up their minds once and for all, as just from the tutorials alone, it is quite obvious that Windows Phone 7 apps or games are even easier to do than the Desktop/Console counterparts.

The Windows Phone Developers Tools site also got all the right links to put you in business right away:

  • Demos
  • Documentation
  • Developers Guides
  • Codesamples
  • Video Tutorials

So if you are interested in of the following things:

Mobile App Development, Windows Phone 7, Silverlight, XNA and .NET

Then you should have good look at this.

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Windows Phone 7 Developers Site

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15 July 2010

Bing’s Best Japan Windows 7 Theme

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It looks like Bing is not just a Decision Engine / Search Engine, but also a Windows 7 Theme maker machine.

Bing’s Best:Japan is the last of Bing related Windows 7 Themes following the Bing’s Best Worldwide line and the Bing Earth Day Contest line.  In this case the theme is fully related to Japan scenery for the desktop backgrounds in order to celebrate the official launch of Bing Japan as it has now lost the Beta tag over there. 

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The Bing’s Best: Japan Windows 7 Theme comes with 18 different backgrounds, a light aero tint and custom sounds.

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Bing’s Best: Japan               <— Direct Download Link

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14 July 2010

Stopwatch 1.0: A Simple Timekeeping Application For Windows

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Because there will be times when you need a Stopwatch app for one reason or another. Stopwatch 1.0 is a Open Source .NET 3.5 based Stopwatch app for Windows from Codeplex that comes with a clean utilitarian UI and controls, but also integrates well into the windows system tray.

Features

  • Large number display including days.
  • Simple and clean interface.
  • System Tray integration to prevent taskbar clutter.
  • Labeling
  • Fix Clock Position
  • Center Clock at launch.
  • Confirm Exit Dialog

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There is not really much to it than what you see in the screenshot and what you can read from the feature set list. But i was looking for a simple Stopwatch app and i found that this one is simple and good. It works in XP, Vista & 7.  Unless you are running a not updated XP SP3, you should already have .NET 3.5, but you may want check first, otherwise you will just get a error when installing it in XP.

*Update* (09/08/10)

After i posted about Stopwatch, the dev contacted me to let me know he was updating the app. So  he did shortly after contacting me and it now sits at version 1.0.6 and it now comes with the following changes and upgrades:

  • Added the option to either save the last position or center the timer each time it starts.
  • Added a confirm exit dialog to prevent accidental closing of active timers.
    • Added option to hide this dialog in the future and ability to reset the dialog's hide state if the user wants it back.
  • Added a text box to the context menu so the user can add a label to the stopwatch.
  • Bug fixes.

I have just tried it and the updates make it a lot more useful and not so basic anymore. Making a already good app, now a very good one.

You only need to reinstall the app before you upgrade. Post details and links have been updated accordingly.

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Stopwatch Info

Stopwatch 1.0.6                    <— Direct Download Link

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13 July 2010

Silverlight For Symbian

Silverlight Logo       Symbian Logo

Many were wondering when Silverlight would finally go Mobile. Most thought it would be with Windows Mobile 6.5.3 or with Windows Mobile 7 (A.K.A Windows Phone 7). But no, it went mobile with Symbian. This have left some big blog bloggers scratching their heads and making lame jokes about it.

But if they actually had bothered to make some research before posting or had good long term memory. They would remember that the reason why this happened is because Microsoft signed of a agreement in early 2008 for this effect.  Originally supposed to be fulfilled by the end of 2008 or early 2009.  There was also a actual Silverlight Mobile for Windows Mobile 6+ but it only was for Silverlight 1 level apps and it was scraped silently as it was too weak to bother finishing it, as It really only allowed to make mobile widget apps. Something that WM 6.5 later addressed too, so that could have been the last reason why it never shipped. But i bet that also added to the long delay for the now available Silverlight for Symbian.

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Now for the F.A.Q you may have if you got a Symbian device or you happen to be a Symbian enthusiast.

What Is In It?

Many many things but the most important ones would be:

  • Media: Hardware assisted Media playback of H.264 content. This gives a great media viewing experience using full hardware decode and hardware post processing.

  • IIS Smooth Streaming: Enables users to access live and on demand media content streamed using IIS Smooth Streaming including multiple bit rate switching.

  • Rich UI: Developers get access to the Silverlight V2 surface area to create Rich Interactive Web Applications.

  • .NET Programmability: .NET Compact Framework class libraries and runtime.

What Symbian Devices Are Supported?

Nokia S60 5th Edition devices such as Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, Nokia N97 and Nokia N97 Mini

How Do I Can Develop For It?

You can create Silverlight-based applications for devices by using Expression Blend 2 (free trial version), Visual Web Developer 2008 Express with SP1, or Visual Studio 2008 SP1 with Silverlight Tools for Visual Studio 2008 SP1. Application deployment on IIS is supported in this release.

Getting Started

In order to get started with Silverlight for Symbian, you will want to familiarize yourself with the platform capabilities. The following resources are available to developers:

Why Should I Care?

  • 1.-It gives you the option to have more content via your mobile web browser without any friction for you.
  • 2.-It also give you the chance to have more apps in your device made with silverlight for symbian that will be easier to install and uninstall.

Why Microsoft Is Being Friendly With Nokia All Of A Sudden?

It was no sudden at all. It all started back in 2007 with some undisclosed deals and then it continued in 2008 when Microsoft made available Windows Live for Nokia.

This year (2010) there was also the release of Bing, Communicator for Nokia and now Symbian for Mobile.

Things still left in the pipeline are a Office 2010 offering of some kind and a update for Windows Live for Nokia.

As to the why besides the interest of Microsoft having a strong European ally that is big in the European Enterprise?. well, it could also be about having a easy way to have the EU commission happy and off their way. You have to cover all fronts when it comes to the EU commission.

Some Notes

I think it a great addition to Symbian and it also does puts Microsoft in a good light on fulfilling business agreements and supporting things beyond the Windows Ecosystem. There is no downside to it for Symbian users, that is for sure.

In the case of Silverlight developers, it is a great thing to have another venue to where port Silverlight apps. More if it happens to be a platform that is hungry for them and its proven to get good engagement from its official marketplace (OVI).

But i do must highlight one thing that has not been remarked enough by Microsoft:

Silverlight for Symbian 1.0 is a Silverlight 2 level solution. You could put it as Silverlight 2+ or 2.5 given it carries some of the .NET CF along. But it is at Silverlight 2 level in the browser and that means you will not be able to access but half of the available Silverlight based services and apps out there. I do hope it advances to be a Silverlight 3+  level solution like is the case of Windows Phone 7. But there is no way for me to guess or speculate how soon that could be at this moment.

Linkage

Silverlight for Symbian device runtime

Silverlight For Symbian in Nokia OVI store

Silverlight for Symbian Developer Tools

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via Alex Golesh

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12 July 2010

At 10 Years From The Unveiling Of The .NET Framework

Microsoft .NET Logo

Incredible but true. It is been already a decade from that PDC 2000 where Microsoft first unveiled the .NET framework. At that time i already had one decade following Microsoft with a particular interest as i also followed tech news among many other things. What i remember about that time is that originally as with many of the early 2000’s Microsoft demos. It was way way overreaching and too ambitious for their own good.

The reason for the grandiosity (now remembered as a bit delusional) of the original .NET demos and speeches where because at the same time a now not really that well remembered failed project called Hailstorm was also brewing. And so were the concepts for what later would be the legendary, innovative and infamous Longhorn demos. In short: Microsoft vision back then was too far ahead of what was actually even remotely possible.

But that said, 10 years later and now with .NET 4.0  and all the things it encompasses ,its little brother Silverlight 4 and Novell’s Miguel De Icaza Mono Project. .NET has managed to reach the goals that it set for 7 years ago. Sure, it only took 7 years longer than originally projected. But so did what we were originally promised in the Longhorn demos.  Not really anyone’s fault as the hardware and internet infrastructure for them to be what they are now didn’t even had reached mainstream availability 3 years ago or didn’t existed at all 7 years ago.

As i am aware that for those not familiar with .NET history, i am talking in riddles. I think all of those interested in this milestone should read about it in full detail from a actual developer that was in the front stage of it at the time. Jim Payne got such a recollection in a post at the Redmond Developer News site. It is a great read, so please go have a look.

Happy Birthday .NET Framework! 

Now the question is how the next 10 years of .NET will be. But with the propagation of .NET tech into more and more mobiles and more and more devices via Silverlight and XNA. Plus Miguel De Icaza extending the reach of it beyond Microsoft itself via Mono Project. There should be no doubt that its future is quite bright.

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11 July 2010

FullFeeds: Unlimited Full RSS Feed Generator

This post has been updated as of 03/17/11, check the notes at the end of it for the full info on that.

Fullfeeds.org

There is nothing better than blogs or website that offer full RSS feeds. This is of course the case of Appatic. But there are many blogs and websites that only offer partial RSS feeds or not RSS feed at all. If you encounter one of these cases in a site you like. You will be glad to know that you don’t have to conform or resign to what the are or aren’t offering you.

tmpFF5A

FullFeeds.org is a full RSS feed generator that can take any partial feed and convert it into a full feed or accept any URL from any website URL and generate a full feed for it. All free and for unlimited use. The only limitation is that the generated feed can only hold text. All other elements will not carry on to the generated feeds.

For example a partial feed that looks like this:

tmp5EF1

Will instead look like this:

tmp8DEE

The only thing you need to do is to go the site and input the link of the site or the link to the partial feed you want to generate/convert into a full feed. You can also skip that part and convert/generate feeds on demand via their bookmarklet too, if you prefer.

But even then, it is the very best Full RSS feed generator yet as its use is not limited like in the case of as it is even better than WizardRSS. But check that entry too if you want a second option for the same thing as a backup.

Linkage

FullFeeds.org

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*Update* 1 (03/15/11): WizardRSS is no longer limited. so I have updated what I had said before as it no longer applies

*Update* 2 (03/17/11): FullFeeds.org looks to be down all the time now and it may not come back. Full Text RSS Feed Builder is the perfect replacement and choice in the case that happens. So give it a look.

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10 July 2010

Lyrics Plugin For Windows Media Player

WMP 12 icon

I don’t know about you, but i like to give albums one full listen as it is and then in the second listen i like to check out the lyrics at the same time. If you are using Windows Media Player then you know that lyrics support is not there by default. But thanks to Lyrics Plugin For Windows Media Player you can add that support in a snap.

Just download the plugin, install it in the WMP folder path while making sure you don’t have WMP running  and then just launch WMP and try out. If this reads just like the process of Zune Lyrics, its because it is from the same code, just different developers.

Now you just listen to your music and when lyrics are available (and they will be unless what you like is really obscure, alternative or comes from a live session ) you will see the song lyrics appear as you play your songs.

tmp1AE2

In the case of WMP 12 (vista and 7) lyrics will appear by default in the “Now Playing” compact mode. In the case of WMP 11 (XP) it will appear in the regular full window mode.

And that would be it. quick and easy way to have a simple and good lyrics support in Windows Media Player 10, 11 or 12. That means this works in every Windows OS from Windows 2000 and on.

Linkage

Lyrics Plugin For Windows Media Player     <— Direct Download Link

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