Wellington is on the Atlas thanks to Tatham Oddie

Wellington is on the Atlas thanks to Tatham Oddie

This week in Wellington we not only had the .NET user group meeting, where Tatham Oddie delivered an awesome session on Atlas and Virtual Earth, we also had the Windows Mobile user group where I was the key act ;-).  Thankfully I got some pretty good feedback (here and here) from fellow MVPs Mauricio Freitas (who runs the Windows Mobile group and Geekzone) and Craig Pringle (who runs the Tablet PC group).

Why didn’t I think of this….. use Crossbow to control Blackberries

Why didn’t I think of this….. use Crossbow to control Blackberries

Ok, so there are two points to this post:


1) Daniel Moth points out that instead of complaining that the WM5 SDK doesn’t install properly on Vista Beta 2 I should of just temporarily disable User Access Control while installing the SDK – damn, why didn’t I think of doing that.  I guess I assumed that when I told it to “Run as Administrator” it would have the same effect.


2) Anyone watching the Windows Mobile space should be aware that the code name for the next version of Windows Mobile is “Crossbow”.  A quick google on Crossbow and Blackberry (for example if you were looking for a comparison) might lead you to the following page for an Australian company that sells a product called Crossbow Herbicide which is explicitly used “For the control of blackberries…..” – how funny is that.

How good is this – defer connection to TFS on VS load

How good is this – defer connection to TFS on VS load

Check out this to see how you can tell VS not to connect to TFS when it loads.  One of my biggest complains about VS is that if you had Team Explorer open when you closed it previously it will try to connect the next time you open VS.  If you don’t have a connection to the server it throws a wobbly, or worse, just seems to hang.  Anyhow, “add a DWORD value called AutoLoadServer under HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftVisualStudio8.0TeamFoundation and set the value to 0.”

Want to learn how to handle a Flamethrower, take a look at how the best in the business uses it on Messenger Plus!

Want to learn how to handle a Flamethrower, take a look at how the best in the business uses it on Messenger Plus!

Fellow Perth base MVP, Sandi, really knows how to handle a Flamethrower.  Take a look at Sandi’s blog about the infamous Messenger Plus! addin to get tips on how to hold and handle a Flamethrower.

SoftTeq represented at the ECU Early Career Awards

SoftTeq represented at the ECU Early Career Awards

About a month ago I was nominated for the ECU Early Career Awards as recognition for the work I have done with the local IT community.  My involvement with the ACS and the Perth .NET Community of Practice saw me progress to becoming one of the finalists for 2006.  Unfortunately as I’m currently in Wellington, NZ, I won’t be able to attend the awards ceremony so will have to wait and see who takes out the honours (cross fingers…) 

Bored sitting on the bus/train on the way to work – try being a Caveman for an hour or so…

Bored sitting on the bus/train on the way to work – try being a Caveman for an hour or so…

This is a bit old news now as Frank had the scoop a couple of days ago, but since I’ve only just had the time to download the demo and play with it I thought I’d blog about it.  The guys from Lightworks have finished their first game, Cavemen, and its a ripper.  I must admit that I couldn’t bring myself to put it down after playing the first couple of levels.  Although I haven’t got around to buying the next levels (saving that for a rainy day) I would recommend anyone who wants a distraction for a couple of hours to try it now!

Off to NZ to work at Intilecta

Off to NZ to work at Intilecta

For those who haven’t heard through the grapevine I have been fortunate enough to be involved with an exciting new startup venture here in sunny (not) Wellington, NZ.  Intilecta is set to be a major player in the future of BI software and it has been an awesome experience to date.  With initial funding secured the CTO, Greg Martin, has put together a crack development team, with Steve Sim as the Development Manager, former ISA Technologies architect, David Gardner (also a Perthite) and of course myself. 


After flying into Wellington last week I have almost acclimatised to the time, cold and wind.  These are all good things, especially the cold when you put it in perspective that one of my passions is snowboarding and that I am the proud owner of a season lift ticket to the local mountain.


So, how long am I in NZ for – well at this stage it is a 6 month stint to get the development process underway.  Afterwhich I will be returning to sunny (not joking this time) Perth.  In the meantime my colleague Alastair will be running the user group. 


If you are in Wellington, or feel like coming to NZ for a holiday, please make sure you look me up.  My new contact information should be on the contacts page of the SoftTeq website in the next couple of day.

Vista Update, VMWare and still no Windows Mobile 5 SDK

Vista Update, VMWare and still no Windows Mobile 5 SDK

Mid-last week I spat the dummy and re-paved my machine back to WinXP.  After having Vista and Office running quite smoothly for a couple of weeks the straw that broke the camels back was the inability to connect my laptop to a number of wireless networks.  I must admit I find the new interface for network connections difficult to use – in fact, coupled with the continual need to Ok administrative prompts, it SUX.  But that’s another story…


One of the other things that I found frustrating with Vista Beta2 was that I couldn’t synchronise my WM5 device using the new Windows Mobile Device Center.  I could explore files, but not able to set up a partnership.  The story is that we had to wait for an update before we could setup a partnership, or for that matter use VS to debug mobile applications.  Anyhow, the update has arrived, but of course if arrived a day or so after I had converted my laptop back to WinXP – talk about frustrating.


So I figured I’d set up a VPC image with Vista – easily done!! and sure enough there was the update.  Once installed I figured this would fix the issues preventing the Windows Mobile 5 SDK from installing properly, but alas it still doesn’t work.  The next thing I wanted to check was whether I could set up a partnership.  I ran VS2005 and used the Device Emulator Manager to run up the PPC2003SE emulator.  I then set the emulator to Cradle, which under WinXP would allow activesync to connect to the emulator as if it were a true device.  Unfortunately no joy – does this mean that there is only support for partnering with WM5 devices or is there an issue with the Device Emulator Manager??? 


I then cursed because although I have a real WM5 device there is no way to get it to connect to my Vista VPC because Virtual PC still does not have USB support – urgh when will this be fixed.


A while later I bit the bullet and downloaded a trial edition of VMWare Workstation.  Not only is the interface much richer than Virtual PC (including support for USB) it already has support for building a Vista image.  I wish that the Virtual PC team would learn something from the functionality of VMWare.


Finally, after many hours of installing Vista and Visual Studio I have an image that my WM5 device can connect to.  The new partnership setup is much better than activesync, and seems to work.  Unfortunately this STILL doesn’t fix the issues with A) cradling an emulator or B) installing the WM5 SDKs


My experiences with Vista all seem to be 2 steps forward followed by 1 step back 😉 At least we’re making progress forward…..

SQL Everywhere CTP – get it while it’s hot….

SQL Everywhere CTP – get it while it’s hot….

A while ago Microsoft made the announcement that there was to be a change in the SQL product line to include a new product, SQL Server Everywhere.  In fact this is essentially a rebranding exercise around the SQL Mobile product (previously SQL Server CE).  There are going to be a couple of changes made, making it possible to run SQL/e (Steve’s cute abbreviation) on Windows XP and hopefully a nice deployment model (for example ClickOnce).


Anyhow, if you want the goods you can get an early version by downloading the CTP


 

"How to build an annoying mobile application 101"

"How to build an annoying mobile application 101"

Even wondered how you can stop your device from accidentally calling people?  Or wanted to stop people drawing all over you application?  Perhaps you even have a legitimate reason to stop people using the touch display – like they are supposed to use the keyboard or hardware keys to navigate (like a smartphone)?  Well, look no further, here’s a neat trick for disabling the touch screen on your device….


<System.Runtime.InteropServices.DllImport(“touch”)> _
Private Shared Sub TouchPanelDisable()
End Sub


This code snippet was brought to you curtesy of a fellow .NET CF MVP, Peter Foot.

Wanna see what Exchange SP2/WM5 has that your mobile application needs?

Wanna see what Exchange SP2/WM5 has that your mobile application needs?

The Messaging and Security Feature pack combined with Exchange SP2 gives us mobile users direct-push email.  So how does this work, well a blog article by the exchange team gives a detailed insight into how it all works.


Why do we want to know how it works?  Well, the same technique can be used in our applications to make them respond immediately as information on the server changes.  Typically most mobile applications currently use some form of polling or SMS notification to initiate a sync.  This can both be expensive and not particularly effective.


Using the technique described by the exchange team, Alex Yakhnin shows how you too can have an application that is always up to date!


 


 


 


 

Mobile Client Software Factory…..we’re almost there – Drop 11

Mobile Client Software Factory…..we’re almost there – Drop 11

In case you haven’t seen, drop 11 of the Mobile Client Software Factory has hit the web site.  This includes a number of bug fixes and improvements in documentation.  You will also notice that support within Visual Studio has been added for creating disconnected service agent classes using a guidance package.


IMPORTANT – Feedback is urgently required by this team as they are rapidly approaching code freeze, please send feedback via the gotdotnet website ASAP.

.NET Micro Framework Whitepaper

.NET Micro Framework Whitepaper

A couple of people have started talking about the .NET Micro Framework which is, as the name suggests, an extremely cut down version of the .NET Framework.  Unlike the .NET Compact Framework which was designed to run on top of an existing OS, the .NET Micro Framework can operate without an underlying OS.  As such it has provisions for a HAL that is specific to the device onto which it is to be run.  The best news is that this is all going to have rich developer support through Visual Studio.  Check out the new whitepaper that provides early information about this framework.

Vista, Office, Live Messenger and finally MEDC 2006 presentations

Vista, Office, Live Messenger and finally MEDC 2006 presentations

So I’ve been a bit busy since MEDC 2006 installing Vista, Office and Live Messenger betas. The main reason being that there is currently no support for the Windows Mobile 5 SDKs under Vista.  After reinstalling various components and even trying to run the script file separately I was still no better off so I decided to build a WinXP VPC that I could do mobile development on.  Of course this wouldn’t of worked using VS2003, but luckily the new emulators that ships with VS2005 are a true ARM emulators so will run happily within an X86 virtual machine, such as VPC.


Anyhow, this said, I finally managed to go through the sample and make sure that it functions.  Here are some of the MEDC resources I’ve been able to find.  I will try to update this as I track down other sessions:


–   Dr Neil’s UX Presentation


–   Dr Pete’s Data Presentation


–   Dave Glover’s Connectivity Presentation


–   My code samples


One note about the code samples is that they were build using Community Drop 9 of the application blocks being created by the Patterns and Practices group as part of the Mobile Client Software Factory initiative.  I have included the relevant application blocks so that the solution should build.  There are newer builds of the application blocks that I would encourage you to download and start using.  The deadline for feedback on this project is THIS FRIDAY, so if you have something to say, then get it in soon.