Back Away From the Computer….

Back Away From the Computer….

Ok, so my User Group Frustrations post caused quite a bit of a stir which I guess in hindsight I should have predicted.  So I want to make a few things clear:

This wasn’t, as much as it might have appeared, an attack on either Paul or Readify.  Both are highly valued members of the .NET community and contribute a lot back (eg Code Camp, User Group presentations, RDN and so the list goes on).

My personal opinion is that if you commit to doing something then you should make every effort to deliver on it.  Now as I mentioned in my initial post this might be too simplistic and I’m well aware that there are likely to be circumstances that are out of our control which might prevent this happening.  I’m also as guilty as the next person of occasionally forgetting to do something but I will also go out of my way to attempt to fix the situation.  Due credit to Paul, he has volunteered to present later in the year!

Data Charges

Data Charges

Following some recent thoughts I’ve had on this subject I noticed that Rod Drury over in NS has similar frustrations with their local carriers. Late last year I moved across to the 3 network so that I could get an affordable data plan.  Whilst the other carriers do offer data plans, they are all priced according to their GPRS data costs, which makes them prohibitively expensive for your average consumer. 

Like Rod, I think we are on the cusp of a change in the way people think of their mobile phone – there are some who have got tired of all the new features and have decided to go back to basics with a phone that just takes calls and can send SMS messages.  Then there are others like myself who are continually looking for the perfect balance between style, functionality, performance and of course battery life.  This second group is where we are likely to see an influx in data rich applications – from those that just give you tv viewing guides through to more sophisticated applications that can give you the latest sales data for your organisation (for more information on this talk with the team at Intilecta).  The important thing is that without affordable data these applications will not take off.

User Group Frustrations

User Group Frustrations

Having started and run the Perth .NET Community of Practice for several years there was only ever really one thing that really really yanked my chain, which was presenters who pull out at the last minute.  Over the last year or so Mitch has been working tirelessly to not only schedule some great sessions but also increase the user group library and make sure the group runs every month.  Unfortunately next month’s schedule presentation, Paul Stovell from Readify had to be cancelled due to what I understand was a client engagement. 

Luckily, being well organised, Mitch was able to pull forward a presentation from later in the year, so this month Michael Minutillo is going to present on ASP.NET MVC.

Maybe I’m being too simplistic in my criticism of Paul and Readify but in my opinion if you commit to a presentation then you should either give notice a long time in advance or make every effort to be available to present.  Whilst I understand that occasionally this isn’t always possible I would have thought that an organisation the size and maturity of Readify should be able to co-ordinate things so that Paul could fulfill this commitment to the user group.

Device Performance – Is Windows Mobile fast enough?

Device Performance – Is Windows Mobile fast enough?

I’ve often wondered why with all the processing power that’s now in these devices do they still feel sluggish.  Recently I’ve used the HTC Touch, TyTnII and now the Touch Dual and all three could really do with more grunt.  It’s not that they are particularly bad, it’s just the occasional 1 or 2 second lag when you power out of standby or when you have 10 or so programs all running – unfortunately despite Windows Mobile being capable of evicting programs, the OS doesn’t really do this very well so you still suffer performance degradation before you decide to force closure of some applications.

Anyhow, across at MoDaCo, Paul has an interesting post that talks about the fact that HTC haven’t included the appropriate device drivers to really get the most out of your device.  I took a look at the response by HTC and thought to myself – well that’s the last time I buy a HTC device!  Honestly, if they can’t do the right thing by their customers in terms of releasing a ROM update which includes the drivers (or better still, just sell the devices with the right drivers in the first place) then they don’t deserve all the positive feedback they get from the likes of Paul.

OpenNETCF Community Site for Leading Windows Mobile Developers

OpenNETCF Community Site for Leading Windows Mobile Developers

The OpenNETCF Community Site has a good series of technical articles that discuss various aspects of developing with the .NET Compact Framework.  The most recent article is on the Performance implications of crossing the p/invoke boundary and is definitely worth a read.

Other articles include:

– An Introduction to WCF for Device Developers

– Getting a Millisecond-Resolution DateTime under Windows CE

– Using GDI+ on Windows Mobile

– Sharing Windows Mobile Ink with the Desktop

– OpenNETCF Mobile Ink Library for Windows Mobile 6

– Improving Data Access Performance with Data Caching

– Developing Connected Smart Device Applications with SqlClient

– Debugging Without ActiveSync

– Image Manipulation in Windows Mobile 5.0

– Don’t Fear the Garbage Collector

All of the articles are available online at:

http://community.OpenNETCF.com/articles

Where did MEDC go this year?

Where did MEDC go this year?

As some of you will be aware there is no distinct Mobile and Embedded DevCon this year. Instead the mobile content will be rolled into TechEd US.  Personally I think this reaffirms the lack of love being felt by loyal Windows Mobile developers.  Lets take a quick look at the mobile developer space across all platforms:

Apple

  • Releases the iPhone with new generation of usability
  • Initially no developer platform but very open to developers familiar with coding for MacOS
  • Announced that there will be a developer SDK
  • Weak integration into the enterprise

Google

  • Announced Android
  • Focus on developer platform with a large ($10M) developer fund and apparently quite a comprehensive set of developer apis

Microsoft

  • WM6 which fixes numerous issues with WM5 but only incremental improvements to the user experience.
  • .NET Compact Framework v3.5 (which kind of went unnoticed since we haven’t had the official launch event for Visual Studio 2008)
  • No further releases of the only half finished Mobile Client Software Factory
  • Ongoing compatibility issues with WM, ActiveSync and the Windows Mobile Device Center (under Vista).

There have been some leaked screenshots of Windows Mobile 7 which is scheduled for 2009!  By then I would expect that the likes of HTC will have worked out how to completely displace the WM user experience with their own extensible model (think TouchFlo with more than three sides and capable of hosting content from your applications).

Having said all this, Windows Mobile is still my preferred mobile platform.  The integration with Exchange means that it walks all over any other platform in the market for enterprises wishing to equip their workers.  With the future holding richer device management tools and network integration Windows Mobile will continue to reign in the enterprise space.

Over the coming weeks I hope to work with others in the mobile developer community to work out how we can simplify the process of building applications for Windows Mobile.  The foundations are there, we just need the same quality of guidance that is available for building desktop and web applications.

Gone Sailing….

Gone Sailing….

Wow I can’t believe it’s almost a month since I last posted.  For the first time in goodness knows how long I actually took two weeks off with no access to a computer, the Internet or email.  Yes I did have a phone with me, but I wasn’t prepared to re-mortgage my apartment so I could access data on 3’s GPRS charges and to be honest I wanted to escape.

In actual fact I spent the two weeks in Sorrento sailing the 49er World Championships.  Held at the Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club it was a fantastic event with competitors from over 30 countries taking part, representing the elite of international sailing.  For those not familiar with sailing the 49er is the Olympic skiff class (basically the fastest of all the types of boats at the Olympics), was designed by an Australian and this year the title was won by Australians Nathan Outteridge and Ben Austin.  These guys are off to China later this year as part of the Australian Sailing Team so good luck to them both!

Having returned I thought it prudent to do a bit of a clear up of outstanding emails and I was pleasantly rewarded with an email from Microsoft stating that I had been re-awarded as an MVP.  As my first community work for the year as a renewed MVP I will be presenting at the Sydney Deep .NET User Group on the 7th February.  This will be the same presentation I gave at the Perth .NET Community of Practice late last year.