Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Why and what I blog about here

I've been blogging here since August 2006. That's a long time (well it feels like it sometimes) but also shows I was late to the blogging party.
In that time I've used this blog for various things and covered a variety of subjects.
While there are still some exceptions, I mostly now write about Windows Phone related topics. Hence the current title of this blog. Yes it may sound a bit big-headed (but what is the web if not for self promotion ;) ) but the real aim is to help other people to be awesome with Windows Phone. Yes it's sometimes nice to blog things as a memory aid but I primarily write for others to read. Yes, it's nice when people (especially those I deem cleverer or most expert than me) let me know they found the answer to an question/issue/problem on my blog.

Why don't I blog more frequently?
Time. I just don't have enough of it and writing takes me ages. In fact one of the reasons for initially starting a blog was to encourage me to write more, in the hope of getting faster at it.

How do I pick content?
If we just consider the Windows Phone related content I post you'll notice something about it. That content isn't anywhere else online. I'm deliberately only adding to the cumulative knowledge of the internet. I'm not trying to duplicate it.
There are already lots of tutorials on getting started with Windows Phone development. The MSDN documentation is very comprehensive. I don't have the time to and see no real value in creating yet another set of getting started or beginner instructions. I see no value in reposting what is already on MSDN (Yes, I'm looking at a few certain people here!).
What I want to do is document what isn't documented elsewhere.

Who for?
I see two main audiences for my WP related content.
Primarily I write for the long tail. I hope that at some point when someone hits the same problem or reached the same undocumented issue they'll find my site (thank you Google) and information that can help.
The secondary audience for my content is those few keen Windows Phone developers (like myself) who want to know everything they can. By sharing what I learn and discover I hope I can contribute knowledge that helps them with their apps and let them know new things or edge cases which aren't documented elsewhere.

Personally, I want to be awesome at making awesome apps. But I know I can't change the world, and its apps, by myself. So I'm also trying to help others become better at making better apps. This is why I blog, answer questions on StackOverflow and organise user groups.
I want everyone to be building better software that helps create a better tomorrow. My first responsibility is to myself and the software I create but I also want to reach out to others and help them too.

CV tips

A few tips for your CV:
  • Include your name in the file name - So it's easy to identify who's CV is who's when there are lots saved to a disk.
  • Include your contact details - Agencies may remove them before forwarding to companies but if you're sending direct to a company you need it there.
  • Spell check!
  • Give it to someone else to spell check! - Seriously. There should be no spelling mistakes in it. Especially in titles/subheadings (I just saw someone list their "KILLS", when I sincerely hope they menat "SKILLS"). Technical jobs demand attention to detail. Be sure you display some when selling yourself.
  • Put your work experience in order - Don't jump around in time. If the most relevant work experience you have is many years ago call it out separately and indicate clearly why it is still relevant. Don't put it between the work you did two years ago and three years ago when applying time headings.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Talking WP8 in Telford

On Wednesday I'll be speaking at ShropshireDevNet. If you're in the Telford area why not pop along and say hello.

This will be the same as (or very similar to) the talk I gave in Southampton last week.

Here's what some of the people who came last week said:
"Really great presentation. Good tempo. Dry humour worked well. Well executed and useful examples. Inspired."
"Excellent. So much to learn and explore!"
"Excellent look at the features available for windows 8 phone."
"Great session. Learnt a lot of useful nuggets of information. I realy want to push ahead with some app ideas now."
"Good speaker. Whistlestop tour but useful. Speaker mentioned issues and problems as well as good features. "
"A lot covered, in short time. The constant questioning and boucing around actually worked really well"
"Great session, fast paced and good atmosphere"
"very fast presentation but liked the examples"

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

SD cards on WP8 - not good for much more than just storing music and video

Today I was asked how to read office documents from an SD card on Windows Phone 8.

It turns out that the Office app (hub) doesn't support reading from SD cards. :(

I then wondered if it was possible programatically.
A quick check of the file extensions that are reserved and not available to 3rd party apps did not include any of the ones I was interested in: .doc; .docx; .xls; & .xlsx.

It seems that MSDN wasn't telling the whole truth. There is no 3rd party access to file with those extensions either. :(

Thursday, February 07, 2013

A live tile is more than just a square (or rectangle)

The clue is in the name really but just because something is square (or rectangle) that doesn't make it a live tile. At best it's just a tile.

The "live" part of the name is there to imply IT'S ALIVE!

  • It moves
  • It changes
  • It updates (all by itself - seemingly)

This is where the added value is.
If it just sits there and doesn't do anything it's probably just an icon.
Having icons may not be a bad thing. Just know the difference and that live tiles are like icons on steroids (but without the negative connotations). :)

<rant state="over" />