Category Archives: SideAmp

Winter Break

Its winter break now, so i try to come up with a todo list for the next month or at least try and attempt to be constructive.

I had a fire sale on my BT connectors, wanted to clear out stock and i did, even threw in free copies of OBDMobile to hurry it along.

Once that was done, and now i know that WP7/8/RT/Surface does not openly allow ad-hoc or blue tooth serial port profile i told my self i would make OBDMobile free so i did.

The one on Intel’s AppUp though i still need to “free”, but i think i sold like 2 copies on there so i guess there is no hurry.

A “jail broken” ROM for my phone came out in the last month or so, and the guys of XDA has figured out, from what i know, how to access the serial port among other things so my main goal for this break is to get a home-brewed version of OBDMobile running on Windows Phone 7. Stuff like this is what i will always miss from Windows Mobile 6 is the ability to do almost anything on it, but i guess that’s the trade off for having a enjoyable UI.  From what i can tell Microsoft has been trying to get away from BT SPP for years now, but with all the parts already there i don’t see why they cant keep supporting it. My guess it must be a security thing, in class in the Senior Design lab i was easily able to connect and mess with another teams blue tooth thing that allowed serial port access. Which i guess was not to nice since they started freaking out and they had a big presentation the next day for it lol.

Speaking of Senior Design, my group is wanting to work on that all break and being the unofficial “tech lead” of the group might mean ill have to help 😛

As for SideAmp, which i guess its a project only i seem to love, it is now pretty much unneeded anymore. MS killed off SideShow, which i have been toying with porting to Windows Phone 7/8 but there is not really a big reason to. You can still install SideShow on Windows 8 and even SideBar gadgets which i find more useful in a desktop setting than Live Tiles are but they are unsupported. After updating to Windows 8 x64 my sideshow drivers on my devices no longer work, and though i asked for updates, they are not interested. I played with updating the drivers myself but W8 has some parts that make it not particularly fun. Though i can still access it on non-sideshow ways and i might port a smaller copy of SideAmp for just that purpose for Zune and WinAmp but im pretty sure some one has already done something similar a long time ago.  Thought about making a WinRT SideAmp app but if  Zune, i mean “X-Box Music” is still a mess then i dont see the point in it.

I am still a bit surprised that they abandoned SideShow, at least without replacing it with something better. I see plenty of apps on the marketplace that involve some sort of “driver” or a method of getting data between the phone and computer, something SideShow was pretty decent at. I know MS wants people to interact and use Azure which lead to some pretty stupid discussions with MS when WP7 first came out.  WP8 and its NFC communications stuff, and with Nokia actually trying things with it like in its overly expensive charger speaker dock system. Maybe someone should develop a general NFC usb connector thingy, though i know some laptops have something built in now.

Oh well, in the end i will probably just sit around drinking hot chocolate and blowing all my time and money on Steam’s Winter sale.

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Windows 8

I have been running Windows 8 RTM for a few weeks now and for the most part i have been digging it.

Metro Apps, i mean “Windows 8 Apps” are cool when they work, and very frustrating when they don’t.  And i know a lot of people have been giving hate over the new or lack of start menu. But for me i usually have my most used programs either pinned to the start menu, task bar or with RocketDock. So having it all nicely on the screen here is pretty handy i think for me. Now everyone is all up on the Metro apps, and like i said, when they work they are great. My hope with the metro apps is that you would get lighter, faster, smaller versions of common software. So for example instead of opening up Outlook, to the open up the Windows 8 “Metro” Mail in less time. But with me at least this is not the case at all. It took me 7.7 seconds to open Outlook 2013 preview  and 12.6 seconds to open the “Metro” Mail app on my Desktop. So it took me twice as long to open the “smaller” faster app than big Outlook. That’s not cool. What about Internet Explorer: 3.7 seconds for the desktop version and: 11.4 for Metro to open and load a page. Wow that is ridiculous. So i decided to try it on my Netbook running on a Atom processor, where i planned i would most often use metro, Metro Mail took about 8.2 seconds and Outlook took: 10.1 seconds and for Desktop IE: 3.7 seconds and Metro: 3.8 so that’s a bit more even, in fact metro works faster on my Atom then on my i5 desktop.  So that’s kind of interesting, some talk online about metro loading is saying its a bit by design so every Windows 8 Metro system feels about the same, so they make fast computers feel slower to make slower computers feel faster. MS says that metro will kill off any app that takes m0re than 15 seconds to load so at least there is a limit to the slowness.But for now it feels like Metro is good for slow computers but counter productive for faster computers. Should be fun to hear more about this as time goes on.

Not much new from Windows Phone 8 but some RTM SDKs and emulators have been leaked, the overview i keep hearing is the hope that the sdk is locked and MS has some big reveal still because there is nothing all to new on it. Yea they added nfc and a wallet, and some other minor stuff but nothing to amazing. Nothing really worth a complete platform release. My guess is there is a lot of back end code change because it is said to be running a variation of Windows RT and no longer Windows Embedded 6 and that it is pretty much just a port over. Of course they are saying it cant be ran on older WP7 system, but i am sure XDA will figure that out. Sprint of course is still the only carrier to not announce a phone yet. Still looks like there is no Blue Tooth SPP support, there might be wifi ad-hoc, there might even be usb host support. I guess the big reveal is this Monday so we should know more then.

As for software i do have some projects i am working on, i need to see if OBDMobile on RT or Metro can be done, seeing if i can port MS SideShow to Windows Phone 7/8. I know sideshow and sidebar (kind of) still work on Windows 8.  I then need to decide if i should work on SideAmp, it was designed as a SideBar/SideShow plugin but if there is no longer either then i might just let that one die off. I have spent a lot of time on updating it this last month so i might release that as some type of “beta” for 1.3 but if i decide to work on it anymore its going to need a whole rewrite so i need to make sure its worth the time. So now that i am running Windows 8 full time i should be able to make some small proof of concepts  to at least have a decent plain for the next few months. Im going to try and post more here on the development side of things as well.

OBDMobile on Intel AppUp

You can now download and install OBDMobile through Intel’s AppUp marketplace.

This week is midterm week and ALCS for baseball (Go Rangers 3-1) after that i have some plans to work more on the Windows Phone 7 platform. Mango is out and is nice, but it is still missing Blue Tooth API and Ad-Hoc WIFI support so OBDMobile is at a stand still for now. I am planning on porting a form of SideAmp to Windows Phone among other apps planned for it. Unless something changes on the WP front i might let OBDMobile simmer for a while.  I do have a road map for OBDMobile 2 planned out which kind of relies on WP and Windows 8 working themselves out and it will be a major update. That probably wont be released until next year, i still have more update plans for OBDMobile 1.x

The WP version of SideAmp is kind of going to decide on what way that will go in the future.

I also have a new major project planned, which is more like a lot of smaller related projects.

I also want to port these all over to Android eventually but who knows if i will ever have time.

Code Signing

Yay yesterday i got approved for my code signature, so now everything has my name on it. I went and signed i think all the software downloads here. For those who are interested a good guide is: http://www.wintellect.com/cs/blogs/jrobbins/archive/2007/12/21/code-signing-it-s-cheaper-and-easier-than-you-thought.aspx he walk you through the process. Now the calling aspect is out sourced and took about 2-3 weeks. So when they ask for a good time to call to verify they dont mean today or tomorrow its more like the next few weeks. Also there is a simple GUI Wizards for code signing that makes it very easy. Also know that Microsoft doesnt except Comodo signature for Certification, but the word is they want you to use verisign for personal verification, and doesnt care what signage you use.

Also means i can, and did, submit OBDMobile to Intel’s AppUp once that goes through im hoping to have at least enough of a footprint to get a hold of some hardware to work on a Windows Phone 7 version. Im also going to then start rounding up updates for OBDMobile depending on how it works with Intel. I am wanting to make it more touch and tablet like for Windows 8 which should work smoothly with WP7/8 development.

Intel showed some interest in SideAmp but i dont think they fully understand it, its a plug in for WinAmp and Zune, not a stand alone Media Player. Now right now it is dedicated to just SideBar and SideShow, which are not big successes for Microsoft and Sideshow for example has been pretty much killed off. I might roll SideAmp into say a more touch based, tablet media base but i bet MS already has that covered for Windows 8, but as long as my PicoLCD device works ill keep using it (drivers doesnt work on x64, though by then ill get desperate enough to roll my own) I even played with the idea of making some WP7 port of SideShow and still might (wheres my BT API Microsoft!)

Ether way it should be a pretty interesting semester with all of this and school plus other projects.

SideAmp 1.2

SideAmp 1.2 is out, it adds Zune support and also can display and save album covers from the mp3tags.

Right now i am trying to finish up my major projects, SideAmp is done for now, OBDMobile is up and running, all that is really left is finishing up RingTimer for WP7.
Oh and code signing everything when Comodo finally approves it (going on week three now of waiting). Which is funny because Intel would have given it to me for free, and its not even the one Microsoft wants for its Certifications.

Im trying to get all that done, not only because i need to, but mostly to get “ready” when school projects start adding up. I have a bad tendency of getting fixated on a project, and only one project at a time. This last month has been OBDMobile, today was SideAmp, tomorrow will probably be RingTimer. Then hopefully it will move over to school work, but probably back to new projects, like Adding Windows Phone 7 support to SideAmp, adding Windows 7 Sensor API and other such things to OBDMobile, finishing the GUI for OBDMobile for WP7 for when BT or AdHoc is ready. Plus a list of others. Its funny you can tell where i am by my weight. When im fat then you know i am working on a bunch of projects either for school or for me. When im skinny then i caught up and have nothing new so i work out all the time, your talking i can go +/- 30 pounds in a year easily. Take a guess what side i am on now (poor Wife)