Category Archives: Uncategorized

WinRT demo at School

I happen to walk into a Windows 8 Pro and Surface running Windows RT at the UC between classes today. There was two college reps, who i assumed where picked because they looked like “hip college kids” and not for their knowledge of Win8 because they spent more time hugging and talking with friends then answering questions, which is fine because most of their answers were completely wrong anyways.

Spent some time with the Surface RT and it looked surprising like Window 8 Pro too much like it i think, i believe you could easily show it to people and they would never know the difference until they try to install a application and have it fail. One of the major problems i have been having was with loading app speeds, like i discussed last time i and others having noticed that Metro apps take a long time to load. Sometimes 2-3 times longer than native apps, i loaded up the mail app on WinRT and it took 9 seconds, that’s still way to slow i think, especially on a flag ship model like Surface. This was about the same on all of the metro apps such as Music and others. This should be instant just like on Windows Phone systems.

I then wanted to see if you can have static ips and ad-hoc on RT and getting to it acts and looks exactly the same as on Win8, you can do static ip address on WinRT but the WiFi on the card did not have ad-hoc. I know seeing on some WinRT that its not required, but i wonder if some wifi cards will have the option, surface at least did not.

I should have picked it up, i dont know why, but with it sitting as in laptop mode using touch, at least with out knowing any touch shortcuts it was not very easy. From desktop mode about 9 out of 10 times i would hit IE instead of the start screen which was annoying. So at least outside of Metro it was not all that touch friendly.

I then hopped on over to Windows 8 Pro, i think it was on a acer, i forget, to run some timed tests so i made sure Mail was not open and clicked it, expecting another 9 second wait. Nope, it opened up instantly. Same with Xbox music, same with anything, it all nope nearly instantly. Now this is how it should react. So then why does Surface run so slow? Why does my desktop, running i5 same as this acer run so slow? I need to take a trip to Best Buy or wherever and compare more, i also posted the question over to reddit to get their numbers.

Another thing, which i hear is a common trend, is that the MS reps do not really know the differences between RT and the full Win8, one of the reps was completely confident in that you could fully install and run iTunes on the Surface RT. Another interesting note, which i felt a bit bad for the rep though, was some one was really liking the Surface. He was very enthusiastic as he talked and all of that. So the rep asked him if he would be interested in buying a Surface, and without skipping a bit he says “No”. It threw her off a bit, so she asked “you seamed to really like the surface, why would you not buy one?” “Its not a iPad” he responded. “But”, she responded, “we were just discussing all of the things this does that the iPad does not (she lists a few) for about the same cost” and he cuts her off “doesn’t matter, its not a iPad”  and walks off. How do you argue that?

Windows Phone 8

Well today was the launch day for Windows Phone 8 and for the most part it was pretty underwhelming. Besides the standard updates like improved hardware and resolution there is nothing all that new here. Sure there is NFC and wallet and for being multi platform word has it its not all to friendly with android and iOS, some says you can send urls, all pretty much say you cant send media. There are some changes to the lock screen and tiles but there is still no true notification area. The idea behind kids corner is cool. Still no serial port support, maybe ad hoc but you cant set your own ip which means OBDMobile right now cant be done. For all of the development ideas i have the platform does not support (iOS and android would) any of them which is a strong contrast to WinMobile 6. I understand that the kernel and the back end mesh with WinRT and that was what most of the work was done for but there does not feel to be that much new here.

They killed off Zune Desktop with no new updates and pretty much ignoring WP7. The feeling im picking up there is WP7 only had like less than 5% of the market, same with Zune, so they can totally ignore and kill them off and it wont matter. That would be better if they had something to make up for it.

From a user standpoint i really do like WP7, i get quick access to everything i need right then and there. But from a developer standpoint its been a let down, no BT SPP, no ad hoc, no this, no that. I remember when Intel wanted me to make some apps for AppUp, every week a representative from them would call me up asking about my progress on OBDMobile and SideAmp, asking me what they can do to help me. Practically bending over backwards to help, even after i told them how niche the programs where they kept calling. I think in the end i sold like 3 copys of OBDMobile through them. Am i getting any love from MS? Nope, all i get is you cant do that, or this was not designed for that, or that was not in our current plan set. And back in the WinMobile 6 days those would all be followed by: but if you wanted you “could” do that this way, or its not supported but look into this. But not any more i guess.

It doesn’t matter i guess, Sprint is not getting WP8 anytime soon and by the time Sprint does get WP8 ill be working full time and i guess ill ask my self the ultimate question, if im developing full time for a large corporation, do i still want to do some independent work? If i decide my job fills my development itch then maybe ill stay on WP8, if not maybe ill finally move to android.

Fall

Fall has started up along with school, have about two semesters left for my degree. Some interesting school projects lined up including a big senior design project. I tried to talk my group into working on a bigger OBDMobile but with out much luck.

One of the best things about school is MSDNAA access, and with it comes early access to Windows 8. Over the weekend i installed it onto my little Atom Netbook, and like with any new OS there are some problems. All of my MS accounts is connected to my Live account for school. which causes a problem in Windows 8. Pretty much i cant access or use the People Hub or xbox/zune/store  at the same time until its fixed. I tried a few work arounds with no luck, but it gave me a chance to play with some of the back end of Windows 8. One way was to use a non edu live account and this gives you access to Facebook/Twitter/Ect but then you cant access Xbox/ “Zune” / or the store or at least none of my main sections, at least not directly. It seams that unlike in Windows Phone 7, in Windows 8 and i would guess Windows Phone 8 they want everything to be done through your windows account and live.edu or any live account that is not hotmail or live is having a problem. MS says they have known about this since May, but with W8s big debut in another month and after that all of the non MSDNAA people who use live@edu (lots of schools with students who adopt tech early) and any one using a live exchange account (i forget it its technical name) that is not on a live.com or hotmail.com domain will be complaining about why nothing works.

So kind of like the first time with Windows Phone 7, you log into your MS account, and your FB, Twitter and all the others, and either everything works great with your friend feeds and personalization and metro comes alive and is awesome. Or everything is blank and dull and you cant figure out whats wrong or what to do about it. Now on my main desktop not being able to use People Hub is a very minor inconvenience because i use my desktop for productivity work, not really for wasting time checking facebook. But on my netbook or phone, where its less straight productivity and a bit more wasting time, taking notes, info gathering where i will be spending more time with metro its more jarring. So for my netbook i have it signed into a “new” live account that is connected to my old live.edu account, this allows me to use the people/mail/ect hubs as intended, and still use the Windows Store, but i cant log into XBox or “Music”, but since i dont really need those its not to big of a problem. Though this account logs into a different SkyDrive then my .edu account, this is a problem for using OneNote to sync nicely with everything else. The desktop area seams to be smart enough to know that there are two skydrives, but OneNote MX, the Metro OneNote, only goes to the live account your signed into, though it had a greyed box to added more accounts, so maybe when the final version is out it will be fixed. I could always use the full OneNote i guess.
Now that i have it set up and after the annoying trying to figure out how everything works (why doesnt it come with a quick tutorial? The little while you wait “tutorial” doesn’t count) Windows 8 runs quite well on my little Netbook, and with some decent Metro apps i think it will be more useful then when i have W7 on it. That being said it is a little weird to get used to, but after a few hours i was moving around in it with no problems. Though some of the more deeper sections that was easy found with the start menu is harder to find now. Oh, if you did not know there is no start menu, you just go to the bottom corner and it kind oh peeks out the metro start. Not a big deal because there are only a few applications i use commonly,  which on Windows 7 i would use RocketDock for so having them pinned to the start like this is not to bad, until you have to look for a random program, which is not any harder than with a actual start menu. I know some people are having trouble with searching for programs using search, but i have always had problems using it so it feels no different.

So with that i wanted to load it onto my main desktop, i need it to do Metro UI and W8 programming any how. Now my computer is a few years old and has been a good work horse for me and i have been running W7 32bit. I figured i will run W8 in 64bit and grab some new ram over the week. During the install i was quickly reminded about all the problem i ran into during W7 install. To make it short, i either have bad ram or a bad motherboard, i was able to make it run fine on Windows 7, but i guess either 8 or 64 bit is causing problems. The cpu should last me fine another year or so so i dont want to drop the money on a new system. So until i get new ram i can either run W8 x64 at 2gigs or W7 32bit at 4gigs.

My desktop is a weird mix of parts, i have like 3 “and a half” monitors, one of which is a touch screen, once i got all the drivers running it felt like Windows 8 was built for this weird system. I am able to run Metro and start enjoyably on small touchscreen while i use the desktop across the other two monitors. The .5 monitor which is a usb-lcd display needs some new drivers, so ill have to try fixing that. Even running it at 2gigs on ram its pretty enjoyable to use, i dont know if i would feel the same if i did not have the touch screen though. I think a touchscreen monitor is what really makes it work for me.  So yea once i fix my ram problem i am hoping to run windows 8 full time, though its very easy for me to swap back to Windows 7 while i get W8 up to speed with all the development crap i have. So expect SideAmp (unless winamp makes a metro version) and OBDMobile to come out eventually, which leads me to my future worry…

Windows store (market place) is a mess, i mean its like just rows of icons, which is fine for a small phone screen but having to click on everything to see what the app does is dumb. They should use half the space and use the rest to have a small description. Also just like any other app store, its going to be just full of crapware. Even now with only a few hundred apps there is nothing good on it.

On another note Sprint does not seam interested in Windows Phone 8, which is a bummer, my account goes up next spring so they have till then or i might be jumping ship.

So in short, Windows 8 has some teething issues im sure that will get resolved eventually. They want everything to go through their Microsoft account which makes some things seam closed in, but nothing to bad. Store is a mess and good metro apps will make or break the metro side. I bet it would be better on a tablet but it is more enjoyable to use on my netbook then windows 7 was, and faster too. I am digging it on my desktop but my desktop is always been weird. I can see how some people wont like it. I do feel enthused to write some code though which is always good. I do need to update OBDMobile for Azure, and either finish or kill off SideAmp. Next big thing for OBDMobile will depend on how writing code for Windows 8 goes, i hope to have it on windows store by maybe the end of the year or so, should be do able.  I am hoping to write in here more but i always say that.

Summer

Summer is coming to a close and i did nothing constructive programming wise 😛

I spent the time either doing martial arts (Ninjutsu and Systema), running off to seminars and getting more instructor certifications, also had a summer class.

OBDMobile and SideAmp have been mostly placed on the back burner this summer, partly seeing what Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 turn up. With Windows Mobile gone, Intel’s AppUp is not really taking off for me, with me pretty much starting the over saturation of blue tooth OBD connectors on amazon lol there has not been much of a drive to work on it. SideAmp for WP7 was going along smoothly and was making some progress with porting Sideshow but with W8 coming out i don’t know if it is worth the trouble.

With Microsoft moving over Bing API to Azure will force me to do some work on them i guess, maybe that will get the ball rolling again, ill try and have a patch for that sometime this month-ish.

Most of this month up until school starts up will be pretty busy, i probably wont get any good work done until September depending on how my school schedule ends up being.

Christmas Eve

Its Christmas Eve and i get to spend most of it with my family which is cool.

Picked up a HP Touchpad during HP’s crazy weekend ebay fire sale. Overclocked it and dual-booted Android on it the day it came in. Its kind of cool i guess, runs a older form of Android 2.3.7 but other than for development usage i dont really know what to do with it. Its cool but with Android on it its going through its battery faster than my Atom netbook does with Windows 7. With OneNote not on android im playing around with Evernote, not like i used OneNote anyways and i hope it becomes a great tool for school. So we will see if it was a good $150 investment. I dont see why someone would want to spend 500 plus on any non-“real” OS tablet, but im hoping for a Windows 8 port to it 😛

I have been playing around a lot more with SideAmp for Windows Phone 7 then i planned. SideAmp is kind of at a cross roads. It was made just to work with Windows SideShow and SideBar. But Microsoft has pretty much said that they with Windows 8 its going Metro with it. I mean you cant download any more SideShow/SideBar gadgets from MS anymore. Which is fine because their distribution system for it was crap. I am kind of playing around with the SideShow drivers hoping to come up with a Windows Phone 7 compatible system. I knew a guy who supposedly already made one but hes not answering to anyone and it seams like his group has move passed it. If that ends up working maybe i can beat that horse a little longer.

Anyhow SideAmp is at a crossroads. Do i keep it like it is and let it die with SideShow/SideBar? Do i move it over to the mobile side and compete in that area? I mean Zemote for WP7 is much more in depth then i have any intention of being. WinAmp has a app already on Android so who knows. I mean my only driving force is that i love my little SideShow display i created SideAmp for but there is not 64 bit drivers, and my next system will be 64, but i do have the drivers for it so i could try and hack it over to 64.

What i will probably end up doing is cleaning up the SideAmp GUI to fit the Mobile remote stuff on it, release a app for WP7 and Android and kind of see where it falls. I could try and make it Metro friendly but i would think that Zune and WinAmp will have Metro versions by then. Part of me also wants to make it Open Source and just throw it out there so maybe ill do that too.

I do have some more small apps i want to turn out for WP7, with it being holiday i have not tried to do anything to in depth. Though i should really be working on OBDMobile for Android…

Winter Break

Alright Winter Break started today, i have about a month  until Spring starts so im hoping to get some work done. My main goal is to get a Android version of OBDMobile up and running, both for phone and tablet. Secondary goal is to get a connector of some kind working to at least prove that getting OBDMobile on Windows Phone 7 is possible. They are opening up Windows Store for Windows 8 in February, so for invite only for free apps but a goal is to get a Metro OBDMobile running sometime around then. I have a few hardware items planned up that should be pretty nifty. Along with a group of more smaller projects. My wife is also gonna be off the next three weeks so the chances of me getting anything done got a lot smaller 😛

So i generally have my work cut out for me for the next month or so, should be fun and productive.

I was also one of the lucky ones who picked up a HP Touchpad tablet on Sunday for $150, already over clocked to 1.7 and dual booting  Android so maybe ill play around with WebOS over break.

I have cleaned up rklenka.com a bit and also moved most of the OBDMobile stuff to http://www.obdmobile.com

So yea expect some cool stuff this next month or so

Android

Hope everyone had a good Halloween and all that.

I have been playing around in Android with Eclipse, and all though i am familiar with Java, Eclipse and all that its not exactly fun. Im trying to port over the current version of OBDMobile to Android and have been working on the metro stuff for WP7 for OBDMobile in the hopes that XDA or someone cracks the ad-hoc problem. I have also been in talks with some manufacturers to start up our own hardware connector. Nothing major at first just a variation of what we have been selling but with a few changes . Once that gains a hold we will be trying to branch out into more specific designs and hopefully even specialized hardware with at least one being WP7 compatible.  I am hoping to have a Android port and the first batch connectors out for the holidays.

There have been a few background changes to the site, it should be loading up faster for you. It was designed for a bunch of small programs but with larger applications like OBDMobile and SideAmp its a bit cramped. I will be splitting OBDMobile off into its own site: http://www.obdmobile.com in the upcoming weeks. That should help with some confusion.

Intel AppUp is doing about as good as i expected, and also as expected Intel never sent my connectors back 😛

There submission process is very different than with Microsoft’s app marketplace for example Intel actually tested to see if my app worked. MS just tested to make sure i didn’t break anything. This and the fact MS is wanting app numbers shows something interesting, Marketplace is full of crap applications. The amount of just straight up copyright infringing apps is just mind blowing. Luckily thought they drop to the bottom of the barrel. Also the amount of generic public domain books on Marketplace is amazing. There are like ten versions of the same public book selling for $4.99 that you can read online for free, maybe im in the wrong business 😛

As always i am always looking for comments and ideas for OBDMobile, im always stuck on the building mind set so its harder for me to see it and go, man it would be awesome if it did this or that. So comments are always welcomed.

Blog, Twitter, Ect

I finally got around to making a blog and a twitter account.

The news page on at rklenka.com will be used for any major updates, releases and so on, and this blog here will be used for the more mundane posts.

For example, late last month it seams that Microsoft sealed off its SideShow developer forum, which means that its probably is killing it off. With no good gadgets or support its no surprise, its to bad because it had some good things going for it. I did have some more plans for it but i guess will no true support anymore it would be pointless. I will probably roll it into other projects.

This week is finals for college but after that is done i will finally have time to finish up a group of projects that has been sitting for months. So expect some cool stuff in the next month or so.