Tech in the 603, The Granite State Hacker

Lumia Denim, Windows 10 Phone

Lots of folks have been looking forward to the impending Lumia Denim update for Lumia Windows Phones.  I know, cause I’m one of them.   I wish I had special insight into when my AT&T 1520 will be updated, but I don’t… so I find myself checking sometimes multiple times a day hoping that the upgrade will suddenly become available. 

The amount of buzz on Lumia Denim is overshadowing a more important update, in my humble opinion.  The Windows 10 Phone update (not Windows Phone 10, but Windows 10 Phone.)

The killer feature for Windows 10 is the integration across hardware form factors…  Desktop, Laptop, Tablet, Phone and even Xbox will all be running editions of Windows 10 (thus we will have a Windows 10 Phone OS, rather than a Windows Phone 10 OS).

Recently my son ran across my old Windows Phone 6.   One thing that made me really love the platform was that I could develop code using the .NET Compact Framework, and the EXE worked anywhere that had a .NET runtime installed… and I mean anywhere.   I literally was able to take an EXE and drag it from phone to desktop and back without any form of recompile, and it would run great on either hardware.   More impressively still, I was able to take DLLs compiled for the .NET CF, and run them in unexpected places, like reference them in ASP.NET web applications…   at one point, I had code for a Sudoku game model that was running desktop, phone, and WEB server!  🙂

Needless to say, I was disappointed by the fact that Windows Phone 7 used a different flavor of the .NET Compact Framework called Silverlight, and Silverlight was a lot less compatible, and required a re-write of my hobby code to make it run.   This re-write wasn’t nearly so portable.  In fact, come Windows Phone 8, I had to we-write a chunk of the code I’d done for Windows Phone 7.   This has been the plight of the Windows Phone developer;  with each release of the OS comes a new set of SDKs to code against.

Like the undoing of the curse of the tower of Babelon, with Windows 10, we’ll see the all the hardware speak the same language again, and this will be huge.   It’s already massive to be able to suggest that you can run tablet apps on your Windows 8.1 machine.  Imagine how it will be when the lines blur further.

So… bring on Denim, please, but don’t hold back Windows 10!

Tech in the 603, The Granite State Hacker

Jimmy Sudoku 5, Orange Edition


Please don’t think of it as a hundred dollar app.  Think of it as a free app with the option to support an important cause.

Sometimes when things get “comfortable”, it becomes necessary to shake things up.

Such is the case with my hobby/charity project, Jimmy Sudoku.  

Previously, Jimmy Sudoku had two listings in the Windows Phone app marketplace… one as a free international listing, and once as a paid, US-only listing.  Both were the same exact binaries.

I’ve deprecated the paid US listing, and, in its place set up the single remaining international listing as free trial with the option to buy.  

Expecting to raise more awareness for the cause than direct proceeds, I’ve set the price to… something that will raise eyebrows.   This will take effect as soon as the WP App Marketplace approves the change.

There is no functional difference between the free trial and the paid mode… the app does not even check to see if you bought it, at this point.

Again, 100% of the proceeds from Jimmy Sudoku 5 purchases will continue to go to #NoKidHungry…  again, the app itself is free.  If you choose to pay what I’m asking, the proceeds will be donated. 

If you decide to go directly to the charity and donate to them, I’ve still accomplished what I’m hoping to do with the app.

http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/jimmy-sudoku-5/92251d32-ad5f-44e6-8f5c-43e834c5c28c
Tech in the 603, The Granite State Hacker

No Kid Hungry, Resolution To Renew My Commitment

It’s New Years Day, 2013. 

My kids made a comment, this morning, about how commercials on the TV were the same today as they were yesterday.  Without thinking about it, I flatly told them that it doesn’t really work that way; that today isn’t really much different from yesterday. 

I realized right away, even without my wife’s reproving look, that I’d blundered a bit as a dad just then.  I remember being disappointed when I was a kid by how things failed to change over night between New Years Eve & New Years Day.  I had to explain to my kids that the real difference between 2012 and 2013 was not the messages in TV commercials, but what they, themselves, resolved to change…. and the work they put into making that happen.

That, of course, got me thinking about my resolutions for 2013..  I’d tweeted a couple cute ones last night, on New Years Eve…  but there’s one that I’ve been thinking about for a while now that I’ve only hinted at otherwise.

In 2012, I saw how much deeper problems seem to be running, economically….  how even some of my extended family would consider my immediate family’s lackluster financial situation to be a blessing compared to what they’re facing. 

Media news reports that the economy is improving.  That may be true on Wall Street, but it seems hollow on Main Street.  Indeed, the so-called improvements of 2012 feel like they’ve come at the expense of folks who have been on the brink of needing help.  Clearly trickle down economics have failed.  News of improvement only means that people are slower to give… because we’re not in such financial distress, anymore…  right?  Well… worse, with fiscal cliffs and inflation factors threatening to take hold in 2013, who can give?   Sadly, trickle up poverty seems to be in full effect.  

In the meantime, one thing that didn’t work out the way I’d hoped in 2012, was the results from my charity project. 

As a product, I’m very pleased with what I was able to publish in my spare time.  It’s an honest to goodness Sudoku puzzle game for Windows Phone…  no spyware, no malware, no ads, no personal information used or transmitted…   just the kind of game I wanted to play, and something I wanted to share.   I built it using tools that I wanted to work with.  I published it globally for free, and also for the U.S. for $5 with my own personal commitment to donate all proceeds to charity.  (Folks in the U.S. have a choice…  there’s no difference between the free and the paid editions of the app… it’s just if you want to donate to charity or not.)

As a tool for charity to raise funds and/or awareness…  well…  I’m hoping to change it’s past performance.  I understand that it looks bad that I can’t market the app with official cause logos & such from the charity I’ve committed to support…  I asked for permission for that, and for legitimate reasons, I couldn’t.  My hope was that the app would earn the privilege by the contributions it generated.  It’s been tempting to shoot first and apologize later, but in a world of “no good deed goes unpunished”, I didn’t want to take risks I couldn’t back up.

After an experimental social media campaign that mostly just annoyed friends & family on Facebook, I gave up.  There was too much real work that needed my attention.  I couldn’t let an effort that was getting nowhere cause me to fail at stuff like my job.  

I’ve decided to renew my efforts with the hope that it gains some traction at some point… I’m not fighting for the product; I have nothing to prove there. 

It’s the cause.  Helping hungry kids. 

I have yet to figure out exactly what this means… I don’t want to annoy friends & family… but the cause needs hands.

Even if you have no interest in my charity project as a fundraiser, please seriously consider contributing to the cause. Even if you can’t do that…  please help spread the word. 

This is their website:
No Kid Hungry

Tech in the 603, The Granite State Hacker

Microsoft Announces Windows Phone Dev Center

I’ve learned a few things in the past months in working with the SharePoint community.  Namely, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.  In today’s age of social media meeting business networking, this is more important than ever.  

I hope, however, that Microsoft’s Windows Phone Dev Team forgives me for the tough love I dished out on them back in May.  (I won’t even link to that post.)  

I love developing apps in Silverlight & C# for my phone, and I’m so happy to see an update that directly impacts us App Developers…  

Here’s the Windows Phone Developers Blog:
http://windowsteamblog.com/windows_phone/b/wpdev/archive/2012/08/07/meet-the-windows-phone-dev-center.aspx

Here’s the great looking new app publisher’s experience for Windows Phone Developers:
https://dev.windowsphone.com/

I haven’t fully explored it yet, but at first glance, it looks much more like the excellent developer’s & publishers’ experience I’ve come to take for granted from Microsoft… I can’t wait to explore it more and see how it all came together.

Tech in the 603, The Granite State Hacker

Hobby Project Supporting #NoKidHungry Now Has Free Edition

I’m please to say my hobby project, a Windows Phone app I call “Jimmy Sudoku” is now available both for free or for purchase. 

The two SKUs in the Windows Phone App Marketplace are identical.  

The free version is available in almost all markets around the world (including the US). 

The paid version is only available in the US and 100% of the proceeds continue to support #NoKidHungry.

Link to Free SKU

Link to #NoKidHungry SKU

Please…  Enjoy!  🙂

Tech in the 603, The Granite State Hacker

Project to Help Feed Starved Kids – Jimmy Sudoku v4

UPDATE Feb 6, 2014:  http://granitestatehacker.kataire.com/2014/02/jimmy-sudoku-5-orange-edition.html

Click here to view in the Windows Phone App Marketplace.  (the app is ‘free’ with the $5 donation via purchase.  All proceeds go to #NoKidHungry.)

I’ve had a lot of fun learning the quirks of Silverlight for WP7 devices, and after playing with some of the other WP7 Sudoku’s out there, I’m very glad to have Sudoku done my way on my phone again. 🙂  I’m even more psyched that I can share my app with others, as it’s now Certified by Microsoft and available on the Windows Phone App Marketplace!

I have to admit… there’s a lot of competition out there for Sudoku’s on WP7 devices, and probably not a huge demand… I realize that for as much fun as I had polishing this app,  probably the best way to find its value is to “give it away”.  

Scan this Tag with your Windows Phone to find Jimmy Sudoku
Scan this Tag
with your phone to find
Jimmy Sudoku
in the
Windows Phone
App Marketplace

So my family & I considered some options and decided on a national organization that helps feed under-fed/malnourished children here in the US. I thought it was a fitting thing… building software is my strength, and this is a way I can share it.   I also can think back to some exceptionally lean times when I was a kid… memories I’d love to help avert for others if any way possible.  So, yes, all proceeds from paid downloads will be donated to that cause.

I finally had a chance to re-do the old .NET 2.5 Compact Framework-based app as a Silverlight 4 app for Windows Phone. I’ve been toying with this release for months (since November 2011, actually… I pulled down Visual Studio Express 2010 for Windows Phones around then, anyway).  

In case you’re wondering… I asked the charity if it was ok to use their name and maybe a logo or something, but out of respect for their other national-market beneficiaries who have already done this, I would have to also guarantee a sizable donation.  100% is the best I can do, but that’s not necessarily a sizable donation, so I can’t use any trademarked IP, which, as I understand it, includes their name.  (I’m glad I asked.  🙂    While I can’t do this now, I’m hoping that if I play by the rules and manage to make a decent contribution with it, that I’ll earn the privilege and kick the project up a notch.  (In the meantime, I wonder if the twitter hashtag #NoKidHungry counts…. )

You can also click here on just about any device to get to the Marketplace site.


Finally, please visit the Facebook Page, and feel free to Like and/or Share posts to help spread the word!  🙂

Anything you can do to help is appreciated!

Tech in the 603, The Granite State Hacker

I blew it…

While working on the site, I accidentally deleted a core portion of the Jimmy Sudoku 2.5 puzzle generator web service. (Don’t ask me how… it was apparently so bone-headed that it took me a while to realize I’d done it.)

I’ve exhausted all my backup options… the backups were either too new (and therefore producing the wrong content format), or so old that the backup itself was corrupt.

The good news is 2.5 supported local game generation if the service was on the fritz. I guess that means its covered.

Anyway, if you send me proof of purchase of any rev prior to 3.0, I’ll send the fresh bits along.

Send it to me in email to jimmysoftware (at) kataire.com, and I’ll reply with a copy. (Your order number & date will probably suffice…)