Tech in the 603, The Granite State Hacker

Lumia Problems

I’m a pretty serious fan of Windows Phone, and especially Lumia devices.   In addition to the NH Windows Phone Users Group (now Granite State Windows Platform App Devs),  I’ve convinced everyone in my immediate family, and a good chunk of my extended family to go Lumia… 

So it breaks my heart when I see a Windows Phone that’s gone awry.  Among the many I’ve come in contact with, I’ve seen one or two develop issues that seem outside of normal hardware wear & tear.

My own device has occasionally had trouble with its SD card, occasionally forcing a restore.   These are annoyances to me, Windows Phone is a cloud car, so resetting the device and getting it back to normal is really only a mater of re-entering credentials, and the phone’s back in business.   The restore tends to re-apply start-screen layout and the set of installed apps on the device… the apps themselves are responsible for their individual recoveries, typically from their own cloud backups.   The few times I’ve been forced to do a full hard reset & restore, it’s been an ordeal that typically lasted under an hour (with a good Wifi connection).

This past week, I think the SD card flaked out again, but restoring from a backup didn’t resolve the issues.   I identified a number of odd behaviors, and was almost convinced my device was beyond recovery:

  • Power button:  the typical short-click which should toggle the device in & out of standby mode simply was not operating.   Long clicks, intended to shut the device down completely, were working, so… not a hardware disconnect.   In order to wake the phone up, I had to plug in a power source… and then had to wait for it to put itself to sleep.
  • App updates:  app updates were identified and the device would queue them, but rather than automatically downloading and installing, they’d hang in the download queue, all marked as Pending.  Occasionally one would come up with an error, but a retry would simply hang it back in Pending state.
  • WiFi internet sharing would not allow clients to connect.
  • Power saver:  on a whim, I put the device in power saver mode.  At first, it wouldn’t take the change.  Then I told it to always go in powersaver mode, and then, ironically, I couldn’t get it OUT of power saver mode.
  • Data Sense:  the app would crash and abend when trying to open it.
  • Mail sync:  would only sync manually
  • Alarm:  I missed my usual bus twice this week because my alarm failed & I overslept.

The end solution:  hard reset, but don’t restore from a backup…  just manually set up your accounts and re-download apps.  It took me a couple hours, but to get my 1520 back on track again, it was well worth the time.  In retrospect, I’m also happier because I didn’t re-install a ton of apps that I don’t use anymore, so the device is much leaner.  

The Windows Phone platform is relatively mature… it doesn’t fail often, but I think I’m going to have to pick up a better SD card.  The hard part is that I think I’ve heard rumors of some of these symptoms on devices that don’t have SD card slots.

My understanding is that it has something to do with the Cyan firmware update.  The Denim firmware may provide more stability, and that update started rolling out to devices in December with a promise that by the end of that month, it would be rolled out to the full Lumia nation.  We’re pushing into Feb 2015, and most in the US are still waiting.

[Addendum, 5/7/2015]:  My Lumia 1520 had a relapse of the above symptoms on Windows Phone 8.1.1 / Denim.   On a whim, I decided to try upgrading to the Windows 10 Insider Preview.  The problems with the SD card intensified as well.  I finally bit the bullet and replaced the SD card.  I did have to hard reset the phone back to the “stock” Windows 10 Insider Preview, but after that, not only were all the above symptoms resolved, but another long running annoyance…  a problem I thought to be related to the Lumia 1520 itself, went away.  The problem…  often, entering the unlock code, number presses would repeat so quickly that the phone would fail to unlock.  Occasionally it was bad enough to lock my phone for a minute or two.    Again, this issue is now resolved along with the other symptoms I noted in this post by replacing the SD card with a new one.

Tech in the 603, The Granite State Hacker

Granite State 2014 Q4 Events – SharePoint Saturday New Hampshire, and the Users Groups

SharePoint Saturday New Hampshire 2014
Better late than never.   SharePoint Saturday New Hampshire 2014 is happening just over a week from now at the Radisson Nashua Hotel in Nashua, NH on October 18th.   (We traditionally have held this event in mid September, so we’re essentially a month late.)

The SharePoint Saturday New Hampshire theme for 2014 is

“Cloud First” means SharePoint developments don’t wait for major releases.

It’s very true, with developments implemented in SharePoint Online, including Delve and social graphing, there’s lots to talk about.  Incremental changes they may be, but increments happen at a more rapid pace than they did in the Pre-SharePoint Online world, and of course that has implications for SharePoint on-prem, on premise.

http://www.spsevents.org/city/nh/2014

Granite State NH SharePoint Users Group
Regarding the NH SharePoint Users Group, our schedule remains on the 1st Thursday of the month thru the end of the year with the December meeting being held at the Microsoft Store in Salem.  Our speakers and topics remain to be determined.

#NHWPUG is dead…. long live #NHWPAD!
The Granite State Windows Phone Users Group is in the midst of some bit of reorganization.   We had long discussed the idea of broadening the focus of the group to include Universal platform app development, and the topic got some hot debate when 8.1 was announced.   With the announcement of Windows Threshold as the unified version of Windows that will run on all hardware form factors (pc’s, laptops, tablets, phones, and even Xbox consoles) it’s become clear that we need to redefine our group and refocus it.  

With this post, I’ll announce that the group will be called the “Granite State (NH) Windows Platform Application Developers”.  I’ll begin re-branding the existing LinkedIn, Facebook, Eventbrite and Meetup sites, and the community app.  We’ll continue to support Windows Phone 8 app developers, but our focus will move to supporting community evangelism of developers in the Windows App Store space. 

I want to thank the my new teammates at BlueMetal for putting up with my agonizing over this change somewhat openly within the team’s internal discussion, and for their support.   I’m not worthy, but I can’t help but think it’s a huge win for the Granite State SPUG and WPAD groups, and the greater New England technology community.

Our next meeting will be in November, but we’ll get that announced soon.

Regarding the SPSNH schedule change…. To make a long story short SharePoint Conference 2014 pushed off SharePoint TechCon SF, which then push SPTechCon Boston right into SharePoint Saturday New Hampshire’s traditional 3rd Saturday of September space.  Our choices were to have SPSNH before or after SPTechCon, and going after seemed reasonable.

Tech in the 603, The Granite State Hacker

Late Summer/Fall 2013 in Granite State Users Group Events

Fred Brandon Presenting at SharePoint Saturday New Hampshire 2012

Something I haven’t been doing enough of, ever, is blogging about upcoming events for the two users’ groups I help co-organize.   I generally think of this as a technology blog, and while I often like to blog about everything from nitty-gritty technical details to architectural level development stuff, I think I can spare a label for community involvement.  🙂 

While SP Tech Con is rolling along down in Boston, here’s what’s rolling just a smidge north of there.

We just had our August 8th meeting for the Granite State NH SharePoint Users Group at Daniel Webster College in Nashua.   Due to a scheduling conflict Rebecca Isserman couldn’t make it… thankfully Kris Huggins stepped up and presented on MS Project integration with SharePoint 2013 (as opposed to Project Server itself).  

We also organized a bit for volunteers for SharePoint Saturday, New Hampshire, 2013 as well as went over topics for SPSNH speaker selection.   All in all, we had a great meeting… those that attended really got to take part in what is becoming a special tradition for the users group and SPSNH.

Granite State SharePoint Users Group Meeting at the Microsoft Store in Salem

Our next meeting for the Granite State SharePoint NH Users Group meeting will be September 12th, with Richard Harbridge, from Microsoft!   In fact, we will be meeting at the Microsoft Store in Salem, NH, as well.  I believe this will be a fun easing-in “back to school” atmosphere event!  🙂

Richard’s visit should also be an excellent last call before SharePoint Saturday NH on September 21st.  We’re really psyched to have a new location for SPSNH:  the Radisson Nashua.   It has been host to bunches of great events I’ve personally attended… so I’m really proud that SPSNH has grown to this level!

We have a fantastic lineup of speakers and topics and even great vendors with cool stuff to show off there.

If you haven’t gotten your FREE SPSNH attendee ticket, please do so…  they are limited, and we won’t get much notice before we run out.   You can knock that off your to-do list at http://spsnh2013.eventbrite.com


As far as my other group, the Granite State NH Windows Phone Users Group goes, our next meeting is this week, August 15th.  We’ve got Roman Jacquez, UI Developer Lead of Qvidien, with

“Creating Multiplayer Turn-Based Games with Windows Phone and Windows 8”, again, at the Microsoft Store in Salem. 
 
Going out through September, the NHWPUG’s meeting will be September 19th (just days in front of SPSNH!) with Gary Ritter, who will be chatting about “Favorite Windows Phone Development Tips ad Shortcuts for Beginners”, also at the Microsoft Store.

I’ll also take this opportunity to thank Daniel Webster College, the Microsoft Store, and Alexander Techology Group for their steadfast support of the users groups, and Edgewater and Atrion for their core-team support of SharePoint Saturday!