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Outlook.com Experiment (Part 2)

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So it has been a few months and I actually stuck with Outlook.com up until recently switching back to Gmail. Outlook.com is a great platform, it just lacks a few minor features that I couldn’t get over. There were a few things I did find I missed from Outlook when switching back to to Gmail though also.

For starters, I still use my Outlook account for all my Microsoft services. I found there to be several bugs with switching your email alias to a different one if you already have a Windows Phone device registered to your Outlook email. Not a huge deal, I just forward my Outlook emails to my Gmail again now.

Now for the main differences that made me switch back… (more…)

Outlook.com Experiment

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So I have been a long time user of Gmail and many other Google services and recently when the new Outlook.com service was announced I decided to register an email address that way I could claim one before all good variations of my name were taken. With a name like John Jones it doesn’t take too long. Sadly after I did get a rather short email address I never decided to use it for email, rather I just tied my Xbox Live, Zune, and other Microsoft services to it. Well now I have decided to give it a try and rather than just start with a few emails here and there from this account I dove in head first. I moved everything from my Gmail over and now will use Outlook.com as my main email service for the next few days or until I decide whether I’m switching for good or going back to Gmail.

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Learning LINQ to XML

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Since releasing the first version of GetHuman app for Windows Phone it has been a while since I have been working on any new apps. I decided to finish up a small app that I had started some time back, namely the APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test) Calculator app. To begin with this app I began to attempt deriving formulas to compute the scores, but soon realized two things:

  1. One: Deriving all the formulas to compute the scores for each event in the APFT would take me longer than writing a quick look up function, and…
  2. Two: I had never used LINQ to XML before and this was an excuse to learn how to use this.

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iOS 6 Maps Downgrade?

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With the latest iPhone 5 hitting the shelves and stories of people trying out the new mapping application that is supposed to be revolutionary, many are being let down. Personally it seems a bit crazy they waste their time trying to compete with Google on a mapping application when they are being forced to start from scratch and compete with others who have years of data and time to develop polished mapping products.

The new version of iOS 6 maps is missing quite a few features from it’s predecessor. To begin, public transit options are no longer available, offline options don’t exist, no equivalent to street view, and no venues maps. (more…)

Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 Announced

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Today Nokia announced the latest addition to the Lumia series of phones and it sure does look impressive so far. I personally am already a fan of the current generation Windows Phone OS and can hardly wait to get my hands on this new line of phones running WP8.

The new Nokia Lumia 920 is a 4G LTE phone powered by the 1.5GHz Dual Core Snapdragon S4 processor. It comes equipped with a 4.5-inch curved glass display, blur-free scrolling and a super-fast refresh rate courtesy of the PureMotion HD+ technology Nokia has pioneered for these new phones. Another impressive part of this screen is the touch sensitivity. It allows for people to use the touchscreen with their fingers, nails, gloves, or even their keys all while having scratch resistant Gorilla Glass. It also sports an 8.7 megapixel PureView camera that has some impressive optical image stabilization (see the YouTube playlist below to see a demo.) Lastly the battery to power this device is an impressive 2000 mAh battery. (more…)

Android 4.1 vs Windows Phone 7.5

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Thanks to changing my cellular provider recently, I am now currently using an Android device. To be exact the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. I previously owned a HTC Arrive for Sprint which even though it was a rather large device, the OS easily made up for the hardware’s shortcomings. So now that I am with a better provider than Sprint, I can more easily switch between devices and see how each one stacks up in my day to day use.

To begin with I will start this several part comparison with my initial first impressions of moving from Windows Phone to Android. (more…)

GZip & JSON operations in .NET (Windows Phone 7)

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As I’m working on finishing up the GetHuman app for Windows Phone 7 I am trying to make sure it loads fast and never has the user be forced to wait for data to get updated. To begin with I am working to make the main portion of the data update without any user interface slowdown. I am attempting to do this by downloading the data in the background and storing in locally. Also then if the user is in a situation without connectivity it will allow them to have at least one contact method for each company on their phone at any time and not break the basic functionality of the application.

The next time data is pulled is when a company is selected from the main list. At this point alternate contact methods, tips, and ratings are pulled for that individual company listing. To help ensure these options are loaded quickly I enlisted the use of Morten Nielsen’s GZipWebClient (NuGetblog postsource) and Json.NET.

On the blog Zvonko’s Playground I found this handy little excerpt on how to use the combo of Nielsen’s SharpGIS GZipWebClient and Json.NET to quickly grab the company details and store them for use in the app. (more…)

WordPress vs. Joomla vs. Drupal

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The new layout here was sparked by me realizing that I needed to do something to continue to combat comment spam and a desire to redesign this site aiming more around mobile app development that I have started. So I began a hunt for a way to still maintain this site, yet spend a little less time managing this site and more time working on mobile apps.

This is where WordPress comes in. I began taking a second look at my old Joomla site and what it would take to not only update it to the latest version of the core, but also make the site much simpler to maintain. I soon began looking for the best CMS solution that was the right mix of simplicity with flexibility.

WordPress quickly became the ideal simple CMS with amazing spam protection (courtesy of Akismet) and still flexible enough to allow me to design the site how I envision it. (more…)

Sheer Boredom Updates

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So yet again, as you can probably see, I have decided to update this site again. As I start to spend more time developing mobile apps I plan to use this site to help post updates and links to the apps I publish. I am working on making a page for the WebOS version of GetHuman on this site until I finish the version for WP7. Development has slowed down considerably recently, but hopefully will get back on track soon.

I also started a second side project of making an Army Physical Fitness Calculator for WP7. If your interested in this, feel free to check out the screen shots below and let me know if you have any suggestions for it.

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Windows Phone 7 First Impressions

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So I got in touch with Brandon Watson and have already worked on developing GetHuman for Windows Phone 7 and also a few other apps. The real reason I am writing this article is to express how impressed I am with Windows Phone 7 after switching from WebOS.

I have been a pretty loyal fan of Palm and now HP in WebOS’s dying days. I have gone from a Palm Pre, to a Sprint Franken Pre+, and lastly a Sprint Franken Pre 2. If you are still a die hard fan of WebOS and still have your Palm Pre do yourself a favor and switch to Windows Phone 7. After just playing with the HTC Mazaa development device I got from Microsoft, I have already gone out and bought myself a Sprint HTC Arrive to replace my aging Palm Pre 2. I must admit though, Sprint yet again desperately needs to support better phones. I love Windows Phone 7, but one device is hardly a selection.

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