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WebDev, UX & a Pinch of Fantasy

2 minutes readevents

The Windows Phone 8 Launch Event Was A.W.E.S.O.M.E.

I have just watched the Windows Phone 8 launch event and it was just great. You could really feel the anticipation, energy and excitement in the atmosphere and appreciate how strongly Microsoft is pushing for mobile in all its variants. It was particularly interesting to see both Joe Belfiore and Steve Ballmer positioning Windows Phone as the reinvention of the smartphone and in opposition to iOS and Android; to one side joy, color and a truly personalized and full of life experience, to the other the same old boring stuff. Take a look at the actual devices, they are truly gorgeous:

Some Windows Phone 8 devices

Here goes a list of some interesting news that were showcased in the event:

  • The Windows Phone 8 SDK will be available to all developers tomorrow 30th November
  • Super customizable home screen and lock screen
  • Partnership with Facebook and Twitter to release new awesome apps for Windows Phone 8
  • New Data Sense functionality that compresses the data usage of the phone device, finds nearby Wi-Fi hotspots, automatically adjusts behavior as you get near your data limit and provides detailed information of the data usage of every one of your apps
  • New Skype for Windows Phone 8 that is active at all times
  • New People Hub concept that let us group contacts into rooms. These rooms work basically as private groups within which we can share information, photos, etc
  • Seamless integration between Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 devices via SkyDrive
  • Kids’ corner, a phone within your phone that creates a secure and control environemnt for when your kids want to play with your phone (there was a suuuuuper cute and adorable moment right there when Joe Belfiore’s kids came on the stage to showcase this feature)
  • 46 of the top 50 mobile apps are available for Windows Phone 8
  • New Pandora app for Windows Phone 8
  • Xbox integration with Smartglass and Xbox music
  • 120000 apps available today for Windows Phone 8
  • Jessica Alba uses Windows Phone 8 (XDD)

Don’t miss the verge coverage for a really thorough review of Windows Phone 8.

And if this was not awesome enough already, the build conference starts tomorrow!

Build Windows 2012
2 minutes readarticles

Epic Articles and News Week 42: Programming beats Blogging

Welcome stranger, sit down by the fire and let us hear the epic deeds, the tales of joy, of woe and of note that occurred these past seven days.

Days and Weeks pass by in a blur, wake up at 5, work on quiz4couples, cuddle with Malin, breakfast, go to work, gym, more work, home, dinner, Malin, sleep and restart! I find myself spending most of my free time working on quiz4couples and I am having a hard time to find any time to blog at all! But fear not, I think that as soon as I finish quiz4couples I will spend a couple of weeks writing blog posts about my experiences on that, that will surely be interesting :).

Here are the most interesting stuff I consumed last week:

Epic News

Epic Articles

  • Great interview with Jeff Atwood where he talks about his passion for programming, StackOverflow, usability and building a community.

Epic Podcasts

Epic Courses

And that’s all for today! Have a nice one!

2 minutes readarticles

Epic Articles And News Week 40: Falling From The Edge Of The Space

Welcome stranger, sit down by the fire and let us hear the epic deeds, the tales of joy, of woe and of note that occurred these past seven days.

Epic News

  • Super exciting jump of Felix Baumgartner from the edge of space breaking the speed of sound with a peak speed of 1,342.8 km/h and a free fall of 4 goddam minutes! Freaking awesome!
Felix Baumgartner sitting on the capsule in the Stratosphere just about to jump

Epic Articles

Epic Podcasts

I finished reading Five hundred years later so I had more time than usual to go through some nice podcasts:

Epic Courses

P.S: This morning just after my early-morning-programming-session-of-awesomeness I turned in the wrong corner and ended up in a strange place of the internet… XDD

1 minute readbarbaric-monthly-september-2012

Barbaric September: And So The End Approaches

Barbaric Monthly is my attempt at building/improving a coding project per month so that I can experiment with old and new technologies, learn ad infinitum, remain excited about the craft and nurture my passion for software development. This Barbaric Monthly is about developing a windows phone application, in this case a simple quiz game called quiz4couples, and releasing it to market.

Tomorrow it makes 1 month since I started this monthly project! It would be great to be able to release the app tomorrow but I am afraid it may take a liiiiittle bit longer. I have pretty much finished the core of the app but I need to draw some art and do some Q&A before the release. I have a bunch of things in the quiz4couples backlog as you can see below (I have been using sprint.ly + GitHub for my latest projects) but most of them will remain for future versions of the app.

Project dashboard for Quiz4couples

And here you can see the new look of the app (I have shifted from anime into cute-minimalistic-easy-to-draw theme XD). I think I have probably spent 50% or more of the total quiz4couples development time drawing the art, designing the different views and customizing the theme for the app. Definitely need to improve my Gimp/Photoshop skills though, perhaps I can devote another month in the future to doing just that :)

Quiz4couples Screenshot

Time to continue developing!! Cheers!

3 minutes readbooks

Barbarian Goat-Skin Reading Digest September 2012

Barbaric Goat-Skin Reading Digest is just a series of blog posts in which I review the books I read each month, be it literature, programming books or any other kind of treatises.

It has been a while since I wrote a book review I see… Why is that? You may be wondering and I shall obligue and be kind enough to answer your question. The reason is simple, the cause straightforward, I just have not read as much as I used to as of late.

Image of the front cover of The Phoenix Guards

Apparently, one of the reasons why I did not progress as much on my side-projects before, was that I spent an inordinate amount of time reading, yes! As you read it… and so, now that I am working on an actual project per month looks like all my reading is limited to audio books on my commute to work or at the gym, two of the few activities where I am blessed to be able to multitask.

Hmmm reading these last two paragraphs, and a study I recently wrote at work I would venture myself to say that I have been remarkably influenced by re-reading The Phoenix Guards, which is a wonderful tribute from Steven Brust to Alexandre Dumas and one of my favorite books of all time: The Three Musketeers. It has the same witty conversations, the swordplay, the courtesan intrigues and entwined plots, and, of course, the particular and colourful way of speaking of the nobility in the French court of the early 17th century (or so Dumas will have us believe). Way of speaking like this below, as when Khaavren (our D’Artagnan) and his party of six meet an invading Easterner army of thousands upon thousands (EPIC):

Khaavren talks to the leader of the invading Easterner army

“How? You cannot be here to invade, therefore…”

“But, my lord, why can we not?”

“Well, because as you have done us the honor to observe, there are six of us.”

“Well, and?”

“Therefore, you perceive, you are outnumbered.”

or when the group discusses about Khatana e’Marish’Chala and how she came to fall in disgrace with the emperor:

As Khatana first displayed a painting of a dragon she had been working on for years

“He felt it was too melancholy to be a dragon, and not fierce enough. The Baroness, I am told, wished to demonstrate that she knew as much about ferocity as did he, and removed his head with her broadsword in the course of demonstrating this.”

“And it was well done, too,” affirmed Tazendra. “I’d have done the same, only…”

“Yes?”

“I don’t paint.”

Great book indeed. I also had the chance to read Field Of Dishonor, the fourth installment of the Honor Harrington series, and I have to say it is probably my favorite book of the series so far. Because it is a great book of course, but also because David Weber is, if not as virtuous as Patrick O’Brian, great nonetheless in creating a bond between the reader and the characters, in this case Honor Harrington, that makes it a pleasure to anticipate and recognize Honor’s behavior and reactions and achieves the same effect as to make her as known and familiar to us as a close friend.

Wrap up

As customary and in summary: