# Monday, 24 October 2011

I was preparing my Silverlight XNA hybrid application in Windows Phone 7.5 Mango presentation demo project for TechInsights 2011 (Sign up now!) When I hit a problem, The ContentManager  threw an exception whenever it was time to load an asset. Specifically it was a KeyNotFoundException.

After some digging around it seems like there's a problem with the project template itself. (!) The gist of it is, in the App.xaml.vb file. Under the InitializeXNAApplication function. You'll find the line below :-

If obj Is GetType(IGraphicsDeviceService) Then

This line is supposed to find an obj that implements IGraphicsDevicesService and add it into a list of services. But the code is wrong, this line needs to be changed to:-

If TypeOf obj Is IGraphicsDeviceService Then

In order to work properly. This ONLY affects the Visual Basic Windows Phone Silverlight And XNA Application project template.

The main question I'd like to ask is how the heck did this error make it out to the release SDK? Since I do remember everything working during the CTP. Also, even Microsoft's own VB code samples for this project type uses the correct method call.


Monday, 24 October 2011 10:09:00 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 11 September 2011

I picked up the Microsoft Touch Mouse today. And first thing to comment about it the packaging, on the outside it looks like a normal box.

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But even in retail display mode, the top of the box is actually a flip lid which you can raise to check out the mouse during display.

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Then, when you buy it back home, all you have to do is remove 2 extremely sticky pieces of tape to be able to separate the top off the box from the bottom which holds the mouse

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The mouse is attached to a plastic base which secures itself to the mouse via it’s battery compartment.

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very ingenious design I must say, I had no trouble at all getting to the mouse. Except for ONE part, if you looked at the picture above it tells you to remove the mouse by tilting it off the plastic base. Problem is that the final small hook that latches on to the mouse was a bit tight and made a scary noise (you don’t want the owner of a new gadget to hear plastic snapping noises when they remove the item from the packaging) when I finally peeled it off the base.

Other than that, the packaging was a win in my books.

So, the packaging looks and works great, but how does the mouse work?

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Based on looks, it’s your usual sleek, ambidextrous capable mouse. It feels more hefty than other wireless mouse I’ve been using, probably because of the extra electronics to support the capacitive touch functionality and also because the thing uses TWO AA batteries instead of the now common one AA battery.

You can find many reviews about how the touch surface on the Microsoft Touch Mouse work elsewhere on the Internet. But here, I’m gonna tell you what every other review I’ve seen failed to mention.

Why I WON’T Be Recommending The Microsoft Touch Mouse To My Peers

I was extremely reserved about the Microsoft Touch Mouse when it was first announced, my main fear was that I was afraid that there wouldn’t be any physical switches on the mouse and thus clicking the mouse buttons would be a very weird experience. But then after reading reviews and they mentioned that the mouse actually clicks with a physical action I was a bit relieved, it was also a nice plus that you can use your thumbs to swipe the side of the mouse for navigate back/forward in your browser. So the ONLY real problem for me would me dealing with the lost of the middle mouse button.

Or so I thought.

Remember how I mentioned that the mouse physically clicks? Yes, there is a physical button underneath the mouse. BUT… there’s only ONE BUTTON there! The Touch mouse detects right click via a little cheat, basically it’s a right click if there’s no finger contact on the LEFT HALF of the mouse and the button is clicked! I’ll emphasize this

YOU CAN’T REST A FINGER ON THE LEFT HALF OF THE MOUSE WHEN YOU CLICK IT IF YOU WANT A RIGHT CLICK!

I don’t know about you, but when I right click I rest my finger on the left half. So unless I’m in the minority group of how people use mice, it boggles my mind why the hardware engineer thought it was such a good idea to detect right clicks as such instead of using a rocking top shell with actual physical left and right switches? Maybe it was because a rocking shell would have made the capacitive area prone to breakdown?

This also means of course that you CAN’T PRESS BOTH BUTTONS DOWN AT THE SAME TIME!

Definitely a question I would like to ask the hardware engineer if possible. Here’s a video explaining the problem.

Because of this little caveat though, there’s on way I’m going to flat out recommend the Microsoft Touch Mouse to anyone. I mentioned the technical to my wife and she’s the type of person who leaves her finger on the left mouse when she right clicks, she also agreed that that’s a STUPID DECISION INDEED!

So… the Microsoft Touch Mouse FAILED THE WIFE ACCEPTANCE FACTOR!!!

I didn’t know that it was possible for a mouse to fail WAF other than because of it’s physical design!


Sunday, 11 September 2011 21:47:35 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Saturday, 03 September 2011

This post collects all the important Windows 7 Tablet PC posts I have posted on my blog for easy referencing.

The Windows 7 Tablet PC Optimization Guide
If you have a Windows 7 Tablet PC and you want to know how to use it more effectively, this is where you want to go.

A Touch Optimized Windows 7 Theme
Have no time to go through the guide above, just download this theme and make your Windows 7 Tablet PC more touch friendly in a snap. Still not an excuse to skip the guide above!

Why Doesn't Windows Show Me What Keys I Pressed During Password Entry
A solution to a quirk/feature of how the Windows Virtual Keyboard behaves when you're entering passwords.

Browsing Effectively With IE9 via Touch
Some tricks you should know when browsing the net with IE9 using only your fingers.

The Windows 7 Tablet PC Experience
Don't have a Windows 7 Tablet PC yet, and wondering how the experience is? Check out this post for videos on both the good AND bad experiences of a Windows 7 Tablet PC

Why A Windows 7 Tablet PC Will Never Be 'Better' Than An Apple iPad
A post discussing the topic above.

Why Desktop Browsers Don't Smooth Zoom Like Mobile/Tablet Browsers
Points out why a desktop browser running on Windows DOES NOT smooth zoom like on things like an Apple iPad, why this is the case and why smooth zoom in a browser is not a performance measurement.


Saturday, 03 September 2011 01:20:51 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 21 August 2011

One of the things which is going to be the hardest thing to teach WZ and make him understand about the consequences of his actions. It's easy enough to tell him when he's done something wrong or right. But what happens when he does something that doesn't have a clear cut definition on what is right or wrong?

How do I teach him that when that time comes, it's not a question about doing the right thing but rather can you live with the consequences of your actions?

Is that something you can even teach instead of having to experience or come to a conclusion for the question yourself?


Sunday, 21 August 2011 16:24:26 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, 15 August 2011

This is a wireless network camera.

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This is a BATTERY POWERED wireless network camera.

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This is a RELATIVELY SMALL CR2 BATTERY POWERED wireless network camera.

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You’ve just seen the Trek Ai Ball battery powered wireless network camera. It’s unique feature is that it is an honest to god WiFi Network camera in an extremely tight package and through the use of a battery means its can be truly wireless. All these features make for some very interesting applications.

The camera has very little physical features, the entire rear section after the blue divider line happens to be the battery compartment.

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It’s design has an interesting purpose, more on that later. On the side you find the on off switch.

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when you first turn it on the camera will establish a ad hoc network which you connect to using your web browser, then like any other network camera you will be able to view the feed from it. image quality is…. usable, but I guess I shouldn’t be expecting miracles from a 3V driven camera.

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So… it runs off a pretty expensive little battery, the manual says it’ll run for about 90 mins on a fresh battery depending on how long you spend looking through it. The range of the wireless radio is about 2 rooms in doors I expect longer range reception when you have line of sight.

Now, they didn’t expect people to keep running the camera off batteries, so they sell a cradle accessory.

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which, luckily for me was included in the old slightly trampled package. The cradle basically allows the camera to be powered through a USB connector, or what I’d like to call 5V of the gods! The socket sits at the back as you’d expect.

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The entire front half of the cradle is actually a battery analog complete with the necessary contacts.

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But the damn contacts on my cradle wasn’t high enough to reach the contacts in the camera, causing me a few moments of panic as I thought something was wrong with my set. An interesting thing to note is that the voltage coming off the contacts is 3V and not 5V, so there’s some sort of resistor dropping the voltage in the cradle.

So all you need to do is just snap the camera onto the cradle and you have your typical connected network camera.

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Snap is the right word to use, because there’s a horrible crunching noise of weak plastic whenever you insert or remove it, wonder how long it’ll last if you keep moving it from the cradle.

So, while the cradle grants the ability to use 5V to power the camera, the stand gets in the way, luckily it is easily removed by unscrewing it from the side.

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So now I have a more compact camera, now all I need is a source of power to make it mobile again, and a way to secure said power supply to the camera. I believe I have the parts.

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And here’s what I ended up with.

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Why is it that all user hacks end up looking like IEDs? But aside from that it is now a slimmer package which can be concealed easier, also the fatter battery should provide a longer runtime than the single battery.

Why should you get it?

It’s a pretty darn small battery operated network wireless camera, yes it broadcasts it’s SSID out in the open and there doesn’t seem to be any advanced settings available to turn that off. But still if a light bulb went on in your head when you heard the product description you know you want it!

Why SHOULDN’T you get it?

There’s no onboard recording medium, you’ll need a Java capable web browser to record streams. Or… you could just BUY their iOS recording applications, I understand that the apps would most likely be generic enough to work with any MJPEG source, but seriously? I bought your hardware and you couldn’t even give me the software for it? Not even just the ability to ONLY VIEW the streams? (granted, if all you wanted to do was view the camera, browsing to it using most modern mobile browsers would work)

Another downgrade of the Ai-Ball’s appeal is that the build quality just doesn’t feel too good! inserting the cradle feels like it’s gonna snap the hooks, the battery door feels thin and flimsy, the power switch feels flimsly. You get the picture?

If you DO intend to pick it up, do realize that there are TWO hardware revisions out there, v3.0 and BEFORE V3.0, from the pictures I see on the web seems like v3.0 has some new management functions in admin mode for dealing with the wireless settings. I got a PRE v3.0 model, guess that’s why they were bundled it along with the cradle.


Monday, 15 August 2011 09:42:07 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  |