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Tech

Windows Phone 7 Development

My company recently started the process of switching to Exchange and as part of the process I am beta testing Windows Phone 7 devices for them. At the time of writing this article, I’m using the Samsung Focus. The started me off with the LG Quantum which was a pretty abysmal device. It was heavy and the screen quality just wasn’t up to par with even the old BlackBerry Bold 9000 I was using previously. I had heard a lot about the Windows Phone 7 platform through a number of tech websites, but I was really surprised at how great the platform really was once I got my hands on it.

The OS is extremely snappy and the phone is incredibly responsive. At first I thought it was just me, but everytime I showed the phone to my friends and colleagues they would also comment on how quick it was. After browsing through the list of available apps on the Windows Phone marketplace, I started thinking about what apps I wished were available… I realized that there’s already a really great start to some of the more mainstream apps (Netflix, Maps, Facebook, ESPN, Twitter, etc), but there’s definitely some opportunity for improvement.

I decided to look into what it would take to develop and app for Windows phone and realized that it looked pretty easy and the barriers to entry were fairly low. The Windows Phone developer tools are completely free and include everything you need to get up and running. I downloaded the tools  from the App Hub and got started with my first app (Visual Studio, etc). One thing to note is the developer tools allow to fully run and test your application in the Emulator that runs on the computer. If you want to run the application on your phone or deploy it to the App Market (to make money), you’ll have to pony up $100 for a App Hub license. A nice thing about the license is it enables you to unlock up to three devices so you can test on more than just your primary phone.

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Tech

NewzBook

I’ve been posting a lot on the NetworkedMediaTank forums lately since I recently developed an application for the Popcorn Hour (and Optware/other devices) that improves the management of Usenet related functions.  The application was originally intended to simply grab all the bookmarks from a users Newzbin account and queue up those NZBs to be downloaded by the users usenet application (NZBget by default).

This means a user no longer needs to go through the manual process of downloading an NZB and uploading it to their Usenet client — which means they would either need to set up an elaborate web-interface setup (such SABnzbd+) or would need remote access to their usenet client in some other fashion. The user can now simply login to Newzbin and bookmark the item. Newzbook takes care of the rest of things and starts the download automatically on its next pass.

The application has now expanded to include a number of other functions such as a mobile friendly Newzbin search and NZBget interface. You can find more details about the application on my googlecode page or on the NMT forums.

I should note that I do not give out Newzbin invitations to anyone I don’t know and I strongly do not condone piracy.

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Tech

Blackberry Cut Copy and Paste Shortcuts

A friend of mine and I were sharing tips on blackberry tricks the other day when he showed me some shorcuts for Cut, Copy, and Paste (see immediately below). He found a  list of other shortcuts and e-mailed them to me so I figured I would post them here for others to use as well.

Cut, Copy, and Paste
You can also find other similar commands in the typing section below.
• To cut highlighted text when typing, press the Shift key and the Backspace/Delete key. 
• To copy highlighted text when typing, press the Alt key and click the trackball. 
• To paste highlighted text when typing, press the Shift key and click the trackball.

See below for even more shortcuts…

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Tech

Copy IMAP Folders between Servers / Accounts

Prologue:
So I was having a lot of issues getting my e-mail copied from one IMAP e-mail account to another without having issues.  I tried copying the e-mails directly from one IMAP inbox to another without much success. Basically the server would start rejecting the copies after 10-20 e-mails.

In Thunderbird (Mozilla’s mail application) I was getting the following message: “Sending authenticate login information..” and the client would just stop copying e-mails.

In Outlook Express 6, the client application would begin copying the files over then give me a non descript error message.

What I will explain in the following post is how I successfully copied mail files from one IMAP server to another.  This method will keep all the existing information (headers) like the received date, sender name, etc.  I know it is possible to simply Forward all the messages but then you will lose all this data, which wasn’t an option for me.

Overview:
The steps involved include (a) creating the two accounts in a mail client, (b) downloading the mail from the “old” account to a local folder, and (c) moving the mail from the local folder to the “new” account.

I initially overlooked the simplicity of this option, but it works simply and successfully. For the purpose of this document the “old” account refers to the account that you will be transferring mail from and the “new” account refers to the account that you will be transferring mail to. You can probably use most mail clients to do this, but I will use Outlook Express 6 to explain because pretty much everyone with Windows XP has this on their computer.

The Steps:

1.      Create the two (2) accounts in the mail client

a.      In Outlook Express, click Tools -> Accounts in the menu.

b.      Click the Add button and choose mail

c.       Follow the prompts, filling in your “old” IMAP account information

d.      Once you add the account it will ask you if you want to download the folders for the new account you just created. Choose yes.

                                                              i.      Make sure each folder is viewable. You can do this by selecting a folder and choosing Show if it is not viewable.

e.      Repeat the above steps for the “new” IMAP account

      2. Copy the mail from the old account to a local mail folder

a.      Decide which mail folder you would like to download the mail from

b.      Make sure there is a folder with a similar name in the Local Folders (ie. If you want to download your Spam folder from the old account, make sure there is a folder under the Local Folders called Spam)

                                                              i.      If the folder doesn’t exist, simply create it by right clicking on the Local Folders and selecting “New folder…”

c.       Open the folder you want to download the mail from

d.      Select a mail item from the right-hand pane

e.      Click Edit -> Select All in the Outlook menu (all of the mail items should be selected now – this can also be done by pressing CTRL+A)

f.        Right click one of the selected mail items and choose Copy to Folder from the menu

g.      Expand the Local Folders item if it is not selected and choose the local folder you would like to copy the mail to and press Ok. (from step b, this would be the local Spam folder we created) Outlook will download all the files and transfer them to the local folder.

h.      Repeat the above steps for all of the folders you would like to copy.

      3. Move the mail from the local folder to the new account

a.      Decide which mail folder you would like to transfer

b.      Make sure there is a folder with a similar name on the new account (ie. If you want to upload the Spam folder from the Local Folders, make sure there is a folder in the new account called Spam)

                                                              i.      If the folder doesn’t exist, simply create it by right clicking on the account name and selecting “New folder…”

c.       Open the Local Folder you want to upload the mail from

d.      Select a mail item from the right-hand pane

e.      Click Edit -> Select All in the Outlook menu (all of the mail items should be selected now – this can also be done by pressing CTRL+A)

f.        Right click one of the selected mail items and choose Move to Folder from the menu

g.      Expand the new account and choose the new account folder you would like to move the mail to and press Ok. (from step b, this would be the local Spam folder) Outlook will upload all the files and transfer them to the remote folder.

h.      Repeat the above steps for all of the folders you would like to copy.

Some Reasoning:
The reason we chose to copy the files from the old account to a local folder is for backup purposes.  If we end up having an issue during the process, this allows us to delete whatever we need and start fresh using the files on the old server.

The reason we choose to move the files from the local copy we created to the new account is to account for transfer issues. In case the server locks up or you lose connection, you won’t have to start all over. You can simply resume moving the remaining files from the local folder to the new server.

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Tech

Media Center – Software vs OS

After trying a couple different applications designed to effectively act as a replacement for Windows XP Media Center edtion (MCE), I'm going back to Microsoft's operating system. Basically, none of the applications could do everything MCE could. And even when they got remotely close, the interface was hideous in comparison to MCE.

I needed an OS that was based on XP Professional so I could use the development tools required for my classes, like Visual Studio .NET. Being based on Windows XP Pro also allows me to enable Remote Desktop Connection so I can access and control my desktop from anywhere with Internet Explorer 5 or newer… or the Remote Desktop application….

I personally prefer to use the Remote Desktop application because it allows me to connect my local drives/printers on the laptop while im "logged in" to the Remote Desktop. This ability was the solution to my loud computer in my bedroom being the computer I use to download files over night. The thing is so loud, I can't go to sleep with it on at night.

I needed a remote server in a different room so I could continue my downloads over night and cut-down the total overall time to download. My xbox is modded with XBMC, but there are no homebrew applications to download torrents. So I installed Linux on the xbox (X-DSL) and installed a BitTorrent client. That worked… kind of. If I wanted to use the Xbox Media Center functionality of my xbox, I would have to stop downloading.

So what next? How about one of those spare computer I have sitting in my closet? Perfect. Install Windows XP, set up the computer, set up remote desktop, set up file-shares… "wallah!" I now have a file/torrent-server to house all my media.

I'll get back with some photos and screen shots… for now, use your imagination. I'll try to write up some info on the processes later.