43 posts • joined 2 Oct 2007
Windows Phone not Silverlight anymore
"The tools for Windows Phone are similar, though in this case you are coding to Silverlight rather than the .NET Runtime, unless you choose C++ native development."
WP8 isn't based on Silverlight, it uses a platform sometimes called "WinPRT" or "Windows Phone RunTime". I believe that under the hood it's essentially the same beast as WinRT (as used for Windows 8 "Windows Store" apps), but with a different API set exposed. There are compatibility shims built in to allow WP7 (i.e. Silverlight) apps to run on WinPRT without source code modification.
IIRC VS2013 doesn't support writing WP7.x apps.
Luckily you can quite easily make a USB recovery drive from a Surface RT. :-) The procedure is reasonably widely documented, as I think a fair few people do it to free up a few GB of the internal storage. (Note that an alternative to hunting for it in Control Panel is to just type "recovery" on the Start Screen.)
I believe I was prompted to do it as part of the process of installing the 8.1 Preview. I actually used the recovery image to go back to 8.0 before installing 8.1 RTM. It turned out to be surprisingly quick (not actually *quick*, you understand, but quicker than I was expecting for "reinstall OS from image on USB2 stick".)
Not sure what you're supposed to do with an iPad, unless you live near an Apple Store. What about android devices? Any way to create a recovery image for them? I'm genuinely interested, now.
"...trap individual rays of light..."
WTF is an "individual ray of light" in this context? Did you mean "photon", perhaps?
I don't think that's quite right, either.
I was under the impression that if the app includes native code it will only be available on the platforms it was compiled for (x86/x64/ARM).
If it's all in .Net then you're right, as the final compilation is done by the CLR on the target machine. Note that MJF suggests that the Windows Store backend might be getting the same AOT compilation capability as the WP8 store, where the developer uploads the standard .Net binary (in MSIL), platform specific compilation is done on Microsoft's servers and what the user downloads is a compiled & optimised native executable. This removes the JIT overhead from the end-user's device, thus speeding up the launch of applications,
Re: APIs convergence...
Many of the APIs are the same on both platforms, but not all.
If you only need to reference the APIs that are common to all your targeted platforms you can write waht is called a "Portable Class Library", which will only allow you to use the common APIs (you can also specify to target "desktop" .Net, WP7, Silverlight and/or Xbox). The community has also come up with a fairly reasonable pattern for adding provide platform specific "enlightenment" libraries which provide abstractions over the not-common APIs.
PCLs are becoming pretty common, now. It's the obvious way to share common code beteween multiple platforms. Note that Mono can also load them (so you can use them on Android & iOS, too).
The downside is that the UI frameworks are NOT common, so you need multiple versions of your UI. OTOH this isn't *so* bad, as you probably ought to provide a different UI on a tablet to what you would provide on a phone anyway (not to mention Android, iOS, etc).
Don't take this as too much if a defence of the status quo, though. The current situation with WP7, WP8 & WinRT is a PITA, and it will be a very good thing when it's sorted out.
Amusingly, Bing goes for "fruit powder" as well, but prefers "local despot" to "tyrant".
"Local Tyrant Gold" iPhone, anyone?
Re: Stopped clocks
Not only do the clocks not stop, but it's quite simple to make sure they don't repeat (or skip) seconds either. (As you say; thinking this through only needs doing once.)
Interestingly enough, the first I read about this was this post, which talks about how Windows deals with small adjustments coming through NTP (search for "System clock changes"):
I swear that it was only a couple of weeks later that there WAS a leap second introduced that caused a bunch of servers somewhere important to get their knickers in a twist, and Google announced that they had a patch in their version of Linux that made it do the same thing. I was surprised at the time that it didn't already.
Ah! Here it is:
Looks like they adjusted their internal NTP servers. Interesting. That still doesn't describe how a standard linux system will deal with this then. I won't speculate, as I know next to nothing about these things, really.
"but Microsoft will have to cope without the name once its acquisition of the Finnish giant’s device business goes through."
Microsoft have said that they are looking at unified (i.e. Micorsoft) branding at some point for smartphones, but they are buying the rights to use the Nokia name on mobile phones for 10 years. No need to stop calling them Nokia Lumia's until they *want* to.
Whenever I see an article mentioning frame-rate I remember a documentary I once saw about the history of IMAX. That mentioned that one of the people involved had previously experimented with higher frame rates, but the idea had failed due to the cost of supplying new projectors to cinemas.
Up to now I'd never managed to find out any more details, but I just managed to find it.
The man in question was Doug Turnbull, and the process (and company) were called Showscan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Showscan). It looks like he's come back to the idea for use in the digital domain.
The page that lead me to him was this very interesting High Frame-Rate Cinema article:
I notice that John Cameron agrees with Mr Watkinson: "Cameron went so far as to say that a move to 4K imagery was meaningless as long as the frame rate stayed 24."
VB Scripts - probably not
I've got a Surface RT. One of the limitations on the version of Office on there is that it won't run macros.
They might fix that, but I doubt it. I can't imagine anyone being all that keen to attempt an ARM port of the VBA runtime!
Re: Have I missed the point?
Yes, I'd forgotten about all the resolving from function references to actual pointers stuff, but you're right. I did mention the other thing: dll rebasing, where the function pointers to functions *within* the dll have to be modified if it doesn't load at it's preferred address. The developer can help alleviate that by carefully managing their dll's preferred base addresses. Not much that can be done about the "resolving references to other dlls" phase, though.
The main issue with doing that "linking" phase at install time would be that you couldn't patch the system dlls without updating every "pre-linked" image on the system. It would also fail if any of the dlls needed rebasing at run-time. I guess it would be possible, though. Perhaps something a bit like NGEN works in .Net 4.5.
In .Net 4.5 the system will (under certain conditions) automatically create native images for .Net assemblies if it thinks it would be advantageous. It also manages keeping them up to date if anything on the system changes, and purging the native images if they haven't been used for a while.
Sounds like a mighty complicated & far-reaching change, though, with interesting application compatibility issues. I doubt it will happen any time soon.
You can bet anything like that for native code would have the "Look how much disk space Winblow$ uses!" crowd up in arms, as well!
Have I missed the point?
I think I've missed your point. I'm a Windows developer with very little understanding of how various storage technologies work, but I do know a bit about how Windows works (that's not understatement: I really just mean "a bit").
Here's my understanding of how Windows works right now:
"Virtual" address space is backed by both RAM and "disk" files. In the case of "Memory" the disk file is the "page file", in the case of memory mapped files it is the file in question. The most recently used pages of address space are kept in RAM, until you run out. When you access a page of address space that isn't currently in RAM, then that page is loaded from "disk" (this is a "page fault"). When you run out of RAM, read-only pages (e.g. code) are just discarded from RAM. Executable files (i.e. exes and dlls) are used as memory mapped files.
So I *think* that means it works *almost* like you want already. When you load an exe, the exe file itself and all it's dll files are mapped into RAM as they are accessed. If your disk is fast, then this process will also be fast. Note that Windows also keeps a prefetch cache, which will make it page in the commonly accessed set of pages as soon as you start an app (instead of waiting for the page faults).
Now I agree that (most) apps still don't start up instantaneously, even from an SSD, so I do wonder where the time goes. Perhaps it is somewhat down to the apps actually doing *work* during startup. I'm thinking JITting (for .Net apps), dll rebasing (where thunks have to be added when dlls collide in address space) and actual application code. That could be got rid of by leaving your apps running and just hibernating the PC when you walk away from it.
So... I'm not really sure where you're saying the slow-down is. Is it the file-system code? SATA? Do you have empirical evidence? Note that I'm no expert on these things (let alone anything like Fusion-IO), I'd actually love to know.
Actually quite useful
I bought myself an HP Envy TouchSmart 4 (because I'm that sort of weirdo).
What I found interesting was that my wife (who is decidedly non-techie) fell into a usage pattern where she was split between keyboard, touchpad and touchscreen VERY quickly. To be fair, I think she hates touchpads, and the wireless mouse wasn't attached, but she seemed pretty happy with the setup. She was generally using the screen for scrolling and clicking buttons (when they were large enough) and the touchpad for the rest.
I was surprised how much she did use the touchscreen, actually. I thought she was unlikely to go near it!
I doubt it
Who knows? I think there's an official TiVo app for Android in the US, but I've no idea if it's any good.
There's the open source TiVo Commander for Android, and I briefly had a basic WP7 app in the store that provided some of the same features. Unfortunately Virgin have twice updated the TiVo firmware with code that either purposefully (the first time) or perhaps unintentionally (the second time) stopped applications using the protocol reverse engineered from the iPad app from working.
I want the new iPad app to come out so that I can use it to see if it's possible to get my WP7 app talking to the TiVo again. If I can I'll write a Windows 8 one myself (I have a Surface).
Bad news, Good news
Mine didn't turn up on Friday (and I got the £50 voucher).
Last week I phoned them & told them that rather than delivering to my house (where there would likely be no-one in) they should deliver to my work. Said change to the shipping address was showing on the website.
This morning UPS tried to deliver to my house. No-one was in. Bad form, MS :-(
Just now, UPS *came back and tried again*. That was a surprise! Thumbs up for the UPS driver! :-)
Looking forward to getting home & trying it out, now. Hopefully there's lots of obvious & simple apps missing from the store. Then I can write them and sell them to all the waiting punters. Oh, wait... Erm. Sell them to the other 2 ppl at work that have ordered one! ;-)
Re: The key question for me...
Yes you can (and it disables the keyboard when you do). You can also fold it flat on the desk behind the tablet when using the kickstand (i.e. under the foot of the kickstand), so you don't need to take it off then either. They pointed out yesterday that the folded back cover actually makes quite a nice surface (ha!) for the kickstand to rest on if you want to stand it on your lap.
More than that
They've sold more than that: Three people in my office have bought one (myself included).
Personally the key feature is user accounts. I've got an iPad 1 at home and it drives me up the wall that it provides no support for shared usage. They want me to leave it signed into email, facebook, twitter, etc, etc, etc, and then hand it to my kids (or my wife, who I trust but would rather be signed into her own accounts)!
Re: Win CE
No. Here's the situation as I understand it:
Windows RT (the operating system) is pretty much just the ARM build of Windows 8, with various features turned off (and a confusing name).
Note that Windows Phone 7 & 7.5 were (I believe) built on top of Windows CE, but Windows Phone 8 is built largely on Windows 8 code (e.g. the kernel, networking stack, some of the UI stack, etc). That means this new round of OS updates (including the ability to build "proper Windows" on ARM) may be what finally gets rid of Win CE.
Excellent unit conversion maths
"about 12,000,000 light years, or about 1.14×10^20 kilometers (7.05×10^13 miles)"
How do you drop 6 orders of magnitude when converting from km to miles? (I think that should be "7.05×10^19 miles".)
Shouldn't this be in meters only, anyway, as a result of the recent vote to use only SI units (1.14×10^23 m)? Or does it fall under the altitude exception, which means it should be 3.72×10^23 feet?
Touch Cover & Stylus included - I don't think so
"What's more, Surface will ship with a cover that includes a built-in keyboard and trackpad, plus a stylus for ink input, both of which will drive up manufacturing costs even further."
I quite fancy a Surface, actually, but AFAICT they've not announced how the Touch/Type Covers will be available (remember also that there are two versions of the cover, plus different colours) and the stylus digitizer was only mentioned when they were talking about the x86 Surface Pro (not the ARM Surface RT).
I'm going getting one but I'm undecided between RT & Pro at this point. Pricing wil probably clinch it, as it will be either a Surface RT slab & a new laptop, or just a Surface Pro fro me. Of course there's other OEM's tablets/convertible's to check out, too...
I bet most of those home XP users are spending over the odds for an annual subscription to Norton AV (or similar), but I wonder how many will take up MS on their "All XP users can upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $40" offer. Win 8 UI issues aside, I bet the latter is actually more important from a security point of view.
"You have to remember that IT is not Tesco's core business, and therefore they employ the cheapest staff possible, and have done for some time, and they don't invest in leading edge technology or in unnecessary training."
True to some extent, I'm sure, but getting people to use their online shopping (as opposed to Ocado, Asda, etc) IS their core business.
Note that they sometimes do invest in "leading edge" technology (or at least half-decent R&D). See the archives of http://techfortesco.blogspot.co.uk It's been a bit quiet, recently, but they've done a few interesting things along the way.
"Vodafone recommends a minimum of 1MB/sec"
Really? 8Mb/s seems quite a high minimum recommendation for voice.
Well: because I can't afford multiple iPads.
That means I have to share the one we have (bought cheap, like you suggest) between me, my wife & my kids. Without user accounts I can't actually leave it signed in to anything (mail, facebook, websites, etc) unless it's a site/app that 1) I don't care about other people in my house seeing & 2) the kids can't "accidentally" trash or spend my real money on.
Windows 8 has proper user accounts (including admin/non-admin) == BIG WIN (in my use case)
"The Lifemax Dreamate ... aims to help relaxation by gently massaging acupressure points."
So a "vibrating watch" that does ABSOLUTELY NOTING AT ALL for £60. Shame on you, El Reg!
Windows 8 does
"There are three scale percentages in Windows 8:
100% when no scaling is applied
140% for HD tablets
180% for quad-XGA tablets"
They do provide a consumer version
It works quite well, especially for removing canera shake. It's just a shame they removed the "Super Resolution" feature that vReveal 2 used to have. It actually did a half-decent job of increasing the resolution of the old 320x200 videos I got off my old phone (by doing sub-pixel interpolation of data from multiple frames, I believe).
Zune service not US only
The Zune service isn't US only. I've got a Zune Pass and I'm in the UK. It works quite nicely on my Lumia (better than the flakey Spotify client did, anyway) and Xbox. Cheaper than Spotify, too (just).
It is missing a few Spotify features though (I especially miss "Related Artists"), and streaming is slower to start, so hopefully this Woodstock thing will be an improvement.
Oh and yes, I know "I must be the only one", etc, etc. I'm pretty happy with my Lumia, though, and more interestingly so is my non-techie wife with hers.
... and too expensive
Also note that WHSmith are selling the Kobo Touch for £80 at the moment, which is cheaper than the basic Kindle. (http://www.whsmith.co.uk/CatalogAndSearch/kobotouchereader.aspx)
I was thinking of getting a Kindle Touch (as my first eBook reader) but it didn't take me long to realise how much of a better deal the Kobo is, so I popped down to my local WHSmith and got one. Pretty happy so far.
Call that outrage?
What about the outrage TiVo users are expressing due to the fact that Virgin Media is about to disable all "unofficial" TiVo control apps (except the really simple ones), including the workarounds to use the US TiVo app?
These two threads have > 140 posts, rather than the paltry 21 posts on the thread referenced in the article!
Errm... Not that this make it *easy* as such, but most of the power of a standard rocket stack is lifting the rest of the fuel out of Earth's gravity well, right? It's got to be orders of magnitude easier to lift just the payload, and even easier to just accelerate it across interplanetary space, etc when it's already reached escape velocity (although still not easy, I'm sure).
I remember seeing the LightCraft research on TV a few years ago. It's a cute demo.
@Andy Nugent: No idea. I got one a year or two ago for my slightly aging Dell 1525 and it perked it up no end. Boot times went from over 6 minutes (on the original 5400rpm drive) down to 1.5 - 3 minutes and everything became much more responsive.
The variability of boot times are a good demonstration that it's not as predictable as an SSD od spinning platter (as you never know what files the firmware will have loaded into the flash) but it's a great improvement for only £10 or so over the cost of the standard Momentus.
I like the idea of one with a bit more flash in it, though.
Padding handling not as good as Sky+
I've had one for 3 weeks now, after having Sky+ for years, and generally I think it's very good. My biggest issue is that the way it handles padding isn't as intelligent as Sky+.
The first issue is that if you are recording, say, 2 shows that are on at 8-9pm and 2 more at 9-10pm, and you'd like a couple of minutes padding at beginning and end then you're going to get one of them clipped (according to the priorities you've got set-up). That's because it doesn't see padding as any different to the rest of the recording, so it just sees a 4-way clash between 8:58 and 9:02, and with "only" 3 tuners it will have to clip something. Probable outcome is that both the earlier programs will record from 7:58 to 9:02, one of the later programs will record from 8:58 to 10:02 and the other one will only record from 9:02 to 10:02. Note that the clipping eats into the actual showing time of the later program! The Sky+ would just drop the padding from one of the earlier shows (or actually both, as it only has 2 tuners).
What makes it worse it that it can't do the trick the Sky+ does, where it can make two recordings from the same channel using only one tuner. In the above example, if the earlier and later shows were on the same channels (e.g. 2 on BBC1 and 2 on Sky1), then all the padding would be recorded OK, even with just 2 tuners.
Together, that can make a series link for "Peppa Pig" with padding use up 2 of the tuners for large chunks of time. I discovered when there was a "Peppa Pig Weekend" on Nick Jr the first w/e we had the Tivo. If I'd not been paying attention it might have lost me my Doctor Who recording. Once I'd put Peppa Pig at the bottom of the priority list we were OK, though.
Just skimmed the report...
They *only* tested at 1m separation, but the required power to cause the same interference should change with 20log(d), where d is the separation in metres (that's just the definition of dB, right?). No idea what that means in practical terms.
When they are analysing the STB and CM design (page 45), they say that when they talk about "slots" and "apertures" they mean rectangular openings (maybe containing plastic connectors), NOT "grids of small cooling holes". It seems that the main problem is holes for connectors where the connector itself isn't surrounded by shielding.
They refer to the different boxes by codes throughout. They don't (AFAICT) say which box is which in any identifiable way. They do describe the internal design in reasonable detail in Appendix C, though. I guess someone dedicated enough could work it out.
It was funny to see all the Silverlight devs go mental about the fact that MS was mostly silent about Silverlight at PDC, whilst talking a lot about all their "HTML5" stuff. This is just a repeat the last couple of years, except then it was WPF getting "killed" in favour of Silverlight.
In actuality, of course, both WPF and Silverlight are doing fine. It's just that development and announcements scale back as the platform reaches maturity. Yes, Silverlight has a couple of features that I *really* wish were in WPF (as a full-time WPF developer), but in general it's a fantastic platform. If you look in the right places you can see that they *are* still adding features, they're just not great features to show off in a keynote (cross-thread collection binding! woo hoo!).
I'll be interested in hearing today's announcements, though. (And I do wish the WPF team wasn't *quite* as "dark" ATM).
Great, I think
I still don't know if I'll get one, but this removes one of the few reasons I wasn't going to get a Kindle. I usually ask for books for Xmas, etc (as I'm pretty unimaginative and I never seem to get time to watch DVDs or listen to music). Before this, I was wondering what on earth I'd ask for once I'd got a Kindle.
Still not sure about the "experience" of getting an e-book for Xmas, though. I do like giving/getting actual physical things.
Concern about fragmentation?
"But it would appear that devs are still concerned about Android fragmentation. Seventy-four per cent described Apple's iOS as the "least fragmented," with only 11 per cent saying the same about Android."
That doesn't say anything about how concerned devs are. It just says thatWHEN ASKED A DIRECT QUESTION, devs think that android is most fragmented and iOS the least. That sounds to me just like sensible interpretation of the facts ("iron-fist control" == least fragmented, "open-source. do what you like. many, many differing devices with differing levels of OS support" == most fragmented).
Trolls, check your facts!
I've just headed over to the "Mono Tools for Visual Studio" purchase page to see what they're charging for. The $2500 enables you to redistribute Mono *without* having to comply with its usual LGPL license. That's basically for if you want to embed it as a scripting engine inside your own application (e.g I think various games already do this).
As for "Why exactly do I need tools...": The tools enable you to remote debug under Mono on other architectures (Linux, Mac, etc) from within VS on Windows, if that's how you you prefer to operate. If you want to develop directly on those platforms, then you can use MonoDevelop for free.
Not a business phone, anyway
This isn't news.
I watched the WP7 announcement at PDC (via the internet), and they made it pretty clear that v1.0 is targeted squarely at consumers, not businesses. Not exactly a surprise that it doesn't have the tools required to support businesses, then, is it?
Dell is a bank
I once read an article that explained that Dell doesn't make money from selling people computers, it makes money from acting like a bank.
Ah, here it (or something like it) is: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/berlind/the-problem-at-dell-wasnt-the-ceo-its-the-commodity-r-d/329
The longer Dell keeps its customers' money before having to pay its own suppliers, the more money they make (in interest). They are obviously feeling the pinch at the moment, so they've (unilaterally) decided to keep it a bit longer and make a bit more. Put another way: Dell's suppliers pay *their* banks interest on loans (so they can afford to make the kit they've sent to Dell), whilst Dell sell the kit to their customers (I heard that it usually only takes them a day or so), and then earn that same money *back* from the bank as interest. And keep it.
"available through PC Studio 7"
God I hope that's a new version of PC Studio (I haven't got my original s/w to hand). The existing version of PC Studio doesn't work at all for me (Win 7 32 bit). I get an error during installation, and it won't recognise the phone when I plug it in.
Glad to here that the upgrade is due, though. It will be very welcome.
Indeed: Very nearly the speed of light, although E=mc^2 is more to do with general relativity than special relativity (which is what you need to work this out).
"Notice that for an observer in another reference frame the sum of two velocities (u and v) can never exceed the speed of light. This means that the speed of light is the maximum velocity in any frame of reference."
RE: Closing Speed
Yes, you missed a bit of relativity.
The main point of (Special) relativity, is that you can't tell how fast you are going in any absolute sense, only relative to other things. We might see the two beams going at > 50% of the speed of light from our point of view (reference frame), but the situation is quite different from their point of view.
The crucial point is that from *all three* frames of reference (i.e. ours and that of a particle in each of the beams), a photon would whizz past at exactly the speed of light in any direction. This has very odd consequences, such as the following things behaving differently between the different reference frames (there is no "correct frame"):
* Simultaneity (This one freaked me out when I was taught it.)
That's from memory, and it's been a few years, hopefully I'm not completely out there.
Anyway, the point is that neither of the beams see the other beam moving at > 100% of the speed of light, partly "due to" (or "preceived as". My memory isn't so solid here) the fact that time is running more slowly in their reference frames.
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