Monday, November 30, 2015

New drive for Mobile First from Microsoft

 Mobile First, Cloud First -->Repeat this mantra three times, breathe deep each time

That is what Microsoft is doing by developing PowerApps. This is presently in limited preview (by invite only) being developed by a small team at Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise Group. Microsoft believes that there is a huge bundle to be made.

PowerApps service can used for creating,sharing and managing mobile business apps on iOS, Android and Windows devices. It is really apps development for dummies kind of thing. Developer need not be a coder and it is best suited and used by those who have a business need but no programming skill. This app is supposed to provide a quick fix for app creation in these days of skilled developer scarcity without having to worry about security and other details.

Basically PowerApps,

  • Turn data into apps
  • Mobilize your systems - Sharepoint, SQL Server, Oracle databases, SAP and Custom business Systems
  • If you have Microsoft Office Skills you can create apps
  • Professional developers can use Azure App Service
  • App sharing is as easy as an email
  • Device neutral- smartphones and tablets from Apple, Android and Microsoft

Read more here:

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Develop a Side Menu App using Intel XDK - Part 1

This post describes the following:
  • How to create a Intel XDK project choosing a template
  • For the template, Side Menu App, some details of the Intel XDK UI are described.
  • The functioning of the app is shown in the Emulator for Apple iPhone6
Get Part 2 of this post here.

I am using the build 2548 as shown here. This is after Intel XDK is launched. There is a little bit of instability in the app which will be described later. This is perhaps the program is on a Windows 10 computer. The instability is not related to the Intel XDK, perhaps the communication between the computer and the Intel site.


I create a new project and choose the Standard HTML5 template for a Side Menu app and use the Layout and User Interface shown. This app can be used on Desktops, smartphones and tablets. At first you need to start a new project and expand the Templates node in the left pane and scroll down and get to the Side Menu App. On the right you see the app displayed on a phone.


I have placed a check mark to use the App Designer which will greatly simplify authoring the app. Right next to the Use App Designer check box there is an icon which if you click will take you to the site on Github which has the source code .

According to the above site:
"This template can be used for simple app with side menu that can be opened to switch views, this template can be used for creating applications similar to Youtube* app or Gmail* app. "

Click Continue on the Intel XDK user interface.

You need to create a Project Name (you can write-in) and a directory that you can choose or browse as shown.


After choosing a name and a directory for your project, the screen displays the information.


Click Create.

You should see the success screen after a while.

Click OK. This Opens the Intel XDK User Interface with the Projects folder showing NovSideMenu. It is instructive to see what each of the elements are on the left navigation panel which is under the Working Files. The index.html is the main page.
[The software gets built every once in a while and there is always a new copy and the reminder to install the new build comes abruptly and it is somewhat distracting when you are trying to write up something. Also the messaging is unstable and quite bothersome. I finally chose Remind Me later to stop this unstable activity].

This present view is showing how the interface appears when the index.html is in view as shown  with the main tab Develop.


Click on Emulate and you get to view how it appears on an Apple iPhone 6. There you can find informaiton on Apple iPhone 6 as well. The iPhone6 shown here is interactive and you can click and check the controls.


Here is how the Side Menu App works. I have super imposed three images for the next screen.


As I mentioned earlier another distraction.


Choose to upgrade by clicking the Upgrade button.
As it happens the Interface I used did not show the options [CODE|DESIGN] which appeared after the Upgrade button was activated. It would have been ineffective if Upgrade was not made.


] As we are using the designer, this button[DESIGN\ must bee active for us to get to the layout and design tools shown in the above screen.
You can get to the article related to this app on the Intel Developer Zone here.

The HTML source code for this app is here.

In Part 2 we will see design elements of the Side Menu App.
Part 2: Review of Controls and Layout as well as working with Pages.

Part 5 here:

This next part (Part 6) is all about placing images and text formatting:

Friday, November 27, 2015

Wi-Fi Basics on Windows 8.1 and Windows 10

Wi-Fi Sense helps you to save on cellular data as it automatically connects you to Wi-Fi networks it finds. You can also assist in networking with password protected contacts.

You can do all of the following (or none if you so desire):
  • Automatically connecting you to crowdsourced open Wi-Fi networks it knows about.
  • Accepting a Wi-Fi network's terms of use on your behalf and providing additional info for you to networks that require it. 
  • Letting you exchange password-protected Wi-Fi network access with your contacts to give and get Internet access without seeing each other's Wi-Fi network passwords.

As Wi-Fi sense use location service you may need to give permission.
Read more here. :

Here is how you turn on Wi-Fi Sense in Windows 10 (What I am showing is on a Preview copy in Nokia Icon)
You can get to Wi-Fi Settings from your Start screen and you see the following displayed (I am connected to my Wi-Fi in the apartment):

When you scroll down further you will see the button for Wi-Fi Sense as shown here:

Click on Wi-Fi Sense button to display Wi-Fi Sense settings screen.

 I have not checked the boxes as I do not intend to share.

Now I go out of my apartment to the common area in our condominium and I have lost my Wi-Fi connection, but Wi-Fi Sense has already found the condo's Wi-Fi (RegencyPark). I get connected to it using the password. If it is a public site like Whole Food or some other, I get connected without searching for them or entering a password (if allowed by the business).

 The screens look somewhat differently in Windows 8.1 (Nokia Icon).
This is Wi-Fi sense screen
 Scroll down further to see this

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Buy a phone now and you are virtually getting a PC

You get the PC-like experience by connecting your phone to a Microsoft Display Dock and connect a monitor and keyboard to it. This is possible because of the Continuum feature in Windows 10. Of course your phone functionality is not compromised and you can still attend to your calls.
Microsoft Display Dock is offered free with Lumia 950XL  available at Microsoft Stores.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Setting up Kid's Corner on Windows 10 Phone

I do not have a Windows 10 Phone, but I do have a preview running on my Nokia Icon. The images and comments are specific to the developers preview.

Children are curious about phones and a child playing with a phone is an all too familiar scene. Yes, you should allow the child to use phone, but you should allow only things that you make sure kids can access.

Windows 10 Mobile (aka, Windows 10 phone) provides you with the feature called Kid's corner which allows your child to play with games, apps, music and videos that you add to the kid's corner.

Setting up is easy but it requires you to set up a password and /or pin. The unattended device needs the password/pin to get back. However, the child who encounters the login screen can swipe the screen from left to right to get to the Kid's corner (the child, he/she does not need passord), but can only see what you allowed them to see or play with.

I do not have Windows Phone 10 or Windows 10 Mobile, but only a preview allowed for developers.
Here are some screen shots for setting up the kid's corner.

You start at Settings | Accounts or search for Kid's Corner

 Kind's Corner is displayed
 Decide what your kids should see or play; or what app to use.

 At first you need to set a password and or pin. (I had no password)

 You set a pin as well, the 4-digit pin is very useful for quick access(do not use 1111 or 0000)

 Set up sign-in duration; you can also change pin.

Well this should bring up the following:

Click OK. The next time your child can get to the Kid's Corner by swiping the login screen from left to right. 

Well, my child could not get to the Child's corner by sweeping from left to right as this is a preview program on a device ill-suited to Windows 10. I am sure there should be no problem on a supported phone.
This screen was not useful in getting to the kid's corner. I am not sure what emergency number this is supposed to call (perhaps parents' number?).

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Windows 10 Mobile and Continuum

Continuum with regard to Windows mobile devices is a mode of working where you can use the Windows 10 phone to connect to a larger display; connect to a keyboard etc. Windows 10 PCs like the Surface Pro and Surface Book already have this- you can detach the keyboard and use it as a tablet.

For Windows 10 Desktop (Build 10240) you already have this feature by changing your settings to Tablet Mode.

For mobile devices Continuum features are supported if you buy a Continuum Display Dock.

 With this docking device you can extend the way you interact with phone using an external monitor; key board or mouse. You can also have scaled up office apps. This will not take away your phone capabilities. The Continuum Display Dock (rumored to cost $99) should be available soon (?).
Presently Microsoft's new phones Lumia 950 and 950XL are the only ones that can use this feature however since it is supposed to connect via Miracast as well, it is just possible that Nokia Icon may be able to use it as well.

However if you are a developer and using Windows 10 Developer Preview then the Windows 10 build should be 10586 as it is on my Nokia Icon. Personally I do not like 'dock' of any sort with wires hanging. In fact many others may feel the same way.

More here.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Are you building Web and Mobile apps? Check out Meteor

It appears Meteor can provide a radically simpler way to build real time mobile and web app using only JavaScript from one code base. I have not used Meteor and the content for the post came from here.

This post describes some of the highlights and a screen shot from a app built using Meteor.
Here are some Highlights:

Universal JavaScript
Same code from client to cloud; from packages to database apis; from browsers to mobile devices via Meteor's unified isobuild system

Mobile and Web apps
As Installable iOS and as Android app
As a web app that loads on demand

Reactive Rendering
While being thin,  gives a thick client feel and look using Meteor's Blaze Framework with AngularJS and ReactJS

Meteor's Cloud Platform Galaxy
Deployment, scaling and monitoring for connected clients
Provides actionable metrics to stateful connected client apps
One command to update all connected browsers and apps (Hot Deploy)
Coordinated version updates

How is it different from AngularJS and ReactJS?
Meteor has Blaze library and is full stack, while AnjularJS and ReactJS are JavaScript UI frameworks. These frame works can be used in conjunciton with Meteor.

More details and Q&A here. I will give it a try one of these days.

Here is a site built using Meteor. The 19 Degrees is a branded campaign app

Friday, November 6, 2015

Black Berry's Android Smart Phone PRIV

It has the QWERTY keyboard that you can slide out/in that you may not find in other smart phones. Camera appears very nice as well as the 4K video. No finger print reader but perhaps for the average user it is immaterial. Being an Android phone it can play all the zillion useful/useless apps on the market. Black Berry thinks, it seems, this version is 'Black Berry's do or die phone'. It is very pricey at $699.00. Verizon appears to be one of the carriers.

Do not miss some performance details on this video.

The videos are scaled versions of YouTube videos.

Here are highlights noted form the verge site:

  • Android customization is good
  • It still has some bugs -app freezing and tap recognition
  • Good hardware design
  • QWERTY keyboard is good- frees up display removing the virtual Keyboard
  • Software has good points-Especially the DTEK software, does a better Search job
  • 18 MP camera is really good- but really slow
  • Has very neat keyboard shortcuts -Utility oriented
  • Expensive for a Android phone -should we blame Android Software?
  • The name 'PRIV' stands for something smart and dumb- I do not agree if 'lollipop' is OK for an OS why not 'PRIV'

Read the full article on the verge site to get the full details.

More detail here:

The full specs from Android Central here: