May 2007 - Posts

Neil Cowburn published an useful example about using Windows Power Shell&RAPI to enumerate the device's GAC files.

Neil Cowburn on Windows PowerShell,RAPI and devices's GAC
Me on Automating Windows Mobile with Windows PowerShell
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Microsoft announced a new product called Microsoft Surface.
The product is a result of a long research on surface computing.

Tom Gibbons said:

It’s a powerful technology that is visually compelling. Surface is a horizontal display on a table-like form factor that morphs from an ordinary table-top into a new, vibrant way to bring connected entertainment and digital content to users. The cool factor is the way you interact with digital content by using your hands to get what you need. Surface provides effortless interaction with digital content through natural gestures, touch and physical objects. Because Surface is essentially housed in a table, it’s easy for individuals or multiple people to gather around it in a way that feels familiar – making collaboration more powerful and fun.

The possibilities behind this technology are endless - I really can't wait to have one of these at home. However, the product will be proposed to hotels, public entertainment venues at first at the cost of few thousand dollars.

Amongst the various technologies behind the scene , the UI is powered by WPF and the .NET Framework. A whole new niche is about to reveal in front of the .NET developer.

Be sure to check out the videos in the Links section, bellow.

Microsoft Surface (Videos)
ScottGu on MS Surface
Tom Gibbons about Microsoft Surface
The Channel 9 version of the story
Robert Burke's Weblog about Microsoft Surface
Another video on
Video on Popular mechanics
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I had a number of questions after my talks during the MS Days 2007 in Sofia.
And there was a question that I failed to give a complete and detailed answer.So here comes the answer...
Before taking this path, take a break and think if the kiosk mode is actually needed for your app. Windows Mobile is designed as a general purpose OS, intended for personal usage. The kiosk mode app will prevent the users from using it as their personal device. You may want to check the Marcus Perryman's post for arguments about Kiosk Mode vs Deep Integration choices  Anyway, there are several options to have the app in kiosk mode over Windows Mobile:

1.Replacing the standard password prompt
One should create a DLL, export the PromptForPasswd function and than hacking the registry to use your custom password prompt. There are some side-effects and also this method may fail on some devices. So test it with a real hardware. Check out this resource for details

2. Maximizing your application's main form
In general maximizing the app's main form will get you a kiosk-alike behaviour. However, the user may press the hardware buttons to get to another app. Some OS events (like inbound phone call)may pop up another app in front of yours . In other words this solution will not give you a complete kiosk mode. Check out the newsgroups: SHFullScreen Full Screen on CF.NET

3.Replacing the standard shell
Check out this post for additional info about shells

4. Hiding the Windows Mobile task bar
This is not a complete solution, but a complementary technique. Check out the following link for an example

5. Using third-party framework.
Check out the following ones:
Spb Kiosk Engine
PocketKiosk Builder

Spb Kiosk Engine
PocketKiosk Builder
Hiding the taskbar
Prompt For password
Marcus Perryman on Kisok mode in Windows Mobile
Windows Embedded Blog on kiosk mode in Windows CE
Newsgroups on Fullscreen with SHFullScreen
Newsgroups on Full Screen/CF.NET
Kiosk mode on Pocket PC Kiosk Pattern from Satter Ramblings
WM Shell replacement

Check out this post for more resources as well

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The 'Windows Mobile oFone' video shown on MEDC is available on


Microsoft showed the video during a keynote address by Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's Entertainment and
Devices Division, at the company's Mobile and Embedded Developer Conference this morning. Some current and
former Windows Mobile team members make appearances in the SPOOF.
Just in case somebody didn't get the joke, Bach offered a disclaimer when he came back on stage.
"I'll be clear: Any press in the audience, we are not announcing the oFone.
Don't want anybody to get confused about that."  

via Backstage at MED

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Guess the name of this phone!

No it is not Apple iPhone, it is the LG KE850, aka PRADA PHONE.

What doesn’t iPhone do? Unlike most smart phones, the iPhone doesn’t have voice-dialing, voice memos, 3G Internet access, Word or Excel support, one-handed operation, or video recording. It can’t be used as a laptop modem. The battery can’t be replaced. It doesn’t support removable storage. The calendar, task list and e-mail won’t sync with Microsoft Outlook.

There're also no third party apps! Seth Godin's made a challenge on his blog and predicted that Apple will sell 2 millions devices in 2007.
However, I'm not sure if there are 2 millions "iWhatever" fans, who will trade 3G,voice-dialing, removable storage and the third party apps for the stylish Apple logo only.. but who knows.
After all, they have some time to the actual release day to think about a lower price, at least.
You may find opsite opinoins as well. Check out the Simon's Chen blog

LGKE850 on
Opinion: How Steve Jobs blew his iPhone keynote
Seth Godin Prediction Challenge
Simon's Chen blog

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As I mentioned before in this post I'm very impressed by the CCR/DSS technologies used as a runtime platofrm for the Microsoft Robotic Studio.
The CCR is created by Henrik F Nielsen and George Chrysanthakopoulos. From Marc Jacobs's blog:
Henrik was co-author of the HTTP protocol and Microsoft’s lead envoy to the W3C SOAP committee, and George was one of the wizards that got all the bits and bare metal talking to each other in the original Xbox project.

The CCR is an interesting technology and its scope goes far beyond the robotics applications. For most of the LOB(line-of-business) applications the responsiveness and scalability are key factors for success. And they may be met by utilizing different concurrency strategies, asynchronous programming, distributed calculations, etc. However the concurrency is not a bite for everyone. Here comes the CCR to the rescue...For details explaining the CCR underhood please check out the resources in the Links section.

I've assembled 5 basic samples to outline some of the CCR features.The samples demonstrate that the CCR may be used in apps out of the robotic scope. The samples may be downloaded from here
The archive contains the following :
1. Sample to demonstrate the FromHandler feature
2. Sample to demonstrate the Iterator feature
3. Sample to demonstrate the Join feature
4. Sample to demonstrate the Choice feature
5. Sample to demonstrate the Interleave feature

Concurrent Affaris:CCR
Peter Bromberg on CCR
The CCR samples from this post
Microsoft Robotic Studio

The CCR samples in ZIP format may be found here

Have you seen this strange problem with the toolbox icons in VS2005?
I have it for some time and actually it doesn't hurt me too much. However I'm preparing for a couple of presentations and this is something I do not want to show to the audience. So, I searched and finally found the solution.
All I had to do is deleting the *.tbd files from \Users\rossy\AppData\Local\Microsoft\VisualStudio\8.0 (Vista box)

Now, I have all icons back in their places!

The solution from Microsoft Forums via Chris Homles' Blog

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