Jun 29

The main challenge of Paired Programming is deciding which developer gets to drive the computer.  Looks like these fellas have figured out a work-around:

Jun 23

Microsoft will soon be launching an approved Windows Phone unlocking service as part of ChevronWP7 Labs.  This allows developers to immediately launch apps on the Windows Phone 7 platform, without waiting for official Microsoft approval.  This also allows users to run these “homebrew” apps on their Windows phones.

The ChevronWP7 service will require developers to pay a small fee via PayPal to offset costs, but it should be much less than the $99 annual fee to release apps in the WP7 App Hub.

ChevronWP7 comes with Microsoft’s full blessing and support, which means homebrew apps shouldn’t break in future Windows Phone updates. Microsoft should be commended for opening up Windows Phone 7. This leaves Apple as the only smartphone developer that does not officially support homebrew apps.

ChevronWP7 Labs Announcement
ChevronWP7 on Twitter

Jun 02

Copyright © Joshua Gajownik for opensource.com. Used under Creative Commons License.Oracle’s relationship with the open-source community has been rocky at best. 

Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems in 2009, which also gave Oracle control of the open-source Java programming language.  Which Oracle promptly used to sue Google over its use of Java code in the Android mobile operating system.

“During the integration meetings between Sun and Oracle where we were being grilled about the patent situation between Sun and Google, we could see the Oracle lawyer’s eyes sparkle,” wrote Java co-creator James Gosling.

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May 26

Windows Phone 7. Copyright © Microsoft Sweden. Used under Creative Commons License.

In spite of having a decade head start with Windows Mobile and the Pocket PC, Microsoft somehow completely missed the initial smartphone wave and is now playing a desperate game of catchup. 

Apple released its first iPhone in 2007, essentially defined the smartphone ecosystem, and jumped to an impressive early lead.  But with a more open platform and cheaper hardware, Google Android has grabbed a commanding 35% share of smartphone subscribers.  Apple is holding flat around 25%. 

Microsoft entered the smartphone market late in 2010 with Windows Phone 7 (WP7), which was already generations behind competing platforms and lacked key features like copy/paste and multitasking.  WP7 is also incompatible with previous versions of Windows Mobile, so existing users have no allegiance to the new Windows phones, and hence are just as likely to switch to iPhone or Android.  As a result, Microsoft’s share of the smartphone market is only 8% and dropping.

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May 21

In January 2011, well-known computer hacker George “GeoHot” Hotz discovered and published the keys to the Sony PlayStation 3 game console.  GeoHot had previously cracked the iPhone, allowing users to “jailbreak” their phone and run any software they want.

Crack Goes the PS3

Around the same time, another hacker group fail0verflow had also cracked the PS3 and released tools that enabled users to install the Linux operating system on the PS3.  The capability to turn the PS3 into a regular Linux computer was a favorite among geeks and hackers.  Sony originally provided this feature, but later angered the hacker community when it turned off the feature in 2010.

GeoHot took it to the next level and released the PS3’s “root key.”  This key authorizes hackers to run essentially any software on the PS3.  And a root key is nearly impossible to change without breaking all existing PS3 software.  Hence, GeoHot permanently and publicly cracked the PS3 platform.

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May 11

Imagine you are at a cocktail party.  You are having a private conversation with someone you thought was a trusted business associate.  You lean forward and whisper confidential information in his ear.  He immediately repeats what you said aloud.

Your secret may not be exposed – depending on whether anyone is within earshot – but this person has violated your trust.  You are unlikely to share any more secrets with him.

This is what it’s like when a website or online store emails your password in plaintext.  The vendor has violated your trust and called into question whether you should continue to do business with them.

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May 11

Sky.net.  Public domain on imgur.

This would be even more funny/scary if Microsoft was still the 800-pound gorilla in the computer industry that everyone feared.

Apr 13

Qink has assembled a comprehensive list of freely-available libraries for the Microsoft .NET platform.

Free .NET Libraries

Mar 14

Microsoft Visual Studio. Copyright © Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft has released Service Pack 1 for its Visual Studio 2010 flagship integrated development environment (IDE).  Visual Studio SP1 provides many new features, performance improvements, and bug fixes including:

  • Stand-alone Help Viewer 1.1
  • Silverlight 4 support
  • Basic Unit Testing support for .NET 3.5
  • .NET Framework 4 improvements
  • Performance Wizard for Silverlight
  • Visual Basic Runtime embedding
  • IntelliTrace for 64-bit and SharePoint
  • Fix for partial or mixed Visual Studio installations
  • IIS 7.5 Express support
  • SQL Server CE 4 support
  • Razor support for ASP.NET Web Pages and MVC 3
  • Web Platform Installer integration
  • HTML5 and CSS3 preliminary support
  • WCF RIA Services localized and supported
  • XAML Editor/Designer improvements
  • XAML Style IntelliSense
  • C++ MFC-based GPU-accelerated graphics and animations
  • New AMD and Intel instruction set support

Download Visual Studio 2010 SP1
Full Description of VS 2010 SP1
Tips on Installing VS 2010 SP1

Feb 18

Microsoft has stated that its Windows Phone Marketplace will reject any apps that use the GNU General Public License (GPL) and similar licenses.  As stated in Article 5 of Microsoft’s Application Provider Agreement:

“The Application must not include software, documentation, or other materials that, in whole or in part, are governed by or subject to an Excluded License, or that would otherwise cause the Application to be subject to the terms of an Excluded License.”

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