Yikes — I need more sleep!

Just ran across this one today… and it’s telling me what I already suspected but didn’t want to admit to myself.

8 Reasons Lack Of Sleep Is Killing You (And How To Fix It)  (via OfficeVibe)

<< sigh. >>

Time to make some changes, neh?

Yikes — I need more sleep!

Microsoft’s Identity Management Framework (2015)

You know, I really love a LOT of the things that Microsoft is doing in just about every space that they operate in. However, one thing that consistently disappoints me is that the people writing most of their technical documentation have a VERY BAD habit of leaving crucial bits out of their “how-tos”. Once such victim is how to integrate the Identity Management Framework with SendGrid in Windows Azure.

Thankfully someone else has had to deal with this issue (I simply knew I couldn’t be the first person) and they wrote up a good tutorial on how to deal with this little diddy. Of course some things have changed since it was originally written on 9/28/2014… but it’s still about 95% accurate. Special thanks to Max Vasilyev for his hard work —¬† which saved my Saturday afternoon.


Microsoft’s Identity Management Framework (2015)

Tampa Code Camp 2015 Presentation Materials

I had the honor of presenting one of my favorite topics (#Cortana!) at Tampa Code Camp. As promised the materials I presented from (minus the witty banter and EXCELLENT interaction with the group) are available here.

UPDATE:¬†I just remembered that if you want the “Weather” example to work you need to follow the instructions in the following file: IntegratingCortant.Win10.Universal\Extensions\GeopositionExpressions.cs

Tampa Code Camp 2015 Presentation Materials

Kids and Social Media: The Conundrum

Parents who have non-adult children with tech devices that can access the Internet: This one’s for you.

My 12-Year-Old Was Blackmailed for Nude Photos Via Kik Messenger (published July 29, 2014)

*** Full Disclosure: I am not a parent but there are children in my life that I care deeply about. ***

Also, this is not an attack on the mother of the girl in the article. Rather, this is a “we better wake up and do something” moment.

The reality is that children *will* find a way around any “controls” that you put in place… so, in my mind, the best plan is to:

1. Educate them on why those controls are necessary. Make sure they truly understand that it’s not because you want to be a “helicopter parent”; rather, it’s because a whole life can be ruined (or worse, ended) by one little mistake.

2. If feasible: Follow them on each and every single social network they use. Don’t stalk them; simply give yourself the ability to monitor from afar without needing to take their devices (so you can more easily figure out if confiscation is necessary later).

3. If doing #2 above: Keep an eye on their “friends” lists. If a non-family and grown man (or woman) shows up in your child’s list then all kinds of alarms should start going off in your head.

4. Engage them regularly about social media and let them talk to you about it. Talk about the dangers of a life exposed online and how once it’s out there you can’t get it back.

5. Have them show you what’s new in their apps on a regular basis… At least weekly.

6. Regularly “borrow” their device(s) to gauge their reaction when taken.

7. Make their Internet devices the first thing you take when punishment is necessary.

8. When you first give them their device, set it up on your account as a child’s device so that you can keep an eye on what they’re downloading in the app store.

There’s no question that you cannot protect children from everything. They would never grow up if we did that, anyway. However, we can teach them how to be careful about never going into dark and strange places.

Kids and Social Media: The Conundrum

This one’s for… my homey…

It’s amazing how people come and go from our lives. Some of those relationships are completely meaningless. Some are trivial and sometimes, they’re even a nice distraction. And then there are those which are world changing.

My good friend, Darryl Champion, was one of the latter. The crazy thing though? Darryl already had SO MANY friends that he certainly didn’t need me to be one. Talk about busy? Try being that guy and keeping up with the thousands of people he knew. I have a “policy” where I do not publicly wish people well on their birthday (via Facebook) for¬†fear that i might miss and offend someone. Which has actually happened. And I only have about a thousand “friends”; I can’t imagine what he went through, every day.

See, Champ was the kind of guy that you bonded with instantly, and he always welcomed you in TOTALLY. There was no “halfway” with Darryl; either you weren’t there, or you were. And I appreciated that because I was always one of the skittish type until I got to know someone. Darryl helped me get beyond “myself” and my issues in that regard.

My friend passed sometime in the afternoon of 5/31/2015. While I was at a theater, watching a movie. I’m going to assume it was directly from, or due to complications arising from, the incredibly bad case of pneumonia he was suffering from.

Though there was no call to rush to the IA because people thought “this is it”, I wish I’d had the flexibility to make the trip and be with him for at least a little while before today. See, I got married just a little while ago, and he even let me know how happy he was about that milestone in my life. When he first had the strength to do so, he made it a point to contact me and let me know he appreciated my thoughts and well wishes. That’s the kind of person he was.

I had even thought about him this morning. Dear God, I never thought today would be the day.

Darryl, thank you for the time I had to share with you. Thank you for all the concern, well wishes, encouragement and chastising when I needed it.

I miss you man. Keep the light on for me — I’ll be there sometime soon, but not yet. Not yet; I’ve got to much to do first.

I love you, brother.

This one’s for… my homey…

Ran across this today…

The Secret To Employee Motivation (Infographic)

This infographic was crafted with love by Officevibe, the employee survey software that shows you how to motivate employees so that they’re more productive.

Ran across this today…

Interesting “findings” with Build 9926

I was afraid to pull the trigger on installing Windows 10 Tech Preview Build 9926 on my Surface Pro because it’s my personal daily driver and things “not working” isn’t an option. The I remembered that I have this Dell 8 Venue Pro which wasn’t getting much regular use since my Lumia 1520 is just about the same size.¬† ūüôā

So, with a little help from my good friend Jay K., I offered the little 8″ tablet¬†as a willing sacrifice. So far the experience has been pretty doggone good. I’m VERY impressed with where the Belfiore gang are going with this. That being said, there are a few rough edges I’m going to point out just to make sure they’re on the development team’s radar.

1. The on-screen keyboard was mysteriously cut off during the post-installation initial setup.

This weird situation happened during the initial setup after my successful installation. Nearly half of the keyboard is simply invisible.
This weird situation happened during the initial setup after my successful installation. Nearly half of the keyboard is simply invisible.

As you can see in this image, nearly half of the keyboard is not visible. Luckily I was still able to guess where the keys were so I could finish the initial setup. Also, and not very photographable, was the fact that the top row of keys (regardless of which keyboard I was using) would become totally non-responsive until I hit some other key and THEN came back to the key I needed to use. It was scary at first… but once I figured out what was going on and the workaround it became very tedious and frustrating.

The keyboard kept acting weird for a portion of the day. It never disappeared on me again though. You’ll be happy to know that the on-screen keyboard works fine. I did notice an odd bit where part of the split mode keyboard was cut off at the bottom row keys. It¬†is like that regardless of if the keyboard¬†is docked or not. I just checked again today and the behavior is still happening. I probably should have snapped a photo of that one too. Oh well. ūüėČ

2. The Account PIN creation dialog acted weird.

The Account Pin creation dialog.
The Account Pin creation dialog. It looks innocent, but it’s acting weird too.

You can’t really see it let me enter values in the fields but wouldn’t let me tap either the “OK” or “Cancel” buttons. Naturally my expectation is that itdidn’t save my entries. But when I went back and checked my Account Profile a PIN was already associated with it. I don’t know if that was my synced PIN from my other machine or the one I entered though. Also, when I went back through the dialog to attempt to change the PIN it accepted what I thought I originally entered… Hence the “huh?”.

3. Incorrectly reported Mail storage value Рpretty much speaks for itself.

252 PB has got to be a typo.
I’m going to go ahead and call BS on this one… If I had 252 PB of ANYTHING other than DNA then I’m really missing out on something.

4. These two numbers definitely don’t match.

These two numbers don't match... do they?
The Modern Settings app Temporary Files value of 6.66 GB doesn’t quite jibe with the Disk Cleanup dialog’s value of 4.00 MB.

The Disk Cleanup dialog is acting weird. Originally this machine only had about 5.5 GB available. I went through and killed off all my local copies of my OneDrive files and that got me enough room to install the Build. However, once the Build was installed it gave me this number. So on a hunch I kept going through this dialog several times, hitting the “Clean up system files” each time. Every time I went back through the dialog it found more and more temporary files… and, excitingly, about the fourth time through it found the previous installations. Eventually I was able to get a total of about 15 GB back.

5. (No photo) “Hey Cortana” is some-timey.

There’s something wonky going on with the feature activation on this device. At first I thought that it doesn’t want to work at all unless I have a microphone plugged into the headphone jack. Then I figured I’d try turning the feature off¬†and back on.¬† — worked like a champ. So, for now, if you can’t get Cortana to respond when you say, “Hey Cortana” just turned it off and back on and it will work (well, for the next request anyway).

That’s it for now. I’ll be sure to share anything else I find.

Interesting “findings” with Build 9926

An open-letter to Joe Belfiore and Microsoft

Joe Belfiore presents Windows 10 and Windows 10 for Phone on January 21, 2015
Joe Belfiore presents Windows 10 and Windows 10 for Phone on January 21, 2015

Dear Mr. Belfiore,

I am undoubtedly one of the biggest, most vocal Windows Phone fans in the entire universe. Those that know me know that I’m not kidding with that statement. I take every opportunity to¬†willingly market my Windows Phone to every person who doesn’t instantly flee… and nine times out of ten they come away from that experience with seeds planted for an eventual switch to Windows Phone. What’s more, I love the work you and your team are doing with Windows and Windows for Phone and the general direction you’re moving towards a truly converged user experience.

However, it will be an ENORMOUS MISTAKE to force us — the WP faithful — to wait until the holiday season for the next evolution in phone devices. It has been more than a year since the last new flagship phone was generally available to the US market. By “generally” I mean not locked into a particular carrier (as Verizon will *NEVER* be my provider).¬†¬†And phones targeted to other countries¬†don’t play nice with the high-speed towers here at home. Also, those “seeds” I mentioned earlier? Lately they’ve been dying off after taking root because people see all the horrendous¬†fluff that (supposed) tech journalists keep spewing.

So just what am I proposing?

1. Please exponentially increase the pressure on the US carriers¬†to release Denim for our existing handsets. Let’s face it, most people still buy and hold their phone until the wheels fall off. It would take something truly earth-shattering, game changing and affordable to break that particular habit. So please do get AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon to release that update for our existing handsets.

2. Please release at least one flagship phone that will work on each major US carrier no later than July 1, 2015. That phone could even run Denim; as long as it will be able to make full use of Windows 10 for Phone it would be¬†acceptable. This is for people like me who buy a¬†flagship about once every 12 months. It’s also for those who’ve had a mishap (like my significant other) and the timing is just “right”.

These two “relatively simple” things will work to significantly discourage the ongoing platform hemorrhaging while making us — the faithful, independent WP¬†developers — believe that Microsoft still cares about us and wants to continue working with us to make the world a better place.

Thanks for listening,



Orlando Windows Phone User Group!

I had the pleasure of presenting a talk about integrating Cortana into apps to this awesome group today.

We had FUN. ūüėČ

Here are the materials we talked about, as well as the intro slide deck that was presented at Build 2014.

Thanks again for having me!

Orlando Windows Phone User Group!

Today’s PSA: Be sure to test your apps on OS versions you support (even if your app hasn’t changed)

<< sigh >>.

So¬†a while ago I had a REALLY BAD¬†review on one of my apps. I used up an entire weekend (and a bunch of honey-do credits) debugging scenarios I had to guess at and getting it to work *just right*. I published to the store and YES(!) — the author of that bad review came back and gave it a glowing rebuttal! Only to see my number of crashes for that app continue to climb.

I just figured out why that’s happening: It’s because my daily driver (and therefore test device) is running the latest version of the OS, while the app version that’s failing is for the previous version of the OS. As soon as I fired up that version of the app it became very clear¬† what the problem was. Unfortunately.

So that means this weekend I’ll be rewriting the app to cover whatever it is that changed in that previous version of the¬†OS.

The take away? Always remember to re-test your app on every version of the OS your support, even if nothing has changed in that version of the app. Doing so would have saved me a lot of hair-pulling and headaches.

<< sigh >>

Today’s PSA: Be sure to test your apps on OS versions you support (even if your app hasn’t changed)