Lifehacker’s List of the Best Windows Phone 7 Apps

lifehacker wp7 apps

In case you missed it over the holidays, here’s a pointer to Lifehacker’s list of the best Windows Phone 7 apps, which fall into a number of categories: productivity, internet/communication, location-aware/social networking, utilities, music/media and food/shopping/entertainment. There doesn’t seem to be a games category, but that’s okay – it gives me an excuse to review (and therefore, play) some!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Windows Phone 7’s Upcoming Updates

The first release of Windows Phone 7 was only the beginning. The team’s been listening to phone users and responding by working on improvements to our phone OS. You’re going to see the results of their work over the next few months in the form of updates, some of which are listed below:

  • Copy and PasteTwo women, one wearing a "Copy / ctrl + V" T-shirt, the other wearing a "Paste / ctrl + V" t-shirt
    This is one feature that users have been asking for, and it’s coming soon. You’ll be able to tap a word, slide your finger to highlight any additional text and then tap the Copy icon to copy your selection. You can then paste the copy by tapping the destination spot, then tapping the Paste icon.
  • Faster Launch and Resume Times
    Nobody likes to wait for an app to start (or restart after an interruption), and one of the soon-to-come improvements is shorter waits for app launch and resume.
  • Better Marketplace Search
    Search in Windows Phone’s Marketplace has been improved so that it’s easier to find the apps, games or music you’re looking for.

These updates, announced today on the Windows Phone 7 Updates page, will be easy to get. Your Windows Phone will notify you when they’re available (assuming you haven’t turned this feature off). You then use the Zune software (it’s free) to download and install the update to your phone.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Video Series: “Windows Phone 7 Development for Absolute Beginners”

WP7 Development for Absolute Beginners

If you’re new to software development and want to build apps for Windows Phone 7 – or if you know someone who fits this description – you should take a look at this 64-part series of short videos (none longer than a half-hour, most much shorter) titled Windows Phone 7 Development for Absolute Beginners.

When they put “Absolute Beginners” in the series’ name, they weren’t kidding. Over the series, host Bob Tabor from covers such basics as:

  • Installing, using and exploring Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone.
  • Writing applications from the ground up: from declaring variables and assigning values to them to if statements to writing your own classes to working with .NET’s collections to exception handling.
  • Taking advantage of Windows Phone features from Silverlight controls to isolated storage and tombstoning and task switching.

Phone app development is a great starting point for the beginning developer. Phone projects tend to be smaller by nature, making them perfect candidates for newbies or after-work “side projects”, and since mobile computing is all the rage these days, it’s more likely to keep a beginning developer interested enough to overcome the usual frustrations that go along with learning programming. I’ve tried out development on Windows Phone, iPhone and Android and find that Windows Phone is the fastest and easiest phone to develop for, and it’s a great environment for the budding developer. If you’re a budding developer who wants to get into the wild and wooly world of mobile or if you know one, Windows Phone 7 Development for Absolute Beginners is a great place to start!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Fredericton .NET User Group Meeting on CISSP and Application Security: Thursday, January 27th

fredericton net user group

The next meeting of the Fredericton .NET User Group takes place on Thursday, January 27th and is on “The CISSP [Certified Information Systems Security Professional] World and the Application Security Domain”. It’ll take place in IT-C317 on the UNB Campus, with a “Meet and Greet” at 6:30 p.m. and the presentation running from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m..

Here’s the abstract for the presentation:

The CISSP World and the Application Security Domain – Phil Lamey

CISSPThis presentation will outline CISSP security in terms of how it can be related to software development.

In the CISSP world, the Application Security domain is concerned with the security controls used by applications during their design, development, and use. This domain will help participants to understand the security and controls of application security, which includes the systems development process, application controls, and knowledge-based systems. The session will also help to understand the concepts used to ensure data and application integrity.

Below is an overview of the topics that will be discussed:

  • CISSP, What is it?
  • Why CISSP?
  • SDLC (system development life cycle)
  • Change (life cycle) management
  • Database security
  • Artificial Intelligence systems
  • Malware
  • Grey Hat – Ethical hacking
  • The OWASP Project (Testing Web Applications)

Registration starts soon – check back at the Fredericton .NET User Group site for details.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Prairie Dev Con 2011 Call for Speakers

prairie dev con call for speakers

D'Arcy Lussier throws his "luchador" look and says "speak!"There is no shortage of developer conferences in Canada’s “MTV” cities, where MTV stands for Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. That’s not surprising given their population densities, but they’re not the only place where developers live.

We do what we can to cover the country, and we also do what we can to help other people make sure that Canadian developers get the sort of face-time, up-close-and-personal, you-had-to-be-there experience that only conferences provide, as nice as doing stuff over the interney is. That’s why we’re happy to hear that Winnipeg’s own D’Arcy Lussier is holding another Prairie Developer Conference, a.k.a. Prairie Dev Con, this summer on Monday, June 13 and Tuesday, June 14 in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Prairie Dev Con will feature multiple tracks with sessions hosted by Canadian developers covering all sorts of topics in different styles, from lectures to panel discussions to chalk talks to hands-on coding sessions. If you’re based in the Canadian prairies or always wanted to visit, you’ll want to catch this conference!

Better still, you might want to speak at this conference. They’re currently looking for sessions in the following general areas:

  • Microsoft tools and technologies
  • Java tools and technologies
  • Ruby tools and technologies
  • Mobile development
  • Agile development
  • Developer fundamentals

The conference will cover two nights’ accommodations for selected out-of-town presenters. All presenters will be treated to the speaker dinner which take place on the evening of Monday, June 13. Travel costs are the responsibility of the speaker.

The deadline for speaker submissions is January 14th! If you’d like to speak at Prairie Dev Con, download the speaker submissions form and send it to D’Arcy as soon as you can!

The are also sponsorship opportunities! They have a multi-tiered sponsorship model, as well as track, prize and booth sponsorships.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Web Camp in Montreal–Saturday, February 5th

Microsoft Web Camps

(Here’s a post from Frederic Harper, who hasn’t been set up to post on Canadian Developer Connection just yet.)

The first Montreal Web Camp, organized by Microsoft in collaboration with the Montreal .NET Community, will take place at the Microsoft Montreal office (2000 Avenue McGill College) on February 5th 2011 from 9AM to 4:30PM. You are from the Montreal area, understand French (the presentations will be in French but you’ll be able to ask questions in English), are a professional developer or not, and want to learn about MVC, OData, JQuery and meet others passionate Web developers? Join us for this day full of cutting edge Web technologies presented by professionals.

To be part of the fun, you need to register here. Optional: you can get the free Web Camps training kit here. BTW, lunch is included so if you register, please make sure to attend. Looking forward to seeing you there!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


And So It Begins (or Frederic’s Officially on Board)

Frederic HarperIt’s official: I’m not "The New Guy" any more.

After two years and change, I’m passing the mantle to our newest developer evangelist, Frédéric Harper, whose first official day on the job is today (I’m still there, but now it’s my job to torment the new guy). Of the many ways one can kick off a brand new year, starting a new job, especially one as interesting, challenging and fun as being an evangelist at Microsoft, is certainly one of the better ones.

Fred is based in Montreal, where he blogs at A la Base {2} and is known as an open source guy, having worked with its vibrant PHP community with tools and technologies that those of you who eat, breathe and sleep the bash shell will find familiar: PHP, Perl, MySQL and PostgreSQL. That’s not all that different from my own experience, having worked open source from the PHP, Python and Ruby side of things. Also like me, he’s worked the .NET side of the fence, with stuff like ASP.NET, C#, SQL Server and so on. I think his perspective as a newcomer, open sourcer, Montrealer and francophone will be of great value to the team, and judging from the couple of times he’s joined us at TechDays (in Montreal and Winnipeg), I think he’ll fit in just fine.

Fred’s area of concentration is going to be web development. He’s going to be your go-to guy for Windows web technologies of all sorts, and he’s definitely your go-to guy if French is your primary language.

He’s going to be in town later this week to visit Microsoft Canada HQ in Mississauga, where he’ll go through the standard employee “onboarding” procedures, which include getting a security badge (hence the term “blue badge” for Microsoft full-time employees), filling out some TPS reports, getting his assigned gear (one of the best parts of this job – we get lots of toys) and having an exploding tracking chip implanted in his head, near the base of the skull.

(Oh, wait a minute: I think the tracking chip is one of those things we’re not supposed to talk about.)

Anyways: welcome aboard, Fred! I think you’ll like it here.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.