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    Microsoft + Mustang = Ultimate Machine

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    The Discovery channel show Inside West Coast Customs worked with Microsoft to deck out a classic muscle car with all the latest in Microsoft Technology. The final result is pretty awesome!

    Imagine driving this beauty around campus. No it is not April 1st, this is for real and it is cool!

    The crew at West Coast Customs worked with developer evangelists at Microsoft and decked out a 2012 Ford Mustang!

    Microsoft-mustang-jpg_232523-480x272[1]Step 1 – they retrofitted the Mustang with a 1967 Mustang replica body, painted it black and decked it out with neon blue lights in the grill and around the rims. The result is a car that looks like something from a science fiction show.

    Step 2 – Install every cool Microsoft gadget you can think of!

    The car is web connected so the driver can just glance over at the display to check the weather forecast or find the nearest Tim Hortons.  Though in this car, you might prefer to be the passenger because the passenger display lets you play games over Xbox Live!

    When the car is parked you can flip up the rear windshield and turn it into a projector screen to watch movies or play video games

    The rear windshield also has a customizable display so you can flash messages to someone driving behind you.

    The dashboard is actually a touch screen running Windows 8 beta. You can swipe to choose the display you want for your odometer, you want classic Mustang, we can do that, you want Metro, we can do that too.

    There are Kinect sensors in the front and rear of the car, you can use your windows phone to get a live feed from your car. Is your neighbors dog really digging up the flowers? Now you can find out.

    Want to learn more, there are stories on Channel 9, There’s a news story below as well.

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    Join the Microsoft Team, become a Microsoft Student Partner!

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    Become an MSP and bring technology and awesome opportunities to your campus! In this blog post I’ll explain what you need to do as an MSP and some of the great perks you get in return. So join now!

    MSP1

    The Microsoft Student Partner (MSP) program can be summarized in the following 4 words: “We believe in you!”

    For us, it is not about track records, it is all about passion. We want to see where your love for technology can take you. Of course we prefer people passionate about Microsoft technologies, but simply having the urge to find out more about them, regardless of whether you own an IPhone or an Android phone, is enough to get you in our MSP position.

    We have great MSPs all over Canada, some are working with their faculties student society, others directly with teachers, some even have their own start ups. You could be one of them! We want to know how you can help! What are your strengths and how we can empower you so you can shine!

    What is an MSP?

    A MSP is the point of contact between students and Microsoft. They help other students find out about the initiatives we put in place such as Developer movement and Imagine Cup. If you like free stuff or helping the world make sure to check those two links out. This last semester we had March App Madness Hack-a-thons which were coordinated events across Canada to teach and then let students develop their own Windows Phone 7 Apps! All thanks to our MSPs. They organized the events, gave tutorials and helped guide the rest of the students in the development of their app.

    We are always on the lookout for those highly energetic students that want to get involved with our technology! If you are one of them, apply now!

    Wait there’s more!

    The MSP position is not all about work. We have a line up of great rewards as a thank you for all the effort you put into it. For starters, MSP  get a full MSDN account. More than 5000$ value! (This convinced me when i joined. Nothing like Legal free software)

    If that is not enough, read the title of this section again!

     533772_402105863150622_142504739110737_1469311_1867172679_n

    We want to help you Improve your career prospects. As a MSP, you are invited and engaged in most of our own and 3rd party conferences in your region. You will get to network with some of the top technology professionals and sometimes even with part of our leadership team. Recently, for instance, our MSPs in the Toronto region had the chance to sit down and chat in a round table with Microsoft Canada’s President Eric Gales. Every year brings new opportunities for you’ll get to take advantage of!

    Furthermore, this September, we will be having an international MSP virtual Summit. Where MSPs will get training and knowledge on how to present effectively, how to develop for different platform, how to take advantage of the technologies we have and much more!

    Remember that you will be directly engaging with Microsoft. Doing a great job as an MSP helps your chances of finding great opportunities!
    Being in the front lines lets you touch all the latest technology as early as possible.

    There are many other perks and goodies that you constantly receive from us. Join the team, get involved and get ready to shine!

    Apply now!

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    Publishing an App to the Marketplace - How to!

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    Submit your app to the marketplace. Read this walkthrough and you will know what is essential and what isn’t!

    This is a two blog series about how to get your app ready for certification and then how to submit it.

    Remember to register for the Developer Movement. Each app you publish earns you great rewards!

    Before we start, I want to thank Nuvodo for creating the awesome WhipIt app for us to make this blog post. If you ever wanted a portable whip, here is your chance. Those McGill students don’t get tired of creating apps ever since the McGill App Run!

    Getting your app Ready for submission

    Before we start make sure you have done everything I said in my last blog and go get your app ready for certification.

    Doing this will really speed up the process and save you a lot of anger moments in case something goes wrong.

    Submitting your App

    Start by navigating to the App Hub at create.msdn.com

    image

    if you haven’t already, you need to register for the app hub. Make sure you select student, since registration is free for students. (On the next step during registration you will have to authenticate your school credentials through Dreamspark.)

    After you have logged in with your liveID (the one you used to register), you will need to go to “my dashboard” and select “Windows Phone.”

    image

    In this dashboard, you will be able to see the amount of times your apps have been downloaded, their status in the certification cycle and the $$$ you are getting from their sale.

    But before you make that money, lets make sure you submit the app. Go to the right hand side and click on the long navy tile.

    image

    Uploading the file

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    This name is not the one that the customers will see in the marketplace. So feel free to make it as weird and hard to understand as you like.

    Browse to and select your applications xap file. It can be found in the YourAppFolder/Bin/Release/ folder.If it is not there, go to your visual studio project. on the top part select release instead of debug, for the Windows phone device and then build your solution. The folder should appear.

    If you want to do a private beta with your app, select that option, but I’ll only focus on the Public Marketplace distribution. In this screen, make sure you increase the version number every time you update your submission. This will ensure users get your updates.

    Do not select the technical exception box, you don’t need it. if you want to find out you can click on the link

    Once everything is ready, click next.

    Save and Exit

    In the case that you have to stop at some point of the registration because you forgot one of the things I mentioned above click “save and quit.” If your cat/dog/kid/trolling brother unplugs the internet router, beg that you had at least clicked on next earlier! Go once again to the dashboard; you will notice the following in the notification section:

    image

    Now click on it and lets move on to the branding and marketing section.

    Branding and Marketing

    Remember that list of things I told you to have at hand? Well, this is where you are going to use it. Just browse to the images and copy-paste the blurbs. Something that normally would take you forever to go and do during the submission, now takes just one or two minutes!

    ***Make sure you write a support email! When getting your rewards for the developer movement you will need to provide this email for every app!

    Money, Location and Taxes

    After you have clicked next, you will find yourself in the pricing selection section. You are able to sell your app in any country listed there. You can even select different prices per location. Be aware that as a developer you are liable for taxes in some of those locations. Mostly in Asia and South America. In others, like North America and Europe, Microsoft will take care of your tax liability for most of the countries (discounting it from your sales). This has a big impact on your sale decision, and there is a list you can check here.

    If you are submitting a free app, then it doesn’t matter!

    For Nuvodo’s sake, we are selecting the $0.99 equivalent on all countries where Microsoft takes care of the taxes and adding China, Colombia and Japan, since Nuvodo has accountant friends in these countries.

    Once you have selected all the countries you want to publish your app to, it is time for the last step.

    Automatic/Manual Publishing

    You do not need to fill the tester’s notes. just go ahead and select the publishing option.

    image

    You can have it published after certification or you can do it manually, where you will have to come back after certification and choose to publish it. The marketplace gives you this choice for scheduling purposes.

    That said, my thinking is that it should be up there as fast as possible! Especially, if it is your first app. You want to see that little piece of goodness around the world immediately. Unfortunately, even after certification it may take up to a week for your app to be published and then appear when you look for it in the marketplace. Fortunately, your second app or any updates to the same one will be done in one or two days. The reason for such a delay is the large amount of apps being ingested into the system.

    In the end, you will find this nice message Open-mouthed smile

    image

    After that you can monitor the progress in the dashboard until it is published!

    you can also get a link to the online marketplace to send people directly there.

     

    image

    Now, what are you waiting for. Go get your app published now!

  • Go DevMENTAL

    Want Windows to pay your next year’s tuition?

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    clip_image002The Windows teams is travelling across Canada showing students how to be more productive, and giving you chances to get cool stuff too, there’s even a chance to win a year’s tuition!

    A Windows trailer is travelling across Canada showcasing cool features of Windows 7 on awesome hardware.

    Stop by the trailer to get a group photo with your friends. The team will even show you how to fix those blinks and frowns by combining the best of two photos. Find out how you can record a lecture and sync your notes or learn how to work more effectively with your classmates on group projects.

    Stop by the trailer and participate in a trial at the trailer and you could get some cool new sunglasses and be eligible to win cool instant prizes such as an Ultrabook PC, camera, or Staples Gift Card. The official rules and regulations will be available at the trailer.

    What about that free tuition?

    Yup Windows is also giving you a chance to win a year’s tuition free (up to $10,000), check out all the details here: www.windowshookmeup.ca

    Where can I find the trailer?

    • University of British Columbia April 10 and 11th, 2012
    • Western University March 27, 2012
    • University of Calgary April 5, 2012
    • University of Saskatchewan April 3, 2012

    You can still enter at www.windowshookmeup.ca for a chance at free tuition even if the trailer isn’t visiting your campus!

  • Go DevMENTAL

    Getting your app ready for submission to the Marketplace.

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    Get ready for submitting your app with this checklist and instructions. Getting of Icons, images, blurbs and the actual app package ready for deployment worldwide!

    This is a series of two blog posts. One for getting ready and one for submitting your app to the marketplace.

    Remember to register for the Developer Movement. Each app you publish earns you great rewards!

    There are a couple of things you need to do to ensure that your app will pass the certification process. I have created a list and walkthrough of the stuff you need to address before submitting.:

    1. Replace the placeholder images in your app.

    There are three placeholder images included in your project.

    image

    You will need to have your own to be able to submit to the marketplace. Here are the specs:

    • ApplicationIcon.png

    image

    Make sure your app has its own 62x62 image in the PNG format. It is the picture appearing on the left of your app’s name in the App list menu.

    • Background.png

    image

    When you pin an app to the start menu, the image appearing will be the Background.png. The name of your app will appear on the left bottom corner of the image. Make sure not to occlude it. Good design principles recommend to keep the logo in the center.

    This is a 173x173 PNG image. Once you start playing around with live tiles and push notifications, you will notice that counters can also appear, as well as other text.

    One little trick I learned to make your app look native and professional is to have your logo in white and then leave the rest of the image transparent. This will make your tile be the color of the theme chosen by the user. This trick also works on the Application Icon.

    • SplashScreenImage.jpg

    image

    This is the image that appears when your application is loading. It should be used for displaying your brand and not have much text.

    it is a 480x800 JPG image, it cannot have any transparency. and it is not necessary to have, but it does keep the feel of the app in a more professional level.

    After having created these pictures with your awesome designing skills, go to visual studio, right click on the project and select Add Existing Item

    image

    navigate to your images and add them. Make sure to delete the old ones.

    Just to double check, right click each image and select properties. make sure that the build action is “Content”  and the copy action is “Copy if newer”

    image 

    However, the names of the images don’t need to be the same as the template (except for the SplashScreenImage.jpg.

    You can also double click on the Properties folder in your project.

    image

    The screen that opens up will let you choose the background and the icon from a drop down of the pictures that are included in your project.

    2. Match your App’s capabilities in the App Manifest

    if you click the expand triangle of the properties folder in your project you will see a file called WMAppManifest.xml. Open it.

    image

    Once in there you will be able to change a couple of things, but the only one you need to are the following:

    • In the app tag <App> you will find the fields author, description and publisher. Change them to something appropriate.
    • Take a look at the capabilities:

    image

    They are all included by default. In the case that your app doesn’t use a particular, delete it.

    Here is a quick description of each one in the list, but you can read more here

    • Gameservices = your app uses the Xbox Live API.
    • Identity_Device = your app accesses the hardware number of the user’s device.
    • Identity_User = your app accesses the user’s id information.
    • Location = your app accesses the user’s location or uses the GPS.
    • MediaLib = your app accesses the media library of the user (songs, videos, podcasts, etc.)
    • Microphone = your app uses the microphone in the device.
    • Networking = your app transfers information over the a network (in case data plans are required.)
    • PhoneDialer = your app dials phone numbers.
    • Push_Notifications = your app uses push notifications.
    • Sensors = your app uses the gyroscope, microphone, accelerometer, GPS or any other sensor in the device.
    • WebBrowserComponent = your app uses the webbrowser API.
    • Camera = your app uses the Camera
    • Contacts = your app accesses the user’s contacts on the phone.
    • Appointment = your app accesses the user’s calendar.

    This is an important. Don’t just leave all of them in there, nor remove the ones you use from the list.

    In one hand, If you remove say “sensors” and you use the gyroscope, your app will not pass certification. On the other hand, If you leave everything on your calculator app, then the user will be freaked out that you are going to access his identity, contacts, media library and location for no reason. This information appears when you download any app. Microsoft takes care of securing a user’s security, and as a developer you should care as well for your users.

    Once all of this is done, you should build your project for distribution.

    3. Building your project for release

    This is very simple process. Go to the top bar of visual studio. you should see these two drop down boxes. Choose Windows Phone Device and Release.

    image

    then go to to build and click on build solution.

    image

    This should have created a release version of your xap file. (this is the file you will upload to the Marketplace).

    In the Solution Explorer, right click on your project and select “Open folder in Windows Explorer”; the second to last option.

    Navigate to Bin/Release/ and you will find yourapp.xap there.

    There are unfortunately, two common mishaps in this part. A couple of people, including myself, have had a hard time to find those two drop down boxes. if after selecting the project and and trying other toolbars to show up you don’t find it, you will have to reinstall visual studio. The problem occurs when installing visual studio, I happened to select a non developer view of the workspace that hides this toolbar. I haven’t found a way to make it show again, so for now you will have to reinstall VS.

    The other issue that presents itself is when it tells you that some release libraries can’t be found. Most of the time, you can track them down manually, but if this doesn’t work, try reinstalling the phone tools or visual studio.

    your projects should not disappear if you reinstall the programs Open-mouthed smile

    You have now an app ready to be published, the only thing left to do is to get the marketing goodies ready too.

    4. Marketing images and blurbs.

    You need to create the following PNG Images for the Marketplace:

    1. 173 x 173 icon.
    2. 99 x 99 icon.
    3. 200 x 200 icon.

    These three images are for the different locations where your app appears on the Online Marketplace and the Zune software marketplace.

    4.   1000 x 800 Wallpaper

    This one will be used as the marketplace background on the phone when your app is featured, and sometimes as the background in the Zune software download page for your app.

    5.    at least one and up to eight screenshots 480 x 800

    you have to use the emulator for this.

    image

    click on the little “ >> "  that appears when you place your mouse pointer on the top right outer side of the emulator. Then click the Screenshot tab. Navigate to the different locations in your app. and click capture and then save. Make sure you zoom into a 100% zoom level. otherwise your screenshots won’t be accepted. to do that click on the magnifying glass above the “>>” you just clicked.

    Blurbs

    Write down the following blurbs:

    1. Short description (25 characters).
    2. Detailed description. - This appears in the phone marketplace under the show more space, under the short description.
    3. keywords that match the theme of your app for SEO.

    Doing this will really speed up the process and save you a lot of anger moments in case something goes wrong during submission.

    Now you are completely ready to submit your app.

    Check my next blog post on the submission process here.

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