Code Camp Oz ’07

I wonder who else is going to this year’s Code Camp Oz?

It’ll be on March 31st til April 1st in Wagga Wagga.

If you want to go, and haven’t registered yet, then do so. And find accomodation. I found that a lot of the accomodation places are already booked out, so do hurry!

If you’re going, then I hope to see you there!

If you’re driving, my personal advice is to make sure you take regular stops at Rest Areas/Towns rather than tackling the drive in one go. That way you’re not stuck to your seat for several hours. Plus, it’ll mean you lessen your chance of having an accident of any type.

PS: Bernard said he’d go if I posted about Code Camp :P

Windows Mobile 6 SDK is not out!

Looks like you can now download the new SDK for Windows Mobile 6 Standard (Smartphone) as well as for Windows Mobile 6 Professional (PPC Mobile). I reckon the new names are far too long. Looks like they were prematurely uploaded.

But from what I’ve read, the next version of Windows Mobile will combine the features of both the Smartphone and the PPC, rather than having two seperate versions. So perhaps the current naming is just a step in the path of what’s to come?

Haven’t had a look at them yet, but for a rundown of what’s new, check out the MSDN article.

The great news from my perspective as a mobile application developer is that .NET CF 2.0 as well as SQL Server Mobile 2005 will come preloaded in the device ROM. Which means less things to install for end users.

From the MSDN article, we also learn that there’s also a new Fake GPS utility for the Emulator so you can test out the GPS features in your apps. In addition to a brand new cellular emulator to enable testing of the incoming call, incoming SMS, dropped calls and dropped data connectivity scenarios. That’s more good news for developers!

I wonder if that’s really just an extension to the “bounce back” feature we had previously? Eg: Call +14250010001 in your emulator, and you’ll get a call connected. And if you send an SMS to that same number, you’ll get a new SMS in your Inbox from that number.

And another interesting feature from that article is a Inking API (a lightweight version of what’s available for the Tablet PC).

From all the new Windows Mobile based devices I’ve seen over on Engadget Mobile (as well as several other websites/blogs) over the past year I think this year and beyond are only going to get bigger for the Windows Mobile based industry. There seems to be several new devices from manufacturers including HTC, Toshiba, LG, Gigabyte, ASUS and probably a few others I haven’t mentioned.

Looking at all the new mobile devices makes my i-mate SP5 start to look a little dated now…

Customising your Windows Mobile Smartphone and Pocket PC

Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC Edition today screen customisations:

- Guide to creating Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC themes via Xda-Developers.com.

Windows Mobile 5.0 Smartphone Edition homescreen customisations:

- Homescreen Guide for Beginners via MoDaCo.
- Customizing the Microsoft Smartphone 2002 homescreen via MSDN.

Although the second link refers to the Smartphone 2002 version, many things seem to be quite similar.

I think what’s interesting is that you can create custom Smartphone homescreens using just a single background image, and an XML file. That makes things pretty easy to create.

There are apps out there that can help you create themes for either the Smartphone or the Pocket PC.

But I think for the time being, if you only want to dip your toes in the water without wanting to fork out any money, the guides from Xda-Developers and MoDaCo should get you started.

If you’d rather just download themes rather than making your own, then here’s a few sites you can download free ones:

Smartphone:
- http://smartphone.kleinweder.ch/downloads/index.php
- http://jdskins.com
- http://www.kolumbus.fi/anders.ruohio/skinz.html

Pocket PC:
- http://www.kolumbus.fi/anders.ruohio/skinz.html
- http://www.pocketpcthemes.com

Super Size Who/What?

Tonight Channel 10 (http://www.ten.com.au) in Australia aired the documentary Super Size Me (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Size_Me) .

The documentary raises in my view, one important issue.

Know what you are eating.

Know the effects to your body by eating what you are eating.

Is it really healthy? Do some research into the ingredients in your food. The web, and your doctor are good source of information.

Also, keep in mind how much exercise you are getting on a day to day basis.

Exercise could be anything from walks (walking the dog, walking along the beach), running, jogging or even swimming. Exercise is important to our health, and our health can effect our state of mind. Too much junk food can make you feel drowsy easily.

Eat healthy, live healthy, be healthy.

I don’t think it’s just McDonalds that can be “fatty”, it’s all fast (processed) food. And fast isn’t always a good thing. Be aware of what exactly is in your food.

And even some food in other restuarants can be bad too. Things like MSG (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monosodium_glutamate),which is added to food in a lot of Asian restaurants is pretty bad for you too.

In many ways, some of the issues I’m seeing in Super Size Me remind me of what Jamie Oliver addressed in his TV series titled “School Dinners” (http://www.jamieoliver.com/schooldinners).

I’m aware that some peoples’ reasons for eating fast food is due to not having enough time. Or just feeling too lazy to cook.

And I understand that, we all live quite busy lives these days. We all know that oft used quote “time is money”.

But if time is money, then what if the time available to you was reduced? Eating more than your fair share of fast food can lead to illnesses that reduce the amount of time you have available to you.

If you are spending time in hospital, or at the doctors to get an illness treated, then that means you’ve got less time to make money right? Even if you are just sick, but not sick enough to goto the doctors, you’re still not operating at 100% capacity, are you?

If we aren’t operating at 100% capacity, then we’re really not doing justice to ourself.

It really gives credence to the old saying of “you are what you eat”.

Congrats Hugo!

Wow, Hugo Ortega has been awarded the title of Australia’s first Tablet PC MVP (though, I’d always thought Doc. Neil was the first. But, apparently not!).

Tablet PC Guy

Anyway, congratulations to Hugo!

A much deserved award to a very dedicated Tablet PC advocate.

I still remember about a year ago, Hugo left a comment on a post where I’d lamented about the difficulties of finding a Tablet PC in a retail outlet in Australia.

Also check out Hugo’s YouTube videos.

Oh, and thanks to Ber for the Tablet PC Guy. I got it from him at this years’ MEDC in Melbourne.


Photo taken using my Nikon D70s, and a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens.

MSN Soapbox and NineMSN User Generated Content?

A few days ago I noticed a new post on Techcrunch about a rumoured new Microsoft service to be called MSN Soapbox.

They say it’s a YouTube clone, to that I say, yeah sure it seems like it. But that’s not the interesting part to me.

The TechCrunchers were also wondering why the service was being branded as a MSN service as opposed to a Windows Live. It still could be in time.

But the thing is, MSN has several localised sites for places like Australia. We call it, NineMSN (a partnership between the local TV network Channel 9, and Microsoft). Windows Live does not have a local equivalent in this market. I doubt Nine and Microsoft would consider replacing the name NineMSN with something like NineLive (though that does sound catchy after awhile).

Anyway, my guess is this MSN Soapbox service will be localised. So over here in Australia, we can expect something like NineMSN Soapbox as the localised brand.

This goes hand in hand with the Internet Video plans by Channel 9 Australia I read in the Australian IT (read the article via Mick Stanic’s blog post last month).

Okay, so if my guesses are on the right track (only time will tell how close to the track the guesses are), we’ll be seeing user generated content (in this case videos/photos/etc) as part of NineMSN before too long. And taking a wild stab in the dark, perhaps a section on tv called “NineMSN SoapBox”. Where they will show a bit of footage from various things people have posted onto the NineMSN soapbox.

One curious thought though, given the recent outtage of Lonelygirl15 as being basically a “fraud” (by that I mean, the product of .

For more information on Lonelygirl15, have a look at the following articles:
http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2006/09/07/lonelygirl15.html
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-me-lonelygirl13sep13,0,7634766.story?coll=la-home-headlines
http://www.boingboing.net/2006/09/12/lonelygirl15_jessica.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/13/technology/13lonely.html?ex=1315800000&en=7eae0c5f86be8939&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

This is one issue that one has to be wary of with user generated content.

A quote from one of the creators of Lonelygirl15 (via the LA Times article)

“We did this with zero resources. Anybody could do what we did,” Flinders said Tuesday. The sum total of the equipment they used to create a sensation on the Internet, as well as perhaps the Web’s biggest homegrown mystery: “Two desk lamps, one broken, an open window and a $130 camera.”

So really, anyone could potentially do what they did. If you look at current mobile phones with in-built cameras, many which also have video recording capabilities and just let your imagination run wild. Would it be that difficult to create a hoax?

A bit closer to home, there’s been reports this year about rumours which start from footy (AFL) fansites and somehow end up in the mainstream media. These rumours could be potentially created as videos and uploaded onto one of these services. Then again, some could actually be real. How do you find out?

Note: Much of this post is mixed with facts and pure speculation on my part :)

Cya Brocky

There’s been a lot written about Peter Brock, on the web (blogs, news websites etc), on tv.

A great Aussie, who did what he loved best. It is a sad loss of a life. As it was with Steve Irwin earlier in the week.

After reading many of the articles in both Melbourne papers (The Age and Herald Sun), one of the facts about him that I remember from several of the articles on him was that he was a Vegetarian. Why? Well, I’m a Vegetarian too. As are a growing number of people around the world (for various reasons).

Did a bit of a web search and came up with this quote attributed to Peter Brock.

At many functions I am given plates of lettuce and little else! There is a poor understanding of what constitutes being vegetarian or vegan.

via BrainyQuote.com

Another quote that I like is the following one from an interview he did with Andrew Denton on Enough Rope.

I don’t think you should just try and fit in because you want, you know, peer approval. I mean, too many of us live in fear of the disapproval of those around us, so I’ve always worked very hard at just being comfortable with who I am.

Goodbye Steve Irwin

Woah, this is a bit hard to believe.

Steve Irwin (aka the Croc Hunter) has died at around noon (AEST – GMT+10) whilst filming a doco.

Apparently he got stung through the heart by a string ray.

For more, check out the ABC News article.

It’s certainly got the Aussie web buzzing (just take a look at TechTalkBlogs right now). I first heard about it when Adam Cogan messaged me on Windows Live Messenger.

TechTalkBlogs @ 4:35PM 04/09/2006

I think the hard to believe part is that he seemed to tempt fate so many times, and now it seems fate has caught up.

IE7 Issue Becomes a Non-Issue

My previous issue with IE 7 has been resolved.

All I had to do was add the site to the “Local Intranet” zone (which it should’ve been anyway), and all seemed to work as it did previously.

A bit more investigation revealed a security setting named “Include local directory when uploading files to a server”.

IE7 security settings dialog

As for other browsers? Well, since this is an intranet app, it’s not important for the time being.

But if I were to implement something, it would probably be a custom dialog box where the end user could paste in the path to their document on mapped drives (or somethiing similar depending on how much time I had).

Google Maps and Visitor Stats

I got an email the other day from my the company (StatCounter) that provides the hits stats to this blog that they’re now using Google maps to show us where our visitors are from!

Statcounter's Google Map of Visitors

Pretty cool, you just click on one of those red “pins” and it’ll give you expanded information on that particular visitor (data which they already provide you in another view).

I’m sure you could do the same with other map providers like Windows Live Local or Yahoo Maps.