Silverlight, Nokia and Apple

Microsoft Silverlight logo Well things seem to be picking up for Microsoft’s Silverlight technology. I enjoyed Silverlight 1.0 but detest JavaScript so my attention immediately turned to the Silverlight 1.1 Alpha build that came out last year at MIX’07. Awesome stuff, managed code in the browser with a lightweight multi-platform plug-in that doesn’t require much skill-up for the developer.

In the interim I’ve noted some interesting stirrings on the web, namely that Nokia has announced support for Silverlight on its Series 60, Series 40 and Internet tablets. This is a totally awesome thing, finally a managed code execution environment built on the .NET Compact Framework for mobile devices other than Windows CE powered devices.

Espoo, Finland – Nokia today announced plans to make Microsoft Silverlight available for S60 on Symbian OS, the world’s leading smartphone software(1), as well as for Series 40 devices and Nokia Internet tablets.  Adding support for Silverlight will extend opportunities for developers to create rich, interactive applications that run on multiple platforms in a consistent and reliable way.

Next in the way of news is an article quoting Apple’s Steve Jobs where he proclaims that the hugely popular iPhone mobile device won’t be getting Flash or Flash Lite technologies as they don’t perform well enough even on the desktop never mind the mobile device. I could agree more.

Turning back to the iPhone, don’t expect support for Adobe’s Flash technology anytime soon. The full-blown PC Flash version “performs too slow to be useful” on the iPhone, and a mobile version called Flash Lite “is not capable of being used with the Web,” Jobs said. Without an option that falls in between, it sounds like Flash is not going to be supported on the iPhone until the performance of the underlying hardware improves.

So the big question on everyone’s lips is when are we going to be getting the recently announced Silverlight 2.0 Beta 1 build. Most people are expecting it later today during the MIX’08 keynote in Las Vegas. Personally I’m chomping on the bit waiting for the announcements. It really does mean a completely new era for application development.

[tags]Silverlight,Nokia,Apple,MIX07,MIX08,Symbian[/tags]

Net60 Beta 1 released

Red Five Labs logo Local mobile innovation company, Red Five Labs, has today released a beta 1 build of their of implementation of the .NET Compact Framework 1.0 which runs on Symbian S60 3rd edition devices like the Nokia N95 series of mobile phones. This is an important product for enterprise developers that would like to deploy on both Windows Mobile and Symbian mobile devices. The official press release follows.

Johannesburg, South Africa, November 14th, 2007 – Red Five Labs, a leading mobile technology company, releases Net60 (beta 1) for immediate download. Net60 is a ground breaking implementation of the .NET Compact Framework running on S60 3rd edition devices.

Net60 enables managed Windows Mobile applications to run unchanged on S60 devices. Using C# and Visual Basic .NET in Visual Studio, developers can now use the .NET Compact Framework environment to build applications for Symbian devices.

Symbian developers can now also write applications for S60 and benefit from the RAD capabilities which .NET development offers.

This beta release is intended for System Integrators and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) who are interested in exploring the possibilities of Net60 ahead of the commercial release later this year. User feedback is highly encouraged.

For download instructions and an application to join the beta program, please visit the download beta page at http://www.redfivelabs.com/content/download.aspx

Applications will be approved as efficiently as possible by the team at Red Five Labs so that beta testers are able to gain rapid access to the download. Managed support is provided by an integrated support ticket system and public forums.

Any questions  regarding the sign-up of the beta can be directed to support@redfivelabs.com

[tags].NET Compact Framework,Red Five Labs,Symbian[/tags]

Tech-Ed 2007 day 2

Tech-Ed South Africa 2007Today the sessions started bright and early at 08h00 which is way too early if it was work but strangely enough I found myself downstairs devouring the buffet breakfast just after 07h00. I missed attending a few sessions that I would have liked to have attended purely due to logistical issues. I didn’t know where the bloody session rooms were and I left my map in the room and was too lazy to go back and fetch it.

Pieter Germishysen's XNA talk I would have to say that the best session I attended today must have been Pieter’s chalk ‘n talk session on XNA. He spent the morning in the Community Lounge writing a remake of the classic Space Invaders game. Willy-Peter and I however started making a few suggestions and before long the game became BokInvaders with the enemies appearing as English Roses and the ship becoming a Springbok. Oh and to top it all off, the South African national anthem became the theme music. The chalk ‘n talk room had seating for about 30 delegates and was overflowing with delegates sitting on the floor and standing at the back. I believe the talk went down extremely well and garnered a considerable amount of interest in hobbyist game development using XNA Framework targeting Windows PCs and Xbox 360 consoles.

For those that have been to Tech-Ed you will be familiar with the MultiNets. For those that haven’t they are essentially PCs distributed throughout the venue where delegates can logon for free and either plan their schedule, provide session feedback or browse the web. I have got to say that I am not impressed impressed with the Internet access that is provided. I managed to access my Gmail account once throughout the entire day as most of the time it was simply just timing out. I believe that Internet Solutions is providing the outside connectivity and I can only wonder what connection they are running. It feels worse than accessing over a shoddy dial-up. One good thing was that they provided free WiFi access as well, however my mobile phone can’t even connect to the access point as it doesn’t stay up for long enough. C’mon guys, get with it.

In general the day was awesome and I really enjoyed Louis de Klerk’s talk on the new features of SQL Server 2008, code-named Katmai. I have been playing around with CTP4 and I can’t wait to get hold of the new CTP5 that adds spatial support. Its rumoured that CTP5 might drop before the end of next week. I can’t wait.

[tags]Tech-Ed 2007,XNA,Katmai,SQL Server 2008,spatial,rant[/tags]

Jaiku Mobile is hungry

Jaiku logoFor those not in the know, Jaiku was recently acquired by Google and suddenly gained popularity. One of the reasons why I believe Jaiku is better than other similar services such as Twitter is because they have a decent mobile phone client.

The current build of Jaiku Mobile, 0.80 beta, is limited to the Nokia S60 3rd Edition platform and has one very annoying feature. When it installs it seems to install the Jaiku Mobile client as well as some hidden application that runs continuously. I assume this based on the extra icon that appears in the status area at the top of the screen even when Jaiku Mobile isn’t running.

Testing it on my Nokia N95 I noticed that I started getting more and more application hang-ups where the keyboard would stop responding in a newly launched application. I used the wonderful NSysInfo utility to diagnose that after a clean reboot my mobile phone had 4MB less RAM when Jaiku Mobile was installed and not running. So I’ve now promptly uninstalled it as I don’t believe in sacrificing 4MB of RAM for a stupid Jaiku status icon to be displayed.

Unfortunately I can’t find a means to report the issue directly to the Jaiku Mobile team so I’ll just have to blog about it and wait for a new build to come out sometime.

[tags]Jaiku,Jaiku Mobile,Nokia N95[/tags]

Traffic conspiracy

traffic jam Its a conspiracy I tell you. I’m sure that the mobile phone networks are in some way in on it. What am I talking about, well bear with me a moment while I explain.

I was reading this post from my good friend Tim about how he sat in traffic on Hans Strydom for two hours the other day using the time to observe the people around him. Then all of a sudden it dawned on me, the mobile networks must be to blame for all of the traffic problems in our country. Yes they are definitely the ones that benefit from the painfully slow traffic conditions on our major roads, so surely they must be the ones causing them. Personally I find the most convenient time to be on my mobile phone is during the daily commute to and from work. The time is otherwise pretty much wasted unless I’m listening to a podcast although I occasionally crank up my sound system and listen to some angry music to get me into the mood for work, but most of the time I’m on my mobile phone.

So my theory now is that the mobile phone companies are doing something to make these traffic jams. It can’t be those pesky “stationary trucks” that Highveld keeps blaming in their traffic reports; why on earth would Waltons and other stationary suppliers be delivering stationary during rush hour traffic eh? 😉

On a serious note, when traffic lights are out I wish people wouldn’t stick to this one car and then the next car principle as its just so inefficient. If only two or more cars would go at a time the traffic would flow so much more efficiently. But I suppose we can’t expect people to be able to count and drive.

[tags]thoughts,traffic[/tags]

Dinner with Angie

CubañaLast night a bunch of the Gauteng SA Developer .NET chapter members got together for a dinner meet and greet social with the visiting Western Cape chapter lead Angela Gerber.

We decided to try out Cubaña which is a Havana lounge and Latino caffe located in the recently opened Cedar Square mall behind Fourways Mall. The menu is rather limited for choice unless you feel like interesting cocktails like the chocolate chili martini that Andre was drinking. However the food is reasonably priced and I can recommend the baskets as they are great value for money. Overall the restaurant is popular and definitely has a great vibe.

Unfortunately the place got rather packed when the storm outside got a bit too much and the people outside all crammed inside. The only thing I don’t really like about Cubaña is their need to push the volume up as it gets later. Its almost impossible to hold a conversation and resulted in us leaving and heading off to Ciao Baby Cucina for a quiet coffee and some dessert.

I snapped a few pictures of the evening with my mobile phone, although they didn’t come out too well due to the poor lighting conditions. I’ve posted them up here.

[tags]SA Developer .NET,social,dinner[/tags]