Did Acer hurt the chances of the Microsoft Surface?

Remember back in August when Acer’s JT Wang suggested that if Microsoft priced the Surface with Windows RT at $199 that it would negatively impact it’s partners and vendors? So now that the Apple event is over and we heard Apple announce the iPad Mini at $329, here’s where the Microsoft Surface with Windows RT stands in terms of price:

Since it’s the more expensive option at this point, doesn’t include the full type cover as initially thought (without additional charges), and only includes Office 2013 Home and Student Edition, does the Surface still stand a chance in the marketplace? I’m curious to know how others feel about this.

Despite everything, I’m still interested in the Microsoft Surface and Windows 8 application developer. For enterprise users, Windows 8 seems to be the best of both worlds, something that arguably Apple still can’t capture. During Apple’s press conference today, they mentioned that they have 125 million documents in the cloud. They also announced that they’ve sold over 100 million iPads. This means that there’s just over 1 document in the cloud per person. That’s not too impressive. The other thing they mentioned is that developers made over $6.5 billion (with a ‘b’) on applications in the App Store. However, they failed to mention that this also translates to $2.79 billion that Apple themselves have pocketed for developers hard earned dollars. Microsoft is changing the game, slightly, for developers by offering an 80/20 split after the application has made $25,000 in the Microsoft Store.

To begin to learn how to develop for Windows 8, download Visual Studio Express here and visit Generation App, a 30-day training plan for developing a Windows 8 application.



Windows 8 Pre-Orders Prevalent

With Windows 8 just 3 days away from being officially released to consumers, manufacturers are pushing machines out to distributors everywhere. Don’t wait in line or miss out on the machine you’re looking for. Pre-order from one of the following websites today:

I’ve been using Windows 8 for quite some time now on a Samsung Series 7 tablet, Dell Precision M6500 laptop, virtual machine in Virtual Box, several virtual machines in Hyper-V, and two desktops.

I’m very anxious to see the Microsoft Surface Pro which should be released no later than January 26th, 2012 (based on the 3mo rule).

Although, this Vizio machine may have to do:

ca27ta5i1_2



Verizon Needs to Step Up

Verizon and other telecommunication organizations are falling behind. Technology companies such as Apple, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are announcing cutting edge technology every day. When was the last time Verizon announced expanding FiOS coverage?

This weekend, while I was looking at my Verizon bill, I said to myself “Self, why in the world am I paying this much for this service.” In Northeastern Pennsylvania, options are limited. Verizon and Frontier Communications are the lone, traditional Telco companies. Comcast, Service Electric, and Blue Ridge Communications are the primary cable providers. However, there is very little fiber run throughout the area. My Verizon DSL connection hits a whopping 2.5 MB/sec. Comcast offers the fastest speeds in the area. However, by switching to Comcast, I’ll have to abandon DirecTV and the NFL Sunday Ticket or have two TV packages (not cost effective).

I took to the Twitterverse to hopefully find some answers:

image

Seriously, I can practically see the CO from my house. That’s one of the biggest copouts I’ve heard. That tweet was followed by me asking about any other FiOS updates and about me possibly switching to another provider. The only response I received was::

image

The canned response I get when being on the phone is that the boroughs and townships in Luzerne County, PA need to approve FiOS first. However, it appears like they aren’t taking the time to reach out as is evident by this post on the Verizon forums for other areas in the US:

image

Or this stale post from 2009 asking specifically about Wilkes-Barre, PA:

image

So, I guess it will take a company like Google bringing Google Fiber to the area before anything changes. If I lived in Kansas City, I’d likely have faster Internet service for free:

image

It’s time for Verizon and others to change. In the meantime, keep telling Google to bring fiber to our area at http://fiber.google.com/cities/.



Windows 8 Color Palette

So Windows 8 has a new custom Start screen that allows live tiles to be displayed and rearranged on a per user basis. They also allow complete customization of the new Start screen. This includes a few backgrounds that are updated based on the color choice the user selects. Each color choice comes with two colors – a default color for the live tile and a background color for the start menu.

The color choices resemble the following image:

windows8-colors

As a developer, you may want to use one of these colors within your application. Rather than pulling the code from the file using a tool such as Adobe Photoshop, you can get the codes from here. I’ve taken the liberty of gathering these colors:

Windows 8
Palette
Background (Outside) Color
Live Tile (Inside) Color
#252525
#f4b300
#252525
#78ba00
#252525
#2773ed
#252525
#ae113e
#311600
#632f00
#550004
#b11d01
#4f023a
#c1004f
#2e0251
#7200ad
#1d0065
#4617b5
#00214f
#006ac0
#00485e
#008387
#004900
#189900
#17992c
#00c140
#e66b1b
#ff991d
#b91d1e
#ff2e13
#b31a6a
#ff1d77
#681cb4
#aa3fff
#1957ba
#20aeff
#599be5
#57c5ff
#00a8a8
#00d8cd
#82ba1b
#91d100
#d39d09
#e1b700
#e165bb
#ff76bc
#686868
#00a4a5
#686868
#ff7d23

Hope this helps you build a stylish, Windows 8 themed application. If there are any changes or suggestions, please let me know



Marking Code as Deprecated in .NET

Do you work on a team that shares code libraries? Have you ever wanted to implement a new method to replace an old one (with a differing signature) and simply deleted the old method? You can handle these situations easier by using an attribute on a class or method. The attribute is called Obsolete. This allows you to gracefully mark code as deprecated as shown below:

C#

   1: [Obsolete("This class has been deprecated.")]
   2: public class Test
   3: {
   4:     [Obsolete("This method has been deprecated.")]
   5:     public void FooBar () { }
   6: }

VB

   1: <Obsolete("This class has been deprecated.")>
   2: Public Class Test
   3:     <Obsolete("This method has been deprecated.")>
   4:     Public Sub FooBar()
   5:     End Sub 
   6: End Class

However, in the code above, both of these instances will only show a warning in the compiler. To throw an exception, you can add another property to the code to pass in a Boolean value to throw an exception as shown below:

C#

   1: [Obsolete("This class has been deprecated.", true)]
   2: public class Test
   3: {
   4:     [Obsolete("This method has been deprecated.", true)]
   5:     public void FooBar () { }
   6: }

VB

   1: <Obsolete("This class has been deprecated.", True)>
   2: Public Class Test
   3:     <Obsolete("This method has been deprecated.", True)>
   4:     Public Sub FooBar()
   5:     End Sub 
   6: End Class


I’m a Microsoft MVP… Again

So, I’ve been officially renewed as a Microsoft MVP again.


mvp


Too often, I’m asked about the MVP program. I’m asked what it is, what it means to get it, and how I was nominated and won.


What is the MVP Program?


The MVP program was designed for individuals that make contributions to technical communities including, but not limited to, blogs, forums, books, user groups, and speaking engagements. Microsoft recognizes these individuals in more than 90 countries.


Over the years, I’ve met some really interesting people through the program. I’ve got a chance to meet developers that build products I work with every day as well as authors that I’ve looked up to throughout the years.


What it means to get it


It’s always exciting to receive the award. This year has been my ninth straight year. Although the award is very flattering, I find it exhilarating to teach others about technology, especially in the Northeastern Pennsylvania region. This area has so much to offer young people and the only way it can continue to grow is by teaching and spreading tech goodness all over. I’m sure other MVPs feel the same way.


How to become nominated


Each year I wonder if I’ve done enough to deserver such honor. Looking back, it’s amazing to see what goes into receiving an award. A few things that you can do to become eligible are:


  • Start a blog or blog more about technology
  • Post to forums (such as asp.net) or respond to questions on websites like StackOverflow.com
  • Look for individuals needing help on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media networks
  • Create some sort of goodie like a free application or community-based website. Also consider contributing to open source projects. There are quite a few that can be found at CodePlex.com or GitHub.
  • Speak at a user group in your area then visit other nearby user groups providing the same or different talk. There are groups for everything in technology
  • If you can’t find a user group for your technical expertise, start one. Chances are others have the same technical background as you. Remember, a successful user group doesn’t need to have 500 attendees at meetings. It’s a success when it’s attendees are learning something.
  • Write a book (trust me, this one is the most time consuming)

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a champion for yourself. Find an MVP or Microsoft employee and explain how you’re helping the community. If you’re not sure where to begin, these are also great people to talk to. As a user group leader, I know that user groups can always use more help organizing events and assisting with the day-to-day nuances of running a user group.


You can find out more about becoming an MVP by visiting the Microsoft MVP website at http://mvp.support.microsoft.com/gp/mvpbecoming. If you know someone that you’d like to nominate for the MVP program, check out http://mvp.support.microsoft.com/gp/mvpnominate.


Other Organizations with MVP-like Awards


As I said earlier, it’s nice receiving this. But, let’s face it. There are probably more anti-Microsoft-ies than Microsoft-ies in this world. So, let’s assume that you’re not a Microsoft-ie and you’re about to write some “why are you so pro Microsoft blah” type comment. That doesn’t mean you can’t find a community to fit your interests. Here are others (that I know of and is not a complete list):



If there are others I’m missing, let me know and I’ll be sure to add them. I’ll update our user group website to include a more current list as I receive suggestions.


If you’re still looking for additional help, reach out to me on Twitter @jgaylord. I’ll be glad to help provide some advice. Whether its this program by Microsoft or another program by another company, help spread the knowledge of technology. It’s the only way tech can improve in years to come!