I recently upgraded my main work machine, Dell Studio 1558, to Windows 8 Pro. Only had one issue, where my ATI display driver was making Windows 8 Pro to crash after few minutes into the start screen. Other than this no issues. Smooth sailing so far :)
There’s one thing that I realized after few hours of using Windows 8 start screen, the All Apps option is hidden under a right-click contextual menu. And I was accessing it a lot of times during the day.
I thought there might be a tile that I can place on the start screen, and can just place it on there and All Apps will be just a click away as compared to right-click then click All Apps button in lower-right corner. I’m a lefty, and the start menu we all are so used-to made me look for more apps button in the lower-left corner all the time :D
After some research, I found that there’s no built-in All Apps tile in Windows 8. So I made one myself. I don’t exactly remember where I found the snippet, but all credit goes to whoever found it. I just searched for it :D
All you have to do is make a New Shortcut on Desktop, and set its Target field to:
And Start in field to: %windir%. You can change the icon as per your liking of course. Click Ok to create the shortcut on your Desktop.
Now, right-click on this newly created shortcut, and select Pin to Start. Now you have a nice tile that you can just click to access all of your installed applications. Should be great for touch screens as well.
Please note that this is not a perfect hack, there’s a small visual hick-up, as if you click on tile, it will take you to the Desktop for a second, then back to All Apps list in modern UI. But it works :D
You can also download this shortcut file I created for myself, so you don’t have to go through all the hacking stuff ;)
Being a mobile app developer, I have to keep few devices around me all day for debugging and testing my apps. Nowadays, all smartphones come with Bluetooth, WiFi and now NFC technologies, but they all fail to talk to each other for even simple text data exchange.
I find myself in situations where I need to quickly get piece of text from one device to another. It could be a link, some text copied from browser, or SMS message I received on one device, and need to get on other device without messing around with apps or wires.
Yesterday this idea came to my mind when I was reading a lengthy article on my HTC Titan and received system notification that I need to recharge or else phone will power off. I wanted to quickly open the same article on my Nokia E7 which I was also carrying with me.
As I described earlier, that we currently don’t have any standard way to get these devices talk to each other directly without going through the “cloud”, so I was stuck there.
I quickly jumped back to my seat, and started some experiments. After an hour I did my first test and and it was a success!
Now you just need to point your other smartphone or tablet camera to it with a QR Code reader app of course (built-in in WP and other OS’s), and voila! The link will now open up.
It works in PC browsers as well, so if you need to quickly open a link on your tablet or smartphone from PC, you can save this in bookmarks toolbar in IE/Chrome/FF/Safari, and click it to instantly make a QR code for current link.
I tested it on all major PC browsers, and on my Nokia E7 and HTC Titan. Works great! It should run on all mobile browsers which support editing of bookmark URL, so you can insert the code there.
BTW, I used old Google Charts APIs to make the QR codes.
And finally here’s the code which you can copy and save as favorite in your mobile browser.
Step by step guide:
Open web browser on mobile or PC
Add / save this page as bookmark or favorite
Now select and edit the saved bookmark
In name field, type “! QRCoder”. The character in start makes sure the bookmark is always on top of the list in your bookmarks list. Easy to tap :)
Ok / Done to save. Now go to any website and from bookmarks / favorites, tap on “! QRCoder”
To quickly land on this page, scan this QR code from your smartphone or tablet:
Tested on following devices / OS:
PC / Mac / Linux – Check
iPhone, iPad – Check
Windows Phone 7.5 – Check
Symbian Anna / Belle – Check
Z10 / BB10 – Check
I know when this gets published, many non-techy users are going ask how to save this code in mobile browser as favorite. So, here’s a little video demonstration on a Windows Phone:
I am really happy to be part of Nokia Developers Workshop which was jointly organized by Nokia Pakistan and Telenor, in Telenor’s premises in Islamabad.
It was a two day workshop (28-29 Feb 2012) where I talked about Qt Quick runtime and QML for designing and developing great looking apps and games, with focus on game development for Symbian and Meego based Nokia devices, such as Nokia N8, E7, X7 and the recently announced Nokia PureView 808.
The 2nd day of the workshop was even more fun as we explored the Box2D engine APIs using QML. One interesting thing I’d like to share was that I did not practiced making Ping Pong using Box2D before the workshop. But I was confident enough as I’ve been playing with Box2D and QML for some time, to do it live ;)
Below is the slide deck of my talk. You are free to download and modify it and use it for your own presentations. I will appreciate if you include my name in credits as original author.
And here’s the project for Ping Pong game we developed at workshop. PingPong-QML.zip
As we figured out on the first day of the workshop that Box2D was not getting compiled with default MSVC2008/2010 compiler Qt SDK uses. Box2D compiles correctly with MinGW 4.4 compiler for Desktop and Simulator targets, which is an optional component in Qt SDK.
For Box2D development using QML, install Qt SDK in custom mode and check all components to be installed. When you open the Ping Pong project, remember to check if you have selected MinGW 4.4 as the compiler as shown in screenshot below.
There were few things that I needed to skip due to time constraints. One of them was making icons for your applications. If you are targeting Meego OS then you can safely use a PNG file as an icon. But if you are targeting Symbian OS you need to make your icon in SVG-Tiny format. It’s a vector format, and you need to draw again in Inkscape or Illustrator if you have done it in Photoshop.
The easy workaround for you is that we have developed an online icon making tool specific to cover this issue for beginners. Use our popular SVG Icon Maker tool to make SVG-Tiny icons from any image.
The second thing I skipped to discuss was, the Ping Pong game is hardware accelerated. Yes, it uses OpenGL to draw the graphics. So you can use heavy graphics in your game and it will never lag. To find out how I have enabled this take a look in main.cpp file of the project ;)
And finally here are some photographs taken on the last day of the workshop.
It was a great experience for me and I hope all the participants enjoyed developing with QML and publish a game or an app soon on Nokia Store.
Another great news for all the participants of the workshop is Nokia have announced a global competition for developers who will develop an app or game using Qt Quick components can win a free Nokia PureView 808 device which features a 41 megapixels camera!!! More details here.
It’s a great opportunity and perfect timing for you to develop and publish a new Qt Quick app in Nokia Store and win a great new Nokia PureView 808.
Is was great energetic first day at the Nokia Developers Workshop in Islamabad, PK. I covered the basic concepts of QML GUI development with focus on dealing with games.
We also took a brief dive into the State Machine, Transition & Animations for GUI elements. We did a small prototype game-kindda thing which is not complete, but attendees asked me that I put the code for download.
BTW, we ended up with a funny name for this game, Ghobara Ghobara (in english Balloon Balloon) :D
I recently got into a problem where I by mistake uninstalled “Client for Microsoft Networks” option for my Dell notebook’s WLAN adapter.
The main issue which I was having was that the network icon in system tray was always showing as disconnected, even if I connect to WiFi or plug a LAN cable. It always shows disconnected, which was annoying.
So, if you happen to get similar issue in Windows 7, just open Device Manager from Control Panel, and select the WiFi network adapter and Uninstall it. Do not check “Delete the driver software for this device” Option.
After this, from Actions menu in Device Manager, click “Scan for hardware changes”, which will reinstall the driver back from the drivers’ cache, and will also fix the network icon issue.
Now back to the original issue at hand. To reinstall the Client for Microsoft Networks, you first need to open the Properties window for the network adapter.
Click Install, and select Service, then there will be only option for “Flash and Printer Sharing Service for Microsoft Networks”, select it to install.
Now go back to same window and this time click Install and select Client from the list. You will get option for “Client for Microsoft Networks”, select it and install. That’s it!
Now if you are connected to network, disconnect, and connect again so you can start accessing the file sharing service on your LAN.
We are really happy with our experience so far. Highway Racer reached #1 spot in Sports category, and #3 spot in overall Games category on Ovi Store in just four days after published on Ovi Store for Pakistan region.
Now it’s 29th day on Ovi Store, it’s been jumping up ‘n down in top 30 games. Highway Racer have been downloaded 175000+ times and counting, on it’s way to million downloads. It’s current rating is 4 stars with 149 reviews.
Finally I got some time to do the most requested updates to our online icon makers, SVG2Go for Symbian devices and PlayBook Icon Maker.
They are really helping a lot of developers and we have been receiving many suggestions and appreciation from around the world. And we thank you all.
We have so far 1800+ SVG-Tiny icons created for Symbian apps, and they include icon for games like Angry Birds Free version as well. And 2700+ icon for the PlayBook apps.
There are two major new things in this update.
Option to enable a background fill color. This is also useful when you are dealing with a transparent icon which is hard to see on that checker-box in the preview area.
Icon selection box and loaded image is opened centered by default. We have noticed many users confused that the selection box doesn’t move from the top-right corner. Well, it does and user can use Arrow Keys to fine tune the selection.
You might have already read about the recent announcement by Nokia that Symbian Anna is now being pushed to all the Symbian ^3 capable devices, like Nokia N8, E7, C7 and C6-01. To read more visit the official announcement on Nokia Conversations blog here.
In this post, I will give you some pointers, if you are unable to install Symbian Anna on your device.
The first thing you need to do is find out if the update is pushed for your region or not. Start SW Update app on your device, and wait for it to refresh the list of available updates. Once the list is refreshed, it will show you if the device update is available.
On my brother’s Nokia C7, the update was offered as OTA (Over The Air) 28mb update. Once updated, the SW Update now shows two more updates named as Symbian Anna 1/2 and Symbian Anna 2/2. Both updates are about 30mb each. I did not continue with the updates yet because the battery was not fully charged. So, will update it later.
Update for Nokia C7: Okay, I continued the updates on my brother’s C7, and both of the updates installed fine. Remember, that after update 1/2 is installed, it will ask you to restart device, DO NOT restart, as update 2/2 is already being in installing process. Just wait till the updates are installed (about 20 mins).
Then I checked for the update on my Nokia E7 development device, SW Update app showed me the update on device, but it asked me to install the update via Ovi Suite or Nokia Software Updater.
When checked via Ovi Suite, it always showed update for Here and Now app, but not the device update. So, after many tries in 2 hours, I downloaded Nokia Software Updater.
The Nokia Software Updater reminded me that I’m using the device without a SIM, so I have to put a SIM to make the updater work. So, remember developers, you need to put any SIM in device before trying update, otherwise the update will fail. Maybe Ovi Suite was also failing because of no SIM.
For my E7, the update size is 325mb, and it’s still downloading. I will update this post with my success, and might write another post to review the new things in Symbian Anna update.
Okay, after the download and installation of Device Update for my Nokia E7 via Nokia Software Updater, I got quite a bit of Symbian Anna feeling. The icons and browser have new look.
Just after few hours, I checked for updates via SW Update app, and to my surprise, there were two more updates, like I seen on my brother’s Nokia C7. I checked and started the updates. The interesting thing to note is, the first 325mb update was only available via PC, and these two updates are OTA.
They took about 30 minutes to install. During the installation, I was asked two time for EULA for MS Communicator and JoikuSpot. I think these later updates are new version of built-in apps like Mail for Exchange and couple of new apps.
For me, both of these updates went fine on the first go. It restarted my E7, and everything seems to be working alright.
Important note, that after update 1/2 is installed, DO NOT restart your device manually. Just wait for the 2nd update to be installed as well.
I am excited to announce our first entry into Nokia Ovi Store with our first Adobe Flash Lite based game, Highway Racer. It’s a simple arcade style racing game, to take a fun break in your busy life.
Click the banner below to head over to Ovi Store and get it FREE now. It’s a limited time offer ;)
Here are some screenshots before I get to details and our experience so far in publishing to Ovi Store.
Game Development Experience
Highway Racer is a Flash Lite 3 based game developed using Adobe Flash CS5.5. The development experience is best you can get. We used traditional timeline for animations and scripts on frames for interactivity. Most of the resources are small components and reused to keep the runtime memory footprint small.
Highway Racer runs on all Symbian 5th Edition (Nokia 5800XM, N97, etc.) devices as well, but the performance is not as good because these devices have slower processor.
For best experience, we recommend playing Highway Racer on any latest Symbian ^3 device like Nokia N8, E7, C7, X7 etc.
Packaging and Distribution
For Highway Racer, we used SWF2Go Pro 2.6 to compile a SIS file to post on Ovi Store for QA. SWF2Go is our most popular development toolkit used by tons of developers in more than 50 countries around the world.
Since SWF2Go allowed us to get past the SIS making process in less than 10 minutes, we were then quickly on the phase to make graphics for Ovi Store submission.
Ovi Publisher portal is now really easy to use, I must say. The submission wizard is easy follow, and it was like just 4 steps. And you are done.
The QA process took 2 days only, which was quite a surprise for us, we were not even quite ready :D
There’s one small complaint/ issue, which I like to point out. On the Distribution “€œ> Language tab, there should clear note, if content is in English, select Works With All Languages / Publish To All Languages. We selected English (US) on first QA round, and later discovered that our game was only visible in US / Latin America. Ovi Store team, please add this note.
The After Shocks
It’s a complete surprise to us that Highway Racer is on #1 position in Sports category and #3 position in overall Games category for Pakistan region, just in 4 days!
We are very proud, and excited, as we have just stepped into Ovi Store, and finding such success in few days. It’s a big milestone for us.
We have already plans for follow up versions of Highway Racer as well as couple of cool new game ideas we are working on to publish on Ovi Store in coming months.