Friday, December 27, 2013

Aggregating Windows Phone Store Apps into RSS

Naturally, there's an app for the Granite State NH Windows Phone Users Group.   :)

I recently added the ability to aggregate listings from the Windows Phone app store to create a list of apps published by our members.  RSS seemed the natural way to present the info, since it was consumed easily by an App Studio app.

I showed it off a bit at the users group, and got a few requests for some of the code.

Once published, you should be able to go to http://{yourserver}/{optional}/GSWPUGServices.svc/GetData to load the RSS feed.

It's currently published at http://www.kataire.com/GSWPUG/GSWPUGServices.svc/GetData


Here's the project.

http://sdrv.ms/1cNYO9T

Monday, November 25, 2013

Alaska, Undiscovered Country

There's been a note of surprise in the money news of late about Alaska. 

It's become a bit of a surprise that the most sparsely populated state in the US has suddenly become the hottest opportunity for corporate growth.  Alaska is a place where consumers have been largely ignored and fully under served...  yet suddenly logistics technology caught up with economists.  The change in tide has come about so suddenly that there's actually a race to get established there before the market gets saturated by competition.  (For Example)

What's a tech blogger doing, pointing out an economics topic?  Well... here's where the post turns into a geek post...  :)

I can't help but notice a parallel between the Alaskan boom and the Windows Phone boom that's also under way.  Corporations in saturated markets (IOS and Android) meet the growing, underserved market, and the realization that both past investments and new technologies can be leveraged...  and suddenly there's a whole new customer base waiting to be conquered in terms of apps and customer attention and loyalty in the company's native space.

Unlike Alaska, the Windows Phone market is global.  It'll likely literally take something earth shattering to make Alaska a bigger part of the US market than one of fifty states.  Windows Phone Store is already serving over 100 markets world wide.

Unlike Alaska, the Windows Phone market growth opportunity is virtually unlimited.  A company that conquers an Alaskan market will see growth, but it will not likely ever exceed the established markets in the lower 48.   In the Windows Phone market, a company could make it's big break there in the relative scarcity of competition, and even as the Windows Phone platform market share grows, could end up seismically shifting the landscape in their market.

Unlike Alaska, there's no logistics challenge.  Many companies already have all the elements required to make the jump to Windows Phone...  the talent pool, the code base, the infrastructure, very likely existing network services and even binaries.

Microsoft and Nokia have already taken the Windows Phone platform to the many Alaska's of the world, and the platform's already beating out the likes of both IOS and Android in many of them.   The US market is critical, but Microsoft (and Nokia) know that these the Alaska's they're winning in will eventually unite, and overwhelm from the edges as the incumbent platforms fade past their maturity.  Those with vision beyond this quarter's numbers would be wise to jump on board before their competition saturates their market.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Windows Phone Email Sync Error Code 8500201F

A reminder to myself, and anyone else who may encounter this issue.  I have occasionally run across it and finally nailed down the symptom and work-around solution...   The problem is that in rare (maybe once in six months or so) I would get an error while syncing my mail in Windows Phone.  It's an Exchange server, getting at the mail through OWA, and the fact that the error appeared & disappeared without warning, and only affected me, made it very mysterious. 

To make a long story short, sent a message to a fictitious address on my own email server trying to test something, and naturally got a administrator's "non-deliverable address" message back.   This NDA message in my in-box was causing the error code 8500201F, making my phone fail to sync.  I discovered this by cleaning out my in-box, which got sync working again.  I then started putting messages back a few at a time until sync failed again.  I eventually narrowed it down to that NDA message.  Not sure why it's a problem, but that's what it was.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Late Summer/Fall 2013 in Granite State Users Group Events

Fred Brandon Presenting at SharePoint Saturday New Hampshire 2012
Something I haven't been doing enough of, ever, is blogging about upcoming events for the two users' groups I help co-organize.   I generally think of this as a technology blog, and while I often like to blog about everything from nitty-gritty technical details to architectural level development stuff, I think I can spare a label for community involvement.  :) 

While SP Tech Con is rolling along down in Boston, here's what's rolling just a smidge north of there.

We just had our August 8th meeting for the Granite State NH SharePoint Users Group at Daniel Webster College in Nashua.   Due to a scheduling conflict Rebecca Isserman couldn't make it... thankfully Kris Huggins stepped up and presented on MS Project integration with SharePoint 2013 (as opposed to Project Server itself).  

We also organized a bit for volunteers for SharePoint Saturday, New Hampshire, 2013 as well as went over topics for SPSNH speaker selection.   All in all, we had a great meeting... those that attended really got to take part in what is becoming a special tradition for the users group and SPSNH.

Granite State SharePoint Users Group Meeting at the Microsoft Store in Salem
Our next meeting for the Granite State SharePoint NH Users Group meeting will be September 12th, with Richard Harbridge, from Microsoft!   In fact, we will be meeting at the Microsoft Store in Salem, NH, as well.  I believe this will be a fun easing-in "back to school" atmosphere event!  :)

Richard's visit should also be an excellent last call before SharePoint Saturday NH on September 21st.  We're really psyched to have a new location for SPSNH:  the Radisson Nashua.   It has been host to bunches of great events I've personally attended... so I'm really proud that SPSNH has grown to this level!

We have a fantastic lineup of speakers and topics and even great vendors with cool stuff to show off there.

If you haven't gotten your FREE SPSNH attendee ticket, please do so...  they are limited, and we won't get much notice before we run out.   You can knock that off your to-do list at http://spsnh2013.eventbrite.com


As far as my other group, the Granite State NH Windows Phone Users Group goes, our next meeting is this week, August 15th.  We've got Roman Jacquez, UI Developer Lead of Qvidien, with
"Creating Multiplayer Turn-Based Games with Windows Phone and Windows 8", again, at the Microsoft Store in Salem. 
 
Going out through September, the NHWPUG's meeting will be September 19th (just days in front of SPSNH!) with Gary Ritter, who will be chatting about "Favorite Windows Phone Development Tips ad Shortcuts for Beginners", also at the Microsoft Store.

I'll also take this opportunity to thank Daniel Webster College, the Microsoft Store, and Alexander Techology Group for their steadfast support of the users groups, and Edgewater and Atrion for their core-team support of SharePoint Saturday!

Developing Business Intelligence Apps for SharePoint

I happened across a copy of "Developing Business Intelligence Apps for SharePoint" at the local Barnes and Noble today!   

How could I not be psyched that Jason Himmelstein, good friend and co-organizer of the Granite State SharePoint Users Group, SharePoint Saturday New Hampshire, and the Granite State Windows Phone Users Group has copies of his book (co-authored with David Feldman) on the shelf at the book store?!   (and according to B&N's website, it's at stores all over NH.... and I'm sure well beyond that, too)   (ISBN: 978-1449320836)

The guy even had the nerve to put my name in it, too...  :)

I'll post my (fully unbiased) review as soon as I'm done reading it...  :)

I also figure that if I can be in any small way an inspiration to someone accomplishing something like that, I might possibly have to stop resting on my published apps, give myself a boot in the butt and get some pages out there, too... as soon as I find time.  

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Lumia 1020: Threat to the Status Quo

I stopped by my local AT&T store today [Saturday, July 27, 2013] (the corporate store at the Mall of NH in Manchester) to check out the Lumia 1020.  I'd heard lots about it so I was pretty psyched...  I already have (and love) my Lumia 920... it was released back in December, so it hasn't been a year yet.  No real hope of upgrading just yet, but being a founding member of the NH Windows Phone Users Group, I take the supposed obligation to checked it out, as I did with Verizon's 928, and T-Mobile's 925.    :)

I know the competition between mobile devices is a bit hot, despite the decline in popularity of iPhones, the non-restart of the Blackberry, the fragmentation of the Android, and the slow rise of the Windows Phone, but I never thought the competition might be this hot until today...  I came to hypothesize that there might be sales reps who, for whatever reason, have their favorites, and possibly....  just maybe... feel threatened by devices that rival them.  

Walking into the store, I was really happy to see the Lumia 1020 display.... they had a yellow and a black unit out.  

Getting closer, I had to second guess myself that these were actually 1020's.  They looked much like my 920, and these units looked... worn...  like they'd been on display since... December of the year before.   The yellow unit was powered on, at the start screen.  The black unit was off.  Both had been scratched pretty heavily, especially at the point where the security device attached to the face of the display.... (hindering some of the UI, I noticed... the search button was fully obscured.)  especially the black one.   Given how tough the surface is... I can only imagine that someone spent some time working at scratching up the unit.   (If you examine the image below carefully at full resolution, you can just about make out the scratches... I wasn't able to spend a lot of time taking the picture with my 920's great-but-not-1020-awesome camera.... but they're there.)  

I ignored the scratches for the time being... these were brand spanking new units that clearly almost no customers had been shown in the less than 24 hours since it was unboxed and put on the shelf.  I was just excited to see the 1020.

But still, I was unsure... could these be 920's?   I had to pick it up and look at the back to see the 1020's camera spot...  yes, clearly 1020's.   It was the yellow unit I'd picked up, since the black unit was not powered on.   I asked my son to pose for me, so I could take his picture with the awesome 41MP camera.

The unit powered itself off almost as quickly as I fired up the camera.

OMG....  Did it just crash?

No...  this unit is not charging.  It has this big honkin' lit-up security device attached to it, but that's not providing any power to the Lumia.   Someone had failed to provide power to the devices;  they were on the factory charge and had run dead.  Yes, batteries on both Lumia's were dead as doornails.

 A rep finally approached me, and asked if he could help.   I asked him if we could please get some power to these Lumia 1020's so that I could take a look at them.   After a few minutes, the rep returned with the power cords (as seen attached to the USB ports in the image, below.)

I waited several minutes for the devices to charge enough for the power to come back on, and played with them for a few moments.   There was a box on the left of the display bay designed to allow you to take a picture of a picture within it, simulating various lighting conditions.  It wasn't much more than a simple box, but it was misassembled, and the point of it was lost unless you read a bit.

I enjoyed playing with the camera a bit, taking a few different photos, and experimenting with the new zoom gestures & such... and was duly impressed with it.   It was also lighter than my 920, and I found myself wishing I could just bite the bullet and upgrade.  :)

Most Windows Phone devices, I've noticed, when put on display, get set up with demo accounts so you can download apps from the app store and try them out.  I often like to see how my apps behave on newer devices.  Neither of these units were set up with connectivity... no cellular, no Wi-Fi.

The final bit that really got me thinking about how someone at this store might really feel threatened somehow by the Lumia 1020 was because I realized, as I looked around the store....  no other unit in the store had a big honkin security device obscuring part of the UI as both these 1020's did.   The security devices for every other unit in the store was entirely attached to the back of the devices with nothing else on the faces of them...  so it felt like someone spent time to fit these particular devices with these old security rigs that they used that also damaged the devices and hindered any demos...

Really, I'm a big Windows Phone fan and Nokia Lumia fan, but this display was almost enough to make me think AT&T doesn't want folks to see this as the flagship upgrade in the Windows Phone lineup.   In any case, I don't think I'll send friends & family to that store to check them out.

So my only problem with my hypothesis...  why, really, might a rep at a mobile store want to sabotage their own products?   Could they really feel the 1020's a threat to... iPhone?  Android?   Any other hypotheses on that level?

[Edit: 7/30:  I got a response from this... (Surprised... unexpected... humbled... but appreciated!)   If I understand it correctly, the suboptimal demo experience was officially deemed "accidental", and the units have been replaced...  and so have the security devices... so that the demo experience will be as it should be... and I'll be happy to recommend to friends & family to go to the AT&T store & check the 1020 out.  :)   ]


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

D11: What's Wrong with Devices Everywhere?

Reports coming back from D11 indicate that most companies are focusing on (according to a report attributed to Mary Meeker)  "Wearables, Drivables, Flyables, Scannables".

Simply put, I tend to disagree still. 

While all these brilliant minds are gathering, I think the feedback leaking out feels as out of touch as the iPhone...  I'm not sure it even sounds different anymore.

With respect to wearables, I believe the pre-backlash against Google Glass is telling, and has more to do with the fact that people are very comfortable with their smartphones... and not so comfortable with the Borg-like assimilation of them.  

I think Apple will run into the same sorts of issues with the iWatch.  I'd rather put an iPhone on an arm- or wrist- band than have both an iPhone and an iWatch...  that makes two devices to manage the care & feeding of...  this goes directly against the premise of the SmartPhone... the idea that *one* device is your buddy and your complete "away-mission" kit.

The idea of drivables is similar.  Computers in cars is one thing.  I don't want to have another computer interface in my car. 

Blame it on R2-D2 and the Borg.

No one wants to be assimilated. 

Further, why carry an X-Wing (or Y-Wing or B-Wing) fighter around when you can have your astromech (smartphone) follow you from fighter to fighter?

While I fully agree...  any company worth their salt should be looking at making everything have a well connected computer in it,  they should not, necessarily, be looking at having a human interface on those devices.  These should be control & reporting processors built into devices, not redundant smartphones built into devices.

Let the interface be our beloved astromech... I mean smartphone.

I love where some auto manufacturers are going with things like Ford SYNC.

The ten year cycle on the smartphone is only just beginning, and wearables, drivables, flyables and scannables probably won't work as stand-alone products, but as extensions of the smartphone era.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Virtual Gambit

What a pain.

A few weeks ago I posted a bit about how Windows 8 is not killing the PC market.

I'll now take that a step further and argue about the one thing in Windows 8 that is really making me regret not having new hardware...  an actual compelling reason to really think about a new PC, for me.

Around the time I wrote the original post, I was looking at taking advantage of Windows 8 Pro / Hyper-V on my home PC...  mostly because emulators for devices such as Surface and Windows Phone 8 make use of it.  I have Hyper-V on my work system, and it's fantastic for a variety of reasons.

I'd all but forgotten that my home PC didn't have a processor that supported VT-x technology, meaning no Virtual Machines... so when I went to add the Hyper-V role, I was somewhat disappointed to discover it was a no-go.  

"Maybe it's time to upgrade something," I thought.   I could get a new machine... but it's pretty hard to justify the chunk of change based on this one feature.  (Never mind that it's not so easy to liberate that kind of money from the budget.)  "I'll order a new processor that supports Virtual Machines."  VT-x.

So I dropped the $200, instead.... placed an order for a dated, but still more feature-rich chip.  I waited for the thing to arrive, and finally sat down, lifted the old CPU out, and dropped in the new one.

After the successful screw-top surgery, I pulled up the dialog to add Hyper-V only to discover that...  the new CPU doesn't have the guts to run Hyper-V on Windows 8 either.

Seriously miffed, (because I know VM technology is older than Hyper-V, and I just burned $200 for 2-3 more FPS in WoW) I started looking into what the deal was.  Turns out Hyper-V on Windows 8 requires an additional virtualization technology in the processor called SLAT.  

None of the processors that fit my home PC support SLAT. 

If I want Hyper-V, (which is highly desirable for coders like myself who want to use Microsoft tools for the latest MS platforms) I *must* replace the vast majority of my PC's components... but, really... economically speaking.... I need a new PC.

So it's an interesting conundrum that I can't help think was designed around boosting hardware sales....  Seriously...  I can do a lot with Virtual Box and VMware Player in terms of running VMs.  I could even install Windows Server 2012 and run Hyper-V from the server OS (without SLAT) on the very same hardware.  (Only Windows 8 Pro Hyper-V requires it.)

I can't buy a new PC for less than $2k that will outperform my current system...  so, when it comes down to it, the ONLY reason I can think of to upgrade would be for Hyper-V... what a pain.

Here's a comparison between my PC (Hyper-V no-workey) and a much more modern i7 (Hyper-V workey)...  note that the i7 is an Intel i7-720M, but it's processor score (6.9) in the Windows Experience Index is less than the experience index of my older Yorkfield Core 2 Quad-Q9400 (7.2).   (both systems are hobbled by their disk platters).


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Cloud or Windows 8 Killing the PC Market?

Everyone's busy scratching their heads as of late, and then pointing.  Who's killing the PC market?  

Slashdotters are loving the idea that it's Windows 8 ( http://tech.slashdot.org/story/13/04/11/002200/windows-8-killing-pc-sales ).

...but I fully call BS on that.  (Thankfully, Slashdot corrected itself to some extent.)

Then I came across this article by ZD Net blaming the cloud:
http://www.zdnet.com/whos-killing-the-pc-blame-the-cloud-7000013954/#postComment


The CLOUD?

That's kind of like saying the Boeing 787 is killing the auto industry.

The cloud may be killing the server market, but that's not the PC market...  the server market is busy supporting the cloud providers, though, so I don't think they're too bad off. 

If Windows 8 is holding the PC market back, it's this:   I have upgraded every PC I touch (and then some) to the latest Windows 8 Pro, with no need for additional hardware, (because you were ill advised (or unadvised) if you're a Windows user who didn't take advantage of the $40 PRO edition upgrade offer from MS while you could.)

What's killing the PC market is rooted in applications... especially games, on a couple levels:

1)  the fact that there's only ever been one reason to have heavy iron at home:  games.  Games have gotten to the point that spending a few thousand dollars on a new machine won't significantly improve your desktop gaming experience... so... unless you have that kind of scratch to waste, why bother?

2)  The games people want to play are on mobile devices.  As much as I love my desktop games, there actually have been a few mobile titles that have been engaging enough that I have taken time off from raiding to play them.

There is also the fact that the economy in general sucks, and while older PCs can continue to function, newer PCs are discretionary purchases that can (or must) wait.  

I can say from example, I'm aware of someone who has a laptop that, through what appears to be planned obsolescence, has broken in a couple of "expensive" ways... the display and keyboard are both dead.   Rather than pay a grand or more for repairs that would cost more than a new machine, or even pay the money for the new machine, the solution was to pick up a USB keyboard, and a cheap monitor... it now serves quite adequately as a desktop...  (and it was also upgraded to Windows 8).  (In any case, I'll never waste money on that brand of laptop again.  :)  )

If the hardware market wants me to spend, they've got to do something that will get me to feel like I'm not burning bucks for 10 additional frames per second, or... change their model... radically. 

Or... show me my favorite desktop title with an improved experience through touch screen...  but even this can be overcome with something like a LEAP Motion sensor for less than $100.

Bottom line... I think what we're seeing is, for the first time, honest to goodness inflation hitting the PC market, and it's choking on it.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Hedging Against The Risk of Becoming A Monopoly

First Microsoft with their late entry into the mobile market (and flubs leading up to it)... then Apple... now Facebook...  anyone notice that they kinda suck lately?  

Apple, clearly getting bored with it's iPhone, is now turning its attention to it's iWatch... which doesn't make much sense to me;  I purposely gave up all other devices, including a wristwatch, in favor of a single unified mobile device.  It will take a lot to convince me to add a wristwatch back in, and I'm sure having to pay for it will be a deterring factor.   (Next thing you know, they'll add electroshock notifications, and make it so that authorities will have the ability to lock it to the wearer's wrist and cause it to electromagnetically bind to the nearest metal object in order to detain people... (but that's another whole story)).

I'm always toying with social media, so when I ran across a Facebook post from an entrepreneurial acquaintance recently, wondering if his content was being suppressed, I had to check it out.   As an experiment, he posted a really cute puppy, and it picked up a fair number of responses.  His concern was that his regular posts were not getting the response he'd grown accustomed to.  To add yet more anecdote, there was recently a post on the New York Times' blog about similar observations, tied to tweaks Facebook has made recently.  It seems posts that are engaging or paid for are prioritized, and posts that are not quite as popular are at best "deprioritized".  It seems likely that even engaging posts tied to commercial products are likely suppressed unless paid for.  Anyone who dabbles in trying to build an audience through Facebook must pay or make sure their content is very engaging.   I like knowing about the books friends of mine are publishing.  I like knowing about their small mom & pop shop.  These posts are getting hidden from my newsfeed.  It's not the most engaging stuff, but it's part of what I use Facebook for.  Having this stuff drop off my radar makes Facebook start to suck more.  Yes, they want to make money, but I think there may be even more to it.

I digress.

But I have to ask...  with all the Big Data that companies like Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Facebook, Google, and the rest have...  and rest assured, they have it... the analytics.  How can they really not recognize the things that are hurting their business? 

Is it intentional?

If modern history has shown us anything, it's that free markets do not tolerate monopolies.  In every case, any time a company takes advantage of its own strength in the market, the market has pushed back, forcing one of a number of "bad" things upon the company.  Just about every global company has seen this.  I recall hearing about the Rockefeller oil breakup, but in our time, it was the Microsoft / Internet Explorer shakedown.... and there have been many others.

I long suspected the reason Linux existed and was not thoroughly stomped on by the powers that be (Microsoft) was to allow Linux to be a "competitor" in the market... something that would never have a unified corporate focus that could actually unseat Microsoft.  I know that Microsoft even supported some Linux components, which anecdotally supports my theory.  I'm sure they supported it as much as they felt they necessary in order to make sure Linux was a viable competitor.

When it became clear that Linux's strength was flagging, a more corporate competitor became necessary.  It seems Apple filled that gap very nicely in the PC market for some time.

While Apple began to dominate the mobile market, Google stepped up to become a competitor there, partially because Microsoft wasn't committed to the market space.  (It wasn't enough of a threat to the PC market.)  Android has the same problems as Linux... too decentralized to be a lasting threat, so while Apple had it's heyday and now lets itself slip in the market, Microsoft will target Google.  Eventually, I predict Apple and Microsoft will take turns with market dominance with Google there to provide another safety net.

So back to Facebook...  It seems like Twitter has become a haven for market bots, but not much more of real use to the average person.  Facebook's power grew to near monopolistic levels over 2012, but I predict that Facebook will actually allow this unhappy situation to persist for entrepreneurial folks, encouraging them to explore Google+.  This leadership transference to Google+ will bolster Google+ as a competitor, enabling Facebook to remain free of  the shackles of being a monopoly.  I suspect they'll both start taking turns with market dominance, but despite the market competition, I bet both will claim better results in their marketing campaigns, thus leading to higher advertising prices on both.

The nasty part, here, is that the reason for preventing and sanctioning monopolies is to prevent them from strong arming their markets.  Unfortunately, what it seems like we're getting instead is very small oligarchies taking turns to be the dominant, but not quite monopolistic force in the market.  They take advantage of each other to develop brand loyalty which improves their profit margins and gives them near monopolistic power among their followers, yet they maintain their monopoly-free, unsanctioned status.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

#quotehack of the day

The other day, a friend of mine posted a quote by Oscar Wilde.*   It went like this:

"I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again."
The coder in me immediately was reminded of code review sessions where we looked for ways to improve the codebase in really nitpicky ways.  Almost instantly, I hacked up the quote in my mind and posted the following:

Like the original, it's an exaggeration, of course, but there's always that kernel of truth... sometimes you get caught up in little things that don't pan out. 

That got me thinking of a few other favorite quotes, and how an over-dedicated developer like myself might better relate to them.
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

"Whatever you are, be a good one."

 
"The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any." 

"The mind determines what's possible.  The heart surpasses it."

Going forward, I'm challenging myself to do a #quotehack of the day.  I might even be inspired to do a breakdown blog post for some of them.

In any case, I invite you to follow along... I'll probably continue to post from my phone, which cross posts to Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In all at once, so you can catch 'em from any of those & see if you can spot the original quote.  Maybe it'll be something you can relate to yourself .

* Joe Pace, author of a really cool sci-fi book called "Minotaur".

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

No Kid Hungry, Resolution To Renew My Commitment

It's New Years Day, 2013. 

My kids made a comment, this morning, about how commercials on the TV were the same today as they were yesterday.  Without thinking about it, I flatly told them that it doesn't really work that way; that today isn't really much different from yesterday. 

I realized right away, even without my wife's reproving look, that I'd blundered a bit as a dad just then.  I remember being disappointed when I was a kid by how things failed to change over night between New Years Eve & New Years Day.  I had to explain to my kids that the real difference between 2012 and 2013 was not the messages in TV commercials, but what they, themselves, resolved to change.... and the work they put into making that happen.

That, of course, got me thinking about my resolutions for 2013..  I'd tweeted a couple cute ones last night, on New Years Eve...  but there's one that I've been thinking about for a while now that I've only hinted at otherwise.

In 2012, I saw how much deeper problems seem to be running, economically....  how even some of my extended family would consider my immediate family's lackluster financial situation to be a blessing compared to what they're facing. 

Media news reports that the economy is improving.  That may be true on Wall Street, but it seems hollow on Main Street.  Indeed, the so-called improvements of 2012 feel like they've come at the expense of folks who have been on the brink of needing help.  Clearly trickle down economics have failed.  News of improvement only means that people are slower to give... because we're not in such financial distress, anymore...  right?  Well... worse, with fiscal cliffs and inflation factors threatening to take hold in 2013, who can give?   Sadly, trickle up poverty seems to be in full effect.  

In the meantime, one thing that didn't work out the way I'd hoped in 2012, was the results from my charity project. 

As a product, I'm very pleased with what I was able to publish in my spare time.  It's an honest to goodness Sudoku puzzle game for Windows Phone...  no spyware, no malware, no ads, no personal information used or transmitted...   just the kind of game I wanted to play, and something I wanted to share.   I built it using tools that I wanted to work with.  I published it globally for free, and also for the U.S. for $5 with my own personal commitment to donate all proceeds to charity.  (Folks in the U.S. have a choice...  there's no difference between the free and the paid editions of the app... it's just if you want to donate to charity or not.)

As a tool for charity to raise funds and/or awareness...  well...  I'm hoping to change it's past performance.  I understand that it looks bad that I can't market the app with official cause logos & such from the charity I've committed to support...  I asked for permission for that, and for legitimate reasons, I couldn't.  My hope was that the app would earn the privilege by the contributions it generated.  It's been tempting to shoot first and apologize later, but in a world of "no good deed goes unpunished", I didn't want to take risks I couldn't back up.

After an experimental social media campaign that mostly just annoyed friends & family on Facebook, I gave up.  There was too much real work that needed my attention.  I couldn't let an effort that was getting nowhere cause me to fail at stuff like my job.  

I've decided to renew my efforts with the hope that it gains some traction at some point... I'm not fighting for the product; I have nothing to prove there. 

It's the cause.  Helping hungry kids. 

I have yet to figure out exactly what this means... I don't want to annoy friends & family... but the cause needs hands.

Even if you have no interest in my charity project as a fundraiser, please seriously consider contributing to the cause. Even if you can't do that...  please help spread the word. 

This is their website:
No Kid Hungry