For Microsoft Kool-Aid Drinkers, Non-paid MS Evangelists written by a Senior Consultant, Passionate about Tech

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I just rolled off a client recently that needed to build a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) application as part of their hardware and software solution.  For those who aren’t yet familiar with UWP, you can check out this article by Tyler Whitney.

As many of you developers out there are aware, sometimes you have to build or bring with you a number of application infrastructure items before you can even get started with the core application logic.  For example, you might need some helpers, services and base classes that make your job easier or allow you to start with your base patterns, such as, MVC, MVVM, etc.

Well, in order to get a jump-start in this direction, a group of Microsoft Evangelists, who have gone through the same troubles, decided to create an open source library of very useful items for UWP development called Template 10.  In this first part of this blog series, I will show you how to building a Universal Windows Platform application using this library can be done effectively.

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Hey, welcome back to another Windows 10 Shots blog post.  I hope you read last week’s post, Windows 10 Shots – The Setup.

As I mentioned last time, with most shots after about a handful things will start to get a little hazy.  But, with Windows 10 Shots (this new series of posts), the hope would be that the opposite would happen.  That clarity and insight into the highly anticipated release would free your mind to great new features and power of Windows 10.

Today, let’s talk a little about the Microsoft’s new virtual digital assistant, Cortana.  You are probably familiar with Apple’s Siri, or even Google Now.  Well, Cortana is very similar but built right into Windows 10, both desktop (tablet, laptop) and windows phone (and soon, Xbox).  What?  Not a Windows fan?  Well, guess what?  It is even available on Android and coming to iOS.  Boom!


If this post seems interesting, and why wouldn’t it, check out the link below to see the full article I wrote for Intertech.

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BionicWomanHere is yet another feeble attempt to stay on the voice command/text-to-speech topic in Windows Phone 8 while injecting cartoons and superheroes as a theme.  With the fear of dating myself, how about a character that sits between cartoon and superhero?  What is that you say?  I say, “What about a character that isn’t a cartoon nor a superhero?”  Have you ever heard of The Bionic Woman?  The bionic woman was Lee Major’s, the Bionic Man, old flame who had a parachute accident and got all busted up falling through a bunch of trees, only to land on her head and damage her hearing.  Well, since they were able to use bionics to help Lee Major after an aircraft accident, they figured, “Hey, we did it once, let’s try it again.”  So, the Bionic Woman was given the gift of amplified hearing in her right ear along with other abilities.  That being said, this post is dedicated to having your Windows Phone 8 app listen to your every word.

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What are you talking about?  NUI?  Didn’t we start with UI (user interface) then move to GUI (graphical user interface) and then move to UX (user experience) as the focus for creating interfaces for software and web development?  So, now there is another … NUI!

What is NUI?  Natural User Interface.  Huh?  Well … with the popularity of the iPhone, Windows 7, Windows Mobile 6.5, and many other mobile devices … and soon to be released, Q1 of 2010, Windows Mobile 7 … touch screen technology is starting to catch the eye of most consumers.  In fact, one could argue that touch technologies are going to the interface of choice for a lot of high level consumer users.  Simple interfaces that allow for simple finger/hand gestures.

However, there are issues with today’s current GUI’s. attempts, thru a video, to explain the issues that we have with current GUI’s and put into perspective a different way to look at design of NUI’s as the next movement for user interaction and experience.

Below is a snapshot of a NUI design.  Doesn’t look much different than any other UI … but, notice the 5 small circles with + signs in them.  Those are actual finger inputs from the right hand of the user.  The video will explain this more, but you can see with the ability to use more than one input point, various hand gestures will be able to perform more intuitive input to an application/web site then ever before.


Below is the video that I mentioned above.  Listen carefully to the current issues and see how using a gesture based UI can transform the experience of the user with the application.

10/GUI from C. Miller on Vimeo.

My final thoughts are more additions to the NUI that is described in the video.  Here are a couple of ideas that I think would really make this NUI shine.  Keep reading …

Multiple Groups in Application Space

I think that the grouping in the application space as mentioned above is very cool.  However, what if you could group your groupings?  What if you wanted all your photo editing software in one grouping … all your email sites and programs in another … and all your web surfing browser sessions in another?  What if you wanted to save these groups so that you could load them all again later?  If you look at the image above the video in this article, you can imagine being able to scroll up and down lists of groups.  What if you could drag or copy one application from one group into another?  What if you could file applications or files into groups?  This would be very intuitive for the user, as well as provide a means to organize your work, play, etc. into your application space … or as I would like to say, work space.

Infinite Workspace Map – For quick file/application searching

If the multiple groups were implemented … you would obviously be able to zoom in and out, as they showed in the video, of your application space, but that could take some time if you are not aware or don’t remember where your file and/or application are in the groups.  So, it would be really nice if you could popup a transparent map that allows you to quickly navigate your application space without having to zoom in and out with a lot of finger/hand gestures.   Maybe you could implement a search box, similar to Spotlight on the MAC or the quick search on Windows, that would highlight the search results in the map.

Programmable Custom Gestures

What if you could create custom gestures which would load applications, search for files, perform maintenance tasks, call friends, etc.  The ability for you to create your own custom gestures or collections of gestures would allow you to get tasks done quickly without having to only be limited to the predefined basic gestures of the system.  Maybe you would turn on a record gesture(s) mode that would record your gestures and allow you to attach a text/video/audio/gesture help feature to help you remember the gesture and maybe playback the gesture for you in case you forget how to use it.

Automatic and Custom Lists

This is a minor addition to the already existing feature set that is in a lot of mobile applications.  The ability for the system to remember your last input (text, application choices, file destinations, etc.) and provide them in quick lists that would popup instantly or with a gesture.  This would allow for instant input into fields or other application actions.

In any case, you can see how important NUI design is going to be to software and the web.  I would love to hear any feedback you might have on this topic here on my blog or via Facebook or Twitter … usernames for them are Edyg023.

Okay …. so, a friend of mine was in Wisconsin at some random bar … a guy walks in and says … okay, this isn’t a joke.  Anyway, so, a friend is in the bar when she looks over and sees me … or does she … she walks up to talk to me …. only to find out that it really isn’t me.  She couldn’t believe it …

Here is the picture that she sent me … of me …


Man … I have to admit … he looks bizarrely like me!!  You know … really good looking .. okay, maybe not good looking … but looks a lot like me!!  🙂

So, I haven’t blogged in a while …. and I am feeling pretty guilty about it.  Why?  Not sure … I don’t think that anyone really reads these things, but it is still fun to make believe that someone really cares about what you have to say.  🙂

Anyway, I found a really cool site that can do some fun things to images.  It is called … befunky!   Yep, put your funk on and and some effects to an image.

It is really easy to do … you can upload an existing picture, take a picture with your webcam, upload from a URL or another photo sharing site.

When you first go to, you have the site welcome screen.  Here you will see sample of the effects that you can apply.


When you select Get started Now!, you will be prompted to select the application (effect) that you would like to use on the file you specify next.


If you select Cartoonizer, you will be prompted to upload a file for use with this effect.


I will select my Avatar for my space and you get a quick preview of the image with the ability to rotate and crop it before you apply the effects.


You will now see your image with the default effect applied.  What is kind of cool about this site is that you will see to the right the ability to apply this image to a number of products, such as mugs and shirts.  Could be really fun!


From here you can upload it, share it or save it your computer.   Here is my final image with its effect.


Okay … not the most appealing image of me … but, kind of a neat effect.

SeriousMediumI just wanted to make a quick post for two reasons …

1)  To say sorry it has been a long time since my last post

2)  To see if I can post from where I work … I know … I shouldn’t be doing that … but I thought that it would be nice to be able to post things that I find during research.

So, I will try to do better … promise!