My First Metro App - Currency Converter for Windows 8

by Dmitry Kirsanov 23. September 2013 14:40

Currency Converter logoFinally, here comes the Windows 8 port for my Windows Phone 8 (and 7) currency converter published 3 weeks earlier.

There was no real need for it, excerpt for the Microsoft’s challenge to create an application and get 100 installations by the end of September (so I still have a week!). Anyway, the result is good and even useful, which is quite unusual for Metro apps.

I have to operate 3 currencies on a daily basis, and therefore I have to use converter. But I wanted to get rid of advertisements and privacy issues. For example,  the XE Currency converter, apart from usual advertisement, has a problem with privacy. For some reason it sends to its server a lot of irrelevant information, such as the model of my notebook. Why? I have no idea, but I didn’t like that.

So, when I had to create the first Metro app, the topic of choice was very obvious and not very original - the currency converter.

The saga of certification and myth busting (remember the “just copy your code to another platform and it works!” fairy tale?) will follow soon, but for now - Ladies and Gentlemen, you are very welcome to install and use the brand new free currency converter for Windows 8.

Here is the link to Windows Market: http://byte.lv/Z

My First Application for Windows Phone 8

by Dmitry Kirsanov 1. September 2013 16:33

It finally happened - I am releasing my first application for Windows Phone 8. And Windows Phone 7.1, for a change. Taking into account the average (in all meanings of that word) quality of applications in Windows Phone Store, I should be proud of myself.

If, by chance, you own a Windows Phone device, and in need of a currency converter for Windows Phone, I highly recommend this app, as it’s the most advanced one in the store at the moment, and will become even more useful in time.

Here are the few images of it that you can also see at the store:

wxga1 wxga2 wxga3 wxga4


I really like how it looks and works so far. Planning to release its Windows 8 analogue in a few days.

If you are planning to give it a try, let me know what you think and what else you’d like to see in it. Your feedback is important!

The Pin Is Inside

by Dmitry Kirsanov 11. April 2012 03:45

The pin is insideRemember the Matrix? The movie by Wachowski brothers that shook the world in 1999. There was a concept of accelerated training, when knowledge was simply uploaded to your brain. In a matter of seconds you could learn Kung-Fu or how to control the helicopter. Now, what was the most attractive in that concept?

The fact, that you wouldn’t have to fight with yourself day after day, until you would eventually give up and abandon the training, burying the dreams about the black belt or the license.

Imagine, if tribe leaders would just gather and sign the peace treaty, without starting the war. That’s what it is, the real training – a war of your future against your past. A civil war inside of you. When one part of your brain screams that it is much safer to sit in the trench or retreat, while other objects, that if you don’t follow your dream now, it will turn into the nightmare later.

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The Law of the Draft, or What it Takes to Write Good Software

by Dmitry Kirsanov 10. April 2012 00:41

Moses (brings 10 testaments), painting by RembrandtNot long ago one acquaintance of mine, an HR manager, said that she doesn’t believe that I’ve deleted a small document I’ve created a year ago for my own needs. A list of 20 questions for beginner software developers. I wouldn’t ever consider it an asset.

She couldn’t believe I was able to delete so important and useful thing.

I tried to recall what else I’ve either deleted or abandoned during my life as professional, and who would consider THAT as an asset. And the scale of what I’ve seen in my vision led me to obvious, but perhaps unwritten law of software developers. The law of the draft.
In short, I believe that you should always have at least one project ongoing, and it shouldn’t be anything related to your job, as well as you should not consider to obligatory release this project.

Here is why I think you should follow this rule, unless you already do:

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The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (and Apple Notebook)

by Dmitry Kirsanov 14. January 2012 08:31

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

This article is about the product placement of Apple in the recent movie by Stieg Larsson’s “The girl with the dragon tattoo”.

I didn’t know, until today, that Apple notebooks suck so much. I mean – they should be the worst notebooks created by human kind. According to the movie, of course, as that was one of my impressions as I left the cinema.

I don’t know how much Apple paid for product placement in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – a new movie by David Fincher, featuring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara with beautiful soundtrack by Trent Reznor, but turns out that was the worst product placement I’ve ever seen. More...

Of Action and Reaction

by Dmitry Kirsanov 21. December 2011 20:31

AtlasThis story happened 2 years ago. That time I was training IT specialists sent by their companies to acquire various certifications – be it MCSE, MCPD or even CISSP. I had a colleague, and she was very passionate about training people to achieve new heights, and once she got a bright idea.

The idea sounds like that – all of our students are established IT specialists, many of them are heads of their IT departments and lead developers. They are very motivated both by their employers and themselves. There is no problem to teach them anything new.
But what if we will train someone, who is not motivated at all? What if we’ll take a group of high school pupils and train them for something simple yet useful – like Windows Vista Administration certification?

Yes, we wanted to train any amount of school kids to get a certification they would otherwise pay hundreds of dollars for. For free and during a week.

My colleague wanted to perform that training at her former state school. She was just 23, so she knew all the teachers and the principal of that school. It was easy to set up the meeting and so we met the principal and IT teacher to discuss the event.

Although they didn’t really got why we would do that, they could agree to host the event using the equipment of IT class. However, it all depended from one question – how much money would they get from it. That is – you know, electricity and stuff – we would pay for that, right?

Wrong.

Of course, we didn’t talk with them afterwards.

The morale of the story is – more often than not, your good intentions, especially when they are intelligent and have benefits which needs to be explained, will be treated hostile and you won’t get well deserved respect for them. Yet another argument of the objectivism theory, which states that we all look at the world through the prism of our perception. And this leads to the necessity to defend your ideas, even if the whole idea doesn’t give you any value. And this means, that having power to do “good” alone is not enough. As more such power you’ll have, as more resistance you’ll face. The irony lays in the fact that you’ll face resistance from those you’re trying to help.

This is about self-esteem

by Dmitry Kirsanov 19. November 2011 21:37

“People create their own questions because they are afraid to look straight. All you have to do is look straight and you see the road, and when you see it, don’t sit looking at it – walk!” (Ayn Rand)

One of the most favorite questions asked by all sorts of people (usually – for the sake of asking the question) is what is the most valuable quality of [name the profession]. That is – what do you have to do in order to reach new heights, become a better specialist or succeed in something.

I already had a chance to speak about how to learn more and become more creative, and that topic needs the follow up, but getting the quality of self-esteem wasn’t really discussed. It’s not a psychological trick, not something to put into your checklist or include into the training course – self-esteem is one of the top qualities that makes you a human being. But unlike some others, it can be acquired.

It’s close to impossible to describe everything in one post, I’ll just try to put it as short and informative as possible. More...

Scary!

by Dmitry Kirsanov 20. October 2011 08:49

Imagine, that you’ve just made a revolutionary change to the project of your life. You’ve spent hours on it and pretty much sure you won’t repeat that the same well if you would lose todays changes.

So you back up your files using file synchronization utility which synchronizes your files with online storage. Live Mesh, for example.

And first thing you see when synchronization of your now-so-precious work folder starts – “Receiving files …”.

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What can be done in 12 hours by an average .NET developer?

by Dmitry Kirsanov 20. October 2011 00:49

Have you ever heard about Garage48? That’s an event, which was born in Estonia last year and since then widely adopted by other countries. It’s scenario is such – companies give tasks – “ideas” that have to be coded to production quality in 48 hours. Students are coming to the event and working 48 hours non stop, for food and beverages, and contest winner get’s iPhone.

So, you have an idea and iPhone – now 5 undergrads can make it live, just give them enough hamburgers and Red Bull.

When I heard about it (in the context that one of my colleagues was eager to participate) I wondered what these students would gain from the event? I mean – in my 32 I wouldn’t participate in such event, have no sleep in 48 hours and produce free code for someone. I still didn’t get convincing answer, but from the point of view of the author of “idea”, this is the windfall.

But I’ve got itch to see what am I capable to do in these 12 hours. Having totally nothing but “idea”.

So, I’ve replaced Red Bull with German and Belgian beer, wrote my idea in 3 sentences and sat for 12 hours with my notebook.

I decided to create “URL shortening service”, which had to be functionally better than anything else in the market. Better from my point of view, of course. As I thought about it, and that time was also included in these 12 hours, I wanted this service to have:

  1. WCF backend. So I would be able to create utilities that would add new links automatically, with no user interaction. Also that would allow other tools to use the service and provide additional services.
  2. I would have QRCode for each link. And it would be created automatically.
  3. I could protect link by CAPTCHA
  4. Or by password.
  5. Or require visitor to declare his age, in case link is to age-restricted web resource.
  6. And make links expiring – either by date or redirections count.
  7. Also, I would like users to know where they are redirecting to. But not always. So there would be 4 different ways of redirection. 2 for client and 2 for server side redirection.
  8. I don’t want to have malicious links on that service, so they should be automatically scanned. URLs leading to malicious web resources should be removed.
  9. Overall good web design. Because tinyurl sucks.
  10. Some functions should be only available to registered members, but anonymous could use it as well. However, trusted people would have it unlimited at all.
  11. Engine should be available to 3rd parties, so they could install it and use with their domain name.

That’s pretty much for 12 hours, when there is no base, right? That’s what we say to our customers.

Anyway, in 12 hours of work I had a website which had a name, web design, logo, backend, database, frontend and additional infrastructure up and running in test environment. Debugging it took another 2 hours, and deployment – another 30 minutes.

You can take a look at that service here – http://byte.lv – just make sure you understand it’s beta and some things may glitch. I reserve the right for a bug, yes. Anyway, if you’d like to have this engine working for your company needs – sure you can have it.

 

P.S. Now imagine having 5 developers working 48 hours - that’s 20 times more than I had!

Legacy of Steve Jobs

by Dmitry Kirsanov 15. October 2011 21:30

When you look at the news line these days – be it LinkedIn or whatever social network or technology news source you are reading, you inevitably see the new breed of articles – “something we should learn from Steve”.

It appears like different authors are using the fact of death of successful and notorious man to push their own delirium into the masses. A small example – “Steve said, that creativity is connecting things together, so that means you should make connections in social networks”. Incredibly stupid conclusion, isn’t it? And in comments to that so called article are comments like “Enlightening!” or “I’m impressed!” or “Even after his death he still teaches us!”.

The crowd is as stupid, as it’s always been.

However, among the “enlightened” by this powerful flow of bullshit, are CEOs and “entrepreneurs”, “visionaries” and “out of the box thinkers”. I guess they are also among those who skyrocketed the sales of Jobs’ biographies at Amazon.

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