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!

Introducing Prerequisit.es

by Dmitry Kirsanov 10. June 2013 06:00

A few weeks ago I had to install very old software on very old server. And it turned out, that a few libraries for Visual Basic 6 were not found anywhere in the net. The company which made them doesn’t exist for many years, their website was abandoned and purchased by squatters since then. There were some binaries posted at some ancient pages, but most of them led to 404 (file not found) and the authority of the files that I managed to find, couldn’t be verified. I mean – I wouldn’t install such file at production server.

And if you think that such ill fate is only for small and unknown companies – you couldn’t be farther from truth. One of such companies is Sheridan, if you remember such name. They were quite famous in the era of Visual Basic 4, 5 and 6. But the point is – any binary of any company can be virtually lost or extremely hard to find in 10 years from now – at least the specific version of it.

That’s how I came with the

Idea

What if, just like the NuGet Package Manager, we would be able to get the binaries from a simple and never changing link, and be sure that this file is not infected and won’t disappear?

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Classic Start Menu in Windows 8

by Dmitry Kirsanov 4. January 2013 14:16

Clasic Shell screenshot - Windows XP themeWith beta version of Windows 8, we had native legacy start menu, which disappeared in the release version of the OS. For many people it is still the reason to not upgrade, but seems there is the light at the end of the tunnel, after all.

Even though this might be old news by now, but there are few free applications, which provide the classic start menu to your Windows 8. And I just tried the most popular one, the Classic Shell. It’s more advanced than even the original Start menu of Windows 7 / Vista / XP, as it may look as you want and you can tune just about anything in it. See for yourself.

Frankly, I wouldn’t install it, as I have no problems with adopting the new Start menu of Windows 8, but the last update to Windows 8 just killed the new Start menu in one of my laptops. Of course I used the “sfc / scannow” command to fix the problem, but I felt need a backup just in case.

This thing reminds me the “good old” days of Windows 3.1 with application called Calmira – the Start menu of Windows 95 for Windows 3.1.

How To Ruin a Good Idea

by Dmitry Kirsanov 15. November 2012 03:29

Here is a short story of a good idea gone bad, and a good lesson for mobile application developers.

The Preamble

We find ideas everywhere. The best place to find a good idea is where you wouldn’t look for it. The dump, graveyard, museum, park or simply the street of your city at night (in other words – any uncommon place for you) may bring something that would keep you busy for the next year. Or show the pitfall to avoid, and sometimes this knowledge comes with the price.

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The Future of Windows 8

by Dmitry Kirsanov 17. September 2012 05:00

Windows 8 logoIs Windows 8 a new Windows Vista?

During last few days the first thing that comes to my mind every morning, is this question.

The few months before and after the release of Windows 8 is the period of unique opportunity, just like it happens with other new or fundamentally changed products. The amount of efforts you put during such period of time always pays more than the same amount of effort at a later time.

This year, Microsoft is publishing a whole range of new (very) expensive fundamental products. Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, System Center 2012, Office 2013, Visual Studio 11 with Team Foundation Server 11 and more. Some of these products don’t bring any significant opportunity, as user interface is the only change that affects most of it’s users. For example – Office 2013. It’s nice, it should work better, but there’s no real reason to upgrade.

However, Windows 8 is different. As Microsoft rightfully says, it was reimagined, and the problem is – they are not lying and it’s not a buzzword (yet). The changes they made to the very principles of how applications work – not just the looks, but even the life cycle of application – make it harder for the market to swallow. More...

Deploying Large Files in Local Network

by Dmitry Kirsanov 27. August 2012 13:37

Sometimes I need to copy large files simultaneously to several tens of computers. Like – Hyper-V virtual machines for training courses, and sometimes they take up to 60 Gigabytes. Usually these files reside on a single file server, connected to the local network by 1Gbit NIC, but even if nothing else is taking the bandwidth from that file server, copying 60 Gb to 20 machines would take more than 11 hours – that’s the amount of time it takes to transfer 1200 Gb at the speed of 30 Megabytes per second.

I wanted to reduce the overall time of deployment to about 70-90 minutes, or about 10 times. And this article is about how I’ve accomplished that goal.

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ReactOS Rising?

by Dmitry Kirsanov 2. May 2012 02:03

ros_logo_08Have you ever heard about ReactOS? It’s an operating system which was in “alpha” state for the last 16 years (!) and is basically a free, open-source Windows clone. It looks just like Windows XP / 2003, but the code base is written from scratch. However, the software written for Windows should work just fine on ReactOS. That’s the goal, at least. For now, applications like WinAmp and uTorrent work stable on current release.

Just about now the founder of this project, Aleksey Bragin, sent an e-mail claiming he is fundraising to actually hire full time developers for his OS. Until now it was a hobby for everyone, but now he is about to make it real. Taking into account that his goal is quite modest 30 000 euro, I think he’ll make it in no time, so the only question that is left open – what’s next?

Either he is going to ship this OS (to potentially free millions of PCs from the inevitable upgrade of Windows XP), or he wants to rise the price of the project to sell it. In a latter case, the question is who would buy it – would it be some social network, financially capable to have a pet operating system, or would it be some ill management addict company, which is buying new projects and technologies to substitute previously acquired and dying ones?

More questions than answers, but anyway, I wish these guys a well deserved success.

Blogging Software Review: Live Writer 2011 vs. MarsEdit 3.5

by Dmitry Kirsanov 24. April 2012 13:20

BlogEditorsThere are two kinds of bloggers. The ones who edit their works offline and the ones who prefer to do it online (or just don’t know they could do it the other way).

Also, there are bloggers who don’t know that they are bloggers. Some websites are built on blog engines, as blog platforms are basically article-optimized CMS systems. For example, the BlogEngine.NET home page is built over their own blog platform.

This article is a comparison of two most widely used vital tools of modern blogging – the Microsoft Live Writer 2011 and MarsEdit 3.5 by Red Sweater Software.

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Software as a Service at Glance

by Dmitry Kirsanov 29. January 2012 15:00

Software as a paid ServiceI am beginning the series of articles about various SaaS solutions offered by various companies – some known and some that you probably haven’t heard about, and since all of them share that characteristic of being the SaaS solution, it is important to describe first what SaaS is.

In the upcoming series I am going to describe multiple SaaS services and focus on the alternative ways to have the same functionality. My goal is to describe each of them so you could understand them without digging into the documentation or waste time trying. More...


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