My First App For Android!

by Dmitry Kirsanov 28. November 2016 19:33

andrapp

It finally happened. My first app for Android platform is just about to be released and is available in Beta channel. It was clear that I’m not going to release anything for Windows Phone market anymore, especially since all phones in family are Android based, but I had to start somewhere in Android, and what a start it is!

The idea came during the Halloween night, when I was about to pick up the trick-or-treaters and their parents from neighbourhood. The problem was – it was night, I didn’t know where they are at the moment, and they were wandering among other spooky wanderers. I needed to know their location, precise and fresh. It took a few phone calls and messages with coordinates until I found them. Not a big problem, but I would rather get rid of that.

Second problem was recurrent – when I have to pick up someone using the car, I want to make sure that person knows my whereabouts, so neither of us would have to wait. Or when I want to show where I am, so family would know when to expect me. And that I’m fine and where I am supposed to be.

And a nuance – I never want this information to be available all the time. For various reasons – from privacy to battery life of my phone. I want to press the button, share my location, and for a limited time I want that location to be current. More...

Getting most from your SSD drive by redirecting directories

by Dmitry Kirsanov 5. July 2016 10:27

SSD are very popular these days. I can tell for myself - in all of my laptops I have SSD drives, and if it has more than one hard drive installed, at least one of them is SSD. My main laptop has rather interesting construction – it has only one standard size 2.5” hard drive, and a slot for M2 form factor SSD drive, which looks more like a microscheme than a “hard drive”. For me this means, that I have small capacity SSD (128Gb in my case) and large HDD, thus having good compromise between large capacity and performance.

With 128 and less of space, it doesn’t look like a good idea to migrate OS to such drive. Windows itself will take half of it, and then you would have to watch out for temporary files and whatever installation packages, so they wouldn’t install stuff that doesn’t require high performance storage, on SSD.

On the other hand, if you have a large existing hard drive with 500Gb of space taken over the years of work and play, migration to smaller SSD would be tricky. More...

How to install Chromium browser on Raspberry Pi 3 Raspbian Jessie

by Dmitry Kirsanov 20. June 2016 22:33

JessieI am working quite intensively with Raspberry Pi, and recently upgraded to both Raspberry Pi 3 and Raspbian Jessie, that was released during last quarter of 2015 and is currently the latest and greatest version of Raspbian.

The paramount part of my installation is Chromium browser, as these devices have to access website that is only compatible with Chromium-based browsers. And I found that if with previous Raspbian you could just run “aptitude install chromium” and it would install the browser, now you are getting message “no candidate version found for chromium” and nothing gets installed.

To overcome this issue and install Chromium, you need to download and install three packages. Here is the exact script of what you need to run in console: More...

Sending e-mails from the cloud based web application

by DmitryKirsanov 10. June 2016 14:26

This sounds crazy. But when you move your website to the cloud, you get problems in things you were previously taking for granted. Like sending e-mails. Basically, the problem is that many e-mail servers, usually ones of big providers, have Azure, Amazon and other cloud provider IPs blacklisted. When you attempt to use SMTP service from your virtual machine in Azure – in many cases it fails to deliver. This means, that your Azure machine can not act as mail server and shouldn’t attempt to deliver messages to recipient SMTP server directly.

Why would you use SMTP service at all? Well, mainly for the sake of performance. Your web application, be it ASP.NET, PHP, Ruby or whatever, will benefit from saving the outgoing e-mail message as text file somewhere on local hard drive, instead of trying to deliver it using TCP/IP, even if that’s done in asynchronous method.

More...

Bye bye, Adblock!

by Dmitry Kirsanov 15. March 2016 05:18

It seems like Adblock – famous add-on for Google Chrome that kept your web pages clean of malwertising – just crossed the red line. Instead of hiding adverts, it started to replace ads with even worse kind of ads – political ads. Yesterday I’ve opened IT website and I was shocked by abundance of political advertisement of “Amnesty International” that was inserted into the page by Adblock.

2 minutes later I stopped using Adblock.

5 minutes later I’ve got better option that I overlooked just because I wasn’t searching for anything better than Adblock. But guess what – there is something way better than Adblock.

The add-on is called uBlock Origin, and it works faster than Adblock, is free, has the same principles, but it doesn’t replace one advertisement with another. Instead – it completely removes it. Another benefit – I stopped seeing message “Waiting for AdBlock…” in Chrome, which sometimes extended the load time of the web page by many seconds.

In other words – Adblock repeated the old mistake, made by many companies before. You can’t lend your user base to someone, you can only sell it.

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Software

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?

More...

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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