Friday, 5 November 2010

HTC HD7 – Everyday User Review

Recently I became the lucky owner of a HTC HD7 Windows 7 phone, here are my comments on the phone, please note that I am a Microsoft & HTC fan boy and I hope to just cover what's good and what’s not for people who use the phone every day.


The UI is great (big surprise), the home screen can be configured very easily but past the home screen is everything else, and I mean everything.  I have only loaded a few apps and I am already having to scroll to find them, however the scrolling with the sweeping action is so cool its actually a joy to do this.  It would have been nice to have some folders to organise my apps, OS feature, settings etc like in a normal OS but maybe in the future.


I use Hotmail, have done for many years, but I did not realise how much the phone integrated with Live services (I suppose I should have thought about that).  Through the Microsoft Live Services I can manage my email, contacts and calendar, which sync up to my phone and I can do the same on the phone and this then syncs up to the cloud.  Using the phone with Live Services has actually opened my eyes to how much I get for free and for web interfaces I find them really easy to use.


I have a bad memory so use the calendar in my phone to remind me to do many things during the day, I am used to my old phone (O2 XDA) which would constantly go off until I dismissed the reminder.  However the Windows Phone 7 calendar goes off once and that’s it! There is no way to make it repeat (other than snooze), so as I often do, the phone is in one room I am in another and I often don’t hear it make its singular sound for the reminder.

Phone Volume

Hearing the phone is another issue, your volume for all sounds is run through one control.  So you turn the volume down as you listen to music, this then means once you have finished listening, put the phone down, the ringer on the phone is now super quiet!  HTC has noticed this and a free app is available to solve this which pushes the phone volume up on phone ring.


The radio is great quality, something which I use every day to listen to Radio 1, and you can pin your favourite frequency to you home screen.  However there is no RDS so all you see is the frequency with no text, there is also no way to give it a name yourself even after its pinned.


The phone comes with WI-FI turned on, something which I left on all the time but as you can guess this kills the battery so I now only turn that on when I need it.  It was easy to set up and works as expected.

Sound Quality

The sound through the HTC headphones is amazing, I use the phone to listen to music to-and-from work and have also watched a movie on it, I am no audio expert but compared with my XDA(another HTC device) it is far superior sound and has amazing bass.


Zune software is used to manage all your music, movies and photos from your collection or you can purchase through it.  The software has a good UI although runs a little on the slow side sometimes. 

It is not always intuitive when it comes to managing your music collection however I believe I am partly to blame due to some dodge MP3 tag issues.  If you do have some MP3 tags it will find the album art for you, making it easier to drag and drop the album to you phone.

If you are short on your data allowance or have not got one you can use Zune to purchase apps for your phone, which are then transferred to your phone, which is quicker and easier than doing it over 3G.


I hope that Microsoft are aware of these issues especially as alot of Microsofties will be using the phone for themselves (as each gets a free one) and these are the obvious things you see form using the phone for a short while.

Apart from these little issues I have mentioned I would like to congratulate Microsoft on holding fast and concentrating on delivering a phone OS which has the features and functionality they could deliver to a high standard within their time limit.  It is certainly a very nice phone and a very nice OS, I look forward to future updates of the phone and hope my provider does not get in the way of me updating.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Silverlight Firestarter

If you have been thinking about immersing yourself in Silverlight by way of a book or multipart videos then how about spending a whole day watching live streaming from some of the worlds experts in the topic.

On Thursday 2nd December Microsoft will be hosting a one day, global, live steamed event on the topic of Silverlight from creation to profiling.  The keynote is by Scott Guthrie, followed by presentations from people like Jessie Liberty (seen at The .Net Developer Network earlier this year) and Tim Heuer and more.

If the 2nd December does not meet your needs it will all be available on demand.

Read more @

Thursday, 21 October 2010

PDC 2008 – A Night at Microsoft Reading

If you are like me the possibility of going to Reading, America for a developer conference is slim, I would actually say that I will never have the cash to go, not that I would turn down a free trip even if it involved travelling in a small box or suit case.

For those of you like myself the nice chaps down in Reading are running their own PDC event on Thursday 28th October from 4.30pm to 12 midnight, yes midnight.  They will be showing HD sessions from the Reading event as well as running some competitions (to win an Win Phone 7) and feeding you Pizza.

For me info go here

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

jQuery Fundamentals

If you are developing web sites at the moment then its almost certain that you are also seeking the use of jQuery to give it that zing that almost all new web sites have now.  However unlike learning .NET framework you are almost thrown in the deep end with jQuery and expected to swim.

I found learning jQuery hard and would have welcomed some free resources to help me get were I am today, thankfully help is at hand in the form of an online book called ‘jQuery Fundamentals’.  I have a had quick skim of the book and its very detailed, it takes you from learning the fundamentals of JavaScript for the noobs and then over to using jQuery in your sites. 

If you have been struggling to find a detailed resource on jQuery and JavaScript defiantly give this book a go.

See more @

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Blend Bits From Mile Taulty

Want to get some tips on using Microsoft Blend from a developers point of view then go over to Mike Taulty’s blog and get some really useful information.  To-date he has created 13 blog entries covering a number of topics about blend, they range from transitions to how to understand the UI and as most things from Mike they are amazing resource presented in a concise manor.

Mike works for Microsoft and has attended The .NET Developer Network several times presenting on a large range of .NET developer topics. search ‘Blend Bits’

Monday, 27 September 2010

Why Windows Phone 7 Doesn’t Multitask

When I heard that Windows Phone 7 did not support multitasking I thought the same as most people, “here we go, Microsoft spent all this money on getting a new phone OS to market and they are already making the same mistakes as Apple”.  This view point was shared my many people however today I stared watching the Windows Phone 7 Jump Start and they also mentioned the lack of multitask support for non Windows Phone apps and this this why………

Put yourself in Microsoft's shoes, think of the money the fame and fortune…are you there?  Good.  Now think about spending millions of dollars on a crating a new OS for mobile devices then you force all phone manufactures to provide good hardware or go home, then you look at the competition who seem to be beating you hands down, but you see a strategy to beat them.  You also look at the people who hate you and are waiting to pull your OS and any device apart and expose you for the fraud they think you are.

When you take all that in you suddenly realise that making your phone succeed is going to be hard and you will do everything you can to stop it falling at the first hurdle, and in this case battery power is our hurdle.  If you let any old app on your device continue to run in the background, what is stopping it from buzzing away making network calls or just continually talking to the OS and every one of these calls requires a little bit of battery power.  The issue is, how do you protect the image of your new phone for crappy developers?

In the mobile world not only do we all want an amazing experience with everything popping out of the screen we also want to keep using our phone for longer than a day, and cutting multitasking for non-MS apps is Microsoft’s answer.  As we all know your average user won’t think “oh I had all these apps running that's why my phone only lasted an hour” they will just slate the phone and bang Windows Phone 7 dies.

IMHO I am sure like Apple multitasking apps will come in the future.

If you want to learn more about Windows Phone 7 check out these 12, 1 hour long presentations @ here

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Free Microsoft Online UK Tech Days Training – 8th October

Everything you need know about the Windows Azure Platform ­– 9.30am to 3.30pm, 8 October 2010

You’ll have access to three virtual rooms full of the information you’ve been looking for on the Windows Azure Platform, SQL Azure and a lot of other great cloud insights.

· Cirrus Room - A high-level summary of the key technologies in the Windows Azure Platform such as App Fabric from Microsoft UK experts

· Altocumulus – Hear from companies who have already developed for Azure including

· Stratocumulus – Get down to the low level clouds in our deeper technical sessions

Register now

For other resources and information on the latest introductory offers with 750 free hours, visit here:

Tuesday, 21 September 2010


The DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper committee have released their times scales for the next DDD event at the Microsoft offices in Reading, as usual it will be a great event with a huge number of people attending and its all free.

  • Agenda is announced 25 Dec 2010 00:00
  • Registration opens 01 Jan 2011 00:00
  • The event begins 29 Jan 2011 09:00

My only issue with these dates is that it seems the DDD committee is trying to reduce the usual attendee surge by opening registration on New Years day.  Obviously the DDD committee are not invited to any NYE parties ;-)

In between drinks at my NYE location I will still be finding time to register, good luck!

More info @

Monday, 20 September 2010

Pro ASP.NET MVC Framework By Steven Sanderson

I know Steve so you may say that this review is bias however I think I can still be objective even when I say this is a brilliant book.

I have read many technical books which cover other frameworks and although this book contains alot of the content you would expect, it does give you alot of nice takeaways which makes this book special.

As you can guess from the book title it covers ASP.NET MVC version 1, as Steve walks you through creating your first MVC app you get the feeling of being guided by a great master.  By the time I finished the introductory section of the book I already felt I could get struck in, but Steve still has more, in the following section of the book he carefully takes the framework apart bit-by-bit to reveal the beating heart of MVC then gives you the knowledge to make your own extensions to the ASP.NET MVC as you see fit.

This book stands out because it not only gives you in-depth ASP.NET MVC knowledge but also shows you real world knowledge of how to do TDD, something which I have read very little of, this is expertly introduced in the introductory section.  So not only are you learning MVC you are also getting a taste of TDD.

Steve also has an amazingly dry wit which he conveys throughout the book.

I like techie books but I like them even more when I can learn and be entertained.

Steve recently released the 2nd edition of this book updated for MVC version 2, buy it @ Amazon

P.S. I am not sponsored by Steve or Amazon, I just like the book.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

DDD South West 2 : Registration Opens TODAY

The registration to attend DDD South West 2 opens at 10am today, don’t be left out and go to

Monday, 19 April 2010

DDD South West 2 : Registration

The comity which run the DDD South West meeting have been very busy lately, I should know I am one of them, and we have reviewed the many brilliant sessions available to us and finally come to a short list which should be released on the DDD site tomorrow (20th April 2010)

Tomorrow Tuesday 20th April 2010 is also the day on which you can register to attend, last year was our first event and it took a little time for all places to be filled however this year we have people beating our door down so do not wait to register, do it as soon as you can to avoid disappointment.

Monday, 1 March 2010

DDD South West 2

Its has finally arrived, the long awaited dates for the next DDD South West event have arrived.  The day for this great event have been set for Saturday 5th June.

For those of you locked in a black hole for the last few years the DDD events are community run events for the .NET developer community.  At the day long event you will find many industry experts presenting presentations on all manor of .NET technologies and you get this for the cost of nothing, yes its completely FREE.

Below are the important dates which lead up to the 5th June;

Call For Speakers opens: Tuesday 2nd March 2010

Call For Speakers closes: Friday 22nd March 2010

Voting Opens: Monday 29th March 2010

Voting Closes: Friday 9th April 2010

Registration Opens: Tuesday 20th April 2010

To find out more please go to