Monthly Archives: October 2013

Localizing Windows Store app not working? Read this.

I just wasted a rather large amount of time on something really stupid – so maybe this quick post can save someone else.

I needed to localize a Windows Store (8.1) app and I had an “AppResources.resx” file from the Windows Phone version which had all the strings. I followed this MSDN guide on how the new localization stuff works in Windows Store apps.

In that guide, section 1.C.V  says the following:
”If you have .resx files with only string resources from previous .NET projects, select Add > Existing Item…, add the .resx file, and rename it to .resw.”

So that’s exactly what I did to convert my old resource file into the new .resw style, because, you know, I trust that Microsoft’s docs are correct. Hours later after none of my TextBlocks ever reading from the resource file I re-read the guide and decided to just create a new .resw file – and hey, it worked!

TL;DR: Microsoft lies, don’t use your old .resx file – create a new .resw file and copy the values across.

Quick read: Avoiding distractions when working from home

Peter Gardner just tweeted (ironically enough) about a product called Anti-social.

It seems like a pretty simple desktop app:image

I’ve been freelancing for the past ~2 years, and this got me thinking about how I manage my time while working from home?

  • I don’t actually work from home. I work out of an office in my garden which creates a very real line between what is work and what isn’t. It seems like a small difference, but it is very important.
  • Throughout the day I set mini “goals”. Things like “when I finish view X I can watch a video that a friend has Skyped me”.
  • Music! If I play music I find that I get less distracted by other things, especially going to sites like YouTube because that would require me to pause the music.
  • I ignore emails. Usually not on purpose, but just because I forget to open Outlook. It’s 12:19PM now, and I just realized it was closed.
  • I used to unplug my network cable for hours at a time as a way to enforce no internet usage. These days almost all my work is against live API’s so I can’t do that (but maybe Anti-Social is a good idea for this).
  • Probably most importantly, I try only take on work that is actually interesting (but this isn’t always possible).

So I’m interested to hear from other devs – how do you avoid distractions?

I’ve often though about making a simple little app that tracks how much time I spend in each app during an average day. Maybe one day I will – but I’m not sure I will like the results.

The definitive guide to Netflix and Hulu in South Africa

Update (6 Jan 2016):

Netflix has now officially launched in South Africa. All rejoice!
But as expected, and as I wrote below 2 years ago, the content is much more limited than other regions like the US. So with the launch of Netflix in SA, it doesn’t really change much. For the full catalog of shows, everything below is still valid.




Since the rumor a few days ago about Telkom being in talks with Netflix, some people have started realizing that you can already get Netflix in SA. It’s incredibly easy, and a number of sites have guides on how to do it but either have affiliate links to the services or have adverts attacking your eyes from every corner. I don’t know which I hate more. So here is my completely advert and affiliate-link free guide 😛

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Quick read: Windows Phone is growing in South Africa

I don’t often look at my sales stats as most of my self-published apps are just little experiments. But I took a look today and decided to set the filter to South Africa.

This graph shows quite an interesting trend:


The black line is a cumulative total, while the purple is daily downloads. They are on different scales.

It pretty clearly shows how downloads were pretty dead until the end of 2012, and have been consistently rising since then. Turns out that WP8 launched around that time in South Africa.

Besides this pretty non-scientific graph, I’ve also heard from multiple sources that it is growing quickly and selling faster than iPhones. This is probably due to the low-end devices like the 620.

Downloads from South Africa account for 6% of my total downloads.

Nokia Lumia 1020 photos from a non-photographer

I take a lot of photos with my phone wherever I go, and I always have. But I am very far from being a photographer or even knowing anything about it (I don’t even know what the rule of thirds is). This means that I cannot justify buying an actual DSLR (nor would I carry it around with me), but like having something that can take good photos. And I think that is what makes me the perfect target-market for the Nokia Lumia 1020.

This phone is mindblowing. You point it in a general direction, tap the capture button, and magically a good image is produced more often than not. The Nokia ProCam app also has lots of settings that would be useful if I had any idea what they did Smile with tongue out.

Below are some photos I took on a recent trip to Cape Town, South Africa (one from Sweden too). These are scaled down versions of the 41MP originals, but are not edited in any way at all.

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Secrets of the Windows calculator

This tweet from a while back prompted this short little post.

Here is the standard Windows calculator that we have all used hundreds of times. I often have about 5 instances of it open at any one time (and have of course forgotten what half of them represent). I’m pretty sure everyone does this, but a quick way to open it is: Windows Key –> R –> Calc –> Enter. You can usually skip typing Calc because it will still be there.

But did you know that this calculator does other [very cool] stuff too?

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Publish your Windows Phone app free (and R15k worth of goodies!)

Over the past few years you might have noticed a bunch of great promotions that Nokia and Microsoft have run to help get developers up and running on the platform. However, it sometimes  seems like they don’t know South Africa exists 🙁

Lance McCarthy is currently giving out Nokia Premium Developer Program tokens to people about to publish apps, but this is restricted to US and Canada. But because he is a really decent guy (and knows geography) he got the Nokia Champion program to hook me up with keys for South Africa (rejoice!).

So I am giving away Nokia Premium Developer Program keys!

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