It’s that exciting time again when we get to launch another app! This time it is the official Windows Phone app for AfricaWeather:
We currently service over 1.4 million Africans via our website and mobile applications. One of the most unique features is our ability to track storms in real time, as well as provide consumers with an hour’s forewarning of when the storm will hit their suburb. We interpret weather information and make it relevant to your lifestyle. You are able to customise notifications to suite your lifestyle from daily forecasts, storm warnings, news, through to telling you the best time of day to hit the beach or go for a cycle.
My intern and I were asked to do a talk at the Durban University of Technology to the 3rd year IT students to excite them about the possibility of using Netduinos or/and Windows Phones in their final year projects.
We didn’t want to just show them a blinking LED, but rather something that would be relevant to a real-world scenario – so we came up with this:
Sorry for the horrible GIF. What you can probably tell is that it is a time-lapse of the Bitcoin price changing. The graph represents that change, and the LED glows green when it goes up, and red when it goes down. (There is a typo on the screen – USD should be BTC).
The houses in Durban, South Africa (where I live) usually have some form of gap underneath them that ranges from 30cm to big enough to crawl inside. As far as I know it is for ventilation to help with the heat. The problem is that a bunch of squeaky rodents have decided that mine is a good home, and unfortunately the gap is pretty small so I can’t fit. So I decided to make a little car that could go scout out the area and show me what was going on under there, and possibly how to stop it.
So I built a little Bluetooth controlled car using a Netduino and a Windows Phone as a remote.
It is 2014 and control-schemes on touch screens still pretty much suck. Yes, touch is suited for a lot of games, but it just doesn’t work for shooters and racing games. That’s why there are companies like MOGA making game controllers specifically designed for phones.
I decided to make my own with an ATTiny connected to Windows Phone over Bluetooth.
I’m extremely happy to announce that I received the confirmation email today and have been made a Nokia Developer Champion!
Before leaving for Finland I setup this little project, but didn’t have time to finish (see what I did there?) it. Now that I’m back, between writing my Netduino book, I sometimes have time to play!
TechEd Africa 2013 ended a few days ago in Durban, South Africa.
I did a couple of talks – one of which was an hour-long session where I guided the attendees through the process of creating a good-looking weather app for Windows Phone. There are no shortage of weather apps in the marketplace, but it was a nice example to bring in a lot of different real-world situations like consuming JSON, using MVVM, and lots of binding stuff.
The point was to show how easy it is to create an app quickly. It only took 20 lines of code and 60 lines of XAML (half of which are closing tags so don’t count). The app would take around 15 minutes to make if I weren’t explaining.
EDIT: This is now also syndicated on the Nokia Developer Wiki here.
I’m currently sitting on a 12 hour flight from Amsterdam to Johannesburg, South Africa. So writing this is a far more compelling option than watching bad quality movies on a grainy 7” screen.
The beta of Unity 3D came out yesterday (a couple days ago by the time I will be able to post this) for Windows Phone 8, and it’s awesome. My biggest problem with it at this stage is that because of how easy it is, it feels very close to cheating – but hey, time is money and why should you be wasting time fighting with technical problems when you could be using it to make your idea a reality?
For those living under a medium-sized boulder, Unity 3D is middleware to create cross-platform games quickly and easily – and it excels at that. It is made up of the main IDE (which has free and paid versions) and then an exporter for each platform (desktop is free, but all the mobile platforms require a normal or pro purchase).