Nokia 920 Wedding Video (Windows Phone 8)

I’m only posting this because my son and I saw this commercial before a movie, loved it, and then for the life of me I couldn’t find it anywhere online. I was (seemingly logically) searching for “Windows Phone Wedding”, sometimes adding Nokia 920… but no luck.

 

The actual You Tube video is entitled “Switch to the Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone” so I would guess my inclusion of “Wedding” was what was throwing off my search results 🙂

At home, recovering from surgery

It has been a crazy past few months for my health, or at least the appearance of my health.

For about 30-something years now, I’ve had problems with my tonsils. This has included one or more bouts per year of tonsillitis, quite a few cases of strep throat and a ton of colds that just seem to end up hitting me as sore throats and lasting way longer than it seems like they should. All standard symptoms of someone who needs their tonsils removed, which is what various doctors have been telling me and my parents for the past 30-something years 🙂

When I still lived at home, and this decision wasn’t up to me, it turns out that my grandfather (who was a pediatrician) disagreed with how quickly most doctors would removed tonsils, so whenever a doctor would suggest that I have mine out he would suggest that we just wait and see if the problem went away on its own. The problem of the moment would always go away, even if it was due to come back in a few months, so we kept that cycle up for many years. Eventually, I became an adult and it became my problem… and it wasn’t long before I ended up noticing the pattern of illness hitting my throat and headed into see a doctor. Canadian healthcare is great if you need something and if you don’t have the money to pay for it, but that benefit produces a system that is generally short on resources. When you go into a Canadian doctor, in my experience, with something that isn’t absolutely necessary (even if it would be a good idea in the long run) then they are likely to suggest you not bother with the procedure, that you try a prescription instead or just waiting it out. That lack of enthusiasm, combined with my own lack of confidence about what I needed, led to many more years without my tonsils being removed. Over the past few years in the US medical system though, I’ve had so many different doctors look at my throat and straight-out tell me that my tonsils really need to come out, that I finally decided to do it. I made the appointment and on Tuesday of this week, they were removed. Now I’m stuck at home, recovering, with a very sore throat and some great prescription pain killers…

What makes this whole experience a bit confusing to my co-workers is that I’ve also been going through a completely different and unrelated medical problem at the same time. For reasons that aren’t completely understood, the hair on my head has started to fall out… rapidly and in big patches. This is a medical condition known as alopecia areata, essentially partial hair loss. This isn’t a sign of any underlying health problems, but it sure looks like it is… and people don’t really seem to believe you when you tell them that it is just a weird type of hair loss and that it isn’t anything to worry about. Combine that problem, which eventually led to just shaving my whole head to avoid looking all patchy, with scheduling some time off for some upcoming surgery and people start looking at you like you aren’t going to make it through the summer.

Fun stuff… but in both cases it is temporary and I’m happily recovering… maybe I’ll even manage to have my hair grown back in over the next few months.

Sunburned at a Chess Tournament

Well, this certainly isn’t something that happens all that often, but after spending all day at a chess tournament (at Wellington Elementary in Woodinville) on Saturday, I ended up with a sunburn on my face and arms! It turned out to be a really nice day, which was good, since the waiting area for parents and kids (where the parents spend up about 6 to 7 hours, and the kids spend all the time between matches) was outside. Never seen that before, and it was cold and wet enough when we arrived that I was pretty unimpressed with the idea. In the end though, it was very sunny out there … and it certainly gave Connor a lot of fresh air between his matches (which were inside the school gym).

Another chess tournament this weekend, last one before the state championship

ChessGame A new father-son activity for Connor and me has been to go to chess tournaments, spending a few Saturdays throughout the year in some school gym. Starting last year, we started to play chess at home and he enjoyed it so much that we decided to enter into the Shelton View Elementary school’s chess tournament in the Kindergarten category. He did well and had a lot of fun, so it has become the hobby of choice around our house. The best thing about taking him to a tournament is that you can’t really tell from his face whether he has won or lost when he comes out of a match, he always seems to be enjoying himself regardless of the outcome. Tomorrow’s tournament is the last one before the state competition (which he qualified for and we decided to attend as well, since it is in Redmond this year), so I expect a lot more first-time tournament players will be attending in the hope of winning 3 out of their 5 games and qualifying for state.

Using my Xbox Live data service?

If you’ve written an app, private or public, using my data feed of Xbox live info I’d really appreciate it if you’d let me know. This isn’t a required ‘sign-up’, but I want to start to keep track so that I could possibly create a page listing all the sites using it, and it may also be useful to be able to contact folks if I need to make a change or take the service down for an hour or so. Just comment on this post, or drop me a line at duncanma@microsoft.com.

ImageShack Toolbar causes incorrect results from ASP.NET’s browser checking code

We recently updated a few of our web sites with code that would provide a ‘nicer’ experience for browsers that were not compatible with the ASP.NET ATLAS (AJAX) scripts we were using. For some reason though, a few users who were running a fully compatible browser (Firefox 2.0.0.*), were seeing the no-script experience. We were puzzled, but one of the users figured out that their ImageShack toolbar might be causing the problem. Sure enough, after I installed that same toolbar myself I was able to test and confirm that it truly is causing the confusion.

Using a little test page, http://www.duncanmackenzie.net/services/browserinfo.aspx (feel free to use it for your own testing), I received the following results for Firefox 2.0.0.11 on Vista before installing the ImageShack toolbar.

Request.Browser

  • .Type: Firefox2.0.0.11
  • .Platform: WinNT
  • .Version: 2.0.0.11
  • .Browser: Firefox
  • .Crawler: False
  • .EcmaScriptVersion: 1.4
  • .IsMobileDevice: False
  • .MobileDeviceManufacturer: Unknown
  • .MobileDeviceModel: Unknown
  • .Beta: False

 

After installing the toolbar, I get this:

Request.Browser

  • .Type: Mozilla1.8.1.11
  • .Platform: WinNT
  • .Version: 1.8.1.11
  • .Browser: Mozilla
  • .Crawler: False
  • .EcmaScriptVersion: 1.4
  • .IsMobileDevice: False
  • .MobileDeviceManufacturer: Unknown
  • .MobileDeviceModel: Unknown
  • .Beta: False

 

Note the version change and the change in Request.Browser.Browser, certainly enough to throw off our atlas-compatibility check. I haven’t figured out the appropriate fix for this yet, but it is nice to at least have one possible explanation as to why valid browsers are sometimes seeing our ‘no script’ experience.

The Viewport Meta Tag and the iPhone

I’ve been fiddling around with mobile interfaces for both my personal site and for the various sites I work on (http://on10.net, http://channel9.msdn.com, amongst others) and I noticed the use of <meta name=”viewport” content… /> on some other mobile sites. A quick search and I found a great discussion of the viewport meta tag on furbo.org (the apple developer site provides the same info in a more reference format). Turns out this simple meta tag helps Mobile Safari determine how best to scale your site for the smaller screen of the iPhone (relative to a desktop that is). I don’t have an iPhone, or an iPod touch for that matter (I gather the experience would be similar… if you don’t want to get a full blown cell account I’d suggest the ‘touch’ for testing purposes), although I found a great testing site for the iPhone (best viewed with Safari 3.0 on your desktop).

Looking for good examples of Mobile Interfaces

I’m part of a dev team that builds blog/forum software and I’ve been thinking about mobile interfaces lately… so I’m trying to find a good example of site like ours that provides a good (enjoyable, useful and usable) mobile interface… one that will work across a variety of browses. It seems 37 Signals is thinking about the same thing these days and they’ve made a blog post looking for exactly the same thing I am, examples of good mobile interfaces. I’m looking for sites that are some combination of text and video blogging and are usable via a relatively modern phone. I found a lot of the comments to that post to be completely unhelpful… because they were focused on sites that are specific to the iPhone! Building an interface for the iPhone is not a bad idea, but I certainly wouldn’t try to do that until after we had a good general purpose interface for a much wider variety of mobile devices. I did find a few interesting sites though, from the comments and from another site (Brian Cantoni’s list of good mobile sites at http://cantoni.mobi/):

 

Of course, all of these map well to the home page of our site(s) (like on10.net or Channel 9), I wonder if there are any good examples for a web forum? I’m pretty sure that a lot of our users would like to be able to view Channel 9’s Coffeehouse on their mobile device, and off hand I don’t know what the ideal experience for that would be.

On a related note, Brian Cantoni (the author of that list of good mobile sites) has a great series of blog articles about testing your web applications across all major smartphone platforms.