Windows Phone Marketplace Account Notice – IP Violation Warning

 

A little odd, I received the following email today but have not had any indication of which Apps might be infringing copyright.  Anyone else in the same position?

“This is to inform you that you have more than one Intellectual Property complaint against your account. If we receive one additional Intellectual Property complaint regarding your account, your account may be terminated without further warning.

Note: if your account is terminated, all your applications will be unpublished and not be available to republish.

If you have any questions about the requirements of copyright, trademark or other laws, please consult an attorney.

Windows Phone Store Team”

Is anyone from the Windows Phone team able to comment?  Surely it would be sensible to alert me of any specific complaints before sending what appears to be a generalised notification?

Fix – Nokia Lumia 920 Blank Screen when making calls

After working well for a couple of months my Lumia developed an issue whereby every time I made a call the screen would blank and subsequently refuse to return to normal operation.

After a little searching I discovered ‘the fix’ to the problem which occurs due to dust build up around the sensor:

Simply blast some air* all around the top area of the phone and the problem will go away!

* I used a good old fashioned blast of air from my mouth but if you have a can of compressed air handy that is probably a better option.


NB If you had this issue and this helped you please leave a comment below!

Cineworld / The Screening Rooms Cheltenham

 

Our daughters were keen to do some XMAS shopping in Cheltenham (while my wife and I were not).  No problem (or so I thought) – and I suggested to my wife that we use our vouchers to go and see a film at The Screening rooms in Cheltenham. 

After duly looking up the times and coordinating the visit with our kids (and their friends parents) I set abut booking for the 11:50am showing of ‘Jack Reacher’ . 
I entered the voucher codes that we had received from ‘Living Social’ and selected the booking:

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but no matter what I did this screen resolutely refused to allow me to complete the booking, (although I suspect I had already committed the two ‘Living Social’ voucher codes and would not be able to reuse them).

Was this a browser issue?  (I am using the latest version 10 of IE).  I decided to go through the same process using Google Chrome – only to get exactly the same issue.

I then tried ringing the booking line shown but this appeared to be completely automated (and was costing me 10p per minute?) so I hung up.

I continued to try various changes to the booking details until I eventually received the following error message:

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This at least gave me another option and I duly tried to ring the number given only to be greeted by a message telling me that the service was unavailable today due to maintenance (?) and that instead I should try and ring the boking line.  This was the same number that I previously tried but I duly tried again thinking that perhaps there might be an option at some stage in the process to talk to a real person (there was not).

Left a little angry and frustrated I took the unusual step for me to blog my discontent.  At this stage we are now committed to taking our kids to Cheltenham tomorrow but with no idea whether our booking has been registered (though i strongly suspect that while our vouchers have been ‘used’ our boking has NOT been made).

I have used this service many times in the past to book with Cineworld with no issues .

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My time is important to me so If you work for Cineword and have any idea what might have gone wrong here I would like to hear from you …

So why have i posted this online?  Well I didn’t appear to have any satisfactory means of complaining directly to CineWorld or the Screening Rooms themselves and this experience tipped the balance (I am normally a very relaxed person who under other circumstances might have just shrugged this off).  My hope is that this post might spur CineWorld into fixing the issue (and maybe apologising to my wife and I for the frustration and our lost time.)


UPDATE next day)

I tried the number in the error message again and after a few minutes on hold got through to a real person.  I explained the problem and after some initial confusion where I was told that the Living Social vouchers had expired (they hadn’t) I was told that in order to enjoy the performance i would need to rebook using my credit card which would subsequently be refunded.

When I went into the web site I found that the booking I wanted was no longer available (it is now 10:05 am so it seems a little premature to remove a booking for 11:50am?)

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Tried phoning back the complaints line but it seems to be constantly engaged.

Decided to try the phone booking line but after going through the entire automated procedure I was told that the performance was booked out.  I explained the situation but the girl i spoke to was unable to offer any resolution except to suggest I book for another day or cinema (all performances being booked out)

Tried the complaints line again ….. on hold then eventually asked to leave a message and would get a call back ….. meanwhile tried to book another performance for Saturday evening but was met with the same issue.

What an ordeal.

Later …

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Update: Saturday (rebooking)

We got our baby sitter re-booked and got to the Screening Rooms in Cheltenham in plenty of time but after handing over our pre-printed tickets were told that the seats we had booked had been given to someone else.  The chap on the desk was very apologetic and said that he hoped he could find us some alternative seating. Apparently this was as a result of the booking being cancelled (I wasn’t really given a satisfactory explanation as to why this had happened and didn’t want to pursue the opportunity we were given to speak to the manger after the event as we were keen to get back to our kids). We ended up in the row in front of the one we had booked but  in the far right of the theatre.  We were offered complimentary food which we declined as we had already eaten – although we did take a couple of free drinks.

The film was great, I will leave it up to you what we thought of the overall experience.

(With apologies to anyone who is a regular reader of this blog)

Dramatic increase in App downloads since the release of Windows Phone 8

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At this stage downloads of my own Windows Phone Apps appear to have doubled since the release of Windows Phone 8 – with downloads continuing to increase on a daily basis.

While reading positive sales stats and figures from Microsoft and Nokia is always a good thing, having access to ‘real data’ such as this helps confirm that the positive buzz around the platform is being translated into real world results.

As a developer I am energised around the development of future Apps for Windows Phone, particularly in light of the opportunities for shared code and Apps with Windows 8.


NB In order to read the above graph in context to this post, ignore the ‘cumulative’ line and note that daily sales have risen from around 275 on 18th October to around 550 on 9th December.

Modern Jago – Design Labs

I got to spend the day at Modern Jago yesterday on day 1 of a two day design oriented event (I cannot make day 2 but that is a whole other story). 

Modern Jago is nestled amongst a village of designer clothes shops, art house cinemas, T-Shirt presses and independent publishing houses in the ‘trendy’ (if that is still a word) area of Shoreditch in London.  Not the easiest of places to get to if like me you are based in the sticks a long way outside London but when you do finally get there you are rewarded with an atmosphere and community of people with a passion for promoting and fostering the growth of software design around the new raft of Microsoft technologies (Windows 8 / Phone / Azure etc) .

As a developer with no formal training in design (Unless you count an 80’s ‘A’ level!) I was curious to know what this course might be able to do for me in my own little development world.  You see I personally believe that one of the basic problems that developers (programmers) face is an inherent difference in the way that they approach application development.  While designers focus (naturally) on ‘design’ most programmers will focus (quite rightly) on ‘function’.  Nowadays that approach doesn’t really pass muster and the current trend is to encourage programmers to think a lot more about design.

Windows 8 UX Design Camp

The agenda for the event covers a series of speaker lead workshops around design oriented topics, conducted in such a way as to encourage you to think about how each aspect of design relates to your own personal plans for a Windows 8 project:

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I was just in the process of submitting a ‘new’ App that had come about largely as a result of feedback received from an existing App I had in the store.  If you will allow me to digress for a paragraph or two I will explain how this App came about and perhaps shed some insight on how a developers (programmers) mind differs from a designers!!

First of all my initial focus for developing an App was not, as some might assume, to develop an App “so profoundly useful and stunning in its design as it would rock the very foundation of the App store”, (though, of course that would be nice).  No, my ‘real world’ objective was simply to learn how to develop Windows 8 Apps – essentially so that I can go on and earn some money (and feed my kids). 

And did I have all the App’s design objectives up front?  Did I f@#k

Here is how it went down:

1. I had a mildly successful Windows Phone App called ‘Live Tile news’ that i thought I would bring to Windows 8 :

LIVE TILE NEWS

2. It occurred to me that I could build on this Apps foundation and develop a complimentary ‘Sports App’ by simply changing the underlying data source and adding complimentary graphics:

LIVE TILE SPORT

3. I got a lot of negative reviews from the USA for this App as it didn’t cover popular US sports (this is because the feeds originate from the UK).  So I did two things as a result; Firstly I made a note to source some suitable US based sporting information for a future version of this App and secondly, so that ‘all was not lost’ i developed a UK specific version:

UK SPORT

4. I used this App as my ‘personal App’ when working through the various labs and in discussions with session presenters at Modern Jago.   Now I have to say that one of the presenters was very subtly but very assuredly a little dismissive of this ‘App idea’   and went on to extoll the virtues of Microsoft’s’ own Sports App.  Now this may have all been in my imagination but either way it served a very useful purpose in getting me to think about how I might differentiate my App from other Sports related Apps in the store*  BANG!  I had a flash of inspiration and a new App idea was born!  (I will add the link to this new App below once it reaches the store – give me a week or two!)

<PLACEHOLDER>

So what struck me about the ethos of the design process that we were covering was two fold.  First of all the long standing approach is to think out all your requirements ‘up front’ (indeed, we covered a very useful approach for doing just that as the first exercise of the day!) and it occurred to me that if i had done this thoroughly I could have avoided 1, 2, 3 and 4 above!!  BUT, (and it is a big but) if I had done this I maybe would have thrown out the Baby’s toys with the bathwater as these Apps would not have seen the light of day.  So I guess what I am saying is that when the requirements process is complete perhaps this shouldn’t be the end of the requirements process?  If the ‘new idea’ is sufficiently different from the ideas behind the existing App then why not use them to develop a variation on the existing App that encompasses those ‘new requirements’?

Technology Solutions

This leads me to another of my pet foibles (and please forgive me for digressing again).  Nowadays the term ‘Technology Solutions’ is considered a ‘dirty term’  (It implies the process of ‘finding a solution for a bit of technology that currently exists’).  I personally find this a very useful tool !  (What!!?)  Hold on a minute I hear you say! ….  Don’t get me wrong, yes, it should probably play second fiddle to any business-lead requirements but should it really be the object of disdain that it so often appears to be?  I think not!   This approach has personally furnished me with ideas that have lead to being ‘real business requirements’ (rather than just technology lead requirements) on many occasions.  How so?  Well a common response to these kinds of ideas when put to ‘the business’ is ‘Oh, I never thought of that’ or even ‘Oh, I didn’t;t know you could do that’.  (On occasion I have even included these kinds of ideas into prototype applications with a very positive response.)   So I guess my ‘off topic’  point here is, don’t ever  assume that geeks don’t have valuable input to contribute!

My thanks to Chris Mayo, Andrew Spooner and the other presenters for such a useful and enjoyable event (and to Cristina for handling admin).  Lastly I think all us developers owe a debt of gratitude to Jaime and the rest of the team at Modern Jago (http://modernjago.co.uk/about/) .  I look forward to having such a space within striking distance of my home town at some point in the future!

NB You can check out upcoming events at Modern Jago here.

New release of the Windows 8 SDK?

 

On submitting an update for one of my apps i just got prompted to install an updated SDK – looks as though this is mandatory for certification.

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Download:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/desktop/hh852363

NB This is quite a large download at 568.6 MB   

UPDATE

Looks as though it isn’t mandatory as after kicking off the download, I selected ‘next’ in the first dialog above and managed to finish the certification submittal.

Note: A reboot is required after installing the update:

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