‘Learn Piano’ is Top Free Lifestyle App!

 

After hovering around the top slot for a good few weeks (and a brief spell as a ‘paid’ app) I was very pleased to see that ‘learn Piano’ has the top spot this week in Lifestyle Apps.

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Recent updates to the App include support for ‘Play To’, enabling lessons to be streamed to a nearby TV and the ability to download additional lessons via an in app purchase.

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The App is currently in its ninth release (wow) with many more enhancements in planning – hopefully will help it to stay near (or on) the top of the heap!


(Download ‘Learn Piano’ for free here)


Highlighting PlayTo / DLNA functionality in your Windows 8 Apps

 

Using the PlayTo functionality within a media application is a great way to enhance your media related app – but the methodology for the user to invoke the PlayTo feature in Windows 8 relies on a full working knowledge of the Charms bar (The user needs to select a device from the devices charm as he is about to play a video).

So in order to highlight this great feature I have added a new button on my Apps’ application bar that also invokes the PlayTo device menu:

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PlayTo App Bar button in the ‘Easy Origami’ App

imageThe button is based on the one currently available in StandardStyles.XAML called “PlayAppBarButtonStyle”.  I simply copied the XAML and made a few changes as in the example below. 

NB If you don’t want to modify your StandardStyles.XAML – which is generally regarded as bad practice then you can add this mark-up to the XAML of your App.XAML file where it will also be automagically ‘found’!

 

The mark-up matches the mark-up for the existing “Play” button with only the text changing (to ‘Play To’)

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And the button in your media page then calls the following method which invokes the ‘PlayTo’ Devices menu:

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Windows Store Download Stats.

So after a very flat and uninspiring period after the launch of Windows 8 looking at my own stats today it is clear that things have started to change over the last Month or so – with a steep increase in downloads (which now total in excess of 37,000)

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Hopefully this increase will continue a pace over the coming year.

Interestingly a similar graph for my Windows Phone Apps shows a much steadier increase over the same period:

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Windows 8 Hardware

At the weekend I had the fortune to visit the ‘gadget show live’ event in Birmingham and was particularly impressed with the variety and quality of the Windows 8 devices that were on display (I particularly liked this Sony device that was equally usable in a tablet and laptop/desktop configuration and powerful enough for almost any scenario)

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It was nice to be able to get hands on with all these devices in one place.  (It did make me think that our PC retailers are not doing as effective a job as they might).