2 minutes read

Tweaking the Default ADFS v2 Web Experience

Designing clean and smart user experiences is a hobby of mine.  Yeah, it’s a little weird, but it’s a good way to change gears for a while when working through a problem. Given that, I thought I would take a stab at the login pages for ADFS.  I didn’t do anything major, but lets take a look at some before and after shots. Before Nothing too complicated here.  It looks like a regular login page. After In comparison, not a lot has changed.  I switched the font, moved the textbox labels, fiddled with some border colors, and added a watermark…

2 minutes read

Thinking About how we Display Data

Earlier I had discussed how to bring the data from a database to the Windows Phone 7.  Now I’d like to discuss how we think about displaying that data.  It’s important to know the relationships in the data so we can think about how everything should be structured.  We want to create a simple interface that is smooth and logical.  All data is different and this is by no means the “right” way to do it, but it feels right to me. This is industry standard stuff, and our data is modeled around it.  Each layer would be a collection…

7 minutes read

Getting the Data to the Phone

A few posts back I started talking about what it would take to create a new application for the new Windows Phone 7.  I’m not a fan of learning from trivial applications that don’t touch on the same technologies that I would be using in the real world, so I thought I would build a real application that someone can use. Since this application uses a well known dataset I kind of get lucky because I already have my database schema, which is in a reasonably well designed way.  My first step is to get it to the Phone, so…

8 minutes read

Data as a Service and the Applications that consume it

Over the past few months I have seen quite a few really cool technologies released or announced, and I believe they have a very real potential in many markets.  A lot of companies that exist outside the realm of Software Development, rarely have the opportunity to use such technologies. Take for instance the company I work for: Woodbine Entertainment Group.  We have a few different businesses, but as a whole our market is Horse Racing.  Our business is not software development.  We don’t always get the chance to play with or use some of the new technologies released to the…

6 minutes read

Move Their Cheese! (and Change the Design)

I tend to complain a lot.  Which frankly, doesn’t do much for what I’m complaining about.  In most cases, it comes down to “okay, here is a problem, now someone else go and fix it.”  There is a direct correlation to how many people I annoy too.  The number of people I annoy increases as the magnitude of my complaining-ness (hey, a new word) increases: If I wanted to change something, obviously I’m going about it the wrong way.  However, there is a direct correlation between how often I do something wrong and the likelihood I will get it right. …

3 minutes read

Zune Player

At first I was a little skeptical at the quality of the Zune Player, as it’s basically in direct competition with Windows Media Player.  In retrospect, that’s probably what made it what is today.  It’s designed to sync the Zune media player, and it works very well as an alternative to Media Player.  There are a couple problems that I have with it though: It’s a resource hog It requires a good video card to show effects It sorts things in weird ways when meta data is missing The Zune Player is built on .NET.  It has a very big…

7 minutes read

What Makes us Want to Program? Part 2

In my previous post I started talking about part of my personal history with software development, and when QBasic got me hooked.  I ended the post talking about the move to Canada.  We arrived in Canada literally a week (7 days exactly) before Grade 9 started.  After getting enrolled in school, I tried to find something to keep my mind occupied.  It was either that or contemplate what Grade 9 would be like for someone who used to live 3000 miles away in another country.  And winter.  Still 4 months away, but definitely something I didn’t want to think about. …