A Disruptive Time for Mobile Messaging

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin is an accomplished Microsoft systems developer and integrator, experienced in developing and deploying SharePoint and CRM solutions, integrating line of business applications, and leveraging existing infrastructure investments.

So my original impression of iMessage turned out to be incorrect–kind of. If you have an iPhone, you know by now that iMessage and the SMS app are, in fact, built in. That’s good. My reaction was based on the fact that I only have an iPad. So here are some more thoughts and additional notions regarding SMS going away (hopefully sooner than later) for various reasons.

Now that I realize that iMessage is integrated into the iPhone, they are certainly on to something. The problem is, however, that there are still multiple apps for multiple modes of communication and it would be wise of Apple to combine iChat, FaceTime, and iMessage/Messages.  A single interface to reach out and contact someone is key. I think they will come around, because the startups are coming for them and they have some really great ideas! Read more of this post

Slalom Blogs–The App!

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin is an accomplished Microsoft systems developer and integrator, experienced in developing and deploying SharePoint and CRM solutions, integrating line of business applications, and leveraging existing infrastructure investments.

Slalom Consulting has some great bloggers. If you haven’t read some of the thoughts they (we) have been talking about across various subjects, you should really head over to the website…but, if you happen to own a Windows Phone 7…iPhone version coming soon…why not just go grab a fresh copy from the Windows Phone Marketplace – just search for Slalom Blogs.

An interesting aside – I had been working with the Marketplace and the fine folks over at Appmakr to get the application out the door. After a few runs through, it finally got approved, and I was actually not expecting it to. While I had alerted Slalom national that it ‘was coming soon’ I really had no idea when ‘soon’ would be as it was a spare time project. When I got the email saying that it had been approved I thought – well great, I’ll make some color adjustments tomorrow and resubmit now that the kinks were worked out. Little did I know, a few hours later, Slalom Blogs was being featured in the New section on the Homepage of Zune and the WP7 Marketplace (see the photo below)! So much for my “soft launch.”

Slalom Blogs

Slalom Blogs was a featured new app in the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace

Anyway, it marks our second app into the app store with another one on the way! Enjoy.

Slalom Consulting's Dallas Office Slalom Consulting's Mobile Focus Area
More about Slalom Consulting’s Dallas office. More about Slalom Consulting’s Mobile focus.

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Presenting Rx and Windows Phone 7 at Mix

Slalom Consultant Jim Wooley

Slalom Consultant Jim Wooley is a frequent speaker, member of the INETA Speaker Bureau, MVP, and author of "LINQ in Action". He is always striving to stay at the forefront of technology and enjoys the thrill of a new challenge.

I’m happy to have been selected to speak at MIX this year. This is an exciting conference combining developers and designers and focusing on increasing application User Experiences. The focus of my talk will be to show some practical uses of Rx in the context of the Windows Phone 7. If you’re going to attend MIX, I would love to see you at this session. Otherwise, the sessions are typically recorded. I’ll add a link to the recording once it becomes available. Here’s the session description as it’s listed on the Mix website:

Rx: A Library for Managing Asynchronous Data and Events in your Windows Phone 7 Application

Lagoon B on Tue, Apr 12 3:30 PM4:30 PM

How do you manage the dizzying array of input sources, ranging from traditional UI events and external service requests to new user interface touch gestures and device sensor detections, while keeping your Silverlight and Phone applications responsive? In this session, you’ll discover how the Reactive Extensions (Rx) library simplifies the programming model by letting you declaratively compose increasingly complex Jim Wooley at MIX11asynchronous operations over these diverse data sources. We will demonstrate some practical uses of Rx for Windows Phone 7 by building a dice playing game including responding to user interactions, creating gestures from the device’s sensors, and making Asynchronous service calls. In the end you’ll learn how to coordinate pushing data around using Rx.

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Windows Azure Platform: April 1st Links

Slalom Consultant Joel Forman

Slalom Consultant Joel Forman specializes in cloud computing and the Windows Azure Platform.

Welcome to the second post in my link listing series, which aggregates valuable, interesting Windows Azure Platform material that I have recently come across. Here is my previous (March 1st) post.  Hopefully you will find some of these interesting as well…

  • things.smarx.com – Steve Marx’s collection of things you can do with Windows Azure.  There are some interesting ones here, and it’s in a very consumable format with code snippets.  It’s a good place to check before attempting something “not-so-common” on the Platform.
  • Multi-Tenant Windows Azure Web Roles with Live Deployments – Nathan Totten has a cool example of how to run multiple tenant sites inside a Windows Azure web role, with the ability to deploy/decommission sites on the fly without touching the running hosted service.  This solution was also featured on Cloud Cover Episode 39.
  • Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 – A toolkit is now available on CodePlex that is designed to make it easier for your to build phone applications that leverage Read more of this post

A Business User Reviews The Windows Samsung Focus

Slalom Consulting's Garrey Carlson

Garret Carlson is Slalom Consulting’s National Solutions Director responsible for supporting Slalom’s technology solutions across all of Slalom’s offices.

The first wave of Windows phones arrived yesterday and I purchased the Samsung Focus. 24hrs into break in period I thought I would provide my thoughts. Those that work with me know that I am not an early adopter of phones and reluctantly move from device to device. I have been using the iPhone 3GS for about 1.5 years and the ‘freshness’ of the devices went out the window about eight months ago. Although the novelty of Angry Birds & Cut the Rope truly is amazing, the frustration with calendar invites, call quality and rendering office documents was so overpowering that I actually went to AT&T store the first day buy a more business friendly device.

First thing was the form factor of the device is compelling. Similar dimension to the iPhone but he screen is much more clear and larger. The user interface is intuitive and I was able configure the applications quickly. My email was up and running by the time I walked 8 blocks from the store to my desk. The visual keyboard is similar to the iPhone however the buttons seems smaller. The dependency on a Windows Live ID and Zune account was interesting. Thankfully, I already had both accounts but setting that up would be a hassle much like my first experience with the iPhone and iTunes. The Marketplace is limited but I did get the applications I needed. Love the bigger icons and “cleanness” of the start menu. Maybe I am just getting old but ease of finding things out weigh cool factor. The social media integration with people and contacts was almost scary. I was used to opening up applications to get status updates but this feature allows me to peruse folks quickly and get information. Not sure what I like better but it is new. SIM compatibility was an ease for me since I own the 3GS. Those with the 4G will have to make a decision on SIMS. However, I do think I will have some data plan issues if I try and switch back and forth. AT&T never makes it too easy to change devices.

Things I didn’t like were minimal but here’s a list of a few: Read more of this post

Five great things about developing for Windows Phone 7—and five things that should be in the next release

Slalom Consultant Rob Howard

Rob Howard is a software developer and part of Slalom's National Mobility Team charged with putting emerging technologies to work in business.

In the past few months I’ve gotten a chance to write a couple of applications for Windows Phone 7.  Some of the concepts in the development environment, both new and old, were executed very well.  I was able to create some powerful features in these apps that would have been difficult for other mobile platforms.  Here is a list of five of those things that I would like to give the people on the Windows Phone 7 development team kudos for:

Portability of Skills

Anyone that has written code for the web in Silverlight should be able to easily read and implement a Windows Phone 7 app.  Since many of the same controls are used, one doesn’t have to learn a new UI API to work on phone development.  Also, with the inclusion of Expression Blend, skills that a designer has used in UI customization for WPF or Silverlight are valuable in Windows Phone development.

Networking combined with Data Serialization

It is almost a given that an application that one would write for a mobile phone will need to use network resources.  Windows Communication Foundation is included in the Windows Phone 7 libraries along with a loaded HttpWebRequest.  When used with the DataContractSerializer classes, fetching and parsing data from the cloud becomes a simple implementation where it can be very complicated on Read more of this post

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