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Rosetta Stone Challenge

January 22, 2012

While I have been developing a lot of WP7 apps not many of them have made it to the market place for various reasons. So to make sure this doesnt happen for the current project im working on around “Real time object recognition on wp7” Im setting myself a challenge and publicly releasing the code as I go on codeplex and blogging about it as I go. The challenge is by the end of March I have to have built an object recognition app. The test will be walking up to the rosetta stone in the british museum and having it recognising it in under a second and displaying the name and a link to further info on wikipedia.

The codeplex project is and is something i have been tinkering with since christmas 2011.

Let the challenge begin……


Free WhatIs (Beta) has been released!

June 30, 2011

This is another voice based App which builds on some of the earlier work i did in wikipedia viewer but takes it to a whole new level. Want to know “what is the first fleet”, “what is the average for 5 and 6 and 7” just ask it and it will determine the best guess answer!

Free WhatIs

My international friend it should be coming out in a lot more languages over the next few weeks so if you want to test it please drop me a comment below and i will let you know when it is out.

Can’t connect to your phone. Disconnect it, restart it, then try connecting again.

June 25, 2011

This is a painful error I have had in the past which has cost me more time than I was happy to spend on it.

“CONNECTION ERROR Can’t connect to your phone. Disconnect it, restart it, then try connecting again.”

Also in the system event logs

Log Name: System
Source: Schannel
Date: 11/30/2010 10:40:53 PM
Event ID: 36870
Task Category: None
Level: Error
Computer: XXXXXXX
A fatal error occurred when attempting to access the SSL server credential private key.
The error code returned from the cryptographic module is 0x8009030d. The internal error state

This error I have received a few times now from my phone, if you plug your phone into another computer it works fine. So far i have found it is the result of changing your account password on your machine. The only reliable solution I have found so far is to make Zune forget the phone then resync your podcast and pictures via Zune Setting -> Device options -> FORGET THIS PHONE.

Translating your WP7 Apps

June 19, 2011

Why translate your app? for starters you will increase your downloads quite considerably. The english market seems to be swamped with a dozen apps that all seem to do the same thing and therefore publishing to markets where there may be no local competition or very little puts you in good standings.

Proof? well here are some download stats from one of my apps “Free Wikipedia Viewer” by top 5 countries which you can guess what languages they speak. As you can see only 2 of the top 5 speak english,  this I have found across most of my apps, english is often not the highest number of downloads

Germany 3,381
Italy 2,610
Australia 1,027
France 950
United States 903

For my market place publishing descriptions I use a professional transcription service  which costs me around 9 cents a word and I get it translated to german, french, italian and spanish. Generally it comes in at around 20 pounds per app so it is not a big cost. For the internal words in the app I use resx files  and have been modifying  a translating tool from one I got from codeplex a long time ago to do translations specially for wp7 Apps.

So in the spirit of giving back to the community I have uploaded the tool I currently use to translate my apps to codeplex at

Hopefully all the instructions you need to translate your apps are on codeplex, if not just ask as i know it works for me!

WP7 internet testing tips

June 17, 2011

When your phone is plugged into your dev machine or your using the emulator connected to the internet you really are testing in best case scenario when it comes to internet connectivity. In real life I find it is usually the reverse scenario where your reception will change from H,3G,E down to an almost unusable GPRS and sometimes non existant signal all within the space of a few mintues as you transit around town and when going rural don’t expect any signal for longer than any network timeout you can imagine.

Here’s a couple of ways to test your app under real conditions.

– use it the whole way to work. On the bus, on the metro, in the car because these are the places users will use, make sure it handles no internet connection gracefully.

– In your local coffee shop or tea room, but go to the back corner where internet fades in and out, you know spot its where no one is sitting using their phone as you can’t surf the net without a few annoying dropouts.

– The best way to simulate a slow GPRS connection however while trying to debug in visual studio is unplug your machine from the internet and turn off any WiFi on your dev machine and phone. Then goto your phone settings and turn off the 3G option, this will force the phone to revert to GPRS on your data plan. Prepare to be amazed by the speed of the snail pace internet, sometimes I wonder if my old 300 baud modem is much slower.

Moral of the story, test your app every day for at least 2 weeks before you release not connected to you laptop. Every app you release, you should be using every day and you will pick up the bugs and annoyances before users give you bad reviews.

Reading XDocument with namespaces

June 6, 2011

Building WP7 Apps i am forever producing and consuming webservices, the two most compatiable formats across the web that I deal with are XML and JSON. Normally XML is fairly easy but today I stumbled across a document that had me scratching my head.

<myns:response xmlns:myns=”” >

Normally if you want the result you would do something like this….

XDocument doc = XDocument.Parse(xml);
var result = doc.Element(“response”);

This of course is not going to work, what we need to do is declare a Namespace Prefix and you will have your answer.

1. Add a namespace declaration

private static readonly XNamespace myns = ““;

2. Update to include the namespace

var result = doc.Element(myns +”response”);

and done, now get back work…..

Free Wikipedia Viewer – Now with voice search

June 1, 2011

This one has been on my todo list for this app for a while, but now you can search by voice. I have found the best results are when you are in a quiet room with little background noise. I’m still fine tuning the voice integration so would be interested in all user feed back.

full app details found here