How Windows 8 applications will handle Push Notifications

iPhones, Androids, even Windows Phone 7 devices and your old brick phones… they all had notifications to let you know if you’ve got a voicemail, text message, email, or nowadays even to suggest that your Draw Something friend has… drawn something. This all happens in the background, either on a schedule like every 15 minutes, or with a technology called “Push.” In many cases, developers need to have their own backend servers for their applications to communicate with. So how will Windows 8 do these Push Notifications? With Windows 8 development, your Windows 8 apps will use the existing Microsoft Azure servers and access the WNS (Windows Push Notification Service). In this video from Microsoft’s Channel 9, Nick Harris is here to tell you all of the details. It’s a lengthy discussion, probably more than the average person wants to know – but for geeks & developers? Some of this might be pure gold.

A free game, 10 years in the making… Wing Commander Saga

A fan project that ran for nearly ten years recently came to a close… or perhaps it’s only just begun. However you want to look at it, Wing Commander Saga is now available for download at multiple major gaming websites. There is even a torrent available for a no-waiting, download now kind of experience.

The game was made in the open sourced Free Space 2 engine, and has been polished more and more as the years went on. Since the root engine is so old, you can play it at max resolution on a current gen system and easily maintain an over-30-frames-per-second average. It’s now a full blown Wing Commander game in every sense of the word except legally. There is such strong fan support behind this that if EA, the current holders of the Wing Commander name, tries to shut these guys down, there will be an outcry from the fans. The projects been well publicized for the better part of a decade, they knew it was coming – if they try to step in now that it’s been released? It’s too late. But I won’t rain on anyone’s parade. Head on over to and check out the details!

Desktops, phones, apps, and the web

I have been listening to discussions among people (and having a few conversations myself) this week, regarding the openness of the web as we know it. This is all discussion generated since the advent of the “post-PC world” Apple has told us that we live in.

I am one of the big proponents of the web. The web should be able to do it all, and as HTML continues to evolve, I feel more and more confident that it will. Apps have the problem of creating a rift in your potential userbase. You have to develop for Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone, and perhaps a few other platforms like BlackBerry. It is because of this very limitation that Windows Phone 7 gets left out of the mania of new game releases. WP7 has only one version of Angry Birds, hasn’t gotten Words with Friends or Draw Something, and generally lacks the constant torrent of new apps that the other major platforms get. If all of those games were available via the web, we wouldn’t have to worry about what platform you were coming from, you could visit the site, and play!

So far, that’s just the mobile space. i have recently decided to rip some of my favorite DVD movies to my own hard drive, and stick the hard copies away in an attic. although i may some day want true “HD” versions of those movies and TV shows, my mid range Xvid rips will make me quite happy. But what tablet was going to let me accomplish that task? And then, where will I store these tons of movies? On my 32GB memory chip? Doubtful. “In the cloud!” some people suggest. Unfortunately, only SkyDrive has any reasonable capacity, and storage on the internet isn’t as cheap and easy as it always seems.

Then come the bandwidth caps. The thing that keeps me on Sprint: unlimited bandwidth. While I rarely use over 2GB per month, I certainly have on more than one occasion. when you look to see where things are going, more and more app and web driven, you have to wonder how we are going to survive with smaller bandwidth caps! A global infrastructure is going to experience growing pains for a while, until we get all the links worked out. Faster speeds, higher caps… We cannot be handcuffed if we are expected or in most cases required to work online.

For me, the desktop PC is still my safe haven. Proven and capable hardware, ever increasing internet speeds, and (so far for me) bimonthly bandwidth caps! It won’t be this way forever, and who knows what the next big thing will be… But I’m excited more and more by every change that comes our way – I just continue to hope that it is something that is open to the web, and not locked away, just for iTunes users, or Android owners, etcetera. Whatever the next step in the web is, whatever the thing AFTER the web is, it has to be for everyone.

Want to double your Android's speed? I found a way…

It’s App Wednesday! But this week I don’t have an App, I have a great story of taking back what’s mine! I set my phone back to “factory default” last week. I have an HTC Evo Shift 4G – it’s a Sprint exclusive device which only has one major down side: storage capacity. It includes only 512 MB of onboard space.

The problem with the Shift seems to be a strange setting on it. When I get below 45 MB of free storage space on the phone, it locks into a panic mode and a lot of features like background sync don’t run properly. It’s trying to prevent you from running out of storage space – but 45 MB on a device like this is still more than 10 average sized apps! I don’t get why it chokes me at such a high level of free space. So most people say, still, it’s no big deal. Just install some apps, move things to the SD card and you’ll be all set! Wrong.

It turns out, at least in my case, after performing some Over the air Updates, some of the files were left over and hogging up space in some hidden way that I couldn’t find them. Even using apps like Disk Usage, I couldn’t remove stuff from the System partition. So when it was all said and done, I decided to make sure I had contacts synchronized to my Google account, made sure pictures, etc… were all moved off to the SD card and my computer in some cases. Then? Settings screen, SD & Phone Storage menu, then Factory Data Reset.

It kept the firmware and software updates that had been pushed to the phone, and got rid of the installer files that had clearly been left behind from OTA updates. I now have nearly all of my apps reinstalled, and nearly 3 times the free space I had! Also, this thing is running like lightning. Slow down must have happened gradually, but I forgot this phone was ever this fast when I got it. But, much like Windows, the occasional reformat may prove to be a good idea! Glad I did it, and just wanted to share!