Thursday, 19 February 2015

MVA Figurines

In September last year I took part in the MVA ‘Become a hero’ promotion. By signing up, I got a free t-shirt (and if you know me well, you’ll know that makes perfect sense). In addition by completing a number of online courses from the MVA site, you could then get a novelty figurine (or maybe up to 6 if you did more courses).

I received my t-shirt, but my figurine never arrived. It appeared the super powers of “DevOps Captain Code” also included the ability to get lost in the mail. “Oh well, at least I’ve got a t-shirt”, I thought.

But then yesterday I got home to discover two packages from Microsoft. One was another t-shirt (yay), and the other was the full set of 6 figurines.

MVC Hero Figurines

So now we have (left to right)

  • SQL Server Query Controller
  • Azure Cloud Ninja
  • Device Management Dr Device
  • Windows Server Solid Server
  • DevOps Captain Code
  • Virtualisation Hypervisor

They’re now gracing my desk at work, much to the bemusement of my colleagues Smile

Figurines and t-shirts aside, if you’re after some quality free online training then there’s some excellent resources at the Microsoft Virtual Academy site. Most courses are run as a live event and then are made available on-demand a few weeks later (useful if the live event clashes with your preferred time to be asleep!)

Saturday, 7 February 2015

In the garden–February 2015

It’s summer time. We’ve had a bit of hot weather, including today (and more to come in the next week), but also some cooler patches too, which I think the garden has appreciated.

On hot days when it gets into the high 30’s and 40’s, I’ve taken to putting out shade for some of the smaller fruit trees. Bits of shade cloth and old sheets. The garden probably looks a bit like a weird art installation, but I think the trees appreciate a bit of help surviving the blistering heat.

I’ve harvested some cabbages (there’s still a few growing), and got some tomatoes just starting to fruit. I was a bit late planting these – my dad is already eating the fruit from his. I had planted some cucumbers and pumpkins but only two plants survived and they’re not really flourishing. I think I should try and get things started earlier next season.

There’s some corn that’s getting ready to flower, so hopefully we’ll have some corn cobs down the track.

Gala applesWe’ve got two apple trees that were planted almost 5 years ago. The ‘pink lady’ has fruited for the last couple of years, but this season is the first that we’ve had fruit set on the ‘gala’. Not sure if it just took a while to get ready, or if I pruned the wrong bits in winter previously.


Unripe QuinceNarelle planted a Quince tree behind our back fence a just over a year ago. It’s got some fruit growing on it, which hopefully will ripen as we approach winter

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Windows Phone app download stats

I’ve installed the Windows 10 preview build on my laptop, and one side-effect of this is that I can’t get the Windows Phone 7.1 SDK bits to work (they won’t install). Hopefully they will be supported eventually in later (or the final) versions of Windows 10, but for now it means I can’t do any 7.1 builds of my phone apps using my laptop.

I thought it would be interesting to find out how many 7.1 users are still downloading the app, to gauge whether I should still try and support the older devices. I took a look at the download data for one of my apps (Aussie Toilets) for the last 3 months:

Graph showing percentage of Windows Phone OS versions. 7.1 at 13%, 8.0 at 33% and 8.1 at 53%

So, just over half of the downloads were using 8.1 and a third are still on 8.0. Only 13% are still on 7.1

What about handset manufacturers? No surprises there – Nokia with 90%.

Bar graph showing handset manufacturers by percentage. HTC with 8%, LG with 1%, Nokia with 90% and Samsung with 3%

And the same for country/region – Australia with 89%. I assume the other countries were just curious, international travellers or possibly even immigrants who preferred their original country’s settings.

Bar graph showing downloads by region. Australia with 83%, other countries all below 6%

And finally just out of interest, age groups:

Bar graph showing age groups. Reasonably even spread from 15 - 22% across age groups

That’s a nice even spread across the various age groups.

So that might mean that for now I’ll have to leave the 7.1 users high and dry. If support for installing the old SDK is fixed, then I can look at giving them a few more updates in the future. Alternatively I might be able to convert my old system image into a VHD file and then I can boot the laptop back into the old Windows 8.1 image. I’d have to trim down the VHD file so it can fit onto the 500GB SSD I’ve got in my laptop though (that may not be that easy as the original image that’s still sitting on the old non-SSD drive was also 500GB).

The other messy part is that you can’t easily develop within a single version of Visual Studio for Windows Phone 7.1, 8 and 8.1. Visual Studio 2012 was the last to support 7.1 and also supported 8.0. Visual Studio 2013 can do 8.0 and 8.1 and Universal Apps (sharing code with desktop Windows).