Tag Archives: phone

Cell Phone Trends in Asia

I had a unique opportunity to spend 6 weeks in Asia – specifically in India, Cambodia and Thailand from early November to late December. And while this was a personal trip, I observed technology trends that were quite different from the US. Here are a few that I noticed:

- WiFi is not ubiquitous. Unlike many places in the US where WiFi is present in many homes, coffee shops, airports and city centers, WiFi is not everywhere in India. There are definitely pockets of WiFi access, but even in many homes, it’s not available.

- BlackBerry is a popular smartphone in India. Caveat: while I was in India, Windows Phone was not widely available. BlackBerry was by far the most popular smart phone. And what was most interesting and least obvious was the reason for its popularity – BBM which stands for BlackBerry Messenger. It’s a social messaging system and many consumers are hooked on it. Many people buy the BlackBerry because their friends are on BBM. The most popular non-smartphone choice was by far Nokia – which makes me excited about the opportunity that Windows Phone + Nokia brings to India.

- SMS is king in India. Cell phone data connections are not nearly as popular as SMS. This has been the case for many years now but it’s still surprising to see. Any technology venture in India needs to think about having some kind of SMS strategy and keep in mind that not everyone has cell phone data plans and WiFi access – but everyone has and loves SMS.

- Custom Ring tones are popular. If you hear the tune to a popular song in a café, more likely than not, it’s someone’s cell phone ringing.

Well that’s my last post for 2011. Happy 2012 to all of you!

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WP7 “Phantom Data” Source Possibly Revealed?

Recently there’s been rumours floating around regarding “phantom” Windows Phone 7 data being magically sent and received on the latest WP7 phones. The news has mostly been floating around twitter so I didn’t pay it much attention. The BBC Technology News picked it up so I thought I would look more into it myself seeing that we have WP7 phones and maybe there was some truth to all this (and more importantly what was the cause).

Full disclosure. I don’t have a lot of data points around this. This is from looking at a few phone logs, changing the configuration and looking back again after the change. I haven’t done a clean baseline test nor have I done testing with hundreds of phones. I leave the experience up to the reader to decide.

So I went spelunking into the phone logs to see what was up. Most providers will show you data usage, at least on a daily basis. I lucked out with the provider and plan in that they provide hourly breakdowns. Here’s a snapshot from my usage throughout one night.

Timestamp Data Usage
12:38:30 AM 2098 Kilobytes
1:30:30 AM 2 Kilobytes
2:38:30 AM 7118 Kilobytes
3:38:30 AM 6622 Kilobytes
4:38:30 AM 76 Kilobytes
5:38:30 AM 29 Kilobytes
6:38:30 AM 19 Kilobytes
7:38:30 AM 20 Kilobytes

So a few observations from this data:

  • Data seems to be collected on a regular basis. Looking at some other people phone logs, the times vary but it’s always hourly.

  • There’s not a tremendous amount of data here (about 16 megabytes) but it seems like a lot for 7 hours

  • The phone was connected to my home Wifi during this period

  • Nothing was running and the phone was in a locked state

Like I said, not a lot of data but it adds up. 16MB for 7 hours = about 50MB in a 24 hour period. That’s just plain old data being collected (somewhere, somehow) and not actual usage (Marketplace, Email, Browsing, etc.). Besides, when connected to a WiFi network you shouldn’t be charged data usage from your phone company (in theory, YMMV).

After reviewing the logs I made a theory that the only thing that could possibly be sending data is the Feedback feature. With no other apps running under lock, what else could it be?

In Windows 7 under your Settings the last option is Feedback. This sends feedback to Microsoft to “help improve Windows Phone”. On this page you have three options:

  • Send feedback and use my cellular data connection

  • Send feedback and (presumably) use my WiFi connection

  • Don’t send feedback

Knowing what I know about Microsoft, they do use the feedback data. For example some of the placement and inclusion of features in Office 2007 was based on that Feedback data that Office sends (assuming you had opted in).

However in the Privacy Statement (it’s long but a good read at least once in your life), the Phone manual, and every other source I could look at there is no information about how much data it’s planning to send, just that it’s sending some data and that “some data charges with your carrier may apply”.

Looking back at the logs, I have to wonder. 6MB at 3:30 and *then* 7MB the next hour. That’s a lot of information. And it adds up. 50MB in a 24 hour period X 30 days puts most people over a normal 1GB plan. And frankly why am I paying for a data plan only to have 80% of it chewed up by Microsoft, with no real benefit to me. If they included porn in the 50mb daily transfer I’d be okay with this, but I don’t see any new movies on my phone.

So I turned it off. Set Feedback to disabled and wait.

I waited. And waited. And generally didn’t use the phone if I could.

The next day I went back to look at the data usage logs from the time period after turning the feedback mechanism off. Here are the results.

Timestamp Data Usage
1:19:48 PM 0 Kilobytes
2:19:48 PM 0 Kilobytes
3:19:48 PM 0 Kilobytes
4:19:48 PM 678 Kilobytes (took a phone call)
5:19:48 PM 82 Kilobytes
6:19:48 PM 88 Kilobytes
7:20:30 PM 86 Kilobytes (guess they changed their reporting time)
8:20:30 PM 86 Kilobytes
9:20:30 PM 66 Kilobytes
10:20:30 PM 67 Kilobytes
11:20:30 PM 49 Kilobytes
12:20:30 AM 32 Kilobytes
1:20:30 AM 38 Kilobytes
2:20:31 AM 18 Kilobytes
3:20:31 AM 27 Kilobytes
4:20:31 AM 86 Kilobytes
5:20:31 AM 53 Kilobytes
6:20:31 AM 22 Kilobytes
7:22:15 AM 30 Kilobytes (another reporting time change)
8:22:15 AM 29 Kilobytes
9:22:15 AM 74 Kilobytes
10:22:15 AM 154 Kilobytes (phone call)
11:22:15 AM 12 Kilobytes
12:13:27 PM 49 Kilobytes
1:13:27 PM 197 Kilobytes (phone call)

Quite a *drastic* change from what Feedback was turned on. I mean for a 24 hour period (sans 3 phone calls) I consumed about 1MB. Still quite a bit of transfer going on but at least it amounts to 30MB per month, not 30MB per day!

Like I said this observation is neither scientific or conclusive. You decide what to do but frankly until Microsoft makes this data transfer exempt from your data plan (like that will happen) I would just turn Feedback off. YMMV.

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Pet Peeves with the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace

Have you ever noticed how something things just gnaw at your very being. This is the case with the WP7 marketplace, the Zune software, and the things that drive me batshit crazy with a side of fries. To go. I wanted to share.


XBox Live is Not the Centre of the Universe

Okay, it’s fine that the Zune software has an XBox live tag for games so can see them clearly but do we really need to have it shoved down our throats. On every click?

Click on Games in the marketplace:


The first thing that it defaults to on the filters on the right is XBox Live:


Okay. Fine. However if you change it (say to Paid) then click onto a title when you come back from that title is the filter still set to Paid? No. It’s back to XBox Live again.

Really? Give us a break. If you change to any filter on any other genre then click on the selected title, it doesn’t revert back to anything. It stays on the selection you picked. Let’s be fair here. The Games genre should behave just like every other one. If I pick Paid then when I come back to the list please remember that.

Double Dipping

On the subject of XBox Live titles, Microsoft (and developers who have an agreement with Microsoft to produce Live titles, which generally rules out indie game developers) is double dipping with regards to exposure of their titles.

Here’s the Puzzle and Trivia Game section on the Marketplace for XBox Live titles:


And here’s the same category filtered on Paid titles:


See the problem? Two indie titles while the rest are XBox Live ones. So while XBL has it’s filter, they also get to showcase their wares in the Paid and Free filters as well.

If you’re going to have an XBox Live filter then use it and stop pushing down indie titles until they’re off the screen (on some genres this is already the case). Free and Paid titles should be just that and not include XBox Live ones. If you’re really stoked that people can’t find the Free XBox Live titles vs. the paid ones, then create a Free XBox Live filter and a Paid XBox Live filter. I don’t think we would mind much.

Whose Trial is it Anyways?

You might notice apps in the marketplace with titles like “My Fart App Professional Lite” or “Silicon Lamb Spleen Builder Free”. When you submit and app to the marketplace it can either be free or paid. If it’s a paid app you also have the option to submit it with Trial capabilities. It’s up to you to decide what you offer in the trial version but trial versions can be purchased from within the app so after someone trys out your app (for free) and wants to unlock the Super Secret Obama Spy Ring Level, they can just go to the marketplace from your app (if you built that functionality in) and upgrade to the paid version.

However it creates a rift of sorts when it comes to visibility. Some developers go the route of the paid app with a trial version, others decide to submit *two* apps instead of one. One app is the “Free” or “Lite” verions and the other is the paid version. Why go to the hassle of submitting two apps when you can just create a trial version in the same app? Again, visibility.

There’s no way to tell Paid apps with Trial versions and ones without (it’s an option, you don’t have to provide trial versions, although I think it’s a good idea). However there is a way to see the Free apps from the Paid ones so some submit the two apps and have the Free version have links to buy the paid one (again through the Marketplace tasks in the API).

What we as developers need for visibility is a new filter. Trial. That’s it. It would simply filter on Paid apps that have trial capabilities and surface up those apps just like the free ones. If Microsoft added this filter to the marketplace, it would eliminate the need for people to submit their “Free” and “Lite” versions and make it easier for the developer not to have to maintain two systems. I mean, is it really that hard? Can’t be any more difficult than the XBox Live Filter that’s already there.

Location is Everything

The last thing on my bucket list is about location. When I launch Zune I’m running in my native location setting, Canada. What’s great is that I navigate to the Travel Tools section where I have one of my apps and behold the splendour that I see:


There are my apps in the number 1 and number 4 slot for top selling in that category. I show it to my wife to make up for the sleepless nights writing this stuff and we dance around and celebrate.

Then I change my location on my operation system to United States and re-launch Zune. WTF?


My flight app has slipped to the 10th spot (I’m only showing 4 across here out of the 7 in Zune) and my border check app that was #1 is now in the 32nd spot! End of celebration.

Not only is relevance being looked at here, I value the comments people make on may apps as do most developers. I want to respond to them and show them that I’m listening. The next version of my border app will provide multiple camera angles. However when I’m running in my native Canada location, I only see two reviews. Changing over to United States I see fourteen! While there are tools out there to provide with you a unified view, I shouldn’t have to rely on them. My own Zune desktop software should allow me to see everything.

I realize that some developers will submit an app and only target it for some locations and that’s their choice. However I shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to see what apps are ahead of mine, or see people comments and ratings.

Another proposal. Either unify the marketplace (i.e. when I’m looking at it show me everything combined) or let me choose a filter. I think the first option might be difficult as you’re trying to average out top selling apps across all markets and have to deal with some apps that have been omitted from some markets. Although I think you could come up with a set of use cases that would handle that, maybe that’s too much work. At the very least, let us developers view the markets in a drop down or something from within the Zune desktop. Having to shut down Zune, change our location, and re-launch Zune to see other perspectives is just too onerous.

A Call to Action

These are just one mans opinion. Do you agree? Disagree? Feel hungry for a bacon sandwich? Let everyone know via the comments below. Perhaps someone from Microsoft will be reading and take some of these ideas under advisement. Maybe not, but at least let’s get the word out that we really want to see some change. Egypt can do it, why not WP7 developers!

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SharePoint Server 2010 Windows Phone 7 Mobile Edition

It’s wonderful to end the week with two of my favorite passions, SharePoint and Windows Phone 7. The last few months I’ve been working on a special project that you can install on your Windows Phone 7 starting today.

SharePoint Server 2010 running on Windows Phone 7.

That’s right. Now you no longer need an IT shop to use SharePoint. You can just deploy it on your own phone and decide how to run it.


Why would anyone deploy a server to your phone? Several reasons but mostly it’s because you can totally control your entire SharePoint environment even if you’re out of the office or offline.

Scott Haack, Senior Principle Program Manager in Bellevue, Oregon said this about why this project came about:

“It’s about choices. SharePoint Server 2010 on the mobile platform allows users to have choices about who runs their IT systems and decides how the system is configured without having to go through complicated business processes.”

It’s all about competition too. Here’s what Phil Haanselman, Principle Platform Program Manager in Portland, Washington says about the platform:

“With SharePoint Server 2010 on the Windows Phone 7 this pushes the platform to the edge and beyond. There is nothing like this on the iOS or WebOS and nobody is thinking in this space. It’s going to be game changing.”

Bringing the Pieces Together

I knew it was going to be a big job but I was up for it. There were so many pieces to get co-ordinated and I knew I would have a few challenges along the way. Here’s what it took to bring it all together.

IIS Express to the Rescue

Back in June when Scott Guthrie announced IIS Express I got thinking about SharePoint and the Mobile user. Wouldn’t it be great if they could run SharePoint on their phones! I knew Windows Phone 7 was coming up as I was currently in the beta and building Silverlight apps already. I knew SharePoint would run on Window 7 so why not combine the best of both worlds.

IIS Express is a lightweight component that weighs in at under 10mb. It also does not require administrative access to run applications and has a full feature set including SSL, URL Rewrite, and other IIS 7.x modules. All packaged together that can be run from a single location and does not require any registration/configuration steps.

It seemed like IIS Express was perfect to run on WP7.

NoDo Delays

Getting IIS Express onto the phone was going to be a bit of a challenge however with some work and co-ordination with high ranking figures at Microsoft I was able to get it to compile down into a single DLL file.

To get it onto the phone I worked with top people on the Windows Phone team and packaged IIS Express into the next update, the infamous NoDo release. So as of right now, anyone with NoDo installed actually has web server available to them. There were several other updates we packaged into NoDo that were put there for SharePoint Server to run (mostly around Kerberos ticket support and background processing).

So as a result this was the primary reason why NoDo was delayed. I do apologize to the community for the NoDo delays, but now you know the reason. It was so mobile users could run SharePoint.

Getting past the NoDo release the Windows Phone 7 was now ready and enabled for serving up .aspx pages and SharePoint.

Redesigning Central Administration

The biggest challenge was having to rebuild the Central Administration site to work with the Metro look and feel. It was a lot of work but we’ve built all the screens as new using the Windows Phone 7 controls. This was done so you have good touch targets to hit. In early betas, we were just using the out of the box Central Admin web pages but it was hard to click on things and I was always zooming in and out. So I built the Metro screens to make it easier for you to work with Central Admin.

Everything is all there and hopefully organized in a good way so you won’t be totally thrown back when using the WP7 version of SharePoint. Here’s Central Admin running on WP7.


The Metro Way

With the Metro overhaul of Central Admin we wired everything back up. Using MVVM was key in being able to have the UI respond to what you did so it was easy to show real-time information about the server.

Here’s how you can create a new Web Application with Central Admin on the Windows Phone 7

First select Web Applications from Application Management pivot. You’ll see this menu


Now click on Manage web applications. We couldn’t implement the Ribbon in Windows Phone 7 so from the list select Create New Web Application. You’ll be presented with a data entry screen to enter all the information for your new web app:


All of the options are there just like the current release of SharePoint. Unfortunately due to some last minute problems and trying to get this done by the end of the week we were not able to include Claims Based Authentication so only Classic Mode is available. Anyone would be a Fool to try to deliver something in April without testing it so this was why this decision was made.

Complete Feature Set, Almost

Not exactly. As I said we don’t support Claims Based Authentication and there are few other features in SharePoint 2010 we don’t support. Here’s a list of the current restrictions. These have been left out either due to time constraints or technical limitations on the phone platform. A few of these features will be available in the Mango release of Windows Phone 7 due out sometime in 2012.

  • Kerberos. Kerberos support is not fully implemented so it’s suggested to keep web sites running under NTLM (most of the system works under Kerberos but without a true integrated authentication on the Windows Phone 7 not everything works, yet)
  • Content Deployment. This isn’t implemented at all in this release due to time constraints. It’s planned for a future release. Hopefully this doesn’t hinder people too much.
  • InfoPath Forms Services. This was tricky but with some clever coding, we’re able to convert, on the fly InfoPath forms into Windows Phone 7 controls. However in some last minute testing we found that InfoPath forms with complex rules breaks the model. Simple forms work, complex forms will be delivered in Service Pack 1 due out later in the year.
  • Define blocked file types. Unfortunately as we don’t have complete control over access to the Windows Phone 7 sub-systems (like the registry) so we’re unable to control blocked file types. No word on when this feature might be available.

Leveraging the Phone

This release doesn’t just allow you to run SharePoint Server on your phone but we’ve also leveraged specific features of the WP7 platform as well. For example you can now hook up SharePoint Picture Libraries to the Windows Phone 7 Media Library and any picture taken on the your phone can instantly be available to anyone browsing the site.

The other big integration point is Geolocation. Windows Phone 7 devices all have a built-in GPS. SharePoint Server 2010 leverages this by geotagging any content. A new feature in Document Libraries allows users to geotag documents with location information which can then be used to filter documents and lists based on locality and even plot document creation locations on a Bing Map using the built-in Bing Map Controls.

It’s really up to the SharePoint web part developer to figure out how best to leverage these new capabilities. Like it was said before, this is game changing.


Most importantly when can you get this?

Right now!

Download the .xap file here directly and you can instantly sideload it onto your Windows Phone 7 (developer unlock required). If you’re not a developer then you’ll have to wait for the app to make it through Marketplace Certification which should be any day now.

You do require the NoDo update to be able to run SharePoint Server 2010 on your phone so please make sure you have that installed first. The software will detect if IIS Express is installed or not and unfortunately fail if you don’t have the update yet.

The software will be released on CodePlex in the next while under the Apache License so anyone can contribute to it. Please contact me offline if you’re interested.

After MIX11 we’ll be making the server available as a NuGet package that can be deployed anywhere without the need to access the Windows Phone Marketplace. Stay tuned for news on this.

Many Thanks

Many thanks to all the wonderful people that made this project possible. Without their co-operation we wouldn’t be where we are today:

  • Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Eduard de Dene
  • John Aubrey
  • Sizdah Bedar
  • Joseph Boskin

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Need access control on the column level web db?

I need to put up a db on the web (sort of like sharepoint or phpnuke). Is there anything like that where I can limit user rights on the column level? Like group A can edit employee numbers (column 1) and group B can edit office phone numbers (column 2) ?
Cost is a factor.
German A. I know we need an interface (like sharepoint or php nuke etc). We started with sharepoint and can assign rights like “read” “write” “delete” “edit” to any database . We cannot find a way (at least in sharepoint) to get it to the rights down to the field (column) level.
If that can be done in share point great, tell me how, if there is another interface that does it out of the box , please point me to it.

Chosen Answer:

If you make your DB accessible on the web you will need web interface to it, you can always manage access rights there. Create separate forms to edit separate parts of information and give access to these forms only to users with certain access rights.
by: Germann A
on: 3rd January 11

I want to go to abroad to work as software engineer. Suggest me what are the steps I need to take?

I have 15 months of experience as software engineer, working on Sharepoint(WSS 3.0) and ASP.net technology. I have experience on JSP and Servlets and in Javascript, HTML also. I want to go Abroad, please tell me the details at my e-mail adress or phone. I have a valid Passport #. I am very enthusiastic, innovative, can easliy mingle with any kind of people.

Chosen Answer:

Here are some possible ways.
Join a company, show your talents, get selected for onsite assignment
Post u r resume on job site such as jobstreet.com explore opportunities
You may go for higher studies (abroad) and join a company at the end of the course

Ravindra Dastikop


by: Ravindra Dastikop
on: 19th August 08

Features on sharepoint?

We are trying to integrate sharepoint into our computer system so that we can track client phone calls. We cant seem to find a way to do this. We are trying to get the program to automatically pop up a screen with the callers information based on the callers ID and enable us to leave call tracking notes on that system. Is this possible?

Chosen Answer:

Yes it’s possible. You would have to create a web part to either interact with the phone or a modem, OR you could build a web part to interact with Exchange’s Server UM/Caller ID features (providing your company uses exchange.)

Alternatively if all you wanted to do was track internal calls, I gotta think there is a way to have MOSS work with your phone system.

Another thing you may want to explore is just building an ASP.NET page that picks up phone calls using the Comm Control. Once you get that working, just create a new SharePoint page with a blank HTML web part pointing to the website you just created. I place a link below that may point you in the right direction to do something like this.
by: mwmiller78
on: 19th March 08