SG-Drive Camera Refresh Alert: Inclusion of new Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) and the exclusion of older Marina Bay traffic cameras

With the official opening of the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) today, I have updated the traffic camera list of my SG-Drive Windows Phone application to include the traffic cameras associated with the MCE. I have also remove the older decommissioned cameras that is now in a "defunct" part of the East Coast Parkway (ECP).

To get the updated camera list - Select and Press the "Reset Traffic Camera Points" on the SG-Drive application. Again, all proceeds of the sales of this application go towards a good charitable cause.

Time to give back to the society

It has been more than 18 months but I have finally received my sales proceeds from my WP7 Apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace: SG-Drive and NaviRoutes. It was really projects that I just wanted to get my hands wet into WP7 and XAML programming. It garnered great interest from the start since there was a glut of a WP7 developers. I suspect buying interest had waned since then because there are now tons of developers and also the proliferation of iOS and Android devices out there.

The sales proceeds I have received from the sale of those applications were only a small token amount. However, as I have said in the T&C in my WP7 applications, sales proceeds of the above will go towards charity. I have always given to charities I believed in and, most importantly, often overlooked. That said, the best mileage is to go for those 1-for-1 charities to get maximum impact per dollar.

I will update this post once I have decided on a charity to donate the sales proceeds of my WP7 applications to.

Thanks for all your support.

WP7 GeoBlog: Geo-Blogging on the Windows Phone

After so many months of starts, stops and many distractions, I finally took the time over the (long) weekend to port my Windows Mobile 6.0 GeoBlog application over to Windows Phone 7. I had searched and waited so long for a similar application on the Windows Phone Marketplace but none were there that could do what I wanted it to do.

While geo-taggers, geo-markers can be found in the dozens in the Windows Phone Marketplace, most of them doesnt allow you to share with your family and loved ones on the trails you have been to, local or somewhere exotic and far-away. Even the ones piggy-bagging on Google Maps doesnt have certain features like adding comments, taking pictures with each geo-blogging location.

Hence, I decided to port my Windows Mobile application to Windows Phone 7, taking this opportunity to add and further enhance some of the features along the way. I named this application WP7 GeoBlog and I will be taking this along to the Great Ocean Road a few weeks later.

However, I am not publishing on the Windows Phone Marketplace as of yet. Reason is because, it needs a certain back-end Server infrastructure of a web server hosting a simple web service. The push-pin points and locations uploaded will be overlaid on a Google Map, using the Google Maps API, specifically the Javascript SDK. I have no idea at this point in time how to package the back-end Server infrastructure so it is not a complete solution for anyone downloading WP7 GeoBlog without that infrastructure.

If you have a developer-unlocked or jail-broken WP7 and want to try this out, feel free to drop me a note here. For now, I will leave my readers here with an image that my WM 6.0 GeoBlog application generated when I was in Hokkaido, Japan last year.

 

On the speaking trail again: Generating actionable Insights and increasing efficiency with intuitive business intelligence

Time to do my sporadic updates on this blog again. I have been making quite a few presentations on Business Intelligence recently and my next presentation will be together with Panoroma on the 17th August 2011 in Microsoft Singapore. Title of the presentation will be "Generate Actionable Insights and Increase Efficiency with Intuitive Business Intelligence"

Necto BI

With my usual presentation style of decorating the business of analytics with an interactive storyboard, I will be dotting the presentation with some bits on SQL Server "Denali" as well, highlighting on Project Cresent and PowerPivot v2. It should be a fun event. Come on down if you are around.

Gettiing WP7 Update 7.0.7392.0 into the Samsung Omnia 7

For those old WP7 faithfuls who are trying to get WP7 update 7.0.7392.0 to work on their Omnia7 without any success and thinking you have bricked your phone, I have managed to get mine to work successfully.

It is not an exercise for the faint-hearted and requires good 3-finger coordination. It is somehow still linked to an underlying bootloader issue from Samsung for the Omnia7. Read and download the fixed USB driver for Omnia7 here: http://bit.ly/mN3tzu and http://bit.ly/jUEnBJ. Make sure your Omnia7 bootloader is more than 4.10.1.9. http://bit.ly/jVxK8B. Mine is the 4.11.0.4 and it worked like a charm. This really reminds me of those great CE and WM days :)

Release of NaviRoutes into Windows Phone 7 Marketplace

NaviRoutes

The better-than-expected response to my SG-Drive in Windows Phone 7 Marketplace has resulted in some user feedback for a leaner version of the application. Feedback collected suggested that there is a need to just have the very-popular Navigation features of SG-Drive alone to cater to the international market who doesn't reside in Singapore. In this sense, the application would have a broader-based international appeal and I am able to price it below the psychological USD1.00 barrier mark.

I am happy to announce the release of NaviRoutes today. NaviRoutes is THE WP7 Navigation Application with Map Visuals and Live-Traffic Conditions on the Map. The trial version has limited functionalities such as incomplete navigation routes and directions, no map visuals, no live-traffic information, etc

In just less than 10 hours, it has racked up 5 downloads. I am also mindful to market NaviRoutes out of the Singapore context since the Navigation features really work everywhere. Well, almost everywhere.

If you are interested, please search for "NaviRoutes" in Windows Phone 7 Marketplace or use any of the Navigation key terms to reach the application. Thank you for your support.

 

Reduce Iconic Cluster in IE9 Address Bar

One of the hidden is what I thought to be the most useful setting in IE9 - and that is to be able to split the STOP and REFRESH icons and move it before the address bar. This effectively reduce the cluster on the right of the address bar. Because all those icons were bunched up together by default, it was hard to see what you want to do and easy to make the wrong clicks.

Right-Click on the icon cluster on the right of the address bar to make that change.

IE9 Split Stop Refresh

 

Streamlining SG-Drive in v.3.12

It has been about 4 months since I released SG-Drive into the Windows Phone Marketplace. v3.0 onwards has been a popular hit, judging by the user requests coming in via email and the good and not-so-good user reviews from all over the world. It seems to me that people living outside of Singapore are buying my WP7 application because of its navigation features since it is not restricted to navigation within Singapore.

I have had many requests from me asking me to port my SG-Drive to the iPhone, iPad as well as the Android. The idea is sure attractive and I had thought about it for some time. However, after some scouting and research, I realized that there are rather similar apps on those various platforms so I am deciding against it since it will not be productive use of my time.

For the record, I chose WP7 first, not because I am a fan-boy, but rather that it was new and it was a green-field for applications without much competition. It is not about the money since it is ONLY USD1.26 and all sales proceeds of SG-Drive will go towards charity. I just wanted to be sure the time invested in creating this application would be put to good use by the consumers out there. I not too sure about the sales of WP7 overall but the velocity of releases has slowed down a fair bit since I have been busy with my work and music. I do tinker with the application to make it better when I have time but users shouldnt expect a new functionality every fortnight.

That said, v3.12 is one release that I actually took a functionality off - and - that is the Estimated Travel Time feature. From what I have asked and checked, that seems to be a feature that most users (whom I know who bought the application) find the the least useful and took a big chunk of real estate of the application screen. There was also a recent outage from the source service provider, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) of Singapore, whom I was told, deliberately took the service offline as they dont want too many "free-loaders" consuming the service. Apparently, this stems from the fact that there are paid-users of this feature of www.onemotoring.com.sg who are complaining.

Much as I disagree with LTA on what I think I should be the role of what a Government Agency and its public civil servants should be to the general public: To freely serve as well as to disseminate public useful information for the greater good of its citizens' consumption without a commercial agenda, removing the Estimated Travel Time feature is a common-sense decision since a much-unused feature is taking up much clutter of the applicaton real estate and generally affecting the user-experience of the application (too much scrolling).

Real-time traffic conditions such as the Estimated Time Travel can still be derived from the Navigation features as well as the Live Traffic Conditions on the map, which provides better contextual information to the user. In the end, users want to know the estimated time to get to their destination, not from Exit A to Exit B on a certain highway.

  • With this feature removed, there is not much "scrolling" anymore and users can get to the feature they want much quicker now.
  • Another by-effect is that now SG-Drive loads much faster.
  • Coupled with the WP7 NoDo update and its enhancements built into SG-Drive, v3.12 will even load faster from cold and the NoDo update will provide the much-awaited copy-n-paste functionality as well.
  • Visual Maps from the navigation routes and directions also gets a boost with faster rendering time and better delivery mechanisms.
  • Live Traffic Conditions on the map takes it own spot and it is location-aware now. If GPS is turned-off, the default location will be Singapore.
  • Interfaces are much stream-lined now and can be accessed directly from the horizontal (and often-missed) ApplicationBar menu items.

Do download it or refresh your older versions. Try it and let me know what you think. I can always un-do my decision if the majority tells me I am wrong.

... AND YES - it will still cost a measly SGD1.99/USD1.29 and the proceeds will still go to charity.

SG-Drive (SG-LTA Traffic Cams) v3.9 is out

With reference to a this: SG-Drive v3.9 is out and this incorporates more visuals.

  • v3.9: More and More Visualizations
    • Image of each Step of each Direction of each Route.
    • Map Visual of each Traffic Alert / Incident
    • Faster Start-up Time
I do not have nor collect much data but this has been a relatively successful WP7 application based on user feedback from emails, etc AND I would like to Thank all for your support.

Here, I am back again. This time with a Windows Phone 7 (WP7) application

I think I should stop apologizing for letting weeds grow all over this blog because:
  • I will probably do it again after this post.
  • No one comes here anymore anyways.
I am back to post about a Windows Phone 7 (WP7) application called SG-Drive I wrote and just got published into Windows Marketplace. SG-Drive, short for Singapore-Drive, has met with relatively great success which has been accelerated since the release of Version 2.3.

If you find this WP7 app useful, please do consider buying it from Windows Marketplace. For a good cause, sale proceeds will go towards charity. Thank you for your support.

Detailed description:
  • v3.8: More Visualizations
    • Navigation and Color-Coded Traffic Conditions Map Visuals. Part of the the fun is to find this Easter egg within this release.
    • Minor Bug Fixes.
  • v3.0: We have Blast Off !
    • The much-awaited Driving-Navigation functionality is now part of this v3.0 release.
    • All different functionalities are now grouped by WP7 color schemes.
    • Sale proceeds of this WP7 application will go towards charity.
  • v2.3: Implemented a smoother, better, more responsive and much more intuitive user-experience.
  • v2.0: Added the below functionalities for Singapore motorists.
    • Traffic Alerts
    • Travel Estimation Times
SG-Drive aims to be the ultimate WP7 App for Singapore motorists by helping them plan their travel routes and time by giving them a bird's eye macro view of the traffic conditions with images from LTA installed cameras and EMAS® traffic data along the major expressways and roads of Singapore. It comes with driving-navigation functionalities with up-to-date routes and directions, estimated time duration and distance with color-coded traffic condition map visuals.

This application comes with easy-to-use personalization features that is user-configurable, which allows users to sort-n-order their favourite cameras and also allows a favourite list of camera images so traffic condition images can be all viewed easily at one easy glance.
 
The trial version has limited functionalities such as incomplete traffic camera points, roads and navigation directions, no local cache of favourites, no map visuals, etc. If you find this app useful, please do consider buying it from Windows Marketplace. For a good cause, sale proceeds will go towards charity. Please do your bit for charity. Thank you for your support.

NOTE: This app appears as "SG-LTA Traffic Cams" on Windows Marketplace. However it installs as "SG-Drive" on your WP7. I have changed the application-theme to reflect the holistic view of what I would like this app to achieve - To be THE WP7 App for driving motorists in Singapore to use and hopefully find useful. However, due to the restrictions of marketplace, I cannot change the list-name of this application. This is so that users who have downloaded and install the v1.2 of this application can get automatic update notifications to their WP7.

WARNING: For goodness sake, please do NOT use this app while driving ! Do your route planning before driving.

Some screen-shots of SG-Drive v3.8:


























1000 most visited sites on the web: A Google Analysis

Google has released an analysis on the 1000 most visited sites on the web. Considering that we own/operate 3 of the top 10 sites and has a significant interest in Facebook, plus this recent report that states that Microsoft employees are the most social-media-savvy will go to great lengths to show how well we can operate in our cloud and social media integration and collaboration strategies.

Speaking again after a long hiatus

Gosh, it has really been long since this blog saw some action and probably need some attention (weeding, trimming, re-planting, etc)

After a long hiatus, I will be speaking again at a big event in Marina Bay Sands Singapore for our Future Of Productivity Launch on the 26th May 2010, keynoted by none other than Mr CEO - Steve Ballmer himself. Incidentally, this is also to celebrate our Microsoft Singapore 20th Anniversary. Agenda is here.

I will be touching base on SQL Business Intelligence (BI), focusing on our latest and neatest trick in Microsoft Office 2010 / SQL Server 2008 R2 thus far - The Microsoft PowerPivot. I have no doubts that PowerPivot will further propel our SQL BI story further ahead in the very competitive BI landscape.

If you have any doubts, do come by and I hope that we can set those to rest. The Business Intelligence breakout is in Track 3.

It will be a very visible, high impact event, well attended by many C-levels, media and press and in a spanking shiny brand new venue that has only just opened its doors.

Register early. See you there.

BizTalk Server 2006 R2 SP1 is now available !!!

Via here: BizTalk Server 2006 R2 SP1 is now available !!!

These 2 factors are great improvements, or rather - fixes:

Better reliability, performance, and scale for the following key features

  • Throttling and dehydration of orchestrations.
  • Archiving and purging operations.
  • BAM alerts and archiving.
  • HIPAA.
  • Reduced memory consumption in scenarios using scripting functoids.
  • Improvement in the bts_FindSubscription stored proc, resulting in faster execution and lower CPU utilization.

Better management and deployment experiences

  • Performance and user experience improvements of key scenarios.
  • WCF configuration management.
  • Significant improvement in deployment time for send ports using a map.

While still some time away, I am very looking forward to BizTalk v.Next where there will be some very interesting innovations to push the low latency envelope (every bit of pun intended).

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