The Best Microsoft Keyboard. Ever. The Natural Keyboard Pro.

Keyboards are a very personal thing. For those of us whose job requires their use basically all day, every day, they are the piece of hardware that we have to be comfortable with. A good keyboard will stay with you for years, decades in fact, but PCs will be upgraded and so will your monitors….


Finding Your Own IP Address On Windows Phone Mango

For reasons never adequately explained there is still no API to obtain the IP address of the phone from a WP app. However if you want the IP address on the local wifi network, help is at hand, via this sample code. The way this works is that the phone does a multicast of its…


Cheap Video Card for Windows Phone XNA Development

With the release of the RTM version of the Windows Phone 7 developer tools, some folks are running into the video card requirements that block them from running XNA applications in the emulator. I hit this problem on my home machine too, and the solution was this video card for $20 after rebate: The…


Two Fixes You Must Have for Visual Studio 2008 SP1

The SP1 release of VS08 regressed some functionality compared to the original release, in a couple of critical areas. As a result it is highly likely you’ll need the following two patches for it. I know many of our team who hit these issues, cursed, came to me (because I am the “VS guy” on…


How Do You Debug A Movie?

How do you debug a movie? Before I get too old and forget, here is the story of one bug that I had to find when playing King Kong in the Xbox HD DVD player. It concludes with yet another reason I am so glad we’re not doing a Blu-ray player. The HD DVD team…


Book Review: Essential C# 3.0

I haven’t posted a book review here before, but that’s because no-one has sent me a pre-release draft manuscript to review before! So here it is, a review of Essential C# 3.0 by Mark Michaelis. To skip to the chase, I like this book a lot. My personal C# level is Intermediate: although I was…


Tricks and Tips for using the VMR9

A few months ago I did some work involving the VMR9, and I hit several brick walls. Many of these brick walls I hit about six months previously when working on a PC application for HD DVD playback (no, there were no plans to ship it, even then), but I hadn’t taken enough notes of…


Using the Media Center Remote from Windows

To save you the pain that I had recently, of trying to hook up simple support for the MCE remote control in your app, here is the important info that I found incredibly hard to locate via MSDN search: A C# article called “Using Alternate Input Devices in Your Smart Client Applications” (easily translatable into…


My First Program (circa 1980)

I recently discovered my first real program(*): from 1980, it was my attempt at Space Invaders for the RML 380Z. This was the government-subsidized computer for schools, my school (Chatham House Grammar School) was lucky enough to have one. One, yes, for the whole school. The Research Machines 380Z was a Z80 CP/M machine, I…


Xbox 360 HD DVD drive now in black

We just got some goodies on our team: Xbox 360 HD DVD drives in black! These limited-edition drives were made especially for those of us who helped work on the product, and come along with a black remote control. All I need now is an Xbox 360 at home to plug it into and I’ll…