10 Years as a Microsoft MVP


The first time I was awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Award I was awarded for .NET Compact Framework which ran on Windows CE and Windows Mobile. Fast forward 10yrs later and was re-awarded for for the 10th time in a row for Windows Phone Development.

Over the past years, I’ve meet a lot a lot of people from all over the world who just love technology and sharing their knowledge with everyone around. Being from Canada, it is great to see so many new faces and people sharing their knowledge with the local community. There are over 4,000 MVPs around the world in 90 countries and it’s a privilege to be part of a group like this.


I guess now I’m considered a veteran to the MVP program, but here is to another year in the community and as a Windows Phone Development MVP. If you see me at a conference/event, feel free to say hi, always great to meet new people!


Building Secure Windows Phone 8 Apps – APIs and Techniques

In a previous article I covered some of the security features from a platform level available with Windows Phone 8.  In this article, I’ll go through some of APIs available to help secure your applications, what Windows Phone gives you out of the box and also various ways to secure your applications.

Secure Sockets Layer


SSL certificates allow you to connect securely to a backend webserver by encrypting the communication channel using the HTTPS protocol. Depending on your use case, you may want to implement an SSL certificate in your backend web services to make it difficult to intercept and decipher the data being sent by your app.

For example, if are building a game and have a leader board in the backend, you may want to encrypt this channel to prevent someone from submitting some false data.

As a developer, there is nothing special you have to do in your code when accessing a secure URL other than making sure you use the HTTPS protocol instead of HTTP which is not secure. For example

WebClient webClient = new WebClient();
webClient.UploadStringCompleted += webClient_UploadStringCompleted;
webClient.UploadStringAsync(new System.Uri("https://www.mysecureapp.com/api/v1/uploadscore"), newScore);

You should be aware that not every SSL certificate will work on Windows Phone and you should verify the certificate authority

  1. SSL root certificates for Windows Phone OS 7.1
  2. Windows and Windows Phone 8 SSL Root Certificate Program (Member CAs)

I buy my certificates form K-Software which is a reseller of Comodo (but a lot cheaper) and have not had a problem with these. But whatever you buy, verify with the lists above.

Continue reading Building Secure Windows Phone 8 Apps – APIs and Techniques

Building Secure Windows Phone 8 Apps – The Platform

Application security for developers is a very large topic, but Windows Phone does make adding security to an app easier for developers and also to help keep an end users data safe. With an article recently published on Building Secure Windows Store Apps, pretty much all of those concepts can be used on Windows Phone 8. I thought it fitting to describe some of the security features available on Windows Phone that developers get for free and what is available to use within their apps.

Trusted Boot & Code Signing

Secure_BootWindows Phone 8 is based on the ARM version of Windows 8 so a lot of the security features available on the desktop come for free on the phone such as Trusted Boot and Code Signing. What are these for? Basically these features help protect the phone boot process and operating system from malware attacks (ie rootkits) by making sure only validated software components execute. The Trusted Boot technology validates Windows Phone firmware images and all boot components have digital signatures that are cryptographically validated. This helps ensure that only authorized code can execute to initialize the device and load the operating system, Windows Phone.

This helps protect the integrity of the phone and also the end user from potential malware.


Continue reading Building Secure Windows Phone 8 Apps – The Platform

Market Numbers in the Mobile Industry

The other day at Web Not War DevCamp I did a TED Style talk on “State of Mobile imageIndustry for Developers” and talked about some of the market share numbers and what tools are available for users not just on Windows Phone but on all platforms. These numbers are also for smartphones and feature phones (or non-smartphones) combined.

Now I’m just going to talk about the numbers, as I think they are pretty interesting.  But numbers are what they are and numbers can be skewed in any way. Bad numbers can be ‘tweaked’ to look good, and good numbers can be skewed to look bad.  Although the only time you would want to do that is when you are comparing yourself against your competition and they have good numbers Winking smile Continue reading Market Numbers in the Mobile Industry

The Share Icon

I have been working on a couple of mobile projects on different platforms that deal with sharing content with social networks.  Unfortunately every platform has a different icon and there are two standard ones that are used on the web.  Here is a list of all the icons I feel are standard out there both on the web and on mobile platforms

Platform Icon Description
Web Share_ShareIconProject Share Icon Project which seems to be the one most everyone uses.  I’m sure most are already familiar with this icon and is pretty standard.
Web Share1 Share icon which was created by Shareaholic which is called the Open Share Icon.  I was not very familiar with this icon until I noticed it on Windows 8.image_thumb107
iPhone Share_ShareIconProject On the iOS platform (iPhone and iPad) seems developers have gravitated towards the Share Icon Project icon.
Android AndroidShare_ShareIconProject On Android, seems there is a mix of icons used and uses both the Share Icon Project icon and it’s own icon with a ‘circle with two arrows pointing up’. 
Windows Phone appbar.share.rest_thumb[2] On Windows Phone, well they don’t use any of the ‘standard’ icons and went their own way also.  This never really made sense to me as to why they did this but it is what it is.


So what is a developer to do?

Well here is my advice, use whatever is standard on the platform, that is what most users will be familiar with and comfortable using.  I think you want to keep users comfortable with your application and not deviate from the norm on the platform.  You want to keep that user experience consistent and make your application feel as though it’s a part of the platform and not something that has just been shoved into the platform from a port.

What do you think?  Agree? Disagree? Let me know! Feel free to contact me here or via twitter @MarkArteaga!

Nokia, Windows Phone and the Smartphone Battles

8f336_windowsphone_logoBack in August, Google announced that they are buying Motorola for $12.5billion.  Great buy on Google’s part because it will somewhat help defend them in the patent issues they are currently facing with Android and OEMs using Android. Will this help $GOOG win the smart phone battle? Don’t know, but they are sure taking a large chunk of the market!

What does this mean for Windows Phone?  Don’t know either, but they do have Nokia; which used to have the largest marketshare, on board to deliver Windows Phone based hardware.  Unfortunately they have been steadily losing a very large chunk of their marketshare.  Over a year ago I did write an article on whether Windows Phone will succeed, and over all I think it is doing pretty well considering it started from scratch again (Yes I’m optimistic Smile) but don’t think it has been fully successful yet.

Nokia-800-BlueNow will Nokia hardware help $MSFT get marketshare for Windows Phone?  I think it will as it has a history of making some pretty sexy devices.  The image here is supposedly of the Nokia 800 when it’s going to release this year (image courtesy of PocketNow)

Interestingly enough, Barranger (or @4MKMobile) talks about his experience with Nokia X7 and N8 during an event he attended and summarizes his reason Why Nokia coming to Windows Phone is a huge deal. Continue reading Nokia, Windows Phone and the Smartphone Battles

New RedBit Site Launches

Today is an exciting day!  Not only is it the launch of Windows Phone 7 in North America, but it’s also the day we launch our new website!!  The site is completely redesigned, has a cleaner look and tells a better story of what RedBit actually does.

We can now proudly display our customer list, customer testimonials and best of all some success stories with our customers.   We also have a section for our products that are currently being sold in the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace.

Oh ya, we also now have a company RedBit blog.  It’s light in content, but expect to see all our technical and non-technical content there.

It’s a new start for Microsoft with Windows Phone and a new fresh start for RedBit.   Here is to new beginnings and successful ventures!

Augmented Reality and Windows Phone 7

What is augmented reality?  Here is the augmented reality definition from Wikipedia:

Augmented reality (AR) is a term for a live direct or indirect view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are augmented by virtual computer-generated imagery. It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality.

Here are some videos that I’m sure would make things a little more clearer than the definition above.

Augmented Reality Shooter Game

Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots (Courtesy Anthony Bartolo)

What About Windows Phone 7_

Implementing an augmented reality application on Windows Phone 7 should be possible because all the appropriate hardware will be included on all device such as camera, compass, accelerometer, powerful CPU, GPU & GPS.  The only thing it won’t have is a gyroscope but who knows that could change.

Only problem from a developer point of view is there are no APIs available to access most of this hardware.  You do have access to the camera via the Launchers & Choosers APIs available on Windows Phone 7.  Unfortunately this is very limited access via the CameraCaptureTask API.

You also have access to GPS via the System.Device.Location API and the current API implementation should suffice.  By default if you are writing an app you get access to the CPU & GPU (something needs to run your code 🙂

So what are we missing?  APIs to the compass and APIs to the accelerometer.  Thankfully all Windows Phone 7 hardware will support a compass and accelerometer.  You also need better API access to the camera like getting the raw frames from the camera directly into your application.

But Wait! There is hope!

I’m expecting all the above issues to be a ‘v1’ issue with Windows Phone 7.  Let’s face it, Microsoft needs to get this phone out the door fast as the competition is way ahead.

Where does the hope come from?  Well check out this picture from Justin Angel from his twitter account after he did a little hacking (I assume):


and his screen capture of the potential API


He posted this back in July 18 2010.  Then today (Aug 24 2010) I was taking a peak at the new XNA Creators Club and the new education roadmap for creating games on Windows Phone 7 using XNA.  Due out in October-November 2010 timeframe is Phase 3 of the educational series and at the bottom I noticed “Bonus: Augmented Reality Sample”


So in the end, we may just get access to the appropriate APIs and augmented reality on Windows Phone 7 may just be a reality for developers. So, since October – November 2010 is essentially ‘Holiday Season 2010’ (I’m already starting to see Christmas trees in stores) maybe the Windows Phone Developer team will give us a nice surprise at launch. Imagine apps like FourSquare or MLS or XNA Games on Windows Phone 7 using augmented reality! I for one can’t wait!

If it’s available, do you plan on using it?  Share your feedback here or let me know via my twitter account

Windows Phone Definitely Has Got Some Game

It’s been a long time coming but Windows Phone has finally got some Game!

And I’m not talking about the great new user experience or Metro Design Language.  I’m  not talking about the great & free developer tools that are available such as Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone and Expression Blend 4 for Windows Phone.  I’m also not talking about the technology used to build superior mobile apps and a mobile phone such as Silverlight for Windows Phone or XNA for Windows Phone.

XBoxLivePhoneI’m literally talking about GAMES! Games from companies such as Gameloft, Konami and THQ to name a few.  There are games for every type of player such as puzzle game "Bejeweled™ LIVE", "Guitar Hero 5", fighting alien invasion with "The Harvest", painting your way out of a corner with "Max and the Magic Marker” or defend your city in "Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst”.  And that’s just a small sample!

imageJust like Silverlight on Windows Phone has been a long time waiting (first wrote about it in 2008), games on Windows Phone (Pocket PC, Windows Mobile to us old schoolers) has also been a long time waiting at least for me.  First time I wrote about it was in 2006 (yes that far back!!) about using .NET CF to develop for XBox 360.  One key thing Mike Zintel wrote about was writing games that work on XBox 360 dev kit, Windows and Windows Mobile (aka Windows Phone)

“I also know that working with the Xbox team has been among the most enjoyable and productive cross group work that I’ve done. I know that my team and the XNA team within Xbox, have been burning the midnight oil to allow us to demonstrate the feasibility of games written in managed code running on a .NET CLR on a final 360 dev kit. And I know that we’ve demonstrated the same game binary (almost the same; oh so close) running on the 360 kit, Windows and on Windows Mobile.”

Four years later with Windows Phone 7, you now have the power of XBox Live in the palm of your hand. 

Here is a list of official games from the press release 63 in total so far and that’s only the beginning!

        1. "Halo Waypoint" (MGS)
        2. "Hexic Rush" (Carbonated Games)
        3. "I Dig It" (InMotion)
        4. "iBlast Moki" (Godzilab)
        5. "ilomilo" (MGS)
        6. "Implode XL" (IUGO)
        7. "Iquarium" (Infinite Dreams)
        8. "Jet Car Stunts" (True Axis)
        9. "Let’s Golf 2" (Gameloft)
        10. "Little Wheel" (One click dog)
        11. "Loondon" (Flip N Tale)
        12. "Max and the Magic Marker" (PressPlay)
        13. "Mini Squadron" (Supermono Limited)
        14. "More Brain Exercise" (Namco Bandai)
        15. "O.M.G." (Arkedo)
        16. "Puzzle Quest 2" (Namco Bandai)
        17. "Real Soccer 2" (Gameloft)
        18. "The Revenants" (Chaotic Moon)
        19. "Rise of Glory" (Revo Solutions)
        20. "Rocket Riot" (Codeglue)
        21. "Splinter Cell Conviction" (Gameloft)
        22. "Star Wars: Battle for Hoth" (THQ)
        23. "Star Wars: Cantina" (THQ)
        24. "The Harvest" (MGS)
        25. "The Oregon Trail" (Gameloft)
        26. "Tower Bloxx NY" (Digital Chocolate)
        27. "Twin Blades" (Press Start Studio)
        28. "UNO" (Gameloft)
        29. "Women’s Murder Club: Death in Scarlet" (i-Play)
        30. "Zombie Attack!" (IUGO)
        31. "Zombies!!!!" (Babaroga)
        32. 3D Brick Breaker Revolution" (Digital Chocolate)
        33. "Age of Zombies" (Halfbrick)
        34. "Armor Valley" (Protégé Games)
        35. "Asphalt 5" (Gameloft)
        36. "Assassins Creed" (Gameloft)
        37. "Bejeweled™ LIVE" (PopCap)
        38. "Bloons TD" (Digital Goldfish)
        39. "Brain Challenge" (Gameloft)
        40. "Bubble Town 2" (i-Play)
        41. "Butterfly" (Press Start Studio)
        42. "CarneyVale Showtime" (MGS)
        43. "Castlevania" (Konami)
        44. "Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst" (MGS)
        45. "De Blob Revolution" (THQ)
        46. "Deal or No Deal 2010" (i-Play)
        47. "Earthworm Jim" (Gameloft)
        48. "Fast & Furious 7" (i-Play)
        49. "Fight Game Rivals" (Rough Cookie)
        50. "Finger Physics" (Mobliss Inc.)
        51. "Flight Control" (Namco Bandai)
        52. "Flowerz" (Carbonated Games)
        53. "Frogger" (Konami)
        54. "Fruit Ninja" (Halfbrick)
        55. "Game Chest-Board" (MGS)
        56. "Game Chest-Card" (MGS)
        57. "Game Chest-Logic" (MGS)
        58. "Game Chest-Solitaire" (MGS)
        59. "GeoDefense" (Critical Thought)
        60. "Ghostscape" (Psionic)
        61. "Glow Artisan" (Powerhead Games)
        62. "Glyder 2" (Glu Mobile)
        63. "Guitar Hero 5" (Glu Mobile)

There is also an app that uses your Avatar to add some flare to the typical ‘flash light app’, ‘flip coin app’ or the ‘use your phone as a level app’.  Now all they need is to add is your avatar farting and you got your ‘fart app’!

Games & XBox Live. Just one more reason why Windows Phone 7 will succeed in the marketplace.  For more details check out Engadget as they have a great overview of the games they tested.

It’s all coming together beautifully for the Windows Phone team and Microsoft in general in their Entertainment & Devices Division.  You got Windows Phone 7 with lots of apps, games and a fantastic user experience, XBox Live, the newly designed XBox 360 and Kinect.  Best of all, XBox 360 was the best selling console for July 2010.

What does this mean for me? Well means I’m going out to get an XBox as I don’t have one!  I’ve already seen games from local developers that work on the PC, XBox (TV) and phone.  Add to that Kinect and the new slick XBox 360 console and I’m in!  All I need now are some of those games on my phone!

So is this enough reason for you to get a Windows Phone?  Share your thoughts via comments here or via twitter!

Stay Geeky, Stay Nerdy or Stay Connected – You Decide

What a title and you are probably thinking “what the hell is this about”!  First a little background. 

There is the Dos Equis brand of beer and the main “star” of the beer commercial is known as “The Most Interesting Man in the World”.  Cracks me up whenever I see these commercials. 

Now, if you follow my blog regularly or follow me on Twitter, you know that I write about mobile happenings primarily on Windows Mobile and lately focusing on Windows Phone 7.  Recently, I read a forum post from Brandon Watson, Director of Developer Experience for WP7, and he ended off his post with

“Stay Nerdy My Friends.”

I’ll be doing quite a few presentations & training this year on Windows Phone 7 and instead of just having a standard “Q & A” slide that just says “Q & A” I decided to use a derivative that says

“Stay Geeky My Friends”

In an email thread with Brandon, he prefers “nerdy”.  The people I have asked are split 50/50 on “geeky” vs “nerdy”. Speaking to Anthony Bartolo (aka @WirelessLife) he said since we are in the business of keeping people connected why not use

“Stay Connected My Friends”

Here is what it would look like in a power point slide

image imageimage

So we’ll let you decide! Brandon, Anthony and I want to know what you like.  We are running a poll to decide on “Stay Nerdy My Friends”, “Stay Geeky My Friends” or “Stay Connected My Friends”.  We’ll be running it for a few days so be sure to cast your vote!