Andy Pennell's Blog

See me blather about software development, Gadgets, Technology, Fatherhood, plus anything else that gets me going.

Updating Excel data with Project Siena

This post describes a method of using Project Siena with Excel data that can be updated later...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 10/10/2014

Common Questions (and Answers) about Windows Phone 8

Here at Microsoft we have a high percentage of Windows Phone 8 users (go figure?), however despite...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 02/06/2014

Getting the Name of your Windows Phone 8 device

You can name your phone to whatever you like, but how can an app display that name? There isn't an...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 11/09/2013

Handling Contract assertions on Windows Phone 8

If you are a fan of System.Diagnostics.Contracts and use them on WP8 you may find a problem: when a...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 10/18/2013

Native Code on Windows Phone 8: The assert Problem

So there you are, cranking out some new C/C++ (or CX/C++) code on Windows Phone. Its all new, so you...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 06/17/2013

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,...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 04/03/2013

Using Flurry Analytics on Windows Phone

I recently added Flurry Analytics support to my application and in the few weeks it has been...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 04/17/2012

UPNP on Windows Phone 7.5 Part 2: Invoke

With UPnP discovery worked out, the next feature is to turn the discovery results into a Device,...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 01/08/2012

Waiting for Your Windows Phone Beta App

Publishing a beta version of a WP7 app is both exciting (“does it work on someone else’s...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 12/30/2011

Car Head Unit Compatibility with Windows Phone 7.5 Mango

I recently had a desperate need to upgrade the audio system in my car, and wanted a good...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 09/27/2011

Finding the SSID of your wi-fi network on Windows Phone 7.5 Mango

Finding your IP address I have already covered, now for the next useful thing: your SSID name....

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 08/30/2011

Attempting UPnP on Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango), Part 1: SSDP Discovery

[Update: SSDP is WORKING now: all code updated] I have been on a mission for maybe six months now to...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 08/24/2011

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...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 08/11/2011

Real World WCF on Windows Phone 7

I have already covered using WCF from Windows Phone 7 with my quick walk-through , but now, some...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 02/02/2011

Using LongListSelector without LINQ

The LongListSelector control is an awesome thing, but using it without LINQ I found a tricky...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 11/19/2010

Error Reporting on Windows Phone 7

[Minor code update Jan 15 2010] It may come as a surprise to some, but applications sometimes crash....

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 11/01/2010

Blu-ray fails to overtake DVD as many predicted

Two years ago Disney predicted that Blu-ray sales would overtake DVD in two years. Like pretty much...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 10/25/2010

Using WCF on Windows Phone 7: Walk-through

Windows Phone 7 and WCF: a great combination, but can be tricky to get going. Here is how I did...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 09/20/2010

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...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 09/17/2010

Why Data Breakpoints are Disabled On Restart

Data breakpoints are both incredibly useful when you need them and yet can cause extreme pain under...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 08/06/2010

Why Address Breakpoints Are Disabled On Restart

If you set a [native] breakpoint by address, then restart your debugger session the breakpoint will...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 08/06/2010

Andy's Random KIN Phone Tips Page

Both my wife and I are happy KIN users so I thought I would share some information that might be...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 07/15/2010

Using a UK PayAsYouGo SIM when you are a foreigner

[Updated June 1st to correct ATM information and to add PayPal option] Recently I had the need to...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 04/15/2010

My Secret Project is no longer secret: the KIN phone

Since the demise of HD DVD (RIP) I have been working on the secret “Pink project” at...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 04/13/2010

Letter to DirecTV: You have a month to show the new TiVo or I'm going to Fios TV

As a happy TiVo customer since 1999 I and a reasonably happy DirecTV customer since 2000 I've been...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 10/09/2009

Running a Family with Food Sensitivities

Gratuitous post time: my wife has been doing a great job dealing with various food sensitivity...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 09/23/2009

Celebrating the first Apollo Moon Landing

In a matter of days it will be the 40th anniversay of Apollo 11 landing on the moon, a seminal...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 07/15/2009

More HD DVD players than Blu-ray players in America. Still. In 2009.

In frankly amazing news even to me, a new Harris Poll shows that over a year and a half since the...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 06/18/2009

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...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 05/13/2009

According to British law the copyright on my first book expired last year, after twenty-five years....

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 04/27/2009

HD DVD Is Back!

Following last week’s announcements regarding Blu-ray and the Sony Playstation 3, it looks like HD...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 04/01/2009

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...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 03/05/2009

Zune in my Boxster: Part 2

I've been enjoying my Zune installation for a while now, but I had one thing that bugged me:...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 02/20/2009

My First Commercial Software: Kempston Joystick Conversion Tape

1983 were much simpler times in software. Here is how a student turned a quick hack into his first...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 02/07/2009

Blu-ray on Xbox 360: Never. Thank goodness for that

The President of the Entertainment & Devices group has made it crystal clear, hopefully for the...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 01/21/2009

The Sinclair QL is 25 yrs old today!

Chances are that you have never heard of the Sinclair QL. However if you are as old as me and...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 01/12/2009

A Personal Guide to Ripping CDs with Zune

Over the holidays I ripped about sixty CDs with the Zune software, and it wasn’t as smooth as...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 01/10/2009

Zune Installation in my Boxster

Following the recent success in using a Zune for the kids to watch movies in the family vehicle, I...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 10/01/2008

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...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 09/21/2008

Converting Zune playlists into Windows Media Player playlists

For some inexplicable reason Zune playlists (ZPL) are different from Windows Media Player playlists...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 08/23/2008

Using a Zune 80GB as a Car Video Player

Following on the theme of trying to make it easier for my kids to watch movies in the car but...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 07/13/2008

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...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 07/10/2008

Who doesn't take credit/debit cards in 2008? Washington State Licensing, that's who

Normally I renew my car tabs online with a credit or debit card, but that wasn't possible this week...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 06/19/2008

Playing Ripped DVDs with Media Center Extenders

At last I have succeeded in getting ripped DVDs to play from my Xbox 360's Media Center Extender,...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 06/10/2008

What did you do in the Format War, Daddy?

My kids are 2 and 4 yrs old so have little concept of what Daddy does, though they do know the words...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 03/07/2008

Why HD DVD Really Lost The Format War

It's all my fault. I'm terribly sorry. Something critical happened in October 2007 that I forgot to...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 02/20/2008

Diary of a High Definition Format War

Here are my personal highlights (and lowlights) of the format war, from down in the trenches of the...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 02/19/2008

Come see HDi at the Sundance Film Festival

If you are attending the Sundance Film Festival, please drop by the Microsoft House on Main Street...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 01/17/2008

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...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 01/15/2008

Xbox 360 HD DVD Version List

Here I will try and document the various releases of the Xbox 360 HD DVD player, in reverse...

Author: Andy-Pennell Date: 12/18/2007

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