Today at the Microsoft BUILD 2013 conference, the WinRT team quoted there are “over 5,000 new APIs in Windows 8.1″ available to developers that enable more powerful Windows Store and Windows desktop apps. Finally.
Updated controls: FlipView force animation, headers for controls, PlaceholderText support for input controls, WebView airspace improvements, rendering XAML to bitmap, ScrollViewer “frozen” areas, many other improvements
New support for formats, codecs, processing: Common File Format (CFF), new Media Foundation Transcode Video Processor (XVP) software mode, extended YUV signal range (Y: 0-255), and support for generic compressed/uncompressed audio/video samples
Photo API improvements: sequence rapid fire (low lag ~30fps) mode, scene mode post-processing, LED torch mode, flash mode, white balance, exposure mode, EV compensation, focus mode, ISO mode, region of interest, field of view, photo while recording video, uncompressed AVI & WAV, audio effects discovery
XAML MediaElement built-in transport controls and full-window rendering
HTML5 video Media Source Extensions (MSE) and Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) support)
Programatic Play To access for Windows Store apps
Adobe Flash audio and video support for Play To from Internet Explorer
Features like this often looks great in a demo because the scenario is so carefully crafted it’s guaranteed to work exceptionally well, but falls over with less than ideal everyday scenarios. Having said that, sometimes, a few gimmicks actually work and leave me in amazement.
A combination of poor indoor lighting and a hyper puppy resulted in a blurry photo of an otherwise amazing dog pose. After installing Photoshop CC today, I decided to give the camera reduction feature a whirl. The result is nothing short of amazing. No it’s not perfect, but it turned an otherwise unfortunate throwaway to a pretty memorable snap.
If you’re a photographer, I’m not telling you to get Photoshop CC, but get Photoshop CC.
At the co-working space my startup works from, there’s a large-screen TV in the open communal area that usually displays a looping kiosk presentation with announcements, event schedules and people’s names and photos running a PowerPoint presentation that had to be manually edited, transferred to the TV computer, opened and played.
In the spirit of startup hacks, I thought there had to be a smarter/faster/easier way.
After a bit of research and testing, Google Docs Presentations had almost exactly what I wanted – simple presentation editing tools, multiple people could edit the document together, changes are cloud-based and can be viewed full-screen with just a simple browser.
However, it was missing the ability to be automatically updated while being displayed, which is where I hacked together a quick HTML solution.
Windows Phone users have long voiced their opinions of second-rate or non-existent apps for the platform so when I was faced with the decision to “invest” in either our iOS, Android or Windows Phone app, I chose Windows Phone. (Our Android and previous Windows Phone app were tied in terms of functionality and user base).
Once in a while I come across something I designed a little while ago which didn’t stand the test of time. The guilt and shame alone forces me to disown any involvement I had with such visual atrocities.
After seeing some UI concept videos today posted by UI designer Dave Brinda (who apparently worked with Microsoft on the Windows Mobile 7 project), I’ve never felt so sure Microsoft made the right choice to accept short-term losses for long-term gains. Scrapping the project in favor of the completely redesigning “Windows Phone” from the ground up was the right move.
Although of course these are just concept explorations, the direction certainly appears to be only a fresh coat of paint to what is a prehistoric scroll-menu based UI designed for pre-touch smartphones.
Here are a few notable screencaps from the video
User experience entrepreneur
I'm a person and stuff. Mostly person, sometimes stuff. Proud introvert.