C#, Software, Windows 8, Windows Phone, WinRT

Replay Practice

Are you playing an instrument? Yes? Then you probably know what it is like when you’re practicing the same few notes all over again! Sometimes playing it slower can help too. With Replay Practice you can do exactly that. Choose a song, move the markers and loop a part of the song at a speed of your choice. Replay Practice is available for Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8 !  

Software, UI, Windows 8


Hello world, Today I proudly present: TouchInjector TouchInjector is a Windows 8 Desktop application that translates TUIO into Windows Touch messages. It’s lightweight, easy to use and does not get in the way. No installation is required and with one click you can customize it to autorun with the system (on logon). As I frequently change my display settings, TouchInjector observes them and reacts accordingly. You can download it here. There are no further software requirements than a Windows 8 system. Just unzip, unblock and run it. (Allow access through the firewall and make sure that no other TUIO clients block the port.) Have fun! ~theCake

Root, Software

Q&A App

Hey, When my professor put a machine-readable quiz on his website, I made an app for my Phone to do the quiz.. Today I ported it to the desktop and I’d like to share it: Download Q&A App.zip It requires .NET Framework 4.0. To feed it with questions, you need a text file (preferable in UTF-8 encoding) that follows these simple rules: question-answer blocks are separated by one empty line question-lines begin with ‘Q: ’ answer-lines begin with ‘A: ‘ category-lines begin with ‘C: ‘ multiple Q/A/C-lines per block are allowed There’s a sample file in the *.zip. You can load a file from your computer, or from a remote location (eg. a textfile in a public dropbox folder). have fun!

Root, Software

Sync specific Folders with SkyDrive

Some of you may know, that I’m a huge fan of Dropbox, Windows Live Mesh and SkyDrive alltogether. Each of them has some exclusive features that I find most useful. This is the public sharing using a single URL of Dropbox, the cross-platform Features of SkyDrive (WP7…) and the feature to ‘select and sync’ any folder on your hard drive with Windows Live Mesh (in contrast to the quite unflexible syncing of just one folder). Well today on reddit, I came across a link to a blogpost… This guy, Jan Hannemann, had a genious idea: In the NTFS file system you can hard-link folders in a way that and application (such as Windows Explorer, or Windows Live Mesh) thinks that the folder is really there. These links are called folder-junctions and can be created using the command line. Fortunately he created an extension to the Explorers context menu that lets you do this in just two…

C#, Software, Windows Phone

Performing long-running, timed operations on the UI thread

Recently I had to play timed sounds (morse code) in a WP7 applications. Sounds are required to be played on the UI thread, but as I had to time them, my UI thread got frozen. The reason was, that I used Thread.Sleep() to time the sound, which of course blocked the UI thread. Today I figured out a way to do this long-running operation (many seconds..) without blocking the UI thread. You may know the Visual Studio Async CTP – it’s required to do the trick. Let’s suppose we already have a method InvokeEvent() that plays the sound, changes a color or something like that. Currently we execute this method in a pattern like this, causing the UI thread to be blocked: void StartOperation()//invoke the event in a pattern { for (int i=0; i<20; i++)//20 times { InvokeEvent();//play the sound, blink with the display or something like that Thread.Sleep(500);//this will…

C#, Software, WinRT

Running a synchronous method in an asynchronous context

In WinRT a significant portion of all native methods are asynchronous. Using an asynchronous method is very easy an can help you to speed up you application. The requirement to use an async method is that the calling method has an async modifier. It’s easy to use async methods from a native API, but it can be useful as well to run synchronous operations off the UI thread. This should be done to prevent the UI thread from beeing blocked by time-consuming or resource-intensive operations like calculating ϖ or the answer to the ultimate question for the life, the universe and everything. To show you how to run things like this asynchronously we take the following synchronous method: private void synchonousMethod() { do { i++; } while (i < Int32.MaxValue / 2); } This method obviously lacks the async and await keywords and it’s usual implementation would be something like…

C#, Metro, Software, UI

Flyout control for Windows 8 Metro (XAML/C#)

IMPORTANT: This post ist partly outdated. TCD.Controls is now available on NuGet, so you don’t have to import the *.xaml into your project anymore! All code shown in this post still applies. Please refer to this post for more information on the changes. In Windows 8 Metro style apps there’s something called ‘Flyouts’. It’s a panel that slides in from the right. Sadly the control is not available to C#/VB developers. In this post Tim Heuer shows how to integrate with the settings contract using flyouts. Based on his code I developed a Flyout control for XAML/C# solutions. Here’s a list of what it can or can’t do: It does: light dismissal, back button easy integration of ‘content’ swipe-in transition custom color theme ‘narrow’ and ‘wide’ mode It does not: theming of the BackButton beeing attached to the left construct it in XAML I would like to provide you with a dll, but there’s a…

C#, Kinect, Software, UI

KinDrive (for Kinect for Windows SDK 1.0)

Recently I migrated from Beta2 to Kinect for Windows SDK 1.0, so here’s a quick review of the new features: works w/ Kinect for Windows hardware AND the ‘old’ Kinect for XBox360 requires Kinect for Windows SDK 1.0 (or at least its runtime) tracks two players (you can play split-screen-games…) sends not only WASD keys, but also UHJK racing-mode only, no detection of additional gestures! (like the ones in the older versions) you can use the DLLs to write your own interface (and detect more gestures) –> mail me, or comment if you have questions Oh and one random thought: I think the delay you feel when playing a game with it, is due to the slowness of your hands rather than b/c of software-delay – it’s just a theory I can’t prove, but compare it with playing w/ a hardware steering wheel… Here’s the download link

C#, Kinect, Software, UI

Kinect over Sockets

There’s no Kinect support in Windows 8 Metro, so I had to come up with a network-based solution to use the tracked skeleton data. A byproduct of this are the TCD.Networking and TCD.Kinect namespaces. Both have a Server and a Client child namespace (with simple network communication or Kinect over network..). What I can make available today is a sample of how to send Kinect-skeleton-data from a WPF server application through the network (or to localhost..) to a WPF client application. While an advantage of network-based routing is that you can have multiple clients, a major disadvantage is that you can’t use the tracking-engines methods to render 3D-coordinates to a pixel coordinate. I had to make a CustomSkeletonData class as well, b/c the JSON deserialization is kind of fussy. You may use all code and libraries you find in the solution to power your own projects =) Most of it…

Kinect, Software, UI

KinDrive enhanced – working w/ every game using DirectX input

Last week – on thursday to be precise – I stumbled over a library to send input to the system on DirectX-level, called InputManager (a big different to all the tons of SendKeys()-wrappers out there!!). So great thanks to Shay from Israel for making this awesome library!! As all the rest of the architechture was up and running already, I just made a simple WPF application to show the Skeleton and listen for a gesture as well. The gesture (streching your arms in the air) causes the WASD-input to halt, a press of the F-Key (which I usually use to enter vehicles/use weapons in games..) and finally after 3.5 seconds everything continues as before. Here’s a video of the KinDrive for GTA WPF application: Then of course: GTA IV: And just for fun – Need For Speed Carbon: For those interested in DirectX-level Keyboard/Mouse input: I’ll blog about the InputManager anytime soon. My plan is to open source…