Here's everything I've written throughout March 2019.


The Open Sourcing of Windows Calculator PP

Dave Grochocki and Howard Wolosky over on the Windows Developer Blog:

Today, we’re excited to announce that we are open sourcing Windows Calculator on GitHub under the MIT License. This includes the source code, build system, unit tests, and product roadmap


Reviewing the Calculator code is a great way to learn about the latest Microsoft technologies like the Universal Windows Platform, XAML, and Azure Pipelines.Through this project, developers can learn from Microsoft’s full development lifecycle, as well as reuse the code to build their own experiences. It’s also a great example of Fluent app design

I’m a lot more interested in the latter part of this announcement, as developers can see how Microsoft is using their UWP technology on a real world, shipping product for the masses. I love the concept behind Fluent design but there’s too few applications in the wild that fully embrace it. I doubt this will be the spark behind mass adoption of Fluent or UWP, but any effort to widen the door is welcome.

The Windows Calculator project is available right now on GitHub.

10 March, 2019

Amazon’s physical Dash buttons have been discontinued PP

According to CNET, and a quick look on by yours truly, it appears Amazon have discontinued their physical Dash buttons. I use a handful of these IoT devices within my home, acting as wireless smart buttons. (Courtesy of Dasshio, a plug-in for Home Assistant). They were cheap as chips, only £5 each, and could be programmed to control lights and switches. For this reason, I will miss the little buggers.

As a way to order items from Amazon though, I exhibit a mere shrug. Every Dash button I bought could only order products from a tiny selection; all of which were pretty expensive. There’s a single Dash button for Nescafe Azera coffee on my fridge but I’ve never used it beyond the set up process. Why? The button bought in bulk and whenever I did run out, it was cheaper to buy a single tin on the way home from work or I’d spot a deal on bulk buy in the supermarket. These would have had a much better uptake in the home if the re-order options were less dear.

07 March, 2019

Ikea’s Made A Flat-Pack Chocolate Bunny for Easter PP

Holly Brockwell, writing for Gizmodo UK:

Well, you can’t accuse Ikea of having no sense of humour — the company has fully taken the piss out of itself with its Easter 2019 product: a flat-pack chocolate bunny.

Called VÅRKÄNSLA, which the internet tells us translates to something like ‘Spring feeling’ or ‘the excitement of Spring,’ the bunny comes in three pieces that you have to put together yourself.

Well why not? Bravo IKEA. At only £2.95 a pop I’m going to have to get myself one three of these. At least.

06 March, 2019

The Macra Terror, special animated edition, is coming soon PP

Originally broadcast in four weekly parts from 11th March to 1st April 1967, and starring Patrick Troughton, Anneke Wills, Michael Craze and Frazer Hines, no full episodes of this serial are known to have survived on film. Fortunately for fans, a complete audio recording of all four parts still exists. Now, 52 years later, the four episodes will be brought back to life through the power of animation in both colour and the original black and white.

The BBC are making this available for download and on both DVD and Blu-Ray from the 25th March 2019. In other words, “Any day now!” I hope the digital version comes with all of the extras, as that’ll be my preferred choice.

I wish more of both William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton’s original stories existed on film but by going through the process of animating over the four episode serial, atop of recorded audio, its the best chance we’ll have to see it.

06 March, 2019

iOS 12.2 Beta 4 and the Control Centre Remote PP

Apple released the fourth Developer beta of iOS 12.2 yesterday and the Remote icon within Control Centre has changed. Where before it was the Apple TV logo, it’s now an image of the Siri remote.

iOS 12.2 Control Centre for both Developer beta 3 (left) and Developer beta 4 (right).

At first glance this doesn’t seem all that newsworthy but keep in mind that Apple is drumming up support for HomeKit and AirPlay 2-Enabled TV’s. Already this year we’ve heard from LG, Sony and Samsung pledging support for these technologies on their future products, so it makes sense to me that the remote icon changes to a remote. Even if it does happen to perfectly resemble the Apple TV remote in the process.

05 March, 2019

Access to Linux Subsystem files is going to become easier with Windows 10 PP

Later this year Microsoft will release their next big update to Windows 10 and with it comes an interesting addition to the File Explorer. So long as you’re using a distro with WSL (Windows SubSystem for Linux), (Ubuntu for example), you’ll be able to browse and interact with the Linux filesystem right alongside your NTFS filesystem.

According to the blog post by Craig Loewen there will be a few methods available, so you can pick the one(s) that fit best into your workflow. A Linux option will be presented in the sidebar which I think will be the most convenient, but you can also type explorer.exe wherever you want within the distro itself and File Explorer will pop right up. You’ll also be able to use \\wsl$\[distro], replacing [distro] with the name of the running distribution.

I don’t currently use WSL all that much, partly because accessing files isn’t the easiest. This upcoming change could turn that around for me.

01 March, 2019