Design, Programming, Music and Life

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

APPS: The Adventures of making a showcase app for Windows 8 UI

Yesterday, I woke up knowing I would do something I have never done before, but not quite knowing what it might be. I started off the day, took the kids to school, and came home and cleaned up a little with Willow (More like, I cleaned, and she played the defensive linebacker role), so after she fell asleep, I climbed onto the computer and made up a quick and dirty mobile app for my church: Frontline Community It's still not done, but I at least got the basics in there, and can do a little of styling in Visual Studio now. 

Then I decided to take it a step further, and see what I can do to make a Windows 8 app. I put the basics into Joshfire Factory, and deployed it as a Visual Studio project. Opened it and instantly found that it didn't work. That's fine, I thought, I love a good challenge, so I was off looking to see if I can figure out why it didn't work. I found that much of the issues with the project were because it was using the old version of WinJS. I corrected every line that pointed to the old WinJS, and updated them to point to the location of the new version. I rebuilt and then clicked Run. 

Almost... There were a couple of issues still, like when viewing a section or page, and going back, you get the same content loaded behind the items on each section. Well that sux! 

So I dug a little deeper, and found out that it was not checking to see if the content was already loaded when it went back to the home screen, since I'm still a novice at this, I felt a simple CLEAR statement on load will do (I'm not too sure how to do a conditional statement just yet). That did the trick :)

Now all I have to do for it is fix the picture container when it loads the pictures from their sources, and also fix the YouTube stream from trying to use an ActiveX component... (Not even available, cant see why it defaults to it) and I'll be all set. At least I got somewhere in my ventures though, even though it is not 100% working, it is better than anything I've done with the OS thus far. (Minus a couple found registry tweaks :0)

Monday, October 22, 2012

IDEA: Bluetooth Tape Reciever

I have been toying with this idea for only a short period of time, the idea started with a want to get my iPhone to play music to my old school stereo, without having to leave it plugged in next to the stereo. So I thought of a unique way to make that happen using elements that already exist, so the cost is lower than it normally would be.
The unit is made up of a Bluetooth radio, Processor/DSP, a magnetic tape head, button, batteries and a generator. When the unit is in use, the play action of the tape player will charge the batteries and run the device. When the tape player is not running, the unit will only power the Bluetooth radio to allow for connection or reset.
Overall, its a simple design, and I haven't seen anything like it on the market as of yet, but who knows, it may already be out there somewhere. On the event it has not been produced yet, I am considering this as a Kickstarter project, so if you think its a good idea, let me know in the comments.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Proposed solution for the FTC's latest contest.

So the FTC is now offering a reward to the person offering a way to stop telemarketing or robot calls. This may prove to be a bit difficult, but it can be done and I wish I had the funds to work on this. Since I don't though, here is what I'm thinking.

What they would need is not to monitor the content of calls, but the pattern that calls are made. If calls are made in a timed pattern of more than three or four in a row, then we take that number and block all outgoing calls until they can answer a simple spoken word or a math problem over the phone to restore service. This would resemble a system close to the one we use for social networking or chat systems that use a Captcha model to deter bots.

The only way a telemarketing robot could get around this would be to use a new outgoing number after making the max amount of calls per number. Using a triangulation or location based system to detect location, would also help this from happening, because if two or more numbers are found from the same location repeating the same call patterns, it's a bot.

It's a good start at least, and its a solution based on software and not hardware, so there is no need to upgrade existing equipment in order for it to work.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments, Thanks.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Giving a webapp a try

Today I set out to make a web app. One that will pull a lot of the different media I have to offer online and present it all to the user in an easy to digest manner. Well, I have something along those lines, but not quite the experience I was rooting for at first. You can check out the latest version of my web app HERE. I will also be working on a Windows 8 app, just as soon as I figure out a couple things first.

If you are interested in making your own, Head out to joshfire (

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Revamping The Resume - Part 2 - Virtual Resume

11:53 PM Posted by Jon West , , , , , , , , , , No comments
One morning I was browsing my normal news sources when I came across Lifehacker's article about making a static resume and putting it on the web. I took that and ran with it over the last month in my spare time and came out with a good representation of my coding skills so far. Mix that with my Design abilities and I think I may have one of the key items I've been missing as a businessperson all along.

The site is 100% static HTML5 (CSS & JS) so it will run on 90% of the modern browsers out there. It uses a few types of animation too. One for the foreground and one for the background (which moves when the mouse moves, all 3D like). This is just version 1 of it so far, so I might have to revamp it a couple of times before I'm happy with it.

This is a link to my revamped resume (mirror)

I plan on updating that as regularly as I remember, so leave a comment if you have any thoughts :)