Windows Phone Developer “Company” Accounts and Symantec Verification

I’ve noticed an issue with my personal business’ Windows Phone Developer account lately.  Every time I sign into the dashboard, and try to submit a new app, I get the “Account Summary” page instead:

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There wasn’t any useful information on the page though that told me why I was seeing that instead of my App Submission page.  My account was current, no obvious issues, etc.

I used the “Support” link at the bottom of the Windows Phone Dev Center page, and then clicked the “Submit a support ticket” link, then filled in my issues, and click the link to Start a Live Chat…

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The support rep was very helpful, and as it turns out that since my account is a “Company” account (not an individual), it was undergoing an annual account verification with Symantec.  Microsoft uses Symantec to verify the identities of the company developer accounts.  You can learn more about that here:

Symantec Validation for Company Accounts
and
Microsoft Developer Services Identity Validation

For support from Symantec on your verification status, go to:

Microsoft Developer Identity Validation Support with Symantec (http://go.symantec.com/microsoft-chat-support)

Fill in the form there, and you can enter a live support chat with Symantec:

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I gave the Symantec rep my Windows Phone Developer Account’s Publisher Name, and they were able to find my record and work with me (which for me included them calling the phone number associated with my publisher account) to verify my information was correct.

It turns out that my account has actually been in the “verification” phase for some time, and that I just ignored the email from *@symantec.com because I don’t use any of their products.  Point being, if you have a “Company” Windows Phone Developer account, make sure to monitor that email address associated with your account for annual verification emails from Symantec.  If I was more on top of my communications, I would have caught it earlier.  I just wish the developer center page was more informative of what the problem was.

It did take about 4-5 hours after my chat with Symantec before the fix made it through, but it eventually did, and now I can submit apps!

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HACKTIVE Hackathon Review & My 3rd Place PhatActive Submission

I spent last weekend (09/21/2013-09/22/2013) at Active.com’s HACKTIVE hackathon. I had an awesome time, met ton’s of great people, and actually placed 3rd in the “developer” category with my “PhatActive” submission. WooHoo!  A big thank you to Active.com, Mashery, Yahoo, Aetna, CoMerge and all the other sponsors for putting on a great event!  As an evangelist, I am involved with a lot of hackathons, etc.  It was so much fun to go as a participant!  And these guys put on an awesome event!

The People and the Place

There was a great turn out for the event.   There were a total of 15 apps presented (three in each of the “categories”, see below).  However, MOST teams had at least two people on them, and some had as many as five.  The room was pretty packed when it came time to present.

The event was held at CoMerge in San Diego.  This is a fantastic facility.  Thank you so much to Robert for the space!

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Cheston Coantoi, owner of Driveframe LLC, and a seasoned hackathon particiapte was their to help teams focus on the challenge and build compelling presentations.  There were also a number of folks from Active.com as well as Neil Mansilla from Mashery, Jesse Givens from Aetna, Tom Clancy from TAO Venture Capital Partners, and Rik Suhonen from Yahoo.  Lots of support. 

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How to Jump Start a Dead Dagu i-Racer from SparkFun


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I got this cool little Dagu I-Racer from SparkFun a few months back (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11162).  I had a ton of fun playing with it, including using a Windows Phone app created by Jeff Albrecht to drive it (http://www.rodaw.com/dagu-i-racer-windows-phone-8-2/).

Anyhow, I put it away and it sat in the box for a couple of months.  When I took it back out, it wouldn’t recharge.  I contacted SparkFun Tech Support (techsupport@sparkfun.com) and they told me to try and "jump start" it by applying 5v to the battery terminals (by passing the charging circuit).  Once you have the lights blinking you can then plug in the regular charger and get it charging again. I’ve done this successfully a few times now (more than I’d like), but it works!

Microsoft Student Account Sign Up Tutorial

We’ve been running a ton events on campuses all around the Western US lately.  One of the things we try to do at these events is help students sign up for the variety of Microsoft accounts available to them.  In an effort to streamline this process, I have recorded a video that walks through the sign up process for each of the following accounts:

If you are a student, and would like to sign up for FREE to any of the above, this video is for you.  Also, If are having trouble getting verified in Dreamspark, and need help, let me know!

Enjoy!

Windows 8 Game Development Tools

I presented a session  at the Microsoft Store in Fashion Valley last night (12/05/2012) on creating games for Windows 8.  In that session I covered a TON of resources to help game developers.  In this blog post I link to a number of tools and resources that can help you kickstart your Windows 8 Game Development!

For folks that love to get their hands dirty in code:

If you are a C++ coder and need ultimate performance out of your game, you can develop your game using C++ and Direct X.  If this is your first game though, C++/DirectX will likely be overwhelming.

If you like the power of DirectX, but don’t want to dust off your C++ dev skills, you might be interested in SharpDX.

I had looked into XNA a fair amount on Windows Phone 7, but it turns out that while XNA is still supported on Windows Phone 8, it isn’t supported in WinRT.  But fear not, there is an excellent open source implementation of XNA that WILL run not only windows Windows RT, but also Windows Phone 8, as well as iSO, Android, Mac OS X & Linux!  Want to know more, check out MonoGame from Xamarin!

Another approach could be to use HTML/JS/CSS and the ever powerful HTML5 Canvas to create your own games.  Dan Wahlin has some great blog posts and Pluralsight content about HTML5 canvas.

Want to make a game, not write a bunch of code?

There are a number of excellent game generation tools in the market already, and there are more on the way!  Here are the ones I have checked into so far:

YoYo Games has “GameMaker: Studio” family of tools.  The free version allows you to create both Mac and Windows DESKTOP apps (not Win RT) apps.  However, for just $49.99 you can create games that can be published into the Windows 8 store.

GameSalad is another popular came creation tool called “GameSalad Creator”.  In order to publish to the Windows 8 store, you need to purchase the Pro version for $299/year, but the free version can get you into the tool so you know you can be successful building a game before you pay for the Pro version.

Scirra’s Construct2 allows you to create Windows 8 store apps with the FREE version!  If you want to publish apps for iOS and Android then you’ll need to upgrade to their Personal or Business editions.

Unity3D is a more advanced game creation tool focused on 3D game creation, and may be something you look at after becoming familiar with one of the 2D game creation tools mentioned above.

Tools for graphics and sound?

I like to create my game art using vector graphics first, and then I export those vector images as bitmaps.  To create the vector images I use InkScape.  If I need to edit the bitmap images that are exported, I usually clean them up using Gimp.

For sounds, you need to create them somehow, I have used MusicLab from ClubCreate to make game loops before. OpenLabs has a new tool called StageLight that sells for just $9.99 (a demo version is available), or you might consider buying pre-made sounds from sites like beatport.com .

Once you have sounds you like, you can edit them (or create your own) using Audacity.  Audacity is a great sound editor that has all the functionality a budding game developer would need!

I can’t draw or play music!

Don’t worry, there are a number of places that you can get assets (graphics, sounds, etc) for your games.  My teammate Jeremy Foster has collection of them listed on his blog, but there are two that relate directly to games:

OpenGameArt.org is a great place to get art for your games.  Even if it isn’t the art you end up using in the long run, it may help you get rolling!

Freesound.org is a great place for various sound samples, again this may not be the sounds you use at publish time, but they will serve a purpose.

With both OpenGameArt.org and Freesound.org, make sure to pay attention to how the assets you choose are licensed if you plan on publishing your game to the Windows Store.

What are you waiting for?  Get Started!

Installing the Windows Phone SDKs on Windows 8

If you have upgraded to the latest Windows 8 Release Preview, you may be asking if you can still develop Windows Phone applications.   Well, yes, you can!  There are just a few things to install:

If you want to use a full version of Visual Studio (not just the “Visual Studio Express for Windows Phone” that ships with the SDK), then start by installing Visual Studio 2010 SP1.  There are currently (today is 06/09/2012) no Windows Phone development tools for Visual Studio 2012 RC.  You don’t HAVE to install Visual Studio though because an express version is included with the Windows Phone SDK.

What to Install and in what order Where to Get it
01 – Games for Windows Live Client http://bit.ly/g4wlive
02 – Windows Phone 7.1 SDK http://bit.ly/wp71sdkdl
03 – Windows Phone 7.1.1 SDK Update Windows Phone 7.1.1 SDK Update

For an explanation of the above….

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Free Windows Hackathon at Nokia, San Diego on 06/02/2012

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Ready.Set () {Code} Challenge

Headphones on. Tilt the seat back. Just steady codin’ as the keys get tapped. Get ready, because Nokia Developer is about to turn your town into Dev City with its Ready.Set () {Code} Challenge.

Nokia is hitting the road to 13-cities looking for developers who want to build an experience not just another app. To kick off the Ready.Set () {Code} Challenge, Nokia Developer will hold hackathons across the US and Canada beginning in May. You can sign up individually or form your own team to build the coolest, baddest apps for the Windows Phone platform and Nokia Lumia devices.

Prizes will be awarded on site at each event for the top 3 created apps, top student created app, and most Nokia-branded developer (use your imagination). App winners will be judged on creativity, usability, technical difficulty and app presentation.

 

  • 1st place: $500 gift card & Nokia Lumia 900
  • 2nd place: $250 gift card & Nokia Lumia 900
  • 3rd place: $100 gift card & Nokia Lumia 900
  • Student Winner: $150 gift card & Nokia Lumia 900
  • Most Nokia-Branded Dev:  $100 gift card & Nokia Lumia 900

 

At Nokia, we don’t have ordinary developers, so these won’t be ordinary hacks. We have some amazing experiences in store – like our Re-Charge Room – for developers to chill out between pounding out code. So come showoff your skills and earn rewards. Space will be limited so register early.

The Challenge is on. . . .Ready.Set () {Code}

Ready.Set () {Code} Challenge Schedule:

08:30 a.m. Light breakfast and registration\
09:00 a.m. Welcome and competition overview
09:30 a.m. Let the hacking begin!
12:30 p.m. Lunch
07:00 p.m. Show us your app/Dinner
08:00 p.m. Winners announced