With the release of the Amazon FireTV, AppleTV and TheVerge posts around AndroidTV, the 99$er TV set-top box war is getting into high gear.

Let’s take a step back though. The FireTV sports a 2GB RAM, dedicated GPU, quad core Qualcomm CPU and a full-size USB port for 99$. This is a fantastic low-end PC that I’ll gladly install WinRT / Ubuntu on if it’s possible, but in the meanwhile, here’s a step-by-step tutorial to install XBMC on the FireTV.

Every now and then I prototype an idea for an application or tool, and find myself copy/pasting demo data from a service just so I the prototype can feel more real. This is known as web scraping or screen scraping, and it can be both fun and excruciatingly tedious. So I wrote a small script you to use.

Most people I know have attended or are familiar with entrepreneurship and startup related conferences. Conferences gather people, seat them, and then lecture to them on a certain subject. The quality of the conference predominantly depends on the speakers’ ability to inspire the audience.

However, nowadays you can hear some of the best talks on TED and YouTube, and the value of sitting in a room with tons of people isn’t as high as it used to be.

Conferences aren’t the only model for gatherings. My favorite alternative is the ‘Unconference‘ model. Lucky for you i’ve been to both and i’m here to tell you all about it.

Technology is Evolving

Think about the world 15 years ago. Ask your self how you used to accomplish these tasks and how they were different back then:

  • Coordinating and meeting friends in a public place
  • Discovering what an acquaintance has been up to
  • Finding and buying a good appliance for the best price around you
  • Driving and navigating yourself in a new city
  • Contacting a person you heard of, but never contacted or knew even how to
  • Taking a photo

Now think about mobile phones, Facebook, Skype, Amazon and GPS. Those consumer-oriented services are powered by advances in fiber optics, satellites, wireless, chip minimization, distributed systems, CCDs and CMOS photography and tons more. Science and technology have been progressing; Physics, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, signal processing, biology, medicine [...]  and the pace of change is increasing.

Videos to start the week

Here’s a bunch of videos that gives us a hint on some of the technologies worth keeping an eye on in the next 10-15 years. The future looks… different.

If you find them interesting, subscribe to my newsletter and I’ll send you a summary beginning every week.

It’s been fun following and contributing to the growing sense of transformation in Microsoft. Windows 8 is continuously being improved, with alot of creative innovation going into the core experience, not to mention that even Woz is appreciative of the effort.

I’ve seen more of the type of the innovation where you see something, and whoa, they really changed things drastically, whoa, they aren’t even going in the same direction as everyone else, meaning the iPhone and the Android operating system.
Steve Wozniak

One of the cooler things I find great in Win8+ is the ability to write native apps using HTML5/CSS and JavaScript, and to top it off, you can mix in TypeScript for an even better coding experience.

TypeScript is a superset of JavaScript that enables design-time error checking and more predictable tooling. It compiles back to JavaScript (just like CoffeeScript), and the coolest thing about it? You can easily leverage open source, and the community is backing it up.

I put together a 17 minute video that gets you started with writing a native Win8.1 app using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, TypeScript, AngularJS, Bootstrap, underscore, BankersBox and jQuery. The goal of the tutorial is to go through the end-to-end experience of developing a win8.1 app as quickly as possible while not developing a random ‘hello world’ app.

[Source Code]

Windows has quite a few controls you can leverage, but for this tutorial I wanted to keep it to a minimum just so we can focus on leveraging open source.

The app parses some JSON, implements search, does data biding with AngularJS, uses bootstrap for the layout, filtering with underscore, set-operations with BankersBox and glued with some jQuery.

Make sure you leave some comments!

"A university for the coming singularity" -Ray Kurzweil

The Visit

Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of joining Singularity University for a week, visiting a good friend of mine who’s attending. (Thanks Asaf!)

Singularity University brings together amazing people from all around the world: Scientists, entrepreneurs and free thinkers to try and mash them into a problem solving collective that can talk all the world’s biggest problems.

Similar to several other programs with a pre-filtered group of people, it feels like an inspiring sub-group will emerge that finds the right mindset to change the world and start executing on it.

Here’s a cool project I’m involved with. It makes the NavigateTo experience alot more fun and fluid to use in Visual Studio:

inlinenav

You can now get this now on the Visual Studio Extension Gallery under the more experimental section: DevLabs. It is going to be rough around the edges – experimental comes with a cost :)

You can now get your color back using Visual Studio 2012.2 (Update 2 CTP). If you want more of these fun tidbits, make sure you follow me on Twitter

Check it out:

Learn How To Build An Editor Extension for Visual Studio

Introduction

Visual Studio extensions are valuable tools that enhance the day-to-day workflow, keeping the IDE fresh with new functionality, tailored for your work style. We’ve seen fantastic extensions developed by both Microsoft and the community, including several that saw over a million downloads each.

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to build a new editor extension for Visual Studio 2012 called MultiEdit.  This extension allows you to Alt-Click on various parts of your code and perform simultaneous text writing and deleting. You can find a real, non-tutorial version I wrote on the Visual Studio Gallery, and a demo on what it does right here:

I’ll cover several common development tasks for Editor extensions including:

  • Drawing on the editor
  • Capturing a certain keyboard and mouse combination
  • Editing and inserting new text into the editor in multiple locations, all at once.

I will give you an explicit overview on how to get started with Extensions, and the different pieces that will allow you to build similar experiences. However, implementation elegance and efficiency are not a priority in this tutorial.