Charles Petzold on writing books, reading books, and exercising the internal UTM

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Windows Phone 7 and the Art of Presentation

October 20, 2010
New York, N.Y.

Tomorrow evening I'll be giving a presentation to the NYC .NET Developer's Group on Multitasking on Windows Phone 7. If you plan on coming, please use that link to register. Your name needs to be on a list in the lobby in order for you to get up to the 6th floor for the event. I hope to see you there! I don't get out very often, and this is my only presentation about Windows Phone 7 currently scheduled.

Some of you may have seen my lunchtime presentation on Windows Phone 7 programming in April at Devscovery 2010 where I had to use the phone emulator included with the development tools, and then simulate a Windows Phone 7 device by putting my Zune HD into an antique Trimline case.

The presentation tomorrow night will be different: I'll have real Windows Phone 7 device and demonstrate real applications, many of them from my forthcoming book, Programming Windows Phone 7 (which turned out to be quite a bit longer than I originally anticipated, and which will be made available as a free download next week during PDC 2010).

In fact, I'll be using my Windows Phone 7 for the entire presentation tomorrow night. Aside from talking about multitasking on the phone and demoing programs, I'll also be showing a short PowerPoint deck right from the phone, and seamlessly task-switching between the PowerPoint slides and the demo programs. I'm very excited about it!

There's only one little hitch.

If you saw the video of Joe Belfiore at the Microsoft and AT&T Press Conference on Windows Phone 7 last week, you saw how he was able to hold a phone tethered to a PC and then project the phone's screen to the audience through a live video feed:

Microsoft and AT&T Press Conference on Windows Phone 7

Way cool, right? Imagine strolling into an office meeting next month, taking your Windows Phone 7 out of your pocket or purse, plugging a little cable into the top, and then treating your workmates to a PowerPoint presentation (or perhaps something more interesting) right from the phone!

And that's what I wanted to do tomorrow evening. I wanted to hold the phone, stroll around, show my slides, do my demos, and demonstrate the great leap we're making into truly flexible and powerful mobile computing.

But like I said, there's one little hitch: That live video feed from the phone? It's not a standard feature. It's not on the prototype phone I have, and it's not going to be on the production phones that you and I are going to buy over the next few months.

Of course, it occurred to me to try to get my hands on one of the "special" phones that have live video feeds just for my presentation. My official channel responded with a definitive No. (Lawyers weighed in, I'm afraid.) My unofficial channel was potentially more fruitful but in the end I decided that I shouldn't be using a feature of the phone that will not be publicly available. As a developer talking to other developers, I need to keep it real and honest.

So, tomorrow evening I'll be propping the phone on a podium, pointing a camcorder at the screen, and projecting that image. It definitely won't be as crisp as a direct video feed, but you'll be able to see my giant fingers press the phone buttons and use multi-touch.

And I hope that the next time I do a presentation on Windows Phone 7, I'll be using a device with a direct video feed that has become a standard feature.


Is there anyway that you can video tape the presentation? I am in Germany and there will not be anyway to see your presentation in person.



— Anthony, Wed, 20 Oct 2010 13:02:54 -0400

Second that, I am in Norway, and have read your excellent previewsn of the book. Would love to see a video of the presentation.


�~ystein Johnsen, Wed, 20 Oct 2010 16:55:51 -0400

Next week, a giant book I've written on Windows Phone 7 programming will become available. I'm also planning on blogging much more about stuff I couldn't get into the book. There will be no lack of information about programming for the phone.

But live presentations are really for the people who attend them, and I've recently come to believe that these presentations should be transient and simply dissipate into the air without being recorded.

Perhaps I can give a talk in Norway one day.... — Charles

Looks like we both have the same problem. When I did a presentation a few weeks back I would have loved to have had a phone with a video-out socket:

I hope your camcorder has a macro lens, as you can see on the video in the above blog post, my cheap camcorder was not able to focus on the phone when it was held close enough to fill the screen.

Colin E., Thu, 21 Oct 2010 01:29:41 -0400

Colin, doing screen shots for my WP7 book was a major PITA. For most of them I just used the emulator. But for others I needed to get an image off the phone itself. (These generally involved interactions with the photo or music library.) In Silverlight you can do it with WriteableBitmap (but the ApplicationBar isn't part of the visual tree so that doesn't get captured!) and in XNA you can do it with RenderTarget2D, but in either case the program needs to save the image to the phone's photo library and then I had to sync up with the PC to get the bitmap off, and then wrap it in an image of the phone itself. I would have loved just having a video feed from the phone to the desktop and capture from that. ߞ Charles

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