Guitar Fretboard Teacher: Release 2 in the store now!

Great news: release 2 of my app Guitar Fretboard Teacher is now up in the Windows 8 store!

It’s a big update, that adds a main menu where you can now choose between theory or practice.

 

Guitar Fretboard Teacher Main Screen

The theory contains a lesson on the musical alphabet.

Guitar Fretboard Teacher Theory

You can practice this theory in the musical alphabet quiz or test your knowledge of the notes on the fretboard.

GFT Quiz

More theory and exercises will be added in the future!

Guitar Fretboard Teacher is a free download, so why not give it a try

Enjoy, and if you have any problems, questions or requests, let me know!

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Guitar Fretboard Teacher

My second Windows 8 app is now available in the store!

Guitar Fretboard Teacher

Guitar Fretboard Teacher helps guitar students by testing their knowledge of the notes on the guitar neck. The first release is pretty simple and contains only the fretboard quiz.

GFT Quiz

For now, it only supports standard tuning and notes up to the 12th fret. I’ll make this configurable in one of the next releases.

Theory on the notes of the fretboard is something I’m also planning on adding pretty soon, so stay tuned for that.

Hope you enjoy the app! If you do, let me know 🙂 If you find any problems or have a feature request, you can also contact me.

You can still download my first app, ClearWriter, and I’ll continue to develop that one too.

ClearWriter version 3 in the Windows Store

Version 3 of my Windows 8 app ClearWriter is up in the Store now!

It’s a minor update with some bug fixes, but most importantly you can now print from the app.

I expected printing to be something pretty simple to code. Boy was I wrong 🙂
The existing SDK sample isn’t that clear and a bit too complicated.
I tried to strip it and keep it as simple as possible, but there’s still a lot more work to do to get it as clean as I want.

If I find the time, I’ll write a blog post about the implementation!

MakePri errors in Windows 8 project

While working on my Windows 8 app project called ClearWriter I got the following error:

“MakePri.exe” exited with code -1073740940.

I was working with the resw files, localizing my app, so I expected MakePri to be involved with the resource creation.

After excluding my resw files and including them one by one, I found the incorrect resw file. Apparently I had a Resource name that ended with a dot. Removing this solved the error.

I tried to reproduce the error for this blog post, but now I got the following error when I inserted the dot:

Error 1 Processing Resources with error: The parameter is incorrect. MakePri
Error 2 Unspecified error occurred. MakePRI

Showing all Windows 8 apps in the store

I was a little surprised when I opened up the Windows 8 Store for the first time. I had a specific app I was looking for, but could not find it by just browsing.

The amazing search charm to the rescue I thought, but still no results…

Store Search Meme

Hmm, something strange was going on. The number of apps in each category was surprisingly low.

After some digging I found the following setting under Settings > Preferences: Make it easier to find apps in my preferred languages. Flicking it to No solved the problem!

Store Preferences

 

Store Search Meme Found

The store has this setting turned on by default, which means it only displays apps for your country-specific and/or language-specific locale (which you can define in your control panel).

For those of you looking for my ClearWriter app in the store, but not being able to find it, check this switch…

My first Windows 8 App: ClearWriter

I am experimenting with the development of Windows 8 Apps. So far it has been an interesting journey and the result is a (for now) very simple app called ClearWriter.

Clearwriter logo

I wanted to create something that doesn’t need a lot of business logic, but allows me to experiment with the different contracts and the global design of a Windows 8 app.

That’s why I created a full screen writing app.

The “content over chrome” logic behind the Windows 8 Apps fits perfectly for ClearWriter. You just focus on your writing, nothing else.

Clearwriter Screenshot

I wanted to push the app to the store as quickly as possible, to get feedback from users, so for now functionalities are limited, but I’m working on that.

Here is a list of the current functionalities:

  • Distraction free writing
  • White or black color scheme
  • Associates with .txt files
  • Sharing from the app

Some functionalities that are on the backlog:

  • Printing
  • Searching
  • Word count
  • Support for Markdown
  • Focus on the current sentence

ClearWriter is translated in English, Dutch, French and German and is free to try for 7 days. It can be downloaded from the store. If you like the app, and want to support its further development, you can buy it for only € 1,19.

If you have any questions concerning the app (feature requests, improvements, bugs, questions about the development) feel free to ask them here, or mail them to clearwriterapp@gmail.com.

In future posts i’ll document some interesting parts of the development process of ClearWriter.

Installing Windows 8 in a Virtual Machine

About a month ago, Microsoft released the RTM version of Windows 8 to MSDN subscribers or via a 90-day trail version. I thought about checking it out, so I decided to test it out in a Virtual Machine.

Warning: the trail version cannot be upgraded to the final version, so if you replace your current OS with it, you’ll have to do a complete reinstall! That’s why I’m going for the VM 🙂

1. Get the bits
You can get the trail version from the dev center website. For the VM I’m using Oracle Virtual Box.

2. Create the VM
After installing Virtual Box you can add a new VM to it. The later versions explicitly have Windows 8 support, which is super for what we are doing here 🙂 Give it a fancy name (like ‘Windows 8’. Very original…) and decide how much memory and CPU’s you want to allocate. Don’t overspend, or your host operating system will start to slow down a lot.

After that it’ll ask you to create a hard drive. I created a VDI of 50 gigs. You could also create one that dynamically expands, but this is slower and you’ll need to monitor the size yourself.

3. Configure the VM
Once the machine is created, open up its settings. Under System > Acceleration make sure “enable VT-x/AMD-V” is checked. This will allow your VM and host OS to directly share the processor resources, instead of the VM always going via the host OS.

Now you can make the Windows 8 ISO available to the VM via the Storage tab. Click on the empty IDE controller and mount your ISO into it.

4. Booting things up and down (problems)
Normally this should do the trick and you can start installing Windows 8 into the VM, but after startup I got this error:

VT-x features locked or unavailable in MSR. (VERR_VMX_MSR_LOCKED_OR_DISABLED).

Result Code:E_FAIL (0x80004005)

After tinkering with my VM a little I noticed I could get past this error if I decreased the allocated CPU’s to one. But that got me to the next error:

VT-x/AMD-V hardware acceleration has been enabled, but is not operational. Your 64-bit guest will fail to detect a 64-bit CPU and will not be able to boot.
Please ensure that you have enabled VT-x/AMD-V properly in the BIOS of your host computer.

And as the error predicted, the Windows installer gave me this message:

Your pc needs to be repaired.
This 64-bit application couldn’t load, because your PC doesn’t have a 64-bit processor.

Luckily the solution to my problem was in the second VM’s error message. When I opened up the BIOS of my laptop, virtualization was indeed disabled (apparently this is the default).

After enabling it, I could once again bump up the number of CPU’s and start the VM successfully.

5. Installing
Installation was a breeze.
The only part that was a bit confusing is the type of installation options. Default it suggests an Upgrade (which won’t do us much good in an empty VM). The other option is confusingly named ‘Custom (advanced)’. That’s the new install option 🙂

6. Running
After you complete the install and registration, you can bask in the glory of your new Windows 8 installation. I’m going to look into the development of a Windows 8 metro style app, but I noticed that just running the clean Windows 8 VM gave too much of a performance hit on my humble laptop.

But I still have another option! I’m going to try to follow Scott Hanselman’s post on running Windows 8 inside of a Virtual HD. This means I get a minimal performance hit on my virtual drive, but all the rest works directly on your hardware.

The VHD is a bit more risky than a VM, so if you just want to take a peek at the new OS, but want to keep risks to a minimum, go for the VM. For development, which requires some performance, the VHD seems like a better option.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress!