Archive for October, 2015

The Loneliness of the Windows Phone Developer

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Earlier today I wrote an application for my Windows Phone. I posted about it on Facebook and included the comment that it was not generally useful meaning that it was not ready for people other than me to use. My son replied with a comment that it was not generally useful because it was a Windows Phone app. Sadly he has a point.

Several years ago promoting Windows Phone development was part of my job. Back then I would have taken the things I learned writing this app and written a blog post about it. I would have wanted to encourage people to use it with their students. These days no one is paying me to promote Windows or any other sorts of phones. If I thought there were people interested in doing Windows Phone development I’d still write the post to be helpful. But I doubt there are a whole lot of teachers in that state. Few students have Windows Phones. Almost all of my students have smart phones with iPhones being the largest representation. Android is close second. Windows Phones are very rare. So not much point it teaching WP development.

That makes me a little sad. Not because I am a huge Microsoft fan boy (though I sort of am) but because development in Windows Phone is so much easier than iPhone development. Windows Phone is in many ways ideal for teaching because of ease of development and the great Visual Studio IDE. You can do some fun development in App Inventor for Android but that is not quite like higher level programming development. And yet the market demands iPhone and Android development have a much higher priority than Windows Phone development.

I really like the User Interface on the Windows Phone. I am not a fan of the Android and iPhone interfaces. And of course you know how I feel about the development environments. On the other hand I am starting to miss some of the apps that are available for iPhone and Android phones but not for Windows Phone.  My current cell phone provider doesn’t support the Windows Phones I want to buy either. Sooner or later I suppose I’ll have to give up on Windows Phone. That will really make me sad.

Note: I wrote a blog post about writing what I call “programmer’s programs” on my other blog at Programmers vs. Idiots

Poverty/Education the Chicken and Egg Problem

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

At last summer’s CSTA conference a speaker from the department of education talked about education being the answer for fixing poverty. And yet many teachers will tell you that the problem with providing a good education is poverty. It is hard for a student to learn if they don’t have enough to eat, have to work long hours to help support the family or miss out on health care for financial reasons.

Yes a good education can help people break out of poverty. We see it in literature, movies and even occasionally in people we actually know. But it is hard to get that education sometimes when you are poor.  We can’t wait for one problem to fix the other. We have to work on both problems at once.