WP7 – Official Fix for Walshed Phones

Chris Walsh has posted an official fix to get you back on the upgrade path if you applied his earlier NoDo update hack.  This fix has been tested by Brandon Watson and his team so you should be good to go.

Having previously Walshed my phone, I applied this fix and it successfully updated.  The first time I ran it, the tool crashed waiting for the phone to reboot.  However, I rebooted my computer and my phone, ran the update again and it then updated successfully.

As usual, AT&T appears to be behind on the updates as I still haven’t received the security update.  Once I do, I’ll post an update regarding how it went.

A big thanks to Chris for getting us back on track!!  I’d also like to point out that it’s fantastic that Brandon and his team worked with Chris to officially certify the fix.  It was originally an unsupported hack so Microsoft went out of their way to work with the community on this one.

Samsung Focus – Expansion card died after two months

My Samsung Focus ran out of batteries the other day and turned itself off.  I try to avoid this but it certainly wasn’t the first time it’s happened.  I plugged it back in and after fifteen minutes or so it powered back on.  But this time it came up with a message saying that my storage had changed, been damaged or removed and that I needed to fix it and restart the device.  Uh oh.

I tried rebooting, removing and reinserting the card and just about everything else I could think of…no dice.  The phone was unusable.  I then got desperate to avoid a painful trip to the AT&T store (where we struggle through basic things like opening the phone) and started down the hard reset path.  Reformat worked fine but same error when I started the phone again.  Ultimately I had to remove the expansion card and do another hard reset.

So I’m back to a mere 8 GB until I can get another replacement.  Sadly, the restore didn’t work either because I Walshied my phone or more likely because it no longer has 24 GB of space.  It would be really nice to restore things like settings and apps regardless of changes to the phone hardware.  Sure, if there wasn’t a space for the apps then I understand.  But having to reset every setting, email account, theme, etc seems like a pretty poor experience.

Pretty disappointing that the 16 GB Patriot class 10 card died exactly two months from original purchase.  Hopefully they’ll provide some good customer service around the card.

WP7Pivot – Latest Data From the Marketplace

The WP7 Marketplace PivotViewer has finished updating with the latest statistics from the Marketplace. Take a look at www.senovasolutions.com/Community/WP7/Default.aspx and let me know what you think.

WP7 – Latest Data Uploaded to Marketplace PivotViewer

The WP7 Marketplace PivotViewer has finished updating with the latest statistics from the Marketplace.  Take a look at www.senovasolutions.com/Community/WP7/Default.aspx and let me know what you think.  I’m looking to move this to Azure to enable more frequent updating (along with some other reports) so looking for some feedback on if you find it useful.

WP7 – March Update 2011 on LG

My LG phone (from PDC) finally has the Windows Phone Update, March 2011.  I figured the LG would be the first to get it between it and the Samsung Focus.  After all, the LG is a phone from Germany on Vodaphone so of course it’s not going to have the usual problems with pretty much anything associated with AT&T (and in case you were wondering, I can’t imagine customer service is going to possibly get any better for us in the US if the number of competitors shrinks even further).

WP7 – Marketplace PivotViewer Available

As mentioned previously, the WP7 Marketplace PivotViewer is now available at www.senovasolutions.com/Community/WP7/default.aspx.  As of right now, the Productivity category is the only category that has finished uploading.  If the category you want doesn’t work, try again later.

I wanted to publish it to Azure, but honestly I was a little concerned with the cost given some of the sizes involved.  I’m still going to explore the estimated expenses around this including ways to reduce the bandwidth / storage but for now you can enjoy it on my regular hosting platform.

Again, the real point here is to explore the concept of the PivotViewer and the Marketplace with some recent data.  Please let me know what you think and if there’s any other ways you’d want to slice this data.

* Update 4/3/2011 *

I reached the limit on my hosting space before all of the sub-categories were able to upload.  In order to save on some of the storage required I have removed the ability to directly filter by sub-categories and instead just show the main categories.  Going forward, I’ll add a pivot facet for sub-category.  In order to not exceed my storage limit, I had to choose a subset of the main categories based on which ones had the largest number of top 1000 apps.  Of the main categories, those bolded are available for viewing:

  • Games
  • Entertainment
  • Music & Video
  • Photo
  • Lifestyle
  • News & Weather
  • Sports
  • Health & Fitness
  • Finance
  • Travel
  • Navigation
  • Social
  • Productivity
  • Tools
  • Business
  • Books & Reference
    I’m working on a longer term solution that will allow me to show all of the categories as well as update them more frequently.  For now, my bandwidth will support weekly updates. 

WP7 Marketplace & The PivotViewer – Match made in heaven

Lately, I’ve been rather enamored with a the Silverlight PivotViewer control from Microsoft (all in the same realm as Power Pivot and the upcoming release of SQL Server Reporting Services).  I’ve been following it since it released but just recently had a chance to play around with it…and I was definitely impressed.  The general idea is that the PivotViewer makes it easy to visualize large amounts of data while allowing a user to easily slice into different aspects of the data.  It is a magical blend when something really valuable also happens to be really easy to develop.  Since it’s so easy, it’s hard not to try and find a bunch of different uses for it. 

Hmm…so what has a lot of data that would be a cool visual and be interesting to slice in a lot of different ways?  Wait, I know…the WP7 Marketplace data.  Thankfully, Brandon Watson posted a quick overview on how to pull some data out of the Marketplace.  In less than an hour and a half, I pulled down the entire application data within the marketplace (hovering very near to 11,000) and every associated application image (nearly 400 MB worth).  Brandon did a great job in covering pulling the data, and the images were easy to pull too(albeit slower thanks to my internet connection).  PLINQ is another great tool that helped shorten the time it took to download all of the images.

I then used the Pivot Collection Tool for the Command Line (pauthor) to actually build the CXML required for the PivotViewer.  Despite the poorly named title of the tool it does come with a C# library component so don’t disregard it just because the name has Command Line in it.  I’m working on a set of extensions to the pauthor tool that will make it even easier to automatically generate CXML from entities based on attributes.  I’ll post some additional information on the technical details if anyone’s interested, but for now the main point of this post is the PivotViewer itself.

Let me first caveat this by saying that the still images really don’t do the experience justice.  There are a lot of animations and the discovery and mining is very rapid.  As I type this up, there’s a process running on my machine that is building out all of the CXML files.  Once I’ve cleaned up everything a bit, I will make the PivotViewer available so that you can interact with it directly.  But I wanted to show a preview of it first.


Here’s a visual example of all “Productivity” apps.  Notice that it is grouped by Release Date.  By simply changing the pivots, I can start to answer questions that may be harder to answer by static information.  I’m in control of the data analysis.  For instance, how many of these apps have…say…a rating better than 8?


You’ll notice this is a significantly smaller portion of the apps (no real surprise there).  How many of these apps have been rated by more than 8 people?


Okay, well maybe that’s just because I’m being too picky about high rating apps.  So let’s go ahead and see all of the apps that have been rated by more than 8 people…


Better, but that’s still a pretty small number compared to the total.  Because it’s visual, it’s very easy and immediate to draw meaningful conclusions.  Let’s switch gears entirely, and get a feeling for pricing rather than release date.


Woah, we clearly have some outliers here.  By clicking on the one over in the $150 range, we can bring up some of the details for that particular app.


I don’t know about you, but $170 seems a bit crazy.  Even after you remove the outliers, as you’d expect most apps are priced under $1.


It’s an absolute testament to the tools (and part of why I greatly appreciate Microsoft) that I can pull the data, organize it, and assemble a really powerful set of data analysis tools in less than 3 hours.  These different types of questions can be answered quickly and because the tool is so flexible I can get answers nearly as quickly as I can come up with questions.  Because the answers are often easy and quick to find, it only encourages more questions.  It’s a very empowering experience to rapidly answer questions and gain different insight than you would normally get through standard charts and graphs. 


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