Thursday, May 29, 2014

What are the best practices I can adopt to protect from Internet Fraud?

Internet fraud and infection from Malware has become very rampant. I am a guy short of cash and go for free stuff on the Internet. Longtime ago this was OK, but has become increasingly problematic.

Quite a lot of this free stuff comes bundeled with unwanted programs and malware. They are not easy to recognize for obvious reasons. The motivation for all of these programs is to steal data or try to pretend to be 'you' and access others or make money using you as a 'proxy' click assistant without your knowledge (Click fraud).

Recently I removed both Google Chrome and Firefox browsers as they had become very infected. Trying to remove the bugs/malware using, Popup blocker, manage add-ins etc were not of much  help. I am keeping IE since I need a browser for Internet access;  not that it is free from malware.

However, frequent security updates to the computer makes it  somewhat more usable.

Microsoft recommends these best practices that you should consider adopting:

• Use newer software that provides enhanced protections. 
• Keep all of the software installed on your system up-to-date. This includes software from Microsoft, Adobe, Oracle, and others. 
• When downloading files or software online, make sure that you are doing so from a trusted vendor. 
• Run up-to-date anti-malware. 
• Think before you click: don’t click on links or open attachments from untrusted sources. 
• Back up your files.

Also while downloading make sure it is coming from a trusted source displayed in the URL.
Here is an example of a familiar secure site for accessing your email:

Make sure you watch for the beginning of the url:  https://

What is a loose XAML file?

It is very similar to an HTML file that you create in Notepad and add it to your files/folders like this one:

Type in Notepad the following one line:

Hello, HTML

and now save it as TestHTML and save it as a HTML file (not the .txt extension) to your desktop. When you double click this file, your browser (IE perhaps) displays the following:

Hello, HTML
Sometimes it is also called a HTML fragment.

Likewise you can store a loose XAML file as shown:

Type the following in Notepad and save it as a file with extension .XAML to your files/folders.
" FontWeight="Bold">
Hello, XAML
Now open this file using IE (this is usually at C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe)

You will see the following:

Hello, XAML

For a loose XAML file you should havethe following:

•Contains only XAML (that is, no code).

•Has an appropriate namespace declaration.

•Has the .xaml file name extension.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

How do I code a grid layout in XAML using Visual Studio 2013 Express for Windows Desktop?

XAML is somewhat like HTML but lot more powerful coming from the Microsoft Windows Presentation Foundation(WPF). It is a declarative language (you pretty much declare most of the things) and Visual Studio Express for Windows Desktop allows you to create projects of the type, WPF Application.
You can download Visual Studio 2013 Express for Windows Desktop which is free from here:

Before installing make sure your computer satisfies the requirements(at least the minimum).
You can buy higher versions like Standard, Professional and Ultimate and they are expensive.

Once it is installed you have the option to launch it, if you want to.

I usually launch it as the adminsitrator of the computer.

Click File | New Project to create a new project (You can use VB or C#). Use the Project type WPF Application.
Click OK and you will get a project folder in your Solution Explorer
 Here is the default project created as shown:

Right side you have the Solution Explorer and the MainWindow.xaml is represented in both design(top left) and in the markup language in bottom left. The main window has a size of 350x525 but you are seeing at a reduced size 25%.

In what follows you will be placing a number of objects inside a grid, using the grid layout. This happens to be the default as you see in the markup . Be warned that everything is case sensitive here.

A grid is a layout type that allows you to create 2D geometrical pattern (like a chess board) consisting of rows and columns and in the intersecting cells you may place other controls. You may also think of the grid as a table with rows and columns if you are used to HTML coding. But strictly speaking Grid is not a table.

Make sure you read the code and this is pretty much the default. You see just one row and one column.

Now the logic for the grid arrangement goes like this:
1. You create Grid Definitions
2. You decide the row definition
3, You decide the column definition
4. You decide what to put in each of the cells

If there are 3 rows and 3 columns, you will have nine cells to place your objects(controls).
In this post, you will be creating a 3x3 grid and place in them nine buttons to mimic the numeric keypad. I have not included the '0' and you may try to modify it on your own.

Here is the XAML code for this grid layout:
This is pretty much all that is required. I have used a 300x300 sized gird. You may copy this and paste it after removing the default XAML code, but you have to name the project just as in the second screen shot or make changes to your XAML code.

This produces the foloowing in the design area

If you want you can add some styling as shown here for just one cell:

In XAML coding make use of intellisense, a feature that gives you the possible things you can insert as you type on.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

What is an XAP File?

Let me briefly explain what is XAP?

XAP is the file format used to install application software on Windows Phone 7.5/8 platforms and Silverlight Applications. This will change in Windows 8.1. You can look at the contents of an XAP file by renaming (by changing .XAP to .ZIP as it is ZIP formatted file) it.

XAP file of an App consists of the manifest, the required dlls and views.

Read about my XAP article here:

Using XapDeploy.exe tool you can deploy to a connected device or a chosen emulator (choose emulator from drop-down list). To have emulators on a Windows 8.1 computer you should at least have the Windows 8.1 Professional edition.

Note: If you are using Windows App Studio Dev (   which is in Beta you can download the XAP file of your Phone project from there.

Friday, May 9, 2014

What kind of program can be used to create Windows Phone Apps?

Visual Studio 2013 (even the Express Windows edition with update 2 RC) and Blend for Visual Studio 2013 can be used. VS2013 is of course more difficult to use if you are not inclined towards programming. Blend is easier if you know the three pillars, HTML 5, CSS3 and JavaScript. Even then the JavaScript used is implemented by means of a library created to make programming robust, maintainable and somewhat easier. Blend can also be used to create XAML based apps for both Windows and Windows Phone using some shared code.

Blend understands HTML and XAML. If you are a JavaScript person you better go with Blend using HTML.

Here are the kinds of Apps that you can create using Blend.

 HTML Store Apps
  1. Universal Apps
          Blank App
          Navigation App

    2.  Windows Apps

          Blank App
          Grid App
          Split App
          Hub App
          Navigation App
   3. Windows Phone Apps
        Blank App
        Pivot App
        Navigation App

  • XAML Store Apps
  1.  Universal Apps
        Blank APP
        Hub App
        Class Library (Portable for Universal App)
        Windows Runtime Component (Portable for Universal App)
        Windows Runtime Component(Universal App)
    2.   Windows Apps
         Blank App
         Hub App
         Grid App
         Split App
         Class Library
         Windows Runtime Component
   3  Windows Phone Apps
        Blank App
        Hub App
        Pivot App
        WebView App
        Class Library
        Windows Runtime Component
        Blank App (Windows Phone Silverlight)
        Databound App (Windows Phone Silverlight)
        Control Library (Windows Phone Silverlight)
        Panorama App (Windows Phone Silverlight)
        Pivot app(Windows Phone Silverlight)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

How do you enable Multilingual Toolkit for Windows and Windows Phone Apps?

Step 1: Download the toolkit from here.

Step 2: Installing toolkit is a simple affair, just double cliking the MSI  MultilingualAppToolkit.MSI)file and answering a few screen question installs the toolkit.

Step 3: Once this is installed you should enable it in Visual Studio 2013 (works in Express 2013 with Update 2 RC), assuming you have opened your project to which you want to provide multilingual support.