Projects Posts

5 Games now on the Windows Store

5 Games now on the Windows Store

Over the Christmas period Microsoft were running a promotion to developers; “Publish your apps to the Windows store before the 23rd of December and we will give you some Microsoft store credit”. Well as I had already spent a whole bunch of time learning how to publish natives desktop apps to the Windows Store during the development of Glancer I thought sure, why not capitalize on that.

Introducing Glancer – PC Vitals at a Glance

Introducing Glancer – PC Vitals at a Glance

This post has been over 6 years in the making but im glad I can finally write it.

Way back in March of 2010 I wrote about a new tool I had developed with the snappy name “Windows 7 Taskbar Monitor”. It was a little tool that used Windows’ Performance Counter to show you what the current CPU, Memory and Network usage is:

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The cunning thing however is that I piggybacked on the new (at the time) “progress” value that you could get which would give you a nice visual indication of the current value for each monitor:

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To my surprise this little tool has more than justified its effort to create. I have used it every day for the past 6 years and has been an invaluable tool in working out “what the hell is my computer doing?” sort of problems.

Over the years I haven’t really changed it much and 4 years ago I even open-sourced it: https://github.com/mikecann/Windows7-Taskbar-Monitor

With the advent of Windows 8 and the App Store I thought it would bring greater visibility to my little tool if I could publish it to the store. Unfortunately however Microsoft imposed some pretty strict rules with their store which meant that I couldnt use the progress-tasbar APIs that were central to the app.

Fast-forward a few more years to Windows 10 anniversary edition and Microsoft release something called “Desktop App Converter” (formally Project Centennial). This project would allow you to take just about any existing windows app, then wrap it and convert it so that it was safe to use on the store.

Perfect, this was just what I needed to bring Taskbar Monitor to the store. Well (after a number of lengthy hurdles) I finally achieved it. I totally rewrote the tool to use a more modern Microsoft framework and gave it a new name, Glancer:

taskbar-feature2-compressor

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The basic functionality is the same, its just wrapped up in a prettier package and has a few more options.

At this stage its just an MVP. I have plans to add a whole bunch more cool functionality and monitors but I just wanted to get it out there first and see what people thought and then hopefully iterate on it as I go.

Ill be using it daily now so very much have an incentive to improve it 🙂

Currently its totally free but im thinking at some point in the future ill monetize it, probably with a free-trial but perhaps with a “freemium” model.

I also built a website for the project here: http://www.glancer.co/ its a bit basic at the moment but I plan on iterating that as I go.

Anyways, give it a download, let me know what you think!

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/p/glancer-your-pc-vitals-at-a-glance/9nblggh43gvm

Until next time.

Post To Tumblr v6.26 – New Donation Options

Post To Tumblr v6.26 – New Donation Options

Its been a while since I have blogged about Post To Tumblr, my popular Chrome Extension for Tumblr. I have been quiet but certainly not inactive.

One thing that has always bothered me about the extension ever since version 1, when I started accepting donations, was that the only way to donate was via Paypal. Thus people in countries where Paypal isnt available have been unable to donate and thus unlock the advanced features. Up till now I simply gave those users that emailed me free access to the features, but obviously this isnt ideal.

I like to listen to podcasts, mostly technical related but some science, some business and some general interest. Most of the shows I listen to have ads and one ad that continually pops up is for Braintree. Braintree is a payments solution for online services so I decided to investigate if they would be a good solution for my Chrome extensions.

I discovered that they have the same fee but have have a generous $50k threshold before those charges kick in. They accept credit cards which means they can be used in any country and to top it off they have nice documentation and simple integration options which is more than I can say for Paypal.

So I decided to make the jump and switch PTT over to Braintree.

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Donations are all handled on my HTTPS heroku page. Credit card info never touches my server and is all handled via the Braintree iFrame and thus I am never liable for any financial risk nor an I at any point breaking Googles Developer Policies.

Speaking of that. As soon as I published the update with the new Braintree payments integrated I received this lovely email from Google:

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Obviously I am rather wary of these sorts of generic take-down emails from Google thanks to my Google Play ban. After emailing them back asking for clarification as to exactly which rule I was breaking I received an email 2 days later that stated that they had reviewed my extension and were going to reinstate it. No explanation as to why it was taken down in the first place…

Anyways. Its back, now integrated with Braintree, and it all works and everything is right with the world, so im not going to pursue it any further.

As usual you can grab Post To Tumblr over on the Chrome Store, if you have it installed it should auto-update for you 🙂

Until next time.