Friday, December 27, 2013

Operating system wasn't found ,try disconnecting drives and press cltr+alt+del to restart

Annoying, isn’t it? I ran into this problem with an old Windows 7 tablet while performing a full restore of Windows 8. Although the Tablet was made for Windows 7, I was able to install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview when it came out.

The restore seemed to run just fine, but after restart the tablet run into this issue and I was unable to get it to start Windows again.

I knew I had to boot from a bootable USB image, but the tablet wound not use the USB to boot. Normally, you need would restart and get into the BIOS to change the boot device sequence. However, getting into and navigating the BIOS on a tablet without a keyboard is daunting at best.

I tried several button sequences to no avail. For the sake of reference, here’s how you would navigate the BIOS on a touch device without keyboard:

  • Windows Key held during boot:  BIOS
  • Volume Up (up key): Navigate current page options
  • Volume Down (down key): Navigate current page options 
  • Rotation Lock (enter / select key): Select option
  • Windows Key [In BIOS] (escape / return / go to exit page)
  • Hold Rotation Lock + Volume Up / Volume Down: Navigate tabs/pages

Frustrating enough, I was able to navigate the BIOS, see the boot sequence, but from the Tablet I wasn’t able to change the boot sequence order.

Additionally, there are also a couple of suggestions on how to booth into the recovery partition or connected UBS devices:

  • Hold Volume Up to start the System Recovery Partition
  • Hold Volume Up + Volume Down to change the booting device sequence

However, in my case, the System Recovery didn’t work (missing Windows files) and neither the combination to change the boot sequence.

Finally, I found out that at the bottom of the BIOS exit page, the available boot devices are listed. The connected USB key devices should be there (make sure the USB device is connected before powering on the tablet).

On that page, you can actually step on the USB device and select it with the Rotation Lock button. Doing this, I was able to force the tablet to boot into the USB device and get the Windows installation going.

I hope this saves you some time and helps you bringing your tablet to life again.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Quite a few months since the last written words here on the blog huh? It has been a hectic but amazing year. There are really exiting things coming our way, technology is moving fast!

Anyway, have a peaceful and fun holiday break, and an even better year. See you in 2014!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

BUILD 2013–3D Printers Everywhere

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One of the most eye catching things I saw last week, at Microsoft’s BUILD 2013 conference in San Francisco, was how 3D Printing was everywhere.

As may know, Windows 8.1 brings native, seamless support for 3D printing. You will be able to send your 3D print files directly to a 3D printer just as you currently do with any 2D printer. This is actually amazing, considering that 3D printing is still in its early stages.

BUILD had one big room dedicated to device showcase and partner’s displays, and let me tell you, I have never seen so many different types of 3D printers and so many people into it under one room. Every one was super friendly and willing to share their print-outs, models, advise and services.

I thought that the best way to share this with you, was with as many pictures as possible, so check them out!

Up Mini 3D Printer – Up 3D USA

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Fabster 3D Printer

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Netfabb Private

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Type A Machines

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Cubify 3D Systems

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MakerBot

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Cubify + Kinect Live Printed from a Kinect-scanned person!

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Xbox Music Pass Available on the Web

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Just received an exciting notification from my Xbox Music service communicating that the Xbox Music Pass is now on the web, allowing you to stream millions of songs through your browser, from any device. Best of all? No annoying ads!

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The web streaming service completes the overall cross-device offering. Now you can stream and sync up your music on your Xbox, Tablets, PCs, mobiles and the web, making it one of the most compelling music services in the market. Don’t believe me? Try it for your self. You can get a 30 days trial. I use several other services including Spotify, and although the social features are quite good, I often struggle to find some of my favourite music, specially if it comes from non-English markets.

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You can explore albums, artists, and songs. You can easily browse and jump to specific names and the search works as expected. You have access to all your playlists, and you can create and modify them on the fly. Which means that you can setup your playlists before getting home, in preparation for your dinner party.

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Interesting enough, at home, we are heavily using our Xbox  as an entertainment and music system. It allows us to stream all the music we like, with big screen visualizations and a decent sound system. Sure, it is a subscription service, but so far, it is one of the best-value subscriptions I have.

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Let me know your thoughts about it. And please share your experience with other services to have as a reference.

Unboxing the Acer Iconia W3

Last week I had the opportunity to attend BUILD 2013 in San Francisco, where Microsoft was bold enough to offer not one, but two tablets to every BUILD attendee! This is a picture-post on the Acer Iconia W3 unboxing for your delight, one of the first small tablets running the full Windows Pro in an 8” tablet.

Acer Tablet and Keyboard

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The Tablet

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The Set

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First Impressions

So far I have been enjoying the tablet. Most of all, the small factor makes it really comfortable in portrait mode, which is great for reading and browsing through content. The performance is relatively good, although not close to the Surface Pro.

The only downside I can clearly see at the moment is the poor screen resolution. The keyboard form factor is a bit weird, although might be convenient if you plan to write a lot on it. So far, I used as a more-portable tablet.

As I develop and deploy application, I hope to be able to tell you more about it. Cheers!

Unboxing the Surface Pro

Last week I had the opportunity to attend BUILD 2013 in San Francisco, where Microsoft was bold enough to offer not one, but two tablets to every BUILD attendee! This is a picture-post on the Surface Pro unboxing for your delight.

Surface Pro Tablet

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Surface Type Cover

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Comparing Surface Pro to Surface RT

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The Surface Pro tablet is heavier and thicker than the Surface RT. However, the performance bust and the full Windows 8 capabilities are more than welcomed. The balance is great and the type cover makes it a great experience as a full, portable computer.

I’m already running Windows 8.1 on it, so I’ll keep you posted as I keep developing and experiencing the new OS and dev tools features.

BUILD 2013 – Windows Keynote Summary

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Last week was an exciting time in San Francisco, the way it can only be for the techies around the world. Microsoft hosted its annual developer conference for the third time since BUILD came to life, and this time it took place in San Francisco, home of Apple and Google.

There is a lot of information in the web already, and you can go straight to Channel 9 to watch the keynote and the developer sessions videos yourself. However, I wanted to share a short summary from the notes I took during the first day’s keynote, most of it related to Windows and Devices.

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Windows 8.1

  • Windows 8.1 Preview is announced and made available for download.
  • Windows 8.1 allows users to boot straight to the desktop.
  • Windows 8.1 brings back the Start Button, which can take you to the Start Screen of to the Full List of Apps.
  • Windows 8.1 improves the multi-screen experience, allowing different screen. resolutions, and making the transitions between screens automatically.
  • Windows 8.1 comes with the Bing platform deeply integrated.
  • Small tablets introduced and encouraged.
  • Window 8.1 improves the portrait experience.
  • Windows 8.1 improves the keyboard gestures, making it easier to type in landscape and portrait.
  • Windows 8.1 comes with lots of app improvements.
  • Mail App improvements.
  • Bing enhancements.
  • Xbox Music redesigned.
  • Music playlists can be now generated from existing websites automatically.
  • Windows 8.1 enables home screen slide shows.
  • Windows 8.1 allows to open apps from lock screen without having to log in. Perfect for answer calls or seeing calendar appointments.
  • Swipe up from Start Screen to reveal full list of apps installed on the system.
  • Animated backgrounds in the start Screen.
  • SkyDrive deeply integrated within the OS to provide a seamless experience.
  • Hands-free camera gestures introduced. Specially handy for presentations.
  • Snap functionality now allows apps to take any size of the screen.
  • Multi-screen apps, effectively allowing multiple windows to run at the same time.
  • Power Point heavy enhancements, specially regarding transitions.
  • Windows 8.1 supports native 3D printing. Works like sending documents to any normal printer.

Visual Studio 2013

  • Visual Studio 2013 preview announced and available for download.
  • Lots of new tools for performance and energy consumption analysis.
  • Async debugging improved. Amazing feature set for developers.
  • Push Notifications embedded within the IDE. Incredibly easy to set up and test.

Windows Store

  • Windows Store redesigned to provide a more compelling and personalized experience.
  • Windows Store picks for each user. Personalized experience.
  • New generation of Windows apps will be available, including Flipboard, Facebook and NFL Fantasy Football.
  • App updates are automatic in Windows 8.1, removing the need for the user to be constantly updating apps, and ensuring developers that apps will always run the latest version.
  • More than 100K Windows Phone apps in the store.

Graphics and Gaming

  • WebGL now supported.
  • MPEG Dash supported.
  • DirectX Tiled Resources and high resolution games in Windows 8.1 and Xbox One.
  • Project Spark presented. Crowd goes wild!

Bing as a Platform

  • Bing now available as a platform for developers to create tailored search experiences based on the platform.
  • Bing as a platform offers semantic search for developers.
  • Maps with 3D support.
  • Scan, extract and translate functionality.
  • Voice commands.

That is a short, bullet-point style summary of the keynote. You can watch the full video online at Channel 9. Hopefully, I’ll be blogging as much as possible about the Windows 8.1 updates as I play more and more with them on my tablets.

See you soon!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

MakerBot 3D Printing

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It turns out that one of the joys of my job is to be able to play and explore a lot of technologies and gadgets in a dedicated space, where I can research and create digital experiments.

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Our most recent toy, is a brand new MakerBot Replication 2X 3D printer! An awesome piece of tech that allows you to recreate 3D models. There’s a lot to talk about 3D printing, but this being the first chance I have to actually have one, has been a really cool experience.

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I already had to disassemble and clean the nozzles to change plastic colours from the extruders, a fun thing to do. I’ll hopefully be blogging a lot more and share what we can achieve with it in the short future. For now, enjoy some of the shots.

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Getting Started with .NET Gadgeteer

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A few weeks ago I had the change to attend a very cool and different kind of workshop in East London. I joined the event on an early start with other fellow developers, but this time, to play around with software AND hardware. Welcome to the realm of hardware prototyping and smart gadgets creation with .NET Gadgeteer!

The even took place at Modern Jago, and was hosted by Dr Steven Johnston, from Microsoft Research. The workshop was a delight and everybody who attended was having a great deal of fun.

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We first started by creating our very own multi-led Gadgeteer module. Each of us “cooked” a multi-led circuit having a multi-led light, which we then tested with a .NET Gadgeteer main board and a simple piece of software. If you though Open Source was relevant, Open Hardware is the real deal. Justin Wilson from IngenuityMicro was our mentor here, teaching us how to build and cook our module.

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Next, Dr Johnston took the lead, and formally introduced us to .NET Gadgeteer. We were given starter kits and jump straight away to build our very own gadget, a touch-screen digital camera! Let me tell you, this is really cool stuff, in its easiest and most developer friendly way. Anyone who has done some fiddling with raw components, transistors and breadboard knows that making a gadget can be quite a challenge. Even working with Raspberry PI and Arduino, especially if you are trying to extend them and use them to create your own devices, can also be quite tricky.

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.NET Gadgeteer is intended to make it really easy to create components. All modules already come with the required connectors, and you can even use extender modules to connect to other non-Gadgeteer modules. To give you an example, I was able to build my version of a fully functional touch-enabled digital camera in less that an hour, and with less than 10 lines of code! That is unbeatable!

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I then extended it to use light sensors to trigger the pictures and even connected it to a mechanical motor just for the fun of it.

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What is most compelling about .NET Gadgeteer is that because its solderless assembly and computer-aided design you can build things really fast. This makes it a truly rapid prototyping platform for small electronic devices. I have been enforcing rapid prototyping techniques for efficient software development at my work and with different multi-disciplinary teams for the past couple of years, and being able to apply this techniques to hardware prototyping open a huge potential for digital solutions in the short-term future.

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.NET Gadgeteer is an open source/open hardware project that uses the Microsoft .NET Micro Framework. You can learn more at Gadgeteering.net.

Make sure to check out more about .NET Gadgeteer, and start building your own gadgets and becoming part of an exciting community!

Other useful links to get started:

http://www.netmf.com/gadgeteer/get-started.aspx
http://www.gadgeteering.net/
http://www.microsoft.com/net/multiple-platform-support
http://netmf.codeplex.com/releases/view/81000
http://www.ghielectronics.com/support/.net-micro-framework
https://gadgeteer.codeplex.com/releases/view/105366