Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Whiskers v1.2 Submitted to Store

I have submitted version 1.2 of Whiskers to the Windows Phone Store today. It contains the new features and changes I described in an earlier post.

Here's the list of changes:
  • Camera capture support and ability to save the captured photo to an item in Whiskers
  • Lockout timer
  • Landscape orientation support
  • Unlock PIN-pad now contains the period (.) character
  • Updated splash screen
  • Save, Delete, Cancel App Bar buttons re-ordered

new edit photo page
The camera capture support is the big one for this release. When you add or edit an item in Whiskers, you have the option to capture a photo using the camera on your phone and save it with the item.

For this feature I had to use the Camera APIs directly instead of the simple CameraCaptureTask. Thankfully, there's a great sample from MSDN that shows you how to easily use the Camera APIs and get a very functional UI.

The Camera APIs allow you to focus, adjust the flash, and set the resolution. Most phones have additional camera settings, such as Scene settings and special effects, neither of which is available to you when you use the Camera API for Windows Phone 7.x. With Windows Phone 8 you do have some advanced abilities through another API but that isn't an option for me right now since I have one application for both Windows 7 and 8 and I wanted to keep things simple.

image flipped on Nokia 920
I encountered one irksome issue when testing on my Nokia Lumia 920. Photos captured in Portrait orientation are flipped vertically...

Searching the forums, this appears to be a known issue, with a fix, but it may take a long time before this fix becomes public. So to correct this (because it needs some correction ;) was to provide a vertical flip App Bar button to flip the image if its not oriented properly. Thanks to Tim Heurer and his post on "Handling picture orientation in CameraCaptureTask in Windows Phone 7" for some help and some code.

Once you capture an image and save it to your item, a small thumbnail shows up on the item's detail page. Tap on the thumbnail and you will then see it full-screen. Double-tap and it will zoom in to 100% and you can pan left, right, up or down to view the image at 100%.

photo thumbnail
100% zoom

lockout settings
The new lockout timer feature is an additional to make Whiskers more convenient to use when you are switching back and forth between Whiskers and another application, like your browser. Until now, each time you open or return to Whiskers (if it was in the background), you would need to enter your PIN to unlock Whiskers. With this new feature now you can control how long Whiskers may stay unlocked until it automatically locks again and requires you to enter your PIN when you open or return to Whiskers.

 There are several options for configuring the lockout time. You can keep it at Always, which is the default and how Whiskers has operated until now. With Always, Whiskers will always lock when you leave Whiskers and either open it again or return to it.

lockout options

The remaining options are 30 seconds, 1 minute, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, and 30 minutes. Let's say you choose 30 seconds. Now, when you leave or close Whiskers, Whiskers will remain unlocked for another 30 seconds. If you open or return to Whiskers within that 30 seconds, Whisker will open without requiring you to enter your PIN to unlock it. Wait until after 30 seconds and Whiskers will lock and require you to enter your PIN when you open it again or return to it. It's that simple!

I didn't include a Never option with this feature because I felt it would make Whiskers far less secure and would essentially do away with the need for a PIN.

Hopefully this new version will go live within the next week or so, depending on the approval process.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Visual Studio 2012 No Haz Text Macros :(

It seems that MSFT remove the record/playback text macro feature in Visual Studio 2012...

Even if you didn't know about this feature, I'm sure it would have been useful for you. Let me give you an example of why I like this little feature. Let's say you're doing your thing, writing some code, and need a little assistance from the community. Let's say some kind fellow coder has just the solution and code snippet you need. You cut & paste this new found code and put it into your project. Alas! The cut & pasted code contains dreaded line numbers and now you have to manually remove them. Argh!

Code with Line Numbers

There are many great community members who do this and it would really be a great gesture if they stopped doing this. I won't point out anyone specific, you know who you are ;)

There's a heated discussion about this missing feature here:

Someone has come up with a simple Visual Studio Extension workaround. I've tried it and it works, thank goodness! You can find it here:

Finally, you can vote for this feature back using the link here:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Kaspersky's Best Windows Phone Security Apps

I came across this post today on the Kaspersky lab blog where Whiskers has been recognized as one of the best Windows Phone Security Apps. Hooray!

The post lists twenty different security apps and Whiskers made #18 on the list...

It was really kewl to come across this today. I don't have huge download numbers for this app but the feedback I get from people is always great.

When I created Whiskers, I figured it would probably not get very many hits because of the name. You see, the name doesn't have "password", or "locker", or "security", or "encryption" in the name and the Windows Phone Store search mechanism has always been less than desirable when it comes to finding apps using plain old search in the Store. Many people looking for a secure password locker for their WP usually don't come across Whiskers.

There is a reason for the odd name...if your phone is lost or stolen and someone gets access to it, my hope is that Whiskers is not the first app they open to see all of your secrets, passwords, etc. With a name that has "password" in it, I'm sure that acts like a big shiny red button for the curious and down-right evil. With name like "Whiskers", who's gonna look at that? :)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Whiskers Enhancement List

I wanted to jot down a few of the enhancements that I'll be working on in the near future for another minor update to Whiskers.

  • Ability to capture an image using device camera and add it as another entry property.
  • Fix bug on PIN unlock screen which does not allow period (.) character, which is allowed on the PIN create screen.
  • Lock timer option. Controls when the unlock screen shows. always, 30 sec., 1 min, 3 min, 5 min, 15 min, 30 min, and never options. Default is 1 min.
  • Support for Landscape orientation.

Not a huge list of items but a few enhancements I will put in to improve Whiskers just a little more.