I haven’t yet written anything about what I am working on with respect to Windows Phone 7. My first thought on the matter was that maybe I shouldn’t say anything, because it’s supposed to be a for-profit product and handing out information would serve to give my competitors information to help them compete against me. My second thought was to laugh out loud at such presumption! So far hardly anyone has read this blog — thank gooodness WordPress provides statistics or I wouldn’t know this — so I’m writing for my own sake, at least so far. By the time any putative competitors read this blog, it will be way too late for them. I suppose, anyway. Well, it really doesn’t matter at all, in the end, because what I’m working on has in fact already been done for Windows Mobile, Palm, and iPhone anyway. If I can think of it, of course someone else can, and has! Heck, there’s probably three other development outfits developing what I’m developing. So, what am I doing?
This is What I’m Doing
When I initially decided to learn WP7 in order to develop a useful and hopefully popular app for the new system, I was at a loss for what kind of app to write. I have a co-worker at my day job who has an iPhone and he showed me a few of them. The most impressive one (to me, at least), was an app that makes an iPhone into a level — you know, the tool one uses to make sure what you’re building is level, or 90o upright? This quite exceeded my imagination at the time. I thought that maybe I could write a level app, but when I checked on how crowded that particular field was, I found that everyone and his or her brother had built level apps for the iPhone. Go ahead, check Google or Bing, you’ll find lots of them. And Stanley, the toolmaker, has even produced a level app for the iPhone. I think that if I were to produce a level app for WP7 it would only be for the purpose of learning how to use the phone’s accelerometer.
I suppose one could use a phone as a hammer, too, but this wouldn’t require an app! And you’d need a new phone afterwards, too. A trifle expensive.
Kidding aside, I finally hit on something useful, and something that doesn’t necessarily have a big firm, like Stanley, that would be a natural force majeure to compete with. Some developer whose blog I follow (sorry, don’t remember who it was), said that he was hoping someone would develop a conversion app for the new system. BINGO! This actually corresponded nicely with a bit of fascination on my part, since I have always been greatly interested in the huge range of measuring systems that humans have produced over the millenia. Remember the Bibical measurement of Noah’s Ark? How many cubits long was it, now? And I remember Bill Cosby’s comedy routine based on Noah’s Ark, “Noah: Right!”
God: Get some wood, build it 300 cubits by 80 cubits by 40 cubits…
Noah: Right! Uh, what’s a cubit?
So, what is a cubit, more to the point, how many inches is a cubit?
Well, maybe knowing how many inches there are in a cubit isn’t all that useful (there’s no single cubit, anyway, it was a common measure in ancient days, and every culture had its own version, one size definitely didn’t fit all). But for those who must deal with different measurement systems, being able to tell that 1 liter is equal to 0.264 gallons might be helpful. Even more valuable might be that 1 acre-foot is equal to 1,233,481.84 liters. Depending upon who you are and what you do. So that’s what I’m doing, building a measurement conversion app.
Now you can clearly get this information from Google or Bing, with only a little bit of setup (like, if you ask the question correctly). But if you have a need to get this kind of thing at any time and fairly frequently, then a phone app would be more convenient. And that’s what I’m building!