Andrej Tozon's blog

In the Attic


Scraping the rust off of this thing

Has it really been that long?

For a quick recap before I reboot this blog, here's what I have been doing for the past months:

Windows phone development

I did a couple of new Windows Phone 7 apps, published to marketplace and currently working on some more.

Web development

I jumped into MVC development, with a pinch of Azure fun. Can't deny it, it feels great! Web Forms always felt so uncomfortable to me (I loooved classic ASP, BTW), and with MVC, web development feels like fun again.

Windows 8

Was heavily educating myself on Metro design language and principles, as well as practicing Windows 8 Metro-style application development. I have a few apps in the works, some of which should be available by the time Windows 8 launches, others will follow.


I talked a lot about Metro design and building Windows 8 Metro-style applications, including having a few sessions on the subject on recent Microsoft's NT Konferenca.


Our local UX community started great, we had a couple of really interesting talks. We're continuing right after the summer and if you are or know anyone that would want to share their experience from practicing in the field, contact me and we'll get you on stage. Speakers' efforts are thankfully rewarded. Still working on the web site, though K

What's next?

Well, expect a lot more content on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 7/8 on this blog in the future, and I may just throw in a bit of Web/MVC/other magic every now and then.


Oh, and this post was written using Word 2013 Preview. It's nice, but lacking features and friendliness. I'll definitely miss Windows Live Writer if they really are about to put it to sleep.

The magic happened… again

I wrote this short program some two years ago and yesterday came time for an upgrade.

Yesterday evening, a gift of life was given to another beautiful princess, Evita, 3730g, 51cm.

Her big sister is very proud and already looking after her, and mom’s doing great.

This blog’s address changed

I broke most of the external referrals to my blog posts when moving to a new blog engine, so why not take this opportunity to change my blog’s address as well?

From now on, the official address of this blog is The old address will remain functional and I will do my best to catch and properly redirect all referring links to my blog posts that now end up in an error page.

The main RSS feed remains the same, again, thanks to FeedBurner.

Deep Zoom Christmas Nativity Scene 2008

Setting up the nativity scene for the Christmas holidays has been my family tradition going back way before I was born. Most figures are dated back to my grandparents era, while the others (mostly sheep) were gathered over the years.

Each year, the scene setup is determined by a couple of factors, like the current inspiration/mood, the place to set it up and starting this this year – accessibility; we really don’t want our little munchkin do some redecoration on her own :) So this year I set it up on the less accessible place and made it a little bit smaller than usual.

At the same time, I wanted to try out the Microsoft ICE (Image Composite Editor), an amazing (free) piece of software, coming from Microsoft Research, which is doing a brilliant job at stitching your partial photos of the same subject into one really big photo, preserving the original resolution. The latest version has an option to export the final scene as a Silverlight Deep Zoom image, and this was the one that I was interested in trying out.

First, I tried to shoot a large number of really small and detailed photos (like 20 photos in one row by 10 rows), but soon realized that the place wasn’t getting enough light and/or my lenses were not up for the job. Also, this was an experiment rather than a professional job, so instead of bringing in more light, I decided to go smaller (6x4 photos only). Much less time consuming, I tell you… Anyway, I was very doubtful about the final result, because the exposure settings were not consistent throughout all photos and I left the autofocus on. I did try to keep the aperture small and constant for a decent DoF, but the shutter speed value kept going through the roof :)

Now, given the fact that I wasn’t really trying that hard, the final result looks very good for convincing me to give some more time and effort into my next panoramic photo projects.

And here it is – our Deep Zoom-ed Christmas Nativity Scene 2008:

Side note 1: with SeaDragon technology (the one behind Deep Zoom) coming to iPhone [Seadragon Mobile], I can now carry this image with me in my pocket :)

Side note 2: and how’s that for an original nativity scene? :)

Weight Watching

If you followed me on Twitter you’d know about my latest little “problem”. I decided not to wait another month for my New Year’s resolutions, but start losing that extra weight right away. To help me keep my score, I created a little Silverlight app, showing my progress visually, through a line chart. Since charts were introduced in recently released Silverlight Toolkit, this was a very simple task.

All I had to do was:

1. Create a SQL 2008 database to keep my weight history in. The key idea here ware daily updates…
2. Expose data as a service (WCF, what else)
3. Build a Silverlight front end, which would consume this data service and present the data using the Chart bits from Silverlight Toolkit.

After browsing through some of the enclosed samples, it all boiled down to just these few lines of Xaml:

    Width="600" Height="300">
        <local:ViewModel />
    <Grid x:Name="LayoutRoot">
        <charting:Chart Title="Andrej's Weight Watch" LegendTitle="Legend">
                        Title="Running Weight"
                        ItemsSource="{Binding RunningWeight}"
                        IndependentValueBinding="{Binding Date}"
                        DependentValueBinding="{Binding Weight}" />
                        Title="Target Weight"
                        ItemsSource="{Binding TargetWeight}"
                        IndependentValueBinding="{Binding Date}"
                        DependentValueBinding="{Binding Weight}" />

With the exception of the ViewModel, which is responsible of fetching the data from the service, there was absolutely no additional code required for this to work. Simplicity at its best. There’s of course much more to this than just displaying static data lines in a box; I have a long way to lose those 10+ kilos, which will give me plenty of time to update this sample with some new features.

And here's my progress:

Until we meet again...

You left so sudden
I couldn't even say goodbye.
You've lived a hard life,
but did everything
to make mine easier.
Your faith, courage and love
will continue to live on
through your words and wishes:
"Love one another".

I'll miss you, Mom!

A tooth for a... mobile

Nokia 6210 is a good and durable phone. Indestructible, I would even say. At least for us, ordinary users. I've had one since 2000, used it constantly, carried it with me all over the world, backpacking or business, dropping it on the floor now and then, and yet never had any problems with it.

In the end, I lost it to a nearly 12-months old, gaining her first 4 teeth (all at once!). The temptation was too strong and once in the mouth, the phone was immediately flooded with young saliva and its functions started to fail. Additional hard-drops to the floor probably helped too. It still works though, but since it lost its ability to connect to the network, it's kind of useless now.

It's amazing how real phones attract children. We've had a couple of toy mobile replicas and she barely looked at them. But seeing a real phone (preferably in action), she goes berserk...

I'll be getting a new mobile now...

About time... :)

The main contenders were IPhone or one from the HTC range... I don't know, I might also just choose something simple and cheap. You know... for making calls.

And happy birthday to you, Amber, you're 1 today.


What do you get when you mix apple and coke? Music on the Coke side of life, of course...


Psst! The secret to getting one of these babies is some luck and plenty of thirst. Or vice-versa...