Monday, December 21, 2009

Interview with Dr. Neil Roodyn about the book " Developing for Microsoft Surface"

A couple of weeks ago Dr.Neil Roodyn from nsquared released the first book about developing applications for Microsoft Surface.

At nsquared weve had a lot of questions regarding the book and we thought it would be nice to do an interview with the author.

The movie below gives an answer to the questions:
Why did Dr. Neil write the book?
Who did he write it for? Just for developers? Or is it for designers too?
Why should anyone get a copy of the book?
Why is it published as an ebook only?

Where can you get read a preview or get your own copy of the book?
The answer is here: nsquaredsolutions.com/surfacebook

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Locus in Action





In this short video Dr. Neil shows you how to use Locus. It is simple, fast and fun. Find out where your friends are today with Locus.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Students from Pre-University College in Rotterdam talk about Surface Development

Freena Eijffinger from nsquared is a teacher at the Pre University College in Rotterdam. She has a big group of students who are divided into 5 project groups with their own Surface application to build.

In this movie 2 groups give us an introduction about their Demo Surface application for Healthcare 2.0 in the Netherlands. First we hear "4Left" about their idea for children with a setback in development and second we hear "JYJIM" about their idea for helping people with Autism.



In the second movie 2 groups give us an introduction about their Demo Surface application for Healthcare 2.0 in the Netherlands. First we hear "PZN" about their idea for people with Schizophrenia and second we hear "No Meds" idea for helping doctors and patients within hospitals clarify certain problems.



In the third movie the last group "Delta Development" gives us an introduction about their Demo Surface application for their Surface version of the game "tower defense". The movie ends with a short overview of the classroom where the students are working.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

nsquared at the LA Car Show with Lexus

At nsquared we recently helped Lexus show off their new hybrid technology by using our hybrid technologies. Lexus needed an interactive kiosk that would engage its existing customers and hook new ones. We teamed with design and concept studio, Spinifex, to deliver some outright high tech, hands-on goodness to match the image of Lexus’ progressive concept car that they plan to have in production for next year.



Using a Windows 7 Touch kiosk paired with a Nikon D90 camera, we enabled consumers to contribute to the Photosynth project dedicated entirely to the Lexus Concept vehicle, and to decide the colours of the production cars.

The kiosks allow attendees of the car show to get a great feel for the car by using the Nikon D90s to capture the car’s best features. The pictures are then uploaded to the synth. The same pictures were sent by email and shared with friends and family, directly or through social networking sites. By all accounts the kiosks and interactive app took a beating that no one could have planned for, and it came out shining: more zero-defect software that has resulted in highly engaged consumers and high quality leads for Lexus! Take a look at one of the many Lexus Synths here.

Photosynth is a spectacular technology allowing digital pictures to be collected and compiled into stunning 3D experiences. The 3D experiences can be navigated and explored at amazing levels of detail! You can even create your own . We’re looking for more ways to use this fascinating technology to encourage collaboration and engagement in the very near future.
If you have an idea, please drop us a note.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Freena's Acer Aspire One reviewed

Freena, our Marketing & Sales Manager at nsquared Europe, won an Acer Aspire One netbook at TechEd Berlin.

She has been using the device for a month now, here is her review.












Specifications of the netbook:

1.6GHz N270 Intel Atom Processor
2 GB DDR2 533MHz
Windows 7 Ultimate
10.1" glossy LED backlit display
220GB Hard Drive
802.11b/g Atheros Wireless
Multicardreader (Pro, XD, SD,multitimediacard Sony memory)
SD expansion slot
3USB ports
Built in camera in display
6-Cell 23Wh battery

Design
"When looking at the design of my netbook, I find it very sleek with its softly rounded edges and a smooth glossy surface. The look is fairly basic, but it I like it like that. Glossy plastic is found on the top of the screen cover, as well as around the entire LCD. At times the reflective boarder does get on your nerves if you are in a brightly lit room with many sources of glare."

Hardware
"Build quality looks solid for a subnotebook and the construction feels strong enough to handle being tossed around inside a bookbag without much concern for its safety (well apart from the glossy surfaces). Holding it while it is folded in half is similar to holding a hard cover book, having a good amount of rigidity to resist flex and compression. The screen cover feels especially strong, which is important for protecting the relatively fragile LCD panel. I do have to say I bought a neoprene sleevecover for protection. Cause my previous netbook has had 4 new displays due to cracks…Better be safe then sorry..."

Touchpad
"I especially liked the multi-gesture touchpad! It's very Iphone-like and easy to use when designing and developing."


Performance
"My netbook came with1GB of memory, but I found that a bit too slow. So I bought a 2GB card and now its very speedy!"

Conclusion
For those looking for an even lower cost budget netbook, the Acer Aspire One is a worthy candidate to think about. This computer has solid build quality to handle being tossed around in a backpack or purse, and modest performance to handle common software applications with ease. Battery life is the best with the 6-cell and is highly recommended. While it is not the easiest netbook to upgrade, it does offer a large storage drive to start with and an SDHC expansion slot.

Pros
• Good performance (when upgraded to 2GB memory)
• Dual card readers
• Responsive multi-gesture touchpad

Cons
• Hard to take apart for upgrades
• Poor sound (without headphones)
• LED display has poor viewing in brightly lighted rooms or outside in the sun

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

World's First Surface Book Released!

Here at nsquared we've released the world's first Surface development book. Developing for Microsoft Surface has been created and compiled from the many training sessions delivered the world over by Dr. Neil, and focuses on crafting exceptional user experiences for Surface.

Guiding its readers on the complete journey from the initial unpacking of a Microsoft Surface unit, to the satisfying delivery of their first Surface application, Developing for Microsoft Surface deals mostly with the ideation of Surface application design. Along the way it is filled with plenty of hands on labs and practical exercises to help readers explore the adventure that is Microsoft Surface and hone their application development skills for this platform.

The book (rrp US $49.95) is available now in handy e-book format at the special introductory price of US $45.00. Click on the link below to get started now.

pzing Developing for Microsoft Surface

Monday, November 23, 2009

Freena and Dennis talk about Surface at Codecamp 2009


Last weekend the dutch software developer network (SDN) organized their annual codecamp. Keywords: code, codesharing and cool stuff. An event for developers by developers. Nsquared with huge experience building Surface applications had Freena Eijffinger,marketing & salesmanager Europe,do a session together with Dennis Vroegop from Headcandy about Microsoft surface.

Dr. Neil and Hugo Ortega's favorite devices

If youve been following our blog and videostream, you know that Dr. Neil and Hugo Ortega talk about technical devices a lot. How to develop software and how to use them. But what type of device do they use theirselves? What are their favorite devices? Find out in this weeks video!

Friday, November 20, 2009

First surface on primary school The Netherlands

Today primary school "The Clipper" in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) received their first Surface. The Surface will be at the school for a trial period. After three weeks the school will decide if and in what way they will embed Surface in their regular program.

The Surface will be part of the new media-library, and the children welcomed the new "computer of the future" with drums.



Together with company "Onwijs", nsquared provided the schools' Surface unit with educational applications.




Freena, our marketing & salesmanager, was present and made this video:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

MSSpringboard interviews Freena about Windows 7

Freena was at TechEd EMEA where she was interviewed by NGN's Alex de Jong for MSSpringboard. Alex wants to know what Freena's favourite features are in Windows 7....



The interview is one out of several interviews, to watch the entire video visit the windows teamblog.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dr.Neil and Kate Gregory talk about C++

Dr.Neil was at TechEd EMEA 09 and had an interview with Kate Gregory about C++, present and future.

Interview with Brian Keller about software testing

Dr. Neil and Brian Keller talk about about software testing within Visual Studio 2010 at TechEd EMEA 09.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dr. Neil and Vikram Dendi talk about Translator

In this second part of the conversation between Dr. Neil and Vikram Dendi, you will discover more of the details of the Microsoft Translator. Vikram and Dr. Neil explain how to add translation to your application or web site.


Dr. Neil introduces Vikram Dendi from Microsoft Research

At TechEd Europe 2009 Dr. Neil sat down with Vikram Dendi from Microsoft Research. In this first part of the interview Vikram introduces himself and explains how he got to this point.

nsquared is proud to present the 2nd out of 2 new apps from After-Mouse that nsquared helped build with design consulting & control development

It's a retail application for Internity, you will see that it is probably one of the best retailer applications you could see and it is probably the first application that is really multi users and where two differents users can make two differents searches.

nsquared is proud to present 1 out of 2 new apps from After-Mouse that nsquared helped build with design consulting & control development

Its an application for Groupe New IM:a Real estate constructor and you will see that it's the first application in the world that handles 3D view of buildings where you can, see buildings, visit appa...rtments and even move and open objets inside the appartments in the 3D world with your finger.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Talk about Digital Ink and Tablet PC

In this weeks show Dr. Neil and Hugo Ortega from Tegatech talk about digital ink and Tablet PC's vs touch screens. Find out what they think.

nsquared at TechEd EMEA 9-13 november Berlin

Both Dr. Neil and Freena will be at Microsoft TechEd EMEA in Berlin next week. Find out what they are doing there.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ultra Mobile PC or smartphone?

Dr. Neil and Hugo Ortega sit down in the nsquared studio to answer the big question; why do I need a UMPC when I have smartphone?
Not surprisingly Tegatech's director Hugo is batting for the UMPC and has some interesting things to say that may mean the end of the smartphone is the future.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

After-Mouse partnership; Surface in French retail stores

At nsquared we are very pleased to announce that Internity, a European leader in telephony and multimedia products announced the first public launch of Microsoft® Surface® in Europe.

For the first rollout, five points of sale in France will each have one Surface unit: Marseille, Plan de Campagne, Narbonne, Toulouse Gramond, Evry and Lyon Part Dieu. The Surface application will allow one or several users to interact directly with the interface with a simple touch. Users will be able to explore all of the products and compare them, access detailed specifications (with photos, 3D images, videos and related products), navigate the Internity website and even select their next purchases with their membership card before checking out.

The software running on the Surface units was built by After-Mouse with help from the nsquared technology team in Sydney.



More info...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Windows 7 with touch and Tablet PC

It seems that Tegatech's Hugo couldn't wait to get back to the nsquared studio in Sydney and start talking to Dr. Neil about Windows 7 and what it means for mobile touch and Tablet PC.

Monday, October 19, 2009

New series on mobile and touch technologies

In a new series of videos, Dr. Neil is pleased to welcome Hugo Ortega, director of Tegatech, into the nsquared offices to kick off a new series of videos on touch and mobile technologies.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Super-Realism in Education with Technology

Dr. Neil and Maridee sit down to discuss the topic of super-realism. Learn how the application of the concept of super-realism helps bring knowledge alive to students. Understand the latest technologies that allow for super-real experiences. Semblio, Surface, and MultiPoint are discussed in this enlightening video.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Engagement and Experience in Education

Watch as Dr. Neil and Maridee discuss the importance of the “suspension of disbelief” in computing and education. Uncover the benefits of a seamless digital environment to students. Students learn easily through play. See how Surface, Semblio, and MultiPoint can contribute to an ever evolving educational environment.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Friday Fun Theory

At nsquared we love seeing the output of social experiments such as this one in Sweden where they turned a stair case into a piano. The aim was to find out if making the stairs more fun would draw people away from the escalators.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Touch meets mouse

There is some really interesting work coming out of Microsoft Research on the hybrid scenarios we discuss in our NUI paper. The Mouse 2.0 project is one of these, combining the concept of a mouse with multi-touch and gesture recognition. We recommend you watch the video if you don't have time to read the paper.



It should be remembered that this is all still purely research. Do not rush down to the local computer store to buy one of these!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Do you glow?

We released the new version of Locus last week on the Apple AppStore.
This week we have released an extra online feature. You can now track where people are posting from Locus on a Silverlight map.
Can you see your glow?
Can you see the glow from your Locus friends?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Integrative and Cross Curriculum learning with technology

Join Dr. Neil and Maridee in the nsquared office in Sydney. Today they talk about how cross-disciplinary education benefits students. Uncover the types of technology that teachers can use to deliver education across multiple curriculums simultaneously. See just how easy this has become through recent technologies such as Surface, Semblio, and MultiPoint.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Are you Awesome?

Do you believe that technology can make this world a better place?
Do you believe that it's possible, through the intelligent use of software, to improve the lives of millions?
We do.

We
  • are world leading Surface developers
  • work with Microsoft Research
  • are especially active in the Training and Education market sectors
  • develop for both Mac and Windows platforms
What about you?

We're looking for passionate, talented developers who are keen to push the boundaries, because that's what we do every day, on every level.

WARNING
Not for the faint of heart. If you want to be part of something huge, we want to hear from you. Get in touch to discuss the opportunities

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Play SnapSnap!

Play a new working memory game featuring your own photographs! nsquared's SnapSnap for iPhone is now available.

Test and improve your memory with this fun application on the go. The game automatically mixes up photos already on your phone with a simple shake of the wrist. Try SnapSnap today from the App Store!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Locus updates are approved for iPhone!

nsquared's Locus application for iPhone has been updated! We are very excited to reveal the following new and expanded features:

  • New icons for friends
  • Buttons to directly reveal locations of friends by name
  • Telstra Australia availability
  • Ability to add friends from the phone's Contacts list

Check out the awesome new functionality of this amazing application. Brought to you by yours truly, nsquared. Check out the app at www.nsquaredsolutions.com/locus.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Technology in Education

The way people interact with technology has changed in education. In this video, Dr. Neil and Maridee of nsquared talk about how students and teachers can benefit from recent technological advancements. Direct interaction models have helped make technology an effective tool for teaching myriads of subjects. No longer do students have to attend a class on how to use computers before benefitting from them in the classroom. Discover some of the most modern education tools and how easily technology can enrich learning in all categories.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Competition in Education

Join Dr. Neil and Maridee at nsquared headquarters as they speak again of technology and education. Today they discuss the appropriateness of competition in the learning environment. See why competition enhances learning and benefits students in preparation for the real world. Compare the most recent technologies available to teachers to enhance competition in learning. We welcome any feedback regarding this sometimes controversial topic. Contact us with opinions, questions, or ideas!

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Brave NUI World

Ever wondered what's next in user interface technology? nsquared is always working to push the boundaries and build better user experiences. We are proud to share some of our insights in our white paper entitled A Brave NUI World.

Natural User Interface (NUI), as illustrated by Microsoft Surface and Windows 7 Multitouch is taking the world by storm. Find out what this new ideology entails. Compare and contrast some different NUI technologies and discover what changes lay ahead for all of us. This paper provides a high level view of a current and important trend that can enhance your business or educational endeavors. Click the banner to find out more today!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Education and Collaboration

Today Dr. Neil and Maridee sat down in the Australia home office of nsquared to talk about the role of collaborative technology in education.

Learn about the importance of collaboration in education and how technology can enhance collaborative experiences. Discover how collaboration enhances learning through shared responsibility and the use of “jam sessions.” Though technology use in the classroom often amounts to a solitary experience for students, there are many up-and-coming technological tools available for teachers to enhance collaboration in learning. Watch our video to learn more!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Education, nsquared, and the Gates Interview

Check out the Bill and Melinda Gates interview from this morning! We especially loved the part at 9 minutes where Bill addresses a question about the future of technology. Speaking of touch, voice, and related devices he says, "New ways of interfacing will surprise people in terms of their impact."


Education is a primary focus here at nsquared and we have been working on a number of educational applications. Our current work with MultiPoint, Semblio and Microsoft Surface inspires and thrills us daily. The latest technologies are so easy to just walk up and use, making them accessible to students of all types. We see so much potential for educators in all curriculums!


We invite you to approach us with your ideas and desires in the educational realm. We want to help to make a difference for all.






Monday, September 7, 2009

Find Your Friends with Locus!

nsquared has done it again! A new iPhone app for the masses. Introducing.... Locus!

Keep track of pub crawls or locate the nearest party. Designate a time for children to post their locations to keep tabs on them. Post your location as often as you like. It's simple, fast, and fun!


Locus is a unique geographical placement application that lets YOU specify who can see you on a worldwide map. Post your location for all your friends with iPhones to see, or for just some of them to see at any given time. It's up to YOU. Request the locations of your friends and they can decide whether to allow you to see them as well.

Visit the Apple App Store and download Locus today!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

We're green, super green!

At nsquared we (not surprisingly) aim to build zero defect software. We have used cctray for a while, now we have set up Big Visible Cruise. It rocks!
Now we can be visibly green, or as DJ Ruby Rhod would say 'Super Green!'
The green boxes each represent a current project and its status. If a build fails, or tests fail for one of the projects, then the box representing that project will turn red. This provides a very visible way in our technology studio to see that things are going great.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Core Protocols

Inspired by the book "Software for your Head" Dr. Neil and Kris have decided to implement The Core into nsquared. We will be trialing the program for a week.

Today's kickoff meeting included an introduction to the The Core Protocols. We each made posters symbolizing our committment and understanding of the concepts and hung them around the office. Take a look!

The Core is a system designed to help members of a team to share a united vision. To participate in The Core is to maintain the following processes:

  1. Checking in with oneself and one's team
  2. Practicing unanimous decision making
  3. Aligning, announcing intention, and setting goals
  4. Creating a shared vision

Some of us bought in immediately with a "thumbs up" while some of us needed additional information and convincing. In the end, we all agreed to give 100% to the trial. We will report the results in about a week so stay tuned. You can read more about The Core at http://www.mccarthy.com/.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Surface Vision Recognition

Join Dr. Neil and Maridee in Sydney as they talk about Microsoft Surface and vision recognition. Discover how Surface is different from other touch screens. Learn ways that developers can capitalize on the differences. Have fun!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Become a Published Author!

nsquared has released another managed product... ManagedPublishing! Do you have a book, document, or paper that you would like to sell? Don't bother with printing or auction sites, try ManagedPublishing.

It's easy to get paid for your writing. Just go to http://www.managedpublishing.com/ and sign up for an account using your LiveID. Upload your pdf document, then place the generated html for the book image on your blog or website to start charging for your work. Buyers who click on the image are taken to a customized page about your book where they can link to PayPal and purchase it. The money is deposited directly into your PayPal account. So what are you waiting for? Start generating sales now!

nsquared has also created other great managed products that can aid large corporate websites and personal sites. Need a simple way to place a map on your site with pushpins indicating points of interest? Try http://www.managedmaps.com/! Want to host a chatroom on your website? Check out the 2-hour free trial on http://www.managedchatrooms.com/.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Validating Design Decisions

Join nsquared in our Sydney office as we chat about validating software design decisions. Is user testing always the best answer? Dr. Neil and Maridee come to some interesting conclusions...

Monday, August 24, 2009

More is Less

Join Dr. Neil and Maridee at our nsquared office in Sydney as we follow up yesterday's chat. Discover why more is less and less is more in terms of software development. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Less is More

Dr. Neil and Maridee sit down in the nsquared office to discuss the concept of "less is more".

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Discover Principles of Surface Design

Today Dr. Neil and Maridee sat down in Sydney to converse about the five principles of Microsoft Surface design:
  • Direct Manipulation
  • Performance Aesthetics
  • Scaffolding
  • Contextual Environments
  • Supperrealism

Developers and designers worldwide can use these principles to build dynamic Surface applications. What principles do you use for your software development?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Follow nsquared on Facebook!

nsquared is joining the masses to give you a chance to interact with us. Post comments and read our updates. Come check out our photos and become a fan! Visit tinyurl.com/nsquaredfacebook today! We look forward to seeing you.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Microsoft Surface Controls

Today Dr. Neil and Maridee sat down in nsquared's Sydney office to discuss Microsoft Surface controls. What are some examples of good controls? Which are overused and why? Why are some controls less than ideal? View our educational discussion to uncover these answers and more.

What are your favorite Surface controls? Contact us and let us know!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Touch the Web, Together.

We're very proud to announce that the flourishing partnership of nsquared and AFTER-MOUSE.COM has delivered another first for Surface.

WebControl, the new Browser for Microsoft Surface created by nsquared and AFTER-MOUSE.COM enables us to literally touch the Web, and is undoubtedly another giant leap forward into the foray of social computing. The fun all starts when you reach onto Surface's 30 inch rear projection display to select and open WebControl. It's open and ready for you get your hands on in a flash, and as soon as you're in, you can Take it, Turn it; Stretch it, Shrink it; Search it, Fill it; Spin it, Flick it; and even: double it and triple it!

The powerful WebControl-Surface combination enables collaboration like never before, allowing people to search, share and discuss their findings all at once in a social setting (over dinner or lunch, maybe?). To wrap up the experience once the decisions are made, online forms and applications can be completed to finalise and pay for bookings and reservations, and all without even a hint of a sighting of a Mouse or physical keyboard!

While we don't expect Australians to be able to get their fingers into this slice of the Surface 'pie' any time soon, we know that our European and American friends already have access to the almost unbelievable but very tangible technology of Surface and the opportunities it presents for families, friends and businesses to learn, share and grow.

Inspired by the possibilities and opportunities for your business or venue? We're leading the charge in Surface development, so give us a call or email us to discuss how we can help you to enter the new digital era of social computing and make it work for you and your brand.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Microsoft Surface Shell


Time for us to to discuss the Microsoft Surface Shell.
We explain the components of the shell and how Microsoft Surface applications can integrate with the shell.



Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Windows Marketplace for Mobile

Is this too little too late from Microsoft? As mentioned previously Apple’s iPhone App Store managed to reach a massive one billion downloaded applications last month, yet Microsoft have only recently started to generate interest around their own upcoming application store.

Last week the Windows Marketplace for Mobile (think App Store for Windows Mobile) was given some public exposure through the Windows Mobile Blog in the form of a ‘Race to Market Challenge ’. The challenge enables developers to submit applications to the Marketplace for the chance to win up to four Microsoft Surface tables (developer editions). Not only that but the winning applications would receive online marketing and promotion from Microsoft for coming out on top of this challenge. Will this be enough to pull some of the mobile developer community away from the current iPhone market and kick start the Windows Marketplace for Mobile? Or have Microsoft left it too late with Apple’s billion download head start?

Dr Neil had some comments of his own regarding the Windows Marketplace for Mobile.

“Windows mobile has had an open marketplace for a number of years now, in the form of online stores such as Handango . It is curious to me why Microsoft would not support the growth of these stores in order to further push out the Windows Mobile platform as opposed to simply trying to copy the Apple model. It all feels very reactionary, rather than ordered thinking. Handango (and others like it) have built up a large catalog of mobile applications to support the Windows Mobile platform and it would seem like a smart thing to do would be to work with this. What Microsoft is doing with the Windows Marketplace for Mobile is likely to work against the online stores that have supported Windows Mobile application sales so far.”

Here at nsquared we develop applications for a wide range of technologies including Windows Mobile, iPhone and Microsoft Surface. If you have an application idea that you want brought to life then contact us and we can help make that a reality!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

7 Sleeps til Windows 7

"7 sleeps til Windows 7" my coworkers chanted at me when I came in this morning. They are excited because that's when we'll get our hands on the official release of Windows 7.

On August 6, the RTM version of Windows 7 will be available to MSDN and TechNet subscribers. Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate versions can be downloaded which will include easier networking with homegroups, multi-touch support, and XP mode for virtualising legacy applications (business versions). We are especially excited about the multi-touch support. nsquared has already been working hard on some Windows 7 multi-touch samples. We will tell you more when we can!

For those that are not Microsoft partners, the release candidate of Windows 7 will be available until August 20, and the RTM (official release) version will go on sale with new computers beginning October 22. You can buy a PC now and upgrade it if it supports the Windows 7 Upgrade scheme.

If you have ideas about Windows 7 applications and want help expanding and implenting those ideas, contact us!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sealing Their Lips

What's up with Apple?? So many articles out there about iPhone silencing Google Voice, a service that helps people manage their communication. The issue is even trending on Twitter!

While Apple obviously has every right to allow or disallow applications from their App Store, should they exploit that right so ridiculously? What does it say about them? The worst part is that they won't give a reason. This frustrating article published by Riverturn, the creators of the Google Voice VoiceCentral app for iPhone, highlights Apple's bad manners and mediocre public relations on the matter.

We've always made our support for Apple clear at nsquared. Though they initially rejected our Translation Station app, we were able to reason with them in the end. We sincerely wish good luck to the makers of Voice Central and GV Mobile, and to Google. And to Apple we say - unseal thy lips.

At nsquared we are prepared to build on any platform, not just Apple and iPhone. So if you want help producing an application without the danger of being silenced by Apple, we would love to help! Contact us!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Do You Have What it Takes?

According to a recent study by ACS, the majority of Australian teenagers are eager to pursue careers in IT. The industry has shed it's "nerdy" image and is now as sexy as the acting, gaming, and fashion industries. Teens are excited to both make money and participate in the leading edge of technology.

But be warned, oh Generation Z, IT will not deliver if you don't. This highly romanticized field is not for the faint-hearted. It takes a true lover of technology, someone infused with enthusiasm and zest for understanding of the vast possibilities the future holds. Someone willing to take risks and expose their internal creative nature. And someone willing to get down and dirty with the code and the deadlines.

At nsquared, we have a passion for technology and as well as a firm committment to the realities of the field. If you have these qualities and something unique to offer, contact us! Can you deliver?

Monday, July 27, 2009

nsquared Listens

What do we listen to? Of course, rocking tunes on alternating iPods, and streaming music, especially Musicovery. We usually agree on something energetic with an edge, though Kris prefers the more positive beat. :)

What else do we listen to? Since we are agile, we listen to our customers. We pay constant attention to their evolving needs and wants, and respond immediately to feedback. But we also see that the best solutions aren't always based on user expectations or ideologies. As Henry Ford said, "If I had asked my customers for what they wanted, they'd have said a faster horse."

So most of all, nsquared listens to the future. We listen for hints of breathtaking innovation in the news, from our top secret sources, and from you. Contact us with your unusual, edgy, and experimental ideas. We listen, we keep quiet, and we deliver.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Too Much Magic?

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," so said the famous creator of HAL. Hmmm, HAL. An impending reality?

The New York Times on Friday reported on a group of scientists concerned that artificial intelligence may soon become a threat. The scientists met in February, but are just now beginning to speak openly of the results of their conference. The article spoke of the many dangers of an expanding world of AI including computers taking over warfare and the"social disruptions" brought on by computers that are too human. Computer viruses would pose an even greater risk in such a situation, allowing these powerful machines to spin out of control with the power we will have given them.

Should there be limits placed on AI research? What do you think? At nsquared we say be respectful, be wise, and bring it on! Bring on the research and the development. Bring on Arthur's sufficiently advanced technology. Bring on iPhones that talk and Surface tables that walk. If you need a company to help you implement YOUR magic, contact us!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

iPhone Spread

iPhone is spreading across the globe, with nearly 50% of iPhones being used outside the US now. Today, Australian based nsquared has its own iPhone spread to show you...



Check out some of our fab apps

  • Translation Station: Translate between 12 languages using the Microsoft Translator.
  • Lady Match: Match the gorgeous girls in this new twist on Snap.
  • Pic Picker: Match your own pictures in another Snap game.
  • Follower: Play this game of memory and concentration by repeating the patterns.
  • Finger Bars: Repeat the notes on the colored bars using your fingers.
Thanks for checking out our stuff! If you need an iPhone app you would like developed, contact us!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Why be Humble?

I've seen one NYT article call the Windows 7 RTM a "Release to Modesty". There is so little enthusiasm from Microsoft. The usually animated Steve Ballmer actually downplayed the whole thing on Tuesday, stating, "Hopefully, Windows 7 will be part of a catalyst. Maybe it will. Maybe it won't." Though he was speaking of the potential effect of Windows 7 on the PC market, we think he should have been a tad bit more excited.

Vista has had lots of bad press. Vista is actually a great operating system but the software built on Windows nowadays does nothing to highlight the great features of Vista and so the blame is laid on Vista. Now Microsoft really needs to get behind developers building great software for the Windows 7 APIs. If Microsoft continues to encourage developers to keep building applications using the lowest common denominator abstraction, called .NET, then we will likely continue to see the problems that Vista has with Windows 7.

We think Windows 7 has great potential. More stable than Vista, more polished, more evolved. And it was successfully finished on time! Windows 7 has received a consistent amount of positive feedback, and the pre-orders demolished the Vista pre-orders. So where's the Microsoft generated hype? Where's the glossy marketing? Such a shame that they aren't more confident, because confidence sells.

nsquared isn't afraid to toot our own horn! We have been working hard on multiple projects using the Windows 7 touch capabilities on our touch screens. While we can't reveal the details quite yet, stay tuned! If you have project ideas you would like to see implemented using the new Windows 7 features, contact us!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

nsquared = [Form] + Function() + Innovation++;

Yesterday Apple announced a 626 percent growth over last year. In an economic downturn, people find the funds for what they think they need, and obviously lots of people think they need an Apple!

What makes Apple so successful? Can we quantify it with science? Does Steve know? Here at nsquared, we believe a combination of form, functionality, and innovation drive the Apple sales (along with plenty of glam marketing material).

You can see our appreciation for form, function, and innovation in two of our own most recent products, managedmaps and managedchatroom. Take a look and let us know what you think!

If you are looking for a software company to help deliver your products, and you desire an agile, customer-focused approach, look no further! Contact us.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Work with the Microsoft Surface Simulator

Today Dr. Neil and I sat down once again to chat about Microsoft Surface. We talked about the Surface Simulator and how you can use it to supplement your Surface application development. Watch our vlog and learn how and when to ideally work with the Surface Simulator.




If you have an idea for a sexy Surface application you would like to see implemented, or have a need for Surface training in your area, contact us.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Surface Presentation in the Netherlands

Surface Table On August 6th, Dr. Neil will be presenting a session at the Microsoft Surface user group in the Netherlands and the local community is pretty excited about it! Read about it here. If you can't read Dutch, I will provide a translation courstesy of the Bing Translator (with some minor edits).

On 6 August 2009, we have a special guest: Dr. Neil Roodyn is in the Netherlands and has offered to speak to the user group dotNed Surface. Of course, we would like to make use of this offer!

Dr Neil Roodyn is the official trainer for Microsoft Surface development. He gives his training throughout the world and at Microsoft events. He regularly communicates with the public and the press about the capabilities of this new platform.

In this session Dr. Neil will focus on the soft skills of Surface development. He will speak about design and usability issues, which are particularly important aspects of the Surface. But, of course, he knows the answers to almost all of your development questions, both in the areas of WPF and Microsoft XNA.

This evening is hosted by Capgemini Los Angeles. As usual, there will be something to eat and drink, and then the session starts at 7:00. Of course this special evening is free of charge.

If you are in the Netherlands and are interested in attending, click this link: Aanmelden voor deze bijeenkomst to sign up. nsquared headquarters are in Sydney, Australia and we offer Surface training worldwide. Contact us if you would like Surface training for your area.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Silverlight 3

Last Friday Silverlight 3 was released, though it has been available in beta for a while now. As it is version 3, it has all the things we wanted in version 1.

At nsquared we have been doing some work with Silverlight 3 and the advantages over Silverlight 2 seem small but tidy. The tooling however has mostly gotten a lot better. Blend 3 is really looking good, it hardly even crashes any more. Strangely Visual Studio seems to have taken a step back with no visual preview of the Silverlight rendered from the XAML.

The Silverlight 3 out of the browser experience on OSX would be nice if we had not already implemented our own version for Silverlight 2 last year. It is great that Microsoft can maintain that experience for us in a way that reduces our costs.It seems like more and more teams at Microsoft are now fixing their websites to drop Flash and move over to Silverlight. Our favorite is, of course, the new Surface website.

As always, nsquared is staying ahead of the curve by implementing the very latest technology products. We are here to help you bring your innovative software ideas to life!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

One and a Half Billion Downloads

And some of those were ours! nsquared's Dr. Neil has published numerous iPhone apps, including Translation Station which has recieved over 5,000 downloads. We have more in the works, so stay tuned!

With 65,000 applications to compete with, how can you make yours one of the next 1.5 billion? First, of course it must be sexy. I don't mean an application about sex (though those are great too), it must be sexy in that it appears engaging, attractive, and inviting. Second, it must offer intuitive functionality. Third, it must be either useful or entertaining (or both). If it meets those qualifications, combined with good marketing, your app will be unstoppable!


If you have an idea for an iPhone application, nsquared can help you make it awesome, gorgeous, and irresistible! Contact us!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Managed Maps for Your Site

Yesterday nsquared released managedchatroom, the easiest way put a chat room on your web site. Did you know we produced managedmaps as well? We've made it simple to add a Bing map to your web page, just copy the code and go!

managedmaps enables you to add a full color interactive map to your own web site for only $10 per month using your Windows Live ID. Use the map to view communities worldwide in Road and Aerial view, and add pushpins to locations of your choosing. It’s fun to use and easy to add a map to your site. Check out managedmaps!

Monday, July 13, 2009

nsquared stands up for Surface!

What were they THINKING!?! A Gizmodo article published on July 10, 2009 claimed that Windows 7 MultiTouch can demonstrate the full power of Microsoft Surface. Of course nsquared has something to say about that. We love Windows 7 MultiTouch as much as Surface, but the point is that they serve different purposes.

Watch as Dr. Neil refutes the Gizmodo guys!




And as always, if you have ideas needing implementation for Windows 7 MultiTouch or Microsoft Surface, contact us!

Multi-User Chat Room Released!

nsquared's managedchatroom is the simplest and fastest way to put a chat room on your web site! Just follow the instructions on http://www.managedchatroom.com/.

Our chat room is ideal for web site chats of all sizes. Even use it for live events! From small classroom lectures to extra-large functions, the chat room is perfect. The audience can use the chat room to communicate with other attendees and the speaker can moderate the communication in real time.

Some of the nsquared managedchatroom features include:

  • Scales no matter how many users participate (the chatroom automatically creates new rooms within the ‘chatroom’ as each room reaches capacity, thereby preventing thousands of people from trying to talk at once in one room)
  • Contains a complete moderator toolset that includes broadcasting to all rooms within the chatroom, merging rooms, setting the room topic/name, moving users between rooms, banning users, making users moderators, private messaging users, and answering questions asked privately to moderators
  • Anyone with a LiveID can sign in and have their own unique name (there is no need to go through a separate signup process to chat)
  • Offers guest access with anti-bot random generated code
  • Contains a profanity filter
  • Enables easy placement of the chatroom frame into any format that accepts regular HTML
  • The chatroom is unique to the web site it is placed upon and cannot be replicated on any other site due to LiveId authentication
  • Chatroom owners have access to a web control panel where they can view and moderate all of the users that have accessed the chatroom

Check it out for a free 2-hour trial period! http://www.managedchatroom.com/

Sunday, July 12, 2009

nsquared and Microsoft Surface Capabilities parts 1 & 2

Today on our vlog, Dr. Neil and Maridee discuss how to best showcase some of the fantastic Microsoft Surface capabilities using basic development techniques. Learn about how you can use WPF and XNA to program for Surface, and discover the differences between the WPF layer and Core layer of the Surface SDK.









We hope you enjoy our presentation and join us for future vlogs about Surface development. Remember to contact us for help with your Surface development needs.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

nsquared Surface Out-of-the-Box Experience

Today for our vlog, presented on location at the nsquared Australia office, Dr. Neil discusses some vital Microsoft Surface setup questions. What are some considerations when first unpacking and placing a Surface unit at a location? Why is calibration important and what is the best method? Where can you access applications for your new Surface?



Thanks for checking out our vlog and be sure to contact us if you have Surface ideas to implement or would like training in your area!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Zune-Phone Rumors Persist

With all of the iPhone love in this office, you may wonder what we think of Windows Mobile... Well, truth be told, our founders were Windows Mobile geeks to start out with and there will always be a special place in our hearts for it.

The recent rumors published in the Washington Post, Engadget, and BrightHand suggest that Microsoft's "Project Pink" might actually be a phone in its own right instead of just extended Windows functionality for other devices that already contain Microsoft software. Whatever the case may be, nsquared is not just an iPhone shop. We have a love of all cutting edge technology, as long as it is gorgeous, sexy, and functional. The iPhone ticks these boxes. Will the Zune-Phone?

As always, if you need help developing your ideas for iPhone or Windows, contact us!

Monday, July 6, 2009

nsquared is Agile!

On Thursday last week, we received a request from some clients to spend time in Europe. We responded in agile fashion. Dr, Neil was on the plane from Australia by Sunday afternoon in response to their query, knowing full well that nothing can substitute for face-time with the customer (or potential customer).

What is Agile? Dictionary.com says, "quick and well-coordinated in movement" and "marked by an ability to think quickly; mentally acute or aware."

Agile software development must be all of these things and more. It is a strict process focused on flexiblity, a disciplined aproach to being versatile. Those may sound like oxymoronic expressions, but not the case. At nsquared, we are rigidly committed to excellence through iterations (small steps to reach the larger goal), consistently relying on customer feedback and always ready to change direction in a moment's notice. In fact, Dr. Neil wrote a book about it!

Stay tuned for more adventures in agility with nsquared!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

nsquared Discusses the Microsoft Surface Vision

Why was Microsoft Surface created? What are the basic principles of Surface design? Where does Surface really shine? Join Dr. Neil and Maridee in the Australia office as they discuss all these questions and more in nsquared's latest in a series of Surface vlogs.





Stay tuned for more Surface magic!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Why Software Sucks

Dr. Neil is whinging again (Australian for whining) about poor software development. He says the wrong people are developing software because the common tools have become so easy (see his blog post, "democratization of software") and that developers aren't avidly considering UX. His favorite book on the subject, David Platt's Why Software Sucks supports his theory.

"I could think of a way to get a higher percentage of software developers thinking of UX" says Dr. Neil. "Remove the others." Wow, imagine working for THIS guy! He sure doesn't mince words! :)

Here at nsquared, UX is our priority. We start with UX considerations for every project and then use the right tools for the right jobs. The problem with the majority of developers out there is that they don't know enough tools. "It's the hammer and nail analogy," says Dr. Neil. "If all you have is a hammer, you try to use it for everything." Of course we use Visual Studio, Expression Blend, and other Microsoft tools, but we are also adept at a number of other programs such as Paint.NET and Xcode, Dashcode, NUnit, and many others.

If you have projects where wowing the end user is your priority, contact us!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Are YOUR Development Skills Surfacing?

Microsoft Surface development poses many challenges. While the technological aspects aren't that complicated (if you know WPF, you're well on your way), the creative shift in mindset is enormous and essential.



Today Dr. Neil and I sat down in our Australia office to do our first vlog addressing some of these challenges in response to an article on the ars technica site. We plan to start doing these regularly, so stay tuned. If you need help or training on Microsoft Surface development, contact us!

Monday, June 29, 2009

iPhone Heats It Up!

And not in the usual, sexy, Apple way. Recent reports speak of the iPhone 3G S overheating! This is distressing news for our customers, and our hearts go out to them. Over a million iPhone 3G S phones were sold over the first weekend, and though only a few reports have been made, the problem is severe enough that the beautiful white casing of the iPhone is turning brown on some phones.

At nsquared, we believe that beauty is essential to our creations, but beauty is only skin-deep if functionality is compromised. In no case will we ship a completed product that is not gorgeous AND functional. This is a sad day for Apple, belying their usual enviable standards. We know they will fix the problem asap!

For worldwide help with developing attractive applications for iPhone, Microsoft Surface, Windows 7, and much more, contact nsquared. (Though we are physically located in Australia, our customer base is worldwide.) We look forward to hearing from you!