Windows 8 Pro with Media Center is no Windows 8 Pro as they are activated by different class of product key. You can add Windows Media Center to Windows 8 Pro by requesting a product key from Microsoft for a limited time. As a developer, think twice to do so! The upgrade cannot be reversed and the only way to get your Windows 8 Pro back is to re-install it.
Given the following situation:
You have just upgraded your PC running Windows 8 Pro for software development to Windows 8 Pro with Media Center (with a new product key from Microsoft). Someday, there comes a new colleague and a new PC for him and you want to clone or restore images from your PC to the new one running Windows 8 Pro. Since your image is a Windows 8 Pro with Media Center, you need to request a new product key for media center from Microsoft to activate the new PC or you have to re-install from scratch. However, the upgrade is time-limited and it’s getting stricter to apply for extra keys because of some activation flaw. There is a good chance for you to re-install the who system and it’s not only annoying but wasting huge amounts of time.
It’s really unwise for Microsoft to remove Media Center out of Windows 8 Pro and not to disclose well that the Windows 8 Pro with Media Center is a completely different edition. This harmed my productivity seriously this week.
As a developer with Traditional Chinese mother tongue, to deliver an app that targets users with different languages takes more considerations, especially the issue of internationalization (i18n) and localization (L10n). An employee of US based company in Taiwan using an English Windows can subscribe services or contents from all over the world, eg. local weather forecast, local news, and/or web pages with Japanese contents.
In Windows 8, the diversity of the issue can be summarized as follows:
- Language preferences
- display language
- Input method
- Home location for services/contents
- Date and time formats
- Number and currency
Before passing the app certification, Bruce’s nLabs Blog Reader – Release 2 failed twice again because of screenshots of localization. If your app supports multi-language, take justifiable screenshots and write your app description well in your Windows Store App dashboard. It’s quite common for app testers to fail your app certification because of localization. For Windows Store App developers to test the localized user interface of an app, developers can change the language sequence or override the display language in the language window.
Override display language specified in the language window
Home location for services and contents
Bruce’s nLabs Blog Reader – Release 2
Bruce’s nLabs Blog Reader – Release 2 passed the certification and is now available in the Windows Store. This application is an RSS/ATOM reader which subscribes to some feeds from Bruce’s nLabs Blog by default. Users can read posts from Bruce’s nLabs Blog and his favorite collections, subscribe to up to 5 feeds from other web sites (custom feeds), unsubscribe custom feeds, receive subscription indication from live tile badge, roam the list of subscriptions to the cloud with Microsoft Account, read posts in snapped or fill view and share posts with friends. This application supports English, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese, requires internet access and Microsoft Account. It supports both RSS and ATOM feeds.
This release supports the following features:
- subscribe to feeds from Bruce’s nLabs Blog
- subscribe to up to 5 feeds from other sites (custom feeds)
- unsubscribe custom feeds
- roam the list of subscriptions to the cloud with Microsoft Account
- refresh subscriptions manually
- indicate the number of subscriptions with live tile badge
- share posts with friends
- support snapped and fill view
- support English (en-US), Traditional Chinese (zh-TW), and Simplified Chinese (zh-CN)
- support RSS and ATOM feeds
Install Bruce’s nLabs Blog Reader and Subscribe the following syndication now:
My first Windows Store App, Bruce’s nLabs Blog Reader – Release 1, passed the certification and is now available in the Windows Store. This application retrieves posts from Bruce’s nLabs Blog and Bruce’s favorite sties. The list of subscriptions or feeds, however, is maintained by Bruce and so, it is read-only currently. Its features are summarized as follows:
- retrieve posts (ATOM feeds) from Bruce’s nLabs Blog
- share posts with friends
- localized user interface for English (en-US) and Traditional Chinese (zh-TW)
Concerning the app certification process, I was rejected twice before passing the certification because of privacy information, certification language and screenshots:
- Developers must provide privacy information or policy in the app, usually an About or Privacy page in the settings charm.
- The strings in an app must be stored in the resource file (say, in the path /strings/en-US/resources.resjson) so that the app can load the right string based on the user’s locality. Android developers take it for granted and feel happy about this because it’s a convention and they are always doing so. (Microsoft should consider including a default language resource file in the project template just like what Android Development Tools in Eclipse does.)
- Even though your app supports en-US only, you can select all the countries as your markets. en-Us is called certification language that is unrelated to your markets.
- If your app supports multiple certification languages, you must describe your app in details with each language. These descriptions will be displayed on the Windows Store based on the user’s location and language. A wizard will guide you to complete this.
- Take screenshots with the Visual Studio 2012 simulator and follow the image format that Microsoft specified. If your app supports multiple languages, provide enough or the maximum of 8 screenshots to prove your app is fully localized.
To sum up, the certification process is quite simple and efficient. Just read the Windows 8 app certification requirements, develop your app based on it, describe your app well and write a good notes for testers so as to communicate your app well and the certification process will be a happy experience.
My Windows 8 Start Screen (or metro/modern UI) was killed yesterday by the TimeBroker service. The Start Screen was repeatedly frozen for minutes and intermittently released for few seconds. If it happens, the windows application log should complain an error as follows:
Log Name: Application
Source: Application Error
Event ID: 1000
Faulting application name: svchost.exe_TimeBroker, version: 6.2.9200.16420, time stamp: 0x505a9a4e
Faulting module name: KERNELBASE.dll, version: 6.2.9200.16451, time stamp: 0x50988aa6
Chances are that some timer-related Windows Store Apps, say reminder, scheduler, stop watch and the like, might negatively impact the low-level timing operations. According to Noori, he suggests the Tile Time app might have caused problems.
This costs me for 10 work hours to solve it. If you are suffered from the same problem, don’t waste your time blindly uninstalling the apps you’ve installed or examining, upgrading or re-installing the devices, or rebooting again and again. Just disable the TimeBroker service and reboot your Windows 8 to uninstall the problematic timer-related Apps. Since we don’t know which app is the killer, so uninstall suspicious Apps and reboot to test the result one by one. However, the Tile Time app is the number one to be killed!
To be reminded, even though the Start Screen got frozen, the system is still responsive, slowly though. The following is the how to rescue your Windows 8:
- Upon logging in, click the Desktop tile in 2 seconds to switch to the traditional desktop environment that is more responsive. If you are not succeeded, keep pressing the Windows key and you would win a few seconds when the system is responsive.
- Press the shortcut combination: Windows key + R, type in “cmd” and click OK.
- In the command window, type in “regedit” and hit enter
- Search and navigate to the registry key:
- Modify the “Start” value to “4” (4 for disabled; 3 for manual).
- Reboot the system and the Start Screen should work normally for you to uninstall Apps.
- Click the Market tile to uninstall the suspicious timer-related Apps and reboot to test the result one by one until the problem is solved. (You don’t need to use PowerShell to uninstall Apps as stated in the reference 2, it’s for your information only.)
- Restore the “Start” value to “3” and reboot.
Good luck to you!
The error log
Modify TimeBroker Start Type