Sunday, February 22, 2015

iLanguage App for iPhone

I have created an app to help learning languages for iPhone. Currently there are 560 words with pictures to learn English (US and UK), Spanish (Mexico and Spain), German, French, and Russian.
Technically the app is in 7 languages (e.g. it uses "football" for the UK and "soccer" for the US English; "tomate" for the Castilian and "jitomate" for Mexican Spanish).

Here are some of the screen shots:

Stay tuned for the updates (new words will be added) and let me know your feedback / what words you want me to add or any support issue needed.  Looking forward to your feedback and reviews!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Russian Phonetic Keyboard Qwerty (Яверты) for Windows

After installing Windows 7 I was looking for a Russian phonetic keyboard (the one I used for XP from stopped working for me) but could not find a good one.

There is a standard Russian keyboard coming with a windows installation but then you need to put some stickers on your keyboard. I you are lazy to put stickers, you need a keyboard where Russian A corresponds to English A, П to P, Р to R, С to S, etc. Even though it is quite a challenge to map 33 Russian letters to 26 Latin ones, you can be pretty close.
This phonetic keyboard is called ЯВЕРТЫ (5 Russian letters on the top left corner).

Thanks to the good guys from Microsoft, now it is easy to create a new keyboard layout for Windows. It should work for Windows 7 and XP, as well as Windows server editions.

Here is the layout I created:

Here how it looks when you press a Shift key:

And here how it is when pressing either Ctrl or Alt Gr + Ctrl keys:

Installation Instructions.
That's it. A new Russian text layout called Russian Яверты will be installed and visible in the Installed Programs. You can also uninstall it from there.

On the task bar in the bottom right corner you should the language bar (press Alt-Shift to switch between languages and Ctrl-Shift to switch between keyboard layouts). Choose  Russian Яверты layout:

If you don't see this language bar, go to Control Panel -> Clock, Language, and Region -> Change Keyboards and add the corresponding keyboard and layout in the General tab.

There is a bug on Windows XP - the layout is installed but you do not see it when you click on the keyboard icon as on the Windows 7 screenshot above. To get around this, do the following. Open the keyboard settings (Control Panel -> Regional and Language Options -> Languages -> Details -> Settings) and add the new Russian Яверты layout by clicking on "Add..." and choosing Russian Яверты from a list of keyboard layouts for Russian. You will get something like this:

Then clik on "Key Settings.." and assign a key sequence to the new layout, e.g. Ctrl+Shift+0:

Click OK and save the settings.
Now to enable the new Russian layout just use the assigned sequence (e.g. Ctrl+Shift+0).
Strangely enough, sometimes you need to press the key sequence (Ctrl+Shift+0) twice to enable the layout.
Also the new layout won't be visible on the taskbar. Time to migrate to Windows 7?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Microsoft ZDC being shit down

Unfortunately our beautiful office is being shut down.
Looks like we are too expensive :(
Here are a few pics from our office facilities


Air Hockey and Darts

Climbing Wall


Game Room


Table Tennis

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Windows Phone 7 vs 6.5: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Microsoft has given Windows Phone 7 to all of its employees. Before I got Phone 6.5 also from Microsoft. So now I can compare both.
Windows Phone Features / Version
Browsing experience is much better for 7

Radio FM
Really sucks in 7. No memorized stations,  possibility to switch between headphones and a speaker.

Apps and App Store
Nothing useful as of today for 7.
Phone 7 follows a bad for the customer tradition of requiring a developer to spend 100 bucks in order to upload an app. With 6.5 you could install any 6.5 CAB file you found on the Web. There are quite a few free apps whose creators won’t pay these 100 bucks

Currently missing in 7

Uploading Photos with One Click
The cool stuff with Phone 7 is that you can upload a Photo to your 25GB free Sky-Dive account  with just one click

Support for writing in non-ASCII
E.g. if you want to write in Russian, or even include a non-ASCII word  forget it (on top of you do not have copy-paste which could’ve been a work around)

Editing text you type
You have to delete the whole word or sentence – e.g. I could not figure out putting a cursor in the middle of the word

Battery Indicator
Hard to beleive but Phone 7 won't tell you exactly how much battery life is left. Be prepared for unexpected shutdowns

Missing in 7. It also does not work on Phone 6.5 good (the apps are sometimes just shut down – looks like a regression from Windows Phone 6, where it worked better)

Having access to most of the stuff on the main page
You can set up Phone 6.5 so that on the main page you can see weather, stocks, top news, turn on and off with one click the phone, WI-FI, Bluetooth, ring, vibrate…. And 10 most useful apps on the same screen on top of that!

Last but not least, if you are using Windows Phone 6.5, install my free Gmail client: NanoGmail

As Wayne Gretzky once said, "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been." Unfortunately, with Windows Phone 7, Microsoft is starting to play where the puck was long time ago and ice is already melting.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Trimming WMA File Duration

A part of dial-in conferencing services that we just shipped as a part Microsoft Lync 2010 has to do with recording a name for an anonymous user when joining a conference and then playing it during the conference (e.g. "Mike Johnston has joined the conference").

The problem here is that sometimes, depending on a Gateway, there is an ending beep (recorded from the '#' sign that a user presses when she is done with recording). It is difficult to predict in advance how many milliseconds should be cut from the user name recorded file (since in some systems there is no trailing beep at all). By default we cut 500 milliseconds and let the administrator the possibility to configure a different value if she wants to.

What is the best way for admin to figure out how many milliseconds should be trimmed from a file containing a beep? Easy - here is a tool that when run creates a serie of files with n milliseconds  trimmed from its end. Unfortunately it was too late to include this tool as a part of Lync Reskit Tool but this issue should be definitely fixed by the next Lync release.

  • Download the tool, unzip it, and place the executable to a directory, say C:\trim
  • Copy a WMA file containing the trailing beep to the same directory and name it target.wma
  • Run the tool trimfile.exe without any parameters
  • As a result 21 files reslt100.wma, result150.wma, ..., result1000.wma will be created and placed to the same directory. The number indicates (approximate) number of milliseconds cut from the file.
  • Listen to the resulting files to figure out how many milliseconds should be cut from the file.
The tool was created using Windows Media C++ libraries. If you want to play around with it, take a look at main.cppWMVCopy.h and WMVCopy.cpp

Friday, December 31, 2010

Merry Xmas & Happy New Year 2011!

Merry Xmas & Happy New Year 2011!

I am as a Russian "Father Frost". From Russia with Love.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Microsoft Lync 2010 Resource Kit Tools

Microsoft has started publishing Lync 2010 Resource Kit articles online. First article: Call Park-o-Meter has been written by me. It is nice to be first:)

It is about a tool that I have written to faciltate usage of the Lync Call Park Service, that I have been developing in Microsoft Zurich Development Center. The difference between a service which is a part of Microsoft Lync Server and a Microsoft Lync Reskit tool is that the latter is not shipped together with the product but can be downloaded and installed separately.

It is unclear if a hard copy will be published this time as it was for OCS 2007 R2 Reskit book.
I published a sidebar there for OCS RGS (Response Group Service). RGS is another voice application that is also being developed in Zurich Development Center.