Category Archives

25 Articles

Kinect for Windows SDK (beta)

by Mick 0 Comments

The eagerly awaited SDk for developing applications using the Kinect game controller with Windows PC applications is now (finally) available.

The Kinect for Windows SDK is a programming toolkit for application developers.

It allows access to the Microsoft Kinect device connected to computers running Windows 7.

Previously, access was possible using a variety of toolkits developed by a number of different sources. Now Microsoft Research are providing an offical toolkit to enable developers to build applications running on Windows 7 that have full access to the capabilites of the Kinect.

The SDK Beta is intended for an audience of experienced developers who want to experiment with Kinect sensors as input and imaging devices on Windows-based PCs. Many early-adopters are eager to use Kinect sensors to explore possibilities for natural user interfaces (NUI). The SDK is not intended for use in consumer environments and is not licensed for production use. Use of this SDK is expected to be in a laboratory or test-bench setting or in a classroom

A commercial version is expected to be released at a later date.

Kinect drivers for Windows 7 provide support for

  • The Kinect sensor's microphone array as a kernel-mode audio device that you can access through the standard audio APIs in Windows.
  • Streaming image and depth data.
  • Device enumeration functions that enable an application to use more than one Kinect sensor that is connected to the computer.

The SDK also provides a Natural User Interface (NUI) API which is a set of APIs that retrieves data from the image sensors and controls the Kinect devices.

Full details and download(s) available from

Happy Programming


Xcode 4 and iTunes

For others who may experience a similar issue

I'd just got my iPad 2 and connected it up to my Mac machine running the latest Mac OS X v 10.6.7 and started iTunes as instructed.

Things seemed to be going fine through registration and setup when I received the abrupt warning

iTunes was unable to load dataclass information from Sync Services. Reconnect or try again later.

iTunes did, however, recognise that an upgrade to iOS 4.3.3 was required and proceeded with the download.

At the start of the iOS upgrade, however, I got the equally strange message

iTunes could not backup KML System's iPad because the backup session failed.

Tried all the usual things, checked iTunes version was up-to-date, rebooted machine, etc. etc.
Was there a problem because I had Dropbox running ? (this didn't seem to be a problem)

How about trying the 'Restore to original settings' ? (This did proceed to install iOS 4.3.3 on the iPad but the same messages persisted and sync would still not work).

Was there something wrong with the iPad ? (brand new too! - but no, the same problem was apparent with my 2nd Generation iPod Touch which produced the same messages when plugged in).

To cut a long story short, it appears that installing Xcode 4 will corrupt an existing installation of iTunes in some way. The solution is simply to reinstall iTunes!!

Lo and behold, the problem went away after a re-install of iTunes and all is back in working order with syncing and backups working as per normal.

ps I came across an interesting topic on the Apple Support Communities which discusses the same issue and contains some additional steps which may be required if a simple re-install of iTunes fails to resolve the issue.

Image Composite Editor (ICE)

by Mick 0 Comments

The Image Composite Editor from Microsoft Research is a panoramic image stitcher program.

It is used to join a set of overlapping images together from a set of photos of a scene taken from a single camera location. The program uses advanced algorithms to create a seamless, high resolution image which can be saved in a number of different formats.

Simply load a set of images into the application

You don't need to load them in any particular order, the program will sort out how they should be connected and stitch them together giving very impressive results.

The program is available as a free download.

Details are available at

and the download from


by Mick 0 Comments

I'm looking to re-purpose my Dell Mini 9 Netbook and a I thought I'd take a look at Jolicloud following a suggestion by a colleague.

Jolicloud is an Internet Operating System built on top of Ubuntu Netbook Edition.

Jolicloud transforms your netbook into a sophisticated web device that taps into the cloud to expand your computing possibilities. The web already hosts a significant part of our lives: mails, photos, videos, and friends are already somewhere online. Jolicloud was built to make the computer and web part of the same experience.

Microsoft Security Essentials

by Mick 0 Comments

Having recently got a new machine (Dell XPS15 Laptop), I thought it was about time I re-visited the question of anti-virus software. Up until now, I've  used anti-virus software from AVG  and been reasonably happy ( in spite of a few false positives ! ) but felt it was becoming a little intrusive.

Looking around for alternatives I noted Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) from Microsoft.

It's an application designed for consumers but using the same anti-malware engine as other Security products from Microsoft, is simple to install and will automatically update to new versions and the latest virus definitions as they become available.

It provides real-time scanning for downloaded files and will protect against viruses, spyware and other malware. A  quick scan takes around 10 minutes on my machine.

You'll hardly notice it's installed as it quietly gets on with its job and the best bit its Free

All the details and download available at

Other Links

Microsoft Office - Web Apps

Microsoft has launched a free on-line service that allows you to create and edit documents created using Word, Excel PowerPoint and OneNote.

If you already have a Microsoft Live ID its simply a case of connecting to your account at

If you don't have a Live ID, you can register and be editing documents in less than a minute (Yes, I actually timed it 🙂 )

The Office menu item allows you to select the document type you want to create or edit

For example, you can create a Word document and see most of the commands you're used to in your desktop version of Word. Also, note the option to open the document for editing in a local copy of Word installed on your machine. Following a warning dialog, you are then editing the file locally. Make the changes you want, save the document and exit from your local version to return to editing the document in your web browser.

Other options are available for sharing documents with colleagues etc.

Overall, first impressions are that the system looks very promising, and seems very polished.

If your requirement is to create and share documents on the web, why would you use something else ?

The official blog of the Microsoft Office Web Apps team can be found at

If you're interested, I noticed a more detailed review, from the Guardian newspaper in the UK at


Developed by Cooliris Inc, PicLens combines a 'Cover Flow' style with a 3D Image wall to present a novel way for viewing photos and videos across the web via your web-browser.

Plugins are available for Internet Explorer and Firefox and PicLens works with a number of websites. A search feature is built-in to the viewer which allows you to easily search and browse for images on sites such as Flickr and Google Web Albums.


PicLens is a free download, free to use, quick and easy to install and contains no spyware, adware or malware.

Additional tools are provided that allow users to enable their own websites for Piclens and there is also a WordPress plugin available - so watch this space, I'll be experimenting with these tools on this blog in the near future.

Update 1: this blog is now enabled for PicLens