Archive for category Euro Coins Pocket Collector

Ecpc Finalist in the Best Software Awards 2006

Best Software Awards 2006I didn’t expect it at all since I have to admit in the last months I neglected a bit Euro Coins Pocket Collector, the software I made for Euro coins fans. I actually chose to honor the priorities of my work as consultant and custom software developer.

So I was pleased to know that even this year the judges of the Best Software Awards 2006, the competition organized by the american Smartphone and Pocket PC Magazine, confirmed the value of the software and it was included among the finalists in the category Miscellaneous Utilities, just as they did last year.

It isn’t easy at all categorizing a specialized software such as this, but I think that instead of creating a new category like Collecting they could add one like Lifestyle for example, to include all the Windows Mobile applications built to manage the digital lifestyle, as they call the modern life with all the technological tools that should simplify our life. Managing a collection of Euro coins with a PDA could be correctly included into this concept, couldn’t it? 😉

Anyway, it’s a pleasure that an atypical software, made from work and passion, reachead the final selection of a contest that gathered only the 20% of the best software existing for the Windows Mobile platform.

The winner of the Miscellaneous Utilities was StyleTap, an emulator useful to run applications written for the PalmOS on Windows Mobile devices.

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$297 for over $3000 Worth of Windows Mobile Software?!?

BEO SuperCDWould such an offer be too good to be true?

Oh no, it’s real actually, since the sentence is the slogan of the 2006 Best of Everything Software Package, a package containing the latest versions of winners and finalists from the Best Software Awards 2005, the annual contest organized by the american Smartphone and Pocket PC Magazine.

As I previously wrote, EcPc QVGA was a finalist in the 2005 edition of the contest, so it has been included into the package together with 130 of the very best applications and games available for Windows Mobile devices.

I’m satisfied to see my software listed among other great Pocket PC applications and I’ve been even more glad to read the comment by one of the judges, Jack Cook, Senior Editor of Mobility Today, when they announced the finalists. Below you can see a scan of the certificate they sent me. 🙂

For the details of the offer please go to the official website, there’s even a Value Calculator, an Excel precompiled file, to help you determine if the total of the software you’d like to buy exceeds the package price. Very useful addition in my opinion.

They also put together a Best of Everything Smartphone Software Package, selling for $139, which includes over $600 worth of software only for Windows Mobile-based Smartphones. If you have a bunch of Windows Mobile software in your wishlist I’d suggest you to browse the contents of those packages, since the probability to find most of them inside them is high.

There’s also the The Best of Everything Demo CD which is part of the main package and contains the demo versions of the software. It’s free to 2 year subscribers, but you can order it separately for 15$.

Being a developer I agreed to make my software available free of charge to other developers whose products have been included into the package and who choose the same option to share their software. I consider a nice opportunity being able to share software among developers, a sort of digital fair play. Not all of them agreed to this opportunity, but most did, so another thumbs up for the makers of the package. 😉

Speaking about latest versions, I’ll probably release version 1.6 of EcPc before I’ll leave for holidays on august, so that you can upgrade from version 1.5, which is in the package. At the same time we’re building the new EcPc website. It looks great but it will take some time to complete.

Best Software Awards 2005

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Touristech 2006 and Veronafil

TouristechTwo intense days made the weekend fly more swiftly than usual. On friday I attended the Touristech event in Villa Erba and I spent most of saturday in Verona at the Veronafil philately and numismatics fair.

Touristech is the first event organized by Wireless dedicated to new technologies and digital innovation at the service of the cultural entertainment and hospitality services for tourists. For this meeting they couldn’t choose a better location than the beautiful Villa Visconti, located in the Villa Erba park in Cernobbio. It has been a long time since I had the chance to walk in that park, although I’m often in Cernobbio, and I hadn’t remembered how pleasant and relaxing it is. In fact it was the first time I wasn’t tired when I went home after a day full of conference presentations instead of what usually happens after similar events organized in Milan.

One of the moderators didn’t forget to mention they shot some sequences of the Ocean Twelve Hollywood movie there. After all the benefits of the presence of George Clooney in his villa in Laglio seem to be much more valuable than the works by Luchino Visconti…

The presentations were all interesting, especially for the fact that the subject matter is the basis of a software project I’m working on together with the group of people I assembled at the beginning of this year. People make the difference in everything and this project is shaping up thanks to them . 🙂

I met Paolo Conti, a journalist of Il Sole 24 Ore, the brilliant moderator of the recent Mobile Force & Office Forum 2006 and we had the chance to talk about the project.

After a morning of presentations by representatives of the major players of the tourism market in Italy, such as Touring Club among the others, the event closed with a series case histories of mobile technology applied to outdoor journeys, such as the PDA guide they’re experimenting with at the Villa Reale Park of Monza and the PDA guide currently in use at the Swiss National Park.

Then I spent saturday among the numerous small stands of coins and stamp collectors setup in one of the huge exhibition halls of Verona Fiere. Should I mention this had something to do with the work behind the PC version of EcPc? 😉

My focus were Euro coins of course, and I had the chance to meet some users from the Italian forum, but unexpectedly I came back home with a surprise as much as precious: I managed to get the Green Vespa, the only Vespa model ever made for the famous Kinder surprise toys series!

I got to know of this particular toy since I read the book Vroom with a view by Peter Moore and I’ll certainly have another chance to write more about that. 😉

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Top Talent Award 2006

Top Talent Award 2006“How did you get to know about the Top Talent Award, Mr. Orlando?”

That was the first question an talian voice asked me when I got a call from Austria’s ICNM a few weeks ago. I didn’t remember exactly where I read about it, but it was certainly in the news of a website. The italian manager told me they were having difficulties spreading the word about the contest in Italy, so any help or suggestion would have been welcome.

It’s a marketing job I think, and that might not be a trivial task, even if you put it in the hands of a professional.

However, in the case of my country I also see a certain lack of interest in these kind of events, maybe because of a lack of competitivity by university students or maybe because we’re too busy complaining about the state of the ICT work market to be able to put our creative brains to work and try to make something interesting to compete with other european students… who knows…

In fact from a total of 411 submitted projects there were only 18 participants from Italy. None of them has been selected in any category or even mentioned in the printed publication they sent me, but what surprised me the most has been the quality and the number of submissions from Eastern Europe countries. Talk about lack of competitivity there!

I entered the contest submitting EcPc, including a beta of the PC version. They didn’t have a Pocket PC to test the software, so I had to send them my Axim X3 and when they returned it I risked to loose it because some smartass tried to stole it at the post office in Como, really!

The final selections of the jury in the mobile contents category are good projects, but personally I don’t find anything special in soccer related management software or in Wi-Fi mapping utilities. That’s my opinion of course, the jury evaluated the projects using a number of different criteria.

It’s a good contests overall, it’s not free, but the organization is much better than most of our similar competitions, so I encourage you to participate if you’ve an idea in your brain… and you have the strength to make it real of course! 😉

You should definitely watch the video recording of the award ceremony they made on march 4th at the “Museumsquartier” in Vienna. It was amazing to watch and hear the thrilled winners commenting prize and projects mostly speaking in a not so perfect English. You can almost feel their excitement! 🙂

Congratulations to the winners then, most of them presented interesting projects.

And as Mr. Peter A. Bruck wrote in the introduction of the publication, this contest helps to separate excellence from the huge volume of trash in a digital world full of contents! 🙂

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Working in Silence Against The Information Overloading

Best Software Awards 2005A few months passed since the last blog post, time I actually spent working in silence, trying to reach the mental state in which I’d been able to defeat the so-called information overloading, that can easily affect workers in the ICT sector (and not only us).

As I say to friends when ask me why I don’t keep the blog updated, it’s not easy at all thinking of something interesting to write. 😉

Now I’m still busy working on the innovation project committed by a local company and coordinated by the Centro Volta. It’s going well and I’d like to write more about it, but I’ll do it only if I’ll get the necessary permissions.

Since the beginning of the year I’ve also started working on the software project for which I committed a due diligence study to the Centro Volta last year. I had the luck to find the right people with the right competences for this project and we’re doing well I’d say, a confirmation of the fact that the people always make the difference.

More details about this project as soon as we’ll start testing the prototype with the public. 🙂

The last year ended, and the new one began, with a present from Smartphone & Pocket PC Magazine. Their Board of Experts voted Euro Coins Pocket Collector QVGA to be among the best in the category Miscellaneous Utilities in the magazine’s fifth annual Best Software Awards.

As a finalist I joined their 2006 Best of Everything Marketing Program which will grant my software some more visibility. Another award that makes me proud of the work I did and talking about this I can anticipate that in a couple of weeks I’ll start building a new site entirely focused on Ecpc.

Later then and don’t get caught by the frenziness of modern life! 😉

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End of The Year Thought 2005

Hurry SignSo we are at the end of the year and it’s time to sum up what’s happened in the past 12 months and to make new wishes for the future.

Lots of things happened since the last blog post. I’ve been busy working on new software projects for the so-called vertical markets, which relegated the work on the new version of Ecpc to a niche of time, but I couldn’t be more glad closing this year by mentioning that Ecpc was a finalist in the Best Software Awards 2005, the annual competition of the american Smartphone and Pocket PC Magazine.

After another award rewarding Ecpc, I’d like to end this year with a thought as much simple as true at the same time, inspired by a conversation I had with a wise elder woman who’s involved in one of my projects: we’re going too fast! 🙄

Hers was a consideration about the frenzyness of modern life compared to how things went at her times.

I often think about it when I’m not be able to keep up with emails or reading all the newsletters. Sometimes I think to be suffering from the so called information overload.

With this little pearl of ancient wisdom I wish you a happy celebration of the New Year!

Enjoy it from the beginning to the end, but without hurry! 😉

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Reorganizing Thoughts and Things

Windows Mobile Guida PraticaThat’s what I did in these summer months: reorganizing things in my studio, as well as reorganizing thoughts and relaxing my mind with some good books to get ready for the incoming months.

Among the books I read the most entertaining was Joel on software, a collection of the writings by Joel Spolsky, CEO of Fogcreek, originally posted on his blog. It contains views, comments, rants and raves about software development so brilliant that I found myself exclamating a “That’s so true!” after reading many articles. 🙂

Software development is unlike any other artigianal work, it’s pure design, as Joel states, that’s why the skills needed to be a good programmer or even a program manager are peculiar.

I also read a couple of books about personal leadership and social relationships. Another one was much more related to mobile devices, Windows Mobile Guida Pratica, a beginner’s guide about devices with the Windows Mobile OS, written by the italian developer Massimo Mangia.

I met him the last evening in Como with great pleasure, since there are only a handful of independent developers in Italy, and you can imagine how much such occasion can be special when guys like us get the chance to share their views and problems about a job they do with passion. 😉

So, a pause from actual coding work to recharge batteries and get ready for the next months which look busy.

More about that in the next post.

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EcPc Nominated in The Best Software Awards 2005 and Smartphone Version Preview

PocketPC NomineeYesterday I’ve been glad to receive the news that EcPc QVGA has been nominated for the Best Software Awards 2005, the fifth annual contest organized by Pocket PC Magazine staff with the collaboration of an extensive Board of Experts of the Windows Mobile world. The category is actually Miscellaneous Utilities, since there wasn’t a more appropriate one to include a software such as EcPc. I hope for the best of course. 😉

I attended the presentation held by Hal Goldstein and Diane Dumas at the recent Handango Partner Summit 2005 about advertising on Pocket PC Magazine, but I hadn’t the opportunity to talk to them face to face. Maybe they should add a new category in their Software Encyclopedia, Hobby or Educational.

In the meantime I just completed a submission for the Top Talent Award 2005 and I’ll be patiently waiting for the outcome of this interesting european contest.

Also I’m glad to announce that a beta of the Smartphone version of EcPc, which I called EcSp :), is up and running on my Motorola MPx 200 and I’d like to invite you to get a look at some pics and screenshots in the preview I posted in the forum.

I’m now working on some minor improvements and according to how many of them I’ll be able to introduce, I’ll decide if a new point release deserves its name, thus making the software version up to 1.6, or I’ll just release the Smartphone version as 1.5.

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Euro Coins Pocket Collector Second Birthday!

2 EuroThis is a day to celebrate for me and the users of EcPc, since on  July16th, 2003 I published the first version of the software, 2 years in which the software made me earn a good reputation in the mobile development arena, although the application aims at a niche market. 🙂

The design of the 2 Euro italian commemorative coin on the left, celebrating the fifth decade of the World Food Program, contains a very curious detail: as you can see there are an ear of wheat, an ear of maize and an ear of rice emerging from behind the globe. They’re the three grains representing the world’s basic sources of nourishment, a bit like the three elements needed to produce quality software I put on my business card: creativity, experience and passion. :mrgreen:

Thank you all the users of the Pocket PC version of the software and to all the people who supported it in a way or the other! I’ll activate a promotion in a few days so that it’ll be possible to purchase EcPc at half the price, both the QVGA and the VGA versions.

At the moment I’m working on the Smartphone version of EcPc, leaving the PC version for a september launch. 😉

On last thursday I attended the eContent Award Italy award ceremony in Palazzo Turati in Milan. I submitted EcPc for evaluation, although I haven’t been able to send the all the materials they required due to the trip to Miami, so it was only mentioned in a presentation of all the submitted projects.

They selected mostly websites, many of which well worth it, but what did really disappoint me was the usual italian way of doing things… I’d better not comment on some aspects of the ceremony because I know I would appear much more evil than I am, but I’d like to share a tip to the creative people, young or not, working on their projects in Italy: don’t limit yourself to a local or national market for your work, think internationally since the beginning, otherwise you’ll waste your time complaining about the lack of resources, investors and so on… and you’ll end up leaving your dreams incomplete.

Just my 2 Euro cents! 😉

Update: the 50% off offer is active and you can access it directly from the Buy EcPc page. It’ll expire on august 1st, so… hurry up!

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Speaking English Using Skype and Skin Strip Feature Tutorial

SkypeVoIP (Voice Over IP) is a very hot topic nowadays and among all the different ways the Internet offers to be able to communicate with other people, voice combined with instant messaging is the best one in my opinion. That’s why I appreciate Skype and I’m suggesting my collaborators to use it.

Easy, fast, free, cheap if you need to call a non-Skype user, and runs on PC and Pocket PC, version that I can enjoy on the Loox 720 thanks also to OzLooxSpeaker, an utility enabling the upper secondary speaker on the Loox made just for VoIP purposes.

I just added a Skype-Me button to the contacts page and to the signature in the forum to invite you to use it if you want to get in touch in the most direct way.

In this period I’m attending english conversation lessons since I’ll be on an business trip in the US in a couple of weeks, and I’m getting confident in speaking the language. 😉

Lastly I’ve posted a tutorial in the forum explaining how to use the Skin Strip feature introduced in the new version of Euro Coins Pocket Collector. You have to be a registered member in order to be able to read it as well as all the upcoming tutorials.

Update: I’ve discovered a stupid bug which prevents from correctly loading the external graphics file needed to use the Skin Strip feature. Sorry for the distraction, it’ll be fixed in version 1.6.

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