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A friend with a hearing aid was having issues after upgrading to a new Android phone. He could pair the device with his phone, but couldn’t make or receive phone calls. What the heck – he used the app, and nothing worked like before! I worked on it for about an hour, and finally figured it out… What a terrible experience for him, so I hope this helps others. It boils down to the hearing aid requiring two different Bluetooth connections to make things work. This is very common with headphones, actually.

For those interested in the root of the issue: You have to set up the Bluetooth Classic connection before the Bluetooth Low Energy – a.k.a. BLE – connection. If you set them up in the opposite order, the hearing aids stop advertising Bluetooth Classic and you’re stuck with being frustrated. It’s probably a firmware issue Phonak needs to address. Unfortunately, that requires taking the device to a service center – not an optimal solution for those needing hearing aids.

This article assumes you already have the Phonak app installed on the new phone.

Step 1 – Unpair the Hearing Aids From The Previous Device

Make sure your hearing aids are no longer paired to the old device. In the Phonak app, choose Forget Device. I’m not sure of the actual verbiage, as I’m writing this without having the app handy. Then, under Bluetooth Settings in Android, tap the widget wheel next to all the Phonak entries, and choose Forget Device or Unpair Device.

Step 2 – Factory Reset the Hearing Aids

Make sure the hearing aids are off. You can do this by holding the power button on each bud until the light turns red and letting go. Once they’re off, count 5 seconds. Now, on each bud, hold the power button until the orange light turns on and then off – don’t let go until it turns OFF. Then, power down the ear bud again.

Step 3 – Power On the Hearing Aids

Now that they’re reset, power them on again. You can do this by holding the power button until the green light flashes, then letting go.

Step 4 – Pair Bluetooth Classic

Do *not* launch the app first. Go to Bluetooth settings on your phone, then Scan for devices, and choose the Phonak device that has a headphone icon next to it. You’ll see a couple icon types – but you need the one entry that has the headphone icon. This indicates the “Bluetooth Classic” connection, if you’re interested in such technical details. Accept the pairing request prompts that will show up after you tap to pair. If prompted to make/receive phone calls with the device, confirm you want to do so.

Step 5 – Pair Bluetooth LE

Now that you’ve paired Bluetooth Classic, launch the Phonak app and run through its setup process.

Step 6 – Done!

You should be good to go. I hope this helps those of you frustrated by such a crazy experience.

My friend Mark and I recently installed a VR pulley system. It’s a much less expensive alternative to Wireless VR solutions, none of which exist for Windows Mixed Reality, which is my headset type.

You can watch the video below:

Special thanks to Thrill for his three-axis pulley suggestion.

I recently read a “Coding Question” thread, and a developer was asking what we all thought about this article. I wanted to hold on to my replies, so I’m posting it here for posterity 🙂

Auri:

Only a Sith deals in absolutes. There are use cases for everything, with exceptions.

Auri:

Seriously, though, I’d write tests to ensure the states that you want work as expected.

Auri:

And now that I’ve had my coffee:

Exceptions are a necessary construct. If something doesn’t go as planned, we need a way to handle it. In his article, he’s against blindly swallowing exceptions. That’s generally sound advice. Ask yourself: “Is this an expected exception? If so, do I have a specific exception handler for it, or am I just using the generic catch-all? Have other exceptions occurred? If so, is this one expected? Didn’t I read about C# support for exception switch statements? Did I just shiver?”

Like I was explaining before, only a Sith deals in absolutes. The way I see it, if an error is unexpected, I should have specific use cases for how to handle that exception. I should, generally, never blindly swallow with no logging, or simply re-throw and assume the code above will address. At least, not without a custom/known/non-generic exception I can check up the chain, or include in an integration test. Good article about testing [written by a friend] here, btw: https://arktronic.com/weblog/2015-11-01/automated-software-testing-part-1-reasoning/
At the very least, and I try to follow this rule as much as possible, LOG in any exception for tracking and pro-active/offensive development. Better that you can read logs, or run scripts to let you know about exceptions, and help things go right, than to be blind with a “well, the code seems to work, so let it be” approach. That’s the key goal, really: Help things go right. There are exceptions [heh] to this rule, like simple utility apps whose job is to bulk process data, and exceptions are part of the game. Still, I try to make sure to log, even with those. Unexpected/unintended bugs tend to appear when you’re dealing with massive amounts of data, and logs give a perspective you can’t see from debugging.
Ok, next cup of coffee.

Have you been wondering how to access the Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Settings in the Azure Classic Portal without first having to create an Azure account? I figured this out a few days ago, having an Office 365 tenant, and wanting to use the EMS and Azure Active Directory Premium features. Following Microsoft’s instructions, it said to go to the Azure Classic Portal. The problem is, Office 365 doesn’t include an Azure subscription, it just includes Azure Active Directory, which you manage through the “modern” Azure portal. Unfortunately, the Trusted IPs and MFA capabilities are managed through the Azure Classic Portal, which you can’t directly access without an Azure subscription.

So, here’s what you do:

  1. Go to portal.office.com
  2. Click Admin to open the admin tools
  3. In the search box, type MFA
  4. Select the Multi-factor authentication search result
  5. Click the link to open the Manage multi-factor authentication link
  6. There you go – manage MFA in your Azure AD to your heart’s content!

 

Type the following command from an admin command prompt:

reg add HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\SynTP\Parameters\Debug /v DumpKernel /d 00000000 /t REG_DWORD /f

I’ve been having this problem with Visual Studio. Alt-Shift-L is a common shortcut for finding the location of a file in your solution. However, on a Lenovo laptop, pressing that key combo also stores debug log info for the touchpad driver. Pretty annoying, totally useless, and no UI element to turn it off.

Found this helpful article:

A note: Don’t call Lenovo support. My gosh, they transferred me 3 times, each time to the wrong department. Thank heavens for the Internet.

From their forums: https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-X-Series-Laptops/How-to-disable-touchpad-diagnostics-hotkey-alt-shift-l/td-p/2176730

 

I’m pretty proud of this. Working on the app with the City of Fishers’ support, we’ve brought home a Mira Honorable Mention. After less than a year, we have thousands of users and two six arrests, with hundreds of incidents reported by Fishers residents. Pretty cool. Our team deserves it for all their hard work! Special thanks to Ed Gebhart, Mayor Scott Fadness, Chiefs Mitch Thompson and George Kehl, and the officers and citizens who continue to provide feedback to make this service even better for our community. 🙂

IBJ Article: https://www.techpoint.org/2017/04/mira-awards-winners-2017/

Mira Award Plaques

A little technical detail on the app, for those who are interested:

Platform: Xamarin with Xamarin.Forms, so we only had to write it once to deploy to iOS and Android. Yes, it really works.

Development Window: 18 months. Includes test runs with officers and the community.

Language: C#.

Time to Deploy to Google Play Store: Less than 15 minutes.

Time to Deploy to Approve Apple Developer Account: 3 months. They wouldn’t believe we were the City. Even with a phone call from the Mayor. That was an experience!

Time to Approve App, once we were in: 3 days. They were pretty cool after we were approved. 🙂

 

Want to learn all about Xamarin and how you can use it, while not spending most of your time watching code scroll by in a video? I figured there was room for an explainer without being a close-captioner for a code tutorial. Enjoy my latest video!

https://www.youtube.com/edit?video_id=AhvofyQCrhw

From the description, along with links:

Have you been considering Xamarin for your cross-platform mobile app? This presentation will help.

In this non-code-heavy presentation, we’ll discuss:

* What is Xamarin
* Development Environment Gotchas
* Creating a Sample To Do List App without writing any code
* Reviewing a real Xamarin app that’s “in the wild”
* Review native, platform-specific integrations
* Discuss gotchas when using Xamarin, and mobile apps in general
* Answer audience questions

Why not code-heavy? Because there are many examples you can follow online. This presentation will provide valuable information you can consider while reviewing the myriad of tutorials available to you with a simple Bing or Google search, or visiting Pluralsight, Microsoft Virtual Academy, or Xamarin University.

If you have any feedback, please leave in the comments, or ask me on Twitter: @Auri

Here are the links relevant for this presentation:

Slides: https://1drv.ms/p/s!AmKBMqPeeM_1-Zd7Y…

Indy.Code Slides with Cost and Performance Figures: https://1drv.ms/p/s!AmKBMqPeeM_1-JZR4…
(you can find the Indy.Code() presentation on my YouTube channel)

Google Xamarin vs. Native iOS with Swift/Objective C vs. Android with Java Performance Article: https://medium.com/@harrycheung/mobil…

Example code for push notifications, OAuth Twitter/Facebook/Google authentication, and more: https://github.com/codemillmatt/confe…

Link to Microsoft Dev Essentials for $30/month free Azure credit and free Xamarin training: https://aka.ms/devessentials

Microsoft Virtual Academy Multi-Threading Series: https://mva.microsoft.com/en-us/train…

 

I’m continuing my resolution to record as many of my programming and technical presentations as possible. I recently spoke at the inaugural Indy.Code() conference. It was excellent, with an incredible speaker line-up. I hope they, too, post some of their presentations online!

Watch the Video on YouTube

From the synopsis:

Should you write your app “native” or use a “cross-platform” solution like React Native, Xamarin, or NativeScript? The new wave of native-cross-compiling solutions provide significant cost savings, code reuse opportunities, and lower technical debt. Does wholly native, per platform development, still play a role in future mobile development? Let’s discuss together.

In this presentation, we’ll discuss:

  • The growth of native, hybrid, and cross-platform mobile development solutions
  • Cost analysis of multiple native and cross-platform apps
  • Considerations for each native and cross-platform solution
  • Lessons learned

Slides are available here: https://t.co/5iLhEoEfen

If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them! Please email me or ask on Twitter.

 

I’ve noticed students feel learning object oriented programming appears tough when first exposed to structured development practices. To add insult to injury, boring example relationships like “people” and “students” and even types of fruit and their plant family relationships are used to show how objects relate to each other. I’m more in the camp believing learning “scary” new concepts should be fun, even memorable. People tend to remember good jokes, and forget dull experiences. I experimented with an approach to OOP. I used the old children’s storybook, Everybody POOPs.

We’re all human beings. All Humans eat and drink, and everybody poops. It takes a system to get to the pooping stage. We also fart. Adults fart and say excuse me!, while children fart and giggle. They’re still Human. Hopefully you can see how these related entities can be turned into computer classes.

I finally got around to recording a video of my teaching this concept, as it relates to classes in Microsoft’s C#. Student reactions are always enjoyable. Most of the time, they laugh, and have fun. I usually get compliments that it’s a lot easier to remember because it’s funny. Some people are disgusted I would talk about such a topic in class – I’m thinking those people don’t have a sense of humor. No photos are involved, so what’s the big deal?

Watch the Video

Here’s my original Blog Post about it

I was challenged last year to write a JavaScript version of Everybody Poops. I finally got around to that this year, explaining objects to students at the TeKY Initiative. That was a bit tougher, since JavaScript isn’t really object oriented. Still, it was fun. The students even got me a poop emoji mug 🙂 You can view the code here. You’ll need to use the console to play with the object.

I’m continuing to teach concepts in [what I feel are] fun, real world ways. My first step has been to create “Real World Programming” videos on YouTube. Two are complete as of this article – OOP (link above) and Inversion of Control + Dependency Injection. I hope to do a few more in 2017 as time permits. If you have a suggestion, please let me know!