Greg, thanks for posting about this. I just got a review unit from GHI last week, and already loving it. The ability to build a single UWP app that can run on desktop, tablet, phone, AND RPi2, and then add sensors and other hardware, is really cool.
Love being able to leverage XAML and C# pretty much everywhere now.
Was glad to see NETMF mentioned in the discussion. I do wish, however, that Microsoft would put more energy behind NETMF in general, and .NET Gadgeteer in particular. Gadgeteer has great potential in two key areas...teaching the next generation of makers and engineers, and rapid prototyping. While components aren't terribly expensive, the modular approach has great appeal for building proof of concept devices that can demonstrate the viability o a given idea.
I get that Azure is a big piece of the IoT strategy, as it should be. But hardware matters, and though Galileo is cool, it's not the right solution for every need. NETMF and Gadgeteer were essential for me in getting my start with microcontrollers and electronics, and I'm not alone in that. Let's hear more about the future of NETMF and Gadgeteer... :D
@Gerald - FYI, I published a new post in the series that covers persistent logins with Azure Mobile Services: http://bit.ly/10U0698 and we also just finished recording the next episode of DevRadio based on that post. We walk through how to enable persistent logins using Twitter (the process is essentially the same for the other identity providers as well), and how to leverage the server-side support for making HTTP requests to retrieve additional user information, such as the Twitter screen name for the logged in user. Should be out in the next couple weeks.
Actually, with the exception of Azure Compute, most of the services I discuss in the series are either free or charged on a monthly basis.
I do use the Azure SQL Database, which is charged monthly, for data storage. The same SQL Database, however, can be used across multiple services.
Windows Azure Mobile Services and Windows Azure Web Sites (the latter is what I use for the ASP.NET Web API version of my back-end service) are both available as free offerings in shared mode, so assuming you used the Azure SQL Database offering for the data storage, your cost would only be $10/mo.
You can find pricing details for Mobile Services and Web Sites at:
Funny you should mention programmers not understanding MIDI, as just about anyone using a modern DAW or synthesizer may be using MIDI and not even realize it, since many newer keyboards connect via USB, but still use MIDI for communication, albeit over USB.
I was talking on Saturday with a neighbor who works for a major musical instrument retailer, and who was once a touring keyboard player, about how robust MIDI has been as a communication protocol. It's nearly 30 years old now, and still going strong.
I'm not a deep expert in MIDI, and truth be told, most of the hard MIDI work in this project is done for me by Pete's MIDI module driver, but I agree with you that touch screens can be a useful addition to enhance musical expression, and I'd like to see what I could do with a Windows Phone app and MIDI...will have to see what's possible there.