Enlarging the Windows 8 onscreen keyboard

If you are experiencing problems in using the on-screen keyboard on a pc running Windows 8 connected with a Perceptive Pixel by Microsoft device or on any other larger format multitouch displays.

If, when you use the touch keyboard on the screen, you encounter the following issues:

  • The size of the displayed touch keyboard is too small for typing.
  • You experience missed key entries when you touch the keys.

This could occurs because the MonitorSize value in the following registry key is not set correctly:


Note: This type of registry value is a REG_SZ string. You can set a decimal value to this string, such as 22.5.

You can find an hot fix for this issue on the Microsoft Support Site.



Introducing your personal digital assistant: Cortana

Microsoft's upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 update will include Cortana, the personal digital assistant.

This brand new feature takes its name from Halo game series where Cortana provides backstory and tactical information to the player. In the story, she is instrumental in preventing the activation of the Halo installations, which would have destroyed all sentient life in the galaxy.

Cortana is here to make your life a little easier

Tap and hold the search button to ask something such as "Tell me about yourself"

You will get Cortana's introduction: "In short I'm your personal assistant. I try to make things easier to do on your phone"

If you didn't turn on Cortana when you set up your phone go to settings and swap to applications to do it now by tapping "Cortana"

Now let's launch Cortana you will get a screen like the one below.

In the notebook Cortana keep tracks of what you tell her about yourself. You can go there and:

  • Set Interests, add new interest and to tell Cortana how to take you informed
  • Manage Remind me, here you find all the reminder you ask Cortana to do for you
  • Set Quiet hours, here you can configure when and how Cortana and others can interact with you
  • Manage the Inner circle, here you can define who can interact with you even in the quiet hours
  • Set your Places, here you instruct Cortana about your life and your preferred / abitual places so then you can ask Cortan to check the traffic status to reach work (after you defined work as a place) or home
  • Manage your Music searches, Cortana can help you figure out what song is playing, whether you're in your car or at the bar, and then help you get that song in Xbox Music
  • Manage your Settings, one advantage of a digital personal assistant is that she won't take it personally if you want to adjust her settings and how she works. You can get to Cortana's settings on your Windows



Cortana can help take care of everyday stuff on your phone: Call someone is simple as same just hold the search button and say: "Call Anna", Cortana will call Anna (a name in your contacts) for you.

Sending a text it would be really easy, just hold the search button wait for Cortana to listen you and say :"Text Anna, I love you". She will create the sms for you and will come back to you saying: "All right I'll text Anna I love you. Send it or add more". Just answer: "Send it" and she will send the message for you.

Once Cortana knows how she can help you, she can check your favorite team score, alert you on your flight delay or see how the weather looks like on the other side of the world.


What can I say/ask to Cortana?

When you press and hold the Search icon button, Cortana will begin listening, no matter what you're doing on your phone, even while the phone is locked.

You can start by talking naturally to Cortana about whatever you have in mind. If you're not sure what to say, don't worry—she'll often understand you if you say things the same way you'd say them to any person. If Cortana isn't sure what you mean, she can usually help you figure out how to say things in a way she'll understand.


Some ideas to get started


Make a call to mama at home

Call Anna

Call Anna on speakerphone

Call Anna, home


How old are you?

Where are you from?

Tell me a joke


Text dad

Message Anna

Text Anna I love you


Remind me to pick up my dry cleaning tomorrow

Remind me to water the plants when I get home

Next time I'm at the grocery store, remind me to buy bananas (if Cortana isn't sure which one you mean, she'll ask)

When Jordana calls, remind me to congratulate her on her new column

Remind me to call Luther when I leave work


Put swimming on my calendar for tomorrow

Change my 4 PM event to 5

What do I have next?

What's happening this weekend?


Will it rain this weekend?

Is it cold out?

Should I wear a coat?

What's the weather today?

What's the forecast for next week?

Is it hot in Paris right now?


Wake me up at 7 AM

Set an alarm for 6:30 AM

Turn off my 4 PM alarm

Wake me up in 4 hours


Take a note

Note: left my car on level 4

Take a note: find birdwatching book for Dad's birthday


Play [artists]

Put on [playlist]

Start playing [song]

Play some jazz

Play [album]

What song is playing?

Maps and directions

Get me directions to the Grand Canyon

Where am I?

How long will it take me to get to the Space Needle?

Show me a map of 123 Main Street

How far to Four Corners National Park?

What's traffic like on the way to work?

Places to go

Is there a Starbucks near me?

Find a cheap pizza place that's open now

Show me highly rated restaurants nearby

Is [place] open on weekends?


Who is the tallest woman in the world?

Who is the prime minister of Italy?

What's the capital of Brazil?


What's the status of Alaska Airlines flight 628?

Is Qantas flight 16 on time?


Latest Soccer scores?

Latest Inter's score

When was the last Seahawks game?


Convert 67 euros to dollars

How much is a Microsoft share?

How many dollars in an euro?

How did the Italian markets do?


You can also go in the store looking for application that supports Cortana to extend her functionalities, for instance, do you want to ask Cortana what time is it so she would be able to answer you? Just install Voice Time and Cortana will be able to say you what time it is when you'll ask.


Halo related questions

As said Cortana comes from Halo game series, to make things a bit ironic she will answer you to some Halo related questions J Here is a list of questions I found online that Cortana will respond to, however, I am sure, others can find other question that Cortana will answer:

  • Do you know what Master Chief is doing?
  • What is Master Chief doing?
  • I thought you were dead
  • Didn't you die?
  • Where is master chief?
  • What is rampancy?
  • Tell me about rampancy
  • Tell me about Halo 5?
  • Tell me about Dr. Halsey?
  • Tell me about Elites
  • What do you know about Halo 5?
  • Tell me about Catherine Halsey
  • What do you know about Dr. Halsey?
  • What is Elites?
  • Tell me about Grunts
  • Are you the cortana from Halo?
  • What do you know about Elites
  • Are you dating Master Chief?
  • What do you know about Grunts
  • Tell me about Hunters
  • Tell me the story of Halo 5?
  • What is Master Chief up to?
  • What do you know about Hunters
  • Are you in love with Master Chief?
  • Are you really Cortana?
  • Do you love Master Chief?
  • What do you know about Jackals
  • Tell me about Jackals
  • Tell me the story of Halo?
  • Will you be reborn in Halo 5?
  • Will you resurrect in Halo 5?
  • What is Master Chief's last name?
  • Will you come back in Halo 5?
  • Do you Master Chief's last name?
  • What is the story of Halo?
  • Are you in Halo 5?
  • Do you know Jen Taylor?
  • What do you know about Catherine Halsey?
  • Who is Catherine Halsey?
  • Are you the same Cortana from Halo?
  • What do you know about Hunters
  • Did you really die?
  • Tell me about Prophets
  • Who is Dr. Halsey?
  • Tell me about Buggers
  • Tell me about Brutes
  • Tell me about Prometheans
  • What is the story of Halo 5?
  • What do you know about Buggers
  • Tell me about Crawlers
  • Tell me about Watchers
  • Tell me about the Didact
  • What do you know about the didact
  • What do you know about Brutes
  • Tell me about Guilty Spark
  • Tell me about Knights
  • Tell me about the Librarian
  • What do you know about the Librarian
  • What you know about the flood
  • What do you know about Guilty Spark
  • Which is your favorite Halo?
  • What is your favorite Halo?
  • What is favorite Halo game?
  • Which is your favorite Halo game?
  • Tell me about Halo?
  • Tell me about beamish
  • What do you know about Halo?
  • Tell me about hamish beamish
  • Tell me about hamish beamish
  • Why are you blue in color?
  • Aren't you dead?
  • Why are you blue?
  • Which Halo game do you like the most?
  • What do you know about beamish
  • What do you know about hamish
  • What do you know about Hamish Beamish



Cortana isn't just about work, she's always listening at you try asking a casual question such as "Where do you came from?"

The best thing you can do to learn about Cortana is talk to her, you may be surprised by how she can help you and what she has to say!

When I said her (the first time) "text Anna I love You" she also asked me "Is Anna your partner? I can better help you I I know you better" Wow! That is really awesome!

And in the last my vision: I see a world where Cortana will be our personal digital assistant everywhere in our devices:

  • PC
  • Tablet
  • Phone
  • Perceptive Pixel by Microsoft

If I login with my Microsoft account my personal Cortana with her knowledge about me, she already knows who my partner is, will assist me in my everyday life trying making it a bit better.



Cortana is only available on phones with Windows Phone 8.1, and in some countries/regions (check availability). Check to see which software version you have and find out if an update is available.

You can also check when the update will be available in your country by clicking here.

If Cortana isn't available, or you don't want to use it, you can still use the Speech functionality on your phone.

Keyboards? Where we’re going we don’t need any keyboards!

Just some day ago I posted about my birthday and I discovered another big fan of Back to the Future in my new company (I will tell you something more about my new company as soon I'll get the rights to do it).

I'm working together with Michael, a really nice guy of the marketing stuff, on creating all the stuff to start offering touch related services and products …. What there is better than mixing up our beloved Back to the Future and touch technologies

Keyboards? …. Where we are going we don't need keyboards!

Being 39 with the same passion of the beginning

Today I'm 39, yes time is going fast, really fast, I still remember days when I was the youngest dev. It is a clear remembrance the passion, the excitement and love with a bit of irresponsibility I had at that time for technology in general.

Oh my God, how many time I looked at Star Trek TOS, War Games or at Back to the Future (just to remember some).

From that time two decades are passed, a number of things has happened in my professional and private life: now I am husband, father and Microsoft MVP, Most Valuable Papà (dad in Italian) as my son says.

Even if in the meanwhile, a lot of time has passed and many technologies became obsolete, there are things that, for, me are still same: passion, excitement and love for technologies. Today, when I check for the first time a new technology, I get excited as when I was almost 18 trying to develop my first app for Windows 3.1.

Just yesterday I was talking about a new technology we are developing in IBV with the CEO and visionary entrepreneur Andreas Görög , he was explaining me the state of the art of the development when I realized that, at the time they started looking in that direction, I was doing the same thousand kilometers away!!!

The beauty is that at some point, after some months of search, I gave up because of some reasons, Andreas and his teams continued in the same way where I wasn't able to. Development and research they did at that time are still actual and I joined IBV because we will port on Windows 8 and iOS too that technology (I will say you something else about that in some weeks).

Well, when I realized what they did in all these years, guys, on night I wasn't able to sleep! I was so excited to figure out how they work around all that stuffs that I did not slept!

I have to thank Andreas for the white night he presented me and for that butterfly flying feeling you feel in your stomach when you see that technology that you know you will work with for the rest of your life.

Concluding I can say that I am really happy of what's happening to my personal life and to my professional career and I hope to continue in that way for the rest of my life.


Windows in 1994


Windows in 2014

Why Apple Products Start with an "i."

With Steve Jobs resigning this week, I'd like to share the history behind the now legacy: the "i."

Most Apple products start with i:

  • i Mac
  • i Pod
  • i Tunes
  • i Phone
  • i Pad
  • i OS
  • i Cloud

What does the "i" stand for? Does it mean "me?" Or "individual?"

Well, it can, and it's probably good marketing to let people think it does... but that's not the original meaning. For that we must go back to 1998.

Steve Jobs, interim CEO, launched the iMac that year, and said:

"The iMac comes from the marriage of the internet with the simplicity of a Macintosh. We are targeting this for the #1 use that consumers tell us they want a computer for, which is to get on the internet–simply and fast."

Steve Jobs reiterated the point again in 2000 when he became full-time CEO. He called himself the "iCEO." But why the "i"?

"I'm going to choose that title to remind myself of what's really important, which is, of course, the internet."

So, "i" is for internet:

  • i-nternet Mac
  • i-nternet Pod
  • i-nternet Tunes
  • i-nternet Phone
  • i-nternet Pad
  • i-nternet OS
  • i-nternet Cloud

It all makes sense now. Steve wanted to integrate the internet in as many ways as possible, making internet access as fast and simple as possible.

Today we can access the internet numerous ways, with new ways continually popping up. Today we expect our devices to access the internet. A phone that doesn't access the internet is now called a s̶m̶a̶r̶t stupid phone. The internet is no longer a feature on a computer, it's the backbone of nearly all our consumer devices.

I have a felling Apple will continue to integrate the internet in innovative ways. For example, the iPod (which currently doesn't connect to the *i*nternet) probably will with services like "Spotify" becoming so hugely popular.

And, having said all that, perhaps th "i" should really stand for innovation. After all Apple became "the world's biggest company" through their i-nnovation. iThink. :)

By Octsocial


Ultimi Post


Articles and content of this blog aren't and shouldn't be interpreted as professional advice or opinions. Author writes on a personal basis and as part of their own research, experimentation and knowledge. Opinions expressed aren't in any way attributable to professional affiliations / institutional thereof or to opinions that the author express as part of their roles / positions that may be quite different from that reported here.