Windows 8.1

Bringing the Smithsonian Experience Home


A few weeks ago I was thinking about some of the wonderful places I’ve seen briefly but never revisited. It struck me that with widely available Internet connectivity,many of the places I journeyed to physically when I was younger might  be experiences that could be reimagined, at least partially, via the power of the Internet. I’ve always been a space buff (which was the incentive to build my two recently release NASA related apps) and I’ve also had a lifelong fascination with Archaeology and Natural History, the Oceans, and just about anything historically related to the world we live in. In my opinion, the collections housed by the Smithsonian Institute and its diverse programs was a natural choice for a Windows 8.1 app. Nothing can replace an in person visit to all the Smithsonian venues (time consuming for sure and travel/expense involved).

The various Smithsonian web sites offer more details and information, but again, there are multiple sites and entrances to all of this superb content. I envisioned a hub based experience with galleries for home users that captured a small part of the experience for home users and the result is my newest app, ‘Smithsonian at Home’. Ten galleries are included which will update as the Smithsonian adds and changes content.

From the Home screen main menu, ten galleries are available, the Smithsonian Photo of the Day Gallery, Smithsonian Travel Magazine, SmartNews on Technology and Space, SmartNews on Science, Latest News, Smithsonian Exhibitions, Wildlife, SmartNews History & Archaeology, SmartNews Arts & Culture, and the current Smithsonian Photo Contest. Select any tile from the Home screen to visit a gallery. All galleries are scrollable via touch or a mouse.

home screen

Galleries will show an image, caption, date added, and if available, brief description. Beneath each gallery item you will find a link to the original content on the web hosted at one of the Smithsonian web sites. Here are some screen shots of a few of the galleries:

Photo of the Day

photo of the day

Latest News

latest articles

SmartNews History & Archaeology

smartnews history and archaeology

Please download at and let me know on Twitter @barbbowman if you like it!

My NASA Multimedia News App Now Available


I’ve been on an app spree, in case no one noticed. I’ve been using Microsoft Project Siena to build apps of late (in case my readers haven’t noticed) and my latest creation, NASA Multimedia News is now available in the Windows Store. Seven sources/feeds are available, including three video podcasts. Information is updated as NASA updates their content.

From the Main menu, you can select a feed:


Here’s one of the Video Cast galleries, which all work in the same manner. They are scrollable with touch or mouse. Tap the video window and select Play or hover with your mouse and select Play. Tap again to pause and then scroll to the next item in the Gallery.


Here’s one of the News Galleries, scroll horizontally to view older entries.


earth observe news


NASA Image of the Day Gallery:



My Space Images from NASA is REALLY Complete


Thanks to everyone who provided feedback. I’ve done a couple of iterations and the feature complete version of Space Images from NASA is now available. The version number (Charms, Settings, About from inside the app) will display V1.1.0.5. If you have an older version, you can manually check for updates in the Windows Store. There will be another update soon but it is cosmetic only.

New in this version:

The Home screen for the app now includes the content from “On the Station” –
the latest news from the International Space Station in a gallery (both text and

NASA Astronomy Images and Space Images from NASA’ JPL are pulled via a behind
the scenes Bing search and no description/caption is available, however, you now
can display the source image in Modern IE by tapping or clicking an individual
image in the Gallery. The browser will launch and fetch the image (some of these
are quite large and will not appear instantaneously).

My Space Images from NASA App now available World Wide


I’ve updated my Space Images from NASA App for Windows 8.1 with lots of aesthetic changes and made it available world wide.

I created this App with Microsoft Project Siena Beta 2 and have been tweaking it for the past day or so. The App pulls the images and information from various websites and displays in one of the three galleries.

Project Siena has a plethora of great features. I’ve love pictures from beyond our small planet. Project Siena gave me the incentive to build an app that displayed the types of images that I wanted to see. The reaction has been great, and I received encouragement to release it world wide after a limited release. I’ve refined the interface and refined the search criteria behind the scenes. To build this app, I used REST and Big Search Services. The result was better than I even imagine. Please download and rate if you’re interested in this kind of content. Of course, this is a free App.

Here’s a visual tour of the finished app”":

Home Screen


NASA Image of the Day with Full Description


NASA Astronomy Image Gallery


Space Images from JPL

JPL Space

Space Images from NASA App Available Now


Microsoft Project Siena Beta 2 arrived Tuesday afternoon with some new bells and whistles and refinements. I’d been thinking about a way to pull in some space images from NASA, and the arrival of Beta 2 provided the incentive. Thus, my Space Images from NASA App was born. MS Project Siena let me build an app in less than an hour using the Bing Search API to pull general images and I used REST to pull the NASA large image of the day.

Release 2 (now in the store) features three Galleries”

NASA Image of the Day


NASA Astronomy Images


Space Images from NASA’s JPL


I really should have subtitled this post “continuing my love affair with Microsoft Project Siena”.

Please try out my (free) Space Images from NASA App.

Windows 10 users: Read this blog with my PWA (Progressive Web App) from the Windows Store

Read this blog with my Windows 8 App

Get the App