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The Story of Straw, the polling engine for your pocket

Straw is a new Windows Phone app that aims to help you get instant feedback from your friends and followers on social networks. Recently, we covered the polling app and its public beta on Windows Phone. Since our initial coverage, the app has received numerous updates fixing bugs and addressing feedback from a growing user base. We figured it was as good a time as ever to talk with Straw co-founder Ben Rudolph about the founding of the app and its future.

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How to use the sleep tracker with the Microsoft Band

The Microsoft Band has a built-in sleep tracker. I've never used one before, so I was looking forward to testing it out for the first time. You'll need to activate it before you sleep and then stop the monitoring when you wake up. Here's my experience with it last night.

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Spider-Man Unlimited arrived on mobile back in September. The game instantly webbed me with its great graphics, huge array of collectible characters, and overall excellent use of the Spider-Man license. But I also caught many bugs in my review that I hoped would be fixed before long.

Just in time for Halloween, Gameloft has delivered a major update to Spider-Man Unlimited. The update adds a fourth "issue" to the game's story mode starring the Sandman, a limited time holiday event featuring Jack O'Lantern, and a host of changes and bug fixes. Most importantly for Windows Phone users, it now runs on devices with 512 MB of RAM! Read on for our detailed impressions of the new content and changes!

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Last week, we reported how Samsung was slowly trickling out the Windows Phone 8.1 Update (GDR1) for ATIV S users. However, the rollout at the time was limited to just phones with Austrian region branding. Users in our forums detailed how you could do it yourself, however the method was complicated by the sheer amount of ATIV S versions out on the market.

Today, our unbranded UK ATIV S (I8750), without the 8.1 Preview, is finally receiving numerous OS updates and new firmware. Users in our forums are confirming the same for what looks like a wider swath of ATIV S users and more regions.

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Windows Central's No Tricks, Just Treats Halloween Contest!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!! We have had a fantastic time with our Halloween Contest the last several years, and we can't wait to see how you guys top it this year! While you're out getting spooky, be sure to snap a photo with your Windows device (you can include other mobile gadgets too, but you know... we love Windows best). Then Instagram it using hashtag #TrickOrWP. We'll put together all the photos received into a sweet video for the blogs. And beyond that, you can win some awesome prizes for taking part. Full details below!

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Game Insight makes some outstanding mobile games including the addictive Cloud Raiders, 2020: My Country and Airport City. Today, their other empire-building game The Tribez is finally available for Windows Phone users.

The Tribez has been on iOS and Android for a few years (since 2012) already garnering some very high reviews. The game weighs in at 153 MB and yes even those with 512 MB devices can get in on the action. So far, the graphics of The Tribez look outstanding and the sheer size of the game's world seems highly impressive.

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BlackBerry's instant messaging service BBM will be seeing an update across all OS platforms in the next few days. It has been available through BlackBerry Beta Zone for some users from a few weeks now and it now ready for everyone. The most notable new feature is Timed Messages which allows users to send a 'secret' message to a contact for a pre-set duration of time. You will also be able to retract any accidentally sent messages. We've all been there, so that may be a handy addition.

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Following on from the U.S. launch earlier this week, Brits can now grab themselves a copy of Sunset Overdrive and the glorious looking white Xbox One console with it. The bundle will set you back £349 and is available at any number of retailers. So if you've been holding out for it, hold out no longer.

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The Microsoft Band Sync app for Windows or Mac lets you sync your Band to the cloud while it is connected via USB cable. Your phone can already sync your Microsoft Band, but Microsoft says this method syncs faster than your phone while your device is charging over USB.

Another reason why you would want this app on your Mac or PC is that it lets you get updates and restore the software on your Microsoft Band.

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If you're a fan of NCAA football, Cortana will help you stay on top of the latest college football scores. Microsoft has rolled out an update to Cortana on its end, which means no action is required on your part, to allow the Windows Phone digital assistant to give you the latest college football updates. You can track your teams by going into the Cortana settings and adding them.

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Last night we hosted one of our most exciting Twitch streams yet. Hundreds of viewers tuned in to get an early look at Halo: the Master Chief Collection for Xbox One. Yours truly played through one mission each from Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and Halo 2: Anniversary.

I absolutely didn't remember where to go in either mission, and sometimes I struggled against the Covenant hordes (especially the Hunters in Halo: CE). But we all had a great time, met some new readers and viewers, and maybe even learned a little something about life. See yesterday's post for archive videos of both games.

Tonight's stream focused on Halo 3 and 4. These two games haven't received the same level of enhancement as Halo and Halo 2, but they still look and run better than ever on Xbox One – especially Halo 4. The stream has now ended and prizes have been awarded. Check out our replay videos to see both games in action!

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Weekly photo contest: Curves

Last week we were all about boats for our weekly photo contest. This week your job is to go out and find some sweet looking curves. Lines are all around, so head out and look for some lines in your environment that have a curve to them.

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Earlier today, we did a full unboxing and tour of the new Microsoft Band. Since playing with the new smart device, we have been finding numerous neat little features that you very likely do not know about, making this health tool much more appealing.

In this new video, we take a deeper dive into the Microsoft Band's settings, including VIP email list for notifications, Clock Mode, auto brightness levels, and more!

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With the launch of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare just a few days away, we've got a quick giveaway for you fine folks who'll be grabbing yourselves a copy. With the new, special edition, Call of Duty Xbox One controller that we took a look at earlier this week, comes a download code for a free, in-game, multiplayer supply drop. And we're giving it away to one of you.

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