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Send notes to your Microsoft Band with Send2Band

With the recent launch of Microsoft Band SDK Developer Preview, we expect to see some new apps for the Microsoft Band from third party developers. One new app just caught our attention. It's called Send2Band. It lets you can send messages to your Microsoft Band by writing them directly from the app on your phone or through the built-in Windows Phone sharing function. See it how works in our hands-on video.

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The Instagram client 6tag version 4.0 barely got out the door this morning before being temporarily pulled due to a caching issue. While we wait for the 4.0.0.1 fix to roll out to the Store, it is worth chewing on that version 5.0 – likely not due for many months – is planned to be a universal app for Windows Phone and Windows.

Many developers are already contemplating the Windows 10 OS refresh and new developer tools, which are set to be unveiled later this spring at Microsoft's Build 2015 conference. Huyn is a connected developer, often featured by Microsoft so thinking about a universal app using Windows 10 seems like a no-brainer for the prolific developer.

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There are plenty of quality children's apps and games in the Windows Phone Store. Titles that not only will keep our kids entertained but will also teach them a thing or two along the way. Monstrous Math is one such Windows Phone app (or is it a game?) that hopes to teach children the basic math skills in a fun, animated app.

Monstrous Math covers addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems with each area having 12 stages. Each stage has five randomly generated equations, giving the game a little longevity. Available for low-memory Windows Phones, as well as Windows 8 devices, Monstrous Math is a strong option to consider for those with younger Windows Phone fans with a need exercise their math muscles.

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Weekly photo contest: Trees

After last weeks more technical challenge, this week we're going back to a more simple topic for the weekly photo contest; trees. But even the simplest of topics can produce some incredible shots. The one up top, for example, isn't a particularly fancy setting, but it's one of the first outdoor shots I've been able to take using Rich Capture on the Lumia 830.

So, that's this weeks task. And a little heads up that we'll still be closing it down in the usual time frame, but we'll be skipping a new contest next week on account of being at various shows around the world. But before all of that, who won last weeks, Tilt Shift, inspired contest?

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Help beta test Flock for Windows Phone

Flock is a free messaging app that is designed to facilitate group messaging within small teams and businesses. Available for Android, iOS, PC and Mac, the app is set to launch next month on Windows Phone. The developer behind the app is actively seeking beta testers to iron out the bugs and get feedback from the community, so if you're interested in checking out what the messaging utility offers, head here to register.

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Rocksteady's critically acclaimed Batman: Arkham series is coming to a close this year with Batman: Arkham Knight. The latest trailer for the game offers a glimpse at the multitude of villains that The Dark Knight has to go up against, including Two-Face, The Penguin, the Riddler, the Arkham Knight, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and Scarecrow.

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Five cheap laptops that are worth a gander

We're showcasing some of our favorite cheap laptops, perfect for anybody shopping on a budget.

Whether you need a spare PC for tinkering, a laptop for the kid that can be stand getting busted with minimal heartbreak, or you're just keeping an eye on your budget and need a passable computer, we've assembled some of the most promising options available. We're setting the threshold for under $350 for these picks, and many are well below that. Keep in mind that you likely won't be playing graphics-intensive games on these machines, but browsing, daily work, and moderate photo editing shouldn't be a problem.

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Back in December, Windows Central streamed a downloadable Xbox and Windows game from Capcom called Strider. The game became one of my favorites of 2014 thanks to its sleek style, fast pace, and rewarding sense of exploration. We've been wanting to come back to Strider on the stream ever since, and at last we're doing just that.

Why just play the newest Strider though? Last year's Strider is actually the latest in a long-running series. Seeing as how many readers and viewers probably haven't played the previous games, we've decided to turn back the clock a bit. Tonight we're playing the original Strider, Strider 2, and Strider (2014) all in one historic Twitch stream. Join us to see why the series is so beloved with hardcore gamers and have a blast chatting with the Windows Central crowd!

Update: The stream has ended. Continue reading to learn about the Strider series and see our full playthroughs of Strider 1 and 2!

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The Microsoft Band is not widely available, but lucky owners got treated to an update earlier this week. Some of the new features include the Bike Tile, virtual keyboard, Quick Read, and much more. It also lets Microsoft Band users integrate their data with two additional services: HealthVault and MapMyFitness. The Microsoft Band originally included just two integrated services: RunKeeper and MyFitnessPal. We'll show you how to integrate your Microsoft Band with these services.

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