How To

6

Windows Phone Basics: The Pictures Hub

WPCentral's Guide to the Windows Phone Pictures Hub

With the release of the Nokia Lumia series (710, 800, 900) and the HTC Titan II Windows Phones, we are seeing new Windows Phone users picking up the new phones.  We've touched on must have games and must have apps for your Windows Phone.  We've also touch on some of the best free apps for your Windows Phones.  Now we'll turn our attention more in-house to take a look at the various Hubs on your Windows Phone.  First up, the Pictures Hub.

The Pictures Hub on your Windows Phone is the repository for your photographic albums, a central hub where you can share your photos and where you can back images up to your Skydrive account.  The Pictures Hub is where you go to manage the moments you capture on video and photos.  After the break we have a walk-through of the Pictures Hub for those new to Windows Phone and a refresher for those more familiar with things.

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Being actively social while on-the-go is Microsoft's main aim with Windows Phone, and both Messenger and Facebook Chat provide the means for owners to communicate with contacts via the social network and popular IM service. What's great about these features is that they are integrated into the operating system. Switching between text, Messenger, and Facebook can be achieved in the conversation itself with zero apps.

The only issue with such integration is actually setting it all up - it's not as simple as one would like to believe (there's no click-and-go here). Messenger is automatically connected and ready to fire up once you'd attached your Live ID in the Windows Phone setup walkthrough, but to activate Facebook Chat, you'll be required to login on your Live account and set up Facebook Connect via the web browser, as well as adding your Facebook account to your phone. Simply connecting your Facebook account to your Windows Phone only kick-starts the social integration for the People hub and Me tile. Too much, too fast?

Read on for our full tutorial on Facebook Chat and Messenger for Windows Phone....

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The guys (and gals) over at XDA regularly provide the Windows Phone community with homebrew apps that fill some gap that non-native apps cannot.

One of these gaps is screenshots. The Windows Phone Operating System provides no support for taking screenshots, which can cause reviewers like ourselves some hassles. So we previously covered an app called Screen Capturer which took screenshots and saved them to your pictures hub, and now 'N37-L0RD' over at XDA has developed a similar app called WP Screenshot.

It's pretty close to Screen Capturer, except for the main feature: pictures you take are instantly transferred right onto your PC, eliminating the extra step of syncing with Zune. It is also really basic to use and setup, which you can see below:

1) Download the two files attached to this post.

 

2) Deploy the .XAP to your device and open it up. Also open up the desktop app.

3) Open up command and find out your IP Address, and input that into the WP Screenshot app on your phone.

4) Once it's connected, half-press (as if to focus) the camera button any time on your phone and the picture should automatically pop-up on your PC. Press Ctrl+S to save the current screenshot. And press Ctrl+H to view the other commands.

There you have it, a super simple way to get screenshots from your device. This does require your device to be dev-unlocked, but does not require Interop-unlock.

Source: XDA

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Nokia has published this semi-humorous guide to saving a Lumia Windows Phone from being permanently damaged by water. Should you so happen to drop your Lumia device into a swimming pool or a bath, then these simple steps might just turn your bad luck (or clumsiness) into a gigantic sigh of relief. So how does one go about rescuing a drowning Lumia Windows Phone?

Firstly, one must remove the device from its watery hell as quickly as possible. The faster it's removed from water, the lower the chance of permanent damage. You should then remove the SIM card and battery (if possible) to prevent further damage to components.

Next up is actually drying the handset. To carry this out effectively, one should use a dry cloth or towel - don't attempt to use paper towel, toilet paper or even a hairdryer (do we need to explain why?). Ensure all excess water has been removed from the Windows Phone. Of course this wont completely dry the device inside-out, so a nights rest next to a radiator (or in a bag of rice / wrapped in a towel) is required. 

Once the phone has had time to shake off, re-insert the SIM and battery to check if it boots up. If it's successful then congratulations, if not then you're looking at the possibility of irreversible damage. We're pretty sure this guide can be applied to all sturdy Windows Phones, just remember not to go swimming with your handset in your pocket.

Via: MonWindowsPhone

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With the latest info from AT&T regarding the 8107 update (specifically that they don't have plans to offer it) and news that the HTC Titan and Samsung Focus S are reportedly going to be discontinued soon, the issue about force-updating the OS has been brought up as an alternative.

Indeed, there is a relatively easy way to force any Windows Phone to 8107 in about 15 minutes (after you get all the right files in place) and in fact, we just did it to our Samsung Focus S, mostly because we have a crap-ton of Windows Phones here and can take risks.

We're going to assume you don't have extra phones and therefore we can't really endorse this because:

  1. You may "Walsh" your phone, meaning you'll bugger your chances for future updates (if they ever happen, ahem)
  2. It is a bit stressful
  3. You really shouldn't have to do this, amirite?

Having said that, if you still want to go down this path we can say it does work and if you follow the directions to the letter, you'll have 8107 on your Windows Phone (you just won't have any "tweaked" OEM firmware to go with it).

Once again, we must stress that we're not endorsing this method and we would much rather see AT&T just deliver an update. Should you screw up your phone, this is all on you.

So against our better judgement (and Rafael's ire), we're going to post our tutorial on the subject.  Read on, if you dare...

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We've received reports from some readers that the recent update to Ask Ziggy version 2.0, the Siri-like SkyNet-type app for Windows Phone, has left the app unusable. The recent update addressed some issues and fixed some bugs, but it seems that users may experience problems when launching the app after updating.

Like many apps that experience issues when launching with crashes or errors, a simple way to fix the problem (especially if it's after an update has been installed) is to re-install the troubled app. We advise Windows Phone users to troubleshoot before reporting issues to prevent frustration. This should fix Ask Ziggy too.

Thanks to everyone who sent in troubled reports.

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Okay, in a way we really don't recommend you do this, on the other hand we just did so who are we to judge. In short, with a few tools and about 20 minutes of your time, you can flash the latest build of Windows Phone (8107 with the keyboard fix) and the latest firmware (12070) onto your T-Mobile branded Nokia Lumia 710.

The latest firmware fixes the end-call bug in addition to giving other "performance enhancements" e.g. powering on from standby seems faster to us now, whereas before there was delay. We haven't run it long enough to see if battery life has improved, though we presume since this matches the Lumia 800's new firmware that it has some of the same tricks (we're idling at about 135mAh, for what it's worth).

How is this done? The files come from Nokia's servers where you can download various ROM packages. In this case, Nokia has available three variants (by color) of their latest 710 ROMs for India available. That's right, you'll be installing a ROM for India on your US phone. No worries though as it's unbranded and heck, it even has two pics of the Taj Mahal as a bonus.

Downside? Evidently in India you can't give an option to disable the camera shutter sound, so you'll literally lose that option in Settings. This is also a full-on flash, meaning you'll wipe your device and backups won't work (new firmware). Finally, we lost our "4G" icon which makes us wonder if we lost our HSPA+ speeds. Our browser download tests (compared to a T-Mo Radar 4G) show that no loss in speed has occurred and from normal use, it feels just as fast as ever for data.

In order to do this you'll need two pieces of free software: Navifirm and Nokia Care Suite 5.0. The former downloads the ROMs from the server, the latter via the Product Support Tool For Store 5.0, allows you to flash your phone. (Honestly, it's really easy once you read some instructions).

Unfortunately we're not going to give a step-by-step because this is a little risky (although you can just flash back the T-Mobile release ROM). Still, if you want to know more about how this works, just head over to ye'old XDA where you can read the similar instructions on flashing the Lumia 800 (yes, it works on that too). Or you could just wait for the T-Mobile version, which we imagine will be here in a few weeks.

Thanks, Robert, for the heads up

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We've mentioned Bazaar before--it's the first serious attempt at a homebrew Marketplace for Windows Phone, a place where developers can centralize and easily distribute their work for end users, allowing people to keep up on updates and learn about new apps. That's important as browsing our forums, XDA or just watching our front page, while helpful, can cause you to miss things.

Previously though, Bazaar was restricted to custom ROMs as an addon app for Windows Phone. While extremely useful and impressive, this limited its influence. Today though that all changes with the release of the Bazaar Desktop client.

If you have a developer or Chevron unlocked phone, you'll definitely want this. The app is quite impressive allowing you to browse, as far as we can tell, all the homebrew apps that are out there. You have concise app descriptions including if it will work on your device (lots are restricted to Gen 1 devices, for instance) and screenshots to see what the app looks like.

Perhaps more importantly though is the ability to download and install directly to your phone, making the whole process extremely easy. The app simply piggybacks off of Zune Desktop and if you have your device paired with that app, it will "see" this one. That latter part is very useful as it even shows you already installed homebrew/sideloaded apps, making management a breeze (most of us are still limited to just 10 homebrew/sideloaded apps). 

Other worthy mentions include Featured, Browse, and Favorites making it a snap to find an app (although even we admit that the homebrew scene is a bit anemic).

Bazaar for Windows Desktop is free, well designed and just works. For that we're giving it a big recommendation and a thumbs up to the hard work of the dev team who are certainly worthy of a donation. Get more information and screenshots at their distribution page: http://118.139.161.234/bazaar/BazaarForPC.aspx

Source: Bazaar for PC; via Plaffo

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While it's been confirmed by Nokia already, the team over at WeLoveWP.hk have run some tests on charging the Lumia Windows Phone with a number of options. Turns out when put up against generic USB chargers (eg. Apple), USB ports and another Nokia charging unit, the Nokia Lumia adapters provided more charge for a faster rate of recharge.

Check out the summarised results below:

  • Computer USB 2.0 port: 3.85V - ~110mA
  • Nokia DC-11K Mobile Charging Unit: 3.9V - 330mA
  • Apple Charger: 3.88V - 300mA
  • Lumia 800 AC-16 Charger: 3.95V - 600mA

Should you have a Nokia Lumia charger in your procession, using it over your PC (or other USB based chargers) will pump the juice into your Lumia handsets at a faster rate.

Source: WeLoveWP.hk

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Dialing numbers listed on websites is supposed to be an easy task on Windows Phone. The OS basically highlights the numbers (like a hyperlink) and when you tap them, you get the standard "Edit phone number" screen and the option to call said number. The system is based on detecting sets of 7,10 or 11 numbers with their appropriate hyphens, periods, etc.

Interestingly, some folks at XDA have discovered that this seemingly only works for US devices. More specifically, devices who's 'Region format' settings under 'Region + language' are set for English (United States). Even folks in Canada evidently have this issue which is odd, to say the least.

We tried the list of numbers found in this post at XDA with our US region settings and they all worked fine except for the last number--just as expected. When we switched to Estonia (and rebooted) those numbers were now un-clickable just as others are reporting.

We're hesitant to call this a 'bug' because for all we know Microsoft did this on purpose for some strange reason. Still, if you want this function, you can head to Settings --> Region + Language --> Region Format and change that to English (United States) to get it to work for now as a workaround. And Microsoft, if this isn't on purpose then you may want to fix it for future updates, kthxbai!  As noted in comments, this is actually advertised as a US-only feature by Microsoft so if you want it, you'll have to use the above trick to get it.

Source: XDA; Thanks, James, for the tip!

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And after ripping on Google for the last two posts, we decided it would be fun and ironic to mention that Google is now allowing multiple calendars to sync to your Windows Phone:

"We launched a few new features on Google Sync for our Windows Phone (7.5+) users. Multiple Calendars is a feature that lets you select which of your Google Calendars are synced to your device. Just navigate to m.google.com/sync on your phone’s browser and configure the calendars you would like to see. From that page, you can also configure which addresses you send mail as if you have custom addresses in Gmail. We’ve also improved search to look beyond the conversations that are stored locally on your device so that you are able to find more of your conversations, faster."

We've playing around with it for the last half hour and despite numerous syncs, we have yet to see our newly created calendar pushed to our phone. File that under "how the hell do you navigate Google Calendar" and/or "it's still rolling out". Your choice.  Let us know in comments if you got it to work.

Either way, it's nice to see Google still paying attention to Windows Phone, even if they still call it Windows Mobile on occasion. Hey, even our "Search server" function seems to be working again!

Source: Gmail (Google+)

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The Windows Live team have published an article on the official blog that'll help readers who are possibly considering to switch from Gmail to Hotmail for email and other cloud services. Should you be on the fence about leaving Google, and wish to take up Microsoft to host your e-life, there are only three simple steps you're required to take to achieve this goal.

1. Create a Hotmail account. A Hotmail/Live ID is required (name@hotmail.com/name@live.com) to use the web service, but there is no domain restriction. When signing up for an account (should you not already possess one) you are allowed to use your own personal domain for email.

2. Import your old messages from Gmail. Should you not wish to use an email client to do the job, a service such as TrueSwitch will work wonders moving across from Gmail.

3. Connect your Gmail account. You have now successfully set up your Hotmail account, but one more optional step is available. You can have Hotmail actively retrieve any future messages that you receive on your Gmail account by carrying out the following:

  • b. Click Sending/receiving email from other accounts.
  • c. Click Add an email account.
  • d. Provide your Gmail account details.

Rocking out Hotmail is arguably the best way, should you not be using Exchange of course, for Windows Phone email users, since improvements have been made to the service and it integrates seamlessly with all other Microsoft products.

Source: Windows Team Blog

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7

Metro Photoshop Swatches

I spend a lot of my day designing Metro stuff for Windows Phone. And the majority of that time is spent creating mockups of each area of whatever app I am doing, along with testing it with each accent color.

Embarrassingly however, every few days I head over to Bing and search for the accent colors. I've gotten so used to this that I forgot how silly it is.

I almost hit myself tonight when I saw this really simple, but awesome little swatch file for Photoshop that I should have made for myself months ago. So if you're a designer, or a dev that does design, or have PS installed for no conceivable reason at all, head over to the source and download and run the swatch file.

Source: timmykokke

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Howdy WPCentral Forums members. Today, I want to give a quick tutorial on how to use the WPCentral 'Pictures and Albums'.

This is a great addition to our forums as members can use it to host pics to use when making new posts (no need to "hotlink" or host them yourselves). With this option, users can add pictures to their albums where they can chose to share them with others. Going further, anyone can use your pictures or optionally you can hide your albums so only you can use them. 

This tutorial will cover step by step how this is accomplished, so join me after the break...

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Those of you who follow the Microsoftie world will probably know of the Samsung Series 7 Slate. Microsoft gave these out for free to every attendee of the BUILD developer conference in Anaheim this past September (press had to return them though). Roughly a month after the conference they popped up on the Microsoft Store available for pre-order - albeit slightly nerfed.

I finally bought myself one in December for Windows 8 development. Since then I haven't really touched any dev in Windows 8 (going to wait for the Beta) and have just been using it as my secondary Operating System. What I have been doing on the Slate though, is WP7. And it's awesome!

Take a look at the spec's below:

  • Display: 11.6 in SuperBright LED-backlit HD (1366 x 768) - 8 finger multi-touch
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-2467M 1.60 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB DDR3 1333 MHz
  • Hard drive: 128 GB SSD (also available in 32GB and 64GB)

While it doesn't look particularly powerful in relation to today's desktop's and laptop's - it really does pack quite a punch. Booting into Windows 7 takes around 20 seconds to be fully loaded and Windows 8 a mere 10 seconds. For day-to-day tasks there isn't a single program that my 6-core Phenom can run faster (presumably this is because of the SSD).

Here is a short video demonstrating an app, Relaxify X, running in the emulator, along with deploying it to an actual device:

So if you have a thousand bucks spare and want a really shiny late Christmas present, I suggest picking one of these up. There's no denying that they are very expensive for what you get compared to a traditional laptop, but if you're looking to get into the Windows 8 market early, or just want to do Windows Phone 7 development without being tied to a device then it's perfect.

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1

Xbox Live Online Safety Controls [How-to]

The other day we mentioned that certain props were on their way out for your XBox Live Avatar. Agree or disagree with Microsoft's policy you may find the need to control your child's access to explicit music, videos or games on their Windows Phone or XBox Live console. If so, here's how to go about it.

You'll need log into your (or your child's) Xbox Live account over at Xbox.com.

If your child's account is part of a family membership you'll need to go to the Family Center section that is listed under the XBox drop down menu at the top of the screen. Find your child's Xbox Account, hover over the name and a pop-up menu will appear. Choose the Privacy and Online Settings option.

If your child has a stand alone account, the Privacy and Online Settings will be listed on their profile page just below their avatar.

The Privacy and Online Settings page contains settings to regulate activity, privacy and content on the Xbox Live console and Windows Phone.  If you scroll down to the bottom of the options and you will find the "Music, Music Videos and Windows Phone Games" option. You have options to allow access or block access to such titles. Make your choice and click "save" to preserve those settings. 

The choice to block or allow access to such titles is not for us to decide but with many finding Xbox Live consoles and Windows Phones under the tree this Holiday Season, we thought we'd share this how-to just in case there is a need.

via: mobilityminded

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So you got a Windows Phone for Christmas? Sweet. If you're a developer, you're probably itching to start writing code for the device. If an advanced hobbyist, homebrew software may be more of your interest. While the emulator -- a part of the Windows Phone SDK -- rocks for testing locally, you'll eventually want to try the real deal by loading up XAPs on your phone. We'll cover the pros and cons of each approach to do so.
 

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3

Surfcube 3D browser's hidden Easter Egg revealed

If you think Internet Explorer 9 on Windows Phone is slick, you should try it with Surfcube 3D. The browser is a wrapper for IE9 that extends and enhances the browsing experience while making it super cool--after all, it makes it a 3D "cube" that you can spin around.

We've heard that there's at least one hidden surprise with the browser and now you can see it for yourself. Go to Settings --> About and tap the Kinabalu Innovation logo (the mountains) to enter the free-cube mode. Basically the cube become unhinged and "floats" with the accelerometer.

Useful? Not really. But fun to goof with? Definitely.

Anyways, we always like little stuff like this. Hopefully you caught the sale for Surfcube this past weekend. If not, you can pick up the ad-free version here for $1.99 with trial or go for the ad-supported free version here in the Marketplace.

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Get missing Zune Pass features in Australia now

While the full-force of the Australian Zune Pass still needs to launch tomorrow, bits and pieces of it are now available, including being able to sign up. However, if you want all the good stuff now, Chris Walsh from ChevronWP7 (and Eric Lawrence's Fiddler app) have your back.

In a post on his blog, Walsh details a relatively easy method by which you can trick the Zune Servers and get access via the Zune Desktop to those "missing features".

Looks like a fun way to kill fifteen minutes and get the good stuff now. Read more at Chris Walsh's blog here.

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5

Take screen captures of Windows Phone games

We covered the screen capturing app for Windows Phone Mango not so long ago, but it's noted that the app is not able to take screen shots of games. The guys at Nanapho.jp have come across an easy work around that involves little effort. 

As one can see in the above photo, simply using the multi-task functionality, the user is able to save the screenshot of the game while in the task selection screen. Then simply use a photo editor to rotate and crop the image. There is a downside to this, as mentioned in their article, where the resolution of the captured images are 432×259 instead of 800x400. Check out an example below.

As well as gaming, this technique works when using the camera app as well as watching a movie. There's a slight sacrifice, but the functionality is worth it.

Source: Nanapho.jp (Translate)

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