Tips

As Microsoft and the Cortana team continue to refine the powerful AI and assistant, more features are slowly popping up online. A new one noticed by numerous people in our audience is definitions, powered by Oxford Dictionaries.

Load up Cortana and directly ask her 'What does _____ mean?' alternatively, 'What is the meaning of ____?' and the personal assistant from 500 years in the future pulls up a nice little card, complete with the word category and multiple definitions while exclaiming "I've found the meaning of…".

More →
9
loading...
0
loading...
1
loading...
0
loading...

The most recent update to the evolving Skype client for Windows Phone brought location sharing, a useful feature if you use Skype for frequent peer to peer messaging.

Users can just tap the '+' sign and instead of sharing a photo, they can choose their position, creating a little map and a hyperlinked address within the chat. Tapping that address brings up a full-screen map and you can then use the up arrow icon near the top to send to the Windows Phone mapping system to get directions to the location.

More →
5
loading...
0
loading...
2
loading...
0
loading...

Data Sense is a vital Windows Phone 8.1 tool for many who like to keep track of how much data their phone consumes each month. Even more, the gizmo gives users the ability to restrict background data when roaming, set data limits, and see which apps grabs the most data.

Earlier this week, Microsoft released a companion app for Data Sense called IE Data Savings. The app taps into Data Sense but gives users a more detailed analysis of their Internet Explorer web usage. The app is free, and it should work all phones with the Windows Phone 8.1 OS installed.

More →
3
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

Earlier this morning, the Nokia Developer Team tweeted out some information regarding developer devices getting Lumia Cyan. The Lumia 920 is now getting Lumia Cyan, with the Lumia 620 getting it next week and the Lumia 820 in early September. Good news, right?

Unfortunately, a few fan blogs took this news to mean that phones enrolled with the Preview for Developers program are now getting the Lumia Cyan update, which is far from accurate.

More →
6
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

When it comes to the Surface Pro 3, you can never have enough battery life. One trick that I have found to help preserve mine may also give you some peace of mind, and it involves disabling the Type Cover's ability to wake up your Surface.

The trick just takes seconds to do, and it might make your Surface go the distance. Let me explain.

More →
4
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

One of the smaller, but very useful features in Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 is Network Time Protocol (NTP) support. If you run a PC, NTP is nothing new, it is simply the ability for the computer to ping the server and pulldown the time off the internet. (Wikipedia fact: It is one of the oldest internet protocols in use!)

However, Windows Phone did not support this, at least not until Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1.

More →
3
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

Last night after much anticipation, Microsoft released their first beta for the Live Lock Screen app on Windows Phone 8.1 (see our hands on video). The app is maintaining a 4.1 (out of 5) rating on the Store, though the biggest complaint by far is the delay when turning on the phone. The reason for that has to do with the Live Lock Screen being an actual app that runs and a few other complications that developer Rudy Huyn says he is diligently working on to improve.

Regardless, if you do not want to participate in the beta, or would like to sit a few rounds out to see if Live Lock Screen improves, then you can always uninstall the app. Case closed, back to normal, right? Not so much...

More →
11
loading...
0
loading...
2
loading...
0
loading...

A few days ago I did a primer on InstantGo aka Connected Standby on the Surface Pro 3 and other Windows tablets. To refresh, InstantGo is a new low-power battery state the lets the system update email, Skype and other Modern apps while the device is in standby mode. But what if you think something is abnormally draining your battery?

Over on the Windows Experience Blog, Kevin Chin introduces readers to a new tool built into Windows 8.1 christened 'Sleep Study.' In short, Sleep Study is a diagnostic tool that reveals in high detail what is draining the battery on your Windows 8.1 devices with InstantGo enabled.

More →
3
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

The Notification Center in Windows Phone 8.1 is the new central location for managing notifications missed while away form the phone. When you have numerous apps firing up notification alerts it can prove a task to go through and delete them all. Luckily, there's a "clear all" button, but Microsoft has also included a sweet little gesture which is just as convenient to mark everything as read and start fresh.

More →
6
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
115

What does that Globe icon mean on my Windows Phone?

Every once in a while we like to step back and answer questions you may have about Windows Phone and things about it. Some questions are obvious, but others may leave you scratching your head or maybe you just didn’t feel like asking.

For example, when you swipe to the right to bring up your apps, and you tap on a letter, you get the Roman alphabet jump-list to find something specific.

Question: What is that Globe icon thingamajig at the end?

More →
2
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

When it comes to Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft has gone a long way in fixing many pet peeves of users. One of those pertained to those with a Nokia Lumia 1020, Lumia 1520 or Lumia Icon. Those users have the ability with the Nokia Camera app to shoot ‘high resolution’ photos, taking advantage of their respective 41 MP and 20 MP cameras. But auto-backups using OneDrive would only save the lower resolution 5 MP one, leaving the high-resolution version on the device. Not good.

As many of you have noticed over the last few weeks, Windows Phone 8.1 will now save those high resolution photos. We've finally gotten around to taking a look at it ourselves, and here are our findings.

More →
13
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

Microsoft’s Surface Pro line of tablet devices can be seen as the perfect companion for the traveling Photographer. No longer is there a need to carry around a bulky laptop powerhouse, Wacom tablet, and never-ending power cords. With the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2’s Core i5 processors, large amounts of RAM, long battery life, and Wacom powered display – there is a new Photographer’s best friend on the market.

However, as wonderful as the Surface Pro is out of the box, we can make a few tweaks and changes to make it the absolute best for those looking to make it their Photoshop companion device. Follow our guide below as we upgrade your graphics drivers, install extra Wacom software, and turn your tablet into a device Annie Leibovitz would be proud to use.

More →
11
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

Microsoft announced a lot of new features and opportunities for developers this month at their Build conference. One of those buzz terms was ‘universal Windows app’, which sure sounds remarkable. However, we’ve noticed some misunderstanding on exactly what that means. For instance, the impression by many is that if someone makes a Windows Phone app, developers can just hit a button to clone it for Windows and Windows RT devices. That leads to the ‘why isn’t this not a Universal app?’ question each time we mention a new release.

Microsoft is certainly on a unification kick. OneDrive, Xbox One, OneNote, mixing of Windows and Windows Phone developer registration, and expressions like ‘universal Windows app’ all suggest a merger of technology. It’s also a well-known secret that the Windows Phone OS and RT will eventually collide (starting with ‘Threshold’), leaving just two versions of ‘Windows’ for Microsoft.

More →
8
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

Windows Phone 8.1 brings a lot in terms of raw functions to end-users, but some things are going missed. For instance, the relevancy of the Me Tile is greatly diminished since notifications were moved to the Notification Center (and the stream was detached).

But perhaps the biggest function that people miss is the ability to cross-post status updates to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more. We explained the reasoning behind this in our guide on the new Social Extensibility framework in 8.1, but explanations in and of themselves don’t make people happy. And you’ve said as much.

Luckily, there is one way you can sort of get this feature back, though it’s far from perfect: Path.

More →
3
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

The new Word Flow keyboard in Windows Phone 8.1 has a lot going for it, but there's a subtle change in how you edit words using the caret (aka cursor for some, 'blinking vertical line' for others) that you may have missed. In Windows Phone 8.0, you had to hold-n-press to bring up the caret, but now in 8.1 you can just tap in between words. What's more, the caret now has a little circle at the bottom where you can "grab it" with your finger and move it around.

Curious about how it works? Watch our short video after the break which will compare and contrast it with Windows Phone 8.0.

More →
8
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

Windows Phone 8.1 is pretty awesome; there’s no doubt about that. Microsoft seems to have improved just about everything there is, but there will always be a few bits that are missing. One of those we even forgot ourselves: saving search results to contacts.

Case in point: you do a search in Cortana (or Bing, for non-US users) for an establishment like a diner or coffee stop. Powered by Bing, Cortana will do a great job of finding what you’re looking for in a jiffy. But let’s say you now wanted to add that find to your People Hub for future reference? Maybe you’re new in town, or you found a flower shop you really like. Evidently, you still can’t do that on Windows Phone, even with 8.1.

Liquid Daffodil, a popular developer firm who makes apps for Windows Phone and Windows 8, has released a brand new version of their ‘Add to Contacts’ app. We’ve covered this app in the past, and we’re happy to see it get a makeover and integration into 8.1.

More →
5
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

One of the great new additions to Windows Phone 8.1 is the ability to assign custom notification sounds for your apps. Previously, in Windows Phone 8.0 Update 3, developers could ship their own sound to be used, but only a few have taken advantage of that so far. But in 8.1, via the Notification Center, you can configure apps independently, including for alert sounds.

Melodia is a simple app, and it’s free. It’s basically a repository for ‘official’ alert melodies, which you can then play to sample and save directly to your phone. Once saved, they will appear in your custom alerts and by using the Notification Center, you can assign them to apps. Sure, you can do this on your own, but this is much easier using this app.

More →
3
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

Enjoy checking in when out and about? If so, you're likely a Foursquare user. 4th & Mayor is a premium experience wrapped up in an unofficial app. The third-party app is also ahead of the official client in terms of functionality, especially with the release of the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview. You can now integrate 4th & Mayor (Foursquare) into the Windows Phone Me tile with the new Social Extension app.

More →
3
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

Pages