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3 years ago

WPCentral new writers: RogueCode and Rafael Rivera

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Howdy folks, as we prepare to head into 2012, WPCentral is going full speed ahead with continued changes and expansion. Recently you may have noticed our side bar (to the right) got a minimalist make-over, stripping it down to the basics as well as adding new functions (e.g. latest forum posts). That should help with load times as well as make the site cleaner and less cluttered. We've also added a 'Developers' category a the top-bar, which will just show dev related stories.

That leads us to our two new contributors to the site:

  • 'Roguecode/RogueMat' - A Windows Phone developer by trade, he's been responsible for such apps as Ffffound, Tweet this Song, Metro Wall and Relaxify. He also has a few things to say which is why he'll be occasionally writing some posts for us from a developer's perspective. In addition, he'll be helping out in our forums, specifically the Dev section. Follow Matt on Twitter @roguecode and check is swanky website here.
  • Rafael Rivera - Does he need an introduction? He's one-third of the ChevronWP7 Labs team (Long Zheng and Chris Walsh being his partners in crime). He's also quite versed in all-things Microsoft, often tearing and breaking down apps to find how they work. Heck, even co-wrote a book. He's also not shy about leveling criticism where he thinks it is due--which is why he'll probably yell at us for posting this ;-) Having already written a few stories for us, Rafael will be concentrating primarily on security and privacy in relation to Windows Phone, but in reality he can write on whatever he feels. Have questions about an app? Wonder how something works? Ask him and he'll probably get cracking on it. Find him on Twitter @withinrafael, read up on his thoughts at his site WithinWindows and check his about page to learn more.

So please give them both a warm welcome. This is all part of our continued effort to bring you the latest, informed news as well as original content to help you better understand Windows Phone and perhaps maybe gain some new insight. Don't forget, in a few weeks version 2.0 of our app will be ringing in the new year too in addition to some more changes!

-the WPCentral Team

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3 years ago

Reddit users, your Baconit is here

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Reddit users, your Baconit is here

We've mentioned in the past that Reddit (site link) is our favorite learning tool time waster and we've always enjoyed having a mobile-Reddit option. The web site is a massive collection of user-submitted stories, pictures and news where "Redditors" can up-vote or down-vote what they like. Going deeper, there are s sub-reddits for specific topics. It's a hilarious, often witty community where we often do learn a few things (as well as being entertained--hello F7U12)

Unfortunately, some of the past apps have not gone "Mango", which is a shame as fast-app switching, Live Tiles, notifications, etc. all seem very useful things for such a website. Now Quinn Damerell has made a dedicated, Mango app called 'Baconit' (the title itself is a bit of an inside joke). In development for sometime, Damerell has made quite the killer Reddit app in our opinion. No doubt he learned a thing or two interning at Microsoft last year (we hear he's also returning to join the Windows Phone team--big congrats!).

We've been running the beta for awhile now and the full version just went live in the Marketplace. The app is free, which is amazing for such quality and features everything you would want in a mobile Reddit app:

  • Full Mango Support   
  • Message Inbox with background updates
  • Unread Message / Karma Live Tile
  • Pinning of SubReddits and stories [Bug: fix coming in v1.4]
  • Endlesss SubReddit browsing
  • Fast App Switching / Multitasking
  • Local caching of all data
  • Easy voting for stories and comments
  • Logical browsing and reading of comments
  • Commenting support for stories and other comments
  • Account control and details

Like we said, it's free so if you're a Reddit user there's not reason not to use it--it's simply gorgeous and fluid, the way app should be. Pick it up here in the Marketplace and enjoy. [Edit: App appears to be US-only at this point. We've contaced the developer to inquire about future Marketplace expansion]

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3 years ago

Xbox Live: MiniSquadron control bug discovered, plus an easy workaround

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Since its announcement, we at WPCentral have been eagerly anticipating the release of MiniSquadron on Xbox Live. Imagine my disappointment then when I booted the game up on Wednesday only to discover that the virtual stick simply did not work. As a result, I couldn’t steer the plane or do much of anything besides get an Achievement for bouncing into the walls. A quick check of the comments section on Wednesday’s announcement article and other gaming forums reveals the problem is fairly widespread, though it doesn’t affect everyone.

Thankfully there is a fix for MiniSquadron’s control problem. If your game’s virtual stick isn’t working, simply restart your phone. The next time you boot up the game, the controls should be fixed. You’re then set to enjoy some 2D aerial combat!

Fat Pebble, the developer responsible for the Windows Phone port of MiniSquadron, is aware of the control bug. They have promised to fix it as soon as possible. While the inconvenience of the bug seems like a total downer, it’s actually a boon for gamers. You see, MiniSquadron was developed prior to the Windows Phone Mango update and therefore doesn’t support Fast App Switching. Now that the devs have to update the game to fix the bug, it will be easy for them to throw in Fast App Switching at the same time. Let’s just hope Microsoft allows the update to pass quickly (as they seldom do).

In the meantime, don’t let the presence of a little bug keep you from buying MiniSquadron. The workaround is a very minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things.  MiniSquadron costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Touch down here on the Marketplace to get it.

Update: MiniSquadron may not receive an update to fix the control bug and its broken Achievement after all. We'll post again if things change.

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3 years ago

Trine's Hangman updated and going on sale

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Gydar Industries is at it again. They have released another update to the popular Windows Phone game Trine's Hangman and will also be offering it at half price for the Holidays. Version 1.14 adds more words into the mix, fixes a few bugs, and adds two Christmas themed wallpapers to the game.

The half off sale will drop the price of Trines Hangman Pro from $1.99 to $.99. The Holiday sale will run from December 25, 2011 to January 1, 2012. You still have Trine's Hangman available which is a free, ad-supported version but at $.99, the Pro version is a real steal of a deal.

For those not familiar with Trine's Hangman, it is a hangman game for your Windows Phone that has you playing against a global online community of thousands for leaderboard braggin' rights. The game can be personalized with wallpapers and the music can be saved as a custom ringtone for your Windows Phone. There's even an online braggin' rights page you can share via email, Facebook, Twitter or SMS message (here's mine).

If you haven't tried Trine's Hangman now is your chance to take advantage of a great offer on the ad-free version. You can find Trine's Hangman Pro here (remember starting Dec. 25th it's half off) at the Windows Phone Marketplace and Trine's Hangman (the ad supported version) here.  Trine's is a mango app so you'll need to be running Windows Phone 7.5.

     

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3 years ago

Ring Ball Christmas Edition hits the Marketplace

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There are a handful of Holiday themed games hitting the Windows Marketplace and you can add Ring Ball to the growing list.

Ring Ball is a simple game where you have a ball that changes colors that you use to collect matching colored rings. Ring Ball makes use of your Windows Phone accelerometer and you roll the ball around the screen by tilting your Windows Phone this way and that.  You collect rings of matching color to earn points, while avoiding non-matching colored rings.

Once you collect a ring, the color of the ball changes. Should you make contact with a non-matching color ring, you lose one of your three lives. There are bonus items that pop up from time to time such as the psychedelic rainbow that allows you to collect any ring, regardless of the color.

In tinkering with Ring Ball it comes across as an entertaining game that will test your skills of balance. My only nit after spending a short time with the game is that the ball movement seemed a little sluggish.  Unfortunately, there isn't any settings to adjust the accelerometer's sensitivity.

There is a free trial available with the full version of Ring Ball running $.99. You can grab it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Microsoft releases WPDev Feedback app [Developers]

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Here's a very cool thing that Microsoft has done (and probably should have done awhile ago)--an app designed for the sole purpose of getting user-submitted feedback on things they want for the platform.:

The WPDev Feedback app allows you to provide feedback and make your voice heard to the teams building the Windows Phone application platform. Suggestions provided via the WPDev UserVoice forum and this app will be reviewed and read by the Windows Phone application platform team, providing feedback to help with planning ideas and to better understand how developers are using the WP development platform, and all suggestions will be considered.
Key Features:

  • This tool connects your Windows Phone to the WPDev UserVoice forum (http://wpdev.uservoice.com)
  • Suggest new application platform capabilities and features
  • Browse current suggestions (sortable by top ideas, hot ideas, new ideas, and your ideas)
  • Comment on submitted suggestions
  • Add up to three votes to suggestions

Note that this isn't for consumers but developers who have specific things they want or need to make great apps for Windows Phone. Going further, comments are moderated so don't think of trying to spam them for requests either. Having said that we think this is an invaluable tool for devs and a great idea by Microsoft to continue their great interaction with the community. Pick it up here in the Marketplace or click to enlarge the QR code below.

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3 years ago

Microsoft Research releases Face Mask

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Microsoft Research releases Face Mask

Just a couple days after releasing Face Swap, Microsoft Research is at it again with Face Mask.  Where Face Swap used facial recognition to let you move mugs between bodies, this new app adds humorous features people's faces.  Choose between 20 different masks, rotate or resize them, then make your friends look ridiculous.  Face Mask can identify multiple faces in a snapshot and can randomize masks between them simply by shaking your phone.  Pictures can be saved to the People Hub, as well as shared via Facebook, Twitter and Sina Weibo.

Like its sister app, Face Swap, Face Mask is free.  You can get it here.  Also, if you enjoy this app, check out Funny Faces too. Thanks for the tip, Shadi!

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3 years ago

Deal Alert: Line Birds now free in the Marketplace

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There are a free killer-games out there that we like to highlight around these parts and Line Birds is one of them (see our review here). The game is very popular on the iPhone with over 3 million users and now that studio, Djinnworks, has decided to try their hand on Windows Phone 7. The game was released weeks ago for $1.99 and we happily paid it because it's just well done.

But the real news is now the game is completely free. We're not sure how long it will last as it just happened a few days ago (when it received it's v1.2 update) so we think you should jump on board now. The game is in the vein of Rainbow Rapture e.g. a distance game. Basically you're a bird who has to vertically dodge lines while trying to get power-ups:

"Guide these cute birds through a world full of danger. Unlock new birds as you progress through the game. Each bird has its own special ability from getting invisible or using time warp to a powerful explosion ability.

From the makers of Stick Stunt Biker, Stickman Cliff Diving, Line Runner, Line Jumper, Line Surfer, RunStickRun, Rope'n'Fly and more... "

Going from $1.99 to free is a heck of a Christmas gift for such a great game. Go get this now as you won't be disappointed. Thanks, Ben H., for the tip!

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3 years ago

'Radio Controlled' Pandora app now in the Windows Phone Marketplace

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We showed you Radio Controlled last week--the new third party Pandora app from Bushwood Studios. The app itself has quite a nice design to it with a large "Live Tile" in the center, auto login and song-preview featuring the album art.

We're happy to report now that the app is live in the Marketplace, ready for you to take it for a spin. The app is of course free with ads and we think a lot of you will really dig the app's layout. Just as you expect from a Pandora player you can log in to your account, pick stations, create stations and stream in the background. You can also get more artist info via Zune, Pandora and Amazon, which is a nice touch not to mention the Live Tile for your start screen.

The app isn't yet listed in the Marketplace, but we have you covered. Head here to the Marketplace to get it now, click-to-enlarge the QR code below and check our video-sneak peek after the break.

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3 years ago

Nokia's Snake dresses up for the holidays

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Nokia is at it again with their brilliant adver-tainment campaign.  They have added the classic Snake game that they had used to advertise on MSN UK to their Facebook page.  This time around, they have thrown a Christmas sweater on it, using wrapped gifts as the snake's snack.  As you slither around gobbling up presents, the snake grows longer, making it tougher to navigate the tiny confines of the page. 

With the tie-in to Facebook, players can share their scores (mine were too low to be proud of) or even challenge their friends.  If you want to kill some time, check it out using the source link below.  Beware the ultra-catchy midi soundtrack.

Source: Nokia (Facebook)

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Game Review: Flipper

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Windows Phone Game Review: Flipper

Flipper is an interesting game for your Windows Phone. It's a simple game where you flip triangles to create squares to earn points. It's an easy game to pick up on but challenging enough to keep your interests up.  

Flipper's menu has options to play the game, view your high score and submit your scores to an online leaderboard. You can also customize your player name as it appears on the leaderboard.  The game really has nothing to do with Gumby but at the time, I couldn't think of any other prop to use.

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3 years ago

Official WPCentral app v2.0 beta program - Applications Closed

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Update: Closed Wow! what a response, I've already had over 200 applicants for the beta so in the interest of not disappointing too many people I'm closing applications. Please check out the video below for a demonstration of the app!

Merry Christmas everyone! It gives me great pleasure to announce to you that v2.0 of our app will be in beta in time for Christmas day, and I'm looking for 100 volunteers to try it out.

This build is not feature complete, in fact there are a couple of things in the works which we're not quite ready to show just yet. However the main purpose of this beta is to test two of the most important changes we're bringing:

  • A full comments system with replies (tap and hold an existing comment)
  • New, customisable live tile with images on the rear

Yes we were listening and we know comments is the most requested feature, and thanks to some site changes last month we're now finally able to deliver that feature.

Of course that's not all that's changed, and the other things you'll notice are...

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3 years ago

A Holiday gift from Cryp2pass

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A Holiday gift from Cryp2pass

Cryp2pass is a password manager for your Windows Phone that will not only store your passwords but also generate passwords for your various accounts. In celebration of the Holidays, Cryp2pass is now being offered as a free application over at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Cryp2pass takes advantage of the panoramic layout of Windows Phone and features ten pre-defined templates. Templates can be edited to suit your needs and range from bank accounts to your insurance accounts. The app itself is password protected and a backup of your password database can be created on your PC.

There's no indication how long the limited time offer will last but for the time being you can grab Cryp2pass for free here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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3 years ago

MetroTube to be discontinued after January 1st

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We can't believe we're writing this but after January 1st, 2012, Lazyworm, the devs behind the super popular MetroTube will cease to offer the application. Those of you who have it now are all set as the app will continue to operate, but after 1/1/12 you won't be able to re-download the application from the Marketplace. 

The reasoning is vague but it involves the notion that the YouTube service (owned by Google) has not been supportive of Windows Phone and does not have any documented APIs for high quality videos. Most Windows Phone YouTube apps have been using a workaround, but Lazyworm believes that this is not feasible in the long run. In a letter posted to their customers (PDF) they write:

"We are extremely saddened to announce that as of the 1st of January 2012, our applications ‘Metrotube’ and ‘YouTube’ will no longer be available for download from the Windows Phone Marketplace.

YouTube’s current API does not have any documented methods for obtaining high quality video content. We have been using a workaround to obtain this content and it has recently come to our attention that this may not be sustainable in the long term, hence our decision to stop distributing the apps.

The apps should remain functional for those who have already installed them however we will be unable to push out any further updates. Of course, you can also continue accessing YouTube videos directly through your web browser."

Truly this is a massive blow to the Windows Phone ecosystem as MetroTube quickly became the must-have YouTube app. No word if other developers will follow suit or what Microsoft may do to ameliorate the situation. Hopefully we'll hear more in the coming days. Lazyworm expects to still develop for Windows Phone as a platform, so hopefully we'll see some more of their great work but in other forms in the future.

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3 years ago

MetroRadio returns to the Marketplace with an update

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Back a few weeks ago we announced that MetroRadio had landed in the Marketplace, earning the title of being the first unofficial Pandora app for Windows Phone. Then Pandora made some changes to their undocumented APIs (something that should be anticipated) and the app stopped working. The developer then "hid" the app from the Marketplace until he could revise the app and make some changes--so there you go.

Now the app is back with v3.0 and it has a cleaner UI and more:

  • Faster loading
  • Changed the way the app gets its music
  • Added auto login
  • Added Now playing to the stations list
  • Fixed Issues with login
  • Fixed Issues with playback
  • Added more search results
  • UI improvements

Not bad. The app is still free of course and you can grab it here in the Marketplace.

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