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3 years ago

Fix on the way for 4th & Mayor 'What's New' bug. Devs can get it now.

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For those using 4th & Mayor, the popular Foursquare app by Jeff Wilcox, you may have noticed a bug popping up earlier this evening. Specifically when you try to check in, you get a 'What's New' pop up and you can't navigate away from it (let alone check in).

Long story short, from Jeff himself: 

"Unfortunately a foursquare web service change has impacted 4th & Mayor, says "what's new" with a blank page. ETA: Friday for a fix"

"Ah, I was a little sloppy in my coding & the 'notification tray' feature for Android, iPhone is affecting 4th & Mayor."

So that's the bad news. The good news is a fix is being pushed through the Marketplace as soon as possible and perhaps more importantly, knowing that you are not alone in the matter. Even better news? If you have a developer unlocked phone, you can deploy the update version right now from Jeff's Dropbox: download the XAP here.

Source: Twitter (1, 2, 3)

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3 years ago

Twin Blades is back in the Marketplace. Be afraid, zombies!

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After a long absence, Xbox Live action title Twin Blades - from developer Press Start Studio - has returned to the Marketplace.

Twin Blades tells the tale of Sister Angelika, a scythe- and gun-toting nun on a mission to save the world from an evil necromancer. You know, necromancers tend to get a bad rap. Why do people have to hate? Anyway, instead of talking her problems out like a mature adult, Sister Angelika simply slices and blasts through hordes of zombies in this action title. A virtual thumbstick controls running and jumping while buttons take care of scythe and gun attacks. Twin Blades has a lengthy story mode and a survival mode. The Achievements aren’t too hard, but it will take four total playthroughs to get them all. Stay tuned later today for our full review!

Twin Blades costs only $2.99 and there is a free trial. If you support the oppression of necromancy, hack and slash your way here (Zune link) to grab it from the Marketplace.

PS Yes, this is the Xbox LIVE game this week.

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3 years ago

Bubble Town 2 is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week. Let's get popping!

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Last week Women’s Murder Club from I-Play was the Xbox Live Deal of the Week. Continuing the trend, another I-Play title goes on sale this week: Bubble Town 2. The sale price is $1.99, down from $2.99.

Bubble Town 2 is a Puzzle Bobble/Bust-a-Move clone. In these puzzle games, a stack of colored bubbles slowly descends from the top of the screen, threatening to crush the player. By aiming and firing your own bubbles you can make matches and eliminate the stack. Bubble Town’s controls are a bit imprecise but it’s still pretty fun. It also has some of the most hideous graphics ever, a true testament to how far an artist can go without the benefit of education or talent. But hey, until Taito decides to bring Bust-a-Move to Windows Phone, Bubble Town will have to do.

Bubble Town 2 will be on sale for one week starting Wednesday. You can get it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace. Anybody think I-Play’s other Xbox Live game - Fast & Furious: Adrenaline - will go on sale next week?

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3 years ago

Bubble Birds v2 - App Spotlight

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Bubble Birds v2 - App Spotlight

What seems as a life time ago, we shared with you a bubble burst kinda game called Bubble Birds. You basically shoot colored birds out of a basket into a closing formation of birds. Your goal is to form groupings of three or more similarly colored birds and keep the birds at bay. If the birds make it to the bottom of the screen, game over.

The developers have recently unleashed Bubble Birds v2 that brings a slightly different design, levels and new characters to make the game more challenging. The basic game play hasn't changed but within the field of birds you have coin bubbles that can be collected and used as you advance through the levels to buy additional lives or to open up extra levels. A key bubble is also added to the mix and when you collect it, you advance to the next level.

In just tinkering with Bubble Birds v2 for a short period, the improvements add to an already enjoyable game. You have a few new character birds, such as the stone bird that can only be removed by a bomb or the chameleon bird.

As with the original, Bubble Birds 2 is a free, ad-supported game. It is our understanding that future updates will be bringing new levels to the game. You can download Bubble Birds v2 here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Bubble Burst 2 hits the Marketplace

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Bubble Burst 2 hits the Marketplace

Bubble Burst from Z-Games has been available over at the Windows Phone Marketplace for some time now. Bubble Burst is an entertaining version of the classic bubble burst games where you try to find combinations of two or more of the same colored balls in an effort to clear the screen. The larger the groupings, the more points you earn.

Z-Games has recently released the sequel to Bubble Burst, aptly named Bubble Burst 2, that brings a few more features to the mix.

Bubble Burst 2 retains the three game modes of the original (Classic, Rush, and Marathon) as well as the weekly challenges. Bubble Burst 2 adds a multi-player mode where you can challenge players from the online leader board, friends or find an opponent at random. There's also new themes to the game that become unlocked as you earn achievements.

All in all, the new additions to the game look good and add to the appeal of a pretty decent Windows Phone game. Bubble Burst 2 is a free game which you can download here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

IM+ bumped to v1.1, now supports Live Messenger

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Well here's a nice little surprise. After dropping $5 to $4.99 (and ticking off some early adopters), SHAPE Services has just rolled out a v1.1 update to the fledgling instant messaging app. But the surprise is that they added MSN/Live Messenger support, something they previously mentioned as not possible (due to Microsoft's policy).

Evidently either someone was incorrect in that statement or Microsoft revised their position, because you can go and grab v1.1 right now in the Marketplace here. (Thanks, Philipp, for the heads up!)

ps For a laugh, in the Marketplace type in "implus" and see the result.

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3 years ago

WPCentral Podcast 116

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WPCentral Podcast 116


Join Daniel Rubino and Jay Bennett as they discuss the busy, busy week in Windows Phone, from apps to more Mango news, it's all covered here.

Show notes aftter the break...

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3 years ago

New Galaxy S II like device to run WP7?

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Could a version of the ever popular Samsung handset be making a move to Microsoft's platform? Possibly. The Galaxy S II  (see Android Central) model number is SGH-i927, add on 10 to that number and you get SGH-i937 (if you don't then you should reach out to a calculator for some advice), which has appeared on Occasional Gamer's list of devices recently (see the Google cached page below).

Not only that but the model number has reportedly cropped onto Bluetooth SIG and features identical Bluetooth characteristics as Mango handsets. Could we possibly see the same specification on WP7 as is present on Android? This news could also bring the possibility of a new Omnia for us Europeans (while Americans get a new Focus), which would be exciting stuff.

The Galaxy S II sports a 1.2 GHz CPU with a 4.3" 800x480 Super AMOLED Plus screen along with a front-facing 2MP camera and 8MP in the back. In addition, it comes with 16 or 32GB of memory on board and a 1650mah battery to power it all. No word if any of those specs would carry over directly to the SGH-i937.

Source: Occasional Gamer, Bluetooth SIG, via: Engadget, WMPU

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3 years ago

LG E906 sports IE9 and runs Mango

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LG E906 sports IE9 and runs Mango

We have learned that LG is planning to bring a new device to the table, running Windows Phone 7.5 (codenamed Mango). The device, LG E906, was WiFi Interoperbilitly certified earlier this year in May (see above image) and the browser stated in an XML document containing the handset specification is IE9. Not much more than this is readily available, we'll keep a look out for anything that should arise.

You can check out the XML document from LG for more specification detail on the LG E906.

Via: Nanapho.jp

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3 years ago

Arcane's Tower Defense incoming to Marketplace

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Arcane's Tower Defense is one of those games Windows Phone 7 users should look out for. Sporting fantastic graphics and extended playability with custom map creation. While we have a number of tower defence games already available on the Marketplace, this is a new twist which will hopefully raise the standards. Some features to take note of:

  • 5 ages to unlock towers, talents, spells and improve their powers.
  • 6 different and unique upgradable towers.
  • 8 Spells to improve your defense.
  • 19 Upgradable tower talents to boost your strategy.
  • And many different goblins with their own stats and abilities.
  • Plus an extra free application : a standalone map editor.

Arcane's Tower Defense will be available on the Marketplace in the next few days, for $1.99. We'll have a review up to follow. To recap on the release candidate gameplay, check out the video after the break. 

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3 years ago

Microsoft looking to open TellMe for WP7 development

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TellMe used to be a separate company specializing in voice recognition technology, until Microsoft swooped in, bought and merged them with their own exiting voice research team in early 2009. Flash forward a few months and we finally saw the first iterations of TellMe on the Samsung Intrepid in October 2009, giving us an idea of what to expect from the future partnership.

Mango will be improving the user experience with the option to use speech for text input with SMS conversation. More control will be at hand with replying, having messages read out loud and more (see our video demo with Bing services here).

But the big question is: Will Windows Phone developers ever have access to these tools? As of now, the answer is 'no' but Microsoft is starting to budge on the issue and they look like they will be opening up their TellMe voice services for WP7 developers. No timeline is given, but they are now registering developer interest via a list. So to all devs: go voice your opinion on the matter and hopefully Microsoft will movea a bit faster.

Head here, near the bottom, to register your interest: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/Tellme/developers/

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3 years ago

Dropbox updates Terms of Use [UPDATE]

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We're using cloud services more and more with our Windows Phones, as well as with other devices.  One such service, Dropbox, can't seem to catch a break these days.

First, we have the Dropbox Reader that can drill into your accounts. Then Dropbox left the back door open to their services that essentially removed password protection. Now we see the cloud storage company has updated its Terms of Services claiming "worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty free, sublicenseable rights" to your stuff (yes, they use the word stuff in a legal document).

The TOS agreement may not be alarming to some but we thought you should know how Dropbox considers the content you place in their hands.

To quote from Dropbox's TOS:

"By submitting your stuff to the Services, you grant us (and those we work with to provide the Services) worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable rights to use, copy, distribute, prepare derivative works (such as translations or format conversions) of, perform, or publicly display that stuff to the extent reasonably necessary for the Service. This license is solely to enable us to technically administer, display, and operate the Services. You must ensure you have the rights you need to grant us that permission."

Dropbox does recognize that you retain ownership of your stuff and they clarify how they might use your stuff in their Privacy Policy. Basically they can collect your personal information to be used to contact or identify you in order to improve services and to better understand your needs and interests. They also have provisions to use your geo-location information and logging/cookie data.

Google has similar language (they use "content" instead of "stuff" and ) with their TOS but SkyDrive takes on a different approach. Microsoft doesn't ask for ownership but rather rights to access your content. Here's how Microsoft words things:

"You understand that Microsoft may need, and you hereby grant Microsoft the right, to use, modify, adapt, reproduce, distribute, and display content posted on the service solely to the extent necessary to provide the service."

It may sound as if all three are saying the same thing but a "right to access" and "sublicenseable rights" can be worlds apart. Granted I don't think Dropbox will start exercising their "ownership rights" but the wording of these TOS Agreements should give us pause as to what we put in the cloud as well as what service we choose.

source: Liveside

Update: In an effort to make it clear that Dropbox isn't claiming ownership rights to your "stuff", Dropbox has decided to make some revisions to their updated TOS. On their blog site, Dropbox states that "The language in this clause was more technical than it needed to be." Believing terms like "derivative works" and "sublicensable" could come across overly broad or out of place the revisions states,

"You retain full ownership to your stuff. We don’t claim any ownership to any of it. These Terms do not grant us any rights to your stuff or intellectual property except for the limited rights that are needed to run the Services, as explained below."

The only instances Dropbox will share your stuff is outlined in the Privacy Policy (which hasn't changed). While the TOS could have been worded simpler, it's nice to see Dropbox responding to customer concerns.

Thanks Rene for the tip!

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3 years ago

Microsoft developing 'Switchboard' for WP7 multiplayer gaming

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Real-time multiplayer gameplay on mobile devices has long been a feature many gamers would like to have on the move (we have some form of multiplayer gameplay though - Haypi Kingdom being an example), but with constant connection dips (while on the move) and data limitations in place, plus many more factors, it's never been fully implemented.

Victor Bahl, director of the Mobile Computing Research Center at Microsoft Research, explains the problem:

"Multiplayer gaming on smartphones is a very challenging technical problem, Gamers move around, the wireless channel is hostile, the bandwidth you need is not always there, disconnections can happen, and smartphones are energy-constrained. If you just take a game and put it on a smartphone, it is not going to work."

Fear not, all is not lost. The talented team at Microsoft Research has been hard at work on 'Switchboard' - a potential answer to most (if not all) problems with multiplayer smartphone gaming in its current form.

 "There are techniques for multiplayer games to handle ‘jitter’—occasional spikes in network delay. When those techniques react to jitter, you may see a player or object jump from one spot to another. Such ‘glitches in the matrix’ become problematic if they happen frequently. A major challenge in this work is to predict what a player’s latency will look like for the foreseeable duration of a game and minimize such glitches."

"Switchboard finds suitable game candidates by “pinging” their phones to estimate latency: the time needed to move a packet of data. Latency is important to gaming because a long lag time—in the hundreds of milliseconds—to move data can affect game play”, notes Gantenbein."

While it may not provide seamless play for WP7 users, this is a step in the right direction and shows Microsoft are attempting to address obvious limitations/problems. Let's see how this plays out, but for now hopes should remain relatively high for some degree of multiplayer action potentially being possible in the future with Xbox Live.

Source: Microsoft Research, via: Windows7news

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3 years ago

Nokia N9 not heading to some European countries?

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We already understand that Nokia is fully backing Windows Phone 7 with devices coming later this year and through 2012, but their support for MeeGo was questionable with only a single device being launched. Now it seems as though the N9 might not be available in some parts of Europe if their website product availability checker is to be held for reliability.

You'll also notice that France, Italy, Germany and Spain are also absent from the list. Could we be seeing Nokia planning to bring only Windows Phone handsets to these countries? Shame if this becomes a reality. While I'm very much looking forward to purchasing a Nokia WP7 device (especially if it's anything like the previewed Sea Ray), the N9 does look like a smashing phone.

So fellow Brits (and European neighbours), would we be that bothered if the N9 is not available in the countries above (I believe I'm asking a silly question on a WP7 website but still interest could be present)?

Source: Nokia, via: Telegraph, T3

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3 years ago

Plants vs. Zombies: Xbox Windows Phone Review

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As a critic, it’s rare that I can unequivocally say that a game is the very best game in its genre. So many titles do different things well, and they usually have their minuses too. It’s even more uncommon for a game to transcend its own genre and become something that appeals to pretty much everybody. That’s why Plants vs. Zombies is such an amazing game. Not only is it hands-down the best tower defense game on Windows Phone, it also tweaks tower defense conventions and brings so much content that even tower defense naysayers will find a lot to enjoy.

What exactly is tower defense? It’s a type of real-time strategy game. Players build stationary towers which shoot at enemies as they try to reach the player’s base. To put that in Plants vs. Zombies terms, zombies attack the gamer’s yard, striving to get inside the house and eat the tasty brains inside. Weaponized plants with faces and personalities take the place of mechanical towers. In case it wasn’t immediately obvious, this game is loaded with charm and humor.

Watch out for potato mines as you head past the break for our full review.

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