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history

Vantage Point is a neat photography app for Windows 8. It provides you with current scenic photographs from twelve cities from the U.S. and Europe with the ability to overlay a postcard frame on the picture to reveal how the scene looked years ago.

Vantage Point will map out the location of the scene as well as provide the ability to share the images with friends. It is an interesting perspective on how much the world has changed and a fun Windows 8 app to explore.

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WhatsApp, the popular cross-platform messenger, will soon sport the ability for you to easily clear messages in conversations. The beta version of the app (2.11.309) has been bumped with this functionality, showing off exactly what's on the way to the live release.

If you've been holding out for a way to effectively clear messages older than a certain date, without removing the entire conversation then this will be for you.

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On November 10, 1983, it all started… not with a big bang, but a whisper that defined the industry in the years to come.

Yes, thirty years ago, Bill Gates announced ‘Interface Manager’ at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. The next-generation operating system would provide a graphical user interface (GUI) and a multitasking environment for IBM computers. Windows might have been released under the original name of Interface Manager if marketing whiz, Rowland Hanson had not convinced Bill Gates that Windows was the far better name!

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Today Microsoft made an announcement for users who use the messaging feature on Outlook.com; if you currently use the Outlook web interface to chat with your friends on Facebook, Google Talk, or Messenger, the site keeps a copy of your chat history in a folder. Starting this fall, the Messaging history folder will be removed.

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History Daily is a Windows Phone app designed a lot like those word-a-day calendars. Instead of offering up a new word, History Daily provides you with a historical event that took place on that particular day. 

History Daily doesn't have many bells and whistles, more of a bare knuckles version of the old History Channel app.  Still, History Daily is well presented and can give you a few historical facts to impress others with or simply expand your knowledge of things.

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Sometimes technology is a collection of circuitry and silicon, sometimes though – it is a magical moment full of feelings and memories. The best experiences are born when technology transcends our knowledge and connects us with what we love. British science fiction writer and futurist, Arthur C. Clarke, once said:

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Microsoft has been around for a long time and for those of us who live off of the technology they provide, some of the memories will never seep away.

In 2007, the company released a four minute commercial that has come to be known as “Your Digital Lifestyle”. The ad highlighted the then current hi-tech Microsoft products of the time and how one green shirted hipster used them to party the night away. The commercial is set to a cover of Ash’s Girl from Mars by Canadian group, Magneta Lane.

Buckle up, because we are going on a field trip to six years ago; along the way, we are going to jam with our green shirted friend and revisit some of our past Microsoft technology goodies. Windows Vista will probably be seen along the way, but there will be plenty of other experiences to combat that bad flavor.

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Back In The Day is an interesting Windows Phone 8 app that lets you pull up photos or status messages from your Facebook account that were posted a year ago.

Back In The Day's interface is rather simple and straight forward. You have to sign into your Facebook account and give the app authorization to view your photos and status messages. Back In The Day does the rest by going back a year to see what you were doing.

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In a neat little historical post over at the site Project Metro, the origins of the Metro UI design language are given some detail. What makes it interesting is the information came from a Microsoft presentation on the topic at an early "Behind the Tiles" event.

We won't steal all of their thunder from the fun little read, so we'll just tease you with a bit of it:

"The whole idea started with the Swiss Movement in the 1960′s. They wanted a way to communicate to people through design, while being different yet direct. What was born from this movement was the font, Helvetica. It was the first simplistic yet sophisticated design font that delivered a clear and precise message. Microsoft knew with the rise of Apple and Android that they needed to make a change. They needed to be different but also wanted a clearer way to deliver its message..."

Very interesting stuff, especially about the use of Helvetica and Segoe fonts (Windows Phone uses a slight variation called Segoe WP). Personally, we'd like someday to see a detailed history of the evolution of Metro UI through Microsoft (we've seen some early iterations in Media Center, then through Zune to Windows Mobile 6.5 and up to Windows Phone 7).

Source: Project Metro

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We've read many complaints (especially in the comments and on our forum) that Windows Phone lacks a central notification centre, Apple's iOS being a good example, and we tend to agree. Toast notifications on Microsoft's platform disappear after a few seconds only to be lost in cyber space with the inability to view what has been missed. Let's face it - we're not glued to our phones 24/7.

Introducing a concept by Kasser Riaz (click the image for larger / better quality version), which looks relatively promising with how it doesn't look as though the simplistic beauty of the OS would be in jeopardy should an implementation such as this be carried out, unlike some concepts we've seen posted around the web.

As one can see when looking at the concept above, Riaz has provided an idea for how Microsoft and the Windows Phone team could create their own notifications centre (or "History") in this case. Keeping everything simple and clutter-free, swiping to the right on the home screen will bring up the app list as usual, while swiping on the left will land you at the notification history list.

As well as system alerts, messages and email notifications, third party app alerts are also displayed with a short description and the time stamp. It's not only a user-friendly way of keeping the UI chrome and clutter free, but enables the user to view their history of notifications in a Metro format. But would this suffice as a solution to a unified notifications centre for Windows Phone, or should we be looking elsewhere?

As a side note: what do you guys make of the wallpaper with transparent tiles and a more Windows 8 feel?

Thanks Kasser for sending the concept in!

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