tip

For those of you lucky enough to be sporting a Nokia Lumia 1020 along with the addon Camera Grip (PD-95G), you may have noticed that sliding on the accessory is easy as can be. However, removing the grip can be a tad finicky with users feeling like they may snap it or even damage their device. We know we’ve experienced this and we’re sure others have too.

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On Windows Phone it’s really easy to toggle between Ringer and Vibrate—simply press the volume key (up or down) and then tap the bell in the upper right hand corner to switch. But what about getting it to silent mode?

It’s a little tricky but easy once you understand how it works: Simply head to Settings –> Ringtones + Sounds and toggle the Vibrate function off. Now, when you tap the bell in the upper right hand corner, it will switch between Ringer + Silent. Sure, we wish there was an easier way to toggle between all three (ringer, vibrate and silent) but this is Microsoft’s current paradigm so that’s what we have to use.

Should Microsoft offer a third tap to toggle vibrate on or off? Let us know in the poll after the break. And make sure you check out our other tips and tricks.

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Recently on the Windows Phone Central Podcast we were lamenting how Nokia Maps leaves a lot to be desired on Windows Phone 8. The app is a bit slow, the UI is not as intuitive and some of the information (like traffic) is hit or miss. Most people would suggest using Bing Maps (aka the native Maps application) instead but unfortunately, Nokia has removed the hard link for that app leaving users no choice on Windows Phone 8 Lumias.

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Outlook.com, the new face of webmail from Microsoft

Microsoft unveiled Outlook.com back in July, launching a new web-based email service that would be the successor to its popular Hotmail brand. The move was part of Microsoft's plan to bring products and services closer together, which leads to further integration into Windows, Windows Phone and other platforms.

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Sync, damn you, sync!

Syncing multiple calendars is never fun. It’s even less fun across various services, like Gmail to Outlook.com for instance, which is the focus of this tutorial.

We recently had to solve this problem for ourselves because although like you we primarily use our Hotmail/Live Mail/Outlook.com calendar for all events, we sometimes need to have our external Google calendar sync to our phone too.

There are a few ways to go about this but we’re going to show you the more unified approach that we prefer. It’s a bit tricky and nearly caused us to punch our wall a few times to figure it out. But for you, it will be dead simple and should literally take you no more than 5 minutes.

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While it is very rare for any Windows Phone to crash or freeze, we have on a few occasions seen it happen. It's rare because 3rd party apps don't have access to the core of the OS and therefore it's very difficult to cause the system to become unstable. Still, the problem may pop up and we figured we would cover you for the Lumia 800 & 900.

Why these two Nokia devices? With their unibody design, there's no physical way to access and therefore pull the battery. That puts users in a pickle if they need to soft-reset a stuck device. So without further ado, here's how you do it:

Lumia 900

  • Press and hold the volume keys, power button and camera together for 3-5 seconds
  • The phone should soft-reset (although some say you should feel 3 vibrations, ours never has)

Lumia 800

  • Press and hold the volume keys and power button together for 3-5 seconds
  • The phone should soft-reset

That's it. So although you will probably never need this it's good to know if you're in a pinch.

Edit: Some are saying in comments that just holding the power button for 10 seconds works too.

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Here's a funny problem we all have with smartphones regardless of OS choice: how to quickly share websites and inks between phones.

Sure, you can email, text or type out the address but it's a waste of email on both ends and if it's a long sub-link for an article, typing it out is a pain  This problem also bothered Faisal Iqbal so he decided to do something about it and thus QR Coder was born.

Faisal created a Java Script that you save as a favorite on your Windows Phone. While on the web page you want to share, you simply go to the favorites and select QR Coder. That Java Script will then dynamically generate a QR code based on the site you're viewing and display as an overlay on the screen. Your fellow pal can use their Android, iPhone, Symbian or Windows Phone to scan it and they now instantly have the link on their phone.

Brilliant.

It's actually really easy to setup too, literally 30 seconds. Go to Faisal's site and watch his video on how to get it going on your phone. Feel free to share it with your non-Windows Phone users for maximum convenience.

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If you're like us, we're getting ready for that big ol' hurricane Irene (we're in Manhattan now, Long Island tomorrow--yikes). Since we're pretty positive we're going to lose electricity for some amount of time, even up to days, getting all the power out of our Windows Phone is key.

One easy method "Mango" users can enable now is the Battery Saver feature by going to Settings --> Battery Saver --> "Turn on Battery Saver now, until my next charge". The phone will of course still work, but background services and push email will be disabled--which is a great way to squeeze out a few more hours from your phone while you pray for the lights to come back on.

It also wouldn't hurt to bump your backlight to "Low" under Settings as well. Good luck everyone.

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Security is always a cause for concern, whether it be with online banking or simply ordering a Domino's pizza. Passwords used online for applications or services are no different, especially with the amount of cyber crime occuring since the boom of the world wide web. Google have published an article on their blog outlining recent attacks being made on Gmail accounts and how users can protect themselves further.

One way to further protect your email account is to use OTP (One Time Password) via the web interface when logging on across multiple machines, networks and/or locations. For your Windows Phone (and other devices) you can use application specific passwords, which are password that are randomly generated and are used per device. You don't need to remember it and it doesn't affect your main login credentials. Think of it as an access key your device requires to be able to gain access to your account.

Check out the video after the break for the step-by-step walkthrough on using two-step verification and creating an application specific password for your Gmail account on your device. 

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For those familiar with CDMA handsets, you'll remember the old "PRL" (preferred roaming list) and "Network Profile" options. It  took a few years to get direct OS support for it (Anyone remember calling Sprint to get your PRL update "flagged"? Yeesh), but we did with later versions of Windows Mobile.

So it's nice to know that in Windows Phone 7, part of the CDMA integration that came with the 'NoDo' update on the Sprint Arrive was PRL and Network Profile support. To update them, simply go to Settings --> System --> Carrier and scroll to the bottom. There you can just tap either/or and it will walk you through the update, which takes about 30 seconds.

You can later check your PRL version under Settings --> System --> About --> More info, under PRL-ID (mine is currently v60677). For those wondering what any of this is, your PRL is a list of towers that the phone looks to for roaming and in some cases, data connections. From Wikipedia:

On many networks, regularly updating the PRL is advised if the subscriber uses the device outside the home area frequently, particularly if they do so in multiple different areas. This allows the phone to choose the best roaming carriers, particularly "roaming partners" with whom the home carrier has a cost-saving roaming agreement, rather than using non-affiliated carriers. PRL files can also be used to identify home networks along with roaming partners, thus making the PRL an actual list that determines the total coverage of the subscriber, both home and roaming coverage.

So, if you roam, it helps to have the latest version on board. Meanwhile, the Network Profile is good if you ever run into connectivity issues with the CDMA network, as on occasion, though rare, your profile may get corrupted.

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Every time we post about a new app update, a lot of users chime in saying they can't see the update yet, meaning the Marketplace on their device is not showing any "updates" on the Tile.

Of course the update is there and in fact if you scroll down you can usually see the new version number listed, but there's no update button. Frustrating! Luckily, there's a little trick: just go in the Marketplace, search for the app, open the description, then back out...wait a second and go back in. This forces a software version-check on the device and now you should be able to update the app.

We're sure lots of you already know this, but hey, we know there's probably even more who don't.

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Have you experienced this problem? You get your new Windows Phone, you sync up your contacts and then you add a few to the Start screen, using those nifty dynamic squares. And then you notice it: the terrible, crappy resolution and blurriness. You think to yourself: "That's not how it looks on the commercial!"

Well, we think we figured it out. It's not Microsoft's fault and it's not a bug. We're going to bet you sync with our frienemy Google, right?

That's the culprit. Google. Don't believe me or think we're alone? See here and here for starters.

What happens is when you take a photo on your phone, add it to contacts and then it syncs back to Google's servers they then downsize the photo and resync it back to you. Awesome, eh?

What is the solution? There are two and we'll detail both after the break...

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The Zune Pass ($14.95 a month; $150 a year) allows unlimited music downloads to your computer, which can the be transferred to your phone. But what has been vexing me for the last few weeks of using my Samsung Focus/HTC HD7 is that there was no obvious way to use my Zune Pass on the go.

For example, say I'm in the store, hear a song playing and ID it with Shazam. I can then go to the Zune Marketplace to buy the song or use my Zune "credit" (you get 10 per month)--but no option to just download the song. This meant I would have to go home, fire up the computer and download the song that way. Huge FAIL.

Well, turns out I was wrong: you can use Zune Pass on your WP7 device. Microsoft just completely hid it, making buying/using credit as the only obvious choice. While we hate to speculate the worst, it sure looks like MS is purposefully deceiving us a bit here, steering us towards paying for music.

Anyways, watch the video tutorial to learn how. And if you don't have a Zune Pass, you may see why it's so cool to have one.

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Hidden programs on LG eXpo

  

For the few of those with the hard-to-find LG eXpo (more on that later), there are three interesting applications hidden within \Windows that may be of interest:

  • GPSViewer
  • wifiEngMenu
  • TascalRegEdit

GPSViewer/GPS Utility is a simple app that shows you the number of satellites found and their strength, all in a nice graph form. (Of note is excellent GPS reception and accuracy on the eXpo).  It also gives your current speed, albeit in km/h.  Still, not a bad diagnostic tool.

"WifiEngMenu" is an advanced WiFi diagnostic tool that gives a ton of information related to your current network, including transmission rate test, WWM PS test, signal strength, etc.

Finally there is Tascal Registry Editor, a common (and ancient) freeware registry application. While nothing special, it's nice to have it readily available.

To access these apps, the first two (GPS Viewer, WifiEngMenu) require you to find them under \Windows and create a shortcut to the Start Menu. To make that easier for folks, we'll include the shortcuts for you to download directly: just unzip to \Windows\Start Menu and you should be all set.  For the Registry editor, find "TascalRegEdit.cab" under \Windows and simply run and install. A shortcut will be created for you to use directly.

Download to your device here.

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Although the LG eXpo is a very capable device (see full review), in fact it's one of my favorites right now, it does have some ... quirks.

One of those, and we're not joking, is no email notifications. That is, there is no listing under Settings --> Sounds & Notifications for email or even SMS, for that matter.

We're not sure why that is the case, or how that passed AT&T's testing, but it is what it is and needless to say...it's annoying. (We even had a question on during the last podcast),

To address this, I threw together the registry entries to bring back SMS and Email notifications as I know this bothers quite a few folks out there, myself included. This will enable sound, vibrate, pop-up and even LED support on the eXpo for SMS and Email.

Simply use Microsoft Tag to scan and download the .cab to your device, run it, soft reset and you're good to go. Or you can just click and download directly hereEnjoy!

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One annoying side effect of the Touch Pro 2's slide-out keyboard is magnets in close proximity tend to wake the phone. And if you don't have a screen lock, your battery could be heading south right quick.

Magnets often are found in your favorite phone cases — specifically the side pouches with the flap. Having your TP2 in one of these can cause it to power-on randomly, draining your battery throughout the day. (This is an issue we found during our initial reviews of the Touch Pro 2.)

A simple fix for this is to disable the "slide to wake" feature of the Touch Pro 2. What this refers to is if the phone is off and you slide the keyboard out, it'll wake up. It's actually a smart feature as the only reason you would slide out the keyboard is if you were to use it.  However, this mechanism relies on magnets to pass under the screen and trigger it.

Cool, eh?  Unless you  have a case with magnets, then it's a nuisance.

To fix, simply download and run this .cab file or manually alter these registry values:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE\DEVICEMAP\KEYBD]
"SlideWakeup"=dword:00000000

Thanks BigD5 for the tip!

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Spruce up sliding panels on WinMo 6.5

Although many like to use HTC's TouchFLO3D, using the Sliding Panels (aka Titanium on WM6.5) is sometimes preferable — in fact I often find it more efficient and revealing, which is why I'm taking a well-deserved hiatus from HTC's design.

Case in point, there are lots of really good 3rd party plug-ins that can be added to the sliding panels to augment their functionality. Sure TouchFLO3D may have lots of eye candy, but as far as speed of access, Titanium is faster.

In this post, I'll share with you three which really improve the usefulness of the default WM6.5 home screen: Twitter (Titanium Artesea), Favorite People (AppStar Titanium) and Weather (Showaco TitaniumWeather*).

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Quite awhile ago I wrote up on Marshall Wait Cursor 2, which is a really cool donationware app that allows you to change that old, boring WM5/6 wait cursor aka WinPie.

Well, he's back now with version 3 and much improvements all around. The app now has a very modern, finger-friendly interface. In addition, there is a whole bunch of new icons that are available as separate "icon packs" (note: the large ones only seem to work with VGA devices). These new icons are gorgeous and even hilarious (Famous dancing PB &J bananna? Done.  Beavis and Butthead?  Ready.).

Other notable changes with v.3:

  • Works on any resolution device, even non-touch ones
  • Autostart option
  • Cursor timeout option
  • Confirmed working with WM6.5 (natch)

I'm currently using the "Processing" box one because I'm just a tech nerd.  Anyways, give it a shot.  It's free and really spices up your device in a simple, painfree way.  Of course, we recommend doing a backup JIK and note that this will consume some memory, so Mogul and Sprint Treo Pro users take heed. 

Take a peek after the jump to see more of the UI and cursor choices!

[Download here!]

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Tip: Kill ActiveSync

So here's a real oldie but goodie that goes back years

If you ever just wanted to plug your WM device into a computer to perhaps charge it or just use as a card reader but not sync with ActiveSync, then this freebie app is for you.  (You know what we're talking about, even if you don't "sync" with server it still goes through that dumb connection process.)

ActiveSync Toggle does just that: you run it and hit the "disable it" button and poof, it unloads AS from your system.  But the best part is with one-click you can just as easily re-enable AS (other freeware apps make it more difficult).

I've used this app personally for years, but the company that actually made it stopped distributing it for awhile, so it was hard to find.  But alas, the internets makes it easier to find things, so here ya go.  Now it goes without saying this won't work with Vista and WMDC, but at least that is a little easier to manage.  Get the app here via FileDropper and thanks to red_hanks at XDA for bringing this back to our attention.  Also, see out "permanent Guest Mode" tweak for ActiveSync as well.

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Tip of the Week: Save your stylus

Ah, the great stylus debate. Even with the advent of the more finger-friendly TouchFlo 3D, some people just can't put down the stylus. And that's OK. Different strokes and all that. And with the Touch Diamond family of devices (including the Touch Pro and Touch HD), there came the added bonus of the phone recognizing when you remove the stylus and then waking or launching a program.

And if you're they type that's constantly losing your stylus, here's a little app that can help remind you to put it back after you've used it. Brought to you by the fine folks at XDA Developers, it monitors whether your stylus is in or out. If it's out and your phone starts moving, it can alert you. Pretty simple stuff, but it could save you a little stylus headache.

Find the app and more information on it here.

Via PocketNow

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