Windows Phone Help & How-to

Update: Only a few days after we posted this and it looks like Twitter plugged the hole...so if you have an animated GIF, keep it. If you wanted one for Twitter, you're out of luck!

Yesterday we reported on the new update for Tile Me! that now allows you to create an animated GIF in addition to a static Me Tile image. The purpose of the app is so that you can use the generated image for your social network profiles, spreading the Windows Phone love.

While the animated GIF addition was the second most requested feature from users, quite a few of you were asking where could you actually use it? As it turns out, you can use it on Twitter, though there’s a unique trick to it.

For one, the generating GIF must be less than 700kb. The other caveat is you need to use a special Twitter link to change your profile photo. So without further ado, here are the steps on how you can get a bouncing Me Tile for your Twitter profile.

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Tip: Search for Windows 8 apps in your web browser

Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are both great platforms. While they’re made by Microsoft, there are times you might feel like two different companies built them. They might look the same, but there are features from each you wish the other had. Case in point, you can search for apps on Windows Phone using your web browser, but you can’t do that for Windows 8 apps. At least you couldn’t do that yesterday, now you can.

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There's nothing worse than purchasing a Windows Phone, but not able to rock the night away with apps and games from the store. The unique market that is China has been an interesting addition to the ecosystem with Xbox Live, social networks and even store content being affected by tight restrictions (The Great Firewall).

Luckily there's light at the end of the tunnel as LiveSino reports that it's now possible to alter your region and then download content from the store that's not published for China.

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With the recent "security changes" from Instagram, causing all third party apps from being blocked from posting, we figured we’d recap at least two ways that we know of that still work. Think of these as your permanent fail-safes in case this is a prolonged outage or as a temporary solution until Daniel Gary (Instance) and others figure out a way around the problem.

To recap, using apps like Instance allows users to post to their Instagram account, but after about fifteen seconds, the image is deleted. That means somehow Instagram has flagged images uploaded by unauthorized apps in a clever way that has befuddled developers so far. But you can still post via other apps—one official, the other a hack.

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One design choice on the Nokia Lumia 1020 has a small handful of people a little flustered: you cannot share the full-resolution photos on Windows Phone using any of the built in social networks. No email, no NFC, no uploading to SkyDrive, etc.  The reason for that is because each 38MP image is between 9 and 15 MB in size and that would chew through bandwidth.

The oversampled 5MP images you can do anything, including all the above and auto-uploads to SkyDrive. Those weigh in at a more reasonable 3MB and are meant for sharing.

But for AT&T users (and only AT&T customers), there is a way to auto-upload your full, high resolution photos to the cloud for backup: AT&T Locker. And if you act fast, you can bump their free 5GB of storage to a whopping 50GB, which is ideal for you future Lumia 1020 owners.

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Yesterday we published Part 1 of our guide to Order & Chaos Online for Windows Phone 8. Today we follow up with the second installment, which covers lots of fun subjects like guilds, auction houses, and crafting. This installment includes a brand new video guide as well!

Remember, these guides apply to the iOS and Android versions of the game as well as the Windows Phone 8 version, so all Order & Chaos Online newcomers can benefit from our tips and tricks.

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We’ve reported quite a bit on Nokia’s Glance screen in the past but we also know some of you are new to Windows Phone and may have picked up a Lumia 925 this week or a Lumia 1020 next. If that’s the case, you may not be familiar with how to enable Glance (or even what it is) and all the options that it has available to you.

So we whipped up a little tutorial video to show you how to enable this feature (it’s not on by default, though we don’t know about the 1020 yet) and configure it for your liking.

Glance, for those who don’t know, is Nokia’s always-on clock for their Lumia line. It launched with the Lumia 925 but will be available on the Lumia 1020 for launch and other Lumia series devices when Nokia’s Amber update rolls out later this summer. Basically, a clock is fixed on your otherwise-off display and while it of course uses battery, it’s quite unassuming for usage.

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Windows Phone 8 believe it or not isn’t quite perfect. Its close, but things like the other storage issue put a cloud or two over a relatively sunny platform. When high-end devices like the Lumia 925 ship with only 16GB of storage for all your apps, games, and music you expect to utilize it all. The other storage issue has impacted many of you. We’ve heard of future fix coming from Microsoft, but that was last in March we heard. Nokia took matters into their own hand and released Storage Check to temporarily help Lumia owners and their storage woes. It works by clearing all the temporary files. 

But for everyone else there is Shrink Storage, an app in the Store that helps to give you back some of your limited space. It recently had an update adding some useful new features. Let’s check it out.

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One of our readers tipped us that Nokia and Microsoft are pushing out updates for your offline maps on Windows Phone 8. Indeed, when we fired up our Lumia 920 and checked we were notified of 209.8MB in updates (CT, NY and MA), meaning they’re refreshing whole states in the US (our tipster had over 805MB). (Edit, turns out these aren't new-new, but for some of you, you may never had updated, so here's how to do it).

To see if your maps need updating, simply launch your respective mapping app and check for those updates (details below). It will only take a few minutes, but you’ll need to be on Wi-Fi to grab ‘em.

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Last week’s Xbox Windows Phone 8 release Order & Chaos Online is pretty much the largest game on the platform, as far as quantity of content goes. One can’t possibly see all there is to see in an Massive Multi-player Online Role-playing Game (MMORPG) in only a week’s time, so we’re going to hold off on reviewing it for a bit.

Today Windows Phone Central brings you part one of our exclusive Order & Chaos Online Beginner’s Guide, complete with video. Stick with us to learn how the game works and get ahead quickly! Remember, you can play Order & Chaos Online until you reach experience level 8 for FREE (and purchase the game without losing your progress if you desire) so anybody who can run this game needs to give it a try.

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You may recall reading about my account of what happened when I took my Nokia Lumia 920 out for a spin on my bike with a sub-standard bike mount back in June and how it took a beating that only an action hero could withstand.

I figured I would post a follow up on how my Lumia 920's story, like those of the silver screen, had a fairly happy ending, complete with a new grey chassis.

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This is a strange one indeed. OneNote for Windows Phone 7 allows consumers to pin the create note tile to their Start screen, but this feature is amiss in Windows Phone 8.

That is unless you're using the latest hardware with the GDR2 update. We've checked on our Nokia Lumia 925 and it does indeed enable us to pin the tile to the Start screen, which has been confirmed by the OneNote team on Reddit.

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Xbox gamers have been eagerly anticipating Halo: Spartan Assault ever since Microsoft announced the Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 game at the beginning of June. Many Windows Phone gamers especially look forward to it since Spartan Assault is likely the only Xbox Windows Phone game that will be released this month (we hear next week, in fact). Be that as it may, Windows 8 users got the first shot at the first mobile Halo game today, however briefly…

For a few hours, the tablet and PC version of Halo: Spartan Assault became available for purchase in the Caribbean island nations of Trinidad and Tobago. People from outside of those countries were able to buy it too, thanks to a little regional trickery and the magic of PayPal. Unfortunately, Microsoft quickly pulled Spartan Assault as we were in the process of writing this story to tell you about it, just hours after the game first appeared on the Windows Store.

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By now, the notion that Windows Phone 8 can store its maps offline should be familiar to most of you. Instead of pulling data “from the cloud”, your phone can simply have whole swaths of areas already on board, leaving the CPU (and battery) for other tasks.

While supremely useful, it can be overkill too. Specifically we mean if you spend a majority of your time in one region (or state), it doesn’t make sense to fill up your phone with say the whole United States. Yet that is exactly how the Verizon Nokia Lumia 928 is set up, including maps for the Cayman Islands (21.8 MB) and the Bahamas (24.9 MB) and USA (2,518.8 MB, or about 2.4GB).

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At last count, Nokia had well over 50 exclusive apps or games in its Collection, giving Lumia owners a slight edge in features.

But that advantage may be no more, at least temporarily. According to Chinese site WPDang, there is a freshly spotted glitch in Windows Phone Store that could enable everyone to download exclusive apps from the Nokia Collection.

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We briefly mentioned the Windows Phone partnership with We Are JUXT, a community of mobile photography enthusiasts (www.wearejuxt.com). Recently, ten of the most influential members of the We Are JUXT community were challenged to shoot exclusively with a Nokia Lumia 920

The group were asked to shoot exclusively with the Windows Phone for an eight day period and share a few tips on how to take the best pictures. The end result: a respectable collection of tips on not only how to take better photos but how to approach mobile photography as a whole.

Read on for these great tricks on how to better hone your mobile photo skills!

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Deal alert: Fable III is currently free for Xbox 360

The gaming and tech world-at-large has made a stink about how the Xbox One is moving to a more PC like approach. Specifically Steam has been cited as a model that the new Xbox One is moving towards. Of course Steam has been cut some slack because of how often they have deals on games. Well, it looks like Microsoft is even getting ready to follow that practice because right now you can download Fable III for free onto your Xbox 360.

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This week Microsoft launched a new site, WindowsChipIn.com. The site aims to help students without adequate financial resources raise money for a new Windows 8 PC or tablet via their social networks.

The program is three step: First, select the Windows PC you would like. Next, create a profile and invite friends to contribute towards your new high-tech gadget. Finally, collect the profits and flee to Mexico buy your PC.

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This week, Gravilux for Windows 8 showed up free in the marketplace (but it will only be of no-cost for a limited time). The app is an “interactive musical star field visualizer”; simply touch the screen and simulated stars are whirled around and began to change color. You can even set the stars to react to music or other audio files in a custom playlist

Gravilux is a fun tool to amuse your friends with and show them what your fancy Windows 8/RT touch screen can do.

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Here at Windows Phone Central, we go out of our way to bring you the latest and greatest apps conveniently. For instance, if you use our official app, you get one-tap access to download whatever it is we’re writing about, instead of making you hop out of the app and searching in the Store. If you’re browsing via the web on a PC, you get a nice QR code to quickly scan at the bottom of each article.

Well, ThomasP from the website WP7App.de has written a killer extension for the Chrome browser that goes one step further. The extension simply auto-generates QR codes for any app in the Windows Phone web Store. So if you are just browsing or someone emails you a link, when you head to Microsoft's site you’ll get a nicely accessible QR code for quick scanning.

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We’ve seen quite a few projects come from our forums and the latest is from AccentAE86, who took the concept of Nokia’s “dual shot” Lumia 620 shell design and applied it to his Lumia 920.

For those who aren’t familiar, “dual shot”, especially on the Green Lumia 620, is actually a two-layer yellow and blue shell that results in a bright green color. It’s an interesting new design language that Nokia is evidently experimenting with and something we hope to see in future devices.

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Hey Xbox game fans, Windows Phone Central is back with another exclusive and professional-quality Achievement guide. This time we tackle the Windows Phone version of NBA Jam from EA Sports. Whether you’re a Jam veteran or new to the series, our guide will help you knock the game’s Achievements out as quickly and easily as possible, though it’ll still take just over 30 hours to unlock the final one.

Earning NBA Jam’s Achievements also unlocks a variety of characters, but several of the game’s most outlandish characters can only be accessed via secret codes. We’ve got those for you too, right after the break. Boom shaka laka!

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