How To

Those of you who follow the Microsoftie world will probably know of the Samsung Series 7 Slate. Microsoft gave these out for free to every attendee of the BUILD developer conference in Anaheim this past September (press had to return them though). Roughly a month after the conference they popped up on the Microsoft Store available for pre-order - albeit slightly nerfed.

I finally bought myself one in December for Windows 8 development. Since then I haven't really touched any dev in Windows 8 (going to wait for the Beta) and have just been using it as my secondary Operating System. What I have been doing on the Slate though, is WP7. And it's awesome!

Take a look at the spec's below:

  • Display: 11.6 in SuperBright LED-backlit HD (1366 x 768) - 8 finger multi-touch
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-2467M 1.60 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB DDR3 1333 MHz
  • Hard drive: 128 GB SSD (also available in 32GB and 64GB)

While it doesn't look particularly powerful in relation to today's desktop's and laptop's - it really does pack quite a punch. Booting into Windows 7 takes around 20 seconds to be fully loaded and Windows 8 a mere 10 seconds. For day-to-day tasks there isn't a single program that my 6-core Phenom can run faster (presumably this is because of the SSD).

Here is a short video demonstrating an app, Relaxify X, running in the emulator, along with deploying it to an actual device:

So if you have a thousand bucks spare and want a really shiny late Christmas present, I suggest picking one of these up. There's no denying that they are very expensive for what you get compared to a traditional laptop, but if you're looking to get into the Windows 8 market early, or just want to do Windows Phone 7 development without being tied to a device then it's perfect.

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Xbox Live Online Safety Controls [How-to]

The other day we mentioned that certain props were on their way out for your XBox Live Avatar. Agree or disagree with Microsoft's policy you may find the need to control your child's access to explicit music, videos or games on their Windows Phone or XBox Live console. If so, here's how to go about it.

You'll need log into your (or your child's) Xbox Live account over at Xbox.com.

If your child's account is part of a family membership you'll need to go to the Family Center section that is listed under the XBox drop down menu at the top of the screen. Find your child's Xbox Account, hover over the name and a pop-up menu will appear. Choose the Privacy and Online Settings option.

If your child has a stand alone account, the Privacy and Online Settings will be listed on their profile page just below their avatar.

The Privacy and Online Settings page contains settings to regulate activity, privacy and content on the Xbox Live console and Windows Phone.  If you scroll down to the bottom of the options and you will find the "Music, Music Videos and Windows Phone Games" option. You have options to allow access or block access to such titles. Make your choice and click "save" to preserve those settings. 

The choice to block or allow access to such titles is not for us to decide but with many finding Xbox Live consoles and Windows Phones under the tree this Holiday Season, we thought we'd share this how-to just in case there is a need.

via: mobilityminded

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So you got a Windows Phone for Christmas? Sweet. If you're a developer, you're probably itching to start writing code for the device. If an advanced hobbyist, homebrew software may be more of your interest. While the emulator -- a part of the Windows Phone SDK -- rocks for testing locally, you'll eventually want to try the real deal by loading up XAPs on your phone. We'll cover the pros and cons of each approach to do so.
 

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Surfcube 3D browser's hidden Easter Egg revealed

If you think Internet Explorer 9 on Windows Phone is slick, you should try it with Surfcube 3D. The browser is a wrapper for IE9 that extends and enhances the browsing experience while making it super cool--after all, it makes it a 3D "cube" that you can spin around.

We've heard that there's at least one hidden surprise with the browser and now you can see it for yourself. Go to Settings --> About and tap the Kinabalu Innovation logo (the mountains) to enter the free-cube mode. Basically the cube become unhinged and "floats" with the accelerometer.

Useful? Not really. But fun to goof with? Definitely.

Anyways, we always like little stuff like this. Hopefully you caught the sale for Surfcube this past weekend. If not, you can pick up the ad-free version here for $1.99 with trial or go for the ad-supported free version here in the Marketplace.

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Get missing Zune Pass features in Australia now

While the full-force of the Australian Zune Pass still needs to launch tomorrow, bits and pieces of it are now available, including being able to sign up. However, if you want all the good stuff now, Chris Walsh from ChevronWP7 (and Eric Lawrence's Fiddler app) have your back.

In a post on his blog, Walsh details a relatively easy method by which you can trick the Zune Servers and get access via the Zune Desktop to those "missing features".

Looks like a fun way to kill fifteen minutes and get the good stuff now. Read more at Chris Walsh's blog here.

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Take screen captures of Windows Phone games

We covered the screen capturing app for Windows Phone Mango not so long ago, but it's noted that the app is not able to take screen shots of games. The guys at Nanapho.jp have come across an easy work around that involves little effort. 

As one can see in the above photo, simply using the multi-task functionality, the user is able to save the screenshot of the game while in the task selection screen. Then simply use a photo editor to rotate and crop the image. There is a downside to this, as mentioned in their article, where the resolution of the captured images are 432×259 instead of 800x400. Check out an example below.

As well as gaming, this technique works when using the camera app as well as watching a movie. There's a slight sacrifice, but the functionality is worth it.

Source: Nanapho.jp (Translate)

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Taiwanese blog I Heart Windows Phone has released a set of three Halloween-themed wallpapers for Windows Phone 7. All three feature what appears to be the site’s mascot in different costumes, drawn with an attractive cartoonish art style. These wallpapers are an adorable way to show your Halloween spirit on the go, perhaps as you make a trip to the store to pick up some candy for the trick-or-treaters.

To get the images, use one of the following methods:

  1. Visit the blog on your phone (Google Translate it for a nice introduction to Halloween for foreign readers)
  2. Tap on one of the images to display the full version
  3. Tap and hold on the image and then select ‘save picture.’
  4. Once saved, find the image in your phone’s Photo section
  5. Tap the … button at the bottom of the screen to bring up the menu
  6. Select ‘use as wallpaper’

OR

  1. Download the zip file from your phone using this link
  2. Select one of the three images
  3. Tap the … button at the bottom of the screen to bring up the menu
  4. Select ‘use as wallpaper.’

Source: I Heart Windows Phone  Thanks to Grace for the tip!

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Bing search and speak recognition [How To]

We've looked at Local Scout among other improvements brought to the user in Windows Phone Mango, but nothing beats a British walk through of how to search, use Bing services and the speech recognition. Take a quick look at the above video for a brief overlook in what's new with the search functionality in Windows Phone, while the below how to takes us through running commands with voice in favour of touch.

More information can be found at the Windows Phone UK blog, link below.

Source: MykindofPhone

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This is pretty sweet, there's a quick trick on the Samsung Omnia 7 with the AllShare app. Should you attempt to run the app an error will pop up stating that this "This device does not support AllShare. AllShare will be terminated." What the app doesn't tell you is that it will be back (in the awesome words of Arnold Schwarzenegger).

In the above video (it's in French but you should be able to follow visually) we can see Sogalas, a MonWindowsPhone reader, walking us through how he can work around the error and actually launch the app. It's incredibly straight forward. As soon as you launch AllShare, quickly hit the home button before the error shows and the app will close. Now hold the back button to enter multi-tasking and swipe to the right to find AllShare. Selecting it will launch the app successfully, bypassing the error.

To recap, here's the full walkthrough:

  1. Download Samsung's AllShare app
  2. Launch and press the "home" button before the error message appears (if it appears before you're able to close the app, just keep trying)
  3. Return to the application by holding the "back" button and enter multi-tasking control
  4. Select AllShare and you're now inside the app, bypassing the error message
  5. You can now connect to your computer, media devices or your TV (configured with DLNA) and select multimedia content shared with your device to view on the big screen or play on the massive speakers

Let us know in the comments should you get this working. I attempted myself and successfully ran the app, however I always seem to have issues with DLNA and my router (Apple Airport Extreme) thus wasn't able to test out the streaming capabilities. We're not aware as to whether or not this trick works with the Focus so do let us know.

Update: We've confirmed that this trick works with the Focus too, updated the title. Enjoy.

Source: MonWindowsPhone

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WPCentral Tutorial - Custom Ringtones with Mango

One of the many welcomed features of Windows Phone 7.5, more affectionately known as Mango, is the ability to use custom ringtones. But how do you get the ringtone to the phone?

First, there are few limitations. The ringtone file must be in MP3 or WMA format, less then 40 seconds in length, less than 1mb in size and not protected with digital rights management (DRM).

There are a few ringtone apps reaching the Marketplace and we'll cover a few of them in the coming days. Most appear to be collections of ringtones that you can save to your Windows Phone but they don't allow you to create ringtones. That you can do on your own and to find out how, hit the jump.

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Mario and friends WP7 wallpapers

Fan of the jumping cartoon with continuous growth spurs? You can no get Mario and friends on your Windows Phone as a cool wallpaper after some cropping of Cenix13xpe's designs for the iPhone and iPod. Wallpapers included in the pack:

  • Princess Peach
  • Yoshi
  • Toad
  • Princess Daisy
  • Bowser
  • Mario

Head on over to 1800PocketPC (link below) for the Windows Phone wallpapers and visit Cenix13xpe's DeviantART profile for the original wallpaper for iPhones etc. The wallpapers, once added to your handset, look awesome.

Source: 1800PocketPC, original image credit: Cenix13xpe

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After yesterday's news that HP is discontinuing all webOS mobile devices, many members of the very passionate and loyal webOS community, including myself, have been shocked into wondering what we are supposed to do next. While I'm not saying that I've already jumped ship to Windows Phone 7 from webOS already (I still love my devices and the community behind them), it's not uncommon to see that many of you are already planning your trip to the store to pick up a new smartphone to replace the soon-to-be-antiquated HP Veer, Pre 2 or even the original Sprint Palm Pre (what we back at PreCentral call the Pre-Minus). Let's get this straight, because I know how loyal you guys are to your platform, switching to a WP7 device is not abandoning the webOS platform - but HP has made it very clear that they're not making phones anymore, so what else are you supposed to do? 

I've been using WP7 on my Dell Venue Pro for a little while now, and even though it's not a shiny new HP Pre 3 running webOS 3.0, it does have a whole lot going for it. If I absolutely had to make the decision tomorrow (which I don't and I'm not... yet), it would be very easy for me to make Windows Phone 7, and WPCentral.com, my new home in the smartphone universe. Let me put it to you this way: If you're thinking about switching to another platform from webOS, WP7 is one of the best options, if not the best, out there for you to choose today.

It's easy to say all of that, though without backing it up; but that's why I've come to WPCentral today to help ease the pain and make things a little more comfortable for those of you joining this community. The webOS platform had a whole lot going for it as an operating system built on mobile devices. Synergy, Just Type, Multitasking, Touchstone Charging, Exhibition Mode, non-interrupt notifications system and other great features (just to name a few) made webOS wholly unique and intuitive - but to say that WP7 isn't already pushing forward with many of these concepts (and even jumping ahead in a few) is to be ignorant of the facts.

To be quite frank - WP7 over any other platform is probably the most similar to webOS as being intuitive and market-changing, and even though many of you might choose this platform simply because it isn't iOS, Android of Blackberry, you should also be choosing it simply because it's a great operating system to use.

Here, by popular request, is a guide to help your transition from whatever webOS smartphone you might be using over to a Windows Phone 7 device. Written by someone who has loved webOS since the day it was announced and will stick with it until the day that it is finally put to rest. 

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We've seen the improvement coming in "Mango" to Bing, which are nothing short of impressive: Vision, Scout, Music, info cards, images, etc. But (and it's a big but) some of those services won't work everywhere in the same fashion. We're talking of course about Scout and Bing Vision. Specifically on the latter, we know it won't do movie posters, books, CDs, barcodes etc only MS Tags and QR codes outside of the US. That's a huge bummer for many as Bing Vision works quite well.

Reader Leon Y. writes in to let us know that these services are not available in Canada--at least on the Mango 7712 ROM. It's actually very simple:

"I currently have the dev build 7712 and I don't know if it works in the RTM build. Also I think this works because I speak English and not another language.

Here's how to do it: Go into the Region+languages in the settings and change the browser & search language to English (United States) and hit the back button to save the changes. The local scout works like a charm and the Bing vision is amazing. I think this will work in other English speaking countries. I don't see a reason for Microsoft disabling this feature for other countries other that the US. I just wanted to share this discovery with everyone"

Anyone else want to confirm and share their experience? It's odd that Local Scout will actually pull info down in countries where it's not available in the OS. We hope for a least a handful of you this will enable these awesome features and that other countries will soon get these services as well.

Update: Works in Germany according to reader @Cyrus1989

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Group Messaging in Mango: the MMS gambit

We actually heard about this little issue from our own Jay Bennett, but others have taken note as well. In short, when using the Group Messaging feature in Mango, by default the messages will use the MMS format instead of SMS. The reason for this is not too clear, though it has something to do with trying to keep all the messages grouped together in a thread (perhaps someone with more knowledge can explain in comments).

However, you can (and probably should) turn this off.  Like a lot of folks, you may have a limited monthly allotment of MMS messages and you be charged a ton for a 'few' conversations otherwise. To disable this feature, simply go to Settings --> Applications --> Messaging and turn off the MMS part. So what about Group Messaging? Well, as far as we know, it still works but will now use the SMS method. Only downside, which we have to verify, is that it might not group properly. Still, that's a small inconvenience versus a large, unexpected bill at the end of the month, no?

Big thanks to 'We Love Windows Phone' for the tip and screen shots.

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Mango not only promises to bring 500 new features for regular users but also numerous other languages for the rest of the planet. For those who want some Japanese on their Windows Phone now, or perhaps those looking to explore how to add other language, a neat little hack has appeared over at NanaPho.

The trick requires a registry edit before you upgrade to Mango (you can't yet edit the registry on Mango devices, as far as we know) and may be good for those playing with DFT's custom ROMs. While in NoDo or earlier, simply launch the registry editor and make these changes:

1. add this entry on your NoDo (7390 or 7392) phone.

key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\MUI\Available

name: 0411

value: Japanese

2. update to Mango Beta 2 Refresh

3. you will get Japanese language

Of course the potential is there to add other languages, though it has to be verified. Other language packs which are made available with the Mango release include 0413 (Netherlands), 0419 (Russian), 0804 (Simplified Chinese), 0404 (Traditional Chinese) and in theory, those should work too. Looks to be a cool trick for those not wanting to wait the extra month or two for the RTM Mango to hit.

Source: NanaPho

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We've seen some "epic" style Captain America wallpaper a few weeks ago, but how about some custom "cute" styled ones? In the traditional Chinese style of taking all things menacing and making them freakin' adorable, those cats at IHeartWindowsPhone have made two versions of Capt. America that are pretty slammin'. Or just cute. Whatever.

We're not even comic fans but have to admit these are pretty great and since their free, why not just grab them here. A big thanks to IHeartWindowsPhone for sharing.

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Custom ringtones in Windows Phone Mango [How to]

The Microsoft team updated us awhile ago on how custom ringtones, a long sought feature, will work in Mango. And while quite a few of us (mostly devs, a few who are not) are running Mango with a beta Zune client, even we don't have the automatic ringtone maker on board.

Over at Mobility Digest, James Schneider has figured away for those running Mango now to make custom ringtones. All in all, while not as easy as the official version (when it arrives), it's not too hard either. In essence you'll need Audacity, a great freeware audio mixer (we use it for the podcast), some music and a few seconds to cut and export the file following those guidelines

  • 39 seconds or shorter
  • smaller than 1 megabyte (MB)
  • saved in MP3 or WMA format
  • not copy-protected (i.e. DRM free)

By simply adjust the HZ rate, mono/stereo, etc. you can alter the size to keep it under 1MB. Then you just drag-n-drop the file through Zune, creating a new category in your Collection called 'Ringtones' and walla, you're done. Check out the entire guide with screenshots at Mobility Digest.

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You should know by now that Windows Phone "Mango" has Facebook Chat built in to the Messaging app (see our full Mango review). Turning it on is actually pretty simple: navigate to the Messaging (SMS) app, hit Setting and enable. Or you can do it under Settings --> Applications --> Messaging. Easy enough, so why the how to? Well, this is more a "troubleshooting" thing i.e. you're one of the very few who can't it to work.

See, since I've been running "Mango"  (nearly a month next week), I could not get Facebook Chat enabled. Yup. Every time I'd throw that lil' switch, it would ask me to setup Facebook Chat, it would then open what looks like an embedded IE window where it would return with a "Page cannot be found". Seriously. It did this dozens of times and I just thought "welp, it's not enabled yet".

Long story short: I didn't have my Facebook account linked to my Windows Live one. Who knew it was necessary? It would have been nice for an error message to explain that but alas, I was lost till I ran across Mobility Minded's excellent step by step guide on setting this up. The guide was perfect right up to the point when I had to enable the feature and bam...it still didn't work.

The solution was an extra step not in Mobility Minded's otherwise great write up: delete the Facebook account on the phone and set it up again (just name and password). The next time I headed to Messaging --> Settings, Facebook Chat was magically enabled and all is good. Of course the funny part in all of this is I don't use Facebook or Chat period, except for testing. Still, this issue was nagging me and hopefully if any of you have something similar, it'll help too.

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Multiple Google calendars in Mango [How to]

 

Should you have multiple Google calendars set up and used frequently you'll smacking your head against a brick wall when it comes to adding them in Windows Phone 7. Luckily, with Mango, Anthony Chu (lead developer of Wonder Reader for WP7) has posted a tutorial on how to enable multiple Google calendars. It's actually really simple and takes no more than five minutes (unlike attempting to use other Google services).

Requirements for this are as follows:

  • WP7 device running Mango
  • More than one Google calendar set up
  • Safari (for Windows/OS X) 

With the above requirements met, what we need to do is get to the section on the Google website where you can select which calendars to synchronise with devices that are connected to your account. By default, this seems only viewable to iOS devices and presumably Android handsets. We need to change our user agent in our browser to fool Google into believing we're Safari on iOS.

In the walkthrough below, Anthony uses Safari as it has built-in ability to manipulate the user agent easily and quickly. Any desktop browser will do so long as you can alter the UA. Head on past the break to view the steps. 

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Kik is here, but there's a slight issue that we picked up on a while back when it was released. Being in the UK I attempted to use my .co.uk email address. Unfortunately Kik seems to have a slight issue with registering email addresses using this country code.

Fortunately, after much frustration, I used my GMail address and of course it worked. I don't really use my Google account for email so I decided to have a good look through the settings within the app and sure enough there's an option to change the account email address. Entering my .co.uk address seemed to work and I received an email from Kik confirming the change.

It seems as though it's limited to registration only, so use a .com email for signup and then simply make the change in the app settings. Job done! Kik have said they are working on the fix. Are you using a country code which is not .com and are experiencing the same issue? Let us know in the comments.

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