How To

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Boost the sound on Samsung Focus - Take 2

A few weeks ago, we reported on a tweak to boost the sound on the Samsung Focus (as if it wasn't loud enough). Turns out, we were a little premature as the settings did not stick.

Flash forward 10 days later and looks like the folks at XDA figured it out, so we figured we'd do an update. We also have a new one that boosts the volume when using a headphones (the Focus turns the overall volume down for obvious reasons).

The process is similar: using the Samsung Diagnosis app, enter in some values. Done. For this, we can definitely confirm the headphones are much louder...probably too loud, but you can decide. And both stick after a reboot. Post results in comments or our Focus sub-forum!

Full instructions after the break...

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Boost the sound on the Samsung Focus [Hack]

If there's one area the Focus doesn't need improvement on is sound--it's loud, clear and did we mention loud? Still, we know for some of you, there's never enough volume so for you, we bequeath this tip.

Like the detailed battery check and USB tethering before, you'll need to access the Diagnostic Menu on your Focus. It's easy enough and then you just enter a few codes and you're good to go. The only downside is this won't survive a soft-reset (but how often are you folks doing that anyways?). But the boost in volume is significant and if you want to compete with the Surround, now's your chance. Here we go:

  • Enter the dialer
  • ##634#  --> Call
  • *#0002*28346#

    Now you'll have three fields which you want to change:

    • Click "Read"
    • System Gain: 7 change to 10
    • Class Gain: 7 change to 10
    • Device Gain: 7 change to 10
    • Press Start

      That should be it. Like we said, it's just a temporary change so no harm is done to the device. Let us know in comments if you notice a difference. We haven't done any scientific tests ourselves on this but it seems louder to our ears.

      Update: Some reports suggest this does not work,, so take that as you will (thanks, electricbopeep, for the reference)

      Source: FireSokar at XDA Forums

      electricbopeep
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      One of the nice things about having Office Mobile is the ability to not only view those Office docs on the go, but to edit them as well. But getting those files to your device can be a challenge. We already saw one homebrew solution, which basically creates a local server for you to download files to your device.

      Another, more simple solution is to just use Dropbox. While we still don't have a mobile application for the service (crosses fingers) you can use their site through Mobile Internet Explorer, which works just a well. In fact you can easily grab your files on the go this way. The only downside is you cannot upload Office documents, just photos, to Dropbox and for some that is a no-go. Then again, the free service "Send to Dropbox" allows you to easily email your modified files back to Dropbox, which we think is pretty darn cool.

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      A few days ago, we detailed an ongoing problem with some unlocked Windows Phones, namely that MMS would not work when a new SIM card was placed into the device. On most phones, either the device will auto reconfigure itself or the user can manually input the MMS server settings. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, some Windows Phones don't have the first option, Automatic Data Configuration (ADC), enabled and no Windows Phone has the second ability. In turn, phones sold as unlocked by carriers are not fully functional.

      In response, Samsung noted that their phones do not support this function by design. Although in comments to our article, an unverified person named Young Shin claims that they work for Samsung and had this to say:

      I'm from Samsung's Windows Phone 7 team. Initially, the Network Profile application was designed to detect network reconfiguration on Samsung WP7 open market devices, it is not possible to reconfigure a carrier-locked device. Currently, Samsung is working on a modification which will enable the unlocked devices to be reconfigured to any other network. This application update should be available in WP7 marketplace by the end of this month. Thanks.

      All we can do is wait to see if this is true but until then there is now a homebrew option, developed by "kuerbis" who gave WPCentral an early look. In short, it is Samsung's own Network Profile app (available in their app store) that he has modified to support network and automatic reconfiguration. Of course, you'll need to use ChevronWP7 to jailbreak your phone first, then load this app. And yes, it will even load the correct MMS gateway settings for users.

      You can grab the homebrew Samsung Network Profile app by "kuerbis" here. We'll keep track of Samsung's official app as well.

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      A few days ago, a hobbyist developer named keyboardP did a proof-of-concept trick using a modified PNG image as a lockscreen wallpaper for Windows Phones. The result is a transparent effect whereby you can see through to your homescreen. Kind of neat if you want to check the temperature without unlocking the phone.

      The first one he did was simple: claw marks that made it look like someone had torn your screen.

      Since then, members over at XDA have started to create many different variations, coming up with some real unique designs. Over at keyboardP's site, he has also accumulated a mini-gallery that is growing as users submit them.

      Now, there are three things to know about doing this: one, you must email yourself the PNG file as syncing won't work (Zune only recognizes JPGs), two, the trick only works once you "touch" the screen and three, it won't work if you have your device password protected. Other than that though, it's pretty sweet and easy to do. You can see in the picture here that I went for a very simple all black that goes smoky when activated. Anyways, if you're bored, give it a go. Feel free to discuss and post your creation here in our forums.

      Source: Phone 7, Gallery, XDA Forums

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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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      For those of you leaving on the edge of your Windows Phone 7 software (e.g. Google Maps, ringtone manager), you would be a little experienced with installing .XAP files (pronounced "zap") which are basically the WP7 version of .CABs. While installing them isn't that hard (Start Menu --> Windows Phone Developer Tools --> Application Deployment --> Select file), looks like someone wanted to make it even easier.

      If you remember the old add on .cab installer for Windows Mobile called CabViaActiveSync, this app by Tom Condon should be very familiar: it basically allows one-click install of any .xap file on your computer. Simply download the zip, extract the .exe and Run As Administrator. Now, whenever you click on a .xap file, you'll get the above dialog screen allowing direct installs to the phone.

      While many of you haven't unlocked yet and the Homebrew scene is still in its infancy, we recommend you bookmark this or make a mental note as this app will be very useful later on.

      Source: XDA Forums

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      PowerPoint 2010 Broadcast to WP7

      Microsoft’s PowerPoint is one of the most used applications in the business world (see our Office Hub review here). One of the newer features in PowerPoint is the ability to broadcast your presentation simultaneously to people in multiple locations. This facilitates conference calls and is of great use to businesses looking to enhance communication and maximize the use of available resources.

      Hit the break for more details on what you need to make this work.

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      Although the little battery meter on all Windows Phone 7 devices gives you a rough idea of remaining juice, if it's one thing Windows Mobile users of past want it's 1% battery readings (we're a finicky bunch, aren't we?)

      Luckily on the Samsung Focus there is a way to find out the exact battery level. While not the easiest method, it's far from hard either. As I demonstrate in the video above, you can simply enter the diagnostic menu (Dialer --> ##634# and select “Call“) then enter in *#2*# to reveal the battery level.  The next time you want to check, just run the "Diagnosis" program in your program menu list and dial in *#2*# for easier reference.

      Check out the video to see it in action.

      Source: MobilityMinded

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      Although we just showed you how to use your phone as a USB drive, which is excellent for copying media or just carrying files between computers you sync with, one downside was it wouldn't work for Office files (docs, PowerPoint, Excel) or PDFs.

      Luckily, over at Marauderz Stuff, they figured it out: they created a simple webserver program for your local network. The idea is you download and install this mini-app to your PC, run it and then via Wi-Fi, you can connect your phone up to your PC. Since Mobile Internet Explorer allows downloading of documents, that's all this is doing: creating a local web page where you can list files to transfer easily.

      It's almost too simple.

      The author even includes a walk-through video (after the jump, along with directions) to show you how it works and how it looks. Seems like the Windows Phone community is rocking pretty hard these days, solving quite a few "issues" with ease.

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      Entering week two of Windows Phone 7 and we're moving right along with those hacks and tweaks. First was USB tethering (here & here), now we have USB drive support via MobilTechWorld, something we thought wasn't supported. Well, it's not. Officially.

      The good news is that this is an easy hack to do. The bad news is it's computer specific, meaning you can't just use your WP7 device as a universal USB drive on any computer, just the one that you modify and sync with. But hey, it's a start.

      The trick is quite easy and will take you less than 5 minutes to do, so it's well worth it, even if just to try.

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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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      Wow, so looks like that whole back and forth on whether Windows Phone 7 could tether is turning out to be settled: of course it can, they just hid it.

      Much like the Samsung Focus and Omnia 7, the LG Optimus 7 has also been shown to be able to USB Tether as a modem. Once again, it's a bit tricky, requiring some drivers to download and tinkering with a diagnostic menu, but overall is pretty straightforward.

      Directions are posted after the break.

      There's a good chance that the LG Quantum will be able to do the same, seeing as they are essentially sister devices. Considering how cheap the Quantum is going for on Amazon Wireless (that'd be  1 cent), it might be a good investment.

      Now we're all looking at HTC and Dell....fellas?

      Source: SmartphoneFrance; via wmpoweruser

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      Looks like a good morning for Samsung users! Taking that diagnostic menu one step further has allowed folks to figure out how to tether their Samsung WP7 devices, in addition to (the less exciting) MAC ID address.

      The hack is pretty straightforward, though it will hose your Zune-over-3G sync option (leaving Wi-Fi sync intact). Overall it sounds like a good solution, so long as you don't run over your cap (2GB for most on AT&T).

      Registering may fail on the first attempt, but try a second time and it should succeed.

        1. Open your phone and dial “##634#” then press call. You’ll go into the Diagnosis Menu (going forward this icon appears in your programs so you don’t need to dal that again). This is just a phone dialer with a little icon and note on top.
        2. In diagnosis mode (phone dialer) dial “*#7284#” and a dialogue will pop up letting you change the settings from Zune to modem or “Modem, USB dialog.”. You want to go with “Modem, Tethered Call”. It will restart you phone after a few seconds. Once it restarts, connect to your PC over USB and drivers will be installed on your computer. Now go to your connections on your PC and you’ll see that a Samsung modem was added.
        3. On your PC you need to change the setting for the Samsung modem. If you set it to prompt for user name you’ll be able to put in the login info. This is all it is:

          number: *99***1#

          user name: WAP@CINGULARGPRS.COM

          password: CINGULAR1

          Source: Mobility Digest

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          Mentioned briefly in the introductory video for the latest Dashboard Update (which hit Xbox 360 consoles this past Monday and was officially announced right before the US Launch of Kinect in NYC on Wednesday) the Xbox Live Gold Family Pack is really finally truly here. Not so surprisingly, some confusion and many questions were raised among the users that don't know what to do with multiple Xbox Live Gold accounts and multiple consoles. 

          How it will affect their Zune accounts and alter their interactions with each of the services was also a dodgy subject. I recommend reading on if you find any aspect of the new plan confusing, confounding, befuddling, frustrating, or any other disorienting verb. We'll do our best to leave you enlightened and ready to set up an Xbox Live Gold Family Pack.

          You may find it's worth it even if you don't have a full family!

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          No doubt, one of the coolest features of Windows Phone 7 and the companion Zune Desktop software is the ability to sync wirelessly. For years we've had to endure tethering our devices to our computers, loose USB wires everywhere, etc. (Even more ironic if you remember wireless syncing in ActiveSync before they removed it).

          Consider this more of a walk-through/what to expect than a true "setup guide" only because Microsoft made it so easy that you really should have no problem figuring it out. Still, we'll show a couple screen shots of the process as well as tell you what you can expect. In short, it's a great feature and once you have your GBs of music loaded, you'll want to use everyday.

          Read more after the break!

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          There was a pretty cool announcement yesterday over at the Windows Team Blog by Microsoft's GPM, Dick Craddock, on how to set up any existing e-mail account from any service to work in tandem with Hotmail.

          Just as the suite of free software packed in the set of Windows Live Essentials has become better and better over time, so too has the feature set of the Windows Live service. The social life of Messenger has become extensively robust - even including a free HD video service that rivals Skype and puts Google's video chat to shame. Mesh and Skydrive leave you with nearly no excuse to not have the files you need or having the Office applications to run or edit them. Finally, Hotmail brings it all together by syncing your Calender and Contacts from multiple accounts and services and keeping you up to date on external services like Flickr, YouTube, Facebook and more - and sorting it for you.

          There are plenty of reasons why someone would want to condense their e-mail services. From Microsoft's standpoint, this can get people who are too set on using their current e-mail provider to give Hotmail a try without feeling a jolt of e-mail culture shock. Secondly, it could get people who stopped using Hotmail to come back.
           
          We're going to take a quick look at why you should give it a try, or for a lot more of you, why you should try it again. Keep reading after the break as we show you everything you need to know!
           

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          We've made mention that one way to prepare for Windows Phone 7 is to establish a Windows Live ID. If you times slipped by and you haven't created a Windows Live ID, don't worry. During the initial set-up of your Windows Phone 7 device, you're given the option to sign in with an existing Live ID, skip the step all together or create a Windows Live ID from your phone.

          While some may opt to choose "not now" and skip the Windows Live ID all together, to make the most of Windows Phone 7 you really need the ID. As the screen shot mentions,

          "To get apps, play games, use a Zune Pass, automatically sync Windows Live information to the web, and more, you need a Windows Live ID."

          In establishing a Windows Live ID doesn't mean you can't use Google, Yahoo, or another Exchange Server for your email, contacts and calendar.  It simply opens more doors for your Windows Phone to access.

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          We don't know if this is just restricted to Telstra in Australia or all GSM WP7 devices, but evidently on at least some Windows Phone 7 devices, call waiting is not enabled. Odd, eh?

          Over at Chris Walsh's blog, he demonstrates how to enable this seemingly important feature and it's far from difficult:

          Just type *43# into the dialer, then press "Call"

          Of course there is nothing unique about that code per se, as they are just part of the GSM feature codes which are universal. Anyone else confirm whether or not this is disabled on their WP7 device?

          Source: Chris Walsh (blog)

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          Understanding Windows Live terminology

           

          Windows Live will be a major component for Windows Phone 7 and if you're not familiar with Live, some of the terminology can be a little confusing. You have Windows Live, Windows Live Mail, Hotmail, Live mail, Hotmail calendar and contacts as well as Live calendar and contacts.  Here's a simple glossary that may help shed some light on Windows Live.

          Windows Live: The online portal to Hotmail, Office Documents, Messenger, Photos, Skydrive, and other "cloud" services from Microsoft.

          Hotmail: Microsoft's email, calendar and contacts component to Windows Live. You'll access windowslive.com with your hotmail address and password.

          Windows Live mail: The same as Hotmail and includes email, calendar and contacts. On a side note, a hotmail address can end in @hotmail.com or @live.com.

          Windows Live Mail: This is a component of Windows Live Essentials that runs from your computer. Just as Microsoft Outlook is a component of Microsoft Office.  Windows Live Mail, again just as Outlook, has a email, calendar and contacts component. Windows Live Mail can access your hotmail and other email services (Google, Yahoo, etc.) plus you can sign into Windows Live through Live Mail and access your online contacts and calendar.

          It would have been nice if Microsoft could have come up with more distinctive terminology but as we all get used to the Windows Phone 7 and Windows Live environments, it will all become second nature.

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