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3 years ago

Custom ringtones in Windows Phone Mango [How to]

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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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3 years ago

Arcane's Tower Defense now wowing people in the Marketplace

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We've been waiting on Arcane's Tower Defense for what seems like forever. Actually, it was way back in October when we saw the first rumbling of the epic tower defense game, then a more detailed look in February

Well, the game is finally a go in the Marketplace, selling for a fair $1.99. Unfortunately, there is no trial (sad panda) but if you like tower defense, just watch the video after the break--the game kind of sells itself and we have to say with our brief hands on: wow, epic, [insert superlative here]

Amazing music, great sound effects, excellent tutorial, custom maps. Folks, we may be jumping the gun here, but this could be one of those games, you know, a must have? Sure, you can wait till our review goes up, but we're gonna go ahead and suggest that if you like these types of games then just go ahead. Now excuse us, we're off to kill some goblins...

Update: One of the developers of ATD let us know in comments that there should be a trial version and that there's probably an error in the Marketplace. They're trying to fix it as soon as possible.

Update 2: Trial is now available! No excuses now.

Grab Arcane's Tower Defense here in the Marketplace for $1.99. Video after the break. Thanks, Eric I., for the tip!

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3 years ago

Penny Arcade's Gabe reviews Windows Phone 7

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The other day we ran Penny Arcade's comic on Windows Phone 7. Some found it funny, others did not. Regardless, Gabe is a pretty popular internet celebrity and he decided to finally post his thoughts on the phone and OS.

See, Gabe's actually a long time iPhone user but he was looking for something, well, different. Using his magical powers he was able to grab a Samsung Focus from Microsoft running NoDo (we presume, it's not Mango). We encourage you to read his whole review but the take away message could be summarized as follows:

"...the user experience is really the distinguishing factor in my opinion. I know how ridiculous it sounds to say that I switched to a Microsoft device because I prefer the UI design and the way it “feels” to use the device but it’s true. I’m not sure when MS became the scrappy underdog hungry to shake things up with a radical new idea but here it is. I really love the design elements and how consistent they are throughout the entire experience. I realize that probably isn’t enough for most people to change phones but as someone who loves design and "new art" it was enough for me."

He still needs to put though a road-test, which he's looking to do next week when he heads to Comic Con. Hey, publicity is publicity and if we can convert folks one at a time, so be it.

Source: Penny Arcade; Thanks, Matt B., for the heads up!

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3 years ago

Angry Birds is missing a few levels. Like a 105 of 'em.

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Although Angry Birds (see review) is still the top game in the Marketplace right now and it is a lot of fun, lots of folks are still shaking their head at the $2.99 price tag versus our competition where it is either free or $0.99. Putting aside for the moment the eternal debate about Xbox LIVE titles and their value (we're actually okay with $2.99 games, sorry), lets look at another related issue: Angry Bird levels and updates.

For those familiar with the Angry Birds universe, you'll know it's not a static game. Both on the iPhone and Android it receives frequent updates in the form of new levels. Currently, the Windows Phone version comes with a seemingly ample 135 levels on it and to be honest, it is keeping us busy. But our version is based on v1.4.2 whereas the iPhone/Android version is at 1.6.1. 

Windows Phone Daily compared and contrasted the two versions and found that ours is missing about 105 levels on it, which...well, is a lot. Of course to cut Rovio some slack, they did have to get the game out by a certain time and matching updates is like shooting a moving target. Interestingly, when you max out all the levels in Angry Birds on Xbox LIVE for Windows Phone, you get the above "Coming Soon" screen. So that's a least promising as it looks like Rovio (or more likely their outsourced partner who made our version, Innogiant Ltd.) are planning on adding those levels in the future. 

Unfortunately, neither company was willing to go on record about when to expect those new-old levels and knowing the update record of Xbox LIVE titles, we're hoping it won't be too long. In the meantime, we'll be busy trying to complete the current 135 challenges.

Update: Saad Hashmi of Windows Phone Daily just commented that they heard from Rovio, although it was not very informative. You can read his comment below.

Source: Windows Phone Daily

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3 years ago

Activate Facebook Chat in Windows Phone "Mango" [How To]

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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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3 years ago

Toshiba Fujitsu "Mango" phone slated for August release in Japan

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File this one under "curious", but it looks like Japanese carrier KDDI may be not only getting their first Windows Phone this August, but it'll be the first phone with "Mango" on board. The phone itself is a Toshiba-Fujitsu IS12T (catchy name!) which sports a 3.7" LCD screen and a water-resistant case. In fact, it looks to be the same phone first shown a few days ago at WPC11 by Microsoft.

The device also has FCC & Bluetooth clearance, which could mean a U.S. release at some point, but seeing a Fujitsu has little presence here, we're not too confident on that one.

Regarding that "first phone with Mango" bit, we would be a bit cautious on that as the OS hasn't gone gold yet and there are no firm dates yet for any release, let alone hardware. Microsoft for certain has projected "windows for release" but we would be surprised to see this actually happen by August. Then again, it could validate the whole Mango-in-September tweet from a few days ago, so who knows.

Source: Nikkei; via NanaPho; Thanks, tezawaly

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3 years ago

Microsoft releases the Windows Phone Home Server 2011 Connector

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Last month, Microsoft made available the Release Candidate of their Windows Phone Connector for the Windows Home Server 2011. Today, the released the final RTM release of the connector.

The connector will enable remote server management tasks and relay media streams for WHS 2011 to your Windows Phone. You also have Live Tile support to allow you to quickly view network health alerts, storage percentage, and server identification.

You can download the Windows Phone Home Server 2011 Connector here at Microsoft's download site.

Thanks goes out to Shipwreck for the tip!

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3 years ago

Panoramic Software Celebration Sale

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In celebration of reaching 100,000 followers on Twitter, Panoramic Software is holding a sale on it's Windows Phone software titles (as well as other platforms). It's a way of saying thank you to all their followers and customers.

The sale will start on Saturday, July 16, 2011 and end on Sunday, July 17, 2011. Every title in Panoramic's line-up will be on sale for $1. Panoramic's Windows Phone apps includes Mo Tweets, Ultimate Sudoku, Blackjack, Guitar Suite and Free Cell.

The celebration sale will end Sunday Night, July 17, 2011. You can check out all the Panoramic titles over at their website or simply type "Panoramic Software" in the Marketplace search field.  Oh and if you want to help Panoramic reach 150,000 followers, you can follow them here on Twitter and as always, you can follow WPCentral here on Twitter.

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3 years ago

Star Ninja - Review

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Star Ninja - Review

Star Ninja has been available at the Windows Phone Marketplace for some time now and pits ninjas against pirates. Not exactly your classic conflict but entertaining nonetheless.

The game includes four game modes and fifty levels of play. It does have a Shuriken Ninja feel to it but challenging enough to stand on its own. To find out more about Star Ninja, skip on past the break.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Developer Certification [Developers]

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I'm sure you're more than aware of certification offered by Zend, Microsoft and more, but were you aware of a Windows Phone developer certification? It seems Microsoft wish to offer a way for developers to validate their experience, knowledge and skill in time for the predicted 2015 overtaking of the smartphone market.

Why should you bother to become a Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD)? We'll allow the big M to explain the benefits:

"Earning an MCPD shows hiring managers your commitment to your own professional growth and to staying up to date on the latest technologies. Maintaining an MCPD certification complements your experience, providing a key factor that differentiates your resume from those of other job candidates who have similar experience."

As with all other certifications, applicants are to take examinations that test their knowledge and expertise in the field. There are three exams present, first two are prerequisites while the third is the MCPD required exam:

  • Exam 70-506 - MCTS prerequisite: TS: Silverlight 4, Development
  • Exam 70-516 - MCTS prerequisite: TS: Accessing Data with Microsoft .NET Framework 4 
  • Exam 70-599 - MCPD requirement: PRO: Designing and Developing Windows Phone Applications

Certified developers will be required to show competence by completing a re-certification every two years as the platform updates frequently, thus the skill required to be a successful developer will evolve rapidly. For more information and to view the available preparation material, head on over to Microsoft Learning via the link below.

Please note that the MCPD: Windows Phone Developer certification will not be visible on your transcript until September 2011 and Course 10554A for Exam 70-506 is not available until August 2011.

Source: Microsoft Learning

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3 years ago

Microsoft registers domains using Sony brand

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Could Microsoft's recent domain acquisition signify a possible future collaboration between Sony Ericsson and Microsoft? It's surely debatable, but the domain names are so vague that it could cover a joint-venture between Sony itself and Microsoft (in entertainment etc.), as opposed to Sony Ericsson with Windows Phone 7. See the domains for yourself, sony-microsoft.com and microsoft-sony.com (both redirect to Bing SERPs), not really 'WP7 friendly' right?

Forum users at Neogaf discovered the domain names that were registered to Microsoft through Corporation Service Company (CSC), a corporate identity protection firm. The replies in the thread contain ideas that range from the software giant possibly taking over Sony (or vice versa), a Sony Vs Microsoft fighting game, Microsoft trolling, or -- of course -- Sony Ericsson WP7 handsets.

Sony Ericsson, once named as a key partner, had produced prototypes of a WP7 handset (with some cool concepts being designed), but the manufacturer never came to light with volume and a release. We mustn't forget that the two companies may be strong competitors in the gaming market, but Sony works with Microsoft and Windows so something could relate to the Vaio product line. Then again, these are mere domain names, Microsoft has a catalog of registrations. What do you guys think, what's most probable to come out of this should anything actually happen?

Source: Neogaf, via: WinRumors

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3 years ago

Perfect Scan - Review

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Perfect Scan - Review

Choices are limited with regards to document scanners for your Windows Phones. You've got HandyScan/Handyscan Lite and DocMe was around for some time but has apparently been pulled. To help fill the void, we can add Perfect Scan to the mix. Developed by Katana Labs, Perfect Scan offers multi-page document scans that can be edited, emailed, and searched.

There's really not much to Perfect Scan but what's there works nicely. To read more on Perfect Scan, slide on past the break.

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3 years ago

Paper Dash being delivered to your Windows Phone

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Paper Dash being delivered to your Windows Phone

Not sure how many paper routes are still being done by bicycle but Paper Dash is bringing the bicycle paper route to your Windows Phone. Reminiscent of the arcade game Paper Boy, Paper Dash places you in the role of the paper delivery person (boy/girl character customization available).

You run your routes collecting soda cans for extra cash, avoid obstacles such as traffic cones and neighborhood dogs, all while tossing newspapers into mailboxes. The game is set up with thirty levels each with performance goals.

Game controls have you steering the bicycle with the Windows Phone accelerometer and papers being thrown by tap/drag motions. Controls may be the weakest/most challenging part of the game in that you don't have much room for maneuverability and I often hit the back button while aiming my throws. I don't know if it would have been better to have a simple tap control the paper throws.

As you earn money by delivering papers and collecting cans, you can spend your earnings at the local store (accessible through the Main Menu) on bonus items. Prices are a little steep ($20 for a bicycle basket?) but it doesn't take long to rake in the dough.

All in all, Paper Dash is a nice game for your Windows Phone well worth a try.  Paper Dash is an free, ad-supported game and you can download it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

WAZUp App Spotlight

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WAZUp App Spotlight

WAZUp is a Windows Azure management app for Windows Phone that allows the user to view all current deployments and instances found on your account. The app asks for credentials prior to using the app in each instance, this is the login information for the app itself (registration steps can be found below) and not your Live ID.

All data sent back and forth is sent via HTTPS and certification is used for full Windows Azure API security. The password is not stored locally and thus the app will ask you each time you open the app. Deployments listed in the app are color coordinated, matching those used in the web management portal (red - off, green - live, blue - starting). The user is able to start and stop deployments in a few finger pressing actions.

Registering for the service and carrying out the necessary preparations should be completed using the walk through found on the app website. The walk through steps involve registering an account, bringing across the subscription ID of the service you wish to have connected to the app, implementing security certificates and setting up the app.

You can download WAZUp from the Marketplace for $9.99. More info can be found on the app website and after the break, you can catch a video demo of WAZUp. 

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3 years ago

Office 365 demo with WP7 [Video]

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Office 365 demo with WP7 [Video]

In the above video we have Kirk Koenigsbauer, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Corporation, who demonstrates how Office 365 on the PC, in web browsers and on the Windows Phone can integrate together. Kirk uses OneNote as the example and shows how more than one user can collaborate in real-time even if they're currently on a different platform.

Simply capturing a photo, attaching it and synchronizing that note will reflect the changes on other systems that currently have that note open. This will of course work with adding (or removing) text and more. OneNote makes use of the screen space available. We can see on the PC screen that the user is able to view all the content at first glance. Since the phone has a smaller screen, OneNote for WP7 optimizes the content in the note and brings all the sections together in one column.

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