Alpha

Microsoft's live-survey app code named 'BrushFire' is in early alpha stages of development

The notion of using live feedback and crowdsourcing during events isn't new--heck your teachers probably did when they asked you to "raise your hands" when voting on something as a kid. But this is 2012 and we need something with a little more bite to it. BrushFire is such an attempt.

Made by Microsoft (and technically for internal use only at the moment) the app is is still in the "alpha" stage meaning don't expect it to actually work. But the concept here is what's neat. From the app description:

"This is for internal MSIT use only. The application allows users to complete surveys by supplying a provided code. The application is alpha and only demonstrates the first activity type of survey. Future versions will include other types of activities. You can use the code MSIT to sample the application. "

How BrushFire works, in theory, is when a presenter at a conference wants to get feedback or interact with the audience in some e.g. a survey, they can fire one up and have it broadcast through this app to the audience. The audience can then take the survey on their phones and the info is calculated in real time. This type of feedback is often done with product testing and audience screenings of movies but now the technology can go anywhere and be configured nearly on the fly.

There's no word if the app and service will go forward, be cross-platform etc (though it'd make sense to be on iOS and Android if maximum audience participation is wanted) but the idea behind it seems extremely useful. It's always nice to take a peek behind Microsoft's curtain a bit.

Thanks, anon, for the info

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Grooveshark is a streaming service that allows you to pick any artist, song or album and simply create playlists to listen to on your computer, tablet or phone. Unlike Pandora or IHeartRadio, it does not give you new artists/songs based off of your listening preference. Instead, it's more like just streaming the music you want to hear with no experimentation.

The HTML5 site works well enough on Windows Phone for streaming in IE9 but Grooveshark have stated they have no intentions for a dedicated client for Windows Phone. That's too bad. However, the developer of MetroRadio (an unofficial Pandora app for Windows Phone) is now working on Groovyshark, an unofficial Grooveshark client for our devices.

We took the alpha build (i.e. pre-beta) for a test drive just to show you that indeed you can hook-into Grooveshark. We also got a sneak peek at the new "screensaver" function that's coming to MetroRadio too which is very reminiscent of Zune's music player on the Zune HD and Zune Desktop. That latter feature is something many have wanted Windows Phone to have built in so it's nice to see someone is working on it.

Groovyshark will hopefully be out in a few weeks to the Windows Phone Marketplace with full queue and playlist functionality built in. We'll keep you posted on  its developments right here at WPCentral.

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Looks like Resco is finally turning its attention to the aging Photo Viewer app, which while very popular and powerful has become quite dated in terms of UI (see our earlier review).

In their forums (via ppcgeeks) they are showing off their "alpha" version, meaning this is very early in development. Having said that, we gave it a spin on our Treo Pro and, darn it all ... the thing runs very well.

What can you expect? How about it is very fast in terms of the UI and loading photos, the UI is gorgeous and very intuitive. We especially like the easy zoom feature and the much-needed "touch" interaction.

Also, there's:

  • G-sensor support
  • Touch friendlyness
  • The folder shows the preview of the pictures inside it
  • 100% zoom in and out using double clicking (zoom the double clicked area)
  • Thumbnail and list view and multiselection operations
  • Direct access to the camera
  • Upload to Facebook, Flickr

Normally we steer you guys clear of betas, let alone alphas, but in this case we're going to have to give a thumbs up as it seems quite stable and harmless (it's about 2mb for the install.).  Take a peek after the break for a few screenshots.

Exe installation file | Cab installation file

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