hack

Nokia's Living Images is a new feature coming to Windows Phone 8.1 and their Lumia Cyan firmware update for the high-end PureView devices, like the Lumia 1020, Lumia 1520, Icon and so forth. Living Images captures a few seconds before you snap a photo, so that when you're browsing through your Camera Roll or StoryTeller, your photos come alive. It's like Cinemagraph, but without having to think, as it just works automatically.

A Nokia Camera Beta update a few weeks ago introduced Living Images, but no one could use it without the Cyan firmware. Even those with a Lumia 630 can't use it as that device is not PureView. But I started getting tips from people who had Living Images enabled, though they didn't know how it happened. Finally, Jason in our comments explained a simple trick to get it working, at least mostly.

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Being on a US carrier has quite a few downsides, from high data costs to exclusive Lumia phones, it can be a drudgery. We can add a new one to the mix today too: carrier-branded apps that are outdated.

This morning I wrote about the new Slacker Radio 2.0 update, which brings a new UI and improvements to the app for the first time since 2013. But if you’re on Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint or AT&T, searching for Slacker Radio brings you to their old, outdated branded version. Lame. Luckily, I’ve managed to get the apps to download and install, bypassing the carrier blockage.

Here’s how.

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This is one of those Windows Phone 8.1 changes that will only affect like 0.1% of you, though it’s still interesting if you’re into security and what may be best described as piracy.

Last summer, we ran a controversial story about how to install OEM exclusive apps to your Windows Phone. Those apps are always ‘free’ though they are in theory subsidized by your purchase of that OEM’s phone. There was a method used where you can spoof your Nokia Lumia to look like a Samsung one, or vice versa.

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Hacking on Windows Phone is a pretty nonexistent sport. Earlier we told you guys about HackerTeam and their claims of having full control over Windows Phone, but there’s no way to validate their claims. Here’s something we can validate, the Samsung ATIV Odyssey has joined the ATIV S and has been Interop Unlocked. This opens the gates for potentially deeper level OS changes on the Odyssey.

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When it comes to mobile platforms, Windows Phone 8 is reportedly very secure. Just look at the jailbreak scene on Windows Phone compared to Android and iOS. Sure, the lower number of handsets could be a valid reason why hackers haven’t exactly targeted the platform, but you think by know we’d be seeing more on the rooting/jailbreak front by now.

Publicly the platform is more or less secure. However, a mercenary-like hacking group called HackingTeam allegedly has control over all operating systems, including Windows Phone.

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File this under wishful thinking, but the venerable Lumia 920 has allegedly been jailbroken. That’s the claim from hacker poandsou and Silen Tech, who have posted a video supposedly demonstrating a Lumia 920 with the jailbreak enabled. For owners of the Lumia 920, or potentially any other Windows Phone 8 device, jailbreaking could bring a new avenue of development and customization, should this claim prove to be viable for the average user.

We should caution that none of this information has been independently verified, so at this time we are taking them at their word. Even if it is true, there are a lot of details that need to be filled in before this can mean anything.

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It can be a pain if you find yourself being allergic to mobile phone cases when you pick up the Lumia 925 and realise you can't wireless charge it without one attached. Nokia opted to not include wireless charging as a complete packing inside the shell of the main device, much like what's available on the Lumia 920, instead going with a 50/50 setup and firing out accessories that enable you to get charging.

What if you don't want to keep attaching a case to wireless charge the Windows Phone? A French tutorial has been published that walks you through on how to work around this issue and actually install the full wireless charging package on the Lumia 925, without the need for a case (except for the initial guide walkthrough).

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We love DIY projects that use Windows Phones here at Windows Phone Central, and this project is nothing short of impressive. Almost veryone is familiar with the labyrinth puzzles you can purchase from local toy stores that task the player with tilting the maze to control the ball and reach the end of the puzzle, without dropping into any holes.

So that would make a rather cool app, right? Well, that's simply not good enough for developer Matt aka 'RogueCode' (who used to write for us and makes the awesome Ffffound app). He decided to make a DIY labyrinth puzzle that can be controlled by a Windows Phone (Lumia 920 is used in the demonstration above) and its on-board accelerometer.

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It was just a few nights ago that Notifications, a third party app from Windows Phone Hacker, was cleared for the Store. The app filled an important gap on the OS, allowing a centralized area for app notifications and although it seemingly had mixed reviews, it was still an impressive first step.

Now we’re getting word that the app has been removed from the Store, meaning if you had paid for it you no longer have access to it...

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If there is one thing we can say about Windows Phone 8 is that it is reportedly very secure, specifically  during the boot process. But that doesn't mean that the OS cannot be "dumped" and looked at for exploits or--the holy grail--to be back ported to older Windows Phone 7.x handsets.

That process has now officially begun over at XDA Forums where a user named 'neilgoco' has managed to get his hands on an HTC 8X engineering device. That means it is more 'open" and has access to developer tools not found on the commercial release.

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Update: To clarify, the Touchstone charger doesn't actually charge the Lumia 920. It just actives the charging protocol but due to a mismatch in frequencies, it does not actually do anything. In fact, as webOSNation's Derek Kessler tells us, it could even damage your phone were you to leave it on there for an extended period of time. In other words, don't do this!

The Nokia Lumia 920 (and 820 with backplate) uses the Qi standard for wireless charging. In simplest terms that means universal charging plates (as opposed to some proprietary system) can be mass produced and the 920 will work with future products. It also means that past wireless charging systems, like Palm's Touchstone charging dock also work with the Lumia 920 as demonstrated in the video above.

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We reported a few days ago that some developers at XDA Forums have managed to get those pesky video-out drivers working on their Windows Phone 7 devices. The drivers, often used by Microsoft during press and developer events for demonstration purposes, have never been released publicly and that won’t change for WP7 anytime soon.

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If you have a few minutes you can watch the video above of reader Oli Gill bravely modifying his Nokia Lumia 800 to enable wireless charging ala Palm/HP and their Touchstone charger.

There is no doubt that any of us, especially with the more high-end Lumia 900 would love to have this feature in our Nokia Windows Phone. In fact, we wonder if and when Nokia will take the big plunge and be the first Windows Phone OEM to do this officially. After all, if there was one hardware company that could do this on a wide scale it'd be Nokia (though HTC and Samsung are fully capable too).

We're not going to lie though, this mod is quite advanced and we're pretty sure we won't have the time or skills to do this. But we also know a lot of our audience is highly educated and love to do things like this, so for you folks, here you go!

Oh and Oli, if you ever want to start a small side business, we're sure many of us would gladly send you our Lumias to have this warranty-voiding hack. Anyone else?

Thanks, Oli, for the tip and video

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Although we're of the camp that doesn't mind that the Windows Phone Marketplace for apps has been retired from Zune Desktop, we imagine some of you think otherwise.

Luckily, Windows Phone guru Den Delimarsky has you covered. He figured out exactly what the change was that Microsoft pushed on to us all yesterday. More importantly, he also figured out to block that change so you can get back the Marketplace for those apps.

Unfortunately the change is a little tricky. Evidently the "update" comes from a simple modification in the configuration.xml that is sent from Microsoft every time you launch Zune Desktop. All you need to do is switch a "disabled" setting to "enabled" but the tough part is you have to intercept that .xml file.

That's where you'll need a mini-server (or something analogous). Basically you redirect your Zune Desktop to a local server where you can have it fetch your modified .xml file and boom, you're in business. Now of course, this is only works so long as you stay with version 4.8. If you update the Desktop client (and Microsoft is sure to push one eventually) you can probably kiss this trick goodbye.

Anyway, cool stuff just remember, you're using this at your own risk (sorry Microsoft if you get mad!). Go read the whole thing at Den's site for all the details.

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Okay, in a way we really don't recommend you do this, on the other hand we just did so who are we to judge. In short, with a few tools and about 20 minutes of your time, you can flash the latest build of Windows Phone (8107 with the keyboard fix) and the latest firmware (12070) onto your T-Mobile branded Nokia Lumia 710.

The latest firmware fixes the end-call bug in addition to giving other "performance enhancements" e.g. powering on from standby seems faster to us now, whereas before there was delay. We haven't run it long enough to see if battery life has improved, though we presume since this matches the Lumia 800's new firmware that it has some of the same tricks (we're idling at about 135mAh, for what it's worth).

How is this done? The files come from Nokia's servers where you can download various ROM packages. In this case, Nokia has available three variants (by color) of their latest 710 ROMs for India available. That's right, you'll be installing a ROM for India on your US phone. No worries though as it's unbranded and heck, it even has two pics of the Taj Mahal as a bonus.

Downside? Evidently in India you can't give an option to disable the camera shutter sound, so you'll literally lose that option in Settings. This is also a full-on flash, meaning you'll wipe your device and backups won't work (new firmware). Finally, we lost our "4G" icon which makes us wonder if we lost our HSPA+ speeds. Our browser download tests (compared to a T-Mo Radar 4G) show that no loss in speed has occurred and from normal use, it feels just as fast as ever for data.

In order to do this you'll need two pieces of free software: Navifirm and Nokia Care Suite 5.0. The former downloads the ROMs from the server, the latter via the Product Support Tool For Store 5.0, allows you to flash your phone. (Honestly, it's really easy once you read some instructions).

Unfortunately we're not going to give a step-by-step because this is a little risky (although you can just flash back the T-Mobile release ROM). Still, if you want to know more about how this works, just head over to ye'old XDA where you can read the similar instructions on flashing the Lumia 800 (yes, it works on that too). Or you could just wait for the T-Mobile version, which we imagine will be here in a few weeks.

Thanks, Robert, for the heads up

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I like experimenting and tinkering with software. A lot like how a circuit bender tries to get electronics to emit beautiful music, I attempt to coerce software into doing things it wasn’t designed to do. Often, like my recent Windows Phone Hackathon, I fail spectacularly. But rarely, I do make notable progress. Cue Audible.

Audible.com (Audible for short) is a service owned by Amazon that provides digital audio books. They put out software that works across a slew of devices such as the iPod, Kindle Fire, Blackberry, and even PC. Old hats may even recall that Audible supported Windows Mobile 5 devices such as the HP iPAQ Pocket PC. One platform void of support, however, is Windows Phone.

We – along with our readers – have been keeping the pressure on Audible for quite some time now, to no avail. Support technicians would say an app is in the works but has no ETA. Now they're saying this month. Who knows when this is really coming out? More importantly, what’s taking so long?

I sat down one day and decided to figure out why this was taking so long, or at least try. I started by downloading the old Windows Mobile 5 software. In the dusty CAB were a number of skins and resources, to support the fragmented Windows Mobile market, along with some key application files. Disassembling the Audible Player executable revealed they all relied on a single dynamic link library (DLL) to perform all the needed functions: AAXSDKWin.dll.

AAXSDKWin.dll is a library compiled for devices containing a StrongARM processor, like the iPAQ mentioned earlier. Without going too deep, it was compiled using an instruction set (ARM4i) that is still used in today’s ARM (e.g. Cortex) processors. At this point, you’re probably thinking “Hey… doesn’t Windows Phone sit on top of ARM too?” Yep, it sure does.

I took the library and started weeks of disassembly, study, and boozing, excruciatingly dissecting bit after bit until I had enough of their APIs worked out to use the damn thing in a proof of concept. I jiggered it into a Silverlight for Windows Phone application project and deployed it onto my Samsung Focus test phone. I was able successfully parse an Audible book and light up my UI with relevant metadata (e.g. title, author, etc.). I remember thinking “Holy crap, it worked.” (The app shot below is not a functional application.)

How Audible for Windows Phone could look like.

I continued my research efforts, with the goal of playing a book in mind, but stopped short for two reasons: One, Audible’s books are protected with a DRM scheme. This meant I needed to reverse engineer their account activation, authentication, and decryption logic – something I wasn’t keen on doing. Two, we reported that Audible was warming up for a late March release. I had no intention of busting hump to later be superseded by a better and official application. But with the success of the concept application, I couldn’t answer the original question – What’s taking Audible so long to put out an app?

I can only surmise as to why. We know getting legitimate native access on Windows Phone is easy and possible. I also know that all the APIs they need are there. So from a technical perspective, an Audible app is possible. But perhaps Amazon, in a move to increase Kindle interest, decided to not continue porting Audible to newer mobile devices. Or maybe there’s some behind-the-scenes political or logistical clashing we’re not privy to. Or more likely, Audible just didn’t have the Windows Phone marketplace numbers to justify paying a team to rework their ancient source code into something usable on Windows Phone.

Regardless, an Audible application official or otherwise is coming.

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Never ones to back down from a challenge the Dark Forces Team (DFT) have created a neat little utility to allow one to transfer files between phones or devices using just Bluetooth. You can even send over XAP files for installation of Windows Phone apps giving users yet another option for file distribution.

The bad news is you'll need a fully-unlocked phone meaning dev and interop devices need not apply. That also limits this currently to Gen 1 devices (as you can see initialization fails on the Titan for obvious reasons).

Still, it's an impressive piece of work and hopefully it will lay the ground work for future hacks, assuming Microsoft doesn't give us the function first.

Source: XDA; via Facebook (Bazaar)

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This is pretty humorous. Should you be on Facebook and wish to shout out at contacts about Windows Phone in chat, you can now have a small image of a Nokia Lumia 800 show up, thanks to Rudy Huyn, with the following code (see the above example):

[[308362632536465]] [[308362662536462]] [[308362682536460]] [[308362712536457]]
[[308362735869788]] [[308362759203119]] [[308362779203117]] [[308362795869782]]
[[308362809203114]] [[308362825869779]] [[308362872536441]] [[308362905869771]]
[[308362942536434]] [[308362972536431]] [[308363009203094]] [[308363022536426]]
[[308363042536424]] [[308363069203088]] [[308363115869750]] [[308363135869748]]
[[308363155869746]] [[308363189203076]] [[308363215869740]] [[308363239203071]]
[[308363282536400]] [[308363309203064]] [[308363342536394]] [[308363375869724]]
[[308363405869721]] [[308363419203053]] [[308363435869718]] [[308363469203048]]

Pretty neat, eh? Some free promotion for the platform.

Source: Rudy Huyn

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This is  an interesting albeit very limited hack for 1st generation Samsung phones using WP7 Root Tools. The trick allows you to use basically any size alert on your phone as opposed to the 39 second/1MB limit and you can use different formats, including .aac , .amr , .m4a , .ac3 , .aiff , .flac , .mka , .mp2 and .ogg format (with only .m4a working for SMS).

Now in order to do this, your Samsung phone needs to have interop-access -- not just unlocked -- in order to run the WP7 Root Tools. In theory, if you could get access to the registry and copy/paste files to the /windows folder, you could do this on any Windows Phone, but these tools are a bit limited now.

Finally, if you set your alerts too long, there's no way to dismiss them. It's a complicated hack and seemingly a lot of work just to have a wicked cool and long alert, but hey, it's your phone. While we want to change our email and SMS alerts like everyone else, we'll wait till Microsoft hopefully offers some more customization in further updates.

Get the instructions from XDA Developers.

via WPXBox

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Last week we mentioned how Windows Phone Hacker was working on a homebrew hack to allow you to customize your Start Tiles on your phone. The trick only requires a developer unlocked device (no interop-unlock) and some patience to get your phone to look the way you want. Overall the trick looks simple enough and could be a great way to kill afternoon. Features include:

  • Customize any tile (system or third party, including Marketplace)
  • Use your image as a background for the tiles
  • Use an accent color for overlay transparency
  • Import themes
  • Export themes
  • A bundle of joy with easy personalization ;)

There's even a tutorial video to get you started on your project. Head over to Windows Phone Hacker for the file and more information and maybe jump into our forums to start sharing your creations!

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