windows phone hacker

For those of you who are into the ‘homebrew’ hacking community for Windows Phone, you’ll want to take note that Jaxbot, the man behind the site Windows Phone Hacker (www.windowsphonehacker.com) will sadly be retiring.

Jaxbot just graduated from high school—yes, he was a young lad---and he will be moving on to college in the fall, where he hopes to take on other projects and adventures. We can’t blame him as he’s at that age where being pigeonholed into one area is not something you want to have happen. It’s a time to explore and experiment, though we hope he continues to dabble in Windows Phone.

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We’ve covered the blurring technique that some of us have adopted on Windows Phone recently. The trick is to find an image you want as your lockscreen and then to blur it using a filter in Photoshop or something similar. The effect is to basically add ‘bokeh’ to the image, allowing you to still see it, but making the text (and notifications) more legible.

We also recently posted Lock Widgets by Jaxbot from the site Windows Phone Hacker. That app added some cool weather and battery info, and when we ran the story, we showed it with a blurred background.

Evidently a light went off in Jaxbot’s head as he’s gone forward to create a freebie app that simply takes whatever image you want and adds “blur” to it. Intensity is based on a slider scale, and users can either save directly to their phone or instantly make it a background.

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LockWidgets 8, the side project by Jaxbot from the site Windows Phone Hacker, has been bumped to version 1.1 after being out for just a few days. The app has had numerous bugs fixed with this update and the big feature: added Celsius support.

Yes to the dismay of many, the original version only had Fahrenheit, meaning a good portion of the globe was not inclined to use the otherwise stellar app. That has now been fixed with an override function found in the settings menu for the app. [Edit: see Jaxbot's comment below for clarification]

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Jaxbot over at Windows Phone Hacker as released a new app onto the Windows Phone 8 Store and it’s worth the $0.99 for it. The app is called LockWidgets 8 and allows users to add up to three information areas to their lockscreens, including current temperature, tomorrow’s  temp and battery life. Some detailed information is also included like estimated time left on the charge and if it is clear or rainy out.

Users can select the background image from Bing, NASA or their own images and include “weather effects”, which can add rain droplets and presumably other graphical changes to the background image.

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It’s been awhile since we’ve talked about WPH Folders, the homebrew app from Windows Phone Hacker that allows you organize apps into Tile-folders on your phone. Of course homebrew here means only those with developer unlocked phones who can sideload XAP files need apply, meaning for many of you, this is out.

It’s hard to believe that Folders has been out for nearly 10 months already so it makes sense that it’s up to version 5, which is now available.

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Update: Files have been updated to make the app more stable and reliable and indeed it does work better now. (5PM ET)

Windows Phone Hacker has released a new “wrapper” tool called 'Seven-Eighter' that reportedly makes manually installing the 7.8 update less cumbersome than downloading all the files yourself. The app comes in x86 and x64 and is a simple executable that you run on your PC (you’ll need to give it permission in Windows 8).

In theory, it’s the same method we detailed in our CAB file post yesterday---you specify the languages on your device and then it fetches the files for you, all through a progress-bar UI.

Since Windows Phone OS updates are cumulative but iterative in the process, you’ll have to go up through Tango before proceeding to 7.8 meaning there will be a few cycles of updates.

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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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Windows Phone Hacker has unveiled a notification centre app for both Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 on his website. Microsoft has received countless letters, threats and (we're certain) love notes from consumers pleading for a single location for all toast notifications to be stored for later viewing.

It has always been an issue when a Windows Phone alerts the user with a notification, only for it to disappear without the ability to see which app requires attention (this is where Live Tiles arguably come in, but that's besides the point). We're aware of the talks that Microsoft intends to implement functionality to address the issue, but Windows Phone Hacker has beaten the company to it with a new project.

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Windows Phone Hacker as returned to an earlier project called Dynamic Background with some significant updates previewed in his latest video.

The app brings a feature that will be present in Windows Phone 8—the ability to automatically change and update the Lock Screen wallpaper via at least two sources: your own arsenal or Bing’s daily image. The new version now has an update interval selector and quite a nice UI, ensuring that users should get the most out of such an app.

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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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From homebrew to err...publicbrew

A few days ago we reported on a new homebrew app called Keep Alive from Windows Phone Hacker. The app basically pings a server every once in awhile to maintain a constant Wi-Fi connection. It’s better than having to reconnect to your Wi-Fi connection each time you turn the display back on and has little impact on battery.

The app though was homebrew meaning only those with developer-unlocked phones could take part by sideloading the XAP file. Since the program itself does not use any illegal hooks, Jaxbot, the developer behind it has submitted it to the Marketplace and almost surprisingly it has passed.

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Faster, Eco! Kill, Kill!

Jaxbot over at Windows Phone Hacker as an interesting experiment going on for those with rooted phones (mostly first gen Windows Phones). The app is called ‘Eco’ and is an aggressive battery saver app.

In short, it turns of all unneeded processes, sensors and clears out the memory for a kind of fresh start and then some. Jaxbot is not even clear if it will actually save battery life (he’s awaiting a battery replacement, hence his need for this) but he’s looking for feedback from users to see if he should go further with it.

Windows Phone users do have a ‘Battery Saver’ option already under Settings which disables all Push services until they recharge again but ‘Eco’ is much more than that, at least in theory.

We’re quite okay with our battery life but we know there are some of you who are either extreme users or have OCD and need to save every drop.  For those peeps, you may want to give this a go.

Head to Windows Phone Hacker for more info and the XAP file. Remember, you need a rooted phone which is more than just developer unlocked. Check the demo video after the break. 

For more info on battery saving tricks, see the homebrew Live Tile battery meter, custom battery icons and how ads in free apps can be huting your power consumption

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We've previously looked at the Locked Screen Widgets concept over at Windows Phone Hacker throughout it's development. We're now excited to report that LockWidgets 2 has been released and is now available to all (should you own an eligible Windows Phone of course).

What's all the fuss about? LockWidgets 2 is a complete rewrite of the original LockWidgets app, which enabled users to add widgets to their lock screen. The successor adds more functionality to the list with more opportunities present in the framework. Some highlighted features:

  • SMS widget
  • Weather widget
  • Battery widget
  • Runs in the background
  • Should run side-by-side with other homebrew apps, such as Folders, Battery Status, etc.

Features that are still in development, but are well on their way include an RSS widget, improved forecast info, more notification data, and a RAM widget. Check out the following video for more information and a quick run through.

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Tweaks for Windows Phone is a homebrew application by Windows Phone Hacker, the brains behind Lock Screen Widgets, that empowers the user with an array of customisable options. From hiding the clock to faking a Xbox Live Gold subscription, Tweaks will allow one to have some fun while on the go. The beauty of such an app is how it allows such alterations without diving into the registry or applying multiple hacks.

The app sports interesting functionality, including the ability to access OEM Marketplace collections (but not all apps will work on unsupported devices). Some highlighted features of Tweaks:

  • Toggle Dehydration
  • Toggle clock visibility
  • Toggle 32bit color
  • Enable 'never' screen timeout
  • Allow media access while the phone is syncing
  • Spoof Xbox "Gold" status and send messages without subscription
  • Change phone's voice
  • Charge your phone wirelessly (not really, but it'll make the OS think that)
  • Change your OEM Marketplace

Head on over to Windows Phone Hacker to download Tweaks. Note that this requires root access / privileges.

Warning: Microsoft takes Xbox LIVE hacking seriously. We don't know the ramifications, if any, in using this hack but be forewarned that permanent bans could occur on your account if Microsoft figures it out.

Source: Windows Phone Hacker

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Good old Jaxbot from Windows Phone Hacker has managed to get his hands on a pre-release version of the Windows Phone "Tango" emulator (build 8731, which is earlier than the shipping 8757).

In addition, he's gone an unlocked the whole thing making it available for others to download and use. But for those of us who don't want to bother they can just watch the above video walkthrough demonstrating the few changes that are present in "Tango" (most of the changes are under the hood). Things like voice-notes in MMS or the location-icon detailed earlier though are nice little changes.

All in all, not too much to get excited about but if you want the emulator, head to Windows Phone Hacker for more info and the download links.

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A good developer will add this option to their app: disable accelerometer. We've seen it in some Twitter apps and even our own WPCentral app has a "lock portrait view" option. Still, there are times when you want to do this globally because perhaps you can't sleep and want to use your phone while lying on your side in bed--hey, it's your world!

In that case, Windows Phone Hacker has provided a neat homebrew tool that disables the accelerometer on a global but temporary basis--great for those odd moments when you just don't want the phone rotating your apps.

That's the good news. The bad news is this is only for interop-unlocked Samsung and LG devices, meaning if you're on HTC or Nokia, you're left in the cold. Plus, you'll have to reboot your phone in order to gain back the accelerometer functionality, suggesting this isn't as elegant as we'd like it (but that's not the fault of WPH, who did what they could).

For those of you interested, you can grab the app here at Windows Phone Hacker to side load. Remember, only Gen 1 Samsung and LG devices can use this app. Finally, check our all the other homebrew Windows Phone apps here: wpcentral.com/tags/homebrew Thanks, Carlos, for the tip!

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We've covered "Folders" before, the app from Windows Phone hacker which allows you to add folders to the Start screen. The first release involved using an editor on your desktop to make the folders and was a bit tedious.

Now, a new branch of development has occurred and it has become infinitely more useful in our opinion. Starting today, you can load a XAP file (and an optional secondary one) and just create folders on-the-go without the need for a desktop. The task is simple: create and name a folder, add apps by using a Marketplace-lookup or System apps (e.g. Zune) then pin to the Start screen.

The trick does not require interop access meaning anyone with a developer unlocked device can do this and due to its simplicity, we have to give a big thumbs up to this homebrew tool. Read more at Windows Phone Hacker where you can download the XAP files right now.

Thanks, Maximilian, for the tip!

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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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Looks like those folks at Windows Phone Hacker, specifically Jaxbot, have been working on some neat ideas for our devices. This latest trick involves making custom Tiles for the Start screen, allowing a theme of sorts to give a more unique look for your phone. Previously, they released the "Folders" option for the Start screen.

The method is not yet available as Windows Phone Hacker is once again feeling out if there is any interest in releasing it--those man hours in creating and refining this don't come out of no where, after all. Personally, we think it's pretty great looking and would be fairly excited to see this happen.

Best part is this doesn't require any deep interop-unlock, just a simple developer unlocked phone (either official or ChevronWP7 Labs), making this a seemingly straightforward hack. If interested, head over to Windows Phone Hacker or hit them up on Twitter @wphonehacker to let them know!

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