windows phone

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Best Weather Apps for your Windows Phone

WPCentral's list of the best weather apps for Windows Phone

Your Windows Phone is a great way to stay in touch with what is happening in the world and with things that impact your daily grind. The weather is one thing most of us will have a need to keep track of.  There are plenty of weather apps to choose from over at the Windows Phone Marketplace but which one will work out best with your shiny new Nokia Lumia 900 or trusty old Samsung Focus.

We've tossed together a small collection of weather apps we like that offers a wide range of choices.  What might be useful for your needs might not match someone else's. We have the basic weather app that shows you the current conditions and extended forecast and the weather apps that would make your local weatherman jealous.

So hit the break and see out selection of the best weather apps out there for your Windows Phone.

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Just a quick reminder that Behind the Tiles with Windows Phone is heading to Best Buy. Well, twelve Best Buy locations to be more precise.  The events will be held through mid-May in the following locations (and yes, Birmingham is left out again).

  • Charlotte, NC
  • Chicago, IL (Yorkshire Plaza)
  • Dallas, TX (Farmer's Branch location)
  • Houston, TX (Galleria Mall)
  • Costa Mesa, CA
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • New York, NY (Union Square)
  • Portland, OR
  • Seattle, WA (Lynnwood location)
  • San Diego, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Waltham, MA

What is Behind the Tiles with Windows Phone you ask? It's an opportunity to spend some quality time with Windows Phone and learn more about the system. There will be free food and drink along with training sessions such as,

  • Hands-on deep dive with the Nokia Lumia 900
  • Windows Phone for IT and Developers
  • Metro UI and the Future with Windows Phone

Plus you'll have a chance to play with different Windows Phone devices. Rumor has it that there might even be a few Nokia Lumia 900s given away.

The events are invitation only with a limited number of open seats still available. You'll need to register here to be eligible for an invite and use mscust as the RSVP code.

It's nice to see Best Buy getting on board with Windows Phones. Let us know if you get an invite and how it goes. Good luck everyone!

Source: Windows Team Blog

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We reported yesterday that AT&T had listed both the black and cyan Lumia 900's as backordered on their site and it was increasingly harder to find them in the stores (though we have heard that certain stores still have stock). However, we were a bit cautious to suggest that it was because the Lumias were selling out due to popularity. After all there was a good chance stock was being pulled to be re-flashed with the new firmware to fix those data-connection issues.

While we're still not prepared to call the Lumia 900 a best-seller without firm numbers, there is seemingly more good news. On Amazon Wireless, the matte-black Lumia 900 has been holding the #1 spot under "AT&T phones with contracts" for one week now with the cyan variant close behind at number two. Just as impressive, the matte-black Lumia 900 has the #1 spot across all carriers. Yowza.

What's more, the cyan version is now listed as back-ordered although the matte-black is listed as still available.

That tells us a couple of things: the backorder business probably really is due to stock shortage and not just phones being pulled for re-flashing of firmware, otherwise we'd expect the matte black variant to also become back-ordered. The second is that the cyan version most likely has less stock available as compared to the matte-black. The cyan version has constantly trailed matte-black in the number two spot (and lower) over the last few days but it's the one listed as backordered.

That's probably not too surprising as the color choices of the Lumias have always caused delays (and last we heard the glossy-white Lumia 900 was an in-store purchase only, it will be curious to see if that holds next Sunday when it is released).

Either way, it at least looks good that the Lumia 900 has been number #1 and #2 on Amazon Wireless for one week. Those stats are updated hourly, not daily, which means it's a fairly good indicator of popularity. Backorder status, while frustrating, only adds to that perception (though for all we know, Nokia only had limited stock anyway).

With both phones holding 5 out of 5 stars from 250 reviews, user-satisfaction seems extraordinarily high as there's not a single device in the top ten that has those stats. Even the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket (4G LTE version) is sitting at #7 (black) and #23 (white) which is fascinating for such a popular line of Android phones.

Sadly, the much-overlooked HTC Titan II, a phone which we love here at WPCentral, is sitting at a lowly #26. An obvious casualty of the Nokia-AT&T media saturation of the Lumia 900.

Source: Amazon Wireless, Top selling; Thanks, Brian 3, for the tip

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Here's how you know Nokia has created a lot of buzz with their latest phone: when the co-founder of Apple and all around geeky-gadget guy Steve Wozniak is intrigued enough to get a Lumia 900.

In a simple Tweet today, 'the Woz' noted that he was wasting some time at Denny's waiting for the local AT&T store to open. Reason? He wants to see if the Nokia Lumia 900 is available for purchase. Of course whether or not he can get one is a separate issue as stores are running low on supply of the flagship Nokia phone, especially in that popular Cyan color. (An alternate reading would be he just wants to see if the Lumia 900 is selling well, but our bet is he just would have called to find that out).

It will be very interesting to see if Steve likes the 900 enough to go through with the purchase. He's well known for enjoying his Apple products, going so far as to wait in line every year for the new iPad (a nice nod to the average folks who often have to do the same) but he's also respected for being a fair and even-handed gent.

The biggest factor in determining whether most folks like the 900 seems dependent upon if their favorite apps have a counterpart on the Windows Phone platform. For that, we'll be real curious to get his thoughts on the experience should he buy the phone.

Source: @SteveWoz; Thanks, HD7guy, for the tip!

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Back in January we reported that ChevronWP7 Labs, the officially-sanctioned "jailbreak" service for Windows Phone "homebrew", was coming to a halt. At the time, the reasons cited mostly revolved around the difficulties some users experienced in installing it and the following tech-support needed to help them out. The project was put on indefinite hiatus with more tokens possibly being bought in the future.

However, today it's official: the experiment is over.

Within 120 days, those who unlocked their phones via the ChevronWP7 Labs service will have their phones re-locked. The good news is all users who bought a token are eligible for a one-year Microsoft App Hub membership, a $99 value and allowing them to stay unlocked for 12 more months.

The jailbreak service is being permanently shut down for a few reasons, including those cited above but also because many of those who did unlock their phones so that they could "sideload" apps for experimentation, never moved on to actually publishing any apps to the Windows Phone Marketplace. That was one of the goals of the project -- to reduce the $99 barrier for devs who might not be able to afford the App Hub membership.

While ChevronWP7 Labs is gone, the ChevronWP7 team made up of Rafael Rivera, Long Zheng and Chris Walsh will continue tinkering around:

"Fear not, we will continue to explore other ideas with Microsoft. All sides are still very interested in the hobbyist and homebrew developer communities."

For more information on the closure of the service and for those looking to upgrade to that App Hub membership, head to the ChevronWP7 Labs site here.

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Windows Phone Basics: The Pictures Hub

WPCentral's Guide to the Windows Phone Pictures Hub

With the release of the Nokia Lumia series (710, 800, 900) and the HTC Titan II Windows Phones, we are seeing new Windows Phone users picking up the new phones.  We've touched on must have games and must have apps for your Windows Phone.  We've also touch on some of the best free apps for your Windows Phones.  Now we'll turn our attention more in-house to take a look at the various Hubs on your Windows Phone.  First up, the Pictures Hub.

The Pictures Hub on your Windows Phone is the repository for your photographic albums, a central hub where you can share your photos and where you can back images up to your Skydrive account.  The Pictures Hub is where you go to manage the moments you capture on video and photos.  After the break we have a walk-through of the Pictures Hub for those new to Windows Phone and a refresher for those more familiar with things.

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WPCentral's list of the best games for the Lumia 900

You've read our Must-have apps for the Nokia Lumia 900, now it's time for the games...

One of Windows Phone’s most attractive features to gamers is its Xbox Live integration. All Xbox Live games feature Achievements and online friends leaderboards, making it easy to compare and show off your progress with your pals. Every Wednesday Microsoft releases a new Xbox Live title, which come in the following price ranges: free, $2.99, $4.99, and $6.99.

With over 100 Xbox Live titles released so far and many more on the way, new users like those who’ve just picked up the Nokia Lumia 900 (review) might have a tough time deciding which games to grab first. Factor in the abundance of indie games and there’s even more to choose from. Fear not, friends – I’ve played nearly every single Xbox Live game on Windows Phone, and reviewed most of them for this very site. If anyone can help, it’s WPCentral.

Read past the break to learn what I think are the best...

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A few weeks ago we spoke with AT&T about the lack of OS updates for current Windows Phones, specifically the 8107 update which fixes the disappearing keyboard and applies various security fixes.

During that conversation, AT&T informed us they were committed to updating current Windows Phones and were evaluating a post-8107 update aka "Tango" or Consumer Release 3 (CR3). You can read that whole situation here but the important take away was that AT&T users would get a significant OS bump in the coming months (no time frame was committed to).

Now in their help forums, AT&T has once again come out publicly to reiterate this position. From Community Manager Jamileh:

"Hey all - I know you're eagerly awaiting news about this. AT&T plans for a Windows Phone update that will contain the improvements in the 8107 update and more.

I will likely start a new thread as I get more information as this one is getting a bit tricky to find information in.

Stay tuned!"

Again, no time-frame was given. But at least AT&T have twice gone on record on the matter. Now, it's just a matter of waiting which for some of you will be too long no matter how quick AT&T pushes this out.

Source: AT&T Support Forums; Thanks to all who sent this in

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This, ladies and gentlemen, is the definition of a win-win. See, there's been this little bug in the Lumia 900 (by the way, you've read our Lumia 900 review, right?) that has been causing some early adopters -- regular consumers as well as reviewers -- to lose all data connectivity. As in, the phone kinda forgets the fact that, in fact, it is a phone. Not good, to say the least.

Nokia, in a blog post this evening, starts off on a positive note. "Award-winning CES product" blah blah blah. "Stars aligned for a successful sales start on AT&T" blah blah blah."Very positive response on Day 1" blah blah blah.

Oh, and, yeah. A "memory management issue was discovered that could, in some cases, lead to loss of data connectivity." That's kinda a biggie. The good news is that Nokia's found the issue. Here's what's going to happen next:

  • On or around April 16 (that's next Monday), an update will be made available via Zune. That should fix all this nonsense.
  • Or, you can swap your current phone for a new one that will already have the updated software.

And Nokia's doing even one better. If you've already bought a Lumia 900, you're getting a $100 credit on your AT&T bill. If you're going to buy a Lumia 900, do it before April 21. Because you'll also get a $100 credit on your bill. That covers the cost of the phone on contract. So, you're basically getting a free Lumia 900 for your troubles. Or for trouble you might have had. Either way. It's a sweet deal.

And good on Nokia for making it right. But that doesn't change the fact that black eyes do sting for a little while. Read more on the issue and join the discussion in our Lumia 900 forum.

Source: Nokia Conversation

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In a jaw-dropping deal that just took place, social network empire Facebook has bought photo-sharing hipster site Instagram for $1 billion in a combination of cash and Facebook shares.

Instagram as grown to be one of the largest mobile-photo sharing sites on the internet with 27 million users, almost exclusively due to the iPhone. Within the last week, the site finally launched their much anticipated Android client and it quickly shot up to the #1 free app under Social on the platform, showing just how popular it is amongst users. (In a funny blow-back, the über hipsters on iOS are evidently upset their retro-photo garden of Eden is being disrupted by the unruly 'Droid users, with some giving up the service. Yeah.)

However, one thorn in the side of Windows Phone is the fact that the Instagram service is unavailable to our audience. What's more, they evidently won't allow third-party access either, leaving us out in the dark. This deal, however frightening in size, is good news for Microsoft who own a 1.6% share of Facebook with a large investment made back in 2007 (when the young social network really needed the money and support). Even more recently, Bing search now shows up on the log-out page for the site and Bing Translator handles language translation within the network itself.

As a result, we can probably expect not only an Instagram client (assuming one is already not in the works) but a strategic alliance between Facebook and the photo-sharing network, perhaps giving Windows Phone a slight edge in the future. It will be interesting to see what happens, especially since Facebook and Google don't get a long very well.

Source: CNN Money; Additional info via GeekWire, CNN Money and ZDNet

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Friday night we gave you a sneak peak of Nokia's launch party for the Lumia 900 that took place in New York City's Times Square. Surrounded by thousands of tourists and New Yorkers alike, Nicki Minaj took the stage to perform numerous songs in support of her new album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded.

In addition to the show, a remix of her popular single "Starships" debuted along with a full-production video shot by Nokia to coincide with the AT&T Lumia 900's official introduction to the world.

If one thing can be said of Nokia it's they know how to go big for a launch party (see London and the Lumia 800). For some reason, we can't imagine HTC, Samsung or LG ever throwing such a massive media event and for that we're excited to see Nokia championing Windows Phone (as opposed to Android).

While it remains to be see if the Lumia 900 will be the hit that it is expected to be, it certainly seems to be off to a very good start.

Source: Nokia (YouTube)

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WPCentral's list of the best apps for the Lumia 900

Although veterans of this site will know what are some of the best, must-have-apps are for Windows Phone, new users coming to the platform with the Lumia 900 (review) will not. So for our new friends, we'll get you started on some of the most popular, useful and impressive apps for Windows Phone.

Sure, we "only" have around 70,000 apps but that's still a heck of a lot to sift through.  And since we've personally installed over 1,200 apps and games on our Windows Phone, we think we can lend a hand.

So without further ado, here's our list...

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Nokia Lumia 900 Review

WPCentral's Review of the AT&T Nokia Lumia 900

“With one of the best displays for a Windows Phone around, a $99 price point and Nokia’s svelte and sexy design, the AT&T Lumia 900 is one of the best values for a smartphone today. For those people upgrading from a first generation Windows Phone to those folks just coming on board, the Nokia Lumia 900 is sure to impress.”

Design:
The Lumia 900 is designed and manufactured to perfection. This shows in the end result, while not as smooth as the Lumia 800, it's still beautiful.

Feel:
Unibody, check. Single piece of injection molded polycarbonate, check. Feels great to hold and use? Check.

Performance:
Powered by Windows Phone Mango Release 2, a 1.4Ghz processor, 4G LTE and an 1830mAh battery, the Lumia 900 will keep you going throughout the day.

Quality:
AT&T, Nokia and Microsoft have done a great job with the Lumia 900. It's not perfect but it's certainly close.

 


 

Solid 8MP rear camera and outstanding 1MP front camera make the Lumia 900 a great video phone. The polycarbonate unibody design makes this device one of the nicest looking on the smartphone market and the 1830mAh battery ensures great battery life even when using AT&T's blindingly fast 4G LTE. To cap it off, the 900's AMOLED screen is one of the nicest we have used.


 

The rear 8MP camera could stand to use a BSI sensor to reduce noise and increase brightness in low light situations. The non-removal battery may be an issue for some and the rattle from the vibrate feature is cringe worthy.


 

For $99 on contract, the Lumia 900 is one of the nicest Windows Phone on the market today and for the foreseeing future all at a great price. It has solid hardware including super-fast 4G LTE and the latest version of Windows Phone Mango ensuring a great experience for new users and veterans looking for an upgrade. Plus the device oozes with Nokia's quality craftsmanship making it a device many will want to talk about. With all the hype around this phone, this could be the next "it" device for the summer.

The Nokia Lumia 900 on AT&T is the most anticipated release for the Windows Phone since the system was released back in October 2010. There’s a lot riding on this launch for Microsoft, AT&T and certainly Nokia, with the latter betting everything on the fledgling mobile OS from Redmond.

In fact, this is the first time outside of Microsoft enthusiasts that a Windows Phone actually has some buzz in the mainstream media, partially due to Nokia’s rapid buildup with the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710 along with those respective advertising campaigns.

Does the AT&T Lumia 900 live up to the expectations? We gave the 900 high marks for its display, super-fast 4G LTE speeds, mesmerizing design and solid battery life. All of which exceeding most of our expectations.  Yet, all is not perfect though and there are few minor complaints, especially around that rear 8MP camera. Still, the Lumia 900's esthetics and visual appeal will make up for any deficiencies it may have in the long run.

Read on for our definitive AT&T Nokia Lumia 900 review...

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This isn't the first time we've seen the LG Windows Phone LS831.  It's appeared on WP Bench and we first caught wind of the device being at the FCC back in October 2011 but only had the FCC ID label to show for it.  There's even some speculation this is the LG Fantasy.  Now we have pictures (doesn't look like the leaked pics of the Fantasy) and more information that could make the LS831 Sprints new Windows Phone.

FCC documentation on the LG LS831 indicates this Windows Phone support CDMA in the EMSR 800MHz band. A band used by Sprint.  The LG Windows Phone also supports the 1900MHz CDMA band.  Along with the banding, you also have a Sprint/Nextel Waiver included in the FCC Documentation that ties the mysterious device to Sprint.  

As far as device specs, beyond the 5mp camera everything else seems to be a bit of a mystery.

The LS831 appears to have a front facing camera and the screen size could be, what?  Four inches?  There is mention of a microSD card slot in the owners manual along with instructions on how to check available storage and formatting your microSD card.  But based on the side images, I don't see a microSD card slot exposed. Maybe under the hood?

The LS831 definitely sparks interest with all the Sprint connections.  That and it's nice to see LG still working on Windows Phones. Could this be Sprints next Windows Phone?  Or could the LS831 swing in Verizon's direction?

source: FCC via: Phonescoop; thanks, mamacita42, for the tip!

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So far, custom ROMs for so-called Gen 2 devices like the HTC Titan and Radar are nonexistent. This has to do with changes to the bootloader which has proved to be a difficult beast to unlock and therefore, reflash a new ROM onto. As a result, devices like the HD7 and even the HD2 are getting some of the latest, cutting edge OS builds while Gen 2 devices are left waiting with official releases.

That may (we stress, may) all be changing as the Dark Forces Team (DFT) are reportedly working on getting those custom ROMs for the Titan and Radar, or so says Cotulla (@CotullaCode) who recently tweeted "DFT team is working under ability to flash custom ROMs for Omegenka and Titanchik"

Nothing else was revealed like an ETA or progress of such a project, but honestly what more can we ask other than those fine DFT folks at least try to work on this? DFT has made a lot of headway in making custom ROMs for Windows Phones in the past (and even for Samsung devices), so if any group can do this, it'll be them.

We'll keep you posted if and when any developments occur.

Source: @CoutllaCode; via Windows Phone Hacker

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We're going to batten down that hatches on this one for the comment storm that is sure to follow, but at least according to an AT&T Community Manager, the company is not planning on supporting the famed 8107 Windows Phone OS update. That's the one that fixes the super frustrating "disappearing keyboard" bug as well as some other security fixes.

The word comes from Jamileh, a Community Manager on the official AT&T support forums. In response to an ongoing discussion about the update and whether or not it will be coming, Jamileh finally chimed in today with what sounds like a definitive answer:

"I got some news about the Windows Phone 8107 update and wanted to share it with you all. We are not currently planning to offer the Windows 8107 update. I don’t have any additional information right now. If and when I get details, I will update the thread."

While we can leave some wiggle room here for the company (Jamileh does work for AT&T but obviously is not an official PR person), her response does sound like a fairly black and white one with little room for reinterpretation.

Of course this raises all sorts of questions e.g. is it because they are opting for the bigger "Tango" update which would be a legitimate delay (why role out 8107 when you you have build 87xx coming in a a month?) or is it because they just don't have any immediate plans to update their current lineup? For now, we're going to assume that AT&T won't be supporting 8107 but we're not ready to get the pitchforks out yet either.

Hopefully AT&T will chime in sooner than later to give some respite to worrying customers who have a lot invested in their Windows Phone.

Source: AT&T Community Forums; Thanks, Sheeds (WPDownUnder) and Bill J., for the heads up

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We first told you that AT&T was planning on an April 8th (online) and 9th (stores) release for the Lumia 900 and sure enough, it's accurate. Since that report we've had numerous tips from store employees on the matter all stating the same dates, so we think it's safe to call it now.

Reader David just returned from an AT&T store where an employee had both phones (black and cyan, see above) to toy with. Here are his thoughts:

"Also, the matte finish on the back cover makes the phone feel SUPER nice in hand and you only notice the 4.3" screen with one-handed use.  Also, with its' rectangular corners and flat front/back panels, the pocket is a really nice place for it to go about the day with you. Nokia did a really awesome job with this one and I can't wait for April 9 to get here!"

Indeed. From our hands on experience (see here), the Lumia 900 is set to impress and with the April 9th launch date confirmed, it should be an exciting Easter for many of you, so long as you start saving your pennies now.

The Nokia Lumia 900 features a 4.3" AMOLED screen, 1.4GHz CPU, 1830mAh battery (non-replacable), 16GB of storage, 8MP rear and 1.3MP front cameras with 4G LTE support. It is expected to sell for $99 on contract. Online orders should start Sunday, April 8th with in-store availability April 9th. No word on full-price yet.

Thanks, David, M., for the tip

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Back in 2010, we first reported that Microsoft was planning to bring the ability of "three screens and a cloud" to modern devices. That involved a demonstration of playing a game on the a Windows Phone 7 Series device, pausing it and then picking it up on the Xbox 360.

Users salivated over such a feature, yet here we are in 2012 and it still does not exist between the Xbox 360, Windows Phone nor the PC. However... Sonic the Hedgehog: Episode II, due later this Spring, is evidently going to be the first title to support such a feature.

The Official Xbox Magazine site (oxmonline.com) ran a story this evening featuring a "hands on" demo of the new Sonic game destined for Xbox 360, Playstation, iOS and Windows Phone (called erroneously "Windows Mobile 7", grrr...). At about the 4:20 mark, we can hear Ken Balough, Digital Grand Manager on Sonic Episode II, talk about this unprecedented new feature:

"...and one of the cool things about it is that the Windows Mobile 7 (sic) and the Xbox are going to be able to work in tandem in ways that are completely new. So when you pick up the Windows Mobile 7 and you'll be able to play Sonic Episode II, save it, stop, boot up your Xbox 360 and pick up right where you left off. And that's a really cool thing Microsoft has going between the devices and I'm a huge fan of it..."

Call us crazy, but that sounds exactly like the feature first demonstrated two years ago that the world has been waiting for on their phones, perhaps the coup d'état between gaming and mobile that Microsoft desperately needs.

Could this Spring be the begriming of a whole new Xbox-Windows Phone interaction? We anxiously await. Check both videos after the break...

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OK, all you Windows Phone fanatics out there. We've got boots on the ground in surprisingly sunny Barcelona, Spain, for Mobile World Congress 2012. Microsoft doesn't have the in-your-face presence of years past since Windows Phone 7 no longer is the young upstart OS of years past. But as you can see from the clock on the Hotel Catalunya, just across the street from the Fira de Barcelona where we'll be spending a lot of time this week, the folks from Redmond are certainly letting us know they're here.

And we're here as well. So check back all next week for live coverage from the Mobile World Capital and your friends at Mobile Nations!

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Earlier today we got word that we could invite ten readers to Microsoft's Windows Phone Party that the company is holding at the 2012 Mobile World Congress. Readers who were interested in attending (and could find their way to Barcelona) only had to comment on the post to have a shot at winning one of the tickets to the party.

While we would have liked to have given everyone a ticket, we could only choose ten. Here are the winners, picked at random.

  • xdomingo
  • Pablo Alarcon
  • Existentialism
  • Gmotagi
  • briadupuis
  • Reinout_
  • preriz
  • juanyfante
  • NewWindowsPhoner
  • r womack

We are in the process of sending the winners an email (need to get the requested information back to us as soon as possible) and we will get all the details on the where/when for the party and were to claim your ticket.

Congrats to everyone and enjoy the party. If you see Joe Belfiore, say hey for me!

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