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.
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.
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).
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...
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.
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.
We’ve covered the whole how-to-keep-your-Wi-Fi-alive issue before on Windows Phone Central. It was first realized that some apps keep the data-connection channel open which then allows your Wi-Fi to stay on when the phone is placed in standby (screen off).
Jaxbot from Windows Phone Hacker has now thrown his hat in the ring with Keep Alive. It too is a homebrew app that does not require root, meaning regular ‘dev unlocked’ phones can use it but it uses a slightly different method. Instead of pretending to stream a dummy song, Jaxbot evidently has set up his own server which then keeps your phone connected—data is kept at a minimum as it is just using pings to keep the connection open.
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.
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.
Over on XDA, Jaxbot has just detailed a project that he has been working on.
Basically he has managed to unlock his out-the-box Focus with nothing more than a pair of pliers (yes, I'm paraphrasing).
Now, let's take a step back. What I did was interop unlock my Samsung Focus, without using Chevron Labs, AppHub, etc. Not that I'm cheap, but it's the principle here that counts. Unfortunately, there's a catch: the exploit, while working for every device, requires further provisioning. Samsung devices can do this using the diagnostics application. Other devices have some opposition to that.
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!
Now the same hacker, Jaxbot over at Windows Phone Hacker, is bringing it to the next level by adding on an app-switching program to the mix. In short, this brings near full multi-tasking to Windows Phone well before the 'Mango' update, expected this fall.
By utilizing the camera's half-shutter button, a user can bring up a nice UI that allows one to now choose between apps that are "running" instead of just using the back-arrow or "re-launching" the app from your Start screen. Of note, this is just a 'preview' meaning the design is still in development and things can change as it progresses. Either way, we're stoked:
...the application is triggered by pressing the half shutter button (pressing the camera button halfway, not to the point where the camera would launch), and allows the user to jump between desired applications. The applications run in the background to a degree, as shown with the timer, and no time is required to bring the applications back from their background state. It's all very technical, but rest assure that he will be sharing some more details in the future.
Keep in mind the application is a preview-the interface and how it functions may very well change before release, and no release date is available. But if you're interested in having it on your device, share some thoughts about how you think it should look, function, etc, in the comments below.
Very cool stuff. Stay tuned for more as this develops. Of note, you will need a developer unlocked device to have this work when it is finally released.
Over at Windows Phone Hacker, developer Jaxbot has figured out a way to enable "instant resuming" on Windows Phone 7.
Of course, you'll need a developer unlocked device and as they state there are some "unintended consequences" (though we don't know what those are exactly, we imagine it's memory/resource related). By using a registry editor, you can navigate to:
and set "DehydrateOnPause" to 0 (defaults to 3)
The hack takes effect immediately and as can be seen above, it makes starting/resuming any task or game nearly instant as it disables 'Tombstoning'. In fact, this feels like multi-tasking, allowing you to "go back" to the last few apps, having instant access to them. Of course the downside is you can't shut down any app either--we imagine eventually the system will force close something. Anyways, it's easily undone if something goes awry, till then, we'll leave it on and see what happens.