Xbox

Editorial: 2012 – what a year!

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The year is coming to an end soon, so I wanted to write a short summary of my 2012 with Microsoft and MSicc.net.

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I started the year with a clean install of the Windows 8 preview, and was using it since then as my main PC OS. Everyday I felt more in love with the speed of Windows 8 and the idea of using apps on a PC. Microsoft constantly updated their previews over the year, until the final release.

Also Windows Phone was getting new attraction with the awesome Lumia 900. Nokia and Microsoft started a big ad campaign to support the launch of this device. Surely some of you will remember of “The smartphone beta test is over”.

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Over the year, Microsoft did tease us a few times with Windows Phone Apollo. We all thought in the beginning that our existing devices will be getting the Apollo treatment, until MS unleashes some more details about Windows Phone 8. Windows Phone 8 shares a lot of the OS with Windows 8, so naturally there has to be new hardware. Windows Phone 7 will get 7.8, which will bring at least the look of the start screen to older devices.

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Another beta program was launched for the Xbox Dashboard, which had better voice functionality, and of course another big thing: Internet Explorer on Xbox! That is really awesome as we are now able to surf the web with Kinect support as well as the Smart Glass app on your phone/tablet/PC.

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Which leads me to another fantastic release from Microsoft. The Smart Glass apps, no matter on which platform you will use it, extends the experience of films, games and also your Music experience.

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Talking about Music, Microsoft finally launched their Music Pass in Germany. Personally, I was waiting for this since the initial release of Windows Phone 7, and now they finally launched it. I did not wait a second to cancel my Spotify subscription, and switched to the Music Pass. And I love the experience, be it on WP7, WP8 or Windows 8/ Xbox, my collection is synched across all devices. I can choose which Songs I ‘ll keep in the cloud for streaming and which I download, so there is always a growing collection for me now.

I was also attending several developer days from Microsoft, which helped me in some parts of my own dev story. I updated Fishing Knots SE and plus several times this year and created I learn to tie my shoes, which is getting really good reviews all over the web. If you want to take a look at these apps, they all come with a test version, just type MSiccDev in the search, you will get a list with all of my apps.

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Sadly I have a bit trouble with the updated version of MSicc’s Blog for Windows Phone, I hope I can release it in early 2013, so you all can read and discuss or share articles from your phone.

Of course all of my Windows Phone apps will receive a special Windows Phone 8 update while keeping the work on the WP7 version.

I have also started development of a Windows 8 app for MSicc’s Blog, which I will submit in the early 2013 days to Microsoft to get it approved for the Windows 8 store.

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My personal highlight this year was to attend a keynote of Steve Ballmer himself, which was absolutely motivating as user and even more as developer. He really knows how to keep the crowd attending, and I really have to thank Microsoft Germany for this unique experience.

I want to thank Mark and Sean for joining me here on MSicc.net to entertain and inform you all, I bet we will see some awesome articles of both next year!

A big thanks also to the WPDev & Win8Dev community out there (you all know who you are). Keep up your great work and please keep the community alive!

Now I will come to an end with this post, as I want to further play around with my awesome Lumia 920 which Santa (aka my lovely wife) gifted me this year at Xmas.

What were your highlights this year? Leave a comment below!

As here in Germany is said for the new year wishes in advance: “Have a good slide into the new year”, stay safe and enjoy your time!

Posted by msicc in Dev Stories, Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, 5 comments

Merry Xmas from Msicc’s Blog

MSicc's Blog Team XMAS

We had an amazing year. Microsoft launched Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, updated the Xbox Dashboard and the Xbox Live services. And there are a lot of things that are worth a mention, but this post is a short salute from our small team here at MSicc’s Blog.

A special thanks goes to Mark and Sean, who have started to support me with their own thoughts and articles, which is a huge enrichment..

Now that Xmas is knocking on our doors, we want to salute you, our readers, followers and friends, with a short message of every team member.

 

Mark (BinaerForceOne):

Dear readers and visitors,

 

I have to admit that I’m terribly bad at these things, but I want to wish all of you a merry Christmas, happy holidays and just a beautiful time with those who matter most:

 

your loved ones. Be it your family or close friends. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

 

See you all next year. 🙂

 

Sean (TheWinPhan):

What’s on your Christmas list…Lumia 920? 8X? Ativ S maybe? Have you been naughty or nice?

 

Myself and the rest of my WinPhan Family want to wish all of you Windows Phone owning readers, the happiest and Merriest of Christmas and may all your wishes and hopes come to fruition!

 

Thank you all for taking the time to follow along as we continue to profess our love, discuss the many nuances, and talk about Windows Phone and Microsoft here. Please be safe, love your family, and take time to appreciate all that is in your life!

 

Good Health, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!!!

 

The WinPhan

 

Marco (MSicc):

Dear reader, visitor, follower and friend,

 

we had a year full of action, with ups and downs, troubles, amazing keynotes, waiting for releases from Microsoft and their OEMs.

 

Now it is time to calm down for a few days, and give all attention to our families and our friends – apart from our technical life.

 

I wish you and your families a merry, merry Christmas. May the Xmas star shine for you and your loved ones and keep you safe.

 

We will continue our work between the years, for now enjoy your family time!

 

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, 1 comment

The WinPhan is joining msicc.net!


Well, I’m back. Some of you know me from Twitter, Facebook, and various WP news blog sites as WinPhan7. For those that don’t know me, nice to meet you. I’ve evolved slightly, I now go by a more encompassing title: The WinPhan, but you can also call me Sean. I’m not a developer, although I am interested in learning the trade. In all honesty, I use a chainsaw in the woods for a living…but MAN, do I love technology! More than that, I admire what Microsoft is doing to innovate technology!

I’m not going to make my first post too long, as you read more of my articles you’ll see I can be long winded on my soapbox. So here’s a little about myself and my love for Microsoft. I’ve never been a fan of Apple, their proprietary malarkey, the way they take advantage of their faithful consumer base, or their iPoop products! I have even more disdain for Google, their horrid mess of a mobile OS, their antics, and their dishonest ways! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Microsoft can walk on water. They’ve made some not so popular decisions, but speaking in terms of the past few years it’s my honest opinion that you would be hard pressed to find ANY company in ANY industry that has matched the innovation and positive movement that Microsoft has. With the release of Windows 8 and all that it encompasses, it’s a work of absolute beauty to me.

I’m married and have 2 out of our 4 kids still living at home so we have many Microsoft products. Currently we have the Xbox360, 9 Windows Phones(2 HTC 7 Pros, 2 HTC Titans, 1 Samsung Focus S, 2 Nokia Lumia 900’s, and 2 Nokia Lumia 920), 3 laptops(Acer Aspire with Windows 7, HP G72 with Windows 7, and my little HP Pavilion g6 is now running Windows 8), and a Zune HD. We even have a couple desktops and a couple Windows Mobile Phones sitting around, suffice to say, we are a Microsoft home.

The Windows Phone experience is what turned it all into a real passion for me though, yes even pre-Mango was a beautiful experience for me. It all just made sense, what it was, what was soon coming, and what needed to be done in the future. Here I sit now able to enjoy my Lumia 920 running WP8 and think a couple years back to the moment when the sales person tried to talk me into an Android as opposed to the little giant HTC 7 Pro. Best tech decision I ever made was right then! I’m blown away by the support Windows Phone offers, I’m blown away at how dedicated our dev community is, and I’m blow away by how unified and interactive our WinPhan community is! Like many of the readers here, I’m proud to have been part of Microsoft’s ground movement from the beginning, I’m a proud WinPhan!

I ‘ve got lots to say but I’ll save that for future posts. I’ll be writing more consistently now that winter nears and I find myself indoors a lot more. Thanks for reading and you can catch me on Twitter: @TheWinPhan

 

 

Posted by TheWinPhan in Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, 7 comments
Zune/Xbox Music Pass available in Germany (includes a short how-to)

Zune/Xbox Music Pass available in Germany (includes a short how-to)

Yesterday some users reported to wparea.de that the Zune/Xbox Music Pass is available. However, yesterday I was able to activate it, but no usage was possible.

This changed this morning.

Here are is a short view on how to use the Zune/ Xbox Music Pass:

On your Windows Phone:

Just go to the marketplace, search the album you want. You will see the word “Herunterladen” ( German for download) on the album, if it is available to use with the subscription:

 

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Once you clicked that, you only have to wait until the download of the album has finished. If you do not want to download, you can stream the music by clicking on the small “play”-symbol in front of a song, which will start streaming.

On your PC

You will need to use the Zune software. Crazy, isn´t it – it works only with a program that is set to die soon.

Here it is pretty much the same like on your phone, just click on download to listen to an album offline.

 

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If you don´t want to download, just double-click on a song in the album you want to hear, that will stream the whole album.

I wasn’t able to use it on the Windows 8 Music app as well as on my Xbox. I will update this article as soon as I got this working.

If you want to activate a 30 day trial of this awesome features, here is the site to activate it.

Of course, it is still an unofficial thing, as Microsoft stated it will become available at Oct, 26th. It works for now, so enjoy everybody of my fellow readers in Germany!

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, 0 comments
Post #200 or what exiting times we have with Microsoft

Post #200 or what exiting times we have with Microsoft

microsoft_logoI struggled with myself very long on what topic I dedicate this post with the anniversary number 200 and ended up with this article.

We all had already a very exiting year with Microsoft. Microsoft is fully in his “reimagine” phase, and the winners of this are we – as users, and as developers.

Windows 8

The year was starting for me with a key milestone: Windows 8 CP. A more fluid and fast alternative to the DP Microsoft released last year. And we finally had a good amount of apps (for a beta build). I felt really in Love with Windows 8 after using it only a few hours. Windows 8 is totally different. The Metro start screen will change the way how users will interact with their PC – also if it is non touchable.

I am currently running the final version of Windows  (RTM), and I love it to use more and more apps instead of visiting websites. It is way more fun to use a twitter app than to use their website, for example.

It is a change in the daily use of your PC, but most of the users that I personally know are exited about how easy it is to use a PC with apps. Sure, there are some people who will not be satisfied. That is not a bad thing. We all like different kind of things. But I am convinced that the majority of people will accept the Metro screen as part of their PC. Period.

For Developers it is amazing: no matter what language you are using right now, almost everyone can do Windows 8 apps. No matter if you are a Web Designer, used to Java, C# or C++, your app can be there on Windows 8! And you can even use more than one programming languages in one app.

In March this year I visited the CeBit, a trade fair that is for technology news here in Germany. I was amazed about the things I saw from Microsoft, but Germany is not a big target for the mobile/IT-industry- at least not shortly after the MWC. You can read my report about the CeBit here.

Windows Phone

Windows Phone is also an important point on our list. Microsoft´s mobile OS may not be blown up as iOS or Android – but we are satisfied with what we have! The OS is fast, does Average Joe´s daily doings way faster than the other two OS – without Multicore-CPUs!!! Microsoft demonstrated this with their “Smoked by Windows Phone” campaign, which was happening in several countries around the globe.

The best thing is: The OS will be getting even better! The existing devices will get an update with new functions, that will further enhance the user experience. And there will be the next generation: Windows Phone 8!  Windows Phone 8 will get a whole new core compared to 7, that will bring a lot more features, and for all that spec-driven users out there also multi-core support. Soon we will know more about it (I guess in September).

Xbox 360 and Xbox Live/Zune

Microsoft is also evolving the Xbox/Zune services as well as the Xbox OS itself. If you were one of the lucky one´s like me to enter the Fall 2012 beta update program, you know that it is getting better and better.  I am not allowed to go to deep into detail, but a few things have been announced, like IE for Xbox.

Xbox Live and Zune services will be merged together to further enhance our experience. Hopefully Microsoft will be providing more features to all countries, not only US. Best example is Zune Pass, which is still not available here in Germany. I don´t know what issues Microsoft has with the Germany system, but others like Deezer and Spotify were also able to solve those problems. Let us hope all the best for this.

And then there will be SmartGlass. Your Xbox companion – regardless which device you use. SmartGlass will be used to extend the experience you with your Xbox. Additional info for Movies, extensions for Games, and many many more.

Office 2013

I am also exited about the free-to-test-for-everybody Office 2013 Preview. Microsoft changed the programs into streamed applications. And they are performing very well (even with my slow 2 MBit/s connection). On top Microsoft released One Note MX, a Metro app for Windows 8 for those who use a WinRT tablet only. Get it today via the official Office 2013 website (for up to 5 PCs!). Skype integration is coming later this year via an “Office app”.  There are also further apps in the Office Beta Store.

Microsoft Account and connected Websites

Microsoft changed the formerly known “Live-ID” into “Microsoft Account”. You still have all service like before, with a new name. But there is more. Hotmail will be replaced with outlook.com (in Metro Style). outlook.com has also a “People” app, “Calendar” and of course your “Mail”. On top we now have a Metro “Messenger”. SkyDrive is the last one in this round. Also SkyDrive has been Metro overhauled an got new functions, like a url-shortening service, using skdrv.ms.

MSiccDev goes BizSpark

As some of you know, I am also developing for Windows Phone and will start with Windows 8 soon. I started to learn creating apps because there was no app for fishermen, and I needed a fishing knots app in the marketplace. I am currently planning on a big service for fishermen that targets Windows, Windows Phone and the Web. To get things done with a little help from Microsoft, I applied for Microsoft´s BizSpark program – an got approved last week! Stay tuned, soon I will reveal more information about the project. But it is great that Microsoft support startups. A special thanks goes to @AWSOMEDEVSIGNER (follow him!).

Final thoughts

I don’t know how you feel, but that was a pretty awesome year until now. Windows 8 is around the corner, and will bring new device factors like Microsoft´s surface. All big vendors announced at least one Tablet/PC-convertible. Windows Phone 8 will be the booster rocket for the phone OS version, the codename “Apollo” fits really nice in here.  Microsoft´s vision of “three screens, once experience” is getting closer and closer. And the best thing: we all can participate right now!

Posted by msicc in Bing, Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, 0 comments
Xbox SmartGlass available on Windows 8 for some, appears to be an update for existing Xbox Companion

Xbox SmartGlass available on Windows 8 for some, appears to be an update for existing Xbox Companion

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Yesterday I was reading some tweets that Xbox SmartGlass is available on Windows 8. Sadly it is not here in Germany, even changing region and language settings did not help to get it displayed.

Thanks to a Robert McLaws (follow him!) and Bing, I was able to figure out some more information.

First thing I made yesterday, was to check the existing sitemap for the Windows Store. You can search the whole sitemap for xbox or smartglass, you will only find Xbox Games and Xbox Companion:

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The next step was to check if Bing would give me any other results, and I was getting this:

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This search shows that the companion app web link is titled “xbox-smartglass”. However, If you click on that link, you will be redirected to the Xbox Companion website:

Xbox Companion page

If SmartGlass is available for you, with a click to install the Windows Store should open up the SmartGlass page. If not, you will see the Xbox Companion app.

So it seems that SmartGlass will be in fact an update to the existing Xbox Companion app. It uses the same technology, and will get a ton of new features (as announced during E3).

As soon as it will be available for me, I will keep you informed.

Posted by msicc in Windows, Xbox, 0 comments
Get a free Windows 8 tablet for your Xbox Live avatar!

Get a free Windows 8 tablet for your Xbox Live avatar!

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Today I found out that you can have a new gadget for your Xbox Live avatar.

I searched for accessories in the avatar marketplace on my Windows Phone, and found the “Internet Explorer 9 Tablet” prop.

As you can see on the pictures, my avatar is very happy about his new gadget:

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That´s cool, right?

Everyone can have this nice little gadget prop easily: You only have to click here.

After a few clicks you can also enjoy your avatar playing around with this nice little gadget.

Alternatively open Xbox Extras on your Windows Phone, go to marketplace, popular, and you will see it as the first popular item. And the best Thing: It is free for everyone!

Posted by msicc in Windows Phone, Xbox, 0 comments
Roundup of Xbox 360 E3 Event – a huge ecosystem to come by Microsoft

Roundup of Xbox 360 E3 Event – a huge ecosystem to come by Microsoft

Today Microsoft hosted a 90 minute event at this year´s E3. They talked about several things to come to our Xbox and even to our smart devices.

First I want to show off a list of all games that were presented by Microsoft and their partners:

•    Halo 4

•    Forza Horizon

•    NHL Gamecenter Live

•    NBA GameTime with NBA League Pass

•    ESPN will tur into live on your Xbox (if you are in the US)

•    Gears Of War Judgement

•    FIFA 13

•    Madden 13

•    Splinter Cell Blacklist

•    South Park

•    Dance Central 3

•    LocoCycle

•    Ascend: New Gods (only on Xbox 360)

•    Matter

•    Nike+ Training for Kinect

•    Resident Evil 6

•    Call Of Duty Black Ops 2

There is even more TV and Entertainment coming around the world, and today 35 of them where announced:

•    Absolute Radio – U.K.

•    Ameba TV – Canada, U.S.

•    BreakMedia – Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Singapore, South Africa, U.K., U.S.

•    Comedy Central Stand Up – U.S.

•    Comoyo – Denmark, Norway, Sweden

•    Corus Entertainment’s Franklin the Turtle – Canada

•    GameSpot TV – Australia, Canada, U.K., U.S.

•    Headweb – Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden

•    Indie Flix – U.S.

•    Machinima – All Xbox LIVE markets

•    Napster – Germany, U.K.

•    Nickelodeon – U.S.

•    Paramount Movies – U.S.

•    Picturebox – U.K

•    Quickflix – Australia, New Zealand

•    Rakuten ShowTime – Japan

•    Revision3 – Canada, U.K., U.S.

•    Rhapsody – U.S.

•    RTL XL – Netherlands

•    Slacker Radio – Canada, U.S.

•    SnagFilms – U.S.

•    Terra (Sunday TV) – Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico

•    The AOL On Network – Australia, Canada, Netherlands, U.K., U.S.

•    The Weather Channel – U.S.

•    The Whistle – U.S.

•    TOU.TV – Canada

•    TV3 – Spain

•    Twitch TV – U.S.

•    Univision – U.S.

•    Wuaki – Spain

•    Youzee – Spain

Until here, this is an announcement like we have expected. New Games, Apps and new Entertainment partners. What´s more you ask? Ok, here we go:

Xbox Music

Microsoft announced a Music service for Xbox, Windows Phone and Windows 8. They will call it simply Xbox Music. The service will include about 30 million tracks. Some of you might have been using Zune Pass, you will find similar features like Smart DJ there. No details were announced, so I expect there will be more to come.

Xbox SmartGlass

Xbox SmartGlass is an application for Windows 8, Windows Phone, and other portable devices that connects phones, PCs and tablets with your Xbox 360 console to make your entertainment smarter, more interactive and more fun.

During the keynote Microsoft announced the Xbox SmartGlass app. It will be just an app you download on your Windows Phone, your Android or iOS device and of course to your Windows 8 PC or tablet. It provides you airplaying features for apps, films, music and games.

Internet Explorer on Xbox

Other consoles have webbrowsers, yes. But no one has a browser that can be controlled by voice and SmartGlass.

Through the power of Xbox, the magic of Kinect and the intelligence of Xbox SmartGlass, you will be able to surf the Internet using your voice on your Xbox 360 and navigate using your mobile devices for an incredibly easy Web browsing experience on the television.

Xbox on Windows 8

Finally, Xbox will make its way also to Windows 8. The premium entertainment experiences that Microsoft will launch on Xbox will come to more than 180 countries. You will have a huge experience with the Metro apps for Video, Music, Games and Xbox SmartGlass. And of course Xbox Live will come to Windows 8.

Summary of this year´s event is that Microsoft is about to create a more huge ecosystem that Apple, Sony or Google are have created. With the unique Metro design language, the power of the Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and Windows 8 Microsoft will gain marketshare.

I bet we will hear some more about the upcoming Windows Phone version Apollo at 20th of June, when Microsoft is about to hold a developer summit to close the circle for this epic ecosystem we will live in.

You can read and view more here.

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, 0 comments

Internet Explorer coming to Xbox 360 with Kinect support

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Today we learned from the verge that Microsoft is going to port the Internet Explorer over to Xbox 360.

Microsoft will extend the already existing Bing voice search with more functionality to open a full browser. The browser is said to be able to surf the whole web.

On Top of that Microsoft has also integrated Kinect gestures and voice controls. That is great, because on other living room online systems you always have to type in something. With the Kinect support, it will be easy to surf the web from your couch.

A lot of my friends, family and colleagues asked me if this is possible with the Xbox, so this seems to be another real big plus point for the Xbox.

I guess we will hear more about this at E3, taking place on June 5-7.

source: the verge

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Xbox, 0 comments

Changes to Windows Live and other Microsoft services

Windows-Live-crossed

Yesterday Steven Sinofsky blogged about the changes Microsoft is doing on the Windows Live brand name.

Windows Live was launched as brand back in 2005 as “a set of personal Internet services and software designed to bring together in one place all of the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with more safety and security features across their PC, devices and the Web.” The services itself have been under continued development since then.

Meanwhile Windows Live services are used by over 500 millions of people. Now Microsoft is starting to streamline the naming.

First, you no longer have a Windows Live-ID. You have now a Microsoft account. With this Microsoft account you can log in to all services like Mail, SkyDrive, Windows Phone Marketplace and others.

Microsoft recalls each single service. All services are losing their “Windows Live”-tag:

  • Windows Live Mail or Hotmail becomes Mail
  • Windows Live Messenger becomes Messaging
  • Windows (Live) Calendar becomes Calendar
  • Windows (Live) Contacts becomes People
  • FolderShare, Windows Live Mesh becomes SkyDrive

All services are still usable like most of us are used to. But with the great cloud integration on Windows 8 and Windows Phone, it only makes sense that Microsoft renames those services to fit the naming of both OS. All services will run as equally named apps. Check out the table below for more info:

changes-to-live-services

But that were not all changes Microsoft announced. Let us go next to Microsoft´s adCenter.  They recently announced that for Small and Medium businesses the service now is called simply “Bing”. As already stated by LiveSide.net, this is a real strange decision. Why are they calling the adCenter now only Bing? Bing is known as Microsoft´s search (decision) engine- so how does this fit?

Of course as I have a developer account for Microsoft Advertising. But it seems there is no change to it – for now.

Inside Xbox will be discontinued. It is a collection of news, game tips and tutorials, packed into a video series popping up on Xbox. For the moment, it is discontinued only in the US, Canada, Australia as well as New Zealand. In Europe, the future is uncertain, as Major Nelson, first class Xbox promoter from Microsoft, has no news to share from here. Head over to his blog to read more and even let him know how disappointing this decision is.

Change is happening, yes. But not all change is good, as you can see on this news roundup.

sources: Windows 8 Blog, LiveSide.net

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, 0 comments