Archive

(Update) MSicc’s Blog now for Windows Phone and for Windows 8 available!

MSiccsBlogHeader

Some of you know that the dedicated Windows Phone app for msicc.net is ready for nearly a month now. Sadly Microsoft does not allow fan sites to use any kind of their logo(s). So the app got rejected a few times just because of the logo.

Luckily Dominik, the guy behind my logo, patiently created new logos until the actual one. This time all went smooth, and the app finally got approved.

Now to the most important thing: What do you get with MSicc’s Blog for Windows Phone?

  • fast and slick blog Reader for MSicc.net
  • unique Metro styled app
  • read the most recent posts and browse categories or search msicc.net
  • read and post comments
  • share our posts with you friends
  • image gallery for posts

What will come with an update:

  • themes (input is welcome)
  • save images from gallery to your phone
  • live tile and toast notification

Here are some screenshots for you:

 ScreenShots

You can download the app by clicking or scanning the QR code below:

 msiccsblogbarcode

(Update) MSicc’s Blog for Windows 8 v1 now available!

Today I got notified by Microsoft that MSicc’s Blog for Windows 8 is certified! It provides similar functionality like the Windows Phone app, and will also be under constant development.

You can download the Windows 8 app here: http://w8dev.so/msiccsblog.

 

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Have fun, MSicc.

Posted by msicc in Archive, 7 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 Archive, 1 comment

Manage your Facebook fan page(s) on the go with Page Manager for Windows Phone

Today I want to present an awesome little app that helps you managing your Facebook fan pages while you are on the go. It is made by another WinPhan, Srikanth Nair (follow him!) from Australia.

After entering your Facebook account, all the pages that you are admin for are available to manage:

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As you can see, you can add multiple pages with this app. Each page has a small dashboard with the most important functions, and you can pin several secondary tiles on your start screen:

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The app allows you to easily post photos to your page and of course you can also add some nice words on your post. You are able to select a pic that is already on your device or take a new picture, which is essentially on events for Fan pages.

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Of course the app is able to share links or simply update your status  as well. The updating page is pretty self-explanatory:

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What is also important if you manage a page on Facebook, are your Insights. These are the statistics about how many people are talking about your page, liking it and so on. And of course Page Manager lets you handle that, too:

insights

Yes, the numbers of my Facebook page are not the best. If you want to help and change that, you can do by liking it here.

Page Manager for Windows Phone is a really powerful app to keep attention and manage your Facebook page. It is under constant development and will be coming to Windows 8 and receive some Windows Phone 8 features. At the moment the app is running both Windows Phone 7 and 8.

The app has a trial with limited function. I am using it for month now, and  I can only tell you that the app is worth every cent (1,49 € / 1,99 $ / £ 1.29). You can download it by scanning or clicking the barcode below:

 

fbmanagerbarcode

Posted by msicc in Archive, 4 comments

Sean’s Editorial: This Is How I Use “Rooms” For WP


With the release of Windows Phone 8, there are a tremendous number of new features available Many aren’t available for WP7, or are but have inherent limitations. Some are major additions and some are minor changes. The feature that I find myself utilizing more than any other option on my Lumia 920 is the new Rooms feature. If you haven’t had the opportunity to upgrade to WP8 yet, Rooms are similar to Groups for WP7, but with many additional and VERY useful features. My wife and I both have WP8 Lumia 920’s, so I’ve had the chance to use the Rooms feature often and will give you some of my experiences, the positives of Rooms, and some of the needed improvements to this unique feature from Microsoft.

 
Bare with me for a second, this is more of a recap of  Rooms before I better describe how it has become such a vital aspect of my phone and world. First, let’s start off with what the Rooms feature is. Like Groups, Rooms is a collection of contacts from your People Hub that you want to group together for easier and more organized communications with. The 1st big difference between the 2: Groups are people you add into a hub without their permission, making it easier for YOU, the user, to better keep track of up to 25 people and communicate with them via the various integrated services on WP. Unlike a Group though, a Room requires you to be invited to or for you to invite participants in a Room you’ve created. A Room can’t exceed 10 members and you’re limited to participating in no more than 5 Rooms at a time. In addition invites are only sent via SMS, so you need to be in network range to send or accept. Once you’re in a Room, WiFi can then be used as your connection. This was an issue for me personally, as my home is not within my carrier’s network range. I had to wait to get into reception before accepting an invitation and sending an invite for a different Room.
Many of you have read about the features included in Rooms for WP8, so I won’t spend a lot of time detailing what’s already been written. It has a very simple minimalist feel and look to it, but does a great job of capturing the essence of Windows Phone with all the integrated services right at your fingertips and easily accessible. Here’s the short of what a Room consists of:

     

  • Members Screen-live tile of the members of the room/What’s New via social networks/Member Photos/Group email/Settings
  • Messenger-IM with the members in your Room
  • Calendar-Add/View/Edit events
  • Photos-Add/View/Comment on Room members uploaded pics/
  • Notes-Add/View/Edit notes added by Room members

 

So who is this wonderful feature, created by the reinvigorated and innovative team at Microsoft, available to? If you own a WP8, you’re in luck as all the services come stock and work great with your device. What if you own a WP7…or maybe you own a WP8 but know someone with an iPhone that you would like to share this experience with. Well there’s good and bad news. It IS available to  WP7 and iPhone owners, but with limitations. I’m personally in a Room with my wife and in another with other Lumia 920 owners, so I have to be honest…I’m not sure of how well the non WP8’s behave in a Room. This is how Microsoft describes the experience for non WP8 Room members:

If you have a Windows Phone 7 or an iPhone, you can join a room that someone with a Windows Phone 8 creates and invites you to. You’ll be able to set up the room’s shared calendar on your phone and view, create, and edit events on it. Your changes will appear on the other members’ phones and their changes will sync to yours. Other Rooms features work best on Windows Phone 8. Group chat(Messenger) in Rooms is only available on Windows Phone 8. Room members with a Windows Phone 7 or iPhone won’t be able to participate.

 

  

Rather than focusing on the specs, I’m going to spend my time in this piece talking about how I personally use these features on a daily basis, quite perhaps, more than any other aspect of my Lumia 920. As I mentioned before, I’m involved in 2 rooms currently. The Lumia 920 Room is a group of 10 owners of the 920 where we discuss many things 920 related and some other things too. It’s a great way for me to stay connected with other Winphans and feel the WP love! The second Room I’m involved in is one my wife and I made to stay connected in our busy world. I’m going to talk about that first as it garners most of my time and well…I’m using it as I’m writing on my laptop this very second.

 

I’m sure many of you can relate to this description: I am married, we have children, we both work, our kids have busy schedules, somebody wants this, somebody wants that, etc. Well the same holds true for my wife and I. We both have busy schedules and we have children, but don’t want to lose out on what matters most, each other. Our Room has really helped to make us more communicative throughout the day and easier to share the day’s doing even though we’re apart. It’s why we fell in love in the first place, we enjoyed sharing experiences and thoughts together. We are in an era however, where finding time with your loved one or people you care about becomes harder due busier schedules, finances, and other various factors. A Room is really the 1st of its kind. It offers a bit of a social network feel, but in a much more intimate setting and brings some easy ways to connect the important and not so important part of your day to the person or people who are important in your day.

 

Obviously, the most used feature of a Room is the Messenger, or chat. This is a downfall of WP7, the lack of integrated Messenger just doesn’t make sense. Aside from FB chat, KIK, and a couple of others, there is slim pickins’ when it comes to IM and Window Phone. Having Messenger integrated gives another very stable IM choice to people considering a switch and with something as important as messaging, more is better. I spend most of my time near my home and as I mentioned above, my carrier’s network does not reach to it. A simple SMS is out of the question and most SMS apps have unreliable servers making texting a challenge often. My wife however, works in town and is in network range so SMS is fine. However, if my apps server is down then she can’t reach me then we’re back at square one. That has been our experience until having a Room. There are times were are carrier’s network is bad, but Messenger is always reliable. What is great for my wife is that the message shows up in her Messaging Hub just like a SMS or FB chat does. This gives you the option to have a live tile for your Room or not, either way, you’re going to get a notification.

 

An interesting feature to a Room’s Messenger chat is the storage of conversations in your Windows Live email. It’s not always consistent as to what will or won’t show up in your inbox, but some items do appear there. In the long run, if Microsoft straightens that out and has a Room consistently feeding through your email, that’s just one more example of 3 Microsoft’s 3 screens concept. If your WP isn’t near you, you don’t have to miss out on a conversation. Your Messenger also comes with voice to text dictation, which is a great little feature. In addition to the above features, Messenger allows you to check-in with your location and with the tap of the map, other members can look at their Local Scout for where you are.

 

So my wife and I both love to take pics and save pics we see on the internet and then share them with each other. Instead of having to send emails back and forth or sit and wait for the other person to scroll through their various photo albums looking for that one pic they saved, it’s much easier to use the SkyDrive integration and share it directly to our Room’s photo album. You can comment on a pic while viewing it as well, which can lead to long threads of their own aside from Messenger. Because of the SkyDrive integration it’s super easy to upload any image directly to the Room’s album, whenever you share an image you’ll see the Rooms you participate in as an option. You’ll also be notified via your live tile when a member uploads a new image. On a recent trip to L.A., my wife was able to almost stream her day in pics posted to our album. It was wonderful being able to experience things almost in live time as she showed me the world from her eyes. More than that, it was fairly easy for her to keep me up to the moment with how simple and NOT time-consuming it is to share. In addition to viewing pics while in your Room, your shared Room album is stored to SkyDrive allowing you to access those same pics from your laptop, tablet, Xbox, as well as your phone’s Photo hub. Ahem…3 screen concept yet again!

 

When you have busy schedules, that means you have filled up calendars and keeping them all in order can be a mind-boggling and time-consuming task! Your Room comes equipped with its own calendar that has also been integrated with SkyDrive thus adding itself to your existing Windows Live Calendar without you having to do anything. You might think “I’ve already linked my Windows Live Calendar with someone, how is this any different?”. The answer is this: When you add a new appointment/event with your phone’s calendar, you must enter an attendee to share it with and an email is sent with a request to accept or decline…too many steps, too much time, and things that can go wrong. With your Room, when a new item is added, it automatically includes all members and then places it in their calendar. No emails to accidentally end up in bulk or junk and get missed, just set it and that is that! Events from your Room will show up on your Calendar tile on your WP, laptop, or tablet. Yes, I know, 3 screens…I cannot say enough about SkyDrive and the way Windows Phone has integrated it into our devices!

 

The last main feature I’ll talk about is Note. Your Room’s Notes is a shared folder using your WP’s One Note, which has been integrated with SkyDrive allowing for you guessed it, a 3 screen concept! Start a Note or add to it. Christmas is right around the corner and my wife and I haven’t done a lick of shopping for gifts yet! We both are quite busy so it can be hard to both end up at a store looking for Christmas goodies at the same time. No worries, we’re going to sit together and using our Room make a gift Note. We can add or eliminate items later whether we are in the same room or in different areas with SkyDrive. If I buy a gift, just notate it on the Note and my wife can see not to get it. She doesn’t have to stand waiting for me to reply to a text or email if she’s at a store and isn’t sure if I already got it. We’ve all waited for that damn text or message at one point or another, be honest. NO MORE! If she thinks of something for me to pick up while I’m shopping for groceries, BAM…add it to the Note and it’s just that simple! Like Messenger, Note also comes with voice to text dictation.

 

In addition to the features I described above, the members of the Room all appear in one spot as live tiles. The members live tile in a Room are the same as in your People hub, so each member’s live tile shows their social network updates dancing about on their tile and all contact info can be accessed there as well. One of the features that appealed to many of us early adopters of Windows Phone was the Hub concept. It still does to newcomers, not needing so many apps to do simple tasks unlike the device they recently left behind whether it be Android or iPhone. Well Windows Phone has done it again! I’ve seen many apps that attempted to emulate each one of these tasks individually but Microsoft has done a great job at building each service into WP8 and then offering a way to use them all at once without the need of an app.

So I’ve given you all the upsides to a Room. What are the things that could be improved upon? This is a much shorter list. I actually only have 1 legitimate complaint, the rest are things that need just a little tweaking. My major complaint is this: there is no way to mute a Room. If you have an active room, your phone could be alerting you for hours on end as your Room’s Messenger gets lit up by members. Keep in mind, members of a Room can be from all over the world so it’s always Windows Phone time somewhere in the world in my 920 Room. The ability to turn off a Room’s alerts would be great! At this point the only way to turn off chat alerts is by leaving the Room in entirety. Not a good solution.

Aside from that, I would like to see the ability for a Room to do a better job at linking its members social networks together. Because it’s Windows Live, we all share each other Windows Live contact info. What if I want to know someone’s Twitter, their other social networks, or other contact info. There isn’t a quick way to do it in a Room yet. Yes you can share contact info via email, but that’s an added step that usually won’t be taken.

My last thing I can see a bit of an issue with is less to do with a Room and more to do with a carrier’s network. If you have poor network coverage the Room definitely doesn’t function as well. Just because you have enough reception to text doesn’t mean you have a strong enough signal for a Room to operate in “Real Time”, you may notice delays in Messenger and troubles syncing with SkyDrive. When I’m on WiFi I have yet to face any issues however.

When I first heard of Rooms in June, I thought it was cool sounding but had no idea how useful and in the theme of Windows Phone Rooms would really be. In terms of normal non gimmick function and by that I mean function but not a selling ploy like Siri for example, I really think this is the clear choice for top addition to Windows Phone 8. I think it will take a second, but you will hear more and more about Rooms in time to come. There are so many ways to make a Room work for each person, the question is simple…how will you make your Room or Rooms work for you?

To learn more about Rooms for Windows Phone 8 just click here.

 

 

 

 

Posted by TheWinPhan in Archive, 2 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 Archive, 0 comments
Fishing Knots + update to version 1.6 and some other changes

Fishing Knots + update to version 1.6 and some other changes

Today I submitted version 1.6 of Fishing Knots to the Marketplace.

It contains only a few new features:

– overhauled user interface

– integrated Italian and German language

– minor bug fixes

Here is a short video that demonstrates the new version:

Breaking changes are coming to “Angelknoten +” and “Nodi della pesca +”.

As I integrated the German and Italian language in Fishing Knots to make it easier for me to maintain the app (one is easier than three), both before mentioned apps will be discontinued.

Once you installed the update to 1.5.9, you will be prompted to install “Fishing Knots +”. The app will be free for one week to give everybody the possibility to install it for free.

Why am I doing this?

That´s relatively easy to explain: This was my first app ever and I wasn’t aware of the localization possibilities in the beginning of development. So I did three apps. Now that I know how I can integrate additional languages to an app, this has to be changed.

I am sorry for any inconvenience and hope you will understand this move.

“Fishing Knots +” will be the version I will update constantly.

Posted by msicc in Archive, 0 comments
Must have photo apps for Windows Phone (Summer 2012 Edition)

Must have photo apps for Windows Phone (Summer 2012 Edition)

must_have_post_photo_header

As I announced already yesterday, this post is all about must have photo apps for Windows Phone. The selection and this post is reflecting my own opinion about the apps. If you are using other apps or have another point to mention on the apps I write about, feel free to leave a comment below.
First, photography and social networking seems to be “modern” and “cool” at the moment. Before I did not give much about it, but over time, the community and the fantastic camera of the Lumia 900 I currently use have made me kind of addicted to it (and also my wife Winking smile).

 

Thumba Photo Editor
Thumba_logo

Thumba Photo Editor was one of the first Windows Phone apps when the platform was launched in 2010. Since then it made a really big evolution, providing tons of features to edit your photos. Check out a few here:

Thumba_Photo_Options

Once you choose an option, you will get a preview screen with a before/after view. Depending on the chosen option, you may have the option to adjust some settings before applying finally:

Thumba_Photo_Editing

And here is final result of the above set options (yes, that´s our cat):

msicc__2012-08-07_05-47-59

The app has built in sharing feature for Facebook, Flickr and Twitter. You can download the app right here from Marketplace. The App will cost 99 cents and comes with a free trial.

 

Lomogram

Lomogram_logo

This app was recommended to me by Enrico (follow him!).

Lomogram has only predefined filters. You can add some light effects, choose from filters and add some frames. The app can load already taken pictures or take one immediately.

Lomogram_Photo_Editing

Although there are only those predefined options, results are pretty good, as you can see:

Lomogram_2012-08-08_07-17-53-AM

Once you saved your pictures, you can share your pics directly to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr and vk (Russian network).

You can download the app here at the Marketplace for free.

 

 

My Comic

mycomic_logo

This is a very simple app. you choose a picture, and you will be able to add some comic-style text-bubbles to it. As you can see you have the option to position the bubbles, edit the text and its size.

mycomic_Photo_Editing

Sadly there are two points that are negative about that app:

– there is a watermark with the icon on every photo you make (you can overlay it with a bubble)

– the app is not ready for multitasking. If you are going away from the app and return, you will have only a black screen and all edits are gone.

Currently the developers run the app for free, it is a nice gimmick to have so head over to the Marketplace to grab it!
GetMeRated!

getmerated_logo

GetMeRated is a social network where you can get your photos rated via “photo questions”. If you want to have a look on their website, go to www.getmerated.com. They released until mobile apps for Symbian and Windows Phone first, Android and iOS apps are in the works.

Once you have finished the registration process, you are automatically following 11 people to assure you can test the network. This is how the photo feeds and the photo details are looking like:

getmerated_pictures_view_and_rate

Posting a photo question is also very easy done. You choose a photo, ask you question, choose if you want a rating ore a vote and post your photo. Votes can also be edited.

getmerated_post_picture

What makes this app outstanding are real-time push notifications about ratings, votes and messages and Live-Tiles. Don’t wait and head over to the Marketplace and join the fun!

They have also a translation program, so don’t hesitate to offer your help for translation via the contact form or their contact mail.

 

 

fhotoroom (upcoming V2!)

fhotoroom_logo

fhotoroom is another social network that is exclusive to Windows Phone. Their Windows Phone app is also a really fantastic photo editor. They are providing a ton of filters and options to edit photos.

As I am absolutely enthusiastic about this app and did mention it on Twitter, the devs contacted me to offer me to take part in a beta test in the last few weeks.

The images you now will see are exclusive and the first that are out in the wild!

When you start the app, you will see like before the “#recent” feed. It shows you the latest photos were posted by fhotoroom users worldwide. The UI has been completely reworked to match the Metro guidelines (Yes, I said Metro!). Also the profile is no following this new UI. The pics are now loaded really fast, even with a low EDGE connection you don´t have the feeling that you have to wait a long time.

fhotoroom_feeds

In their first versions you had to switch to another page to choose your edit option. That has completely changed. Now you have a one page editor that lets you choose your option and adjust its setting.

fhotoroom_edit_picture

In V2, you can easily switch between the edits, styles and frames without leaving the one editing page. That is really great and is a big step for usability and makes me love the app even more.

Another huge feature is the own camera part of fhotoroom, which lets you set a ton of options and really takes all the best from your camera.

The app lets you save your finished pic to the phone or to your SkyDrive so you can use it anywhere else. I for myself post them from time to time also to GetMeRated! to obtain some feedback.

As most other apps fhotoroom has also a connection to Twitter and Facebook, where you can share your pics as well as the pics from other users. Additionally you can post them to Tumblr and Flickr.

What do you wait? Head over to the Marketplace and join fhotoroom for free, while having a great photo editing app! Do it now!

 

 

Photosynth

photosynth_logo

We were really waiting a long time for Microsoft´s Photosynth app on Windows Phone. And the app is great, really great. First: The app does not really need a gyroscope. I tested it on a Lumia 800 as well as on my Lumia 900.

Photosynth lets you take 360 degree panoramas with your Windows Phone and upload them to www.photosynth.net (if you have an account). You can share them also via social network or view the ones you have already uploaded to this site. You can also view highlights if they were saved in a Photosynth.

photosynth_watch_panorama

While editing, the app helps you to take the right position, it is really intuitive to use:

photosynth_shot_panorama

If you like panoramas, head over to the Marketplace and download it for free.

 

 

Nokia Camera Extras – Panorama

Nokia_camera_Extras_logo

If you have a Lumia Windows Phone like me and the latest software installed, you can download Nokia Camera Extras to your phone. It is an camera extension that lets you also take panorama shots – but they are static, not 360 degrees like the ones from Photosynth.

The app guides you easily through the steps to take a panorama:

Nokia_camera_Extras_panorama

Due to the fact that the screenshot tool I used is not able to see the built in camera view, we can not see photo on the screenshot while taking them. But you are able to see how it the app helps you to get your static panorama. If you have a Lumia, you can download the app here at the Marketplace.

So this is my personal selection of photo apps, and I think it is a great one. You can do a lot of things with all these apps.

If you know any other app or just want to share your opinion on the apps above, leave simply a comment below.

Posted by msicc in Archive, 6 comments

My 2 cents to Microsoft’s “Metro” disaster

real_metro_icons

It has been very long that I blog from mobile now.

But in the last hours there is something going on that really gets me annoyed.

Due to a similar naming with the big German concern “Metro AG”, Microsoft is avoiding to name the new UI of all operating systems and services “Metro UI”.

Why are they doing this? They had serious conversation with the Metro AG. The Metro AG owns some big consumer electronic retail shops, which are branded “Media Markt” and “Saturn”. Get the point?

No? Then you are thinking like me. The brands have nothing in common with the naming. They have their own brand. Most of their customers even do not know that they belong to the Metro group.

Microsoft was pushing “Metro UI” to us, both customers and developers since the release of Windows Phone 7. The Metro AG didn’t complain about it. All the subways using “Metro” out there did not complain about it.

So why was MS not able to solve that? They are surely in a much stronger position than the Metro group. They are a big, big global player against a small local player… Was MS fearing that Metro group’s brands to block their new products? That is rather unlikely. They could not miss one of their key sources of revenue. So why MS did not played with their mighty muscles? We certainly never will know about that.

Also, not even the Logo of Metro group has something in common with the Metro UI.

I am sure a lot of us have promoted the UI as “Metro UI” to friends and customers.

Now we have to tell them it is the “Windows 8-style UI”. Do me a favor, speak it out loud. Just do it. You will see how this is nothing compared to “Metro UI”.

It was like the description: clear, easy, no junk around it, just the perfect name for their innovation.

I really hate the fact that MS is not using their whole power to serve this up. They do not need the brands of the Metro AG. But those brands need Microsoft to generate markable revenue.

What do you all think about this?

Posted by msicc in Archive, 4 comments

BinaerForceOne´s take on Windows Phone 7.8 vs. Windows Phone 8

Windows Phone 7.8 and 8 Start Screen

Windows Phone 8 Developer Summit is finally over and has many early adopters who recently purchased a second generation device left unsatisfied, to say the least. As an early adopter myself who bought a Nokia Lumia 900 about 8 days ago I can fully understand the rage that is going through the community. But I still have some common sense left that tries to find explanations for why Microsoft chose to take the decision the way they did.

First of all Windows Phone hasn’t been the top seller many of us would have liked to see it becoming ever since its release in October 2010. WP’s marketshare is still low enough that Microsoft is willingly taking the risk of pissing people off who already bought into their still new ecosystem. But who are those people who feel let down by Microsoft? Is it the average customer that has just jumped on the smartphone bandwagon? Or is it rather the tech savvy geek who is never really satisfied with what he currently owns and is always longing for newer, better hardware and more features? My assumption is that in at least 7 times out of 10 it’s the latter. And I bet that 3 or 4 of these 7 would have bought a newer device anyways when it hits the marketplace. Even if their current devices would have been upgraded to Apollo.

But why did Microsoft take that risk in the first place anyways? From my understand they didn’t even have a choice to take a different path. When they realised that Windows Mobile was going down big time, it was pretty much too late as Apple and Google already had taken control over the mobile market. What Microsoft needed to do was two things:

  1. Come up with something so different from everything else currently available and unique in many ways, that it would be noticed and gain some traction even though it would lack many features commonly available on competing platforms.
  2. They needed to do it as quickly as humanly possible in order to not let the already existing gap between them and their competitors become even bigger.

Besides the fact that hardware that was available when Microsoft began development of Windows Phone wasn’t by far as good as it is today and thus most definitely not even capable of running an NT based kernel, what was Microsoft supposed to do other than taking an existing and as being reliably proven system (aka Windows CE) and give it an overhaul?

From a business point of view it’s the only way that makes sense to me. From a consumer point of view though I have to admit that I’m of course not actually happy with what was announced yesterday. Even though I have to admit that it was a Summit meant for developers which of course unvealed mainly things relevant to these. It has yet to be announced what features both, WP7.8 and WP8 will bring to the consumers. I still believe that WP7.8 will not be all about the redesigned homescreen. Being a bit speculative here I assume that every single feature that Win CE and our single core Snapdragon CPUs are capable of, will be delivered with this update.

To sum things up: am I pissed off? Do I feel screwed by Microsoft (and Nokia)? Certainly. Does this mean I close my eyes before things that were pretty obvious and most definitely inevitable? Heck no! What Microsoft announced yesterday may feel like a slap in the face for many, but they couldn’t really have done it any other way. And as a matter of fact: I enjoyed Windows Phone 7.x and my Lumia 900 before yesterday. How the hell could that Summit have changed that? It didn’t. I still enjoy the experience of WP on my device. And I will continue to do so for as long as it may take until I can get my hands on a dedicated Windows Phone 8 device.

Just a quick last note before I save this post and have it published. Many WP users are pretty much concerned with the marketplace situation that is ahead of us. Sure, Microsoft promised that all existing apps will run just fine on Windows Phone 8. But what will happen to people who use Windows Phone 7.8 then?
Without diving too deep in technical aspects, Windows Phone 8, regardless of the new kernel, still supports XAML and C# (aka managed code) which was, is and will be absolutely sufficient for most apps. All these apps should run without any issues on WP7.x as well and thus certainly be available on this particular marketplace. Apps that make use of WP8’s newer hardware or are natively coded won’t run though. That again is speculation as there’s no WP8 SDK available right now to play around with. Once it’s available will see if there are differences or not.

That’s it, I’m done. Call me a blind fanboy, but I still believe Microsoft took the right decision. As unpopular and fucked up it may seem. Period.

Posted by dkp1977 in Archive, 3 comments

I learn to tie my shoes – now available on Windows Phone (deal inside)

In January 2011 Internet Security specialist AVG released a study. This study tells us that nowadays children get in touch with technical gadgets much earlier than in the past, while they are not able to manage everyday things like tying their shoes.

The study substantiates this also with figures: around 19% of the 2-5 year old children are able to use smartphone apps, while only 9% know  how to tie their shoes.

As father of two kids, I decided to use the abilities of the little ones, and do something against that alarmingly low now number of kids, who know how to tie shoes.

I hope this app helps you and your children to learn tying of shoes very quick, easy and with fun.

The app provides following features:

  • two methods of tying shoes
  • controllable animation that shows tying
  • step by step guide
  • rhymes
  • theme selection (currently standard, boys, girls)
  • German and English language

The app will be available at the price of 99 cent. Like all my other apps, it has of course a trial version.

Trial version provides:

  • the first five steps both in animation and the guide
  • one of four rhymes
  • standard theme

What is coming next?

  • more languages (coming with the next update: Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Russian)
  • more themes
  • themed tiles to pin to start screen

To celebrate the launch of this app, I will start a “Marketplace Roulette”.

Currently, the app is available for free only  via this marketplace link.  I will change the pricing at a suitable moment within the next few days  to the above mentioned 99 cents and make it publically available. Until this moment, you can download it for free only via this link.

Finally, here are some screenshots from the app:

step10_ENGthemes_ENG

If you want to learn more about the app, here is a review on 1800PocketPC.com (written by Saijo George).

Posted by msicc in Archive, 0 comments