Saturday, February 06, 2016

Dropbox for Windows Phone 8.1 updated with quick search, commenting and Jump list.


Dropbox for Windows Phone is a Windows Universal app, meaning that it works on Windows for desktop and Windows 10 Mobile. The popular cloud storage app also works with Windows Phone 8.1. Today, Dropbox was updated to bring some of the Windows 10 features to Windows Phone 8.1.

With this update Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows users will be able to initiate a search by simply typing anywhere. They won't necessarily need to tap the search icon first. The app also allow users to comment on files, bringing collaboration with others by inviting them to a discussion with the use of @mentions. Finally, there's Jump list for access to recent files through a right click on the application icon and tile.

Grab the update in the Windows Store.

Surfy browser adds Ukranian language and fixes LAN site browsing issue.

I really like how Android lets me choose which browser I like most and set it as the default browser to open any links I click on my device. This is a choice I would like Microsoft to implement on Windows Phone. We already have the choice of search engine, so why not extend that to browsers. My favorite browser is on my Lumia is Surfy and it got a minor update today. The browser now supports Ukranian language and an issue with browsing to LAN sites has also been fixed.

There are two versions of Surfy available in the store, one free with some limitations and a paid version:

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Microsoft adds GPS Power Saver to Microsoft Band 2 and weight tracker to its Health app.

 Microsoft Health picked up a nice update today, especially for those who own the Microsoft Band 2, the second generation fitness tracker made by the software giant. I do not own a Band 2 yet, but I like the addition of the GPS Power Saver, which Microsoft claims to extend the battery life up to 4 hours. I have the Band 1 and use it for biking. While I only bike a distance of up to 13 km with the GPS activated and battery fully charged, I will end up with 40%; enough to complete a guided workout of 13 minutes at home before plugging the Band to recharge and switch to my phone. An additional 40% of battery life will fulfill my needs.

This update also comes with an activity reminder. Again, another feature I wish Microsoft had made available for the first generation of its fitness band. The Activity Reminder will let users set reminders on their Band 2 for every 30, 60, or 90 minutes to take a walk.

The other features include the ability to create guided workouts in the dashboard and share them with friends. The addition of a weight tracking feature to help users maintain their current weight or to reach their goals  and finally, Microsoft added more Web Tiles for a variety of content for users to pick from. 

Get the updated Microsoft Health app in the Windows Store.

Monday, February 01, 2016

WeChat for Windows Phone updated with content sharing from Cortana.

The Windows Store on my Lumia 1520 is showing an update is available for the popular messaging app WeChat. Like other apps of its kind, WeChat is a cross-platform app for texting, making video calls, voice messages. Tencent, the China-based company and owner of WeChat, claims the app currently has 400 million users, many of which are in China where WeChat is extremely popular.

According to the change log, the updated app improved on the user experience on Windows 10, but does not give details about those improvements. The second item in the change log is the ability for sharing content from Cortana. I have yet to figure out how that works though.

WeChat is a nice messaging platform with a great walkie talkie which supports real time conversation with up to 40 friends. If you haven't tried it yet, download WeChat for Windows 10 Mobile in the store for free.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Third party YouTube client, Tubecast updated with in-app purchases fix & moved YouTube servers.


My favorite YouTube client for Windows Phone, Tubecast, has been updated today with a few fixes. The first deals with an issue with casting with moved YouTube servers which showed a HTTP 302 error. The second one fixes a problem with in-app purchases. This one seems to have been a long time source of frustration to the developer based on his wording in the change log: "After 1.5 years of Microsoft bugs with their incapacity to synchronize purchases correctly at anytime, purchases are now stored on my server". 
Tubecast is available for download in the Windows Store with a free and paid version available:

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Microsoft OneNote gets Office Lens integration to capture document and whiteboard.

OneNote for Windows 10 picked up an interesting update today. The popular note-taking app gets support for scanning documents, photos and whiteboards. Sounds familiar? It should if you use Office Lens, Microsoft scanning app. I personally find this integration a great idea as I use Office Lens a lot to record my receipts in OneNote. With this integration, I get to do my record keeping all in OneNote. 

There's more to the update as listed in the change log below:

More organized notes

  • Move/copy pages and sections to keep everything organized, just the way you like.

    Shape recognition.
  • Automatically transform your drawings into shapes.

    Office Lens.
  • Use Office Lens from inside OneNote to capture that document or whiteboard.

    Know who's here.
  • See where others are working with you in a shared notebook.
Download: OneNote

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Dropbox is now a Universal Windows Platform app with a bunch of new features.

The more storage we have the better, no matter if we have to use different and several storage providers, especially that there are apps like CloudMesh that brings them all together for easier management. However, if Dropbox is one of your cloud storage, an update has been published to the store today for Windows 10 that makes it a Universal Windows Platform app. But the Windows 10 Mobile version of the app is not available yet. But I assume it shouldn't be long before it lands in the Windows store.

This update makes the app a lot faster, brings quick search, interactive device notifications, drag and drop functionality, Windows Hello integration, commenting and Jump List. See the change log below for details and head into the Windows store to download the update.

Microsoft updates Sway for Windows 10 with recycle bin, full screen mode, more textures and groups nesting.

Microsoft Sway
If you suffer from severe lack of arts talent like me, you will probably like Sway, a digital storytelling app made by Microsoft to give life to your photos. Put them all together with some text, videos and some other stuffs and you get a beautiful and professional presentation to show to your friends, family and colleagues. And again, you don't have to be a professional artist or be a PowerPoint specialist to use Sway. With that said, Microsoft has updated Sway for Windows 10 today that adds more styles and background textures, groups nesting and the usual performance improvements and bug fixes. Check the full change log below. Note that Sway is not a universal app yet, so, sadly, you won't find it in the Windows Phone store. 

We're all familiar with the Recycle Bin in Windows where all our deleted items are stored and I'm sure we all have stories of items deleted accidentally. Thanks to the Recycle Bin we're able to recover those items. Microsoft has ported the Recycle Bin feature to Sway. It work the same as on the PC in that sways that are deleted end up in the Recycle Bin for 30 days. Where it gets really interesting is that way that you delete on the web, Windows 10, iPhone and iPad will all go to the Recycle Bin. You can also choose to permanently delete them to empty the Recycle Bin, just make sure you really want to do that by checking what's in there before clicking that OK button.

Here's what's new:

  • More Styles and Background Textures — Customize your Sways with additional styles featuring a variety of new background textures. 
  • Groups in Groups – Nesting groups of content in other groups allows new format combinations, particularly in Sway’s presentation-oriented layout. 
  •  Miscellaneous — We've made additional performance improvements and bug fixes.
Download Sway in the Windows Store.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Playcast for Windows 10 gets major update, 1 more free day trial and some fixes.

When Playcast was released, I purchased it without hesitation despite the fact that a few days trial was available. And that's because the developer behind this excellent app is also the one who made the best YouTube app for windows 10, Tubecast (Paid, free). The latter and Playcast have that thing in common in that you can cast media to Chromecast, or DLNA devices. 

However, after buying the app, I ran into issues as it failed to cast movies to my Chromecast while it handled songs well. I reached out to the developer and he very quickly contacted me to help solve the problem. After sending one of my movies, he found out that a particular format was not being handled properly and a fix was quickly released.

Today, I am enjoying my movies from my Lumia 1520 via Chromecast. The fix is part of the update that the developer released today, among other fixes and new features as shown in the change log below:

What's new in version

  • 1 more FREE day in trial per app update.
New drive sources:
  • DLNA Media Server
  • Google Drive
  • Dropbox
  • Freebox
  • MP4 'FastStart' transcoding on the fly for Chromecast unreadable MP4.
  • Miracast support.
There's also some UI improvements:
  • Remove items in Recent/Queue
  • Shortcut (desktop): F5 refresh - F11 fullscreen
  • Progress bar preview in PIP
  • Changelog popup at startup if it's a new version
  • "My libraries" only shows right content type files
  • List performance
  • UI contrast improvements
Get the app in the Windows Store.