Thursday, January 31, 2013

Windows Phone app for desktop Preview 3 released.

Today, Microsoft has made the Windows Phone app for desktop Preview 3 for desktop available for download. The app works on Windows 7 and 8 and lets users manage their videos, pictures, files etc. The Windows Phone app also lets you do simple drag and drop between your computer and Windows Phone 8 device since the phone appears like a regular drive in Windows Explorer. A feature that I missed in Zune.
Microsoft did not publish a change log about the update and I haven't yet seen any changes.

Download the update here.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Windows Phone Photo Challenge: LOVE

Photo taken by Lisa Stratton, Editor - Windows Phone newsletter.
With Valentine's Day around the corner, it's no surprise that the Windows Phone team chose Love as the theme for this month Windows Phone Photo Challenge. Use your Windows Phone to capture the emotion of love and send your photo to along with a short description, which phone you used and, if any, the apps you used to edit your photo. Winners will have their pictures featured on the Windows Phone blog, newsletter, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

Here's how to enter:

  • To enter, please e-mail your entry to
  • In the subject line of your e-mail, please write “CHALLENGE: LOVE”.
  • The photo you send must have been taken with (and edited, if you prefer to edit) on a Windows Phone. Please attach the original JPEG file to your e-mail, with metadata included. If the photo has been edited, please let us know which apps/settings you used.
  • Please name your image file using your first and last name, followed by the theme of the contest (this month it’s “Love”). So, for instance, my e-mail would include a photograph named DavidChenLove.JPG or DavidChenLove.JPG.
  • Please use the highest resolution possible when sending your photos.
  • One entry per person, please.
  • This challenge runs from now until 11:59 p.m. PDT on Friday, February 8th, 2013.
  • After the contest deadline, we will look over all of your entries and choose our favorites. Entries will be judged on their creativity, resourcefulness, aesthetic beauty, and just the overall impression your photo makes on us.
  • Winning entries may be posted on the blog, in our newsletter, as well as shared on our Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest pages about two weeks after the contest has ended.
  • Read the full rules here.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New Amazon Kindle for WP8 crashes after update.

Amazon has updated its Kindle app for Windows Phone to adopt some of the new Windows Phone 8 features like the ability to re-size the live tile from small to medium to large. Unfortunately, it seems that's about it in terms of added functionality and Amazon did not publish any change logs. With this new version, Amazon has opted for a minimalist orange tile. I preferred the old one with blue background and the boy reading a book under a tree. But that's me.

So I went to install the update as it appeared on the Windows Phone Store tile on my HTC 8X. While the update itself went on smoothly, launching the app is another story. Tapping on Amazon Kindle in the app list briefly showed the splash screen and reverted back to the app list. A power cycle did not help. To fix that faulty behavior, the app must be removed and re-installed. Many users are reporting the same issue in the reviews of the app on the Store. It surely is annoying since some of them have lost their bookmarks in the process.

Hopefully Amazon will provide a fix soon.

Amazon Kindle for Windows Phone 8 is available free in the Windows Phone Store.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Rowi Twitter client update adds support for Skydrive image previews.

In an update posted to the Windows Phone Store, Rowi Twitter client adds support for image previews on Skydrive, Microsoft free cloud hosting solution. Skydrive allows users to upload files to the cloud and then access them on any devices. By adding the Skydrive image preview, users of Rowi will be able to preview the image from within the app instead of having to open it in a separate window, normally the web browser. 
The bug fixes and improved performance are also part of the change log:

-Bug fixes
-Improved network performance
-Live Tile behavior change that clears mentions and direct messages counts when Rowi loads
-Profile followers/following lists are in correct order
-Instructions in settings on how to access multiple accounts
-Support for SkyDrive image previews
-Setting to show user display names instead of Twitter usernames

Not using Rowi yet? Download the free lite version or the paid version.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Tips: Cannot connect to Facebook Chat - friends online are not displayed.

The integration of Facebook Chat into the messaging hub is one of the selling points of Windows Phone since the release of Mango or Windows Phone 7.5 a bit less than two years ago. Starting a conversation on Facebook and then seamlessly switch to SMS in case of a loss of connectivity is awesome and unique to the Windows Phone platform. But as with everything in the world of technology, and no matter how good the technology is, it also breaks. It occurred to me at least once, where Facebook Chat will not connect or will not display my list of friends who are online. Facebook website will display my friends available for chatting, but not the app. How do you solve that problem without a hard reset or throwing the phone out the window from a ten storey building, which equals to an extreme version of a physical hard reset.
The process to solve this problem is simple and straight forward. Let's start with the phone.
  1. Go to Settings > email+accounts and delete the Facebook account. Press and hold on Facebook and press Delete.
  2. Now we need to let Windows Live/Microsoft Account know that we've removed Facebook from our phone. So press and hold on Windows Live/Microsoft Account and select sync. At this point, we're done with the phone, for now.
  3. Log on to on a PC.
  4. Click Manage
  5. Click Edit under Facebook.
  6. At the bottom of the screen, click "Remove this connection completely".
Stay with me as we're almost done. At least on the PC where you can sign out of your profile page. Let's now go back to the phone. The next step consists of simply re-adding the Facebook account to the phone.
  1. If you're not there already, go to Settings > email+accounts.
  2. Tap "add an account" and select Facebook
  3. Tap the Email address box, and then type the email address that is associated with your Facebook account.
  4. Tap the Password box, and then type your Facebook password.
  5. Tap sign in.
  6. If you haven't linked your Facebook account to your Windows Live ID, you'll be asked if you'd like to link them now. Tap Connect to go to a Facebook website
  7. Follow the instruction to connect your account.
  8. Finally, we need to verify that Facebook Chat is enabled on the phone. This setting is found in Settings > Messaging for both Windows Phone 7.5 and 8.
Start messaging and swipe to the left to access Facebook Chat and voilà; all your contacts are back, at least those who are online, and your status is now set as available.
The above steps have worked for me and users on the Microsoft Answers Forums. In the unlikely event that it doesn't fix your issue, let me know in the comment area or use the Microsoft Forums.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

glƏƏk!, Fhotoroom & Unit Converter for Windows Phone updated. glƏƏk! gets voice control.


glƏƏk! is my favorite Twitter client for Windows Phone. Unlike other just-another-Twitter client, glƏƏk! Brings you random tweets from users around the world. So expect the unexpected. In this update for Windows Phone 8, Liquid Daffodil introduces a voice engine that lets you talk to the app. So you can tell it to compose, reply and quote. In addition, the app takes advantage of the lock screen feature of Windows Phone 8. glƏƏk! offers quality wallpapers that can be used as your Lockscreen. A trial version of the app is available for download. But I can only recommend you shell out the $1.99 to buy the app.



I do not use Instagram even if I have it installed on my Galaxy Nexus. I wonder how many like me downloaded the app and actually never used it. As an alternative, there's Fhotoroom, an app that received the "Community App awards Best Photo App of 2012". It has a network of its own so you can share your work with a growing community of photo lovers. Photos can also be shared to Facebook, Twitter, Skydrive, Flickr or Tumblr with a click. The update brings Fhotoroom to version 2.5 and change log lists the following changes:

  • Major backed update to use new server API.
  • Faster uploading.
  • Better international support.
  • Tweaked Swiping support.
  • Standard bug fixes.

Fhotoroom is free in the Windows Phone Store.

Unit Converter

Despite my HTC 8X having a built in converter, I have a preference for Unit Converter by ViferSoft. It is simple and just works. Select a unit category, tap the from or to button and chose the unit you want to convert. Unit Converter is free and is one of the best converter apps I've used. The updated version -version 1.2- adds more currency. Comma as decimal separator is now supported in countries that use it.


Hello Friends for WP7.5/8 updated with new template/preview mode.

Hello Friends is a cool app that lets you make a collage of your friends pictures and use them on your lock screen. The app provides templates for you to use and the trial version, which i believe is unlimited,includes  three templates. In the published update, the developer added one new template and a new preview mode. Of course there is the usual bug fixes.

Hello Friends is one of those apps that gets a lot of positive feedback with some going so far as asking why Microsoft did not include that feature into the OS in the first place. This is how good the app is.

Download link.

L'ile Moris - Mauritian developed geo-location app hits Windows Phone Store.

L'ile Moris (Mauritius) is a nifty new app that will be useful to both Mauritians and visitors to find interesting and useful places as they move around the island. The app is particularly useful in that it provides data about preset bus route and the ability to add your own. The app will then provide such details as the route code and location in the built-in map.

L'ile Moris also does a good job at locating interesting places around giving you info such as phone numbers,  email address and website, if available. Unfortunately, it does not provide more details about the type of venues. While the name of the place will make sense to locals, it may not for visitors.

I will publish a full review of the app later. So stay tuned.

Download link.

Nokia Drive+ Beta available for WP8 users in Canada, UK and the US.

Microsoft and Nokia made good on their promise to bring the free Nokia Drive+ app to all Windows Phone 8 devices. The app which was a Nokia Lumia exclusive until yesterday is still a beta version, so expect to see some bugs. If you do come across one or two, do not hesitate to bring it to the attention of the developers through the Windows Store or the app feedback tab

Nokia Drive+ beta can be downloaded free from the Store and will give you access to turn-by-turn navigation, offline maps, speed limit warnings, voice guided navigation etc. 

Download link.


Learn more about Nokia Drive+ beta.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Disney's "Where's My Perry?" & "Where's My Water?" games for WP8 free for 24 hours.

Who has never heard about Perry the Platypus, a secret agent who works for the OWCA (Organization Without a Cool Acronym), to fight an evil scientist named Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz? Agent P is a Disney character, as well as Swampy the crocodile. Although I'm not sure if I've ever encountered Swampy in any Disney movies. The only movie I can think of where there's a crocodile is Peter Pan. I'm not sure about the croc's name, but i'll ask Captain Cook. Anyway, these two characters have their own games in the Windows Phone Store called "Where's my Perry?" and "Where's my Water?". Two games that are perfect for the Kids Corner on your Windows Phone 8.

Where's my Perry has about 80 puzzles to keep you and your kids busy. The aim of this challenging physics puzzler is to help Perry reach his secret hideout through water pipes using water, of course. The evil Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz has made it hard for Perry to move freely so you have to use water in different forms, ice, steam and liquid to help the famous Platypus move along. A challenging and ultimately funny game. 

Where's my water? is a similarly designed game where you basically need to channel water towards Swampy for him to take his shower. However, you need to keep an eye on algae, toxic ooze, triggers, and traps.

Now, both games are usually sold at $0.99. however, they are currently free for 24hrs. I don't know when this promo started but if you're good at multi-tasking you should have already launched the download on your Windows Phone by just reading the title.

If not, here are the links to both titles:

Where's My Perry?

Where's My Water?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 for Windows Phone 8 released.

Have you ever felt you were being cheated by your ISP in regards to internet speed on your smartphone? With you will be able to prove that you are not getting the speed you're paying for. has landed in the Windows Phone Store for free and is an official app of the popular website.

Get your free copy here

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Winner of festive holiday Windows Phone photo challenge announced.

Last month I blogged about the Windows Phone photo competition that was themed around the holiday seasons. The name and pictures of the winners have been posted in a blog post by David Chen on the official  Windows Phone blog. The winning picture, shown above, was shot with a Nokia Lumia 920 and edited with Fhotoroom, a free app on the Windows Phone Store.

Check out the other pictures on the Windows Phone Blog.