Windows Phone Mango new features


We’ve all heard that there are 500 new features in Windows Phone 7.5 AKA Mango and a whole bunch of them have been all over the internet. Well I’ve just upgraded to Mango (How see here Smile) so here’s what I’ve noticed straight away:

In messaging, it now colours your messages a different shade than the other person…makes it easier to see who said what at a glance

If you’ve scrolled down the live tiles on the front screen…press the <—Back button and it zooms you back to the top. Simple but nice!

Hold the Search button when you’re on the Lock Screen and BOOM, it opens Bing Smile (Can be turned off in settings)

Bing Audio works really well

Windows Phone jumplists now for applications. So if you have over a certain amount, you get the letters to help navigate through like in contacts…very handy!

When in the camera, press anywhere on the screen to take a picture.

Camera settings such as Flash on/off, image quality etc all persist after you exit the camera, so they’re still there next time. That is awesome as this was a big annoyance for me…

These are all great features that have jumped out at me pretty much straight away.

These is one feature that I’ve been looking forward to for ages that seems to be a disappointment though…adding tracks to a playlist on the device.

It’s easy to add 1 track to a playlist but I cannot figure out how to get another one on there! Also, if you’re playing a song that’s part of an album and you select “add to playlist” it appears to add the entire album.

Hopefully someone will work this out and/or future update will make it more intuitive Smile

Well that’s me done for now but rest assured, you’ll almost certainly see more of these posts from me over the coming days/weeks!

How to make a custom ringtone for Windows Phone Mango


Microsoft’s update to Windows Phone, Mango, brings the ability to create your own custom ringtones from MP3’s etc – which is great.

It’s not quite as easy as Android, where you just long hold an MP3 and “set as ringtone” so here’s a little guide on a good way to do it…via a great Windows Phone site:

1800PocketPC

They recommend doing it the way I’d do it anyway so I find this the best route…however you may have different programs you like to use etc.

Head over to the link above and then get started with some custom ringtone action Smile

ps: If you’ve not got Mango yet – check this post out:

Read How to Get Windows Phone Mango Right Now

How to Get Windows Phone Mango Right Now


It’s official, Windows Phone Mango AKA Microsoft Windows Phone 7.5 has been released and is now being filtered through mobile carriers out to users.

I was most disappointed to discover earlier that T-Mobile have not started this process for Samsung Omnia 7 users in the UK – and most of Europe I believe. Why this is the case I don’t know…but after the mess that was the NoDo update, I was NOT a happy man! However I came across a post on the WPcentral blog:

http://www.wpcentral.com/force-mango-update-early-through-zune-software

This gives a simple, step by step guide on how to “trick” Zune into giving you the update now. At first I was a little unsure but decided to just go for it…and it worked a treat. It took about 1 hour to to do 2 updates, 7304 (pre-Mango) and then 7720 (Mango itself) and now I’ve got all the awesome good stuff like custom ringtones, Bing Audio, Threads, Groups etc Smile

I’d recommend you click the link above so that WP Central get all the clicks they deserve but just in case it falls over though sheer traffic etc, here are the steps:

Steps to force a Mango update on phones for which Mango has started rolling out:

  1. Connect your Windows Phone to a PC and launch the Zune software
  2. Click on Phone > Settings > Update. Allow the software to tell you whether an update is available. If so, skip this guide. If not continue to the next step.
  3. Time to force the update. Click another button (any of the options above or below the word Update). Then click the Update button again, and this time disconnect your computer from the internet after 1-2 seconds. Do this by pulling out the Ethernet cable, disabling Wi-Fi, etc. If it says your phone is already up to date, you didn’t disconnect quickly enough and need to try this step again.
  4. Wait 30 seconds or so and Zune should display a notification that an update is available. This is 7392, the first Mango pre-update.
  5. Now reconnect to the internet and continue with the update process through the Zune software.
  6. After 7392 is fully installed, you may receive a notification that another update is available. If so, install it now. If not, proceed to the next step.
  7. If the second update isn’t popping up on its own, repeat steps 3-5, causing the 7403 update to appear.
  8. Install 7403, brave reader. Speeding right along, isn’t it? ;)
  9. Mango time! At this point, Zune should automatically start installing the last update, 7720, aka Mango. If it doesn’t happen automatically, force it like we did in previous steps.

 

Again, big thanks to WP Central…

image

Mango Delivery


Microsoft have confirmed that Mango, the long awaited, 500 feature containing update for the Windows Phone mobile OS will be here “within the next 2 weeks” which means we’ll see it between now and October 7th!

“For months, we and dozens of our partner companies have been laying the groundwork for the Windows Phone 7.5 update—and making solid progress. As a result, we now expect to start rolling it out in the next week or two”

Some more info and advice from Eric Hautala over on the official Windows Team Blog:

“During the official Windows Phone 7.5 update process, every Windows Phone will also receive software from the handset manufacturer. This matched and paired firmware has been painstakingly tuned so your phone—and apps—work with all the new features of Windows Phone 7.5. Since your phone requires the proper firmware to function as designed, my advice is simple: steer clear of bootleg updates and homebrew tools”

image

Windows 8 so far


Windows 8 is out in the wild in the form of the Windows Developer Preview and it’s looking pretty awesome!

There are so many little changes as well as the more obvious big ones and my plan is to do a couple of posts covering those off but this post is a bit of a stop gap really.

I spent a good few hours trying to get it to run inside various virtual platforms and was having no luck at all. I eventually discovered (via a blog I can’t remember – sorry!) that you need to have Hardware Assisted Virtualization enabled in the BIOS of your machine for the Windows 8 Dev Preview to run inside VirtualBox!

That done I was able to step through the install process (a look at which will come soon) and boot up into Windows 8 – nice Smile I could see all the lovely tiles for the Metro apps…but clicking on them did nothing Sad smile Thanks to help from Twitter friends it was pointed out that you must have a minimum screen resolution of 1024 x 768. I upped it from the default 800×600 and boom…all the Metro apps were working.

Yesterday (20/09/11) I hooked up a multi touch Acer monitor to the laptop I’d managed to procure and started to experience Windows 8 in all it’s touchy, swipy goodness…and it was great!

However, I came in this morning and the machine completed a bunch of updates. I was happy about that as I hoped that new features might be enabled but no, existing features were broken. The green background of the desktop was gone, replaced with a broken looking white – as were the backgrounds of many apps…annoying but not too bad. I turned the monitor on and was met with a “no signal” error. I unplugged all the cables and re-affixed them but to no avail and now my issue is this…having used Windows 8 with touch for a day…I now find using a mouse…especially a laptop track pad…horribly fiddly and pre-historic! Hopefully this will be resolved in a future update.

AVG respond to Windows Phone App Removal


Microsoft recently removed the AVG Anti-Virus app from the marketplace over concerns about it’s actions, and now the AV company have responded:

Yuval Ben-Itzhak from AVG says:

“I wanted to take a moment to clarify and respond to some of the questions and comments raised in social media forums.”

“AVG believes that the Windows Phone 7 OS will continue to increase in popularity and, as it does, it will become a high value target for thieves and hackers.

For this reason, we made a strategic decision to deliver a security product to this platform in its very early days – as we did with Android.  Our objective is to start Windows mobile users off on the right foot and help them create a safe and secure community.”

“We worked closely with Microsoft on the development of this product.  Our teams were trained by Microsoft and our software was provided to the company for review and certification prior to release. We did implement a number of requested changes provided to us by Microsoft.”

“All of the data we collect is used solely to offer users an exceptional security service with state-of-the-art GPS tracking.

  • We will not sell your data to anyone.
  • We do not share or otherwise disclose your data to anyone without your permission.
  • We do not mine your data for patterns.
  • We do not use your data to target ads.
  • We do not access your location data without your permission.”

He lists the features of the app as including:

  1. The Safe Web Surfing function helps protect users from social engineering attacks that are intended to drive them to take wrong decisions while online
  2. This protection engine checks the safety of a URL in case the user tries to access a malicious web site.
  3. The Safe Search function allows users searching the web to avoid malicious web sites.
  4. Our file scanning engine scans media files, mp3s, video and play lists and checks against a blacklist of bad files. This is a result of several “proof of concepts” disclosed in public.

However, from everything I’ve seen online, it all it does is scan some EICAR strings and the word “Hebrew” …which seems at odds with the above?

The full post can be found here:

http://blogs.avg.com/product-news/avgs-response-community-feedback-windows-phone-7-app/

AVG Windows Phone App removed from Marketplace


Microsoft’s marketplace is steadily filling up with new apps but unfortunately, not all are awesome. This is the most high profile WP7 app removal I’ve seen (possibly the only one so far?) and perhaps surprisingly, it involves AVG. The perennial free AV makers, once the choice of IT bods the world over, recently released an Anti-Virus app for Windows Phone 7.

imageimage

When it’s existence was first noted people such as Justin Angel & Rafael Rivera (the latter part of the Chevron WP7 jailbreak team) started to investigate it’s worthiness…and it didn’t go well for AVG!

Justin tweeted:

image

and Rafael’s blog post says this:

image

This prompted Brandon Watson, responsible for apps & developers for WP7, to investigate internally at Microsoft and then say this:

image

So it’s an anti-virus app that doesn’t actually protect from viruses, servers ads and send your location, along with unique identifiers, back to AVG…WTF?!

I’m keen to see what AVG say about this. Was it a proper corporate decision or a rogue AVG developer acting alone?

Thanks to WinRumors, Justin Angel & Rafael Rivera.

Windows 8 Boot Times


Windows 8 is shaping up to be another great Operating System release from Microsoft and now we’ve got a video showing it’s incredible boot time:

This will be amazing!

Thanks to WinRumors for the video…