Dec 052011

Ok, I was upset with Shazam moving to the “you get 5 lookups a month for free” stance. So I switched to using Bing for those music searches, it is built right into the phone if you press the search button. Its performance was less than good, it would find very few songs and it took a long time for it to grab the music to do the lookup. Last night I notice SoundHound is in the WP7 app store so I tried it out and boy oh boy, it works quite well. It has found all of the songs I have thrown at it and fast too, still need to see how quickly it will work but it seems MUCH faster than Bing. You can check out SoundHound at or just go to the app store here and grab it. It is well worth it and it is free to boot!

Oct 042011

First and formost, no custom ringtones for emails, texts, or voicemails? What is up with that? Microsoft provides custom ringers from phone calls in this update but forgets to add that to the other notifications? hmmm, what a shame. Next shortcoming is also a notification, when something wants to give me a notification on this very in touch OS, why is it it does not give me a flashing LED to say “Hey idiot you missed a notification!” not saying it needs to be customizable or anything just a simple flashing LED to get my attention and they can even all have the same LED flash. Oh well, maybe next time they release an update they will include some more of the basic things people need.


Sep 292011

Ok, I know I broke the rule and installed the beta on my WP7 trophy, but I heard too many things good about it to not at least try and no one seemed to have difficulty with the install. I also realized that when the official one came out that I would need to revert back to my pre-mango state to then go to full release Mango, I was worried but not too much since I do not really have anything major on my phone anyway. You can imagine my surprise when I plugged in my phone on 9/27/2011 and Zune told me that I had an update available….SWEEEETTTT! So I did what anyone would do in my situation and installed it. Which worked great for the most part, after about an hour or so of the install running automatically, I was pleasantly surprised when it said congratulations you can unplug your phone now. Like I said it went great for the most part, everything was still installed like it was when I started the install, even Wifi was online and ready to go, so everything is right with world….or so I thought, then I left my house and wonderful Wifi and boom, no data connection….dang it all, after searching high and low for fixes and seeing everything from reset your phone to hard reset to take your phone back to pre-mango state, I was a bit worried at this point but then I thought Microsoft wouldn’t really want their developers having to flash their phones back to factory to install this update, so I thought I would go with the simplest options first to see what would happen. I fired up Zune and found a Restore button on the main updates page, so I clicked it, which took me back to Beta Mango, ok fine, then I saw a post about Connection Setup Wizard by HTC being an issue and I had noticed some errors with it on boot up, so I thought what the heck and I uninstalled it and then immediately tried to update to full Mango again, after another hours or so, the same window popped up saying unplug your phone you are done, but this time I had Wifi off for testing and low and behold I was receiving data over my data connection….YEESSSSS and no hard resets no lengthy reverting back to pre-mango. So if you are installing Mango from your carrier and encounter no data connection afterwards, restore… then uninstall the connection setup wizard… then reinstall the update.

Hopefully that will help someone out there! And NO this was NOT Verizon Wireless’ fault as they have no control over the software we install, I think that is how it is with our PCs as well, we run the chance of messing something up anytime we install a simple app.

Sep 272011

I really liked the premise behind but never really felt like part of it, so I have decided to stop using it. Just so happens that this decision coincides with announcement that they have removed the 40 hour limit, thank goodness, 40 hours is crap for a month worth of listening, I can eclipse that in a week. Downside to Pandora, it takes a browser window, but I found a way around that as well, actually is a very good implementation of pandora, it uses a very small window and allows use of all of the buttons you may need including voting volume and fast forward etc. I highly recommend using that app, which is an Air app if you are planning on listening to pandora for extended periods. So if you are looking for music to listen to with the ability to customize what you hear, pandora may be what you are looking for, you can start with a generic radio station and then click the add variety option and add musicians to the list, which will change the flavor of the music being selected. Also voting on a song will change the music variety as well, voting thumb down removes a song from the playlist and thumb up accentuates that music type in your list. The site is a HTML5 site so it even runs on WP7 in IE.


Aug 102011

I know I have mentioned before I am a Windows Mobile user from a long time ago, back when WM5 was big and I had a Pantech Flip Phone that was a smartphone and have loved it ever since. Well, I have also mentioned that I am a WP7 convert now as well and one of the apps I used in WM6.1 was one of the apps that pushed me to go with WP7. It is called TrackMe and is a GPS tracking app that connects either to the server they have set up for the users of the app or you can even set up your own server if you are so inclined, which of course I am. This app is free and can be grabbed from here… as well as straight from the marketplpace in WP7 and works quite nicely. With the app you can either send the entries every few feet to the server providing almost real time updates or you can even store them all on your device and then upload them when you have time, this way you can save your battery, personally I like my family seeing my trip real time so they can see where I am while I am out, just in case. Another big positive about the app is it was developed by Luis Espinosa and then ported to WP7 by a developer named _LEM_ and both of them are very receptive to features you may want or need. The app will even run under a locked screen which is another big positive. This app also makes it so you can see your track on google earth if you are interested in that. So if you are looking for a way to track your excursions, whether they be walking, running, biking, or even driving this app may be a very good app to add to your phone so take a look at it.


Jul 292011

Yesterday I made a post about my HTC Trophy WP7 phone and mentioned some glaring flaws I have noticed, to which someone mentioned many of these issues were fixed in an upcoming update called Mango. Well, I must confess that got my interest a bit, so I went looking for the update. I found that more than a few people installed it on the Trophy with no issues, just a few hoops to jump through. Now, I must admit there were times when I was worried with the install, and with the time it was taking to install, but all in all the install went unbelievably well. I am guessing that is mostly attributed to the makers of the setup program not necessarily Microsoft, but I think they did a really good job of making the install work correctly. Even if it did take over an hour and a half. One caveat, you NEED to make a backup before proceeding with the update so it can be removed eventually when the full release is done.

First impressions? OMG, I can not wait for the final release of this update, this update addresses nearly every issue I have noticed about WP7!! There are very few issues that they didn’t cover even some I didn’t notice, like making the app list searchable and broken down by letters. Office now works with Skydrive properly, so place a file in skydrive and it shows up on your phone. Custom ringtones works, but only for ringtone, no custom sounds for anything else yet, but they seem to be moving in the right direction. Battery percentage? yep they got that covered too, although it is a bit hidden in the settings menu “battery saver” at the very bottom is battery percentage and expected usage, woohoo, now it needs to be a live tile! They even have a built in app switcher, no not multi-tasking, that is in place but the app devs need to recode to make it work right. There are other things that have been corrected as well like IE9 is now onboard and guess what Google Music even works now, not the greatest but this is still just a beta update and is QUITE IMPRESSIVE!

I hope that helps you to get a feel for the GREAT strides Microsoft is making in addressing the users of WP7’s needs and wants.

Jul 282011

Well, I finally acquired a WP7 phone about a week ago, and I have some opinions about it now. First and foremost, I CANNOT WAIT for the Mango update, seems like such a small thing but having custom ringtone ability is a nice feature and WP7 does not have it, no matter where you get the ringtone from, it just does not show up in the list. Ok, now I really do love the phone, it is VERY smooth in how it moves through the menus, the animations are almost fluid, Microsoft has really gone and succeeded at that! Another thing I like is the Tiles, although I do not get the live tile piece so much, why it is so “awesome” but I do love the tiles in general, just wish you could change the sizes of them. It is nice that you can add any app you want to the tiles too, just by pressing and holding the shortcut of the app and clicking “pin to start”. The music player is very pretty and seems very functional as well. The browser, IE, is very nice as well, especially in desktop mode, it acts very much like a real browser, so much more so than WM6’s did. Another thing is the GPS, it works really well and seems to acquire the satellites very fast. Another big thing, since I got a HTC Trophy, is the apps from HTC are quite simply amazing, the graphics are incredible and smooth as can be and are worth your while to check them out in the HTC section of the marketplace. Speaking of apps, there are quite a few of them, and many are free, granted most of the free ones are ad supported but what do you want, and the ads are kind of smallish so they do not get in the way too bad. One app that I really love in particular is TrackMe, which is actually one of the reasons I went with a WP7 over an Android, I used to use it for WM6 a lot for biking and loved it, now it has been ported to WP7 by _LEM_ and it is available in the marketplace as well, you can also read up on it here and is well worth using!! Another thing I love about the start screen, or the live tiles screen, is the way they come into view from the app list screen, they look like a train station board where they spin into view, the only thing I would love to have it do, is make a noise like the train station board or even like the Wii when you are showing the Miis, seems like a stupid thing but I think it could be nice to have. Gaming on WP7 is frigging great, the display is killer and is very smooth and games are very responsive and look good. I think that is one thing WP7 has over Android, it is sooo much smoother and more fluid. I do know Android has more free apps than WP7 and many are not ad supported, but that is what open source does for you and also WP7 is still soo young, it will take time for apps to be developed, and we also need to wait for some features to start showing up. I do like that they opted for micro usb connection but just wish they would have stayed with mini usb instead, I have lots of them. I also love the messaging client, although if I have sent a message it would be nice for the keyboard to move until I put the focus back on the text box for the response, but I guess you cannot make everyone happy.

Ok, now for some more negatives, yes the ringtone thing is kind of small, many phones had no way to give you custom ringtones, but today it is almost crucial, they do not have enough ringtones on there to make everyone happy, I need more sound ringtones, I do not like music ones, short and sweet is what I like. That goes for emails and messaging as well, although they have more tones for those that are simple than they do for the calls. Now for the Calendar tone, the one to let you know an appointment is coming, you have no way of changing it AT ALL, and it is way to quiet and it only plays once in a long time, I have missed at least one appointment so far because of that, another feature request, custom alert sound and when it plays. Another gripe I have, WM from 2003 all of the way to WM6.5, sync’d up with Outlook, so you could use outlook for all of your contacts and calendar, now with WP7 it doesn’t work like that, it syncs exclusively with Hotmail and maybe an exchange server, but for those of us without an exchange server, hotmail it is, which is a minor complaint but still come on. While I am on the sync issues, how the devil do you sync office docs with this thing, it used to be you had a directory in your My Documents folder, you placed an office file there and it showed up on your device ready to work on, now it doesn’t do that, you need a sharepoint server to do that kind of thing, and the fix is to email yourself the spreadsheets or docs and edit them, but I have had nothing but trouble, formulas are all wiped out etc. So I use google docs now and with the browser in desktop mode it works really well, just a bit slow, although you can edit the docs on any pc as well as phone and it is a very good implementation of the office product. I know Mango is supposed to add to the ability of WP7 by giving you Office365, but we shall see. Another gripe with the sync, you used to see the phone directories in Windows Explorer, so if you wanted to put songs or files on your phone like pdfs etc, now you need to email them to yourself, hopefully that changes too. Now this gripe goes to HTC, and I am sure there is a reason for it, but why in the world would you put the camera button right across from the plugin for the cord, many times I plug in my phone I end up seeing the table, I guess it would be better if the plug was easier to plug in. Another thing I want to see is tethering my phone to my laptop to share the data connection, I miss that from WM6.


All in all, WP7 is a giant leap ahead in phones especially where Microsoft is concerned, eventually it will be an Android / Iphone competitor or killer, but right now there will be too many negatives to accomplish that. There is also a lot of people that are very vocal about not liking the phone for the shortcomings, I just hope that doesn’t kill the phones potential. I also hope they keep updating the phones, not releasing a phone and that is the version you get, like the old WM6 days where you could never update your phone software without doing something extreme or hoping your mfg would do it for you, hopefully it continues with the “there is an update for your phone, Continue?” way. Hope this helps you in your decision to buy a WP7 device. Later

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