This is one of those things that has been a long time coming and certainly needed. Microsoft announced yesterday that they are changing the policies for apps in the Windows and Windows Phone store, aimed at making it easier for consumers to find the real app and not a closely named knock off. I personally think this is a big step forward as it is something I’ve been fighting since I came back to Windows Phone this month. Simply put, when you compare the Windows Phone store to the App Store from Apple, there is… well there isn’t much of a comparison. This looks to be changing for the better.
As I’ve continued the process of getting myself back into the swing of things in the Windows Phone world, there has been one aspect that has puzzled me. WiFi Sense? What is it? What does it do exactly? I asked around to some colleagues who use Windows Phone and generally got the answer “it’s what allows you to use WiFi networks”.
Well technically yes, that’s correct. It does allow you to use wireless networks but it is not required for WiFi access. In fact you can completely disable WiFi Sense and gain access to a wireless network. The ability to turn WiFi on and off is wholly separate from WiFi Sense.
So what is it then? Think of it as crowdsourcing for WiFi networks. It allows your Windows Phone to collect wireless network information about a network you have joined, and share that information with your friends. But it also allows you to quickly and easily enter credentials required to get onto a wireless network. It is a handy little app and one that is built into Windows Phone.
Weather, especially for those of us who live in England, is a constant source of discussion for many. In fact here in England it is jokingly considered rude if you don’t ask someone their thoughts on the current weather conditions at the beginning of a conversation. Jokes aside, knowing what the weather is going to do later in the day, tomorrow or the coming weekend is important for planning of events. That makes a good weather app for your Windows Phone equally as important.
Amazing Weather HD for Windows Phone is arguably one of the most complete and comprehensive weather apps in the Windows Phone Store today. It has continually updating weather information with support for both Live Tiles and your Lock Screen, forecasts, location awareness and of course current conditions. The app also is beautifully done with animated screens as you look at the weather location for locations literally around the world. While there are some limitations for those who don’t live in the United States – most notably weather radar support – this app provides outstanding weather information in a beautiful presentation. In my opinion it is well worth the $1.99 price of admission.
It is a rainy holiday here in England today so I’ve taken advantage of the forced inside time to get a little editing done. Over on the Windows Phone Wallpaper page I’ve added 14 new 720×1280 wallpapers that I’ve been busy creating this morning. All of these you are free to download and use on your own devices and share them as you please. I’ve also added them to this post after the break.
I’ve also taken some time this morning to generally clean up the page, dividing it into two sections. The top section remains the 480×800 Windows Phone wallpapers that are for Windows Phone 7 and 8 devices with lower resolution screens. The new 720×1280 section is just below it on the page.
One of the many things that I love about Cortana on my Windows Phone is the ability to set up quiet hours. Quiet Hours are a designated time – planned or at the moment – where my phone will not disturb me with notifications, phone calls or the like unless someone in a group I designate (my Inner Circle) messages or calls twice in short succession. In my move from iPhone to Windows Phone, this is one of the great features of iOS that I missed when I started back. Windows Phone without Cortana doesn’t have quiet hours and it, if I’m honest, was one of the main reasons I updated my Lumia 1320 to Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1. Yeah, I’m sad, I know.
Cortana Quiet Hours are great for times when you are meeting or, in my case, traveling where my phone is in the same room as me. Setting these up are easy to do and you can do it from multiple places on your Windows Phone. For this How To I am assuming that you have Windows Phone 8.1 with Cortana in the United States or Update 1 outside of the United States (which is the only way you can get Cortana). Right now you have to have Cortana in order for Quiet Hours to work.