Microsoft Beings Lumia Apps Rebranding

Over the course of the past several months, Microsoft has been slowly and quietly renaming the Nokia apps to the Lumia Apps.  This has all ben a part of the absorbing of Nokia as a company into Microsoft.  Last week during the Lumia 830 announcement at IFA, this became even clearer as every app mentioned by name was Lumia, like the Lumia Selfie app.  Now more and more of what were the Nokia apps are under the Lumia name.

How To Set Your Desktop Background To Your Windows 8 Start Screen

Windows 8 has some great personalization aspect that can make the experience feel more tuned to you.  While some (okay, most) do not like the Windows 8 Start screen, I’m actually a pretty big fan of it.  Once you get the knack of navigating around it I find it to be just as intuitive as the Start button of Windows past.  And while you can customize this with different color sets in the Settings>Personalize menu, it isn’t quite the same as having a personalized wallpaper on the Start screen just as you do on the desktop.

Buried in Windows 8.1 is a setting that will allow you to add your desktop wallpaper to the Windows 8 Start screen.  To be fair it isn’t exactly easy to find but if you are looking for a more personalized Start screen, follow these easy steps to enable this feature.

This How To assumes that you have installed the latest updates to Windows 8.1 on your PC.

Lessons Learned From The iCloud Security Breach

Earlier this week you undoubtedly heard of the iCloud security breach that happened to some well know celebrities.  While Twitter and other places lit up with nudie pics of the like of Jennifer Lawerence, there were a lot of people at Apple frantically trying to find the source of the problem.  Was it a real breach?  Was there an inherent flaw in iCloud where anyone and everyone could be compromised?

The short answer is no.  This came down to, at the most basic level, a brute force attack against usernames and passwords. It was the latest in what seems to be a weekly announcement of someone having data security compromised by hackers.  The problem of course is that we all have digital data – digital footprints and fingerprints – all over the Internet.  From our Facebook account(s) to Twitter to our Banks.  Even our identification to remotely access our corporate networks.  Nobody is immune but you can protect yourself as best as possible.

Identification security is something we should all be vigilant about whether it is on our smartphones, our PCs or Macs.  Security breaches happen at the weakest point so the goal is to make it difficult to discourage but also not so difficult that you yourself are unable to access your data.  Here then are a few tips that you should consider when it comes to your personal data security.

Use Complex Passwords

The most basic thing you can do in personal data security is use complex passwords.  That is, use passwords with a mixture of:

  • Upper-Case Letters
  • Lower-Case Letters
  • Numbers
  • Special Character such as @£$%!
  • At least 8 characters long

Passwords should also not be associate with any personally identifying information such as:

  • Birthdays (yours, your spouses, your children, etc)
  • Your address
  • Your National Identification/Social Security Number

Complex passwords serve as a strong deterrent for those who would potentially try to gain access to your data.  While any password can be compromised with enough time, complex ones point hackers to easier targets.

Is Windows Phone Finally Posed For Greatness?

It has been just over a month since I re-opened the doors of this site and it has been a great month.  First, thanks to everyone who has followed and welcomed me back into a community I was very active in from 1999 up until 2012.  I really appreciate it.  But this post isn’t about me.  It’s about Windows Phone.  And more specifically it is about how I think Windows Phone is posed for the first time for real greatness in the mobile market.  This comes, in large part, to the announcements that the Microsoft/Nokia team made yesterday and IFA in Berlin.  With three new Windows Phone’s announced – Lumia 830, Lumia 735 and Lumia 730, along with a slew of apps and accessories, yesterday was a banner day for the platform in many ways.

My attention over the past 24 hours though has been drawn to the Lumia 830.  Could it be the single device that takes Windows Phone more mainstream?  Equally, it is clear that (more important than me, the idiot with the microphone) Microsoft thinks that it is the device that will take them to the next level given their direct challenges to Apple and Samsung in their keynote.  Looking at the specs, it’s hard to argue.  In fact I won’t.  I agree wholeheartedly.

The New York Times Crossword App Released

The New York Times Crossword app has been released for both Windows Phone and Surface, bringing perhaps the most well known and popular daily crossword to your devices.  It is the perfect way to take on the challenge of the crossword game, which began publishing in 1942, with you on-the-go and you can do it completely free.

The new app brings you both a daily mini puzzle (for Windows Phone) then the published crossword for the day.  You can play either one of these completely free without a subscription to The New York Times and in fact can play the previous 7 days of puzzles for free.  If you want to go back further, up to a year on the device and 20 years on the web, you will need a subscription to the service.

The New York Times Crossword for Windows Phone – Free – Download Now