Yesterday there were a slew of Microsoft Garage apps that were launched for Windows Phone that bring new games and utilities to the platform. If you aren’t familiar with it, Microsoft Garage is an internal program at Microsoft where people can develop apps in their free time and Microsoft will select some of the top apps and put them into the Windows Phone Store. One of those apps yesterday was Tetra Lockscreen.
Tetra Lockscreen for Windows Phone brings a new level of functionality to your Lockscreen and makes it where you can interact with your Lockscreen to get various pieces of information. It is unique and brings a level of functionality to what is normally nothing more than an at-a-glance feature of Windows Phone. Tetra Lockscreen can provide you calendar details, a map of your current location, activity tracker and a stopwatch function, all of which you can tap and slide to access. It is one of those apps that just makes sense and given that it is a free download, everyone should give it a go.
There are times where you want or need to access your Windows PC from afar. It isn’t often mind you unless you are doing remote support or the like but sometimes you need to find that file you left on your PC desktop instead of uploading to OneDrive. After all, if you had it in OneDrive, you could easily access it from your Windows Phone.
Microsoft makes a Remote Desktop app for Windows Phone and it works flawlessly for just such a need. The app is a free download but there is a little bit of configuration you need to do in order for you to be able to access your Windows PC from your Windows Phone. The good thing though is that once you have it set up you will be good-to-go from that point forward. I’m going to divide this How To into two parts. The first part will cover what you need to do on your Windows PC and the second what you need to do on your Windows Phone.
The first thing we need to discuss is the IP address or host name of your Windows PC. Doing a Remote Desktop to your PC will require you to know one or both of these. If you are accessing your PC from within the same network (same WiFi network as an example), then all you need to know is your computer’s name. If your PC is part of a domain then you will likely need the full domain name such as computer.domain.com. This will vary depending on how your domain is configured and you may need to contact your administrator for exact instructions on how to do this.
If you are accessing your Windows PC from a different network, the game gets a bit more interesting. First, you have to make sure that you have access to do a remote desktop session which may or may not be allowed. Second, if you are accessing your PC at home from afar, you will need to know the public IP address that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) has assigned to you. It is also likely that that address changes from time-to-time. As a general rule it is easier to access your PC from within the same network than it is from outside it.
For the rest of this How To I am going to assume you have the network element sorted out.
Windows Phone fans have been watching over the course of the last few months the slow demise of the Nokia name. Nobody should be surprised by this given that Nokia is now simply a division of Microsoft but still, there is a bit of nostalgia in the name given many, many of us owned a Nokia branded phone at some point in our lives. Now the transition is nearly complete with Microsoft announcing today that the Nokia Lumia name will be disappearing from Windows Phones and the new Microsoft Lumia name will begin to be used going forward. The elimination of the Nokia name doesn’t stop there as Nokia named social network accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram will all be changed from Nokia-whatever to Microsoft-whatever or Lumia-whatever.
The moving away from the Nokia name really started with the rebranding of apps in the Windows Phone store. Apps like Nokia
Panoramic and Storyteller are now Lumia Panoramic and Storyteller. That will continue until all the apps are rebranded and any new apps, such as the Lumia Selfie app, will start life branded as Lumia. But the Microsoft Lumia change is a bit bigger than just eliminating the Nokia name. This is a fundamental shift in how Microsoft is going to market with their phones. Indeed it is entirely possible that we will see the name Windows Phone go away in favor of simply Windows as Microsoft tries to convey the one OS for all devices.
All of these changes along with the continual, steady development of Windows Phone as a platform, points to a new sense of direction and optimism for the Little OS That Could. With the new Cloud and Mobile centric vision that Microsoft has under the leadership of Nadella, it only seems fitting that everything be unified under Microsoft and under Windows.
While it is sad to see the Nokia name nearing its end, it is also a point of excitement for what Microsoft has in store for the Microsoft Lumia devices and Windows Phone platform.
I always debate if I should post these minor update notifications but just in case any of you are impacted by a bug in the code, I feel I should. So here you go… Microsoft has updated the Music app for Windows Phone with a minor update to address some fixes and improvements in the app. What are those fixes or improvements? Haven’t a clue.
The update brings the revision number up to 2.6.347.0 for those keeping score at home (baseball term if you aren’t familiar with it) and the release notes literally say that there are minor fixes and improvements in this build. There is however no indication as to what exactly is fixed or improved.
What is interesting however is that this is the 3rd update that the app has received in almost as many weeks. Clearly Microsoft keeps tweaking on this app to improve it – just have no idea what they are trying to improve!
Microsoft has released two new ads for the Surface Pro 3, both highlighting how the table helps businesses gain efficiencies and productivity. The ads, which are on the Microsoft YouTube channel, are between 1 and 2 minutes in length and highlight the power and productivity that the tablet brings in two very different business scenarios.
The first video is for Watersports Central.
With Surface Pro 3, Watersports Central is able to provide its customers with a unique premium sales experience. Armed with a Surface Pro 3, sales staff are able to meet customers wherever they are and complete the sales process without ever having to set foot into an office.
The latest update to the Skype for Windows Phone app has just gone live in the Windows Phone Store and it brings a very cool new doodling feature. The update, version 188.8.131.52 for those keeping score, brings several new features including the new drawing function. There is also support for HD screens and improved third-party app access to Skype amongst the new features.
First and foremost with the new app, which is universal for Windows and Windows Phone, is the new drawings function. Now you can add a drawing to a message by tapping the + icon next to where you normally type then select Share Drawing. On your Windows PC, Tablet or Windows Phone, draw out your message or picture then send it. You can also send annotated maps.
One of the aspects that I loved about iOS was the ability to quickly and easily share my iPhone or iPad display on a projector via a USB or VGA cable. As one who regularly is showing mobile apps for the day job, it was handy and efficient. Since moving to Windows Phone I’ve been looking for away to do the same thing it actually was right under my nose the whole time. In fact, in some ways, it’s a little bit easier. In this How To I’m going to show you how to project your Windows Phone screen to your Windows PC via a USB cable. There is no special cable required – your phone’s charging cable will do the trick – and only requires a free download from Microsoft to do it.
For this How To you will need to have a Windows Phone running v8 or v8.1 and a Windows PC running Windows 7, 8 or 8.1. You will also need your USB-to-MicroUSB charging cable that comes with your Windows Phone. Finally, you will need the Project My Screen for Windows Phone app from Microsoft which is a free download.
Without a doubt one of my favorite games in my twenties was Age of Empires. I spent hours playing this game and in fact at one point, my entire startup company on Friday’s would have an AoE tournament. When Microsoft announced that Age of Empire Castle Siege was coming to Windows and Windows Phone earlier this year, I was ecstatic but also had my concerns about it living up to my memories. I can say now after a few weeks of playing, it lives up to expectations.
The game play in Age of Empires Castle Siege is outstanding with great graphics, smooth scrolling and a truly universal app for both Windows and Windows Phone. Having played the game for a few weeks now I can say that you won’t be disappointed, especially if you are an old AoE player.