15 Great Xbox Live Games To Make Your Windows Phone Even Happier

Here’s the follow up post on a collection of Xbox Live games that you can install on your Windows Phone to give that device an even bigger kick… the device giving the kick, not you kicking the device, that never turns out well. I decided to go for the “15” number again… why? I don’t know. But nevertheless you got it! 15 Xbox Live games taken from various genres that i believe through their interest may just take another good few hours of your life away… positively of course. They are in no particular order of popularity but due to my immaculate OCD I’ve put them in alphabetical order. All games were tested on my Nokia Lumia 800 and work perfectly. I know we aren’t all filthy rich to buy all these games but bare in mind that Windows Xbox Live games tend to be a little more expensive, than their iPhone or Android counterparts. This is mainly because Xbox Live games have achievements that directly impact your global Gamerscore. Of course some may complain by mentioning Apple’s Game Center, but the Xbox Live is far more advance and recognised than any other Gamerscore system, so for this addition, it’s understandable that games are a few more pence higher than it’s competitors. As for the really expensive ones, i share your pain. These games eventually make their way to the Deal of the Week so you could always wait for this and then buy it. Click on the icon to go straight to the marketplace download page. Enjoy!

 

1. 3D Brick Breaker Revolution by DChoc

3D Brick Breaker RevolutionWe all have somewhat heard of or played Brick Breaker, but it has brought people to wonder how it would evolve, as evolution of games is something gamers have become used to getting. This game takes Brick Breaker into the third dimension. Of course it makes the game play slightly different but different isn’t bad. It has the power ups, and all the ball bouncing you could want. Overall, a colourful game with good sound and fairly good achievements.

Cost: £2.29

 

2. Angry Birds by Rovio

Angry BirdsAngry Birds has now become a mobile game phenomenon, why? Because it’s simple, funny, challenging but not aggravating, funny and well works for such a broad audience. The aim is to sling angry birds at angry egg stealing pigs. Most of the time you must throw them at wooden, metallic and glass blocks. Yes glass, the achievement does mention them as ice blocks but they are clearly glass, with glass sounds. The falling blocks are often methods of killing the pigs. The levels vary very well and new birds appear with different abilities making the game well progressive. The three star grading system all works well to make the game very re-playable. The achievements are also pretty good. I’ve almost completed my three stars in every level. Altogether a very all-rounder fun game that works for everyone.

Cost: £0.79

 

3. Assassin’s Creed – Altair’s Chronicles HD by Gameloft

Assassin’s Creed - Altair’s Chronicles HDThe Assassin’s Creed franchise has hit great heights and this game continues the tradition onto the Windows Phone platform. Immediately the graphics are amazing for a mobile game. The gameplay controls have been criticized a bit but i managed to play it without problem or hindrance on gameplay, the features are much like that of the first game and with the addition of the touch functionality, for example for pick pocketing, it makes a great mobile game that Assassin’s Creed fans i believe would love on their phone and for everyone else, one of the best 3D action platformer games on the Windows Phones marketplace.

Cost: £3.99

 

4. Breeze by Microsoft Studios

BreezeThis is a little simple game that although is quick to complete, has been very well built with a great gameplay idea. You basically control a flower and while collecting orbs must complete the maze like structures. This is done via various methods such as blowing the flower by touching the opposite side, or using the motion sensors of the device you are playing on. A simple game for anyone that’s also free.

Cost: Free

 

5. BulletAsylum by Microsoft Studios

BulletAsylumThis is a wacky defence themed game. You control all turrets using the touch screen and blow up everything in your way. As you level up you acquire more different types of turrets and can also level these individual turrets up, whether they are for attacking or defending. Great graphics, great music and a great screen overwhelming gaming experience.

Cost: £2.29

 

6. Earthworm Jim HD by Gameloft

Earthworm Jim HDThis is a HD remaster of the original Earthworm Jim game, an action shoot ‘em up platformer about a worm wearing a robot suit and fights evil. Now that sounds awesome. This game did and sometimes still does have a few bugs in it but they have repaired most of them. Just like the original it’s quirky cartoony graphics make it unique to look at while the new control system for touch play seems to work well. After all without on-screen buttons there isn’t really any other way to play it. Awesome classic remastered.

Cost: £3.99

 

7. Feed Me Oil by Electronic Arts

Feed Me OilThis game has taken a few good hours of my life away from me. The aim is to force the flow of oil falling from a pipe, into the creatures mouths that inhabit the planet. This can be done using various objects, such as platforms, fans and magnets to name a few, and it doesn’t just stop there. This is definitely a game i recommend. The graphic style is unique and quirky and the music works well with it. The achievements are also simple and flow well with the game. Definitely a great game to have on your shelf. Your Windows Phone’s shelf.

Cost: £0.79

 

8. Fruit Ninja by Microsoft Studios

Fruit NinjaMany of us mortals know this game as the fun and frantic fruit slashing game that it has come to be. Fruits jump up onto the screen and you slice them with your finger which in the game is a deadly yet colourful blade, sometimes very colourful. This is not linked to the Facebook game, which is how i prefer it, however with its Classic, Arcade (similar to the Facebook version) and Zen mode, this game is fun that lasts as long as you want. You can unlock blades, backgrounds and of course achievements which are well made for that simplicity and challenge. With multi-touch you can use up to four fingers on the screen to slash fruits. And it may help you get back into that five fruits a day, with possibly an urge to slash them apart and to bits and spilling juice everywhere.

Cost: £0.79

 

9. Gravity Guy by Miniclip

Gravity GuyThis is one of those games that you are likely to break your phone over. Well lets hope it doesn’t come to that. The game is very well developed, with awesome graphics, awesome music and very simple gameplay. The aim it to escape. You are always running and by tapping the screen you are able to flip gravity upside down and back again, however many times you want. If however you get stuck or are too slow, the robot chasing you gets you, and you know what that means… the robot’s got you. You are however aided with slo-motion slots. You start off with three and when you run out, you must purchase more, yes purchase… i know. I just re-installed the game again and again because it resets the three slo-mos, until i got every achievement including winning the whole first level without dying. Yep, that’s the phone smashing part. Now I’m just tied with one other who have got every achievement in this except one… win the second level without dying. All in all a very good game but not for the aggressive natured.

Cost: £2.29

 

10. Kinectimals by Microsoft Studios

KinectimalsI remember when i used to have a Tamagotchi cyber pet, a little pet that you look after but often died. Now we have Kinectimals, a mobile game that works similarly to the Xbox 360 Kinect version. In this version you practically just look after your cub, or many if you so choose to and play games with it. It’s cute, but also keeps you playing, rather than having to wait hours just to find that your pet has left a poop on your screen. The interactivity is well developed and the achievements are simple but fun. You can also take pictures of your cub in the real world which can end in some pretty interesting results. All in all a good game for children but also good for any that used have or if lucky, still have a cyber pet. If only someone made a cyber pet app. And if you connect the game to your Xbox 360 version, you can unlock more animals for your console version.

Cost: £2.29

 

11. Max & The Magic Marker by Microsoft Studios

Max & The Magic MarkerThis is one of the most intuitive designs in a game for the phone. You play as Max in this adventure platformer, but as you play you are confronted with obstacles and this is where the magic happens. You can freeze the game time and use your magic marker to draw onto the game a way around e.g. drawing a bridge to walk past a cliff edge. A very imaginative game with excellent use of the mobile devices technology to create an amazing platform adventure game. Great graphics, awesome sounds and great and challenging achievements.

Cost: £0.79

 

12. Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit by Electronic Arts

 Need For Speed: Hot PursuitRacing games are always slow to appear on devices when it comes to fully rendered 3D graphics and immersive environments. This is the closest i have played to that great racing experience. You are able to play both the pursued and the cops. Accelerometer racing can be difficult but once you get used to it, it works pretty well. A great racing game for the phone with good achievements.

Cost: £3.99

 

13. OMG (Our Manic Game) by Microsoft Studios

OMG (Our Manic Game)This is your simple space shooter game made that little bit more crazier. You can destroy hordes of enemies using your mass weaponry. The one thing i find very interesting about this game is that you can tap on enemies to enrage them and acquire more points. The graphics are amazing with a modern twist on the retro feel and the achievements are pretty good.

Cost: £2.29

 

14. Splinter Cell: Conviction by Gameloft

Splinter Cell: ConvictionThis is one of those games you wouldn’t really expect on a mobile device, mostly because of how largely scaled environments are and third person action is. Nevertheless the game works very well. You can expect it to not be as stealthy due to it being played on a mobile device. However the graphics are superb and gameplay works very well. It is difficult to make a mobile game that plays similarly to it’s console counterparts but this is definitely a good game that is worth the play. The achievements are also very good.

Cost: £3.99

 

15. Super Monkey Ball by Sega

Super Monkey BallThis is a pretty funny game after all you are a monkey in a ball, collecting bananas. Well not you… ok maybe. Many have complained about the control system with your monkey often flying off too far to one direction or turning back too quick but once you get used to it, you are able to play without it annoying you. Based on the original Monkey Ball games and does a good job too. A sequel is out that looks a little better that this one but i haven’t played it yet. This version however has gotten cheaper so even more worth it now.

Cost: £0.79

 

NOTE: OMG! That’s sixteen! Why would he do such a thing?! Why? Because i love you all so much. Ok, well actually it’s because i couldn’t find one to remove amongst all these good ones. But that’s not to say i don’t love you. Enjoy!

 

16. Tentacles by Microsoft Studios

TentaclesThis is a very weird and eerie game. But it is definitely one of my favourites. You play a tiny creature, travelling through the human body, controlling your creature’s legs to move around. This control system is key to the gameplay and i love the weird nature of how this game plays, like pulling out the eyeballs out of other bacterial creatures. The achievements are well made, the graphics and music is awesome and overall i would definitely recommend this game to everyone.

Cost: £2.29

 

Well there you have it, my top 15 + 1 Xbox Live games to help fill the space in that device of yours and you didn’t even have to rob The Milkman after all his milk is delicious (comment if you got that). Have great fun downloading and even greater fun playing until your fingers are redder and thrice the size. Thanks for reading.

 

15 Great Non-Xbox Live Games to get your Windows Phone Happy

Here’s the follow up post on a collection of non-Xbox Live games that you can install on your Windows Phone to give that device a little kick… please don’t kick your phone, it never turns out well. I decided to go for the “15” number…why? I don’t know. But nevertheless you got it! 15 non-Xbox Live games taken from various genres that i believe through their interest may just take a good few hours of your life away…positively of course. They are in no particular order of popularity but due to my impeccable OCD i put them in alphabetical order. All games were tested on my Nokia Lumia 800 and work perfectly. Click on the icon to go straight to the marketplace download page. Enjoy!

 

1. Apple Bin by EscapeDevelopment

This little game is all about throwing away your apple in the bin… there is no alternative meaning behind that haha. But yes using the touch feature and well programmed physics of objects in the game, all you have to do is get at least one apple into the bin. It’s so simple it’s just simply fun, that brings you a quick procrastination session anytime.

Cost: £0.79 / Free Trial

 

2. Blow up the Frog by Firebat Games

As weird as this sounds, the game really is weird. Not for all audiences but you simply hold the frog and blow into your device microphone and let go when your heart desires. The aim, blow the frog up as much as you can without actually blowing it up to bits. After your go, you’ll be introduced to the judges… three frogs… of course, who will rate you from 1 to 10. Then you simply do it again and again… and again. If you want, you can just keep blow it up to bits, if you like that sort of thing.

Cost: Free

 

3. Breakout by Clayton Industries

We all know breakout in some way, whether it’s nostalgic reminiscence, or you’ve actually broken out of prison, but whoever or whatever you are, you’ll always (most likely) enjoy breakout. A little moveable platform below, a bunch of blocks above and a ball that’s bouncing in between both with the goal of breaking all the blocks without the ball falling either side of your platform. Oh and did i mention a whole bunch of exciting power ups from multi-balls to laser guns.

Cost: Free

 

4. BBB: App-ocalypse (Bye Bye Brain: Appocalypse) by Weekend GS

This one intrigued me a lot, mostly because the game in my opinion is so good that i expected Microsoft to take it and turn it into an Xbox Live game. Nevertheless, there are a bunch of zombies that wish to get inside your building to… well, probably eat your brains. But in between the distance of the zombies and your building you have the chance to strategically place different types of people to attack the zombies. Whether it’s people with axes, people throwing meat to slow them down or cops with shotguns; the choice is yours. If however the zombies get too close to your building, you have the option to personally pull out your weapon and shoot them down before they get inside. This is one of my favourites.

Cost: Free

 

5. Chromatic (or Chromatic Pro) by Hennessy Apps

This game is probably the one i play the most. It is simply a turret below and a horde of enemies above coming down to get you, and all you do it shoot. The part that’s amazing with this one is that you have several different types of upgradeable guns e.g. Laser and Mines to name a few, a super explody screen wiping bomb that recharges, the soundtrack fits perfectly beside the game with its retro-electro feel, and the enemies are these bizarre shapes that somewhat remind me of the world of Tron. Getting amazing combos also gives you a small bullet time slow-mo effect that really does look cool. The more waves you defeat and the higher the level you reach, the harder and crazier it gets.

Cost: £0.79 / Free Trial

 

6. Doodle Dino by GeekWorks

Simply get the rolling dinosaur to the end of the line in a screen scrolling race to not fall over or get stuck. To help get your dino across to the other side simply draw the ground beneath it to help it roll onto the next platform and continue drawing to save it from falling, or getting stuck until you reach the end. The several checkpoints help with the natural difficult-ness of the game so that you don’t throw your phone at your TV. Nice colours and well made.

Cost: Free

 

7. LilDemonsSplatter by Matt Mitman

This little game is one of the only interesting first person shooters i have seen that try to make a first person shooter work on a Windows Phone 7 device. The graphics are amazing and the music works well. Your aim is to simply splatter the little demons. The controls take some time to get used to but once you do it is a pretty good shooter experience. This game gets an effort grade to the max.

Cost: Free

 

8. Nom Nom Worm by Elbert Perez

This brings a much more interesting way of playing a “Snake” game. You control the Nom Nom Worm and eat the various food dotted around the place, and as you eat, you grow. You must simply eat everything you can including the special ones that appear for a limited time and of course to spice things up, the higher you level up more number of enemies you must avoid before you become Nom Nommed. A very nice use of colours in the game.

Cost: Free

 

9. ORB (ORB FREE) by Palladium Power

I once played a game on the Gizmondo, yep that failed device that i still own working this very day. The game was called “Trailblazer”. Since playing that game, i have always wanted someone to make a similar game, and here it is. You control an ORB that moves continuously on a series of suspended platforms that in this case are falling apart and your aim is to go as far to the end as possible. To make things more difficult and more exciting, there are platforms dedicated to different actions, some push you to different directions whether good or bad and some explode, amongst many others. With many more surprises this adrenaline pumped game is one of the only of its kind and a great game, with great music and graphics.

Cost: £0.99 / Free Trial

 

10. Portals 2D by Weesals

For all the portal fans out there this is a must have. This is a top down 3D game where you are one person with a portal gun. You shoot one wall creating a portal and then another wall somewhere else, and when you walk through the first portal you appear at the second. Using this method you simply get from the start to the finish square. Obviously it isn’t that easy. To make things difficult, each level increases in difficulty by giving you different obstacles to stop you getting there and you must use your cunning to get to that wonderful end square. You never know, there might even be cake at the end of the game.

Cost: £1.29

 

11. Quadra by Elbert Perez

Now at first i thought this was another turret shooting game but it surprised me. The turret is located in the centre of the screen and the enemies appear all around you. With the amazing shiny retro graphics and great soundtrack this all sounds good, but as you level up the number of turrets that you must control the fire to increase. The reason i find this interesting is that i was watching a special someone i know play this game and she was so good she made it to two turrets. The funny thing happen when the third turret came into action. There’s only so many fingers a human has and so with her quirky panic-y-ness, she shouted “Ratan help!” and as soon i put my fingers on the screen to control the third and eventually forth turret, i realised that the game just went from single player to multiplayer. Soon we were controlling two turrets each with a chaotic amount of enemies. Of course you can control all four by yourself if you want to but this is pretty fun with another person too, if not, better.

Cost: Free

 

12. Retro Hero by TryTek

I am a sucker for platformer adventure games and to be honest they just don’t make them like they used to. But for the Windows Phone 7 at least we have one good adventure platformer known as Retro Hero, following the adventure of our little retro Hero. This is an all out adventure game with guns, bombs, secrets and a wonderfully beautifully pretty pixelated princess to save *smirk*. The retro graphics are very well done and the music contributes well alongside it.

Cost: £0.99

 

13. Unite by Microsoft Corporation

This is a simple game in which you move your balls around and try to join them together to form one big ball. Yeah ok, i’ll re-phrase that. You move several marbles around by tilting your device around and by avoiding obstacles such as walls, teleporters and more. You must “Unite” the marbles together to form a much larger marble. The more you join, the larger the marble becomes. Simple fun all-round.

Cost: Free

 

14. vNESLight (or vNESLight Pro) by Nudua

This is in fact an emulator for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Yep, an emulator for NES on the Windows Phone. You simply put your NES ROMs (games) onto your SkyDrive and download them using the vNESLight app itself. Once downloaded you can play with your hearts content. You can play landscape with the NES buttons on either side of the screen, or simply turn it portrait and you can play NES like a Game Boy with the screen above and the controls below. The frame rate on the games are good and every game i threw at it worked, and the sound is perfectly fine when playing at a much lower quality, which is hardly noticeable or can be a little choppy on high quality settings. Every game is comfortably playable with no lag. Save states work well too. A great emulator and the only one so far.

Cost: £0.79 / Free Trial

 

15. Xtreme Joyride by Sterling Games Inc.

This is an absolutely crazy game. It’s a style racing type game whereby you drive on a side scrolling landscape that fluctuates in terrain height and type with the aim to drive as further as possible. The more you drive, the further you get, and the more money you win to buy new vehicles. The crazy part is the whole race works under lower gravity and the car bounces like crazy, therefore keeping the car stable enough is a challenge itself. But then when damaged the only way to heal is to loop 360 degrees and land back. The more tricks you do, the more money you get, and the more you heal to go on further and further. The music greatly adds to the crazy bouncy feel of the game and can become appropriately irritating at times. Definitely a great laugh.

Cost: Free

 

Well there you have it, my top 15 games to help fill the space in that device of yours and you didn’t even have to rob a bank. Have great fun downloading and even greater fun playing until your fingers are red and twice the size. Thanks for reading.

 

Nokia Lumia 800: Luminance through Windows

Nokia Lumia 800I thought i would do a post on my recently bought phone. I did tons of research online between the Nokia Lumia 800 and the Apple iPhone 4S to weigh out the odds, through the pros and the cons. By the end of it all there wasn’t much of a difference on both sides. This was an open minded non biased research method. The last thing to do was to demo each handset and their running Operating Systems; Apple’s being the IOS 5 and Windows’s being the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango operating system. After visiting a few shops and demoing the devices it was the Windows OS that intrigued me more, but the comfort of the iPhone was slightly better. In short i was choosing the phone more for its functionality than its comfort and although it had to feel right in my hands they both weren’t far off. Nope i won’t be comparing much between the devices but more analysing and giving tips and information on the winner. Surprised or not, i chose the Nokia Lumia 800 and its WP 7.5 Mango Operating System. This post is for both people wanting to buy and people with one already as I’ll also be giving some tips and information.

*Everyone greatly inhales!*

Now that we have that in stone, i can move on. I have had the phone for a little over five months now and have used it thoroughly, without abuse. As we came to know Nokia was on the brink of being bankrupt and this phone was its make or break. It looks like it was a make. Nokia and Windows combined to make the aesthetics and functionality. Here’s my Lumia.

My Nokia Lumia 800

Aesthetics

The size and shape of the device is fairly medium for modern day touch screen devices. Devices in the near past used to be much smaller but with the addition of touch and higher resolutions, screens have become much larger, thus making the overall phone larger. But i still don’t like the sizes of many smartphones of today, as i find them too large to be practical. The iPhone and Lumia seem to fit a shape that is somewhere in between for a nice perfect large screen while maintaining practicality. The Lumia’s size comes in at 116.5 mm in height and 61.2 mm in width, while being only a little over 1 cm in thickness. Most phones are cuboid in shape and its seems to work just fine that way. The one annoying thing about it is that the corners of the phone are in fact corners and if held with a corner in your palm, can be rather pokey. One of my favourite aesthetic parts of the phone has to be the curved, ClearBlack, AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic LED), corning Gorilla Glassed screen. Yeah that was a mouth full but had to be said. The glass curves to every side giving a smooth edge and a crystal clear vibrantly accurate picture. There are only 4 buttons on the right side of the phone; 2 being the Volume buttons, 1 for Power and 1 for Lumia Charging PortCamera. The final aesthetic point is its compartments for the necessities such as charging port and sim card slot. The mechanism in which it works is very intelligent so that everything remains clean around the edges, which for some like me with OCD is awesome. This also helps all ports stay clean and not get filled with dust and fuzzballs. One possible downside is that the little door that opens up to reveal the charging port, looks flimsy enough to easily break. I have been lucky enough to not break it, but having OCD, i probably won’t break it. JINXED! Anyways the audio port is also located at the top which is handy.

Functionality

The touch screen itself is smooth and accurate. Gliding your finger across can be done without great friction or greasy smoothness. So far i have had no problem with the touch screen, which is capacitive and not that annoying pressure sensitive type of screen. Although a lot of people complain about it having only one CPU at 1400 MHz, they forget that as long as everything runs smoothly on the device then single core, dual core or 20 core should not matter and from what i have tested, every swipe, application, and game has run perfectly smooth. The camera is 8 megapixel which is perfectly high for a mobile device, with auto focus and a bright flash. The interface is the interesting part. Microsoft are well into their Metro design, which is the design of an interface using simple shapes but mostly focusing on typography. This is what they have done to Windows 8, to the Xbox 360 dashboard and to Windows Phones. In my opinion, it’s a whole lot better than just the standard glossy icons that most other devices adopt. The phone interface is comprised of “Tiles”. Tiles are large square or rectangular icons that interact and update according to what you are doing or what things around you are doing…like the wasp hanging from your ear lobe. A tile can update with images and/or text. This means that you don’t even have to run an app to get information. All this plus multi-tasking on other apps and games without lag or crashes. So far over 5 months and not a single crash on my phone. Pretty good for the modern age where crashing is as frequent as having toilet breaks.

People

One thing that got me a bit confused at first was the “People” app. Instead of a simple contacts app, the People app houses all your contacts and friends from other places, such as your email accounts, or Social Networks. Luckily you can filter it properly so that you don’t have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MSN and hundred of people from other sources all i one contacts list. Later on i realised how useful this was. Not just for checking up on how your friends are doing and what they’re up to -if you like that sort of thing- but to have everyone you need there together so that you can contact anyone with ease all through the phone and without having to open up tedious apps to do all the work separately.

Windows Phone 7 People Hub


Windows Phone 7 Messaging IconDID YOU KNOW? When you get texts the notification tells you how many texts you have received and depending on this number, the little face on the front of the tile will also change, from a smile to maybe a wink or even a shocked face.


Organising

The Calendar, To-Do, and Agenda together make the perfect organisation tools to keep you knowing what is happening around you, and as always the Calendar Live Tile updates on your home screen telling you directly what is happening. Also all calendar entries are synced up with your Hotmail email account so you don’t lose anything. Talking of organisation, the email linking feature also does wonders. You can either have all your emails separate or link them together into one Inbox. By selecting the options menu in one of the email inboxes you are able to select “Link Inboxes” and link other inboxes to it. Once all your email inboxes are linked, a Live Tile automatically appears on the home screen which will regularly update telling you how many emails you have received.

Windows Phone 7 Calendar

PinningWindows Phone 7 Home Screen

One of the core features of the Windows Phone OS is the Pinning feature. You can pin just about anything to your home screen, whether its a single contact of a friend, which will tell you everything happening with that person; or maybe an app so that you have quick access to it, or even a game, note, picture gallery, music, website and more. There’s even apps that let you pin headings so that your home page can also be organised, but more on apps later.

Internet BrowsingWindows Phone 7 Internet Explorer

The browser being of Microsoft origin is of course Internet Explorer and it doesn’t fail. With HTML 5 and tabbing it runs every website perfectly. It doesn’t support Flash which most devices don’t for two main reasons; one is that flash is vulnerable to hacking and virus planting and the other is that Flash is eventually going to be phased out in time and devices won’t need it anymore as it can be quite power hungry. Zooming, pinching and swiping all work great with the browser. One thing i hope Microsoft update in the future is to have bookmark folders so that all bookmarks don’t just run in one list.

Music

The Music interface has also been praised by many and i have no exception. It is very organised and looks sleek to use. The only downside to it is that i really do like the organisation of the iTunes computer software application, and all music has to be transferred using the Zune software application which isn’t actually that bad and is pretty straight forward to use. The 16gb internal memory gives enough room for all my music and more.

Windows Phone 7 Music

SkyDrive and OfficeWindows Phone 7 SkyDrive

SkyDrive is the Microsoft cloud storage usable with this phone, and the storage is an absolute plus that is worth having alongside your device. You can store anything online onto your SkyDrive and that anything is accessible from your phone to see, watch, read, edit, remove or lick. This coincides well with the phone having Microsoft Office so that you can create, edit, and update any Word, Excel and PowerPoint document.

Settings

The settings are very simple and some may say too simple, but i guess its good as i haven’t had any problems with it. All the basics like Ringtones and Themes, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Mobile Network, Date, Time and so on are easy to access and easy to change. The Applications side of the settings gives you access to Background Tasking, Games, Internet, Messaging, Phone, People, Camera and so on, type of settings. all easy to access and change.

Windows Phone 7 Settings

Ringtones

I mentioned ringtones earlier and i thought i would delve a little deeper into that as modern phones are becoming much more reluctant to use your own ringtones or tell you how. On the Nokia Lumia 800 or Windows Phones you must make sure your music track is under 40 seconds long, is under 1 MB in size, is MP3 or WMA and finally not DRM protected. To actually get the track on your phone simply change the genre of the track to “ringtone”. You can change the genre in Zune or if you use iTunes you can do it in that but remember the track needs to be uploaded using Zune. By changing the genre to ringtone, the phone now recognises it as a ringtone and will appear only in the ringtone section and not in your music section which for people like me is awesomely organised.

GamesRatman7891

There are a vast variety of games on the Windows Phone Marketplace. These games come in two categories. Xbox Live Games and well just Games. The difference with Xbox Live Games is that they directly impact your Xbox Live Account and have achievements that update on your Xbox Live Account, which you can see on the web and more commonly on your Xbox 360 console. The downside is that, there is not a super large library of these Xbox Live game titles and the marketplace is growing in time. The other downside is that because these titles have Xbox Live features such as achievements, the games tend to be a little more expensive than their Apple App Store counterpart. although recently these games have been coming out onto the marketplace cheaper and with the weekly Deal of the Week, there’s plenty of incentive to buy a game, or buy it when it appears cheaper. But with all that said there are hundreds or non-Xbox Live games, many of which are free. Yay freebies!

I will do a follow-up blog post on some of the best and most interesting titles i have come across.

Apps

The apps library is very vast in the Windows Phone marketplace, you will usually find what your looking for. there are many apps to fit all types of people, environments, feet and so on and so forth. With the Nokia Lumia 800 also comes the Free Nokia range of apps, including a Satellite Navigation System app that works very well minus the Yoda voice – sad face.

I will do a follow-up blog post on some of the best and most interesting apps i have come across.

Windows Phone 7 Marketplace

Summary

So overall, the shapes good, with an awesome glassy screen and the touch screen works great. The People hub is a great new way to stay in contact with people whether just contacts or friends from social networking websites or people you wish to stalk (i do not condone such behaviour). Functionality in terms of organisation, tile pinning and calendar are excellently incorporated and keep you in the loop with ease. Internet browsing is easy and fluid. It is a great device to listen to music on. Document syncing and editing couldn’t be better with SkyDrive and Office, including features to upload pictures to store on SkyDrive to be accessible anywhere. Settings are simple and easy to change, while ringtones although a little tedious to make are placed well on the device. The final things are games and apps which are available in great masses and although Xbox Live game titles are a little more scarce, they are growing exponentially. I will follow up this blog post with probably two more posts; one for apps and one for games.

Hope you enjoyed reading and hope the information was useful to you. Thanks again, and remember ….. PHONE …HOME!

I’d Bank On That Picture

First of all i don’t really like banks. Phew that wasn’t too difficult. Anyway, Barclays have decided to bring back personalised cards, and this time instead of £6, it’s free…for now. Now i don’t want to be talking about Barclays, but what i do want to talk about is this personalising your card business. Of course it is a marketing strategy to get more people on Barclays accounts and so on and so forth, but what i do like about this is that for those that do already have cards from this bank or even wish to, you can put a cool picture on your card and rid of that corporate design.

That’s why i thought i would do a blog post on this. The best thing about it is that you can put pictures of your own art or even pictures of yourself, if you like that sort of thing. I decided to make my own image, thus below.

 

The Mysterious Symbol

 

It took eight versions to decide which one i was going to keep and after my selection above, i was able to complete my card and make it look like me, in some way, or form… yeah you get what i mean. It is likely that other banks will also begin doing this as it has become quite a successful strategy. There are still rules like, no copyrighted material, no celebrities, no promotional material and of course the favourite no inappropriate material… like aluminium. Here’s my final outcome for all that want my card details.

 

My Personalised Barclays Card

 

You actually thought i would give you my details. You’re better off just asking me. And why did i use this mysterious symbol you ask? Well, its mysterious so find out. Thanks for reading and safe banking.

 

The SOPA I Wipe My Behind With

Who would think that censoring could be so “uncensible” and extremely “uncensitive”. Well in the hands of SOPA and PIPA it is. As many of you have experienced today Wikipedia, WordPress and Mozilla amongst others were showing their passion for how much they oppose the act of censoring the web. Both Wikipedia, WordPress and Mozilla share the one rule of “Freedom”, for information to be free. I feel that if it wasn’t for this freedom, non of the innovations we have come to use and see would be possible, because it all starts somewhere. The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has a congress partition that everyone can partake in to help prevent this awful short-sighted legislation.

 

To start off i thought i would read an extensive amount on both the parties (SOPA and PIPA). I found it extremely funny that the full title for SOPA is,

“To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.” —H.R. 3261″

Haha “[…] and for other purposes.” I find it funny how they don’t seem to understand that it is freedom of speech and information that helps spread things around the world and having these things governed, and suppressed and put into a strawberry jam jar “Arrgghh!”, an empty strawberry jam jar “Arrrggghhh!”, just prevents such things from happening. It sounds to me like that annoying idiot of a Secretary Of Defense guy in most movies that just seems not to want to listen to anyone and just pound the ground with nukes and the whole world has to try and convince this individual that it is a big mistake and will make things worse. But no, the guy doesn’t listen and fires the missiles, and what happens? The Alien’s bio-electric fortress shield grows ten times larger and destroys everything and everyone in its path. Or in this case mass online riots, which i believe is what will happen. These legislation are that exactly…excluding the aliens…unless you like that sort of thing.

 

I remember when we had the VCR (oooooooohhh) and we would record our programmes and movies on it. Even that causes debate about copyright and paying for keeping content, and then giving out your VHS copy to a friend apparently makes it worse. So many sites offer the ability to download movies, but surely it isn’t illegal if one has the movie already or is wanting to watch it before buying (this one causes concern), the same as if one were to watch it on TV before buying. One perfect example is like watching my awesome favourite show Smallville. I thought to myself after watching it, technically i could record it on my TV, but then isn’t that the same as downloading it, after all, the downloads are always present after its broadcast. Now i am waiting to buy the complete boxset. Isn’t that acceptable?

 

I thought to myself would it be so bad if they censored websites that were making money out of piracy and copyright infringement? So i thought no that sounds about right, but it seems the legislation have taken it several steps further until it now directly affects the world in a very negative way. If this were going to happen then the creator of the World Wide Web “Sir Tim Berners-Lee” may as well have patented the Web since it were created a little over 20 years ago, causing freedom of the web to be extremely limited and companies with money the ability to have the means to communication beyond the rest of the world, us people with less money. But no, Mr. Berners-Lee -also anti SOPA- did not and let it out for the world to share. And no this is not final. The legislation are not final, otherwise if they do, i predict a Digital-War. If Superman were here he’d kick the crackers out of SOPAman and it’s short sidekick PIPAman.

 

Together we created the Digital Revolution and together we protect it.

 

Thanks for reading.

R

Steve Jobs: Time Takes Even Legends

Well it’s been a few days since the passing away of the awesome “Apple Visionary” Steve Jobs and things just don’t feel right. Someone who began -along side another two- one company with a simple name “Apple”. A is for Apple. It’s the first thing that appears in the alphabet in most cases and just like it is a very common first word in the alphabet, it is also currently the most valuable brand in the World. Talk about the Big Apple. I find it inspiring how Sir. Jobs (not really a Sir but it’s for respect) came about being the head man of Apple. From a youthful hippie that even dropped out of college to The Apple Man. All he had was an aspiration. To invent for the world. His dreams erupted into the world like a Yo-Yo craze. But this Yo-Yo just kept on spinning.

I think it proves to us that no matter what obstacles lie in our path, we can overcome them. We may not pass our GCSEs, or maybe fail a few A-Levels or like Sir. Jobs maybe even dropout entirely (not that i’m indicating you should), but as long as we have a passion growing inside us like a wildfire; if we grasp it, we can do wonders. Not all our dreams are for the world. Some people want to accomplish something just for themselves or the people they love and keep close. Others want to change the world for the better. I for one wish to make even the slightest difference in the world, or maybe just to a handful of people; but a difference nevertheless.

Apple Computers: Before & After

From the "Apple I" in 1976; to the first "Macintosh 128K" in 1984; and to the current "iMac" in 2011

Talk about change, and hasn’t the world changed. It’s funny how Apple was officially established in 1976 on April 1st. I do think those of you more into the artistic side of life may find this interesting.

Apple Logo Evolution

The Evolution of the Apple Logo

That first logo even has Isaac Newton sitting under a tree, unaware that an “Apple” will fall on his head. Steve Jobs along with Apple have come a long way and for me, throughout my whole life (so far). I do wonder how Apple will develop from this point forward, knowing that Steve Jobs has left years worth of products in line for us. But then what? Find out in the next episode of … ok i stop. I’m pretty sure there’s a movie ready to be made called “Steve Jobs” … yes i’m looking at you Sony Pictures, who have already secured the rights to the movie based on the soon to be released Steve Job’s Biography… i wonder. I hate it when companies do that. I find it unusual how whenever someone in the world does something great, something happens to make them fall -not in the sense of fail- but just fall. Maybe i’ll delve deeper into this in another post. I guess all that is left to say is thanks for all your hard work Steve Jobs and for the inspiration to many. While the world lies Jobs-less, the legacy continues.

R

P.S. And remember folks…an Apple a day!

The Acer Iconia Tab W500…Hmmm Upgrades…

So for all you slightly more tech savvy dudes…and dudesses…of course, I thought i’d do another blog about upgrading the Acer Iconia Tab W500P. Now there isn’t much you can upgrade, however trust me when i say it makes all the difference. Small number of upgrades and big improvements. I had been wanting to put 64-bit Windows 7 as soon as i saw it online and read all the specs a million times…ok that’s silly, not that much…2 million times. But i thought i’d wait for a new hard drive before doing this and then see a whopping mega improvement whereby it transforms and drives me to work and then flies me to the moon and makes cheese on toast. Yikes! Shouldn’t have said that, now i have to open up a bag of grated cheese to eat while i type this…Ok there ready. Seriously, the improvements aren’t enough to make you kiss a monkey on the butt…except for you monkey reader; but they are BIG improvements. For starters the original 32GB hard drive installed i believe runs at 30 Mbps write speed and 160 Mbps read speed. This upgrades to 500 Mbps write speed and 540 Mbps read speed, apparently the fastest mSata SSD on the market. Trust me once installed, you feel it (the power of the tablet that is). Bare in mind all drivers from Acer’s website work in 64-bit EXCEPT for Wifi drivers and the gyroscope tablet rotate drivers. For Wifi it is perfectly fine because Windows Updater finds it for you and when updated, Wifi is back. However know that currently the screen rotation function is currently not supported in 64-bit. It should be soon…right? Acer?

Upgrading Time

RunCore Pro V T50

RunCore Pro V T50

So first thing was to pre-order the latest “RunCore Pro V T50 6GB mSata III 120GB SSD” After a month from “AsiaTechTrade“, due to the delay of the drive, not the company, my drive came home, with an additional 4GB key shaped USB as a gift for the pre-order delay -Got to say i was pleased of their generosity. After licking the USB several times to see if it was really water resistant, i decided to open up the tablet with only a detail lacking video to go by. The one thing this video mentions but doesn’t show clearly is that the tablet has no screws holding the back cover, but very weak and brittle CLIPS holding it together, and about 20 of them too. So i began by doing the following steps.

NOTE: I am not responsible for any damage caused. It is difficult to do even with confidence. BE VERY CAREFUL. If you still wish to do it, then pretend you are operating on a balloon… a touch screen balloon that runs windows 7.

  1. I removed any additional components e.g. SD Card, and opened the SD card cover.
  2. I used a piece of flat plastic. Mines was a baby sized chip fork like spoon. It’s important to be plastic to caused none or minimal cosmetic damage.
  3. The first one is always a nightmare and in this case it was. I pried the plastic into the SD slot area and in between the cover and front case.
  4. Once the first clip was out i worked my way up to the volume buttons and to the corner. The best i noticed was to pry the plastic in and wobble it up and down firmly but gently, and eventually the clip gave way without breaking. Before i managed to find this easier technique i managed to crack one tiny part of one clip. That’s how easy it happens, but it was a small one so a little glue and it was unnoticeable. And careful not to pry the plastic in too deep. You don’t want to touch anything inside.
  5. With the new technique of wobbling the plastic, it took from 20 minutes on the SD slot area to about 10cm up and then the rest of the tablet with the wobbling technique took 10 minutes…awesome!
  6. And pop, it just popped off.

The inside was amazing, nice and puzzle like. The SSD had a silver foil over it which i peeled off and unscrewed the one single screw holding the drive. I unscrewed it and easily pulled it out and replaced it with the new one, making sure that i put the foil back over it the exact same way. From here i noticed the RAM and i was like “Nooooooooo!” The 2GB RAM is soldered onto the board. Which means for me, if i want to upgrade, which if you want you can, i’ll have to send it to Acer. And you know what that means…Money Money Money! Anyway once the new drive was in i just placed the cover over appropriately and with gentle taps popped the clips back in, which was easy as cheese (which is easier than pie or cake…..or peanuts).

Turned it on and ERROR! Not too worry, the drive has no operating system on it. I connected to an external drive and inserted my Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. You may need to check the BIOS settings to read from the Disc Drive or activate F12 for boot options during booting screen. It booted from disc and took about 20-30 minutes to install Windows. Voila! An Acer Iconia Tab W500P with Windows 7 64-bit. And that’s when you notice that the tablet has sped up dramatically. To me it feels like more than double. And when the Windows Experience Rating was checked, originally it was 2.7 due to the processor but now it was 2.8. It actually made the processor think it is faster. Here’s the rest of the Rating, prepare to be amazed, especially the graphics.

Acer Iconia Tab W500P Windows Experience Rating

Acer Iconia Tab W500P Windows Experience Rating

Gaming graphics on 5.5…that’s wow, and this is only a tablet. Not only do the 120GB mSata SSD and 64-bit OS work together with the Dual Core processor to work faster, but the SSD is so good (running at under 2W) but this also means increased battery life which isn’t like 10 hours more, but you can feel it. One expensive upgrade and everything upgrades with it. Programs like Photoshop, Microsoft Office 2010 and games in general, run way better, open faster and for games settings can even be slightly increased. Even the touch response seems to feel quicker; and with 60 GBs used on the 120 GB SSD, cold boot from Power Off on my tablet now takes about 15-25 seconds, and powering down 5-10 seconds. I could ask for anything more.

Windows 8 on Acer Iconia Tab W500

Picture from Engadget

Now all that’s left is Windows 8. With tested boot times of 5-15 seconds on normal laptops and touch screen friendly interface with both the Metro forefront of the OS and the standard Windows part, Windows 8 is supposed to be designed with touch-in-mind. There are several videos on youtube, including some of Windows 8 Developer Betas installed on this very tablet. I for one cannot wait, and after the Microsoft Windows Vista incident (yep i refer to it as an incident), i somehow feel proud of Microsoft with Windows 7 and now Windows 8. And i’m more a mac person (bet you didn’t know that). As for Apple, i am stil waiting on the rumoured yet Patented, Mac OS Tablet. Thanks for reading.

R