Pin Facebook Chat To Your Start Screen

With Windows Phone’s deep facebook integration I never open the actual Facebook app and I rarely check Facebook on my computer. This I recently found can cause me to miss some party planning if someone decides to use Facebook chat to plan the party. One thing you can’t do with WP’s Facebook integration is group chat, so you have to actually open the Facebook app for it. Booooooo.

So if you open up the Facebook app and go to messages you have an option to pin it to your start screen. You should also change your settings if you haven’t already (I hadn’t) to allow for push notifications on messages.

UPDATE:
The Facebook apps push notifications do not appear to be working at this time. I tested on an HTC Titan with WP7 and a Lumia 920 with WP8 with no success. Hopefully Facebook fixes this as it will make this post much more useful

Custom Tiles Updated – Now Supports HTML Entities Hex and Decimal Code ✌

Want to make the home screen of your Windows Phone even more attractive? I’ve made some exciting changes to the Custom Tiles web app that I have built ➠ here. If you haven’t seen it, it is a must for Windows Phone fans. It is a great, easy way to add custom tiles to your start screen for website shortcuts. Currently, you simply just the web address that you want to create the shortcut for, the title, subtitle, color, and pin it to your start screen.

As you can see below I have used a few of the HTML entity icons to show just a little bit of what can be done now with Custom Tiles. There is a link below to a good resource for the html entity, hex, and decimal codes for these icons but here is one example. ✌ = ✌

Windows Phone Custom Tiles Web App - Website Tiles
Here are some sample tiles that you can make with the new and improved Custom Tiles web app.

More Customizable Website Shortcuts

I have just added support for HTML entity hex and decimal code so that you can add a slew of different icons to your start screen. A good reference to these characters can be found here ✓.

Techniques for Perfecting Your Custom Tiles

I started thinking about it and realized that you can easily pan and zoom to position the text/icons exactly where you will want them to be. Later on I would like to add more colors, font color change, and independently changing the position of the title and sub-title. I have been thinking about using cookies to remember some of your choices to make your process faster. And implementing an auto complete for some common urls to make that process easier. If there is any other functionality you would like to see please let me know. I think that adding the icon support increases the usefullness 10 fold for this web app.

Custom Website Tiles For Windows Phone

Want to customize the web tiles on your Windows Phone?

I have been working on a small application to allow users to add some customization to tiles of websites that they choose to pin to their home screen. With this small web app you will be able to set some main text, sub text, font size, and color to the website tile that is on your homescreen. With this you will be able to easily make a pinned website tile match your theme or make it a color that stands out.

Future Features

I would eventually like to add more features to this web app like; font selectors, image upload, and more colors to choose from. For now you can use this tool at Custom Tiles. This has mostly just been tested on my HTC Titan and recently the CSS file was erased somehow so I had to redo it without as much testing. Please submit any bugs or requests in the comments below.

Should I Buy Microsoft Surface RT or Surface 8 Pro

Microsoft has just announced it’s own line of Windows 8 tablet/ultrabooks, the Surface RT and Surface 8 Pro. The Surface RT is geared towards competing for tablet money while the Surface 8 Pro is a full fledged, high powered, Windows PC that has a form factor more like a tablet.

Tablets Are Redundant Pieces of Hardware

As I have posted before, I personally have little to no use for a tablet (in their current form) other than as a toy. I currently have a 7″ Android tablet that I play around with once in a while. Continue reading “Should I Buy Microsoft Surface RT or Surface 8 Pro”

Want To Know The Best Smartphone Ever

Just ask Siri on your iPhone 4s and she will certainly tell you what the best smartphone ever is.

For those of you who do not know, the responses that you get when you ask Siri what the best phone is usually is just a programmed response meant to be funny and will never actually tell you anything helpful. However, the programmers seemed to have let a few queries slip through the cracks. More or less just adding the word “ever” to the end of your query seems to give you a real response instead of some forced programmed response.

Nokia Lumia 900 – Best Smartphone EVER

The numbers don’t lie. For the average user the Nokia Lumia 900 is the best smartphone ever. Obviously for some people there are reasons to choose a different device but many are doing themselves and injustice by not considering a WP7 in their smartphone choices. Not just the Lumia line have awesome customer reviews. Almost every single WP7 sold has been in the top customer reviews on many different sites. Because it is simply awesome. The Windows Phone 7 operating system is beautiful, fast, intuitive, and just a joy to use.

So go get your hands on one and see for yourself. If you don’t like it all the carriers have easy return policies.

#Windows8 Consumer Preview Is Out! Where are the videos?

Ok so I personally have never been excited about a Windows operating system. I like Windows 7 a lot more than Mac OSX and Windows XP (Ubuntu holds a special place in my heart though). However good Windows 7 is, it could use improvements and with my lovely Windows Phone 7 user interface being in my face everyday it really shows.

Windows8 at Mobile World Congress 2012

Not sure about you but, I am extremely jealous of the folks that get to attend MWC 2012. And sadly I haven’t found any videos of the Windows 8 demo at MWC. If any of you know where I could find that please please shoot me a link in the comments.

Continue reading “#Windows8 Consumer Preview Is Out! Where are the videos?”

Easily Share Calender Events Across IOS, WP7, PC, Mac, and Probably Android

Every try to set up an event with your friends and have to text someone the date, time, or location multiple times? Or maybe you even have to call them. If you just put the event in their calendar then a lot of these problems can disappear. This is a feature that has been around for a while on different platforms but I don’t think that it gets the recognition that it deserves. Managing schedules is one of the biggest uses for a smartphone and many of us don’t ever see the full potential of our devices in that aspect. Siri has the neat new voice calendar entry which can be very useful but one issue with moving towards using smartphone calendars instead of the big one on the fridge is staying in sync.

Sync Your Gmail Calendar With WP7

Continue reading “Easily Share Calender Events Across IOS, WP7, PC, Mac, and Probably Android”

Windows Phone 7 Does What People Do

Windows Phone 7 is still an unknown to a lot of people. This happens for various reasons. Mainly because Android and IOS are crammed down everyone’s throats day and and day out. Not just on television but on the web, print, and even when we go into our carrier stores to upgrade. It doesn’t help that AT&T is more or less the only carrier in the United States that has a respectable line up of Windows Phone 7 devices. I honestly think that most people that own and iPhone, Android, Blackberry, or what have you would get much better use out of a Windows Phone 7 and enjoy it more for what they use most if they knew about it. Not just knew about it’s existence but were able to use the device and see how amazingly efficient it is at standard consumers every day tasks.

Windows Phone 7 Is A Consumer Based Phone

Continue reading “Windows Phone 7 Does What People Do”

#smokedbywindowsphone Win $100 Or Maybe A New WP7

If you haven’t been watching anything about CES 2012 then you might have missed Microsoft’s little competition. It is called #smokedbywindowsphone. Basically it is a speed test of sorts between @benthepcguy and whomever wants to challenge him. The contest varies from person to person too instead of it being a lopsided test set by Microsoft with WP7 having an advantage. In fact, Andoid, iOS, or whomever the competitor is should have the advantage because the test is done based off what the challenger uses their phone for mostly.

WP7 Faster Than iPhone4s And Galaxy Nexus

So far I have seen the iPhone4s and Galaxy Nexus get #smokedbywindowsphone. And keep in mind the test was done to the advantage of the iPhone4s and the Galaxy Nexus because the tests were tailored to the challenger using those devices. Obviously if someone has great knowledge of both Android and WP7 or iOS and WP7 they could easily rig the test against WP7 if there is anything that Andoid/iOS are better at.

This is such a great competition because it shows people that WP7 can not only do what iOS and Android can but that it can actually do it faster. And to boot if you do win you get $100. If you lose it looks like you might get a free WP7, I assume as long as they last that is. Check it out on twitter by following @benthepcguy or searching for #smokedbywindowsphone. While you are over there follow @Brad_Billman.