St. Louis Microsoft Store Grand Opening

Although I wasn’t able to attend the grand opening of the permanent Microsoft store at the St. Louis Galleria, our friends over at STL Tech Talk was able to attend and posted a great write up.

I haven’t had a chance to visit the store yet but it appears to follow the typical Microsoft Store layout. I was lucky enough to visit the first Microsoft Store in Scottsdale, AZ when it was the only one in existence and it’s an experience I won’t forget. It’s exciting there are over 60 now in existence and St. Louis has its own for us who enjoy the products out of Redmond.

The Microsoft stores are exciting to visit and are a unique experience. I think they’re far and above an Apple store. In fact I was in Bellevue, WA recently and it just so happened that some of the cast of Star Trek: Into Darkness we’re signing free autographs. I encourage you to check out the Microsoft store at the St. Louis Galleria yourself, and more importantly check out the great products yourself. I hope to see you there!

Posted in Community, Microsoft

St. Louis Permanent Microsoft Store Grand Opening June 7

Today, Microsoft announced on its Facebook page that the permanent Microsoft Store in the St. Louis Galleria will be opening on Friday, June 7, 2013. Microsoft has had a specialty “pop-up” store in the Galleria since last year, but its products were limited to mostly Surface tablets and accessories. Permanent stores have signature tablets and PCs from various manufactures, Xbox games and accessories, Windows Phones, software and much more. As with all of Microsoft’s permanent store openings this one will be headlined by a popular musical artist, in the St. Louis store’s case that artist is Ne-Yo. Follow the source link below for all the details of the opening and how to find out how you can meet Ne-Yo (hint: it involves standing in line Thursday night).

Are you looking forward to having a Microsoft store in St. Louis? Sound off in the comments.

Source: Facebook

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Posted in Community, Microsoft

Lumia 920 in Wendy’s Commercial

I saw a new Wendy’s commercial for their new flatbread sandwiches and immediately noticed a black Nokia Lumia 920. Per typical the branding on the device is obscured but you can’t mistake the Lumia’s sexy lines. The commercial talks a bit about social networking and it’s a shame that they don’t show one of Windows Phone’s beautiful Twitter clients as they’re pushing the hashtag #twEATfor1k in this promotion. The promotion is if you tweet a picture of their new sandwich with that hashtag you have a chane to win $1000  It’s too bad this isn’t a cross promotion with Nokia or Windows Phone but it’s nice to see the phone on TV. Check out the pics below and make sure to tweet @wendys to let them know you saw the phone.

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Posted in advertising, Microsoft, Mobile, Nokia

Windows 8 Annoyances

Written on Surface RT Touch Cover.

Last updated: 3/9/2013

I’ve been using Windows 8 regularly on my Surface RT since launch and overall I enjoy it and find myself using the Surface much more than my desktop for my day to day computing. As good as Windows 8 is, there are some minor and a few major annoyances that I hope are corrected soon. The two major annoyances I have, since I know you’re interested, are XBOX music and the lack of Tell ME integration. Those two items will have separate posts. So on to my minor annoyances. You’ll see me make comparison to Windows Phone a lot below, but that is because I believe that Windows Phone is a more mature experience. This will be updated as I continue to spend more time with the platform.

  • Inability to “Share” to multiple social networks via the people hub. In Windows Phone 7 you regularly saw a share to “social networks” which allowed you to choose one or many of the natively integrated social networks and post to multiple places at once. Interestingly I have yet to see this ability in Windows Phone 8 or Windows 8. You could use a third party app such as Flip Toast to do this, but it needs to be native.
  • Playing music controls only available by hitting the physical volume rocker (or the source app). Wished I could get to those quickly via the charms bar also. The volume rocker is just a bit inconvenient in its location (on the Surface at least).
  • Lack of a Windows 8 tips app from Microsoft. Yes, you get the how on OS installation or set up but for the average consumer you need that available as a standalone app. This could act as a refresher or a “hey look it’s easy” when you pass your new Windows 8 tablet off to someone who’s unfamiliar. Also, this really needs to include how to for selecting items in a list with touch. I won’t lie when I first got my Surface it took me about 3 days to figure out how to select multiple playlists with touch from within XBOX music.
  • Quick access to the “My Pictures”, “My Videos”, etc. folders from within the pictures/ videos metro apps. I have my surface connected to my home group so when I open either of those apps and tap pictures library I get all the folders from my Home Server in what seems to be an arbitrary order. While that is mostly awesome that it aggregates everything its more difficult than it should be to find my way to that local folder. If I want to find a screenshot I just took on my Surface, which gets saved in the local My Pictures folder I have to tap the breadcrumbs and find my way back to that specific local folder. It is not ideal. Maybe there should be a shortcut in the right click application menu to the local folder.
  • You have to manually launch the on screen keyboard in desktop mode. There should be an option to make it act like it does on the metro side and pop up automatically in desktop mode.
  • No option to automatically install app updates from the Windows store. Yes, I get notified of updates via the counter on the tile and it is only two taps to install it from there, but there should be an option to just install those automatically as they come in.
  • There is no equivalent to the jump menu’s you got via IE9 pinning when you pin a website to the start menu. Let’s face it a pinned Facebook website in IE9 has more of a live tile feel than does the pinned Facebook website in Windows 8. With no official Facebook app, they need to push an update to IE10 to make those work again.
  • No 50% screen on metro. The 70/30 split pinning (or whatever the ratio is) is nice, but I should be able to pin 2 apps side by side splitting the desktop, especially with the widescreen resolution of the Surface. Even if it just shrank the full screen apps that would work.
  • There is no jump list in the all app list, I have a lot of apps and when clicking a letter in the app list I’d like to be able to select another letter like on Windows Phone.
    (edit: If you click on all apps, pinch to zoom out (or click on semantic zoom button) you get a picker similar to windows phone. Thanks @kennedyneil. Although I believe that is an extra unnecessary step.)
  • Tap and hold cursor. This should work exactly as on Windows Phone. Yes you can select the word and use the arrow keys on the virtual /physical keyboard but it’s not as smooth as on Windows Phone with the tap and hold cursor.
  • No Bing vision. I had to download a QR code reader app to scan tags with the camera on my Surface. Want to scan’s Microsoft’s own TAG format? You can’t as they don’t even have their own TAG app available.
  • You cannot run Windows Phone apps snapped in Windows 8. They look like they’d fit right? As I said before the Windows Phone platform and most of their apps are more mature than their equivalent on Windows 8. If I could run many of the apps of Windows Phone in Windows 8 snapped to the side the platform would feel more complete.
  • Bluetooth device management. It is easy enough to add or delete a Bluetooth device by navigating to the charms-> settings -> change pc settings -> devices. But let’s say you are currently connected to a Bluetooth device but want to disconnect from it and connect to another? The easiest way to do it is remove the device, which is not ideal. Unfortunately there are no third party apps to help with this issue either. Once again Windows Phone is the more mature platform and shows how easily this can be managed.
Posted in Microsoft, Surface, Windows

Windows 8 – Tell me why you won’t “Tell Me”.

I’ve been using Windows 8 on my Surface RT and a non-touch desktop since its release. Overall I’m extremely happy with it. I’ve also been using both Windows Phone 7 and 8 since their respective releases. What I find most interesting using these two new beautiful OS’s is that base Windows Phone experience is a more mature one than the base experience of Windows 8 as it stands right now.

The deficiencies of Windows 8 when compared to Windows Phone are minimal for the most part except in two areas, XBOX Music and Tell ME.

I’ll cover the minor annoyances and XBOX music in separate posts, this post will focus specifically on the lack of Tell ME / voice interaction in Windows 8.

Tell ME, is the service behind the voice interactions on Windows Phone and Ford Sync (I believe). On Windows Phone 7 you could dictate text messages, perform Bing searches, start applications and initiate calls all by pressing and holding the Windows button on your device. On Windows Phone8 the service is even more pervasive. Applications can, and thankfully many have, use the Tell ME service to control parts of the application with your voice both from within the app and from the Start screen. For example Gleek, a twitter app, allows you to initiate retweets, new tweets and other features from within the app. Audible, the popular Audiobook application, allows you to open your library and control the playing of books from the start screen or within the app. Both of these and many other applications have many more voice features. It’s been great to see how many apps are taking advantage of this feature. Prior to the launch of Windows 8 I realized there was no mention of Tell Me integration in Windows 8. Since I’ve been using the new OS I’ve found myself pressing and holding the Windows button on my Surface more than once trying to launch an application rather than going through search in the charms and always find myself a bit disappointed. I have many apps on my Surface having the 64 GB version and although I have my start screen organized in groups I do sometime find myself swiping back and forth overlooking the application’s tile I am looking for.

So besides application launching how else could Tell ME be utilized? Well I think it should be utilized and available in all ways it is on Windows Phone. This includes searching, opening apps, messaging and being open to developers to be utilized within their own apps. There shouldn’t be any technical limitations because of hardware except where a device may not be connected to the internet, but Microsoft has already figured out how to handle that on Windows phone.

I really hope Microsoft has plans to implement this feature in Windows 8/ RT. I am always slightly jealous when I see that little blond girl cutely ask, “Google, how far is the earth to the moon.” Hopefully, we won’t have to wait much longer till I can capture a video of my young niece asking my surface the same question.

 

Posted in software, Surface, Windows

MWGEEK 2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in Uncategorized

First Windows Phone 8 Updates Rolling Out

I can confirm that my Nokia Lumia 920 is currently installing the first over the air Windows Phone 8 updates. If you haven’t been notified of the updates don’t forget you can go to Settings -> Phone Updates -> Check for Updates.

WP Central is a great resource to find out more about what is included in the updates. I’ll update this post if anything stands out.

Here is what to expect from the process (installation and migrating data takes the longest):

  • Downloading updates
  • Preparing to install
  • Reboot
  • Installation
  • Reboot
  • Migrating Data
Posted in Uncategorized

STL ATT Stores prep for Windows Phone 8 Launch

Unfortunately there weren’t any devices out, although there were plenty of empty spots waiting for them at West County Center in St. Louis. There were a few large Lumia 920 posters and Windows Phone branding along the walls in the store. Notice that little sign in front of the Lumia poster? Apparently ATT is offering $100 off a Windows Phone with the purchase of a Windows RT tablet. The Asus VivoTab was featured on the sign I believe. With the amazing prices on the new Windows Phones you could land a pretty sweet deal if you’re in the market for both a Windows Phone and Tablet. Tomorrow is the day!

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Posted in Hardware, Mobile, Nokia, Windows

ATT Releases Windows Phone 8 Launch Lineup

For those interested in Windows Phone (on ATT) the much anticipated day has come. ATT has announced the following lineup of Windows Phone 8 devices. These are beautiful devices with great features at incredible prices. With the colors, colors, styles and models available it’s shaping up to be a great time for Windows Phone fans.

November 9:

  • Off contract
    • Nokia Lumia 820 – $399.99
    • Nokia Lumia 920 – $499.99 (unknown at this time if wireless charging plate comes with no contract phone)
    • HTC Windows Phone 8x (16 GB) – $549.99
    • HTC Windows Phone 8x (8 GB) – $449.99 (California Blue & Limelight Yellow)
  • With 1 year contract
    • Nokia Lumia 820 – $299.99
    • Nokia Lumia 920 – $399.99 (unknown at this time if wireless charging plate comes with no contract phone)
    • HTC Windows Phone 8x (16 GB) – $449.99
    • HTC Windows Phone 8x (8 GB) – $349.99 (California Blue & Limelight Yellow)
  • With 2 year contract
    • Nokia Lumia 820 – $49.99
    • Nokia Lumia 920 – $99.99 (w/ free wireless charging plate for limited time)
    • HTC Windows Phone 8x (16 GB) – $199.99
    • HTC Windows Phone 8x (8 GB) – $99.99 (California Blue & Limelight Yellow)

Preorders for the Nokia devices begin on Nov. 7 via the links below:

 

Text of official press release follows:

 

 

Windows phone 8 smartphones arrive at at&t nov. 9; pre-orders begin nov. 7

Special AT&T Promo Offers Free Wireless Charging Plate With

Purchase of a Nokia Lumia 920

 

DALLAS, Nov.6, 2012 – AT&T* announced today the availability of three new smartphones in its growing Windows® Phone 8 portfolio. Beginning Nov. 9, AT&T customers will be able to purchase the Nokia Lumia 920 for $99.99 and the Nokia Lumia 820 for $49.99. Before Thanksgiving, customers can pick-up the Windows Phone® 8X by HTC® with 16 GB of memory for $199.99. Additionally, AT&T revealed an exclusive version of the Windows Phone 8X by HTC with 8 GB of memory in California Blue and Limelight (yellow) for $99.99. AT&T is only carrier to offer this device in Limelight.

 

Starting Nov.7, the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 will be available for pre-order at www.att.com/lumia920 and www.att.com/lumia820, respectively. The unrivaled leader in Windows Phones, AT&T has sold more Windows Phones than any other carrier.

 

Nokia Lumia 920

The Nokia Lumia 920 includes the latest advances in Nokia PureView imaging innovation. The 8.7-megapixel camera features advanced floating lens technology, dubbed ‘optical image stabilization’ which helps eliminate blur by compensating for hand movement while photos or videos are being shot.  The camera in Nokia Lumia 920 can take in five times more light than typical smartphones to capture top quality photos and videos in low light.

 

In addition to its 2000mAh battery – the largest battery Nokia has put in a smartphone – the Lumia 920 includes built-in wireless charging capabilities** for an easy, convenient way to get more out of every day. For a limited time and while supplies last, AT&T will also include a wireless charging plate – free of charge – with each purchase of a Lumia 920.

 

The Lumia 920’s 4.5-inch PureMotion HD+ ClearBlack display is protected by Corning® Gorilla® Glass and is optimized for readability in the brightest light conditions, even outdoors on a bright day. In addition to its durable, scratch-resistant, curved display, the Lumia 920 also has a new sensitive touchscreen that lets you type with fingernails or while wearing gloves.

 

Available in red, white, black, yellow and cyan, the Lumia 920 is available for pre-order beginning Nov. 7 at www.att.com/lumia920 for $99.99 with a two-year agreement.

 

For more information, please visit www.att.com/lumia920. A look at the Lumia 920’s features in action is available in this video.

 

Nokia Lumia 820

The Nokia Lumia 820 is a snappy, mid-range smartphone that delivers high-end performance in a compact package. It features the same unibody look and feel as high-end Lumia smartphones – including a ClearBlack display and new sensitive touchscreen – in an attractive design that supports exchangeable shells. These exchangeable shells, which are sold separately, are available in range of colors and features, including wireless charging.

 

The Lumia 820 offers the same exclusive content as the Lumia 920, including Nokia Drive, a turn-by-turn voice navigation solution, Nokia Music, a free music streaming service and Nokia City Lens, an augmented reality application that uses the phone’s camera viewfinder to provide information about points of interests in the surrounding area.

 

The Nokia Lumia 820 comes in black and is available for pre-orders beginning Nov.7 at www.att.com/lumia820 for $49.99 with a two-year agreement.

 

For more information, please visit www.att.com/lumia820.

 

Windows Phone 8X by HTC

The Windows Phone 8X by HTC boasts a pure unibody design perfectly sculpted with a dramatic taper that feels thin in your hand and its stunning 4.3-inch 720p HD display (1280 x 720 pixels) brings photos, video and Web pages to life.

 

The 2.1-megapixel, 88 degree, ultra-wide front-facing camera is able to capture self-portraits of you and the faces of up to four friends all at once. The 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with an f/2.0 aperture allows you to capture great photos and videos – even in low light. As the first-ever Windows Phone 8 smartphone with built-in Beats Audio™ technology, this device gives users authentic, studio-quality sound. The device has a unique audio amplifier that powers the 3.5mm audio jack and speaker to provide improved sound for music, video and even gaming.

 

The Windows Phone 8X by HTC will be available in two models – California Blue with 16 GB of memory for $199.99 and an AT&T exclusive in California Blue or Limelight (yellow) with 8GB of memory for $99.99.

 

For more information, please visit www.att.com/8xbyhtc.

 

For the 2012 holiday shopping season, AT&T will be the only U.S. carrier to offer new Windows 8 tablets to their customers.  Samsung ATIV smart PC offers customers the blend of PC capability with the convenient tablet form factor.  Beginning Nov. 9, the ATIV smart PC will be available in AT&T company-owned retail stores nationwide and online at www.wireless.att.com

 

AT&T customers have access to the nation’s largest 4G network***, covering 285 million people. AT&T has two 4G networks that work together for customers, LTE and HSPA+ with enhanced backhaul. That means AT&T customers are able to enjoy a widespread, ultra-fast and consistent 4G experience on their compatible device as they move in and out of LTE areas. With smartphones on other carriers’ networks, when you travel outside of their LTE coverage area, you may be on a much slower 3G network.

 

Posted in Hardware, Nokia

Microsoft Surface Unboxing Photos

Posted in Microsoft, Surface
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