Susan IbachTechnical Evangelist
It’s been a couple more weeks with my WP7 and I must say that I am LOOOVIN’ it! Not going to lie, I am a bit surprised since I came into this with high expectations with my iPhone 4. :P I don’t want to bore you with the details so here are some highlights:
What I love about my WP7:
-Ability to personalize the display of the phone - the icons on my phone is a nice, bright pink! :)
-Integration of contacts so I can easily see Facebook statuses, phone numbers, emails all in one place! AND I can post on someone’s FB wall with a few quick clicks!
-Voice command is AMAZINGLY accurate!
-Onscreen keyboard is as good as the iPhone 4 keyboard
-Office is actually super handy!
What took some getting used to:
-Back button is really useful if you can remember what screen you were at last. I guess this is somewhat similar to the multitask function on iPhone 4, but it’s just a very different use.
-Panorama displays of apps… you may end up going in circles if you don't pay attention! :P
What I miss about my iPhone:
-Cheap/free apps! (Ex. Fruit Ninja is $0.99 on iPhone vs. $3.49 on WP7! :()… but I am sure this is just a matter of time!
-Retina display – Sorry but the Dell screen doesn’t even come close.
-Simple, centralized syncing through iTunes (you saw my struggle with loading contacts…)
-FaceTime (and two way camera) is a much funner way to talk than a voice call. I hope this feature will be possible on future phones! :)
Bye for now!
- Mary Lee
My name is Danielle Joseph and I’ve been a co-op at Microsoft for a little over 7 months now. This September I’ll be heading into my final 8 months of school, wrapping up 5 years at the University of Waterloo. My life at school can get hectic very quickly as I usually take on a full course load of 5 courses, work 2 part-time jobs, take extracurricular classes like yoga, and try to meet up with all of my friends and family whenever I can. No one seems to believe me when I tell them that my work terms are my most relaxing terms, while my school terms are the busiest.
While I’m in school, it seems like every minute of my day is planned and dedicated to something that needs to get done. Working at Microsoft, I also have a lot on the go, and usually have a lot of different projects for different managers that I need to keep track of. To manage everything properly, I thought I’d give OneNote a try. I’d never used the program before my co-op term here, but I had heard great things from other colleagues. It sure didn’t take me very long to fall completely in love with its ability to keep things organized, its simple manageability, its colour-coated tabs and so much more. Being a student at heart, all I could imagine was how great this tool would be not only in a professional environment, but while you’re in school. There are so many great features that allow students to keep their time managed, their projects on track, their photos with friends organized, lecture content uploaded, group projects edited...the list goes on and on.
As a student using OneNote, you can create a notebook for different aspects of student life. For example, my current OneNote file has a notebook dedicated to each of the following: School, Work, Pictures, Music, Misc. With each of these notebooks, I can create pages. In my “School” notebook, I can create a page for each of the courses I’m studying, and create separate sheets for each lecture I attend. I can also open my notebooks from anywhere with its SkyDrive capabilities! So next time I forget my USB key at home, or lose it entirely (it happens more than I care to admit) and need to access my notebook from the library computers, I can just login to my Windows Live account and open it right up! Another great feature: copying text from picture files and pasting it as text format. My professors often upload PDF files of slides in a lecture, or photographs of pages scanned from the textbook. This is great, but if I want to add my own text to the slides it’s not so easy to change. With OneNote I just paste the picture file onto the page, highlight it, and then copy the text from the image. I can then paste it in my notes and make any changes I want.
OneNote is honestly the best tool I’ve discovered while working at Microsoft. It’s kept me organized and helped me keep all of my files and ideas in one place. If you haven’t already played around with the program, I highly suggest giving it a try.
- Danielle Joseph
Now here’s a neat opportunity, so listen up!
Most app contests or giveaways require, well, an app. But not #WPAppItUp! For this one, we want to see your app ideas! If you have a Windows Phone 7 app idea, share it with us for a chance to get a Mango developer Windows Phone 7 device.
To get started:
Don’t forget the hashtag when tweeting your entry. All prototypes will be reviewed, and the authors of the best ones will be contacted to receive their Mango device.
There is no deadline, but keep in mind that there are only 30 devices remaining. Don’t wait too long, get started now!
We’ve seen Windows Phone 7 in a completely different domain doing things that it was never meant to do before, but this is an even more astonishing story.
Wilson To, a doctoral student in pathology at the University of California, combined his interests in pathology and photography to create a Windows Phone app that can test for malaria. Yes, you read that correctly – a Malaria test on a smartphone.
Using a Windows Phone 7 device with a mounted $50 micro lens, Wilson’s app – Lifelens – takes high-resolution images of the cells of a drop of blood and quickly analyzes them to confirm whether or not malaria is present.
Alternative (and cheaper) malaria tests do exist, but the longevity of Lifelens is in the fact that an app – unlike even the cheapest of malaria test kits – is reusable, which means that Lifelens (even with cost of the WP7 device and the micro lens) has lower long-run costs. What’s even more astonishing is that the analysis of the images taken can be extended to include tests for theoretically any blood-borne disorder.
It’s not surprising that Wilson’s team was a finalist in Imagine Cup 2011 in New York. It’s easy to see how Lifelens was a perfect fit in Imagine Cup, the goal of which is to get young innovators like you to solve the world’s toughest problems.
Want to solve a tough world problem through the use of technology? Register for next year’s Imagine Cup, which by the way it taking place in Sydney, Australia. If you make it to the finals, the cost of getting there is on Microsoft.
As for Windows Phone 7 going above and beyond it’s intended usage, what do you think will be the next astonishing WP7 app?
If you’re still unconvinced by the posts on this blog or resources elsewhere that getting started with Windows Phone 7 game development is not that difficult, then here’s another neat little tool for you – a ready-to-go game engine for the tower defense genre.
ScriptTD is a high-level engine that includes all of the functionality for a typical Tower Defense game. If you want to create just a simple tower defense game, there is not complex programming involved at all. Simply modify the levels by editing the XML files, add your own graphics and swap the audio files.
If you’re adventurous enough, you can extend ScriptTD to create a more complex and unique tower defense game.
To get started with ScriptTD, download the latest release or checkout the source code from the CodePlex repository.
To make it even easier for you to get going, a video tutorial is provided:
Even simple games are hard to get started with? Nonsense! Download the code, watch the tutorial and get started on your own game!