Bright Future for WP7

Microsoft has come out with a list of new features that will be coming with the Mango update later this year. I gotta say, I’m really excited. I’m happy with the phone exactly how it is now, but it’s getting so much better. You can find feature/update lists all over the internet, or you can browse the What’s next | Windows Phone 7 page at Microsoft.

These are the features that I’m most excited about:

  • IE9
  • Voice turn-by-turn navigation
  • Bing Vision
  • Local Scout
  • Better integration with Twitter & support for Facebook chat
  • Improved multitasking (alt+tab-like behavior)

The only feature that I was really missing from the BlackBerry Curve that I had with Sprint is the Sprint Navigation app. It was nice to always have a GPS in my pocket. WP7 has Bing maps with directions, but it’s not the best for figuring out where to go while driving since you need to scroll through and read the steps. So I’m definitely happy to see that voice-guided turn-by-turn directions are coming. I’m also looking forward to trying out Bing Vision.

Also, the check out PC Magazine’s 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards for mobile phones here. The Samsung Focus on AT&T (my phone) had a sparking 9.1 rating. I agree with it–I love this phone!

Goodbye .net Reflector, Hello ILSpy

I love[d] RedGate’s .net Reflector and used it all the time. It made me sad to see that they decided to eliminate the free version. The price isn’t terrible at $35, but it’s enough to make me explore other options before putting in a purchase request at work. I talked to some colleagues, did some quick Google research, and was pleasantly surprised to find a wonderful substitute called ILSpy.

ILSpy does exactly what .net Reflector did for me. I can explore objects, methods, and properties in assemblies, and it’ll decompile to show implementation details. ILSpy (or something similar, like .net Reflector) is a must-have tool for debugging and troubleshooting. I definitely recommend you check it out!

More info here.

‘Must Have Games’ for Windows Phone 7 Schedule

The schedule has been announced for Microsoft’s ‘Must Have Games’ promotion that will bring popular games like Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies to Windows Phone 7.

Here’s the schedule:
* May 25: Hydro Thunder GO! – $4.99
* June 1: Doodle Jump – $2.99
* June 8: geoDefense – $2.99
* June 15: Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 – $6.99
* June 22: Plants vs. Zombies – $4.99
* June 29: Angry Birds – $2.99

Really looking forward to getting Sonic & Plants vs. Zombies! Hooray!!

More info here.

HBO GO

It’s HBO. Anywhere.

I just heard about HBO GO, and it sounds like a lot of fun! It’s a downloadable app for your iPad, iPhone, or Android device that let’s you watch HBO shows (movies, series, and originals). I’m a big fan of HBO, so I’m really excited to try it out on my wife’s EVO.

I sure hope they come out with an app for Windows Phone!

More info here: http://www.hbogo.com

Xbox LIVE Rewards

Xbox LIVE Rewards is a great new program where you can earn MS Points by doing the same things you’re already doing. You can earn points by taking a monthly survey, purchasing a Gold membership, signing up for Netflix, or a number of other things.

If you’re an Xbox user, signing up is an absolute MUST!

Check it out: http://rewards.xbox.com

Where’s My Windows Phone Update?

I have been a Windows Phone user since WP7 was released at the end of last year. From the very beginning, there have been rumors of updates coming in Janurary, February, March… but now, on the brink of April, I’m still yet to get any updates.

I’m not upset about the delay because I really don’t have any major gripes and am generally happy with my phone. At the same time, I want them updates!

Last week, I was excited to see Microsoft introduce a “Where’s my phone update?” site where you can check on the status of the phone updates by region and phone model. This is great because I can check the website periodically to see when it moves out of Testing, to Scheduling, and finally to Delivering Update.

Here’s the link: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsphone/en-us/features/update-schedules.aspx

your.address+tips@gmail.com

I was speaking with some co-workers earlier this week, and someone mentioned you own all variations of your Gmail email address that contain different period placements. This means that if you register joe.blow@gmail.com, you also own joeblow@gmail.com, j.o.e.blow@gmail.com, and joe.bl.ow@gmail.com. You can verify this two ways. First, you can log in to Gmail using any of these variations; it will still take you to the same inbox you’re used to seeing. Second, you can send an email to any of these variations, and you’ll receive it just like you’d expect.

The usefulness of this is questionable, but I still thought it was fun and interesting to know. And maybe you wished you could make your gmail more specific (for example, nycanal@gmail.com could use ny.canal@gmail just so there’s no confusion).

This reminded me of another interesting trick that you can do with your Gmail account. Google let’s you append “+” and text to your email address. I love using this when registering for different things. When the email comes in, the tag will be included. So, if you starting getting spam in your inbox sent to joe.blow+bestbuy@gmail.com, you’ll know where they got your email address. More importantly, you can easily set up an email filter for messages sent to that address so you don’t need to worry about them anymore. The same is true for the period-placement variations, too; you’ll receive the emails with the To line containing the address they were sent to, so you can filter or what-not as you please.