Tip o’ the Week #156 – some Windows Phone 8 fun

If you’re a recently lucky Windows Phone 8 recipient, you’ll no doubt have followed all of the instructions in how to set up your new phone, so you’ll already know that you can go to My Phone and reinstall all the apps you’d downloaded onto your previous WP7 device (note that the previously recommended Reinstaller app no longer works, due to changes in the Marketplace/Store architecture).

The Windowsphone.com What’s New page gives a quick summary of what the main differences are between WP7 and WP8 (from a user’s point of view, at least – there are many other differences under the covers, since WP7.x was based on Windows CE whereas WP8 now runs on a Windows 8 based kernel).

Here are a few other tips that might be of interest…

Identify your phone

When everyone around you has a Black Lumia 920 too†, you might find it helpful to quickly clip_image002identify which is yours, so you don’t mix up your phone with others’. One quick way of doing so is to customise the lock screen – easy enough to do, but if you’re going to the bother then why not put your own contact details on it so if your phone gets lost, it might be returned?
There’s a simple app called Metro Lockscreen Creator (a trial version does everything you need, since you’ll probably only ever run it once) – it just creates a simple block picture with a photo you select, and some text (your name, perhaps, or phone number).

Run the app, create the lockscreen and then point your phone at the picture it generates…
† other phones are available. Like blue HTC 8Xs, for example.

Bonk to send

The Register enjoys discussing “Pay-by-Bonk(fnarr, fnarr) etc, meaning using new Near-Field Communication technology (which is now part of WP8) to allow actions like paying for goods or transferring data in some way.  One obvious way of using this is to send photos to another WP8 user – try tapping on the “…” icon at the bottom of a photo you’re viewing, choose share… and then Tap+Send. You then tap/press your phone against another WP8 device, and the receiving device will prompt the user if they’d like to accept the incoming pic. The phones will use Bluetooth to transfer the content, so you will need to keep them relatively close until both sides confirm the transfer has taken place.

If you can find another WP8 user who’s willing to let you try, give it a go – it can be quite hard to get started, but once you’ve done it a couple of times, you’ll be well enough versed in the technique to make it a smooth and pain-free experience in future. Chortle, Chortle.


Whilst on the topic of pics, those of you with a Nokia handset (including Windows Phone 7.5 users with an older Lumia) can try out their PhotoBeamer app. Install from the Store (or click the previous link and follow the tag on that page), and use the app to navigate to photos you’d like to share with others. Meanwhile, on any computer with an internet connection, browse to www.photobeamer.com and point your phone at the QR Code on the screen. Immediately, you’ll send the photo you’re looking at to the PC screen, and you can use the phone to swipe back and forth around an album too. Genius.


clip_image003Setting your own distinctive ringtone on WP7.x was always something of a faff, in fact it was the subject of ToW #93. Nowadays, it’s a good bit simpler though for best effect, you’d still be wise to edit the track you want to use, since the hook of the song you like (that you’d want to use as your tone) is probably not right at the start of the song.

To create a ringtone, just drop your choonz into the \Ringtones folder on the phone (by plugging it into your PC, running the Windows Phone app on your PC to manage it properly). No need to worry about tagging with a genre or anything.

Tip o’ the Week #154 – Outlook 2013 searching – reprise

clip_image001Sometimes, the best bits of content benefit from revisiting, improving or just being done in a different way. It was good enough for Sgt. Pepper, and a mainstay of any self-respecting 1970s concept album (try and hear the Supper’s Ready lyrics at the end of the Squonk reprise in Los Endos, for example. Now, take the anorak off and get back to work). Actors reprise previously-starred roles, to keep the tills ringing, if not the critics singing.

Anyway, this week’s Tip revisits and reprises a topic that’s had a bit of coverage of late – namely, searching in Outlook 2013. See ToW’s passim: #130, #144… and numerous other snippets.

Woody wrote a blog post about today’s topic – namely the way that Outlook now handles searching. Outlook has had built-in search capabilities for ages, but in 2013, it’s much easier to switch between searching within just the clip_image002current folder (eg Inbox) and searching everywhere. It has also introduced further granularity like searching across just the current mailbox (or archive file).

Care must be taken, though – you might search for a term and find that the results include folders where you’ve archived stuff, or could be your Sent Items folder… so take it easy on the Delete key. The “Current Mailbox” | “Current Folder” selection is remembered for certain folders, so might change as you move from one to the other.

clip_image004If you do search across multiple folders, when you hover your mouse over a result that’s of interest, and you’ll see a little bubble which tells clip_image005you the folder that it’s in.

Alternatively, right-click on the “ALL Unread” menu immediately below the search box and choose “Folder”, and you’ll see your search results grouped by the folder the messages come from.


Tip o’ the Week #153 – Lync 2013 shortcuts

clip_image001Happy New Year!

On the topic of Year (2013) and New, the Lync 2013 client introduced a whole load of new UI functionality compared to the previous release; for details of what’s new, check out the What’s new in Lync 2013 post on the Lync team blog.

One side effect of moving to Windows 8, however, is that the shortcut key to bring the Lync client window to the foreground has been repurposed and now has a higher calling – in Lync 2010 it was WindowsKey-Q, but that is now universally used in Win8 to invoke the Search charm.

Fortunately, Lync 2013 has moved that most useful shortcut to WindowsKey+Y. It has the benefit of not only bringing the Lync window into focus, but the default typing location is the “Find someone” search box, so you clip_image003could be IM’ing or calling them in a jiffy.

There are lots more Lync shortcut keys, detailed here.

Accessibility and communications

In other news, Microsoft UK IT’s Melissa Cordell writes to highlight a welcome addition to an instrument of communications, namely Windows Phone 8:

clip_image005Microsoft has a great accessibility story, designing our products for an incredibly broad spectrum of people around the world. Just like the zoom feature described in the last week’s Tip, which can help users with visual impairments or just make it easier to use your PC in low light, our products are packed with features to enabling people of all ages and abilities to “realise their full potential”.

The new Windows Phone we eagerly await is a testament to the ongoing evolution of accessibility in our mobile platform. To improve readability, variable font sizes can be found in the new ease of access area within your phone Settings. There is also a built-in screen magnifier which improves on the current “pinch to zoom”, enabling a whole screen magnifier for all phone content and controls.

Thanks Melissa – we can’t wait for our Windows Phone 8’s (920, or 8X920, or 8X…)