Lync Mobile & Office 365


Lync Mobile is out for Windows Phone and other platforms right now. If you can’t find it in the marketplace on WP, hit this link:

Download Lync 2010 for Windows

I’ve been using Lync for a few months now and LOVE it, it makes connecting with people at partners so much easier. I use Lync Online via Office 365 (as I also love the cloud) and was very keen to get this all hooked up.

I downloaded the app this morning but couldn’t get it working at all so I turned to my greatest friend in times if tech support need, Twitter. Lo & behold, the ever awesome @bibbleq came through and I was up & running within 5 or so minutes!

All the info I’d seen online concerned adding CNAME records to DNS servers but, as it’s in the cloud, I didn’t have access to that…so I was a bit stuck. Turns out that MS just need to update the DNS at their end but if, like me, you’re impatient to get start then follow @Bibbleq’s advice:

Add

https://meet.lync.com/Autodiscover/autodiscoverservice.svc/Root

as the “External Discovery address” and you’ll be all sorted.

Head over to his blog for more details on the above:

http://www.bibble-it.com/2011/12/12/office-365-basic-plans-quick-config-for-lync-mobile

and also a deeper look at Lync for WP7:

http://www.bibble-it.com/2011/12/12/overview-of-lync-mobile-for-windows-phone-7

Nokia & Microsoft Office 365


I today received an email from Nokia telling me that the “1st Nokia Partner Network Event” is imminent on the 23rd November 2011 at The National Space Centre, Leicester

I’ve never been aware of Nokia particularly having partners of the sort that would have events like this…as their business isn’t really the same as Microsoft, Adobe, SAP, HP etc., so it surprised me a little.

There are 3 breakouts:

  • Retailers/Online
  • B2B Dealer
  • IT Reseller

and it’s the 3rd one that caught my eye due to the first 2 sessions:

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So not only are Nokia making a huge play in the consumer arena with Windows Phone 7, it seems they’re going to start introducing their devices into the corporate space, by playing on some of the enhancements found within the recent Mango update. That update brought full support for Microsoft’s Office 365, their cloud based Exchange/Lync/Sharepoint offering, allowing WP users full access to Sharepoint lists and document libraries.

I’m keen to see where Nokia’s involvement with Office 365 takes them, us as partners and Microsoft too. That said I don’t think I’ll be able to attend the event…anyone out there planning on going that can take notes for me? Smile

Nokia Windows Phones – Marketing


Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 has been getting stronger recently with the awesome Mango (v7.5) update and it’s 500 new features, new adverts and now, what may well be it’s biggest shot in the arm…Nokia.

Much was made of the news earlier this year that Nokia were to start making Windows Phone devices, that Microsoft had given them 1 Billion dollars, this that and the other…and many wondered if it was really going to make any difference.

Well the answer seems to be a resounding…YES!

Following on from the Nokia World (Weds 26/10/11) announcements of the Lumia 710 & 800, there has been a flurry of activity. Nokia have given a Lumia 800 device to all the finalists on the X-Factor…while this isn’t my favourite show (far from it!) it is HUGELY popular with teenagers and young adults…I guess 13-30 overall…which clearly covers a big focus demographic for Microsoft. If Kitty, Johnny, Misha B (<—check me out Smile) et al are extolling the virtues of WP7 then surely that will translate into sales for Microsoft & Nokia.

Hand in hand with that though, is making sure that people can find the devices to test out and ultimately buy. This is something that many of the OEM’s have been quite poor at arranging…but not Nokia:

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Picture courtesy of Oliver Haslam (@theiBlog) via Twitter via Tom Warren (@tomwarren)

That’s a photo of the Nokia device already at Point of Sale in a Phones4U store here in the UK – good work Nokia!

Windows Phone 7.5 Xbox Controller


Windows Phone just keeps getting better and making itself more important to Microsoft’s ecosystem, as well as introducing itself to new potential users. Today brings the announcement of another great addition:

The Xbox Companion App

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This is a Windows Phone app that will allow you to Find, Learn & Control media on your Xbox console directly from your Windows Phone device!!!

The app isn’t yet available but Ben over on the Windows Team blog has had a play with the beta and gives us some great insight:

  • Finding Content: Just like on your Xbox, the Xbox Companion gives you instant access to the Xbox LIVE Marketplace catalog of games, movies, music and TV shows. I used it to search “Featured Content” and pulled up the X-Men: First Class.
  • Learn more about what you’re watching, listening to, or playing: Once I found the movie and touched the movie tile, the Xbox companion app took me to an info page that has all the related details about. And the content is really rich, too – for example, when I swiped to the “cast” page and touched an actor’s name, like star James McAvoy, I was taken to other movies starring him. From there, I could easily learn more about the other movies, their cast, etc. It’s an infinite road of interactive content.
  • Control & Play: Once I selected the content and hit play, the Xbox Companion flips into “controller mode” in which I could navigate my Xbox, or control video playback of your video. The best part here is that controls are virtually instantaneous – easily as fast as using my controller or a TV remote.

This is going to be pretty amazing in so many ways. It will make interacting with the Xbox much easier and also quite futuristic – which is always good! This coupled with the just announced Xbox TV is going to cause a radical shift in the way that people view the Xbox 360 console…no longer just for gaming but a true centrepiece of the living room, a real multimedia hub for the home.

The only reason I have EVER looked on enviously at a PS3 is for the LOVEfilm streaming and now we’ve got that, plus a whole bunch of other services so a real stake in the heart for Sony!

The other side to this is this will surely get the millions of Xbox users looking at Windows Phone devices in a whole new light too. Maybe it doesn’t have a few of the apps you’re used to on your iPhone…BUT IT CONTROLS YOUR XBOX!!! Smile

Windows Phone Mango new features


We’ve all heard that there are 500 new features in Windows Phone 7.5 AKA Mango and a whole bunch of them have been all over the internet. Well I’ve just upgraded to Mango (How see here Smile) so here’s what I’ve noticed straight away:

In messaging, it now colours your messages a different shade than the other person…makes it easier to see who said what at a glance

If you’ve scrolled down the live tiles on the front screen…press the <—Back button and it zooms you back to the top. Simple but nice!

Hold the Search button when you’re on the Lock Screen and BOOM, it opens Bing Smile (Can be turned off in settings)

Bing Audio works really well

Windows Phone jumplists now for applications. So if you have over a certain amount, you get the letters to help navigate through like in contacts…very handy!

When in the camera, press anywhere on the screen to take a picture.

Camera settings such as Flash on/off, image quality etc all persist after you exit the camera, so they’re still there next time. That is awesome as this was a big annoyance for me…

These are all great features that have jumped out at me pretty much straight away.

These is one feature that I’ve been looking forward to for ages that seems to be a disappointment though…adding tracks to a playlist on the device.

It’s easy to add 1 track to a playlist but I cannot figure out how to get another one on there! Also, if you’re playing a song that’s part of an album and you select “add to playlist” it appears to add the entire album.

Hopefully someone will work this out and/or future update will make it more intuitive Smile

Well that’s me done for now but rest assured, you’ll almost certainly see more of these posts from me over the coming days/weeks!

How to make a custom ringtone for Windows Phone Mango


Microsoft’s update to Windows Phone, Mango, brings the ability to create your own custom ringtones from MP3’s etc – which is great.

It’s not quite as easy as Android, where you just long hold an MP3 and “set as ringtone” so here’s a little guide on a good way to do it…via a great Windows Phone site:

1800PocketPC

They recommend doing it the way I’d do it anyway so I find this the best route…however you may have different programs you like to use etc.

Head over to the link above and then get started with some custom ringtone action Smile

ps: If you’ve not got Mango yet – check this post out:

Read How to Get Windows Phone Mango Right Now

How to Get Windows Phone Mango Right Now


It’s official, Windows Phone Mango AKA Microsoft Windows Phone 7.5 has been released and is now being filtered through mobile carriers out to users.

I was most disappointed to discover earlier that T-Mobile have not started this process for Samsung Omnia 7 users in the UK – and most of Europe I believe. Why this is the case I don’t know…but after the mess that was the NoDo update, I was NOT a happy man! However I came across a post on the WPcentral blog:

http://www.wpcentral.com/force-mango-update-early-through-zune-software

This gives a simple, step by step guide on how to “trick” Zune into giving you the update now. At first I was a little unsure but decided to just go for it…and it worked a treat. It took about 1 hour to to do 2 updates, 7304 (pre-Mango) and then 7720 (Mango itself) and now I’ve got all the awesome good stuff like custom ringtones, Bing Audio, Threads, Groups etc Smile

I’d recommend you click the link above so that WP Central get all the clicks they deserve but just in case it falls over though sheer traffic etc, here are the steps:

Steps to force a Mango update on phones for which Mango has started rolling out:

  1. Connect your Windows Phone to a PC and launch the Zune software
  2. Click on Phone > Settings > Update. Allow the software to tell you whether an update is available. If so, skip this guide. If not continue to the next step.
  3. Time to force the update. Click another button (any of the options above or below the word Update). Then click the Update button again, and this time disconnect your computer from the internet after 1-2 seconds. Do this by pulling out the Ethernet cable, disabling Wi-Fi, etc. If it says your phone is already up to date, you didn’t disconnect quickly enough and need to try this step again.
  4. Wait 30 seconds or so and Zune should display a notification that an update is available. This is 7392, the first Mango pre-update.
  5. Now reconnect to the internet and continue with the update process through the Zune software.
  6. After 7392 is fully installed, you may receive a notification that another update is available. If so, install it now. If not, proceed to the next step.
  7. If the second update isn’t popping up on its own, repeat steps 3-5, causing the 7403 update to appear.
  8. Install 7403, brave reader. Speeding right along, isn’t it? 😉
  9. Mango time! At this point, Zune should automatically start installing the last update, 7720, aka Mango. If it doesn’t happen automatically, force it like we did in previous steps.

 

Again, big thanks to WP Central…

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Mango Delivery


Microsoft have confirmed that Mango, the long awaited, 500 feature containing update for the Windows Phone mobile OS will be here “within the next 2 weeks” which means we’ll see it between now and October 7th!

“For months, we and dozens of our partner companies have been laying the groundwork for the Windows Phone 7.5 update—and making solid progress. As a result, we now expect to start rolling it out in the next week or two”

Some more info and advice from Eric Hautala over on the official Windows Team Blog:

“During the official Windows Phone 7.5 update process, every Windows Phone will also receive software from the handset manufacturer. This matched and paired firmware has been painstakingly tuned so your phone—and apps—work with all the new features of Windows Phone 7.5. Since your phone requires the proper firmware to function as designed, my advice is simple: steer clear of bootleg updates and homebrew tools”

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AVG respond to Windows Phone App Removal


Microsoft recently removed the AVG Anti-Virus app from the marketplace over concerns about it’s actions, and now the AV company have responded:

Yuval Ben-Itzhak from AVG says:

“I wanted to take a moment to clarify and respond to some of the questions and comments raised in social media forums.”

“AVG believes that the Windows Phone 7 OS will continue to increase in popularity and, as it does, it will become a high value target for thieves and hackers.

For this reason, we made a strategic decision to deliver a security product to this platform in its very early days – as we did with Android.  Our objective is to start Windows mobile users off on the right foot and help them create a safe and secure community.”

“We worked closely with Microsoft on the development of this product.  Our teams were trained by Microsoft and our software was provided to the company for review and certification prior to release. We did implement a number of requested changes provided to us by Microsoft.”

“All of the data we collect is used solely to offer users an exceptional security service with state-of-the-art GPS tracking.

  • We will not sell your data to anyone.
  • We do not share or otherwise disclose your data to anyone without your permission.
  • We do not mine your data for patterns.
  • We do not use your data to target ads.
  • We do not access your location data without your permission.”

He lists the features of the app as including:

  1. The Safe Web Surfing function helps protect users from social engineering attacks that are intended to drive them to take wrong decisions while online
  2. This protection engine checks the safety of a URL in case the user tries to access a malicious web site.
  3. The Safe Search function allows users searching the web to avoid malicious web sites.
  4. Our file scanning engine scans media files, mp3s, video and play lists and checks against a blacklist of bad files. This is a result of several “proof of concepts” disclosed in public.

However, from everything I’ve seen online, it all it does is scan some EICAR strings and the word “Hebrew” …which seems at odds with the above?

The full post can be found here:

http://blogs.avg.com/product-news/avgs-response-community-feedback-windows-phone-7-app/

AVG Windows Phone App removed from Marketplace


Microsoft’s marketplace is steadily filling up with new apps but unfortunately, not all are awesome. This is the most high profile WP7 app removal I’ve seen (possibly the only one so far?) and perhaps surprisingly, it involves AVG. The perennial free AV makers, once the choice of IT bods the world over, recently released an Anti-Virus app for Windows Phone 7.

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When it’s existence was first noted people such as Justin Angel & Rafael Rivera (the latter part of the Chevron WP7 jailbreak team) started to investigate it’s worthiness…and it didn’t go well for AVG!

Justin tweeted:

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and Rafael’s blog post says this:

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This prompted Brandon Watson, responsible for apps & developers for WP7, to investigate internally at Microsoft and then say this:

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So it’s an anti-virus app that doesn’t actually protect from viruses, servers ads and send your location, along with unique identifiers, back to AVG…WTF?!

I’m keen to see what AVG say about this. Was it a proper corporate decision or a rogue AVG developer acting alone?

Thanks to WinRumors, Justin Angel & Rafael Rivera.

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