Tag Archives: Microsoft

Windows Phone 8.1: Leaps Forward

Thanks to their “Developer Preview” program, Microsoft is allowing a wide array of users access to its latest version of the Windows Phone OS:  Version 8.1.  This release is greatly anticipated by the Windows Phone community and is widely regarded as an important step in bringing Windows Phone into alignment with what competitors are offering.  With a milestone as great as this one, I though that it would be a good time to dust off my Windows Phone 8 Gripe List and see how Microsoft has done in addressing my own concerns.

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In Defense of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2

The first round of reviews for the Surface Pro 2 are now in circulation.  Not surprisingly, most reviewers seem to have taken the rinse-and-repeat approach when performing their evaluations.  After all, the 2nd iteration is an incremental one which, of course, leaves the device open to many of the same criticisms it received during the first go-round.  But which of these criticisms REALLY hold water against normal use?

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Microsoft Surface: Thoughts on this innovative Windows 8 Tablet

To say that Microsoft is in a bit of a transition would be the understatement of the decade.  Over the past year and a half, we’ve see the Redmond software giant re-envision the Windows user experience with Windows 8, make it’s foray into the ‘Devices’ market with their Surface tablets, underwrite and eventually purchase its main Windows Phone partner, announce a major reorganization into a “Devices and Services” company, and begin the transition to a new CEO.  And all of this is happening amidst — or perhaps more appropriately, in response to — a persistent decline in the Wintel PC market.  Whether you’re a die-hard supporter, or gleefully anticipating their demise, it’s impossible not to have your eyes glued on Microsoft right now.

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Windows Phone 8: Areas for Improvement

As you may know, I have already taken the plunge into the world of Windows Phone 8 with a recent purchase of a new Nokia Lumia 920.  After a few solid weeks of use, I have made a small list of gripes areas for improvement regarding the Windows Phone 8 OS (and none of them are related to app availability).

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From iphone to Windows Phone 8: The App Hit List

As I have previously reported, I made the jump to Windows Phone with the recent purchase of a Lumia 920 on AT&T.  One of the major criticisms of the WP8 platform is, of course, the availability of Apps.  Admittedly, I am not an App power user, but I still have needs, you know.  But to help me track expectations, I have decided to catalog all the iPhone apps that I currently use on a weekly basis.  Along side this list, I will track the similar/replacement WP8 apps.  Read on for the details.

UPDATE (8/8):  In the past few weeks, a number of apps were released on WP8, one of which is for my family’s main bank.  This app appears to bring all the functionality of its iOS cousin including mobile check deposit.  This is a major win.  Thought it was not listed below, an app for the FitBit device was also released.  This brings a bit more convenience to the FitBit reporting which, otherwise, is accessible on the web.  Double-score.  All of this goes to my point that the WP8 ecosystem is constantly evolving and improving on a day-to-day basis. Continue reading From iphone to Windows Phone 8: The App Hit List

From iphone to Windows Phone 8: The Plunge

I am now in the possession of a new Nokia Lumia 920. After about 6 years of iPhone ownership, I decided to take the plunge into the world of Windows Phone 8. And so far? I’m very pleased. Read on for more first impressions on the hardware and software.
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From iphone to Windows Phone 8: An Update (UPDATED AGAIN)

In a previous post, I detailed the reasons why I am tempted to switch from my iphone to a Windows Phone 8 device.  What I am discovering, however, is that it is a very frustrating time to be in the market for such a phone.  Continue reading for a few thoughts on the current state of my WP8 search.

UPDATE:  The Samsung event has come and gone.  While some interesting tablets and AIO PCs were announced, there is no ATIV Windows Phone.  Opportunity #1 is gone.

UPDATE 2:  The MS Build 2013 conference is into its last day, but I am going to go ahead and call this ‘Missed Opportunity #2’.  Unfortunately, it sounds like the Windows Phone developers attending the conference will be disappointed as well, since the expected WP 8.1 update was not even a footnote.  I guess Windows 8.1 stole the show.

UPDATE 3 (7/11/13):  Much to nobody’s surprise, Nokia unveiled a new 41-megapixel Windows Phone this morning.  Also not surprising is that it will be available in the US exclusively on AT&T.  While I don’t consider myself a ‘shutter bug’, this would mostly likely be my next phone if I decided to jump ship from Verizon to AT&T.  I’m still maintaining my holding pattern for the time being.

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From iphone to Windows Phone 8: An Introduction

Like most people, my mobile communications history can be split into two segments:  before iphone and after iphone.  I purchase a first generation iphone back in 2007, soon after it was released. I’m not typically an early adopter, but that device fit perfectly.  At the time, I was traveling for work every week and needed a device that could not only help me stay in touch but also provide internet access and serve up music and videos while sitting for hours on the plane.  It certainly made my previous Sony-Ericsson “smart phone” look pretty dumb.

Fast forward to 2013.  I am now on my third iphone, a Verizon supported iphone 4.  While I am still happy with the phone — a very capable device — I am not feeling any desire to upgrade to the iphone 5.  Every day, it’s looking more and more like the rest of the mobile communications companies have finally caught up to Apple — and I’m sure some would even say “surpassed”.  Last year, I decided that it’s time to finally start looking around to see if there’s a better fit out there.

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Microsoft Web Matrix 2

First off, I haven’t called myself a Web Developer in quite a while. My first job out of college involved some light ASP-based web dev work using Visual Studio and SQL Server. That work inspired me to create my own content management system. It was hosted on my own PC using MS IIS and MS Access. I even had a static IP address provided by my ISP at the time.
Recently, I’ve been getting back into doing some web design work. Nothing fancy — just some WordPress templates, CSS, HTML5. I was looking for a good tool to facilitate this work and I stumbled upon Microsoft’s Web Matrix product, a freeware development tool encompassing several different web technologies.  A few comments and first impressions after the break.

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