Diarist for Windows Phone is available in the marketplace. I've used this application on my Windows Mobile phones and my Pocket PCs and I'm glad that I can Use it on my Windows Phones.
The Diarist is free. Go get it from the marketplace today!
Creating playlists on windows phone isn't particularly difficult, but it's not particularly intuitive either.
When you're listening to music and select the pause button to stop the music from playing, the music stops playing but before you work with playlists you need to completely clear the "now playing" playlist on the phone.
You can clear the "now playing" playlist on the phone by powering down the phone and powering the phone back on or you can install the very useful and free "Stop the Music" app. (Click this link to download the "Stop the Music" app)
Open up the music+videos hub, swipe over to the Zune screen, tap music. Now select and add entire albums or individual songs to the phone's now playing playlist:
As soon as you select the first album or first song to add to your playlist, music will start playing. Press the back button and find the next album or song you want to add to your playlist. press and hold your finger on the album or song and select "add to now playing." Proceed in this manner until you've selected all the music you want to add to your playlist.
Now you can find your newly created playlist by tapping the music+video tile on the phone and swiping over to the playlist screen.
In my next blog article I will describe how you can edit playlists on Windows Phone.
PLEASE NOTE: The Youmail service is available in the United States and Canada only.
If you receive voicemail messages via email, you may have encountered a problem listening to .wav formatted messages on your Windows Phone. Apparently some service providers use old codecs for their .wav formatted messages that are not compatible with Windows Phone.
I ran into this problem with voicemail messages I received from a VOIP service I use. I figured out a quick and easy way to convert the .WAV messages to .MP3 format that can be played on my phone. All you need to do is:
1. Sign up for a free YouMail account.
I have used YouMail for several years to replace my cellphone carrier's voicemail service. YouMail provides a lot of really great controls over voicemail, but you don't have to use it to replace your cellphone voicemail unless you want to.
2. Set up YouMail account to email your voicemail messages to you as attached MP3 files.
After you've signed up for YouMail, change your account settings by selecting Settings > My Alerts (found under the My Account heading) > set the "Email Alerts" options to receive email "when someone leaves you a voicemail", to format your email alerts as "HTML E-Mail" and to include audio attachments as MP3 files, as shown in the screen print below.
YouMail will convert WAV files that are forwarded to your YouMail account to MP3 files and then email your voicemail messages as MP3 files.
3. Forward your .WAV voicemail messages to your unique YouMail email address.
When you set up a YouMail account, you were required to associate it with your cellphone number. Your unique YouMail email address is the cellphone number you used when you set up your YouMail account + @my.youmail.com (it will look something like firstname.lastname@example.org).
Now go change the email account that your voicemail service provider uses to delivery your voicemail messages to you from your original email account to your unique YouMail email address. If you are unable to change the email address directly with your voicemail service provider, you can forward your received email to your YouMail email address (perhaps by setting up a Rule in your email account).
An added benefit of setting up a YouMail account is that you can also use MagikMail, a windows phone app that works with YouMail, to organize and manage all your voicemail messages (if you feel so inclined).
I hope you find this workaround useful. If you have any questions or can contribute feedback to this article, please post a comment.
The Windows Phone OS does not include any kind of ringtone profiles that allow you to automatically program how incoming phone calls are received on the phone. I've come up with a workaround that addresses this deficiency well enough to suit my needs and thought I'd share it here for anyone who might be interested.
First, I created a "silent" ringtone and synced it to my phone. I assigned this silent ringtone as the system-wide ringtone on my phone:
Secondly, I assigned a different ringtone to the contacts for whom I always want to receive calls (close friends, family, my boss) most any time of the day or night:
When the phone rings, the phone screen still lights up, but I don't hear the phone ringing unless the person calling is one of my important contacts. If I don't answer the phone, the calls are forwarded to my voicemail.
When I'm at a place or function where I don't want to receive any phone calls (like a funeral, the symphony, the movie theater, at church or synagogue, etc.), I turn OFF the ringtone for all calls by tapping Settings > ringtones+sounds > tap the Ringer toggle switch to the OFF position or by pressing the volume slider on the side of the phone and tapping the sound control icon at the top of the screen.
When I'm at a place where I want to receive all calls, I can change the system-wide ringtone from the silent ringtone to a "sounded" ringtone.
There is no stop button on Windows Phone. When you're listening to something on the phone (the FM radio, music, a podcast, etc) and you press the volume rocker on the side of the phone to bring up the audio controls, you can move the volume audio up and down, and you can tap the onscreen control icons to go back or fast forward within the file or tap the middle icon to pause or resume the play, but you can't actually turn the player off. The only way to permanently stop something from playing or to turn the player off is by performing a power cycle on the phone (also known as rebooting the phone).
When I got my first windows phone, I didn't really see the need for a way to turn off the player..pausing music was fine with me! But the more I worked with the phone the more annoying it got not being able to stop and close music on the phone.
I was glad to discover the Stop the Music! app in the marketplace.
Stop the Music! is an elegantly simple application. When you open the app up and select the settings icon on the lower edge of the screen you can toggle some settings on and off (see screenshot on the left below). I really like the "Show in Music+Video hub history" option.
You can also select the tile that you'd like to see the phone start screen if you pin the application to the start screen (see screenshot on the right).
Stop the Music! is integrated into the Music+Video hub on the apps screen (see the 6th item under the apps heading in the left screenshot below). If you turn the "Show in Music+Video hub history" option on, you'll also see a button in the history screen (see the 1st tile under the history heading in the right screenshot below)
When you tap the button or open the app from the programs menu, music will be stopped (if you've turned on the "automatically stop the music" option in the settings) and then when you press the volume rocker on the side of the phone, you'll only see the volume level and no forward, backward or pause/resume key.
Stop The Music! also follows good application development principles by providing an easy way to contact the developer directly from the app (see the left screenshot below) and by providing a fairly comprehensive revision history of the app (see the right screenshot below).
Since the upgrade to Windows Phone 7.5 (also known as the Mango upgrade), I've been able to use custom ringtones on my Windows Phones, but I didn't get around to creating and syncing any custom ringtones until a few weeks ago.
There are some very specific requirements that must be followed in order to use custom ringtones on a windows phone, namely audio files must:
With these requirements in mind, you can create ringtones from your favorite tunes or you can download already formatted ringtones and sync them to your phone.
I recently purchased a few ringtones to use on my phone. Before I could use the ringtones on my phone, I had to edit them to make them conform to these requirements. First I had to shorten them, and then I had to change the genre to RINGTONE.
I use Audacity, a free audio editor and recorder which can be downloaded here, to create ringtones from songs and to modify purchased ringtones. Audacity has lots of features that you won't need to use and it isn't the easiest software I've ever used so I'll step you through the process of creating a custom ringtone.
After you install the Audacity software to your computer open it up and select File > Open > navigate to the folder where you've placed the tunes you plan to use as ringtones. Select a tune to import it into the Audacity software for editing.
Toolbars: Just under the menu bar you'll see the Toolbar with several tools you can use. On the left hand side of the Toolbar, you'll see 6 control keys that can be used to playback or record tunes. You can select the green forward triangle to listen to the tune, select the blue double bars to pause the tune, select the yellow square to stop the tune, and so forth. To the right of the playback/record keys you find editing tools to cut, copy, paste, pieces of the tune, tools to adjust playback levels (if you want to make the tune louder you'll want to explore these tools).
Timeline: Just below the toolbars, you'll see the timeline which is a horizontal ruler above the tracks that measure the time from 0 (the start of the track) to the end of the track. The tune in the above screenshot is approximately 2:50 minutes long.
Tracks: Underneath the timeline you can see the audio tracks for the tune. Since this tune is in stereo, there are two tracks which represent the left channel (the upper waveform) and the right channel (the lower waveform).
Listen to the tune to determine the portion you want to use as your custom ringtone. You can select the portion of the tune to be your custom ringtone by clicking the Selection Tool (which I've circled in red in the screenshot below).
Then move your cursor into the Tracks area and highlight no more than 40 seconds' worth of the tune. You can see in the screenshot below that I've selected the portion of the tune that starts around 45 seconds and runs until 1:15.
Select File > Export Selection > give the Ringtone a name and save it as an MP3 or WMA formatted file.
When you select the Save button, an Edit Metadata box will open up and you can change the Genre to RINGTONE (you can see this particular tune's Genre was originally shown as "Soundtrack" in the screenshot below). After you edit the Genre field to change it to RINGTONE, select Add > Ok and your new ringtone will be created.
Now all you need to do is sync your ringtone to your phone via the Zune desktop software.
First, connect your phone to your computer via the USB cable or wirelessly (if you've set it up to sync wirelessly).
Check to make sure you've added your Ringtone folder to the list of Monitored folders: Open up the Zune software, select SETTINGS (found in the upper right hand corner of the screen) > SOFTWARE > COLLECTION > Monitored folders. If your Ringtone folder is not already included in your list of monitored folders, add it by selecting the ADD FOLDER button.
Select the back arrow in the upper left hand corner of the screen. Select Collection > Music > Genres (found in the right panel) > RINGTONE (found in the left panel).
Find your custom ringtone in the right hand panel, right click on it. From the popup menu, select "Sync with.." to sync to your connected phone or you can drag the ringtone to the phone icon in the lower left hand corner of the screen.
After you disconnect your phone from your computer, you can find and assign your ringtone by tapping Settings > ringtones+sounds > tap the Ringtone box and review the ringtones under the "Custom" heading.
If you want to assign your custom ringtone to a contact, open up the People hub, select the person that you want to assign the ringtone to and tap the edit icon on the bottom of the screen. Then tap the +ringtone option and select your ringtone from the list.
I've been using a Windows Phone now for more than a year and I've tried out a lot of apps in the marketplace. I've installed and uninstalled lots of apps that weren't ready for prime time use, and I've avoided lots of apps that sounded interesting, but didn't offer some core functionality. I've put together a list of things I look for in applications and thought I'd share them here, so here goes!
Provide a trial version: I've been burned in the past when I've purchased software without trying it first and I won't make that mistake again. My rule of thumb is: If I can't try first, I won't buy.
Let me buy an ad-free version of your app: I like software, and if I like your trial software, I most likely will want to purchase an ad-free version of it, so please also offer a paid version of your app.
Give me a way to import data into the app from the web: If an app is data intensive and the only way to get data into the app is by manually keying it into the phone, I probably won't even bother to download it from the Marketplace. Using the phone's keyboard to enter data is too tedious and time consuming. . . I'm a touch typist and prefer to use my computer's full sized keyboard and screen to input data into applications. Also, it's entirely likely I've already built a database in Excel or some other software on my computer and I'd really like a way to import a .csv file into your app.
Let me backup the data that is stored in your app to the web in a format I can use: I'm not going to invest a lot of time inputting unique data into an app that can't be backed up any where. This requirement is especially critical to me since Microsoft doesn't provide a way to backup the entire contents of my phone. I'd hate to lose my data if I ever have to hard reset my phone, and I also need a way to get my data back into your app when I install it to my new phone.
Include support contact information in your app that is easy to find and use from the phone in case I need some support or have some ideas to share with you.
Please provide detailed help that I can access from my phone, especially if your app has lots of features or is complicated to setup or use. I prefer to access help directly from the phone, either by tapping a link within the app or by viewing help topics within the app itself.
I'd like to review a change log whenever you update your app, preferably via a screen or link within the app on the phone, that documents the items that have been changed or added to the app. If you've added some great new feature tell me about it! Then let me know how to get to it and how to use it.
Give your app a name that makes it easy for me to find after I install it to my phone. Clever names are cute, but when I'm searching through the long list of apps that are installed on my phone I might not remember your clever name, but I'm sure I'll remember a functional name.
Assign meaningful and comprehensive tags to your app so I can find it when I search the marketplace. You might have a really great app, but I'm never going to know about it or install it to my phone if I can't find it.
Make an extra effort to include a well written description of your app in the Marketplace. Highlight what you like about the app, tell me why I'd want to install it to my phone. Give me a compelling reason why I'd like to try it out. If your app doesn't do something that you know I'd want because of a limitation in the SDK tell me about it so I won't harshly judge your app for something that is outside your control.
Be sure to check the spelling and grammar in your app's marketplace description. When I see misspelled words and/or poor grammar in the app's marketplace description I can't help but wonder how detail oriented the developer is which leads me to question the quality of the coding and testing of the app. If you are writing an app description in a language that is not your primary language, ask someone who is proficient in that language to proof your description.
Please don't stop at one app. If I try out and like your really great app, I'm going to check to see if you've got more apps in the marketplace. A good impression will make me want to buy more apps from you.
Ask for my help. If you'd like more feedback about what a user wants in an app, please ask! I've got some specific ideas about what I want and I'm happy to share them with you. The marketplace now supports the capability of offering alpha and beta tests of apps to a select group of users, so let me know if I can help.
I still use several of my Windows Mobile devices even though I'm using a windows phone 7 as my primary phone. I was never completely comfortable using ActiveSync/WMDC to sync data to my Windows Mobile devices, especially after I lost data through some kind of failed sync that happened several years ago. I always considered the ActiveSync/WMDC syncing option as adequate, but inconvenient and it could also be problematic and somewhat unreliable at times.
When I started using Windows Phone (which does not sync contacts and appointments directly to Outlook, but instead syncs this data directly to Windows Live), I searched for a way to sync my Windows Mobile devices directly to my Windows Live account and discovered that Microsoft had quietly implemented an alternative syncing solution for Windows Mobile 6.x devices.
Windows Mobile 6.x devices can sync contacts and calendar data directly between a Windows Live account via Microsoft's Hotmail/ActiveSync Access service:
|1. On the phone, click on "ActiveSync" under Start menu or under Programs. Then select Menu (found on the bottom right hand side of screen) > Add Server Source||2. Input your windows live email address in the space provided. Remove the checkmark in the box next to "Attempt to detect Exchange Server Settings automatically. Tap Next.|
|3. Enter m.hotmail.com in the Server address field. Leave the checkmark in the box next to "This server requires an encrypted (SSL) connection. Tap Next.||4. Enter your full Live/Hotmail email address in the User name field. Enter password. Leave Domain blank. Tap Next|
|5. Select the data you want to sync. Hotmail supports all 4 data types via ActiveSync. Tap Finish||6. The device will connect to Hotmail ActiveSync and perform an initial sync of the selected data (assuming the device is connected to the internet).|
To make sure you don't lose any data when you set up an Exchange/ActiveSync connection on your windows mobile device, please be sure to back up your contacts and calendar data to the storage card you use with your phone before you set up this connection. If you don't already have backup software installed on your phone, go download and install PIMBackup.
If you've got a windows phone that has been updated to 7.5 (has received the Mango update) you can now send and receive a special kind of vCard with your phone. Let me demonstrate...
Get your phone and press the search button to open up Bing.
Tap the vision icon on the bottom of the screen (it is the 2nd icon from the right) and position the image shown below in the phone's view finder:
If you've got a good internet connection you'll see my name (Prof Julie) at the top of the screen right away. Tap my name and my vCard will open up on your phone's screen. Now you can tap the "Add to contacts" button and save my contact information to the people hub on your phone.
I used Microsoft Tag to create the picture that Bing Vision captured. This particular tag only includes a very limited amount of contact information, but I've created other tags that include my phone numbers, and address. I've saved those tags as jpg files and synced them over to my phone. Because the tags are pictures, I can email or text them from my phone.
I wanted to make it easy to share my vCard with other windows phone users when I attended the Microsoft MVP summit in Redmond, WA this year, so I looked around the Marketplace and found a free app that lets me pin pictures directly to my phone's start screen called "Pin Image to Start."
Now when I want to share my contact information with someone, I can tap the picture on my home screen and if the person has a windows phone or has the Tag Reader or Tag app installed on their iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Symbian or J2ME phones, they can get my contact information right away.
Then select the "Create a Tag" option, input a description name for the tag in the 1st box, tap the down arrow to the right of Tag Type. There are 5 types of tags you can create:
Select the vCard option and complete the rest of the boxes on the screen. The vCard Type field lets you either import a previously created vCard (by browsing to your computers file system and selecting it) or create one on the fly select the "specify details" option.
Select the Save button after you've completed the form. Now you can download the vCard image to your computer by clicking the blue down arrow in the Download column.
You can choose the tag type, format and size that you prefer to use to display your vCard from the list of options provided (the format and size options change based on the tag you select).
I wanted a tag that was uniquely mine, so I selected the 2nd option, Custom Tag Barcode. I also selected the "Render barcode only without help text" and the "Render my Tag in black and white" options and clicked the down arrow to the right of File Format to create a .wmf image that looks like this:
I opened up PowerPoint and inserted the avatar I wanted to use as my vCard background image and my custom Microsoft Tag (that I created and downloaded in the previous step) to a blank slide by selecting Insert > Picture > navigating to the folder on my computer where the avatar and Microsoft Tag were stored, and selecting the pictures.
After both images were inserted into the PowerPoint slide, I moved the Microsoft Tag image so that it was on top of the upper left hand side of my avatar image. The Microsoft tag image was not as large as the avatar image, so I sized it to approximately the same size as my avatar picture by dragging the lower right hand corner of the Microsoft Tag down to match the lower right hand corner of the avatar picture.
To make sure both images were lined up perfectly, I selected both images by clicking on the Ctrl A buttons, then I clicked on Format > Align > Align Center and Format > Align > Align Middle.
Then I grouped the two images together into one image by clicking Format > Align > Group > Group
I saved the grouped image as a picture by right clicking on the picture, then selecting the "Save as Picture" option.
A really nice benefit of using Microsoft Tag for my vCard is that if my contact information changes I won't have to recreate my vCard. Instead, all I need to do is log into the Microsoft Tag website and update my tag information there. If I share my Microsoft Tag vCard with anyone and if they keep that image, they will always have my most up-to-date contact information.
There are some limitations when using a Microsoft Tag vCard that you should be aware of:
In any event, you could also have a copy of your vCard stored on Dropbox or SkyDrive, save the Dropbox share link in a OneNote note (or any other note taking software you prefer to use) and then if you find yourself in a situation where your Microsoft Tag vCard can't be readily share, you can always share your vCard by texting or emailing a link to your online vCard.
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I installed Sat Rad Player to my Windows Phone when it first hit the marketplace and paid for it within a few days after trying it out. Since then, this application just gets better and better.
Sat Rad Player works in conjunction with your SiriusXM internet radio subscription. If you don't already subscribe to SiriusXM internet radio, you can sign up for a free 7 day trial on SiriusXM's website.
After you've installed Sat Rad Player to your phone and opened the application, you'll be prompted to login to your SiriusXM account by inputting your UserName and Password, selecting the type of account you have (Sirius or XM account) and by tapping the "Log In" button.
After you've signed onto your SiriusXM account, you can view and select your favorite channels by swiping to the right to view the Channels screen. To save a channel as a favorite, tap the circle that is to the right of the channel name and a star will be placed in the circle (in the screenshot below you can see that SiriusXM Pops and Symphony Hall have been selected as favorite channels).
Scroll down the screen to view all the different channels that are available through your SiriusXM internet music subscription and select the channels that are your favorites. Tapping the three dots in the lower right hand corner of the screen, lets you search the channels by Channel Name or Channel Number.
A right swipe takes you to the Now Playing screen which includes some interesting controls:
Hot List icon: Just to the right of the artist picture, you'll see a round icon with a flame inside it. If you tap this icon, the song information will be added to your personal "Hot List". Later you can go to the Hot List screen and learn more about the song or even purchase the song from the Marketplace (more about that later).
The three buttons on the bottom of the screen allow you to 1) toggle between Low and High Quality streaming (the low option does not require as much phone resources nor does it consume as much bandwidth), 2) stop or pause (the red square button) and 3) resume playing the Sat Rad Player (the green arrow button).
Another right swipe takes you to the Favorites screen, which displays the favorite channels you selected on the Channels screen . Tapping the round icon with the garbage can in the center removes the channel from your favorites.
Another right swipe takes you to the Hot List screen to show any songs you selected in the Now Playing screen while the song was playing on your phone. If you tap the green $ sign icon to the right of the song, you'll be taken to the Zune Marketplace where you can purchase the song and review additional music by the artist. If you tap the garbage can icon, you'll remove the song from the Hot List.
Another right swipe and you'll see the Settings screen where you can:
Paid, Free & Canadian versions of Sat Rad Player are available: You'll find paid and free (advertisement supported) versions of the Sat Rad Player in the Zune Marketplace as well as a version for Canadian Sirius users. At a price of 99 cents, I think the Sat Rad Player app is a great value for an advertisement-free listening experience.
The Developer is responsive and committed to making the Sat Rad Player app the best of class: There have been several updates to this application since it was first released in the marketplace. I have emailed the developer a couple of times with questions and suggestions for the application and the developer has been very responsive (you can tap the "click to Email Support" button on the Login screen to email the developer).
A few things I'd like to see in future updates to this application include: