Thursday, February 28, 2013

Game Review: vNESLite Free

Something that I have had on just about every computer I ever owned was a NES emulator. Loosely translated for those kids out there, the NES, or Nintendo Entertainment System, was the first awesome gaming console to hit the world about 30 years back.

Needless to say, the mindless games like Excitebike, Mike Tyson's Punchout and The Legend of Zelda always found a home on my PC or phone through NES emulator programs. I had ROMs saved back from the days when a friend showed me how to copy them off the cartridges that I had and put them on everything from 3.5" floppy discs to portable hard drives. Currently my 5 favorites have a home on my SkyDrive.

Today, I stumbled across a new emulator App and once again, fired up Excitebike and Punchout for a bit of old school fun. vNESLite was the App of choice and it pretty much nailed the experience. Play was smooth, controls were decent and the sound was dead on. The play and sound were so good, I was almost not going to mention the small issue with the controls. The issue that I experienced was when using multi-touch in Excitebike, after about 3 seconds, the button would pretend not to be pressed. A small glitch that just required a lift and repress, but an issue on some games none the less.

There are 2 different versions of vNESLite in the market. We played with the free, ad-supported model and loved it. The paid version removes the ads.

Overall, if you have some of those old Nintendo ROMs around, vNESLite is the perfect companion for your Windows Phone. If not, it really isn't something you should consider, unless you know where to find them.

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Nokia Play To Visits Windows Phone 8

For all you Lumia 810, 820 and 920 users out there, Nokia Labs has a present waiting for you. Play To, Nokia's DLNA patchwork for playing music and movies to capable devices, has entered beta form and is available for download from the Beta Labs site.

Play To has been missing since the new Windows Phone 8 phones came to market. For those that want to jump in early, visit and sign up today.

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

App Review: Calculator³

A basic calculator is included with almost every smartphone today. The options for extended features are very limited in most of those stock calculators. The Calculator³ App is what most Windows Phone users might find to fill some of those advanced features that are missing from the stock calculator App.

The Calculator³ App includes a basic calculator, scientific calculator, currency converter, unit converter and programmer mode. The interface is clean and simple. The buttons are large and easy to use. The App overall is the perfect addition to the stock Windows Phone experience.

The App is currently free through the Windows Phone Store, but regularly runs $1.49.

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Product Review: Nokia Wireless Charging Plate

The Nokia Wireless Charging Plate was something I was a bit skeptical of going in to use. The $50 expense seemed flat out too high to justify. The phone has to be face up, which stinks for overnight charging. Plus, is it really that hard to plug a phone in every day? That said, my jaded-self plugged in my Nokia Wireless Charging Plate and put the back on my Lumia 810 and gave this thing a shot.

My first impressions were that the technology is pretty cool, but not entirely necessary. The plate was simple to use, easy to setup and required no special instructions. The phone back (a special one is needed for the Lumia 810 but not for devices like the Lumia 920) was also a simple install, but beware that if you are using the Lumia 810, you might lose the ability to have that case you purchased on your phone do to the slight size change.

Now, we get to the wow factor... I never realized how much wear and tear happens to the USB/Charging port on a device from just plugging it in daily. After about 6 months, that perfectly tight charging port becomes filled with dust and dirt and can easily begin to wobble. Thinking back to my trusty HTC Touch Pro 2, it didn't even take 6 months for the charger cable to have some play in it. The Charging Plate completely removes all possibility of this and even makes the device more kid friendly by not having a wire holding it down.

The Nokia Wireless Charging Plate seems to charge around the same speed as the standard Nokia wall charger, but honestly, speed is never a problem for me as I tend to keep my phone topped off whenever I am at my desk or as I head to bed for the night. Overall, I have to give the Nokia Wireless Charging Plate a big thumbs up for ease of use and functionality. Is it a must have? Probably not, but for those that have the devices with the capabilities, it sure makes life easy and keeps the wear down on that charging port.

The Nokia Wireless Charging Plate is $49.00 and is available online and at many carrier stores. The Nokia Wireless Charging Plate is part of a current generation of Qi compatible devices that will work with many other Qi compatible phones that include the Nokia 920, 810 and the Google Nexus 4.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Uber Popular Twitter App Mehdoh Free For Limited Time

One of the highest rated Twitter clients for Windows Phone is being offered up as a freebie for a limited time. Mehdoh, features Live Tile support, Windows Phone 8 compatibility and a very nice premium layout.

While what makes up a good Twitter client is really in the eyes of the user, we would consider Mehdoh one of our favorites. It is well worth the free download and is even worth the $.99 download after the deal expires.

Check it out now in the Windows Phone Store at

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Game Review: Blockfall

About 10 years ago, Tetris set the bar for block sorting games pretty high. Not many have ever reached the popularity levels of that masterpiece, and fewer still will ever have a chance of dethroning it as the greatest ever. Blockfall, despite its original concept, is one of those that just falls a bit short of the glory category.

The concept is simple enough. Blocks are lined up vertically on the screen and you touch the shape that matches the bottom of the row to score. Make a mistake, lose points. Get them all right and keep playing.

Blockfall isn't one of those must have games, but it is a great playing experience for those 5 minute waits or while you need a bit of stimulation during the day. Another bonus for Blockfall is the free price tag and the small size.

Check out "Blockfall" for Windows Phone

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Data Sense Coming To WP8 Soon?

It is a completely rumorsville report coming from left field, but it appears that the Data Sense feature may soon appear in an OTA update on many Windows Phone 8 devices. The signs are pointing to the unofficial exclusive Data Sense period for Verizon Wireless is winding down and Microsoft will begin rolling out the useful feature to other carriers soon.

Now for those that grabbed one of those WP8 devices and immediately bolted to one of those MVNO carriers, the feature may not work. Apparently, Data Sense requires a bit of help from the carrier end as it is currently in testing with AT&T. There is no indication that T-Mobile is testing the feature.

I'll keep you up to speed on this if any additional information becomes available as well as any information on timelines for Data Sense coming to your device.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Nokia Not Bringing Counters To WP8

In a rather shocking response to a question asked a thousand times before, a Nokia rep on twitter revealed that the company's usage monitoring App, Counters, will not be made available for Windows Phone 8 devices.

While far from crucial, Counters allowed users to keep tabs on their voice, text and data usage. For those users on completely unlimited plans, Counters served as a gentle reminder of how much, or little, that big dollar plan was being used. For those using a new Lumia on a prepaid option or limited post paid plan, Counters enabled a strict monitoring of your usage. Either way Counters was a great addition to your Windows Phone 7.x device.

On the positive side, it appears that the end may be in sight for Verizon Wireless' exclusive Data Sense deal. The representative continued on to state that Data Sense would be replacing Counters, and they would let us know when that feature would be enabled. Bad news, good news? Possibly, but at least for now we can stop asking about it.

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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Game Review: Touchdown Run

For those looking for something to pass the time instead of those silly Super Bowl commercials, Touchdown Run is now available in the Windows Phone Store. The game is rather simplistic to play as you just draw a line through the playing field and hope your runner can score.

The easy levels are definitely easy and the harder levels raise the bar quickly. Touchdown Run is completely old school and a blast to kill a few minutes here and there. You can pick it up here:

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Surviving The Storms: Getting Better Battery Life

Preserving your phone’s battery during power outages and severe weather is always tough. Fortunately, I’m not going to pump you full of insane ideas like, turning on Airplane Mode, having an extra battery or anything else crazy like that. Here are a few quick tips for your Windows Phone and making the battery last a bit longer.

Battery Saver Mode – <settings + battery saver + advanced + now (until next charge)>

By engaging battery saver mode, your device will not check for emails, or sync any of your information until you do it manually or you are able to charge again. This trick can save you quite a chunk in regards to battery usage. For example, by simply engaging Battery Saver, I gain 30-40% more time in my estimated time remaining column.

Set Screen Brightness to Low - <settings + brightness + (auto off) low>

Running your screen brightness on high works great for those sunny days when you need to see the screen outdoors, but when the power is out and cell signals aren’t available, you won’t need that much to drive the screen. Turning the brightness down from High to Low will net about 20-30% longer battery life.

Turn Off Wi-Fi – <settings + Wi-Fi + off>

Turning off Wi-Fi, which won’t work if your router doesn’t have power anyway is a great way to conserve additional power. Windows Phone handles Wi-Fi very well, but if you are on Windows Phone 8, or have a device that has the ‘Wi-Fi Stay Awake’ feature, this can drain the battery just looking for a source. Without having power to a router, you will be stuck in searching mode and drain valuable juice from that power pack very quickly.

Communicate Through SMS

If you still have coverage, communicate with others through SMS or Text messages. They require less time to send (though keep them short as the screen on time will drain that battery as well) than voice calls do. You can also send ‘group messages’ to multiple people at once letting them all know that you are ok. This will save quite a chunk of battery over the course of a day.

Turn-Off All Non Essential Services

Windows Phones have plenty of amazing features that drain power quickly. Bluetooth, tap+send and internet sharing will all crush that battery in no time. Disable all three of these features and begin saving even more power.

Set Lock Screen To Time-Out Quickly

By setting the screen to time-out at 30 seconds, the screen will power down quickly saving precious resources for other uses. Most people don’t forget to turn their screen off, but when a text message comes in, the screen will stay on for a certain amount of time on its own. The less time that screen is powered on, the more battery will be saved for others.

Just how much battery can these tips gain you? Well with my Lumia 810, I can go from 8 hours of battery remaining to 32 hours of battery remaining off a new charge. While this may not be a life changing amount, in case of a natural disaster, it could be a life saving amount. If you have other tips that are great battery savers, comment below.

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Protecting Your Lumia 920's Screen

Protecting that new Nokia Lumia 920 without losing functionality is a tough one. One of the biggest selling points of the 920 is the fact that you can use the screen with gloves, through a parka, or even a bag, The Gorilla Glass 2 screen is very durable, but a screen protector does more than prevent scratches. A good screen protector can ease glare, will help prevent against finger print smudges and even kid proof your phone. I say this because I witnessed my boss' child cover his old Motorola Droid X with white out this week. Even after 'scrubbing' it for an hour, there was still white out all over the device.

That said, today we look at the Gadget Guard Invisible Screen Protector For Nokia Lumia 920. The $14.99 price tag puts the Gadget Guard at the top of the price list, but the solid construction and easy application justifies the pricing easily. The protector is thick enough to provide adequate protection, but not so thick that it becomes cumbersome to the device or its feel.

Overall, I can't recommend the Gadget Guard Invisible Screen Protector For Nokia Lumia 920 enough for Lumia 920 owners. The protection is fantastic and, as screen protectors go, it's one of the finest guards available tody.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Lumia 710 Left On WP 7.5

Just another knock against those pesky early adopters here... Today T-Mobile has come out with a bit of bad news for those that took on their first Nokia Windows Phone, the Lumia 710. The lower end handset will not be receiving an update to the new Windows Phone 7.8 software.

Given the near entry level specs of the 710, it isn't all that shocking. Given the almost dismal sales figures, its even less of a surprise. One only has to look as far as the fact that the 710 sells for $199 off contract via the T-Mobile Monthly 4G plan to know that it didn't do as well as its Android counterparts in contract sales.

For now, Lumia 710 owners should just smile and enjoy the fact that many of the Lumia Apps that their Windows Phone 8 using counterparts aren't able to enjoy just yet.

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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