Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hack to Force Nodo Update

One of our readers Mike, found this on the Intertubes:

If you are still waiting, here is how to force the update as per
1. Start Zune
2. Turn off Data connection and Wifi on the Phone  Simply turn airplane mode on
3. Connect the Phone with the PC (USB)
4. Start the update search in Zune
5. About 3 seconds later, disconnect your PC from the internet (Turn WLAN off).
6. Zune finds NoDo-Update. Press Update.
7. Connect to the internet again and install the update.

Thanks Mike!

I am trying this myself but I think I couldn't get the timing of #5 to work

Over at WPCentral, the success rate from the comments looks to be around 50%.  The disabling of WLAN from the Intertubes ranges from turning off WiFi on your laptop, yanking the WiFi dongle, yanking the network cable, and disabling the WiFi connection from Windows.

Couple things that you will need is that you must have the Feburary update (build 7008) and your carrier/phone update delivery status has to be in "Delivering Update" stage.

Feel free to share whether or not it works for you.  I'll continue to try..

Big Thank You to Mike again!  By the way, Mike has a branded Telus HTC Surround locked to Telus.

*Update* - finally got this hack to work this morning.  I have an SIM unlocked HTC Surround.  Also, you do not have to repeat all these steps.  If step #5 fails, just restart the update search (turn your WLAN on again) and repeat #4 and #5.  I have a wifi connection so I clicked up, move my mouse to the wireless connection icon in the system tray, click that open, click my wireless connection and click "Disconnect".  Did this a couple of times and it worked.  I tried pulling my wireless dongle yesterday and that didn't work for me at all.

Make sure you have enough harddrive space as I think Zune creates the backup on your C: drive.  Good luck to all!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

ESPN ScoreCenter

Finally a major North American sports network has released a sports scores and news app for WP7. 

ESPN has finally released a pretty good sports scores and news app.  After my brief time with it, you can pick from A LOT of leagues around the world be it soccer, hockey, and even you guessed it, volleyball.

For Canadians, first thing I went through was of course to attempt to locate this football league we called "CFL" and lo-and-behold, it is missing.

It does load the scores pretty quickly (quicker than TheScore sports app), but my favourite feature with it is that you can pick and choose all your favourite teams.  Once you have done that, it has a view that shows only the scores for your favourite teams in one convenience page.  True "glance-n-go" feature.

It's pretty cool and it's free so go download it and check it out! 

I don't think we TSN is too far away from releasing their own app soon.  Last time ESPN ScoreCenter was released on the iPhone (when I had my iFone 3G), I think it was within a month before the TSN version appeared.

WP7 Nodo update chart... errr.. updated...

Fresh off the WP7 blog site.  All Canadian carriers are now in the process of delivering the Nodo update.

For our International readers, go here for your update status.  Looks like the majority of the global carriers are rolling out the update

For our U.S readers here is your status.  Some T-Mo customers has already seen the update.  Looks like AT&T would get the updates sometime in April

Rogers Nodo update available!

Some of the Samsung Focus users are starting to get their Nodo updates.  If you are using a SIM unlocked version, try plugging your phone into your Zune Desktop.  If you are on Rogers and your update is ready, you *should* get a notification.

I have to stress that patience is required at this moment as Microsoft is staggering their updates.  Don't be sad if you don't get the update right away, just know that the process as started and it will be your turn eventually.

This staggering update release strategy is interesting as some of you know that Nodo was actually released last week to the un-branded unlocked phones.  So far it's been pretty quiet which pretty much means the update for those guys were successful.

Only Bell is left.  If you have a Bell WP7 handset and have received the update, feel free to share.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Telus NoDo Available Now!

The future is indeed friendly.  One of my HTC Surround wielding wp7 friends has informed me that the Nodo update is rolling out from Telus.

I will have to wait till I head home tonight and check whether or not I am one of the lucky (or unlucky guinea pigs) for the update.

Either way, if you are brave enough to upgrade, plug your phone into Zune Desktop as soon as you can.  Otherwise, you can wait for my analysis after I do my update tonight.

It is possible that the update is also out for your LG Optimus 7 users.

I'll try to dig up more information for you Bell and Rogers handset users.  If you happen to be one and have received an update or have installed the update, drop a comment here so we can spread the goodness.

*Update 1* - No Nodo yet for me.  My friend however has successfully updated his HTC Surround.  Smooth process, no problems what-so-ever.  He was copying and pasting in front of me as if to taunt me, and showing off his MAC address (damn guy). App startup seems to be faster, game starts are waaaaaaayyy faster.  Browser speed is about the same.

The Canadian map search problem, remains as I was playing with his updated phone.

Monday, March 28, 2011

HTC Compass App now available!

In a previous post, I was bitching about how HTC and Samsung hasn't shown any love for their WP7 adopters like LG has.

At least for HTC, a new app has appear.  It's a compass app.. errr... yay (pretend high fives all around).  Still better than no love.

This Compass app is a bit more interesting than just showing off the compass inside your WP7 handset.  You can set a destination on a map (inside the app) and using the compass overlay, you can follow the pre-routed route, adjust your heading using the compass, and start walking.

It is FREE of course.  But unfortunately, it's only for HTC WP7 handsets.

Last I checked it hasn't showed up on the HTC Hub yet.  But you can go to the Marketplace on your HTC handset, search for "HTC" and you will find this compass app.  (Obviously you cannot find this on your Zune Desktop as it is DRM to HTC).

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Contest for Canadian App Developers

If you are a WP7 app developer in Canada, Microsoft is currently having a contest for the best new app for Windows Phone 7.

Prizes includes $10,000 (cash), Xbox Kinect Consoles, WP7 handsets, Dell Alienware Laptop Bundle, etc.

Competition closes on April 30, 2011

For more information on how to participate, go to

Source: Microsoft

Thursday, March 24, 2011

When are you getting your Nodo Update?

So when are you getting your Nodo updates?  The Telus phones are getting the Pre-NoDo and there is a date for Nodo.  What about the rest of us Canucks?

Unlike the Android way of you will get it when you get it and the iPhone way of everbody gets it on the same date (and good luck if you ran into problems) way, Microsoft is using a more controlled way to rolling the updates out.  But it does get a bit confusing as us WP7 users do not actually know when an update is suppose to be release.

Some of folks from other carriers been asking when they are getting their update.

Fortunately, Microsoft has provided a list for us.  The release is still going to be staggered but at least we know it is coming.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Change logs for Nodo

Just got this email from Microsoft that contains the changes to build 7.0.7390.0  (or NoDo) of the WP7 OS.

Cut and paste, faster apps and games launching and resuming are something that are known to most who have been waiting and waiting.  Some additional bits that are pretty interesting includes: WiFi improvements, Outlook improvements, Facebook syncing, camera and audio

Read on for the full description of the changes that are part of this NoDo update.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Just updated my SIM Unlocked HTC Surround to Pre-NoDo

Wow, that was fast.  If you have an unlocked Telus HTC Surround and was worried about the loading to Pre-NoDo update, here's my experience (my co-worker ran it and same result) with this Pre-NoDo update.

Phone: Unlocked HTC Surround from Telus
Space left on my device: around 4GB (my co-worker had around 8GB remaining on his)

As soon as I plug in my Surround into my PC, Zune Desktop startup.  Waited for a bit as I want to see if the WP7 updater starts right away or do I have to manually do it. 

After 30 seconds or so, the WP7 updater starts up on your Zune Desktop and it actually tells you how long the update is going to take.  So no manual "force sync" here.  For me, it claim it was 20 minutes.

Finally, A Date For Telus Customers For Nodo Update

Finally, a date.

March 29, 2011 is the big date for you using unlocked Telus WP7 handsets and Telus WP7 customers.

Browsing through the Telus phone pages this morning yield this information

"The earliest date that a TELUS customer can receive the Windows Phone 7 software update is Tuesday March 29th, 2011. Microsoft is releasing the software update in a phased approach and it may take up to four weeks for all TELUS customers to have the option to receive the update and upgrade their device software.
Keep your smartphone running efficiently by using the latest available software.
The release of OS software 7.0.7389.0, provides the following benefits and enhancements for your smartphone."

Still combing through the Intertubes to find information for you Rogers, and Bells customers.

Source: Telus HTC Surround

Off Topic for a sec...

Just going off our WP7 theme for a second. 

With Microsoft slacking off in the tablet PC segment, one of the many tablets that are coming out this "sprummer" (stole this phrase from some car commericial) that I look forward to trying out is the BlackBerry PlayBook.  Fortunately, the Canadian Smartphone giant, Research In Motion (RIM), makers of BlackBerry smartphones has announced the release date of their BlackBerry PlayBook device.

April 19, 2011 is the big date, only WiFi version is announced at this time.  Prices starts at $499 for the 16GB WiFi version.  Already available for pre-order at Futureshop.

The PlayBook is also supposed to be able to run apps off the Android market in addition to the BB AppWorld.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Trouble with WP7 Marketplace

One of the readers Mike, brought this to my attention.  It seems like around March 18/19, he is experiencing some problems with installing new apps and updating existing apps.  I tried it on my HTC Surround (same phone he's got) and I am experiencing the same problems

Any of you Samsung Focus users or LG users are seeing this problem?  Since the HTC Surround is still running on build 7004 (no Nodo, no Pre-Nodo), we are not sure if this problem is caused by the lack of Nodo/Pre-Nodo updates.

I am also having problems synchronization my hotmail that is linked to my WP7.  I am going to speculate that this might have something to do with it as all our WP7 info is kept in the "Cloud".  I'll keep searching for a solution to this (I have tried different things already - not factory reset - I'd advise against this actually) and wait it out.

If you ran into this problem and have a solution to this, please post it in the comments section.

Thanks Mike for bringing this to my attention!  I thought it was just me.

Update March 20 AM: Things seems to be working again.  For those of you who are confused about "stuck" installation (i.e. attention require message on your app download screen) you do not have to delete your original app and reinstall again.  Just tab the item and hold for the retry menu.  Keep on apping!

Friday, March 18, 2011

XBOX Live on WP7

I have had a XBOX and an XBOX360 for the longest time.  While many of you might also have the XBOX360 and subscribes to XBOX Live, there are a few of you who has no idea what XBOX Live is except it's on your brand new WP7 phone.

In this article, I will attempt to explain to those of you who are confused about what XBOX Live is, what achievements are, what a gamertag is, when XBOX Live games are released and finally, the difference between games that a worth of a `XBOX Live` tag vs. games that do not. 

This article, however, will not recommend which XBOX Live game to buy or not buy, I am not reviewing all the titles and honestly, since everyone enjoys different types of games, having me reviewing games is pointless since ALL XBOX Live titles (on WP7 and on XBOX360) have trial mode and demo modes you can download and try out yourself.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

OEM Batteries for the HTC Surround

One of the greatest things about eBay is that you can pretty find OEM batteries for your WP7 handset.  For you HTC Surround owners, battery life is sometimes an issue so I went and ordered a "so-called" 1500mAh battery off eBay for about $5.

This is a picture of it and even though it says that it is for HTC Desire HD, it works on the HTC Surround as well.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Great Radio App

Most of you probably have enjoyed using the built-in FM radio in your WP7 phone.  But in case your want that AM radio fix or listen to your local sports stations (Team radio stations across Canada), you are in luck.

TuneIn Radio is a free app available right now on the WP7 Marketplace.  It has access to 30,000 radio stations around the world in both FM and AM flavours.  Best of all, it's free!

It's also nicely integrated to the WP7 Music & Videos Hub so you can just simply go to the hub to get back to the previous radio station you were listening to via the Hub.  You can also set your preset radio stations via the TuneIn Radio App.

TuneIn Radio website

Monday, March 14, 2011

Zune (Hardware) is dead

Today, Microsoft has killed off the Zune hardware that we Canadian really never got to know (especially the awesome Zune HD - which Canadians never actually have seen unless we make those trips down to the States).

Those of you who actually own one of these mythical devices here Canada (usually from those The Source sales), witnessed the humble beginnings of what we WP7 users have grown to love - the Metro UI.

Microsoft will continue their efforts on the Zune software (including the surprisingly good and slick Zune Desktop).

This makes sense consider that even Apple's iPod sale have dropped since the introduction of the iPhones.  So Microsoft now should be able to concentrate their firepower on the Windows Phone 7.

Goodbye Zune player(s), we (Canadians) hardly knew ye (quite possibly because we don't get Zune Music Pass here).

Friday, March 11, 2011

Take a moment...

In case you haven't heard, Japan has been hit by a 8.9M earthquake.  The resulting tsunami have been devastating to say the least.

Your new WP7 handset (or whatever iPad2, PlayBook, iPhone4, Android electronic gadget) can wait.

Please donte to help out.  If you haven't seen the videos or the pictures, I highly suggest you do take a look.

Donate to redcross in your own country or click here for the Canadian Redcross

Thursday, March 10, 2011

No NoDo + Marketplace hitting 10,000 apps real soon

It looks like the NoDo update will be out when it is out.  Some devices are currently shipped with NoDo preinstalled.   Just not sure what's happening with the carrier push of the firmware update.

No more speculated dates from me.  It will be out when it is out and when happens, you'll be first (or second) to know.

Other the other hand, WP7 marketplace should be approaching 10,000 apps very very soon. That means that overtaking BlackBerry AppWorld in the number of apps will happen within half a year (or even faster).

*Update* more BS from Microsoft.  To summarize, NoDo will be ready when it's ready.  When it's ready, it will be ready when you carrier is ready... and so on and so forth.  That's it, no more NoDo date speculations from me.  Next time I write anything about this I will be reviewing it on my phone (that pretty much means I finally got it).

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Samsung Focus - Now $0 with 3yr contract at Bestbuy

One of the best WP7 handsets out there is the Samsung Focus from Rogers.  If you have been waiting for a good deal on this handset, now is the time to act as Bestbuy as reduced the 3-yr contract price of the Samsung Focus to $0.00

Only available in store with the normal bullshit about only certain eligible packages.

Hit out this link for more info on the website.  This sale has been going on since last Friday (probably only until this Thursday).  My apologies for posting this late but it's not too late to act!

Another rumour has it that the Dell Venue Pro is launching on Rogers mid-march (rumoured contract price is $149.99 for 3 years and $599 off contract).  Not sure about the specs on the storage.  The Americans already have it in 8GB/16GB flavours.  It is unclear how big the storage is this version of the Venue Pro.

Bell Mobile TV

If you are spotting a LG Optimus Quantum or the brand spanking new HTC HD7 from Bell, you can now watch live and on demand TV on your WP7 handset.

The app is free but the actual "watching" part of the watching tv part is not free (you silly goose).  From the fine prints, it looks as though Mobile TV plan starts from $5/month for 10 hours of viewing (no charge for data usage).

Requirements for this service:
  • Canada customers only
  • must be a Bell Mobility client (duh...)
  • subscription to the Bell Mobile TV service
  • content can only be view over 3G network (WiFi must be disabled)
  • WiFi network not supported due to content rights restrictions

Monday, March 7, 2011

AT&T NoDo to drop today + other Rumours

One of the hottest rumours last month was the rumoured released date of NoDo is sometime this week (March 8th to be precise).  Some of you have seen the Pre-NoDo update on your Samsung Focus on Rogers while others, (including myself) weren't so lucky.

Rumours also has it that the AT&T Samsung Focus is getting the NoDo update sometime today.  I'll keep an eye on this keep you all updated. 

Update #1 (March 7, 10:30 PST) - All is quiet.. a little too quiet - no rumours, nothing... strange..

Other hot rumours from the pass week:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Still no pre-NoDo Update for HTC...

It's been over a week since the Pre-NoDo update was released by Microsoft.  Some have reported problems with Samsung Omnia 7 upgrade but at least it is rolling out for Samsung (even the LG devices are getting the update notification)  But for us HTC owners, we are left in the dark as to where this update is.

This is not just the case for us HTC Surround owners, but after combing through the intertubes and forums from different parts of the world, no HTC WP7 device owners (Trophy, HD7, Surround, 7 Pro) have gotten a peep of this update.

I initially thought that Telus being was being Telus but it appears that it is not the case (even the Americans folks at AT&T forums were puzzled).  Maybe it's also the case of AT&T being AT&T but it looks like HTC is somehow holding this back.  Going through the HTC Forums yielded nothing so I guess we'll have to wait this one out my fellow HTC brothers.

Please drop a comment if you are an HTC WP7 owner and you've actually gotten the update.  You Samsung and LG owners can brag too... 

So what does it mean for the rumoured March 8th release of NoDo?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How To Set Your Starting Calendar Day on WP7

One of the thing about Windows Phone 7 is that pretty much all the 1st party apps settings can be set via the phones settings page or you can set it up via the settings page for the app (i.e. emails, calendars, etc).  It's almost BlackBerry like but with the additional ability of the simple to use "Settings" hub.

However, when someone asked how he/she could set the starting date on their wp7 device calendar, naturally, I opened the Calendar app, press settings and I was a bit puzzled since there was no such setting which is a bit strange. 

The good news is that after digging a little bit more, I have finally found it.  Read on for the settings...