Christian Cawley is MakeUseOf's security editor, Android tinkerer, Windows Phone mentalist, and Doctor Who fan. Follow him as @thegadgetmonkey on Twitter.
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Christian's Latest Posts
Windows Phone 8: a great platform that is fast, slick and responsive. Most of the time. Windows Phone 8 is an improvement over Windows Phone 7, but while I enjoy its responsiveness, the ease with which I can perform particular tasks quickly and the way the OS syncs with SkyDrive, I’m more than aware that this is a platform with a few notable bugs. I’ve already looked at improving battery life on Windows Phone 8 and here are several more fixes for the most common issues.
Looking at Microsoft and Sony’s next generation offerings, it seems that bringing video, TV, music and your photo collection (and probably social networking) into the mix of games and achievement unlocking is now part and parcel of owning a game console. It’s a major selling point, one that should deliver the ultimate entertainment experience to living rooms and dens across the developed world. But hold on – why wait for an Xbox One or a PlayStation 4 when you can already stream video and music from computers across your home network and from the Internet into the existing Xbox 360, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo consoles?
Since Microsoft and Nokia announced their joint venture back in 2011, there has been a general shift towards the Finnish company in the Windows Phone manufacturers’ market share. Nokia has been innovating and producing a series of superb apps for Windows Phone, exclusive to Lumia devices. Put simply, if you own a Windows Phone 8 device from Nokia, you should have these camera and image apps, which are all available free (for the full app or with trial) from the Windows Phone Store.
What is the best in British entertainment? Is it on TV or on the radio? Either way, both media are accessible with the BBC’s iPlayer service. BBC iPlayer is a browser-based service that is also available as desktop, mobile, and console apps. International viewers can also take advantage of the service, with some restrictions. With so many shows on offer and many options for playback and downloading shows (with DRM) if you’ve ever used the service it might be the case that you haven’t used BBC iPlayer to its full ability.
Over the 15 or so years of owning a mobile phone, I’ve always been interested in pushing the device as far as it can possibly go. In the early days, this would often involve finding ways to add custom ringtones. When Windows Phone 7 was first released, the customization options were limited. Windows Phone 8 takes a whole new approach to ringtones, making the addition of user-chosen audio far simpler. If you own a Nokia Lumia 920, you could have custom ringtones set up by the time you finish reading this page.
I’ve just about filled the 32 GB internal storage on my Nokia Lumia 920. Initially, I was surprised that it only took me six months, until I realised that I’ve been recording videos in HD. When you consider everything that relies on internal storage, it certainly seems like a complete removal of personal storage is required. There are several options. Backing up data can be performed manually, using the Windows Phone Tool via USB and you can rely on native tools to back up your photos, apps, settings and messages.
While building my Raspberry Pi retro gaming centre I ran into some problems with configuring game controllers. The challenges were straightforward. Would I use my Xbox 360 controller, or resort to a pair of basic USB controllers for two player gaming? Establishing a solution was difficult. In the end, despite my preferences, I opted to […]
The Raspberry Pi – a small, compact and versatile computer, capable of processing HDMI and MPEG-2 being the central component of any number of weekend projects from retro gaming stations and media centres to smart TVs, Internet radios and low budget space programs. Since its release in 2012 the Raspberry Pi has proved something of a phenomenon. Costing less than $40, the Raspberry Pi is a hugely successful computer, largely due to its low price.
Having used the Windows Phone platform since 2010, one of the things that has struck me is how difficult Microsoft initially made it to share files to and from your phone. With the original Windows Phone 7 a registry hack was required to use a device as mass storage, but this workaround was soon shored up in a subsequent update. Fortunately with Windows Phone 8, Microsoft has taken a more accepting position on the use of phones as mass storage devices.
Here in the UK, 4G is currently being rolled out across major towns and cities by the EE network (previously T-Mobile and Orange). Where I live we’re stuck with 3G, but I do have a 4G SIM to take advantage of high-speed mobile Internet when travelling. This always comes in useful, particularly if local Wi-Fi networks aren’t doing their job properly.
A few months ago I was playing games on my Nintendo Wii (thanks to the loss of my Xbox 360) and even getting fitter in the process – until I stumbled across the news that not only could I turn my Wii into a media centre, but that I could also install Netflix. Suffice to say, the intervening months have not been kind to my waistline. At times, they haven’t been all that kind to my sanity, either.
My personal desktop setup has changed considerably in the past few months since purchasing the Acer Iconia W7 series tablet, which I use as my primary PC. Gone is the tower of my old self build AMD-powered game station, replaced by far more compact dimensions, a new monitor and an external HDD. This is the main hub of my professional life: a Windows 8 tablet. Yes, you read that right. Let me demonstrate how you can be productive with Windows 8. It is possible, and with the right apps you can get great results.
I recently reviewed Rowi, the Windows Phone Twitter app, for these very pages. Rowi has pretty much decimated the opposition in terms of quality and stability, and has become probably more popular than the official app. So why have I stopped using it? Indeed, you might ask why I have stopped using the official app.
The Raspberry Pi – I just can’t stop tinkering with it. Fresh from setting it up as a media centre and a retro games console, I’ve recently started looking at the possibilities of the device as something more important. You may have seen one of our earlier posts about the unusual uses for a Raspberry Pi. One of these was using it as the computer in a low-budget space program, something that would make the Pi more portable than most computers on earth!
They say everyone has a book in them. The moment of completion brings a mix of immense satisfaction… and a confused, horrified reality: “How on earth am I going to publish it?”