Tech, Gadgets, Photography, Social Media and Poor Spelling
Thought i’d share some of the tips i’ve learnt over the last 3 months with my Windows Phone 8 Device
If there’s text on screen, you can press it and it will highlight. To highlight multiple words, the two end circles can be dragged along to select all the text you want to include. It can prove fiddly so on a Web page try to zoom in (by pinching the screen with two fingers) to make life easier.
I can’t stress enough the importance of the tip. If you’re not sure how to use something, either use the ellipsis button or press and hold down until options appear. Windows Phone 8 is pretty simple to use, but if you ever are perplexed this should be the solution you seek.
If you like to keep your email inboxes tied together, so that all you mail arrives handily in one place, you can use the ‘link inboxes’ option. Simply go into one of the email accounts you want to link and hit the bottom three full stops. Select ‘link inboxes’ and then choose the two inboxes you want to link up.
Handily, translating a menu or a road sign in another language is possible with Windows Phone 8. It does require you to have a data connection though, as the data is sent off to Microsoft’s servers before it comes back to your phone. Assuming you are happy with the roaming charges if you’re abroad, press the search button at the bottom of your phone (the button on the right of the three). Now hit the button shaped like an eye to make the camera start up, allowing you to scan barcodes, QR codes and the like. Press ‘scan text’ to take a picture of the text and then hit translate.
This is a nice, easy trick. Navigate to whatever you want to capture a shot of and then press the lock/power and home (Windows) button at the same time. If you’ve timed it right, you’ll then hear a camera snap and the image will float upwards into the digital ether.
Using Xbox Music and a data connection, Windows Phone 8 can listen to a song and then try and tell you what it is. This is done by pressing the search button at the bottom right and then hit the middle option under whatever image Bing has chosen to display. It’s the one with a musical note. Once pressed, the phone will display ‘listening for music…’. If a song is found, it will then show the artist and the album it’s from, so you can download it there and then. If not, you’ll be presented with the option to try again.
Once you have downloaded the Skype app from Windows Marketplace, you’ll find it within your apps drawer. Open the app and enter your Skype login details. If you don’t have a Skype account, you can choose to log in with your Microsoft (Hotmail) account instead. Once you’re in, you can browse your recent calls and see who is online. To make contact, select your intended recipient and then type a message for a text chat, or press the phone button at the bottom to make a call.
If you download and install the Skydrive app you can manage your cloud storage on the go, but even without the app you can still enjoy access to the cloud. When you’ve taken a photo, you can press the ellipsis button and select ‘upload to Skydrive’.
You can also choose and store multiple photos at once. Press the ‘select’ button at the bottom of the display when in you’re in an image folder and then tick the images you want to share or upload. Again, select ‘save to Skydrive’ and then watch as all your photos are uploaded.
Again, you’ll need to be signed into your Microsoft account. If you’ve previously made a purchase using this account, it’s likely that you already have a card on file. If that’s the case, your card should show up in Wallet after you’ve logged in with your Microsoft account information. If your bank has an app that can be linked to that card, Wallet will try to find it and suggest that you download it. If you open a Wallet compatible app and sign in, you will have access to your account directly from Wallet. Alternatively, you can manually add cards by tapping the + icon and following the instructions.
Information in the Wallet can be kept secure using a Wallet PIN (recommended, but not required). To set up a PIN for Wallet, go to Wallet, then tap the Moreellipses and choose Settings + Pin. Turn on the slider switch, then enter and confirm your new PIN and tap Done. You can also opt to use the wallet Pin to protect music, apps, and in-app purchases by checking a box on this screen.
Cards that you use frequently can be set up as “Fast cards,” which will enable you to pay for something using NFC even when your phone is locked. That said, Wallet doesn’t necessarily mean that your Windows Phone 8 phone is enabled for NFC transactions. If your phone does handle NFC transactions, you’ll see an option to turn them on under the Settings + Pin tab in Wallet.
When your battery is running low, Windows Phone 8 has a special trick to help prevent total power loss. Just go to Settings and turn on the Battery Saver option. Doing so tells the OS not to run any apps in the background or sync email automatically. You’ll still be able to make and receive calls and texts, but everything else will require manual syncing (opening up the app and choosing to sync). You can choose for Battery Saver mode to kick in only when your battery is actually low, or keep it on at all times. A little heart over the battery icon tells you when the phone is in Battery Saver mode.
It’s not immediately obvious how you should navigate your People hub contacts. If you’ve added all of your social networks — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn — then the list of people can get too long to just swipe through. For quicker navigation you can just tap the header letter of a section, the “a” at the top, for example, and get a large overlay of all the letters in the alphabet. Tap one and hop over to that section of your contacts. Of course, you can always just tap the search icon at the bottom and type in your contact’s name.
Remember back when you had to dial *69 to block your phone number and caller ID when making a prank call or dialing the number of your crush, who you were too afraid to speak to? Windows Phone 8 lets you choose who to show your caller ID to. You can select everyone, no one, or your contacts.
In Windows Phone 8 you can compose a text, tap the paper clip icon, and attach your location directly to the message. If your contact has a Windows Phone, they’ll receive a thumbnail of your location on the Maps app, which they can open up from there. If they have any other kind of phone, they’ll get a link that will open up in their browser.
Since Windows Phone handsets have a dedicated shutter button, there’s a chance they might go off when they’re banging around in your pocket or bag. The camera shutter does work in Lock mode, but if you want to make sure you don’t get any closeups of whatever’s in your pocket, go into the Photos app (that’s right, not the Camera app) to turn this function off. In Photos settings, just check the box next to “Prevent accidental camera launch when phone is locked.”
With Windows Phone 8, you can finally connect the device to your PC and access the device’s file system just like any other portable storage device. This lets you drag and drop files to and from the phone and, on devices with microSD storage, between that card and the phone’s internal storage.
In Windows Phone 7.x, you could make on-device purchases in Windows Phone Marketplace using credit/debit cards associated with your Microsoft account or, if supported, through your wireless carrier. In Windows Phone 8, these options have expanded to include PayPal and Microsoft gift cards, for apps and games only.
Microsoft enabled a previously promised feature for Windows Phone 8: You can now download Windows Phone apps to your PC, copy them to the phone’s micro-SD card, and then install them on the device. This process is called side-loading.
The Bing experience in Windows Phone 8 includes an integrated feature called Bing Vision that helps you find out more about what you’re looking at while you’re out in the world. Bing Vision understands QR codes, Microsoft Tags and bar codes; and CD, DVD, video game, and book covers. It can even scan and translate text.
The My Windows Phone page is a front-end to your device, with links to the other tools mentioned here as well as related services such as the Windows Phone Store, Xbox LIVE, Office and SkyDrive, Hotmail, and Find My Phone.