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Windows Phone 7 Secrets

I have said it once, and I will say it again - I am a very big fan of Windows Phone 7. When stood against both iOS and Android, it’s easily the most innovative and advanced mobile platform presently on the market. This is mostly down to the Metro UI concept used throughout the phone, with its great use of Live Tiles and chromeless applications. Sure, it’s easy to sit back and pick apart Windows Phone 7 on a feature-by-feature basis, which is where both iOS and Android are easily 2-3 years ahead of Windows Phone. But features can be added, whereas design philosophies tend not to change all that radically (witness the evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, updates that Apple make available every 12 months for proof of this). But what if you want to get the most out of your Windows Phone? Paul “Microsoft Guru” Thurrott is here to save the day with his latest, and greatest, book.

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I will admit, it certainly felt strange attending a Queensland Theatre Company production at the Brisbane Powerhouse, as opposed to the more regular venues of either the Bille Brown Studio or QPAC. But then I thought that if this show was really going to be something different, something dark and edgy (like the trailers on ABC Radio had been advertising it as all week), then maybe a more “urban” venue like the Powerhouse might be appropriate? Sadly, while I had a lot of good will for this production (John Bell tends to associate himself only with the best in quality theatre), I came away from QTC’s production of Faustus feeling somewhat let down by what I witnessed. While there were a lot of elements to like about the show, nothing ever quite jelled enough for me to truly feel as though the show had managed to reach the level it otherwise could have.

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Windows 8 revealed!!

Yesterday Microsoft unveiled to the public the first glimpse of what Windows 8, the next version of their highly successful operating system, will look like. As you can see from the above image, it’s going to be quite different from the look and feel introduced in Windows Vista, and then further refined in Windows 7. The goal here on the part of Microsoft would appear to be to position Windows 8 as their single OS for desktops and laptops, as well as the emerging tablet PC market that is presently dominated by Apple’s iPad. While it’s quite clearly still in an alpha phase of development (the demo at the All Thing’s D conference didn’t go into a huge amount of detail), what we have seen already looks gorgeous, seems very responsive, and best of all is so much more touch-enabled than anything Microsoft has released previously as a mainstream desktop operating system.

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Windows Phone Mango revealed!!

A few days ago Microsoft offered up a public unveiling of the next major release of Windows Phone, codenamed “Mango” (quite why it’s code-named this I have no idea). While other companies, such as Apple and Google, have gone with lots of small updates in between annual major refreshes, Microsoft appear to be backing a more pedestrian update schedule. Sure, we seem to be getting a major new version every 12 months, but instead of lots of minor bug fixes and updates in between, so far we’ve only received one “service pack” style update since the original Windows Phone launch late last year. Mango appears to be quite a significant upgrade over the original, with a large number of improvements across the board. Does it bring it in line with iOS 4 and Android Honeycomb? Not sure, but it’s certainly got a wealth of very welcome new features and improvements.

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Who is Johnny X?

Back in 2009 I was looking at buying my first Windows Mobile device, and I couldn’t decide which one to get. While I was attracted to the work by HTC, in particular their then current HTC Touch 3G mobile phone (itself their response to the then current iPhone 3G), I was a bit of a Sony Ericsson fanboi, and was seriously considering going for their first WM6.1 device, the XPERIA X1. It was a great little phone, with a fantastic slideout QWERTY keyboard and the world’s first real Retina Display (despite whatever claims Apple might make about the iPhone 4).

What really swayed me about getting the device was the amazing Webisode series that Sony Ericsson put together to assist in marketing the phone. Who is Johnny X? was a 9-part series that was a rip-off of The Bourne Identity, but one in which the hero of the piece uses the features of his new X1 to find out his identity. Ambitious, certainly, but it actually did work as a nice piece of cinema.

So while the original web site itself has long since vanished, the YouTube channel that SE set up for the series is still active, and I thought it might be nice to present the edited together version of the serial on the blog here. Yes, it does attempt to sell you a hideously outdated mobile phone, but the actual storyline is quite cool, and the production values are to die for.

The trailer and the full movie are embedded after the break. Enjoy!

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