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Changed Up My Windows Phone Start Screen

One of the best features about Windows Phone 8 is the start screen.  Live Tiles alone make the start screen more functional than anything you will find in iOS.  I can look at my screen and instantly see all types of info, whether it’s the current weather, upcoming calendar events, etc.  I like to change up the tiles on my phone every once and a while based on the usage.

Currently I have my family group at the top which keeps all my family contacts all together.  I can see the latest updates such as Twitter and Facebook updates from my family, which is very useful to those who have kids.  Messaging and e-mail are also at the top as they are frequently used.  Weather Live Tile and Xbox Music are below that.

I have been very happy with Windows Phone, and definitely recommend it.  This is from a Lumia 920.


Surface Type Cover Makes the Difference

I received my Surface RT as a Christmas gift, and although I still need to write about my experience with it, I can say it’s a great device and I enjoy using it.  Mine came with the Touch Cover which I have been using, but today I went out and finally purchased the Type Cover, and what a difference this makes.  The Touch Cover isn’t bad, it’s just fine if you don’t do much typing or just use it for short updates like Twitter or Facebook posts.  I like to do much more than that, and I have been using my Surface more and more for writing blog posts and articles.  The Touch cover just didn’t work for mefor fast and accurate typing.

At $129 I was a bit hesitant and held off for a while.  I still think it’s a bit steep for a keyboard, but with some help from some Best Buy Reward certificates I was able to get it down to a more attractive price.  After using it for just a few hours, I am happy I invested in it.  It’s a bit thicker than the Touch Cover, but really doesn’t add much bulk when closed and the build quality seems high.  The keys are solid and smooth, and I’m able to type just as fast on this as my desktop keyboard.

If you do lots of typing on your Surface, than the Type Cover is what I recommend.  People who do light typing will most likely be fine with the Touch Cover, but if you’re not sure then visit a Microsoft retailer and try them out for yourself.

Lumia 920 – Best Smartphone I Have Owned

Before I left on vacation I went and bought myself a late birthday present which was the Nokia Lumia 920 smartphone running Windows Phone 8.  It was a decision between the iPhone 5 and the Lumia 920.  I’ve mostly used iPhones over the past few years, but I did have a Windows Phone 7 device as well.  I liked it, but too many quirks made me return to the iPhone.

I’ve been watching closely the progress of Windows Phone 8, and between that and the hardware from Nokia, I decided to take another plunge into Windows Phone.  I’m certainly glad I did.

Lumia 920

Most of the quirks I had with Windows Phone 7 were resolved in WP8, and the hardware side is so much better than the iPhone at half the price (on contract).  The device is bigger than the iPhone with a beautiful 4.5” display.  Some reviewers like to point out the 920 is “big”, but that’s a plus in my book as the larger screen area is much easier on the eyes.

I’ll go into Windows Phone 8 in another article, but it’s no problem for me to say this is much better than the stale iOS platform.  Live Tiles are a great feature, integration with Office and SkyDrive is done right, and overall it’s a smooth experience.

I’ve only had it a short time, so I’ll keep writing about it, but if you are in the market for a new smartphone, give this one a look.


Samsung Focus on eBay

I’m selling my used Samsung Focus on eBay. It runs Windows Phone 7 and would make a great dev phone or replacement.

My Adobe Creative Cloud Experiment

We’ve written about how Adobe has introduced the Creative Cloud which basically for a nominal monthly fee lets you download and use just about every Adobe creative application as long as your subscription is active.  There’s both pros and cons to this, but being that I can get the first year for just $30/month, I decided to try it out and see if going the way of the cloud is reasonable.

I’ll be posting on experiences throughout the year.


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Windows 7 Customizing Guide

Windows 7 has become very popular, and it is the top operating system that people use when visiting WinCustomize.  With eyes already on Windows 8 I wanted to create the “definitive” guide to skinning Windows 7 based on skins, themes, and the best associated software you can find on  The items I list below will be a mixture of freeware and paid software, and links to downloads and product pages will be included.

There are also plenty of resources to show you how to use these apps in more detail.  One of the best is theWinCustomize Wiki where there are tutorials and documents for all the applications mentioned here, plus many more.

Read the article.


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