September 18, 2014 By: egzthunder1
Microsoft rule in the mobile market, much like the giant dinosaurs that once roamed the Earth several millions of years ago, is nothing but a distant memory with remnants of fossils scattered across the globe (for those of us who still have working Windows Mobile devices). At some point, Microsoft decided to try and avoid extinction by trying to evolve alongside a new set of species that were more fit to survive on this new era of mobile tech, and thus Windows Phone was born. Faster, heavier, and overall healthier than its dying predecessor, the new OS tried to expand across the globe to retake the kingdom that was supposedly its birth right. Fate as it is, does not believe in such things and its two biggest rivals (Android and iOS) were flourishing in what once was Microsoft’s playground. The reason for this slow and nearly null level of evolution and growth is not surprising. Every single living organism on this planet requires one thing to survive and thrive: food. In the case of mobile technology, the food is analogous to mobile applications. Android and iOS both have lots and lots of food available for them whereas Microsoft does not. Why? Developers, that’s why.
Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer, once said “Developers, developers, developers, developers…. AAAAAHHHHRGG”. In his ever famous sweaty rant regarding the company’s desire to gain this support for their up and coming platform, we all thought it was pretty clear that the company needed the support from the developer community. However, actions tend to speak louder than words (yes, even louder than Mr. Ballmer’s) and Microsoft’s lack of support for the community has been parallel only to Apple’s efforts in trying to keep people out of their work (with the only difference being that Apple does a far better job at marketing, hence they sell more). For those of us who have been with Microsoft for the early part of Windows Phone’s life (anything before Tango), we still remember the meteoric rise (and equally fast demise) of a tool called ChevronWP7, which basically allowed one type of device unlocking which enabled the user to sideload third party apps onto the device without having to go through the Windows Store, essentially simulating the ability that developers have. There are two other types of locks in Windows Phone devices: Interop unlock, which basically is root but for Windows Phone, and SIM unlock. The ChevronWP7 tool did not touch either of the aforementioned, but it helped. This is but one of the many things that developers got fed up with. The ChevronWP7 tool was later discontinued and the token that allowed for the sideloading of apps became invalid. Back to square one… however, Microsoft waived a year of their $99/ year fee for developers who had purchased Chevron (regular pricing thereafter).
Fast forward to today. Android and iOS are still kings of the mountain, with developers pouring in day and night. Microsoft, on the other hand, keeps on releasing update after update to WP (currently on 8.1) but it is not only the OS that makes up the platform. All main players require developers to have accounts (developer accounts that is) established before being allowed to push apps into the market(s). These have costs associated with them. Apple’s is $99 per year (again, you gain from Apple’s immense popularity and large user base, so you recover the investment rather quickly); Android’s developer program is a mere $25 for the lifetime of the account (this is by far a much better deal considering that many developers are young students. This model does great for catching new people who are getting into programming and app development); and lastly, Microsoft charges developers, just like Apple, $99 per year in order to push apps into the Windows Store. So, overall hatred against Microsoft, added to a small user base, and an exorbitant yearly fee seems to be the perfect formula to drive developers away. Having (finally) understood this trend, it seems that Microsoft did something about it and slashed the $99 fee into a one time $19 set up fee, thus making it more affordable for developers to get into Windows Phone development.
I have to admit that Microsoft did the right thing, particularly now that we know that Windows 9 is looming in the horizon. After the massive integration of both Windows Phone and Windows platforms (starting with Windows 8), it seems that the Seattle company will try to start off with the right foot with their new operating system and want to have as many developers supporting it. It would be interesting to see development for Windows starting up once again. Hopefully, Mr Ballmer will take on John Legere’s example and release not one, or two incentives to attract people, but a whole slew of them. Shake their ground, make them think positively about Microsoft and not like the money hungry (and developer unfriendly) company that they are famous for. Who knows? With enough developers, Microsoft could once again become king of the mountain.
Good move Microsoft…. good move….
You can find more information in Pocket Now’s original article.
January 27, 2013 By: Former Writer
This is XDA Developers, and we like our devices a certain way. We like them unlocked, rooted, and free to do with as we please. However, very few devices are ever released in this condition. Thus, our large community of dedicated developers figure out a way to do it. After all, it’s happened again and again and again. When Windows RT came out, it wasn’t 100% open either. There were security features in place that prevented users from installing unsigned .exe files. This, of course, means that users can’t install much outside of the Microsoft App Store. Now, there’s a jailbreak tool to get around it.
XDA Forum Member clrokr observed the exploit first and XDA Senior Member netham45 wrapped it up in a nifty little tool. Called the RT Jailbreak Tool, it allows users to sign unsigned applications on their Windows RT devices. This is a pretty big deal since most of the fun applications are unsigned.
Using the tool is pretty simple. It comes in a zip file that must be extracted first. Once extracted, users run the .bat file included to make a menu open. There are a few options: Users can install the jailbreak just one time, have the script apply the jailbreak on every login, or uninstall the tool. You may notice it says that it can install it just once. One caveat—or possibly one advantage—to this exploit is that it is goes away upon a reboot. In other words, it’s quite easy to remove if you wish to go back for any reason.
There are some other fun facts that come with this tool. It won’t let you run apps like Photoshop, AutoCAD, etc. You can still only install RT applications. Installing a jailbreak doesn’t make traditional x86-64 applications suddenly compatible with ARM. However, apps that are open source and can be compiled for ARM processors will work. An example would be the growing list of ARM-compatible apps being ported from desktop apps being worked on already. In addition, there are also links to help people with things like lib problems and compiling their own apps from source.
There are a few issues as well. Some people who try this may get a BSoD. This has been tracked down to something that happens only in the first couple of minutes after logging in. So if you try it and get BSoD, wait a few minutes after the next reboot and try again. It is also suggested that you make sure you are fully updated via Windows Update. Also, since it allows unsigned .exe files to be installed, there is always a risk of a virus. So be sure you trust the source of the unsigned apps.
If this looks like something you want to do with your copy of Windows RT, then check out the RT Jailbreak Tool thread for more details.
January 25, 2013 By: Former Writer
For those who don’t know, Internet Explorer 10 has what is called a Whitelist. The Whitelist determines which websites Internet Explorer allows Flash for. For instance, if you went to a Flash heavy site and it wasn’t on the Whitelist, none of the Flash content would load. This is a real pain for those who either enjoy Internet Explorer or have to use it due to lack of replacement browsers on Windows RT. We’ve previously covered a way to to add sites to the Whitelist manually. Now, there is a script that will help make it much easier.
XDA Forum Member TheDroidKid released the script, presumably based on the prior work linked above. As stated, this can be immensely helpful for people who have to use Internet Explorer. It’s pretty easy to run, and it’s a simple .bat script that opens up to a menu driven command prompt window.
To get to the interface, just open the script. It is recommended that users reset their Whitelist settings before actually doing anything. This not only allows users to start from scratch, but it also prevents the list from auto-updating, which would delete all your hard work. After that, it’s a matter of choosing the proper menu item to add new websites. Then, just type in the URL of the website you need Flash support for. After adding the site to the list, the script will clear browser cache to prevent further issues. Finally, you can open up that site and Flash content will play. There is also an option to load a custom Whitelist included with the script. TheDroidKid doesn’t mention what sites are included with this custom Whitelist, but it’s likely a number of popular streaming video websites.
There are a few caveats. It can take up to two to two and a half minutes for a change to apply, which can be tedious if you’ve got a long list of sites to add. Also, as some users have reported, deleting the browser cache will remove any active log ins. So if you’re logged into Facebook and then use this script, you’ll have to log in again.
If you have a Microsoft Surface, this is yet another essential tool. The idea that Internet Explorer even has a whitelist like this is a bit off-putting as Microsoft has no idea what Flash enabled sites people like to use. If they did, tools like this wouldn’t exist. To get more Flash enabled websites in your life, check out the Whitelist script thread.
January 23, 2013 By: Former Writer
Development and tweaks for the Microsoft Surface have been been catching steam lately. There are a group of developers porting regular Windows applications to Windows RT. There are also a couple of ways to alter touch screen settings. However, Windows RT is still a brand new operating system, and people using it for the first time may have some trouble getting around. It is with that in mind that a comprehensive guide was released that contains more than 50 tips and tricks.
The guide was written by XDA Senior Member tboy2000. There are several tricks that were also released by other members that have made the list. It covers pretty much all the bases, including some that aren’t readily known by most users.
Some of the more notable features on the list are a method to let the stock Windows video, picture, and music apps see SD card contents, enabling rotation lock, a quicker way to get to the task manager, and how to boot from a flash drive, and more. One of the more recent entries is a method we’ve covered, which is how to install Metro apps on a different hard drive. Another is how to download applications from other regions by changing your location settings before opening the Store App. This method only works for free apps and not paid apps. For those in countries with a lackluster app store, it could still come in handy.
Of course there are the enhancements and tricks to help productivity, but there are also some fun entries on the list. One of the best fun ones is how to access the 700+ emoticons that you can use from the virtual keyboard. You can even access an alternative keyboard that has word prediction and word suggestions.
If you’re a new Microsoft Surface owner (or if you have another Windows RT device), this is a must-read guide that can answer a lot of questions before you even have them. The guide has been expanding on a consistent basis for months, so it’s likely only to grow bigger with time. To check it out, head to the original thread.
January 11, 2013 By: Former Writer
When it comes to some things, platform of choice doesn’t matter. Battery life is always a struggle, something will always lag, and Steve Ballmer will always be crazy. It doesn’t matter if you have iOS, Android, or Windows Phone, these pitfalls are sure to remain with us for time to come.
Recently, a method was released that’ll help increase touch responsiveness on the Microsoft Surface thanks to XDA Forum Member tamarasu. It’s not a particularly hard modification to make, as it is just a registry modification, and most users should be able to do it without any trouble. Here is how it’s done:
Found a key for touch prediction that when edited showed a marked improvement in keyboard responsiveness and small item manipulation ie classic desktop, file explorer, etc.
The key is: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\TouchPredict ion
Edit key for latency from 8 to 2.
Edit sample time from 8 to 2
As stated, this is pretty easy to do. So far, everyone who has tried it has confirmed that it works very well. There are some caveats, though. XDA Recognized Developer GoodDayToDie noted that this will could affect battery life in a noticeable way for heavy users, as the system has to poll the screen much more frequently. Some haven’t noticed a decrease, but it’s likely that battery drain is increased as the touch screen is used more often. If you want better responsiveness on your Surface touch screen and don’t mind lessening your longevity, this is something worth trying.
For more info, check out the original thread.
With Google+ getting more functional and popular than ever, there are many people wondering what they’re still doing on Facebook. Despite years of development, there are still some things that have to be pointed out. However, the biggest gripe most people have is due to the ads. They’re everywhere, they’re annoying, and now on the Microsoft Surface, they’re now avoidable.
XDA Forum Member C-Lang wrote a tutorial to help users avoid those annoying ads on Facebook when using the Microsoft Surface. That said, it should work on other Windows RT and 8 machines as long as you’re using the provided IE 10 browser. It hasn’t been tested on other devices, but it’s worth a shot. Instructions on getting this to work is pretty easy as well:
First, download and extract the zip attachment
Then, open desktop ie, go to internet options > general > accessibility > check “format documents using my style sheet”
Hit browse, navigate to and select the previously downloaded css.
Hit ok, and then ok again.
There is really no hacking or obscure files to deal with. Simply download the file and enable it in Internet Explorer 10 to remove the ads. So far, users have reported that it works. However, there is something important to note. As XDA Recognized Developer GoodDayToDie explains:
In other words, the ads are still there, but you just can’t see them. The good news, though, is that the ads aren’t visible and, therefore, aren’t in the way.
For more details, check out the original thread.
December 17, 2012 By: Former Writer
Android has enjoyed a myriad of emulators for quite some time now. There are emulators for SNES, NES, Genesis, PlayStation, N64, and many more. With the release of Windows 8 RT, developers have a chance to introduce the emulator goodness all over again. Microsoft Surface owners can now get their hands on a SNES emulator.
XDA Forum Member Vdek has posted about a SNES emulator found on the Windows Store. Here is the brief description and feature list from the Windows Store:
Snes8x is a Super Nintendo emulator for Windows 8 and Windows RT. The app is based on Snes9x, a free and portable SNES emulator.
Play Super Nintendo games
Support for virtual touch controls and keyboard input
If you were a SNES buff and you own the Microsoft Surface, prepare to go hunting for ROMs because now you can play your old favorites all over again. Also in the app description, it mentions support for ARM, x86, and x86-64 instruction sets. So if you’d like to try this out on a laptop or desktop running Windows 8, you can go right ahead.
For the Windows Store link, discussion, and additional info, check out the original thread.
With the release of the Microsoft Surface, users are getting their first real world tablet experiences with Windows 8. Of course, it’s not perfect. That’s why we mod things—to bring it closer to perfect. There is now a simple tutorial that gives you the ability to use your SD card to store media in Windows 8.
XDA Senior Member mk1151 posted the tutorial link, and it isn’t very difficult to follow. Essentially, it sets the default save locations for documents, pictures, videos, and music to the SD card. Then it creates symlinks to those folders so that the the default photos, videos, music, and docs apps see the SD card by default.
As stated, it isn’t very difficult to pull off. Users will need little more than some command prompt knowledge. Users start by making the proper folders in the proper paths. Then, it’s a few symlink commands as administrator to link everything together. Once done, you should be able to open the applications mentioned and see your content from your SD card. There are a few issues mentioned, including having to name the Camera Roll folder to CameraRoll2 in order for it to display properly. Otherwise, it works fine.
If you’re looking for new and fun ways to expand your storage, check out the original thread.
The release of Windows 8 has come and gone, and people have mixed feelings about it. Some like it; some hate it—pretty much the consensus on everything ever released. Now that it’s released, though, it’s time to have some fun with it. That means hacking it, making it more usable, and more fun. To start, users of the Metro Browser can now get full Flash on any website.
XDA Recognized Developer Marvin_S has figured out how to get past Metro Browser’s Flash restrictions on certain websites. As Marvin_S explains:
As we all know Windows RT/8’s IE Metro browser has limited flash support based on a whitelist. However a lot of sites are not (yet) whitelisted and hence do not work as desired. So I did some digging in the whitelist mechanism and found a way to hack it.
To apply the hack, users navigate to and open C:\Users\[USER_NAME]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\IECompatData\iecompatdata.xml. From there users can add their favorite websites to the whitelist and, thus, full Flash support. The syntax is quite easy and users shouldn’t have any problems getting it to work. This has been confirmed working not only on desktop versions of Windows 8, but the RT versions as well, like the on one the Microsoft Surface.
To learn more, check out the original thread.