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28
Feb

All the Microsoft Band help, tips and tricks you’ll ever need


If you’re looking for some help with your Microsoft Band then this is where you want to be. Here is where you’ll find absolutely all of the Microsoft Band help, how-tos, tips and tricks. We all need some pointers from time to time, and that’s where this one handy page will come in.

These tips are for everyone. They’re for the beginners, they’re for the seasoned tech addicts and they’re for the folks in-between who just want a little tune up on their knowledge. It’s absolutely OK not to know everything there is to know, we’ve all been there. Learning is never bad. So let’s all do it together.

28
Feb

Follow Windows Central for all the best from MWC 2015


Greetings from Barcelona! The Mobile Nations team is on the ground ahead of the Mobile World Congress activity starting tomorrow, March 1, and Mark Guim and myself will be representing Windows Central. But, it’s not just on the homepages where you’ll find the best that MWC has to offer.

For the full experience, be sure to follow the whole team on the socials, where you’ll more than likely see a couple of things throughout the week that we’d class as “behind the scenes.” You won’t see absolutely everything on the front page. We’ve got all the links you’ll need below.

28
Feb

Disney wants to help developers make games more interactive


Many RPGs have more than one ending, but even then you still have limited ways to control the story or to interact with the characters. Disney Research, however, wants to make real interactive games — ones where your actions can affect how it progresses and ends — so it has created a platform that can help developers do so more easily than if they use traditional tools. This platform makes it simpler for creators to spin as many story arcs as they want that can be triggered any time by your actions. It also automatically detects and fixes conflicts in the storyline that you’ll inevitably cause as you interact with the characters. Take the bears in the video below the fold, for example.

Say, the story arc calls for a beach ball to be in the scene, but there is no beach ball anywhere, because you were playing God earlier and taking all the props away. If that’s the case, one of the bears will ask you for a beach ball, so the story can run its course. Alternatively, the game can trigger the appearance of a ball vendor and a treasure chest, so the bears can buy a beach ball for themselves.

Ex-Disney researcher and Rutgers University assistant professor Mubbasir Kapadia explained:

We want interactive narratives to be an immersive experience in which users can influence the action or even create a storyline, but the complexity of the authoring task has worked against our ambitions. Our method of modeling multiple story arcs and resolving conflicts in the storylines makes it feasible to author interactive experiences that are free form, rather than constricted.

In short, this method could be used to create some truly open-world choose-your-own-adventure games if developed even further — games you can play again and again and get a different experience each time. The team has uploaded a scientific paper you can sink your teeth into for the technical details, but you can watch the video below for a demo of how it works.

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Source: Disney Research (1), (2)

28
Feb

Best widgets for iPhone


Today view puts widgets right in Notification Center where you can access them from anywhere on your iPhone with a single swipe!

Because widgets are so accessible, they make it easy for you to check the latest news or sports scores, check your reminders or delivery status, make some calculations or swap clipboards. Unlike notifications, widgets are always there, right in the Today view of Notification Center, ready and waiting for whenever you need them. All you have to do is enable them and you’re on you’re way.

So, which widgets are the very best? Which widgets should you enable right now?

1. Fantastical 2

For calendars and reminders

Fantastical 2 combines your calendar and reminders into one sleek, easy to use, completely interactive widget. Tap on any date and instantly see what you’ve got scheduled for that day. Tap and hold on any date and go straight to the app and start adding an appointment.

3. Clips

For multiple clipboards

Clips lets you add and retrieve snippest of text. It’s like having multiple clipboard ready to copy and paste whenever and where ever you want.

4. Pedometer++

For your steps, counted

The Pedometer++ widget shows you how many steps you’ve taken and how many flights of stairs you’ve climbed on any give day. Tap the info button, and the app will give you your totals going back through time.

5. Deliveries

For online shoppers

The deliveries widget shows you all the Apple, Amazon, Fedex, UPS, and other packages you’re expecting, when they’re expected to arrive, and their last known status. All at a glance.

6. Dark Sky

For weather watchers

If the weather in Apple’s Today summary isn’t enough, Dark Sky will show you what you can expect for the next hour based on your current location.

7. PCalc

For quick calculations

The PCalc widget puts all the basics of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and percentages, all in Notification Center. It even lets you toggle between open (full calculator) and closed (last result only) so you can save Today view space if you want to.

8. TeeVee 3

For a TV guide

The TeeVee 3 widget lets you know all the shows you care about coming up up next on all the networks available to you. That way, you can double check the schedule and your viewing plans with just a swipe.

9. ETA

For travelers

The ETA widget keeps all your frequent travel destination available to you, driving or walking, along with the time it will take you to get there. Tap one and you’ll be taken to navigation directions to make sure you get there.

10. ESPN

For sports fans

The ESPN widget lets you know what games are on, what games are coming up, and what the final scores were for games that have just completed. It’s the sports page in Notification Center form!

11. Philips Hue

*For remote controllers**

Hue’s Today view widget lets you keep all your favorite light settings available all the time, from anywhere on your iPhone. Say goodbye to hunting for the app and switching tabs while you stumble around in the dark!

12. Musixmatch

For instant karaoke

The Musixmatch widget gives you instant access to music identification and song lyrics with a single swipe. Perfect for any time you’re about to take the stage, whether at home or at karaoke night.

13. Writing Aid

For your word of the day

The Writing Day widget gives you a new word each day so that you can learn it and add it to your vocabulary each day. Given how many tweets, snaps, statuses, and instas are the same, I speak for everyone when I say — spice it up!

14. Sky Guide

For astronomy lovers

The Sky Guide widget gives you rise and set times for the sun, the moon, and a few of the planets. If you want to keep track of the heavens, this’ll let you know when best to do it.

Your favorites?

Those are our favorite Today view widgets for Notification Center right now. Which widgets do you have currently installed and why? And if we missed any of them, please let us know about them in the comments below!

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28
Feb

Go walletless with your iPhone 6 and the CandyShell Card


Looking to go walletless with the iPhone 6 and Apple Pay? This iPhone case can help!

One of the iPhone 6’s key features is Apple Pay, which lets you effortlessly buy things using nothing more than Touch ID. But there are still times you might need a physical credit card, your ID or insurance card. To get the best of both worlds, pick up Speck’s CandyShell Card case for iPhone 6 (also available for iPhone 6 Plus).

Speck sells a lot of different CandyShell cases for iPhone 6 — ones with grippy material, bold graphic prints, and ones with integrated faceplates and more. But the CandyShell Card sports a unique adaptation on the back that enables you to hold up to three credit card-sized cards (or folded paper money), keeping you from having to drag your wallet or a purse out for a night on the town.

The CandyShell Card comes in four colors: Black with grey accents, white with gray accents, blue and purple, and purple and blue (different and fewer color combinations than the iPhone 5 CandyShell Card. I have a black case for my iPhone 6, which is Space Grey (black is always in fashion).

If you’re already familiar with that case, you’ll find the same dual-layer protection here: A shock-absorbent lining that protects the edges and back of the iPhone, covering volume and power buttons.

The glossy outer shell is a hard, impact-resistant material that scuffs and scratches fairly easily, but better that than the iPhone 6, right? I might recommend a lighter color to help the case cover inevitable dings and scratches more easily.

Cutouts provide access to the hold switch, headphone jack and Lightning port, and a large opening over the speaker keeps your voice from getting muffled. The Lightning port opening is large enough to comfortably accommodate most third-party Lightning cables.

The patented design keeps cards securely in place. Inside the pocket on the back of the CandyShell Card is a rubberized surface that provides a little bit of traction for any cards or money contained therein. The shape of the inside of the case presses out to hold the cards in place. A cutout in the case’s hard outer shell makes it easy to push out cards or money using your thumb. Its orientation favors right-handed users, unless you hold the case upside down when you’re pushing cards out.

The good

  • Go walletless
  • Carry three cards or paper money
  • Dual-layer protection

The bad

  • Fewer color choices than before
  • Black case scuffs easily

The bottom line

We’re still not at the point where most of us can get away with just using Apple Pay when we’re out. The CandyShell Card case for iPhone 6 helps us get the rest of the way there by storing just what we need for a night out on the town right in our pocket.

28
Feb

Here’s where to watch Microsoft’s MWC event live


Monday March 2 sees Microsoft’s next big press event at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, and you’ll be able to watch the whole thing live. Windows Central will be live on location (and we may even break out the old liveblog machine) but Microsoft will also be streaming the whole thing online.

28
Feb

Evil Slayer – a Windows Phone game where you wipe out Zombies one tap at a time


Evil Slayer is a Windows Phone game that hit Store shelves late last year and plays out a lot like a tower defense game. You just don’t have any towers and your finger is the first line of defense.

The game has you tasked with protecting the local farm from an invasion of Zombies, demons and other monsters who are intent on stealing your pumpkins. You defend your crops by tapping on the monsters or setting traps to ruin their day. Evil Slayer is an entertaining gaming title with nice graphics, challenging game play and a pace that will give your fingers a workout. Available for low-memory Windows Phones, if you are in search of a fun game to pass the time with Evil Slayer is worth trying.

28
Feb

Mobile World Congress 2015: The Windows Central preview


The time is upon us, the Mobile Nations team is packing up, hitting the airport and making the trip to Barcelona, Spain, for the annual Mobile World Congress. Everyone who’s anyone in mobile will be in attendance, which includes Microsoft as well as some other Windows and Windows Phone vendors.

We’ve a busy time in store over the coming week, so here’s a quick run down of what’s in store, what to expect and how you can follow it all.

28
Feb

Microsoft confirms Windows 10 will support USB 3.1 Type-C and Dual Role


Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 10 will support both the upcoming USB 3.1 Type-C and USB Dual Role standards for data ports. The reveal was made via a panel description for the upcoming WinHec hardware development conference, which will be held in mid-March in China.

28
Feb

5 intriguing apps for Windows 8.1: February 27, 2015


With the ever-growing number of apps and games in the Windows Store, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with what’s out there.

For that reason, every Friday we showcase some apps that have piqued our interest for one reason or another. They are the 5 Intriguing Apps of the Week.

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