Using the Outlook Hotmail Connector

Windows Phone devices do not sync contacts and appointments to a local computer via ActiveSync or Windows Mobile Device Center.  Instead Windows Phone syncs contact and appointment data directly to web-based services, such as Outlook.com or to an Exchange Server account.

When I switched over from Windows Mobile devices to my first Windows Phone 7 device, I spent some time exploring the Outlook Hotmail Connector as a way to manage my contacts and appointments on my local computer while also providing a way to make the data available for my new Windows Phone 7. In this tutorial I use Outlook 2010 to demonstrate setting up the Outlook Hotmail Connector. The menu settings are similar for Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007, but you may have to hunt around for them a bit to find them.

Continue reading Using the Outlook Hotmail Connector

Do You Need to Install Anti-Virus Software on Your Windows Phone?

I’m not concerned about viruses, malware or spyware invading my Windows Phone, and I don’t think you need to be concerned about them either for several reasons:

    1. The Windows Phone population is quite small. The people that write viruses hope to get the biggest bang for the smallest buck, so most of these folks probably aren’t interested in dinking around with such a small Windows Phone population and would most likely apply their talents elsewhere. But even if someone decided to write a virus to run on Windows Phone, it would be really difficult to actually install it to a phone.
    2. The only apps you can install to a Windows Phone are the apps found in the Windows Phone Marketplace.  All apps in the Marketplace have been reviewed and approved by Microsoft, so the likelihood of a developer sneaking a virus, malware or spyware on an app is pretty small
    3. Any app-related or app-created data is stored within the app’s exclusive file system which is partitioned off into its own “sandbox” – which is distinctly separate from the phone’s other app and system files. A third party app can only play within its own “sandbox,” so there isn’t a way for a third party app’s activity to invade the phone’s other app or system files. Even if an app managed to sneak some kind of nefarious virus/malware/spyware code onto a phone, the bad code would only be able to wreak havoc in the app’s own sandbox….what fun would that be
    4. Windows Phones run a distinctly different operating system than a Windows computer so the viruses/malware/spyware that affect computers won’t affect Windows Phones. Even if you managed to download some infected file from the internet, it wouldn’t run in the windows phone environment.
    5. There have been no confirmed instances of a destructive virus infecting a Windows Phone.

Over the years, there have been some “proof of concept” attempts by hackers to breach Windows Phones app sandbox security or to “jail break” the phone (much in the same fashion as Android devices), but none of these attempts have gained much traction before Microsoft closed the hole that was used by the hack.

Every now and then I’ll read about some rumored Windows Phone viruses/malware/spyware, but so far none of these rumors have ever materialized into any kind of real threat.  To date, there has not been any confirmed report of a viable virus, malware or spyware attack against Windows Phone.

You won’t find any antivirus apps in the Windows Phone marketplace.  But even if such an app existed, I wouldn’t install it to my phone…..The nature of antivirus software is to run continuously in the background, so installing and running antivirus software on a Windows Phone would most likely degrade the phone’s performance.  The use of such an app for a perceived threat that has yet to materialize just seems like overkill.

Installing antivirus software on a computer or a mobile device often gives a false sense of security and these common sense guidelines prevail:

  • Selecting questionable links in email messages, on websites, etc. should be avoided
  • Accessing any sensitive sites from any kind of device via a free wifi hotspot should be avoided.
    • The practice of jail breaking or side loading applications should be avoided (this practice is not possible on windows phone at this time).
  • Back up your computers and devices regularly. Then if your devices ever start acting strange, you can recover them by perform a factory reset and restoring your backed up data to them, thereby minimizing the loss of data when doing so.

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Sync Outlook 2013 to a Microsoft Account

If you’ve installed Outlook 2013 to your computer, you can sync your Contacts, Calendar AND Tasks (yes, Tasks) to your Microsoft account and you don’t need to install the Outlook Hotmail Connector to do it – the functionality is built into the software.

Once the data is synced to your Microsoft account, it is available to be synced to a wide array of devices (phones, tablets, computers) that encompass all the most popular mobile operating systems (Android, iOS, Windows Phone). You can enjoy the full power and feature set of Outlook 2013 on your desktop or laptop and be completely flexible in your choice and use of mobile devices!

This article will guide you through the steps to set up Outlook 2013 to sync your data to your Microsoft account. Continue reading Sync Outlook 2013 to a Microsoft Account

Windows Phone can announce your incoming callers by name

Your phone can announce your incoming callers by name if you enable the “speech for phone accessibility” option that is found by going to Settings > ease of access > tap the ON/OFF toggle:

speechforphoneaccessibility

When the “speech for phone accessibility” toggle is turned to the ON position the phone will announce the name of the person who is calling you if the person’s phone number is found in the phone’s people hub, otherwise the phone will announce the phone number of the incoming call.

NOTE: If you don’t find the “speech for phone accessibility” option when you go to Settings > ease of access then your phone (make/model) does not support the feature and you won’t be able to use the feature. The “speech for phone accessibility” feature is regionalized, which means it is not available worldwide, and the feature must also be enabled by the OEM and/or carrier before it can be used. 

The feature is available on Windows Phone 7 and 8.

Consolidate & Convert VoiceMail Messages

If you receive voicemail messages via email, you may have encountered a problem listening to .wav formatted messages on your Windows Phone.  Apparently some service providers use old codecs for their .wav formatted messages that are not compatible with Windows Phone.

I ran into this problem with voicemail messages I received from a service I use. I figured out a quick and easy way to convert the .WAV messages to .MP3 format that can be played on my phone.  All you need to do is: Continue reading Consolidate & Convert VoiceMail Messages

Windows Phone & Ringtone Profiles

Windows Phone 7 does not include any kind of ringtone profiles that allow you to automatically program how incoming phone calls are received on the phone. I’ve come up with a workaround that addresses this deficiency well enough to suit my needs and thought I’d share it here for anyone who might be interested.

First, I created a “silent” ringtone and synced it to my phone.  I assigned this silent ringtone as the system-wide ringtone on my phone:

  • Download my silent ringtone (this ringtones complies with all the requirements of using a custom ringtone on windows phones, so no editing is necessary)
  • Sync the silent ringtone to your phone
  • Assign the silent ringtone as the system-wide ringtone on your phone by tapping Settings > ringtones+sounds.  Tap the Ringtone option and select the Silent ringtone from your list of custom ringtones.

Continue reading Windows Phone & Ringtone Profiles

Where Can I Get Adobe Flash for my Windows Phone?

If you are looking for the Adobe Flash player app for your mobile device, you can stop now. There is no version of Adobe Flash Player that can be installed on a windows phone.

On November 9, 2011, Danny Winokur, Vice President & General Manager of Interactive Development at Adobe, announced in a blog post entitled “Flash to Focus on PC Browsing & Mobile Apps; Adobe to More Aggressively Contribute to HTML5” that Adobe had discontinued all development of its mobile flash player and instead planned to increase their investment in HTML5 for mobile browsers. Prior to this time, you could find a mobile version of Adobe Flash Player that could be installed on Android-based devices, but on June 28, 2012, Adobe announced that they were discontinuing the Android-based version of Flash and the mobile version of flash would no longer be supported.  The Android-based version of Flash was eventually removed from the Google Play store.

More and more websites have upgraded to HTML5, but many websites still rely on Adobe Flash to play videos and web-based games.  Unfortunately, this means you will encounter websites where your phone won’t be able to play videos or games from websites that still rely Adobe’s Flash Player. There is no workaround for this limitation. When you encounter one of these sites, you can:

  • search the Windows Phone Marketplace to see if there is an app that can be used to view the files on the website; or 
  • contact the site to ask them about their HTML5 migration plans.

Sources:

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Delete, forward and copy text messages on Windows Phone

To delete an entire text message thread, tap the Messaging tile on the start screen, then press and hold your finger on the thread you want to delete and select “delete” from the menu that pops up.  All of the individual text messages in that thread are deleted from the phone:

text msg2 Capturetext msg3

Continue reading Delete, forward and copy text messages on Windows Phone

Toggle FM Radio sound between headset and phone speaker

When you listen to the FM Radio on a Windows Phone, a wired headset must be plugged into the phone because it acts as the FM radio antenna, but that doesn’t mean you can only listen to the radio through a wired headset.

To listen to the radio through the phone speakers, open up the FM Radio by tapping the Music+Video tile on the Start screen, on the Zune screen, tap radio,

FM1 (5)FM1 (4)

Continue reading Toggle FM Radio sound between headset and phone speaker

Create Audacious Ringtones for your Windows Phone

Ever since the Windows Phone operating system was upgraded 7.5 (also known as the Mango upgrade), you can use custom ringtones on a Window Phones, but for Windows Phone 7.5 devices, there are some very specific requirements that must be followed in order to use custom ringtones, namely the ringtone audio files must:

  • be in MP3 or WMA format
  • be less than 40 seconds long (make it no longer than 39 seconds to be on the safe side)
  • be no larger than 1 mbs
  • not be protected with digital rights management (DRM)
  • be assigned to the RINGTONE genre in its metadata

With these requirements in mind, you can create ringtones from your favorite tunes or you can download already formatted ringtones and sync them to your phone.

Continue reading Create Audacious Ringtones for your Windows Phone