I had a crazy idea a while ago, after trying to get a decent 'panorama' shot on my Nokia smartphone and finding the stitching flaky and the resolution low every single blessed time. Yes, yes, calm down Apple fans, I know the iPhone does this out of the box, but here I'm talking Nokia. Symbian and Windows Phone, and the 808 PureView and Lumia 1020 specifically, since the high resolution available (typically 7700 pixels-ish wide) opens up the possibility for a huge, massive cheat. As [cough] detailed below.
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It's all very well shooting 5 or 8 megapixel photos on your Windows Phone, but don't assume that all the pixels are making it online when you share your photos or send them on to others. In fact, your photos are almost certainly being dramatically shrunk - I do a little investigating and offer some tips below. Why settle for second best?
Aside from being an intriguing title for an article, the idea of trying to photograph the moon on a phone camera is somewhat startling. Have a try with your own phone and you'll see what I mean. It's very, very hard. Even the Lumia 1020, with its huge sensor, large optics and plentiful camera capture options only just manages a decent moon shot by the skin of its teeth. But the point is... if you can photograph the moon, then surely anything else on earth is a piece of cake?
It's fair to say that I've been critical of some aspects of Windows Phone in the past, all documented on these pages and in the various audio podcasts, but at the same time I find myself using a Nokia Lumia 1020 on a daily basis. Yes, the camera is super, but away from that I'm still finding that Windows Phone does, more or less, everything I need a smartphone OS to do. Which got me thinking about why other mobile enthusiasts have ended up with a far more negative view of the OS. What exactly didn't they like and how valid are their criticisms?
The journey to podcatching nirvana on Windows Phone has been long and hard, as anyone reading my series of podcatcher round-ups may realise. The goal is to have a podcast application auto-check feeds and auto-download new episodes, whether the application is on the phone screen or not. This may sound easy enough, but with Windows Phone's heavy restrictions on multitasking, it turns out to be very hard.
The battle to preserve personal and secure data across mobile platforms goes on. You may remember that I went on an exploratory trip around every secure database system recently, with no satisfactory conclusion. Is it too much to expect to be able to take my PINs, my ID numbers, my software serial numbers, my secrets, from platform to platform? It may be too early to call off the search completely, but a solution is emerging that looks future proof and promising.
I wrote, a while ago, about possible showstoppers for people moving from Symbian to Android or Windows Phone, but a lot has happened in the intervening months, not least the arrival of the Nokia Lumia 1020, offering a more or less direct equivalent to the camera-centric flagships in Nokia's previous Symbian world. What I wanted to explore here was each aspect of smartphone functionality, from the point of view of matching what each generation did - and does. The overall picture may surprise you, though (as usual) there are a few caveats along the way.
I've already written that Nokia Smart Cam is my default camera application on Windows Phone 8. Or rather it was - and only for shots in bright light, outdoors. Not unexpectedly, Nokia Smart Cam's burst system, with very short exposures, leads to disastrous results indoors and in dim light. Leading me to explore the exact trade-offs in quality under different conditions for the three main camera applications supplied on Nokia's Windows Phone - when should you use the Microsoft-written default application and when should you opt for nothing less than Nokia Pro Camera?
Sometimes one has to turn to the community for help - and this might end up being just such a case. It's not often that I get completely stumped, but I've been pulling my hair out in recent weeks and it's time to both report and ask for input from 'All About' readers. You see, it's a question of data. Secure data. Data that's, worryingly, somewhat siloed on Symbian, a platform that I like but which is nearing end of life... My goal was to migrate to Windows Phone, but I've hit a brick wall.
NFC (Near Field Communications) is something we've only touched on briefly on the All About sites. You know it as a way to pair quickly with compatible Bluetooth accessories and to tap-for-info on an object, but the scope of NFC is widening all the time. In the first of several articles on NFC, I explore the world of NFC tag writing, looking at some common practical uses. Comments welcome if you can think of ways the technology would enhance your life too.