Saturday, March 10, 2012

Share Contact for Windows Phone 7

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Unlike other contact sharing applications for Windows Phone 7, Share Contact allows you to both (easily) send and receive contact details. Other apps allow you to send contact information or turn it into a QR code, but Share Contact is one of the few (or possibly the only app) that allows you to easily save contact data from an SMS or email message into your phone book. Like other apps you can share a contacts details via email, SMS or QR code. The receive function works best with data that was also sent by Share Contact, but can also handle data from a number of other popular contact sharing applications in the WP7 marketplace. Note that when you want to receive a contact’s details via QR code, you don’t need an app on WP7 at all – just use Bing Vision Search.

Download-EN-Small

Finding a Contact

Share1

Finding a contact works much like the people hub in Windows Phone 7. You are presented with a list of contact which you can scroll through by flicking or panning vertically with your finger. Alternatively you can press one of the boxes with a letter in it to bring up a ‘jump list’ which allows you to quickly move to a particular location in the list if it’s very large. Finally, you can press the search button in the app bar at the bottom of the screen to display a search field, simply key part of a name into the search field and the list will be filtered to show only contacts that match your search criteria.

On the settings screen you can also choose to filter out contacts that don’t have certain types of information (i.e phone number or email). More on that later.

 

 

 

Sharing a Contact

Once you’ve found a contact, just tap on them once to bring up the share screen. On the first page of the share screen you’ll Share2see options for which kinds of data you want to share, i.e business details, personal details, website etc. Check the box next to each kind of information you want to share. You can now either press one of the share option buttons at the bottom of the screen (SMS, Email or QR code). If the contact you’ve selected has multiple profiles linked together then the information from each profile will be merged together into a single set of information to be shared.

Share3If you want to share information only from one profile for this contact, such as a specific Microsoft Exchange account then flick left or right with your finger to pan through the linked profiles for this contact. Each page will show the name of the account and then the contact details that account contains for this contact. When you find the account with the details you want to share, press one of the share buttons in the app bar at the bottom of the screen. The choices you made on the first screen for what kinds of data you want to share will still apply, so if you chose to only share business contact details and the profile you’ve selected contains both personal and business details, only the business data will be included.

 

 

 

Using Favourites

Favourites

You can mark a contact as a favourite by performing a tap-and-hold  on the contact in the main contact list, then tapping on the ‘favourite’ menu that pops-up. When you mark a contact as a favourite it moves to the favourites page and becomes an animated tile, switching between the contacts name and profile image. You can access the favourites list by swiping left or right with your finger while on the main screen showing the contact list.

If you tap on a favourite tile for a contact the share page for that contact is shown. Using favourites can be very convenient when you have contacts you often share, such as work colleagues.

 

 

 

Sharing Your Own Details

Often you want to pass your own details on to somebody. This couldn’t be easier. From the main screen with the contacts list displayed, just tap on the ‘share me’ button (which looks like a person with an arrow sticking out of them). If you’ve already setup your contact details then you’ll go straight to the share page for yourself. If you haven’t setup your details yet, you’ll be prompted to do so. You can add or edit information about yourself at any time on the settings screen, and if you have yourself in your phonebook as a contact you can even loaded your details automatically from that contact record. Unfortunately due to restrictions on what 3rd party applications can do, we can’t automatically read your phone number, name and email addresses etc. from the phone, so you need to setup this information at least once.

Receiving a Contact from SMS or Email

Receive1Receiving a contact from SMS or email is pretty much the same process, although slightly easier for SMS messages. First you need to open the SMS or email message and copy the text of the message. For an SMS message just tap-and-hold on the balloon for the message, then choose ‘copy’ from the menu that pops-up. For email messages, you need to tap once on a word inside the email message so the word highlights, then drag the arrows at the end of the highlight until the full message is highlighted. When all the text is highlighted, tap the copy icon (two pages in a circle) that will be displayed just above the selected text.

When you have copied the text, open Share Contact and flick left to go to the ‘Receive’ page. Tap in the large boxReceive2 display, and then press the ‘paste’ button just above the keyboard (looks like a clipboard in a circle). The text of your message will now be shown in the box you tapped in before. Now just tap the ‘save’ button (looks like a floppy disk in a circle) in the app bar at the bottom of the screen. This will bring up the standard WP7 Save Contact screen with all the field prepopulated for you. You can edit the data if you want, or else just choose to save the contact by pressing the save button at the bottom of the screen again.

 

 

 

 

Settings

The settings screen has two pages. The first page allows you to choose settings for how the application works and looks. The options include filtering out contacts that don’t have a particular type of contact information such as phone number, email address or physical address. These options are used in an ‘or’ fashion, so if you check phone number and email, then contacts that have either a phone number, an email address or both will be displayed.

You can also choose whether or not a link to Share Contact is automatically included in SMS and email messages sent from the application, to make it easier for people receiving the message to make it easier to find the app and download it themselves.

Finally, you can choose whether contacts are sorted by first or last name when displayed in the contact list.

If you swipe left or right on the settings screen, you’ll go to the ‘my details’ page which allows you to enter and edit your own contact details for later sharing. There is also a ‘load from contact’ button which will import your details from an existing contact record, if you have yourself loaded as a contact for some reason.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Why No One Has The Smartphone Right Yet


The number of iPhones sold per second now outnumbers babies born per second, Android is selling even faster, and Microsoft are winning awards and great user reviews everywhere for their Windows Phone 7 platform (although they have only a tiny market share right now). Given all that, my title for this post might seem a bit provocative, so let me explain.

Regardless of the success of an individual platform in terms of reviews, user approval or sales, there seems to be one area where smartphone manufacturers are failing many consumers (myself included). This failing is the paradox of choice. You see, if I decided I wanted to buy a new phone today, I could not decide which one to to get, and no matter what I decided I would still come away with some level of buyer’s remorse.

On the Apple platform, assuming you want an actual phone (rather than an iPod touch or iPad), you don’t really have any choice. All you can get is the iPhone, and all the models are pretty similar. Sure, there are different models, like the iPhone 3, 3GS, 4, 4S etc. but the choice is often between a new model and an older model or two models that are very similar and differ only in in minor hardware specs or the OS version. Basically, if you want an iPhone with a 4.3 inch screen then you’re out of luck. If you want one with a faster processor, a different type of camera sensor or megapixel rating, a better quality external speaker etc. then you have to look at another platform. You are forced to choose from a very narrow band of options from Apple. On the plus side, you don’t suffer so much from the paradox of choice because your options were limited in the first place. You can be confident you bought the iPhone that best suits you, even if it isn’t the perfect smartphone for you. Of course if you really need or want something Apple doesn’t offer, then your only choice is to go to one of the other platforms.

Android has the reverse problem. There are too many options to possibly evaluate them all, so you can’t know you bought the phone that best suits you. What’s more most manufacturers and carriers heavily customise the user interface of Android (to the point where two different android users can’t necessarily use each others phones for simple tasks like searching contacts). This adds another dimension of choice over and above the hardware. No matter what you buy, there will probably be something not quite right about it, and given you had all those other choices you didn’t explore you’ll no doubt get some quantity of buyer’s remorse, sooner if not later. This is especially true since the quality of Android phones can vary greatly, especially across price ranges.

Windows Phone 7 sits somewhere in the middle. The minimum spec for the devices has, so far, kept truly awful devices off the market. Like Apple and unlike Android, you don’t buy a WP7 device that just doesn’t run well because the hardware can’t cope. There’s also more variety and more brands of phone than you get from Apple, and fewer than you get from Android. Unfortunately, this isn’t the best of both worlds.

Yes, you have a choice with WP7, but that still means you have to go out and evaluate as many phones as you can before deciding on one. It turns out, evaluating a phone in a store is really hard (for any platform or manufacturer, although slightly better for Apple product if you’ve used one before). Even when you know the OS fairly well, it’s not until you’ve taken the phone home that you find out whether the camera works in low light, or how the manufacturers customisations work, or what specialised apps the manufacturer has released that only work on their phones, whether that reception on that phone is better or worse in the places you regularly visit (or if the new models antenna is flawed) etc. There really should be a business that allows you to rent a phone for a week under no obligation to buy (but for a small fee) and then sells it to you (perhaps less the rental fee) if you decide you do actually like that model, otherwise you return it for a different model to try.

In any case, not only is the evaluation hard but comparing two models of WP7 often leaves you with an impossible choice. For example, if I was going to buy a new phone today the first two models I would look at (assuming they were available in my region) would be the Nokia Lumia 900 and the HTC Titan II.

The Titan has a larger screen, which I really like for all non-phone call activities (i.e txting, apps, games, browsing). Larger screens do make phones a little uncomfortable to use for calls but I’m prepared to live with that. Some reviews I’ve seen online suggest the camera is better than that on the Lumia (at least for now, apparently Nokia are working on a software update to improve camera quality on the Lumia models). I also know that HTC produce a really simple but good Flashlight application that is only available on their devices, and the HTC Attentive phone app. There other other flashlights in the WP7 marketplace so I’m sure I can replace that easily, I just like the one I already have. The Attentive Phone app is harder to replace however. Third party app developers don’t have access to the API needed to create an app like this, so it has to come from the manufacturers and I don’t believe Nokia have built anything like this. Really, I think the features provided by Attentive Phone should be built into the OS (perhaps as options), but they aren’t.

So if I buy the Titan I get a big screen, probably a good camera, and HTC Attentive Phone all of which are good. On the other hand Nokia have their ‘clear black’ display, which is really nice even if the screen is smaller. They also have Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive which are far superior to the maps offering baked into the OS. As far as I know, HTC (nor any other manufacturer) has a competing offering in that space for now. There are (expensive) navigation apps available in the marketplace, so I could get something for the HTC, but the Nokia offering for maps seems like the best. The Nokia is also very nice to hold and look at (I’ve seen the 800, I presume the 900 is similar). While I haven’t seen the Titan II in person, my existing HTC device has some quality issues with buttons that rattle and cracked chrome surfaces and I think the Lumia is probably better in that regard.

The OS will be pretty much the same on both although not comparing the two phones side by side I can’t be sure of what differences I might find. My HTC has tethering and can send MMS message fine, while my friends Samsung WP7 device can’t do either even though we’re both running Mango (on his phone there is no setup for the MMS stuff, and no OS update yet for his phone to enable tethering support). On the other hand his (in-built OS) camera app has more scene modes, and more options for controlling the camera itself (exposure settings and the like). Does either the Lumia or the Titan support tethering ? My HD7 didn’t use to but a recent update added the feature. My bosses Lumia 800 didn’t when he first got it, and he hasn’t mentioned an upgrade having added it so does that mean if I buy the Lumia I loose tethering ? Does the 900 have it and the 800 doesn’t ?

Given all of this you might think it’s impossible to buy a smartphone and be happy with it. That’s clearly not the case. I am happy with my HD7, and I know users of all three platforms who are happy with their handsets. What I’m really saying is that despite the proliferation of choices, and the fanboi-ism around each platform, there is still a section of the consumer market that is not perfectly catered for by any of the major platforms and the situation isn’t necessarily getting better.

Microsoft and their handset partners could fix at least some of the WP7 platform problems by ensuring that (hardware and firmware allowing) all manufacturer specific apps were available for purchase on other handsets. Microsoft could even mandate this. For example, if I bought a Nokia handset I would get Nokia Drive and maps free because that’s what happens now, but if I buy another brand of handset I can still purchase and use those apps (even if at exorbitant prices).

This probably won’t happen because manufacturers and carriers will be afraid of losing their competitive advantage, but that’s not necessarily true. If I did decide to buy a Titan rather than a Lumia but I bought the Nokia apps, Nokia would still earn money from me they wouldn’t have got otherwise and I’d still be staying in touch with the Nokia brand. That might lead me to buy a Nokia again in the future, rather than just putting them out of mind because I’m now an HTC customer. Right now, whichever brand I go with leads me to pretty much ignore the other (if only to avoid further buyer’s remorse), and profits only one manufacturer. I would suggest it’s better to compete on hardware as much as possible while still profiting from your losses when a consumer chooses another brand of handset.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Windows Phone 7 – Syncing Email Over VPN


At the moment the Exchange server we use at my office isn’t available over the internet in the way it needs to be in order to sync email, contacts, calendar etc. to my WP7 device. Even with the ‘Mango’ update to Windows Phone 7 VPN connectivity is not supported on the phone, so I can’t connect via VPN over the internet from the phone either. This means my work mail only syncs while I’m near the office and connected to the WiFi network. This is actually ok with me, and we’ll probably change the Exchange server configuration later anyway.

However, I recently discovered I can sync my phone to the Exchange server via a VPN if I use a PC as the middle man. For example, I can connect my phone (via cable) to my laptop, and open the VPN connection on the laptop. This will then allow the email app on the phone t connect to the Exchange server and sync.

I believe this needs the Zune software correctly installed on the PC (so that it opens automatically when the phone is connected), but it certainly seems to work fine if that is the case.


Windows Phone 7 Supports vCards


This may not be news to everyone, but something I learned today is Windows Phone 7 supports vCards for receiving contact information.
To receive a contact via a vCard you can;
  • Email yourself a .vcf file (which can be exported from Outlook or many other contact management applications). Open the attachment in your WP7 email application and the OS will automatically open an ‘Add Contact’ page  with the fields pre-populated.
  • Download a .vcf file from the internet. A great way to do this is via SkyDrive, but be warned (as with many file formats) you need to use the SkyDrive website to download the file not the app. The app only allows downloading files with a limited number of file extensions, and .vcf isn’t one of those.
  • Turn the contents of the vCard file into a QR code. This is sort of the more obvious way to do it, as there are several apps in the marketplace that allow sharing contacts this way. However, you can also use an online tool to convert the data (just try a Google search for ‘qr code generator’) into a qr code if you don’t want to go the app route. Just open the .vcf file with notepad, copy the text and then paste it into the web page to generate the QR code.
All of these are great ways of sharing contact info. Unfortunately the WP7 API for third party apps doesn’t allow sending apps sending emails with attachments, so you can’t email a contact out of your phone in VCF format (at least not easily).

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fixing Zune Sync Error c00d11e4 (800c000e) on Your HTC HD7 Windows Phone


Day Thirty Seven - HTC HD 7 (Windows Phone 7)I fixed this over 6 months ago, but I forgot to blog about it then and only just remembered.

When I first got my HTC HD7 Windows Phone 7 device I discovered the Zune sync didn’t work for getting photo’s and video off the phone. I could get stuff onto it fine, music synced fine, and all the app stuff worked, just no pictures/video came off the phone.

Apparently I wasn’t alone, it appears a number of HTC users have had the same problem. I tried a number of Google searches for a solution but didn’t find any quick answers on how to fix it. Eventually I stumbled upon the post I linked above at the Microsoft Answers site and after digging through the posts I found the solution.

Apparently the problem is to do with file associations for images and video on the PC (nothing to do with the phone). I had jpg and other image files set to be opened with an old copy of Paint Shop Pro I bought years ago, not the default programs Windows normally has associated with these file types. Once I reset the file associations for the images and video, the sync starting working again.

I’ve since been able to reset Paint Shop Pro to be associated with those file types again, and the sync is still working. So, if you’re having this problem, try resetting your file associations for the afflicted media file types. A reboot before attempting to sync again may also be required (I can’t recall now).

As pointed out by ‘Ashedd’ on the relevant Microsoft Answers post, here’s the steps to reset your file associations;

WARNING: Altering your registry incorrectly can cause serious problems with your Windows operating system. If you are not confident of your ability to make these changes or recover from a serious software failure, get someone more experienced to help you or Google for other ways to reset your file associations.

  1. Click Start , and then click All Programs.
  2. Click Accessories, and then click Run.
  3. Type regedit, and then click OK. If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the password, or click Allow.
  4. In the navigation pane, locate and then click the following registry subkey:
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.jpg
  5. In the right-hand pane, double-click (Default).
  6. In the Value data box, enter jpegfile and then clickOK.
  7. Exit Registry Editor.
  8. Try to sync a photo\video taken with the phone.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

1 Tap Reminder for Windows Phone 7


My second WP7 application, 1 Tap Reminder, is now available in the marketplace.
1 Tap Reminder is almost certainly the quickest and easiest way to set reminders on your Windows Phone 7 device. Set alarms for a certain period from now, or a specific time of day with as little as one tap.

Download 1 Tap Reminder for Windows Phone 7
So, how does it work ?

Really Quick Reminders

TimerPageScreenshotSmallTilesScreenshot6When you first open 1 Tap Reminder you’ll see the ‘one-tap timers’ screen where you can choose when you want a reminder set. Depending on your preferences you can use the full size tile screen which makes it easy to select a timer even while on the move but requires scrolling to see more timers, or the smaller tile size which allows more timers to be seen at once.
The two timers you use the most will automatically sort to the top left of the list, and the ‘Specific Time’ timer will always be the last entry in the list. This makes it easy to locate your favourite timers.
To set a timer quickly, just tap on it with your finger. Depending on your settings either;
    Your phone will set the reminder and vibrate to confirm, then the app will exit (the default behaviour), or, your phone will switch to the ‘reminders’ page and show you the newly set reminder.




When the designated time arrives, your phone will show your reminder even if the app isn’t open. You’ll also have the SimpleReminderScreenshotoption of snoozing the reminder (this is provided by the WP7 OS and I can’t change the snooze options, sorry).





 






Viewing and Cancelling Reminders

RemindersPageScreenshot
From the main screen you can swipe left or right to see the reminder page. This page shows you both reminders that have passed and reminders that are yet to occur. Reminders that have passed are shown with either a slightly darker or lighter background colour (depending on your theme) than reminders that haven’t occurred yet.
To cancel a reminder, just tap on it once then choose ok on the confirmation message box that appears.
Reminders are automatically removed 24 hours after they have past, so you don’t need to cancel old ones (unless you’re bored or suffering from OCD).








Setting Reminders with TextTimerContextMenuScreenshot

Got too many reminders, or one set so far in the future you’re afraid you’ll forget what it’s for ? You can set custom text for your reminder nearly as easily as setting a quick reminder. Just tap and hold on the timer you want to set, and choose ‘set reminder’ from the menu that pops-up. This will display the “reminder details” screen.
ReminderDetailScreenshot
On the reminder details page you can tap in the ‘reminder text’ field and key in your own text, or you can tap on one of the preset prompts to quickly set the text. Double tap on an item in the preset list to choose that text and set the reminder. Alternatively tap once on an item in the list, then tap in the text field to edit the text if you desire, and finally click the tick button at the bottom of the screen to set the reminder.
To cancel setting the reminder, tap the back button on your phone.









Setting a Reminder for a Specific Time of DaySpecificTimeOfDayScreenshot

When you choose the ‘Specific Time’ timer, regardless of whether you single tap or use the tap and hold menu, you will be shown a variation on the details screen. Like the normal details screen this allows you to set custom text for your reminder, but it also allows you to pick a specific date and time for the reminder to occur at.
You choose the time first. Tap on the time field to bring up the time picker and enter the time. If the time you choose is after the current time today, then the date field defaults to today. If the time you choose is before the current time today, the date field automatically changes to tomorrow. In either case, you can tap on the date field and choose a different date if you wish.
When you’ve set the date and time, and selected your text, tap the tick button at the bottom of the screen to set the reminder.

 

 

Pinning Timers

PinnedTimerScreenshot1
For truly one-tap reminders, you can pin timers to your start screen. Just tap and hold on a timer inside the app, then choose ‘pin to start’ from the menu that pops-up. A new tile will be created on your start screen for the timer. From that point on, you can set the timer just by clicking the tile on your phones main page, no need to open the app first.
This works for any timer, including custom timers for specific times of day and/or with text assigned, or for simple timers that are just a period of time.



 

 


Customising the Timers List (Paid Feature)

If you don’t like the default list of timers, you can change it. To remove a timer, just tap and hold on it and then choose ‘remove’ from thMainAppBarMenuScreenshote menu that pops-up.
To add a new timer, tap on the three dots at the lower right of the screen, then on the menu that slides up choose ‘add timer.’ This will bring up a new screen that allows you to enter the details of the timer you want to add.
AddTimerScreenshot
On the add timer screen you first select the type of timer you want to create. You can choose between a timer for a ‘duration’, i.e 23 minutes from the time the timer is set, or you can create a timer for a specific time of day, i.e 3:00 p.m.
Next, enter either the number of hours and minutes for the timer (if you chose ‘duration’), or the time of day. The fields available will change to suit, depending on the type of timer selected.
Finally, you can optionally enter the default text for your timer. If you enter no text, the word ‘reminder’ will be used by default. If the text you enter happens to match an entry in the preset prompts list then the image associated with that text will be shown in some places where the reminder is displayed (such as the reminders page, and the back of pinned tiles).
To save your reminder, tap the tick button at the bottom of the screen. To cancel, tap the back button on your phone.





Customising Preset Prompts (Paid Feature)AddPresetScreenshot

On the detailed reminder screen you can remove a preset prompt by tapping and holding on it and then choosing ‘remove’ from the menu that pops-up.
You can add a new prompt by clicking the three dots at the lower right hand corner of the screen (while on the reminder details page) and then choosing ‘add preset text’ from the menu the slides up.
On the ‘add preset’ screen you can enter the text for your preset by tapping in the text field and keying in the value you want to use.
You can also tap on the green square to choose an (optional) image to associate with this preset. This image will be shown on the reminders page inside the app, and on the backs of timers you pin to your start screen.
When you’ve made your choices you save the preset by tapping the tick button at the bottom of the screen. To cancel, tap the back button on your phone.


Settings

SettingsScreenshotThe settings screen allows you to change the behaviour of the app and to reset the app data to the default values. You can scroll the screen up and down by flicking with your finger to see more options. To access this screen, tap the three dots in the lower right corner of the screen while on the main page.
Enable 1 tap reminder set
If this setting is on, tapping once on a timer sets the reminder immediately with the default text. If this setting is off, tapping once on a timer always shows the reminder details page.
Auto-exit on 1 tap reminder set
If this setting is on, setting a reminder via a single tap causes the phone to vibrate to confirm the reminder has been set, then automatically closes the app. If you don’t like this behaviour, turn this setting off and the app will move to the reminders page and show the newly set reminder instead of closing.
Auto-exit on detailed reminder set
This setting is the same as the previous one (Auto-exit on 1 tap reminder set) but applies to reminders set via the the reminder details page rather than the one-tap method.
Use small tiles
This setting changes the size of the tiles shown on the timer screen, small tiles mode show more timers at once and reduces the need for scrolling, but make the touch area for each timer smaller.
SettingsScreenshot2
Add Timer
This button allows you to add a new timer, just like the ‘add timer’ menu option on the main screen.
Add Preset Text
This option allows you to add a new preset prompt to the list available on the detailed reminder screen, just like the ‘add preset text’ menu option on the reminder details screen.

Reset Buttons
These buttons reset the data named on each button to it’s default values.



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Meal Timer


Meal Timer is my first Windows Phone 7 application (requires Mango update for WP7). There are a number of apps in the WP7 Marketplace that are ‘kitchen timers’ and allow you to set reminders or alarms for  particular time, but Meal Timer is unique (as far as I know) in that it allows multiple timers to be set so they all end at the same time. This means the application itself ensures your meat, vegetables, sauces and other meal components are all ready at the same time. Unlike most other kitchen timers that assume you are cooking immediately, you can schedule the meal to be ready at a particular time, and Meal Timer will set alarms so everything is ready at that time (or you can start cooking right away if you want).


Download-EN-Small

So, how does it work ?
First, download the application from the Marketplace. Then open the application from your application list (or pin it to your start menu for a beautiful tile showing a tasty homemade hamburger, and open it via the tile).

When you first open Meal Timer you will see the main ‘panorama screen’ which will be set which will be scrolled to the ‘components’ page and looks like this;
EmptyComponentsPageTo start, you need to add some items to cook. Do this by pressing the button at the bottom of the screen marked with a + symbol. This will bring up the ‘Add Component’ window.





















EmtpyAddItemDialogClick in the ‘Name’ field and type the name of something you’re going to cook, i.e 'Chicken’. Note, you don’t have to add the items in any particular order, Meal Timer will sort the items into the correct cooking order based on time, later when we tell it we’re ready to start or schedule cooking.





















AddItemDialogItemNameOnlyWith the item name entered, you now need to enter the cooking time. First, you need to go to the cooking time box. The easiest way to do this is to press the enter button on the on-screen keyboard. Otherwise, you can tap in the visible portion of the Cooking Time field (you can flick up on any part of the dark background area behind the text fields to scroll them up so it’s easier to see and tap on the Cooking Time field). Alternatively, you can press the back button on the phone itself to close the keyboard, then tap in the Cooking Time field, but pressing enter is the easiest thing to do.




















EnterCookingTimeOnce you’re in the cooking time field, simple enter either a number of whole minutes, or a number of hours and minutes separated by a colon (:) character. For example, 75 and 1:15 both refer to 1 hour and fifteen minutes. When you’ve entered the time, either press enter on the on-screen keyboard or the button at the bottom of the screen marked with a plus to add this item and start entering another. If you’ve entered all the items you want to enter (or if this is the last item you intend to enter), you can press the button at the bottom of the screen marked with a tick (check mark). If you’ve changed your mind about entering the item currently shown on screen, press the back button on your phone to return to the main screen.




















ComponentsListScreenshotBack on the main screen the components list will now show all the items you’ve entered.
If you want to change the time you entered on one of these items, click on the red area representing the item. If you want to remove an item from the list entirely, click on the trash can icon on the right hand side of the item you want to delete.
You can scroll the list of meal components up and down by swiping with your finger.
To start or schedule cooking, press the button at the bottom of the screen marked with an arrow head (like the play button on a DVD player). This will bring up the Start Cooking dialog.



















StartCookingScreenshotIf you want to start cooking right away, click the Start Now check box to place a check mark in it. Alternatively leave the Start Now check box unchecked, select the time you want your meal to be ready at below it. Note, you can use the settings screen to change the default meal time. When you’ve made your choice, press the button at the bottom of the screen marked with a tick (check mark). If you’re not ready yet or have changed your mind, press the back button on your phone. When you do start or schedule cooking you will be returned to the main page and the meal components you entered earlier will move across to the timers page. You can move between the components and timers pages by swiping left or right on screen when the main page is shown.





















TimersScreenshotThe various components of the meal will be sorted by cooking time so the item that is going to take the longest to cook is started first, and so on. An ‘alarm’ will be set on your phone for the time each item needs to start cooking, and another alarm will be set for when all the items are ready. These alarms will go off even if you close the Meal Timer application.
If you leave Meal Timer running, the components on the timers page will turn read when they need to start cooking (as well as the alarm going off) and the system will start counting down the time left for that item. Each timer shows you the scheduled start time, the total cooking time for that item, and the time remaining (counting down while the timer is running).
Timers that are grey indicate they have not started yet. When a timer completes, it turns black for about a second and then disappears.
You can scroll the list of timers up and down by swiping with your finger.

















And that’ about it ! There is a setting screen, which you can access from the main page by pressing the three little dots near the bottom right and then choosing ‘settings’ from the menu that pops up. The settings screen allows you to set the sound used for the alarm and the default meal time, as well as delete any data the application has saved, and there are also shortcuts to rate/review and buy the application in the WP7 Marketplace.
So, what if you want to schedule multiple courses for a single meal ? Easy, just perform the steps above once for each course and choose a different ‘Meal Ready at Time’ for each course on the Start Cooking screen. All the timers will mix in together on the timers page, but all the items for each course (scheduled together) will be ready at the same time. Simple !
If you have any suggestions, problems or queries please contact me via yort@yortondotnet.com.

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