Microsoft has quietly updated the Windows Store in Windows 8.1. The update is server side. That is, you will not need to update your operating system to see the changes; it is automatically available for all users of Windows 8.1. What is the update, you might ask? Basically, the screenshots in the app landing page are huge! It actually looks pretty nice. Before this update, the screenshots were much smaller, and you could see more of the panoramic view of the Store. But now, with the much larger screenshots, most of your screen is used by the app screenshots.
Here are some screenshots. Note that the resolution is 1920 by 1080. Before the update, I observed the app screenshots to be much smaller and I could see more stuff on screen than I can now.
Hi folks! It’s Nazmus here, reporting to you that we have updated the official McAkins Online app. The update (now at version 184.108.40.206) is in certification with Microsoft and should be rolling out to you in the next few days. If you are running Windows 8.1, you will get the latest version automatically. If you are on Windows 8 or have turned off automatic app updates in Windows 8.1, you will need to manually update this app from the Store.
So what’s in this new update?
The most noticeable thing is the new look and feel. The app sports a cleaner, more beautiful design. The colors are pleasing to the eye and the entire design follows the Windows 8 design language. Gone are the gradients and unnecessary clutter!
The new update sports a new tile design that look cleaner and fits right in with your Start Screen! The tiles are live, so you will be notified of your latest posts without even having to open the app!
We fixed several annoying bugs, including the NaN bug that prevented content from showing up on the home page. We also made some performance improvements.
Check out the screenshots below to see what the new version looks like.
You can install Windows Phone Update 3 right now! There is no need to wait for carrier approval or device manufacturer optimizations. I blogged yesterday about the fact that something really exciting would be happening for Windows Phone updates, and it did! We are now able to get the latest Windows Phone update on the day of release.
Please not, however, that Microsoft says that installing the update early may void your warranty. To get started, follow the instructions below:
Instructions on Getting the Latest Windows Phone Update Now
Step 1: If you have a Windows Phone developer account or you have signed up for the Windows Phone App Studio, then please skip Step 2 and proceed to Step 3.
At the general availability of Windows 8.1 on October 18, new apps will flush into the store. Many of these apps are exclusive to Windows 8.1 and are not compatible with Windows 8.0. But how will Windows 8 users see these exclusive Windows 8.1 apps? As it turns out, Windows 8 users can, indeed, see Windows 8.1 apps on the Windows 8 store.
When Windows 8.1 launches, exclusive Windows 8.1 apps will be listed in the Windows 8.0 store with a big banner asking them to update to the new OS if they want to take advantage of the app. This is what it will look like.
As you can see, Movie Moments is an app incompatible with Windows 8. Therefore, users of Windows 8 still see the app on the Windows Store, but rather than an Install button, they have a button that takes them to the Windows 8.1 download page. Microsoft wants to do the best they can in order to promote the new OS as well as get users to the latest version so that developers can target more customers while taking advantage of the latest features and APIs of Windows 8.1.
Windows 8.1 Preview came with a handful of new features that made it easier for desktop users to use the OS, including boot to desktop, combustibility of the start screen to appeal for the desktop usage scenario, and better multitasking. Windows 8.1 RTM adds to the list. Thanks to our friends at Into Windows for discovering this feature.
In Windows 8.1 RTM, Microsoft added the ability to return straight to the desktop after closing metro apps. Currently, if you close all metro apps on screen, you will be taken back to the start screen. In Windows 8.1, you have the option to set it so that once every metro app on a monitor is closed, you are automatically taken back to the desktop. This is useful if you use the desktop primarily and open metro apps once in a while. A good scenario is that you double click on a photo on File Explorer and are taken to the Photos app. Once you close the photos app, you will be returned back to File Explorer; neat!
You set this option from the navigation tab in the Task Manager properties, the same place you set the boot to desktop. Here’s a picture (via Into Windows).
There are only few Windows RT devices around the world, given the sales of Windows RT based devices. However, I want to share some rare screenshots of this already rare operating system. By rare screenshots, I mean the type of screenshots you will not see when you look up Windows RT images on the web. Most images show the start screen, office, and apps. I want to get more obscure and show you many of the desktop apps that ship with Windows RT. Plus, I have screenshots of things that make no sense whatsoever on a Windows RT system. Buckle up and enjoy!
Desktop Apps on Windows RT
Here are some desktop apps that ship with Windows RT. If you have Windows RT, you can take advantage of all these apps!
Attempting to Run External Desktop Apps and Updates
In these screenshots, I attempt to run an unauthorized desktop app both from a graphical user interface and from command line. I also download Windows Powershell help updates for offline viewing from command line.
Epic Fail: Funny Screenshots
Well, here are some screenshots from things that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. Note that none of these screenshots are fake. They actually are from Windows RT code! We have the ability to uninstall desktop apps even though we cannot even install desktop apps. We have a Windows 7 Start Menu tutorial, and we also have Windows Update attempting to (unsuccessfully) install the Bing Bar a desktop IE ad-on, even though Windows RT cannot install desktop app or IE extensions. Oh, Microsoft, you will always be Microsoft!
Rare Screenshots of Windows RT Apps
You won’t easily find these screenshots of Windows RT apps. Go ahead, and try to find it!
Microsoft really wants developers to build apps for Windows Phone and Windows 8’s modern environment. To that end, the company has launched what they are calling “App Builder Rewards”. It is an initiative for developers to earn points by doing actions relating to making apps for Windows and Windows Phone. These actions can vary from following Microsoft Developers twitter account, filling out developer info, to actually submitting an app. Rewards vary from Xbox games, a year worth of Windows Store Developer account, to a free Windows upgrade. Here is what they state
As part of the Windows Store, App Builder brings together the tools and resources you need to build, publish and market your Windows app.
We’re excited to announce the launch of App Builder Rewards. This program is designed to help you get acquainted with the tools and resources for building a Windows app and have fun while you code to your heart’s content. For a limited time, you can earn points for completing quests, like coding apps, attending events, and of course publishing apps to the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store. Use the points to get cool stuff like a Windows Store developer account, Xbox games or a copy of Windows 8.
From start to finish, App Builder provides the tools and support you need to get your app in the store.
If you are or are thinking of building apps for Microsoft’s platforms, it would be good idea to rack up some points while you are at it. Go here to get started.
“Blue” is an update to Windows 8 that will bring patches and new features to Windows 8. We have discovered a hidden gem in “Blue” that might interest you. As you may already know, Windows 8 has two special requirements in regards to screen resolution of your device. In vanilla Windows 8, you need to have a resolution of 1024×768 to run metro-style (aka Windows 8 style) apps. However, if you want to be able to snap apps side-by-side, you will need a higher resolution of 1366×768. With the “Blue” update, however, Windows 8 will no longer require a resolution of 1366 by 768 to snap metro-style apps. As long as you have a screen resolution of 1024 by 768, you can snap metro style applications. In the video below, I demonstrate this behavior. As you can see, I am, indeed, running my PC at 1024×768 and am still able to snap apps.
We will have more blue coverage on this site, so stay tuned!
This video demonstrates the absolutely easiest, safest, and hands free way to try out Linux, especially if you are a beginner or first time user! We will use VMware player because it is the easiest and quickest way to try Linux. Watch the video for step by step guide.
If you want to turn off the notification you get every time you install a new app, it’s easy to do so. When you install an app from the Windows Store, the Store will send a push notification on the upper right corner with the message “[name of app] has been installed.” You can click the notification to launch your new app. If you do not want to see that notification but don’t want to globally turn off notifications for all apps, you can do so from the Windows Store Settings charm. Continue reading →
Ladies and gentlemen, this was unexpected. We now have a fully functioning web version of the Windows Store! We can finally browse, search, and explore apps directly from the web browser without actually needing a Windows 8 PC. I will note right now that this is not officially by Microsoft; it is a third party web app. However, it works like a charm (no pun intended).
Unlike the Windows Store app on Windows 8, this site shows worldwide apps. You can search apps from any part of the world, even if it is not available in your country. Of course, you can filter by country or category. On the picture above, for example, I am filtering out everything but Games form worldwide. According to the website, the total worldwide app is 25,405!
Of course, that 25 thousand plus apps are not all available for your country. So if you want to find relevant apps for your country, make sure to filter it by selecting your country.
Valve and its founder Gabe Newell doesn’t really like Windows 8 and its “metro” environment. As such, we didn’t expect Valve to integrate its flagship product, Steam, with Windows 8. Well, good news because an elegant solution arrived sooner than we would have thought. The community stepped up and created a Windows Store app that integrates your steam games with metro! Now, you can have a more seamless experience with Steam and Windows 8 despite Valve’s opinions.
The app that’s behind it all is called Pin Steam. It has two main functions; the first is that it is a metro version of your Steam games library. Now, rather than having to go to the desktop and launch Steam, you can open this app and view all your Steam games in a clean, metro style, app. The second function of the app is its highlight. It lets you pin your Steam games to the Start Screen as a tile!
Because Steam games are desktop apps, pinning it manually through the OS only shows you a small icon on the Start Screen. However, if you pin it with Pin Steam, you get a big tile that displays the Game’s cover art. It makes your game collection prettier on your Start Screen. Now, you can launch Steam games directly from Start in an elegant way!
The app is $1.49; however, you can download a trial version that lets you use the app as a metro style Steam games library. To be able to pin apps to the Start Screen, you will need to buy the full version. Also note that you need to have the official Steam desktop app installed for this to work.
A note to Valve: if you think Windows 8 will be a catastrophe, think again. Windows is too big to be a failure. Thinking that users and developers will ignore Windows 8, like they did with Windows Phone 7, is wishful thinking. If you don’t step up your game and play nicely with Windows 8, someone else will. Let’s just hope that someone isn’t a competitor.