Free IRC for Windows Phone 7? Try IRC Free!

It’s time for App Wednesday! We’ve covered IRC for Android, and IRC for IRC for iPad, but it is only fair to to cover Windows Phone 7 as well! A small app calling itself IRC7, or IRC Free on the Windows Phone Marketplace, is an excellent choice for accessing IRC channels from your Windows Phone 7 device.

Not only is it one of the few (maybe only?) free IRC apps for the Windows Phone, but it’s actually very good. You can save multiple channels, store your credentials for logging on, and easily flip between multiple open connections and channels using the ever-so-simple and by-now-familiar Windows Phone 7 swipe-side-to-side interface. Building on that, it has other nice features like not allowing the phone to fall asleep when it is idle (which is key to not getting disconnected from channels), and supports secure connections to chat rooms!

The app is ad-supported, but developer Adafy has done an excellent job of keeping the ad at the edges of the screen and it doesn’t bug you non-stop! Also, the phone supports portrait and landscape modes and will switch on the fly. I love the widescreen support, it looks much nicer and allows me to use the slideout keyboard of my HTC Arrive. I enjoy IRC Free, and encourage you to give it a download if you’re a WP7 user like me!

How to pin an app to the Windows 8 Start Menu

So on the Windows 8 Start Screen (with all of the large tiles) – what is the fastest way to find and launch an application? Simple! Pin it to the Start Menu! You may wonder how to get about doing that, when you can’t find an application to begin with! Here is an easy way to find applications, and how to pin them (as of the Release Preview) to the new Start Menu:

  1. From the main Start Menu, simply start typing anything (I suggest the word Note, as though your were searching for Notepad).
  2. Press the Escape key on your keyboard to see the full list of applications.
  3. Find the App you would like to Pin (we’ll use Paint for our Example) and hover your mouse over it.
  4. Right Click on it (notice the Green check mark that appears).
  5. Left click on the option in the lower left corner of the screen, to “Pin to Start.”
  6. Press the Windows Key on your keyboard, and you’ll be back at the main Start Menu, and you should see your newly pinned application.

2008 – Dr. Dog – Fate

Dr. Dog has a wonderfully old fashioned sound, that only a few indie bands have capitalized on. Falling somewhere between The Beatles and Modest Mouse, Dr. Dog has had a long journey to find their slice of fame, and has kept their sound fairly consistent. When I first learned of them, Fate was just about to be released and they had a sound that was refreshing to my ears.

Their 2008 album, “Fate,” certainly has multiple tracks with religious overtones. The lyrics don’t shy away from the natural inner conflict one might have, questioning one’s faith. The Ark opens with the line: “God / he called for rain / so I built an ark / but no rain came. / I was ashamed.”

Meanwhile, a few romantic overtones shine through in parts of songs. A track simply titled From opens with one of the sweetest lines a person could ever hope to hear from their lover: “Oh, oh my love / don’t you leave me / ’cause I don’t want to learn how to die / oh, oh my love.”

The songs feature beautiful guitar strumming, electric and accoustic, some calming bass and drum work, and piano playing that will put your mind at ease. Although a few tracks have a modern rock sound, the indie-folk sound is undeniably present, and will draw you deeper and deeper in to Dr. Dog’s “Fate” album. Listen to it and let me know if you’ll be listening to it over and over, as I have.

Xbox Live Security Proofs ensure your Xbox Live Account is secure

UPDATE: 12/15/2012: Microsoft has taken down the video explaining how to set up proofs, so follow our guide to configuring Xbox Live security proofs.

Microsoft has recently been promoting their security proofs for your Live ID as the best method to prevent account theft or hacking. I must say, I have found it to be a great way to ensure your information is secure and that nobody is just going to ‘guess’ your password by knowing something about you. Click the link above, or watch the embedded video, and then visit to update your settings!