Weave is a beautiful WP7 substitute for Flipboard

This week’s app is the Windows Phone 7 competitor to apps like Flipboard and Pulse. Weave News Reader is a feed reader app that seems built from the ground up for Windows Phone 7 users. It grabs lots of feeds like US news and Entertainment, but also takes in to consideration the fact that many Windows Phone 7 users are fans of Microsoft products, it also has built in feeds for things like Microsoft news, or Windows Phone 7 news.

Weave gives you the ability to customize the 30+ categories from 180+ sources, and share the articles you find on several social networks, including Facebook, Instapaper, and Twitter. It loads impressively fast and really does its best to give you an immersive experience. It might not reach the bar set by Flipboard, but it comes impressively close for something that isn’t busy trying to maintain its exclusive appearance. Go ahead and download it for free, Weave News Reader is worth a shot!

Recording Lite for the iPad – get great audio on the go

I was in a pinch and needed to record some simple conversation this week. I had my iPad with me, and remembered downloading an app that I hadn’t tried before, Recording Lite. Recording directly to AAC, this app can record for hours without taking up much space at all. Thanks to the high quality microphone on the iPad, I had some crisp clear recordings, even of people across the room. Built in is the ability to upload the files to iCloud, or even swipe to the third and final screen, which loads up a small web-server app allowing you to navigate to the IP address of the iPad in a web browser, and download any recordings straight through a web browser.

There’s one more superb feature found within Recording Lite and that is the ability to convert any recording from an AAC to a WAV file. By default, audio records as a Mono track, 44.1Khz. I made a few recordings this week, on the iPad, that I wanted to convert to smaller sound-bites. I converted the AAC files to WAVs, downloaded them from the built in “HTTP” server, then opened the WAV files in Audacity on my computer. Before I knew it, I was slicing the sound files up without a hitch. I’m so thrilled with this app, I might upgrade to the pro version if I have another case where I might use it. I record audio very infrequently, but am I thankful for a full-featured app like this – the Pro version, available for $1.99, removes a banner ad, and I believe adds the feature to password protect your sound files, so people don’t just open the app and listen. Just as many times before, I can’t believe something so great is out there for free!

App of the week: Barcode Generator for Windows 8

This week’s app is from the Windows 8 Store. I can’t link to it because Microsoft has, as of yet anyway, not placed the Windows 8 store online, as it has with the Windows Phone and Xbox Live marketplaces. Still, search for it, and download it – because it is a handy program to have.

Developed by the Advanced Technology Division of Vevy Europe (uh… ‘kay), Barcode Generator allows you to make a QR Code for any occasion. Many of us make QR codes for one reason or another. You know what they are by now – little barcodes you scan with your smartphone that can take you to a website, splash up some text, save a contact, or do many, many more things. Most people generate those codes using a few familiar websites. But with Barcode Generator on Windows 8 (also in Windows RT’s Store), you can quickly and easily create and save QR codes for various use cases, including advanced scenarios like having an Android phone auto-join a wireless network, or sending an SMS. It uses a few basic templates to help you get started, and allows you to save your favorites.

For people who consider themselves completely technically illiterate, Barcode Generator still keeps it simple. Do you know what your Twitter name is? Just type that in and it will handle the rest – you don’t need to know your specific URL or anything like that. Barcode Generator is the easiest and simultaneously most thorough QR Code Generator I have used to date.

Is Microsoft already experiencing too much Platform Fragmentation?

There it is. Hydro Thunder Hurricane. In the Windows 8 app-store. For $9.99. When I first mentioned that Hydro Thunder would be coming to Windows 8, I thought it would possibly be free, for me, because I had already purchased both the Xbox 360 version of Hydro Thunder Hurricane, and the Windows Phone 7 version of Hydro Thunder Go. But, alas: it’s not free to me.

I am logged in with my same, unified LiveID, but if I want to play Hydro Thunder Hurricane on my Windows 8 PC – I’m stuck shelling out yet another ten dollars. I’m disappointed. But what is going to hurt worse? I have this sneaking suspicion that any apps I buy in the Windows RT store will not translate to buying the same Windows 8 “x86” app. We’ll find out this weekend, my Microsoft Surface RT tablet should arrive in the next few hours. It will be a tell-all moment for just how much app-purchasing I’m going to be doing in the new Microsoft ecosystem.

If I buy a Windows Phone 8 and none of the apps are compatible with my RT Tablet, and none of those apps are compatible with my Windows 8 app-store purchases… just what was the point of the app-store? Locking users in to only making purchases from one place? Then requiring them to pay for the same thing three times? I understand that there is bound to be some fragmentation – not all of the platforms can do the exact same things – there need to be certain limitations. But to offer the same application on multiple platforms but to charge for each one? That will infuriate many, many people. There will be a backlash if that is actually the case. But today is just Windows 8 Launch Day, October 26th, 2012. Maybe I’ll be in for a pleasant surprise. Time will tell, and I’ll be sure to write about it when I find out more. Just look for all of my Windows 8 related articles in the Windows 8 Archive.