blog      xbox live gamercards      about     

Forza Horizon + SmartGlass

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

So I finally picked up a few new games after quite some time (been SO busy working, but that’s a story for another post).

I got Halo 4 of course, then Assassin’s Creed 3 and.. Forza Horizon!
I love Forza, I’ve enjoyed every chapter of it so I couldn’t miss Horizon. I like the new print they gave to the game, can you imagine the freedom of Test Drive Unlimited mixed with Forza physics and graphics, and a little bit of the Need for Speed atmosphere? That’s Forza Horizon to me.

One of the features I was looking forward to the most was SmartGlass integration. I gave it a try both on my Windows RT tablet and a notebook, and that was an equally impressive and entertaining experience – so I decided to also make a short video of it for your viewing pleasure. That’s mostly to show off SmartGlass integration and its capabilities… I can’t even imagine what’s to come if more developers decide to go for it!

Enjoy. :)

Comments Off

MVP again!

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

It was a special day yesterday, definitely one of a kind.

12 months after I was awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award, I was greeted by a Windows 8 (my platform of choice ever since Developer Preview) email notification that I was renewed for year 2012.


I am speachless.


It’s a very special feeling, because it really comes out of the blue in a way: it really AMAZES me to learn how much Microsoft cares about its communities worldwide, and clearly wants to see ME smile for one more year!

There’s so much going on in my life at the moment, and you can tell by the slowdown in blog posting… but that will actually be a good reason for another story in the very near future.

THANK YOU Microsoft, and congrats to all new and renewed MVPs!

Comments Off

The very best apps in the #wp7 marketplace

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

You may have heard about #wpappawards on twitter or via my friend Saijo at 1800PocketPC, you may not.

Well, here’s the full story :)


I know for a fact that users passionate about a particular technology love these kind of events, and thought it was about time that we had one for Windows Phone! I’ve been working on it for the last month and the initial feedback has been pretty awesome.

The first phase (nominations!) will end this Saturday, and Sunday the actual voting phase begins.
Any app currently available in the USA marketplace can be nominated for an award in one of the different 18 categories (2 bonus categories will be added for voting), and anyone can nominate and vote for their app of choice.

Like the sound of it? If you want to recommend your favorite app(s) hurry app and follow the link at the bottom, if you just want to show your support make sure to hit it starting next Sunday, May 20th. I’ll see you there!

Windows Phone 7 2012 Community App Awards

Comments Off

Secret unveiled #undergr0und

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

I’ve been hinting about a new project I was working on, without being able to say much more a few months ago – well, here’s the full story on The Verge:
App academy: the student developers building the Windows Phone ecosystem.

“Want to help student developers on Windows phone?”

This is the question I got that started my collaboration with Microsoft and ultimately led to the publication of the Underground app (WP7applist / Web Marketplace). Microsoft is doing an awesome job in getting student developers involved in the creation of apps for Windows Phone 7 (hit the article above to read some success story), and I’m so glad that I could help promote their apps and their hard work with the Underground app for WP7.

From a geeky point of view, it also gave me the chance to actually work with some cool stuff that I’ve only been experiment with, before – such as Windows Azure.

For more information about Underground you can check out or #undergr0und on Twitter.

Comments Off

Newsworthy: xbox + windows phone

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

If your’re a gamer on Xbox and own a Windows Phone 7 device (and if you don’t have it, get one asap) here’s some really good news for you. 4 good news actually.

#1 – PES 2012 is now available for Windows Phone 7 and it looks in pretty good shape. Go get it soccer fans!

#2 and #3 – every Wednesday (more or less) is Deal of the Week day on Windows Phone, which means that 1 or more games will get a price drop for a week. The good news is you have a choice of two games this time around: Tentacles, and Glow Artisan. As for every Xbox Live game, they have a free trial so there’s no reason for you not to give it a try.

#4- last week’s Deal of the Week is still active, so that makes for 3 WP7 games on SALE! Check out IonBallEX too, and get it before it’s too late ;)


Comments Off

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

I’m not entirely sure of why I’m writing this post, and I’m not sure if anyone should be interested to read it, so.. well, you’ve been warned. ;)

I have a dream, I always did: I want to relocate. And I want my destination to be USA or Canada. Is it that difficult? Sure, it is.

I have a job in Italy, one that fits me, and that pays the bills. I bought the car of my dreams a few years ago, I bought a house that I love, and I found a girl that I love more than anything. Doesn’t sound that bad, right? I know I was lucky enough to get all of this, but I’m really not happy with what I achieved so far. I get little-to-no personal satisfaction from my everyday life, and I think I can see how that comes to be: I managed to get many things that I wanted in my life, but not the most important.. I just don’t belong here.

This is something I’ve always had in my mind, and I’m not sure why I’m thinking about this right now, but the feeling got stronger and stronger lately. Possibly because I started to see a few chances that might actually make my dream come true. So what’s the problem, you may ask.

The problem is that I’m SCARED. I’m scared to fly for that long (planes make me REALLY feel sick, and I never was on a flight longer than a couple hours), I’m scared of all the things I’d be leaving behind me, I’m scared that I won’t be up to the task as far as work go, and I’m scared by the fact that my spoken English is awful.

Really, how am I going to survive in an English speaking country when I know I would strive to survive in the most common situations? I can write and read English pretty good for an Italian, everyone always says that to me, but speaking it’s a whole different matter. As much as it can sound crazy, sometimes I fear that I will never get the hang of it.

Then I see pics and videos of USA and Canada, of the ocean, the beach, the sunsets. I take a look at work opportunities, I compare quality of work and achievements of the same businesses in America and Italy, and my dream stays alive..

There we go, I don’t know if I really made a point here but I’m glad that I put this down. I don’t expect hundreds of comments, I don’t even expect one. But I’m glad that I did this, for myself. If anything, it will help me think that if I never give it a try, I will look back at this post at some point, and feel like an idiot for not having the courage to pursue the life I wanted.

Top 10 Xbox Live games on Windows Phone 7

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

While I’m still amazed by the fact that I can unlock Xbox Live achievements on the go on my phone, a lot of new games have been released in the last year, and it’s about time for me to talk about the ones I love the most. Hopefully this list will be useful to those of you who just picked up a Windows Phone 7 device for the first time, and love its gaming soul. ;)

If you are a gamer on WP7, feel free to let me know your thoughts on this list… ‘nough talking!


  1. Angry Birds
    My personal number 1 for how many hours I spent on it
  2. Bejeweled LIVE
    I always loved this game, and the WP7 porting is pretty good
  3. Fruit Ninja
    Frenetic gameplay, very addictive, nicely implemented
  4. Kinectimals
    Gorgeous graphics, you MUST try this one at least once
  5. Hexic Rush
    Hexic on a phone is almost as good as Bejeweled
  6. Full House Poker
    Online play would make this pretty much perfect if you’re into pocker games
  7. Fable: Coin Golf
    Looking great, challenging, and inspired by one of the best Xbox games ever
  8. Implode
    Original gameplay, pretty fun. Don’t miss it while it’s on sale!
  9. Flowerz
    Very nice game, easy to learn, hard to master
  10. Fight Game: Rivals
    This one’s got many critics and bad reviews – honestly I don’t mind the original gameplay and the nice graphics. Pretty fun


Oh and while I’m at it.. be sure you don’t miss the newly released “Bug Village“, available for free with its 200 GP!


Comments Off

Lesson learned

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

I was pretty excited about the last update I shipped for WP7applist’s app, as it fixes a few annoying bugs and it adds interesting features (like Mango / fast app switching support). Shortly after it went live I started getting reports of the app being unresponsive, bulky, and slower then before. I was very surprised as it was actually a lot smoother in my eyes, and I couldn’t quite get what users were talking about. Then I realized.

Last month I blogged about my new Windows Phone device (Samsung Omnia W, or Focus Flash overseas), and when I say it’s fast.. well, I really mean it! I installed the updated app on my old LG E900 and I could finally see what users were talking about. For the record, the main issue was the huge background image, rendered at 32bpp, so to make the gradient look super cool.

Long story short, I submitted a new update just a few minutes ago: it includes a new graphic restyling (also a dark and a light theme), better ad positioning, and some more UI improvements. Most of it was based on users feedback, so hopefully this will make some users happy.

Sorry for the issues you may be experiencing with the app and thanks for your patience, the new update should be just a few days away. :)

Comments Off

WP7applist app update, Mango edition (sneak preview)

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

Sometimes real life gets in the way and keeps you from getting fun stuff done. We all know the feeling, but it seems to happen more often than not to me lately.

I was finally able to find some time for a LONG due update, which involves the Windows Phone 7 app related to my fansite WP7applist. Can you believe that you can’t take advantage of any Mango feature yet from the app? Well fear not, and read on!

Disclaimer: this is just a preview, things are going to change etc.. but yes, this is where we stand at the moment.

First of all, as you can see the app got some brand new graphics and a huge makeover. Not many people complained about the old orange background, but I figured that many more would if everyone would care to leave some feedback, so I just went ahead and cleaned up the UI. Feel free to comment on the design before the update is shipped to the Marketplace!

Second of all, I moved some things around according to the feedback I got: for example, the app now greets you with the “discovery links list” instead of “spotlight”, and a few things (info, settings, feedback) were taken off the main Panorama view and presented on a separate page.

Third of all.. yes, the app finally supports fast app switching – this alone is worth the update. Trust me, I know this would have come sooner.

Last of all (but this is far from being the full list of improvements) this update will also include infinite-scrolling lists, which I have running on my beta builds from quite a while, and I can definitely say that they are a big plus.

Keep an eye open for the update in the next couple weeks if you’re a fan of the app, and feel free to leave any last minute feedback (here in the comments, on twitter, or via email) – I’ll try to squeeze in as many features as I can before shipping the update for certification. :)

Comments Off

Samsung OMNIA W: first impressions

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

Samsung OMNIA W I8350

I’ve been going back and forth from the stores in the last few days, looking for a new device to replaceĀ  my 1 year old LG Optimus 7. I was tempted to grab a Nokia Lumia (it’s no secret that they build SUPERIOR hardware), but went with the OMNIA W in the end, mostly because of the front-facing camera, the display which I heard good things about, and the price factor (349 EUROS vs 499 for the Lumia 800, in Italy).

First thing you notice (expecially coming from the LG) is that this device is F-A-S-T! Navigation is extremely smooth, and so are transitions. Even the animated Xbox Live avatar seems to move at twice the speed around the screen, no kidding.

Secondly, the display is gorgeous: one of the best I’ve seen in a mobile device. It renders even slightly better (in my eyes) than Samsung’s previous model (OMNIA 7): contrast and brightness seem a little more balanced, or perharps just more appealing to my eyes.

This device is very compact, its weight is surprisingly low, but it may not be your kind of thing if you like huge, cinematic screens. For me there’s no in between: I equally love extremely huge screens, and super compact devices that fit best in your pocket.

The memory is limited to the internal 8GB, I honestly would have prefered 16, but that is something I can live with.
If you interested in the full device specs head on here: the most notable ones are the probably the 1.4GHz processor, the HSDPA up to 14.4 Mbps, and the weight of only 115.3 g.

Comments Off