Windows Phone 7 users are required to signin to their smartphones using a Windows Live ID, just like Google’s Android uses a Gmail account. Once signed with a Windows Live ID, users will have access to Zune, Xbox LIVE, as well as Windows Phone Marketplace services.

Even though Windows Phone 7 is still in its infancy, its marketplace already features around 3,000 applications. However, the need for more third-party apps that cannot be found in the marketplace is rising.

Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn’t officially allow users to install third party apps on WM7 devices unless they’ve been approved by the company and posted in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Until last week, the easiest way to install third party apps was to download them directly from the Windows Phone Marketplace, or, if you don’t care about money, you could pay $99 per year for a developer marketplace registration account. More »

Microsoft has made available for download a reliability refresh designed to resolve issues affecting Windows Vista, including platforms upgraded to Service Pack 2, in Bluetooth pairing scenarios. According to the Redmond company, Bluetooth pairing issues affect only Windows Vista, and not customers running Windows XP or the latest version of the Windows client, Windows 7. Customers can now grab an update from the Microsoft Download Center, set up to resolve reliability issues associated with Windows Portable Devices (WPD).

“You try to pair a Bluetooth device with a computer that is running Windows Vista. When you initiate Bluetooth pairing from the Bluetooth device, the Bluetooth services on the Bluetooth device are not enabled automatically. You have to manually enable the services,” the software giant explained. “This issue does not occur when you initiate Bluetooth pairing from the computer. In this situation, the Bluetooth device’s services are turned on automatically.”

Microsoft is offering the Vista SP2 Bluetooth pairing reliability update for both the 32-bit (x86) and the 64-bit (x64) versions of the operating system. “To apply this update, you must have hotfix 971514 installed on a computer that is running Windows Vista Service Pack 2,” the company informed. More »

Whether you’re on the road for business or pleasure provided you’re not traveling by canoe in the Amazon jungle or dog sled in the arctic there’s probably a way to stay in touch by e‑mail. With a little knowledge and advance planning, it’s easy to check your e‑mail from the road. Here are some tips to help you remain in contact with friends, family, and colleagues while you’re on the go.

1. Use web mail and travel light

If you use a web-based e‑mail service such as Windows Live Hotmail, you can send and receive e‑mail using someone else’s computer, without the need to carry around your own mobile PC while you travel. All you need is a Hotmail account and a computer with a web browser and an Internet connection. You can even access Hotmail from some web-enabled mobile phones. More »