My Windows Phone Start Screen

Earlier today, Paul Thurrott (@thurrott) tweeted a picture of his Windows Phone Start Screen ( As I like to share, I thought I’d show off mine too.

My Windows Phone Start Screen Top

So here’s the top half of my screen. In the top left corner, we’ve got my tiles associated with calling: Phone and Lync. Our company isn’t yet using Lync externally but we should be sometime soon so I wanted to get the icon in early. On the right side, I’ve got the People hub. Strangely, as I took the screenshot, Paul managed to work his way into the picture.

Back over on the left, I’ve got Rowi. I paid for the full version of the app because frankly, it’s worth supporting the guys at Hidden Pineapple because the app is great. To the right of this, I’ve got my SMS/MMS message box and my Linked Mailbox tile for my personal domain account and my work account. I love linked mailboxes as it means I see all of my mail and manage all my unread and flagged items from one view. Rowi and People Hub earn themselves large tiles as they have notifications and animations which deserve the size.

On the row below this, I’ve got four of my most used apps on the phone. These only deserve small tiles as they don’t give anything useful in terms of tile feedback and notification. From left to right, we’ve got Facebook, eBay, YouTube and the Music Hub. The new YouTube app is brilliant and so much better than the mobile site redirect which is what the old version amounted to.

One of the first things that I think is striking about my screen is how the People Hub and Rowi tiles are offset. This was my way of stopping the screen looking too uniform; a little bit of structured chaos.

The row below has my calendar exclusively. My calendar is heavily used with meetings for work and personal events such as kids lessons, appointments and birthdays, so I like to have this large as it means I get the subject and location of the meeting on the tile to save me having to crack into the full calendar app. It’s important for me to have the calendar here also as it means that I don’t have to scroll to see it; it’s there all the time on the first view of the start screen.

My Windows Phone Start Screen Bottom

Here we have the bottom half of my screen. I’m a simple to please person, with not too many apps installed on my phone and as such my start screen is pretty short – So much that you can see the top half of the screen on the bottom half.

At the top of the bottom (like that makes sense) we have the Internet Explorer tile on the left as a large tile. I use the mobile browser lots so I like to have the icon large to make it easy to just smash at anywhere on the screen. To the right of the IE tile, I’ve got four small tiles in a block. These are lesser used but still often enough to warrant a spot on the screen. In order, we’ve got the Unit Converter, OneNote, MediaHub and IMDB.

Unit Converter is simple yet effective. OneNote speaks for itself. I use SkyDrive to store all my notes so that they are available across all my devices. MediaHub is a great little app that I’ll leave you to discover for yourself and finally IMDB speaks for itself – I’m a bit of a film lover but I’m not very good at recognising actors and actresses so I like to be able to easily look them up to see what other films they’ve been in.

Photos is last on my screen and gets a full tile. I’ve got quite a lot of pictures of the kids on the phone so I like to see them from time to time.

An Open Email to Hampshire Roads

I wrote an email to the Hampshire Roads and Maintenance enquiries address, including my local councillors on the email. This is response to recent resurfacing work which has taken place on our road which I’m less than amused about. I’ve decided to make this an open mail by posting it here on my blog due to the level of dissatisfaction I have.


Recently, Shakespeare Road in Popley was resurfaced. I’d like to bring several points to your attention relating to the surfacing work which took place.

The road surface on Shakespeare Road should not have been due for resurfacing, although it is now. With the exception of the entrance from Popley Way into Shakespeare Road (the second entrance if coming from the A33 which the buses use to exit Shakespeare Road) the entire road was of satisfactory condition from my perspective as a car, motorcycle and bicycle user.

The new surface which has been applied is actually worse than the existing surface. The surface which was left consisted of extremely loose gravel which was not packed down before being left. The gravel was extremely unsafe to drive on even at the 10mph suggested by the signage put in place. The skid risk signs were removed two weeks ago but there is a still a large amount of gravel being thrown around by passing vehicles, with some parts of the road starting to form piles of gravel. With the recent bought of rain, much more gravel has been drawn out from the surface highlighting that the 10mph signs were removed far too prematurely.

The surface transition from the piece of road which actually needed surfacing to the new surface is terrible, with several undulations while passing over it and the surface transition from the work which was done on day one to that of day two of work is also terrible ( The entire stretch of road also has a tramline in it where the work done on day one differs from day two ( A sunken drain at the edge of the road near the entrance aforementioned has been left sunken and simply been surfaced around. The camber of the road no longer exists meaning that rain puddles are forming in the middle of the road right in the tyre tracks of cars which in a heavy rain will likely cause a loss of braking performance should a child jump off a kerb in front of someone.

The new surface is already breaking up in sections near the One Stop shop ( and A pothole at the edge of the road at the crossing to Pebbles day care and nursery has been left unresolved ( This, in my view is a health and safety risk as a number of children and parents with pushchairs use this crossing daily to access the nursery site. All it will take is for a child to trip over here one day and they could end up being struck by a car on this relatively blind corner. Another large bump at the edge of the crossing which leads down to the footpath between the new estate and the fields behind the doctors surgery hasn’t been levelled out either (

These are just some of the faults with the surface that I’ve observed over the recent days so there are likely to be countless others, on sections of Shakespeare Road which I haven’t travelled.

I fail to understand how the council had decided to allocate road surfacing budget to a road which didn’t need it except for the portion outlined at the top of this mail and after the work was completed, the road surface has been made worse than it was originally? I also fail to understand now the only portion which should have been repaired has been left, completed untouched?

I do not see the point in spending money on applying a new surface if basic defects in the underlying road condition aren’t resolved first? It would be like me setting down a new layer of floor tiles over the top of the old ones because there are a few cracked ones instead of lifting the old ones and repairing them.

Whilst I understand that recent years of winter frost, snow and ice are causing road surfaces to deteriorate more rapidly causing road surfacing budget to be spread thinly, what I don’t understand is why the quality of work on resurfacing has dropped dramatically across the whole of Hampshire? Any resurfacing work I see completed in the region largely leaves a new surface marginally better if not worse that existing (take the A339 and A33 for example), and because the grade of work is so low, the new surface only lasts six months to a year at best before it should be surfaced again. What happened to actually correctly surface defects properly with the intention of providing a long term, lasting solution? Surely correctly something properly once rather than applying continuous band aid style short-term fixes would be more cost effective?

I’m sure that nothing will be done to rectify the situation in Shakespeare Road because frankly enough money has already been wasted on it, but I would none-the-less like my comments to be taken for the record as a complaint against the quality of work done here. In short, a waste of council tax payers money and council budgetary resources. As a resident of Shakespeare Road, I feel pretty let down on this occasion and my current frame of mind it to go to the top of Shakespeare Road and pour some concrete of my own to repair the parts which need it. I’m not in the trade of construction, but I don’t think I could do a worse job than that which has been done thus far?

Areas of road such as filter left lane on the roundabout adjoining the Ringway North and the Ringway West which is worsening by the week, the roundabout where the Ringway West and Winchester Road meet or the entire width of the road at the roundabout where the Ringway East meets the Ringway South and the M3 are in much greater need of surfacing work as these are heavily used commuter and main traffic routes throughout Basingstoke yet they remain untouched?

To be totally blunt about it, it strikes me as though all decisions are made on which roads to allocate surfacing budget to my bureaucrats in regional offices and not people who have actually ever driven in Basingstoke and understand the real roads maintenance requirements.

Sent from Windows Mail