Facebook has finally gone and done it.  A full-fledged A+ official application for Windows 8 devices.  The modern design elements make for a spectacularly fresh and inviting user interface…” – via the top rated review in the Windows Store

Official Facebook App for Windows 8.1 getting high marks

As of October 18, Tesla Tech Package Updatethe Tesla Motors Model S is now available with power folding, heated side mirrors.  This oft-lamented missing feature will set new Tesla buyers back about $250 but is another great example of how Elon Musk and his engineers at Tesla Motors are iterating on the design.

In a brief call, Tesla Motors confirmed this is a part of a new “October Tech Package Update” and is available to some who have already reserved and/or confirmed your order.  This, “Just in Time” (JIT) adjustment is actually my second so far and the process has been seamless.  For me, the lack of this feature almost set me back from buying the car due to a very small clearance on either side of my garage door.  It’s sure to help with courteous parking as well in cramped parking spots.

The only downside I see is the mirrors do a good job of estimating how wide the rear of the car is.  The rear quarter panels do flare out a bit.  Either way, for me this is $250 well spent.

Bluetooth Settings in GDR3 via WPCentral

Bluetooth Settings in Windows Phone 8 Update 3 (via WPCentral)

Yesterday on the Windows Phone Blog Microsoft announced details on the new update for Windows Phone 8 Update 3 (aka General Distribution Release or GDR3), now available in preview to developers.  The new features include support for quad-core processors, larger screens, and customizable ringtones among a slew of others. Butthe feature I’m enjoying the most however is the improved Bluetooth in-car experience, a feature my current car helped to develop.

My GDR3 story begins when my car, a 2010 BMW exhibited some quirks with Windows Phone 8’s unique hands-free features.  Windows Phone 8 has the ability to do voice search and even read and reply to text messages via voice by convincing your car’s Bluetooth system you’re in a call.  It’s actually a very cool feature but the problem I had was that it didn’t always work in my car, but was flawless in others.  I reported it to a friend in Windows Phone and within hours I had a tester in the garage at my office.  We were unable to reproduce the drop after many attempts.  Then it happened.  The test lead took video of the experience and brought it back to the team.  A day later, with my permission my car was whisked away by the Bluetooth devteam to test a potential fix.   The WP team didn’t stop at just one adhoc test.  On two future occasions they borrowed my car and used as a test unit.

If you’re a member of the Windows Phone 8 Developer Program, you can download GDR3 preview and take advantage of the improved Bluetooth features.  Of note is a new setting, “Connect in a different way to use Speech with Bluetooth in my Car”.  While I can’t be certain, I’m pretty sure my car was a contributor to this feature.  You can check out a video walk-through of the new features for GDR3 on WPCentral or via YouTube link below.