webDotWiz talks Windows Live

A daily list of links to interesting sites

Monthly Archives: November 2005

Latest version of Paint.NET now available

Paint.NET version 2.5, released Nov 26, is now available for download from the Paint.NET site.
If you haven’t used Paint.NET before, then you’re missing out on the best free graphics program that’s available. Paint.NET has many features found in high-priced graphics editors such as layers, a wide-range of tools for drawing and selecting objects, and solid tools for editing photos.
Visit the Paint.NET site for tutorials and read the forums for further hints on how to get the most out of the program.

Talking about Live.com themes

When you’ve loaded Live.com and signed in, click on Settings at the top left and you’ll see you have a choice of colours. Read below for more colour and image schemes that are on the way.

The gadgets framework updates apply to those developers working to create gadgets for us to use but it’s important info for them. 


themes and updates to gadget framework


a lot of folks were missing granite and ice from start.com, so we’ve added themes (click on settings and pick your favorite color)… we have more themes in the works, including more color choices, having different background images/colors, etc.



we have made some updates to our gadget framework. Our framework is an evolving platform and you may experience some issues from time to time with some of the gadgets on MicrosoftGadgets.com. We are working diligently with the authors to update their gadgets. Thanks for your understanding…


Happy Thanksgiving…

Custom Domains – questions answered

Plenty of people have signed up to the new Windows Live Custom Domains service (among other things, if you own a domain, you can use your own domain name as the email address to Hotmail) and there are plenty of questions too, especially about some of the more technical stuff (such as setting up the MX mail service settings).
Rather than reproduce a lengthy post from the Custom Domains space, here’s the link to everything you wanted to know but were too afraid to ask (up to now, anyway):

Got a contact who can answer your every question? Encarta can.

Get every one of your questions answered – thanks to Ivan Joseph and Alberto Escobedo.
Ask Encarta for something such as
         I want a map of Australia
is a good place to start. For those who remember ELIZA, this is better . You can even do some maths, such as asking Encarta to solve an equation.
To Encarta to answer your questions:

1. Open MSN Messenger and sign in.

2. Add Encarta as a contact: encarta@conversagent.com

3. Double click Encarta from your Contact List.

4. Ask a question!

Must-have feeds

If it’s good enough for Robert Scoble then webDotWiz will agree and put Robert’s favourite feeds onto his Live page. So feeds from www.digg.com (news stories) and tech.memeorandum.com (tech news) are there. As well webDotWiz always loads blogs.msdn.com to see what’s being said by MS employees (i.e., team leaders, projects managers, developers, and so on).

Talking about Sneak Preview: Spell Check As You Type

This new feature will certainly be a time-saver for all of us.

If you want to sign up to try out the new Windows Live Mail, go to


It takes a while before you hear back and get into the trial but it’s worth it in the end.


Sneak Preview: Spell Check As You Type

  Posted by Imran Qureshi
Today I’d like to give you a sneak preview of one the most exciting features we have coming in our next beta refresh of Windows Live Mail(codename:Kahuna): Spell Check As You Type
(It was shown in the Windows Live demo on November 1st but you may not have seen it there.)
This feature was driven by customers who told us they didn’t like how hard it was to check spelling on the web and wished they could have something closer to desktop applications like Microsoft Word without having to install any software.  Well, we did it!
With this feature, you can just start typing in Compose UI and we’ll check spelling in the background and put red squiggles under words that are misspelled.  You can then right-click them and choose from our suggestions, tell us to ignore that word or add the word into the dictionary. 
I know what you’re saying.  Big deal, Microsoft Outlook already does that.  Well, we’re the first webmail service I know that does this on the web without installing any software! 
In the video below you’ll see the feature in action and meet some of the people who made it happen.
If you are on the Kahuna (Windows Live Mail) beta, you should see this feature very soon in the next beta refresh.  If you are not on the beta, you must go here to add yourself to the waiting list.  (Posting a comment here will NOT get you on the beta).
If you have any questions about this feature or other WLM features, you can send me mail at imranxqureshi@hotmail.com (replace "x" with a "."(period) before sending – this is to avoid spammers getting a hold of this address via web crawling).  please do not send me email about getting on the beta – use the web site above.

Imran Qureshi

Windows Live Program Manager



Talking about Adding BlogMap to MSN Spaces

webDotWiz now has a BlogMap on his Space and got the idea from Nasa’s steps below.

Just beware that the maximum number of characters in the custom HTML powertoy module is 512 and webDotWiz has to chop out the "Powered by" in the HTML code below.

He’s not sure either whether he’s located himself properly on the map but it looks good to have the BlogMap on his Space – just like important bloggers such as Robert Scoble does  


Adding BlogMap to MSN Spaces

Chandu Thota has had FeedMap up for awhile now, but it wasn’t until I saw Andrea’s post that inspired me to try to put one on my blog.

What’s interesting about this challenge is that MSN Spaces doesn’t allow javascript – which is the recommended method of adding the map badge to your site. So, to add one to your space is a bit of a hack – but it can be done.

Here’s how I did it:
* assumes you already have a MSN Space and it is RSS enabled (option within your Space settings)

  1. Go to the FeedMap explorer to tag the location of your blog.
    – Zoom into your location
    – At your blog location, right-click and select "add a blog"
    – Enter the URL of your RSS feed (e.g.: http://spaces.msn.com/members/[YOUR SPACE]/feed.rss)
  2. Go to your space and edit it
    – Add the Custom HTML powertoy to your space using the steps outlined on the MSN Spaces team blog
  3. Copy the following HTML into your custom HTML powertoy
    Be sure to replace the red items with your information

       <p align=center><a href="
    http://www.feedmap.net/blogmap/neighblogs.aspx?feed=http://spaces.msn.com/members/[YOUR SPACE]/feed.rss" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.feedmap.net/blogmap/blogapi.ashx?method=blogmap&feed=http://spaces.msn.com/members/[YOUR SPACE]/feed.rss&height=250&width=150" border=0></img></a></p>
       <p align=center><font size=1>Powered by <a href="

  4. Click "Save" on the Custom HTML module


Of course if you are familiar with HTML, you can edit this in many different ways. Just note that the HTML module only allows for 500 characters. Good Luck!

Four-way rubber bands now available

webDotWiz thinks that a new product like a 4-way rubber band should be classified under "Health and wellness" as this product will save lots of time and be so handy where two rubber bands would have had to be found or you could injure yourself twising one rubber band to hold in four sides of some object.
Anyway you can see it in action and read all the details at Four-way rubber-bands hold boxes shut at Boing Boing.

Sony Rootkit DRM Roundup Part III

Boingboing has part III of the Sony rootkit fiasco caused by the XCP DRM program secretly installed and the later-discovered Mediamax DRM program whose un-installer also leaves a user’s computer more vulnerable to attacks than with the original so-called DRM program.

Talking about Launch day – Xbox 360

Got to be with it but webDotWiz won’t do any raves or reviews except to say that the XBox would be a great platform on which to do some train driving – the next MS Trainsimulator perhaps? Anyway webDotTrainSim (webDotWiz’s alter ego) has just finished some more preparatory work on getting some activities ready for Wupper Express 9 (and WE 10 next year).


Launch day – Xbox 360

I’m not going to talk about PGR3 or the 360 as a Media Center Extender.  I won’t talk about how beautiful the machine looks or how great Xbox Live is.  I won’t even talk about HD support or the funky snap-on faceplates.  You can learn all about that at www.xbox.com.  And if you haven’t taken a look already, you really should just for kicks.  Even if you’ve never played a video game in your entire life.