webDotWiz talks Windows Live

A daily list of links to interesting sites

Monthly Archives: December 2005

First blog for 2006 – Best wishes

All the best to everybody for 2006.

BBC’s Open News Archive and BBC Motion Gallery

The BBC Motion Gallery site has been available for some months. To quote:
 
Here you will find easy access to thousands of shots from the vast and diverse archives of the BBC and CBS News. Our library of motion imagery is one of the world’s great living treasures.
BBC Motion Gallery has film of science, nature and news (including archival footage from CBS News) and all can be viewed online.
 
Now the BBC are offering exclusive content from their news archives to UK residents at The Open News Archive. Video footage can be downloaded free of charge for a limited time.

Recent sites list up to 31-Dec-05

Here are the sites which webDotWiz has come across in the past couple of weeks and you might find of interest. The list is also available on the Recent Sites page at webDotWiz Online:
 

Talking about… Laser printing in stainless steel – from Excel!

Can’t think of a use for Excel? Looking for a project for Excel? Have a read of Andrew Delin’s post on how he and his mates used Excel to produce stainless steel templates for some wall speakers.

2005 in Review

Everybody gets going with lists of what have been the highlights in 2005. Alex Barnett has gone back through his posts to make his list and refers us to Betanews’ Year in Review: Microsoft takes charge.

Flaw found in Windows WMF graphics files

Microsoft Security Advisory (912840)

Vulnerability in Graphics Rendering Engine Could Allow Remote Code Execution.

Published: December 28, 2005
 
You can read the full details and implications of this flaw discovered,  and perhaps exploited by those with malicious intentions, at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/advisory/912840.mspx
 
You can read Robert Scoble’s post in which he’s taken the opportunity to warn Microsoft’s customers.
 
All the usual rules apply: have your antivirus and antispyware apps updated with the latest definitions, the latest updates applied to XP, and… the usual: do not, repeat do not, open email from unknown sources. If you use Outlook Express, you should be reading your mail in plain text so you won’t get the WMF file loaded. If you have HTML rendering turned on in OE, turn it off to save yourself heaps of probs. Anybody using Outlook with HTML rendering turned on are asking for it… go back to Outlook’s default plain text rendering of mail in the inbox.

Gaffes of 2005

The foot in the mouth award of 2005 must go to Sony-BMG after it infected computers which had played their music CDs which had a rootkit (the software used by criminals) to hide their digital rights (restrictive?) management software (so-called):
 
"Most people don’t even know what a rootkit is, so why should they care about it?"

— Thomas Hesse, president of Sony BMG’s global digital business division

Other awards are listed at Wired News.

Talking about Video Carousel – Behind the Scenes

At the bottom of Leah’s post giving us details of new features in Windows Live Messenger – some of hit got into a webDotWiz Space entry –  there were a few lines about Video Carousel. Well, here’s the full description of what it’s all about. 

Quote

Video Carousel – Behind the Scenes

 Posted by Daniel

Wow, the latest beta posts are getting a lot of feedback and I thought that now would be a good time to share some details about one of the new features in WLM – the Video Carousel.

As everybody knows Messenger is a free application sponsored by ads – most of you noticed the ad banner at the bottom of the buddy list. We know, looking at ads is not on the "Top 10 things I like to do" for most people but we think there is value for the users in ads and we can make them attractive. On of our PMs, Jody suggested to put some puppies in there – everybody loves puppies but I don’t think that would have worked out. But we know you like videos and that’s the main reason why the Video Carousel was created.

Okay, but what is it and how does it work? The video carousel is replacing the ads banner and it rotates through a list of videos titles and ads. The video part shows a thumbnail of the video, a short description, a control bar used to play the video and to move back and forth between clips. Also we borrowed the gleam concept from the MSN Spaces integration to make it easy to know which videos you’ve already seen.

All the video titles are provided by MSN Videos in a form of an XML file which contains a list of RSS feeds and a few other pieces of information like how often the videos titles are loaded. If you are not lucky enough to have a beta test account and you want to see what kind of video are shown then go to MSN Videos or subscribe to the MSN Video RSS feeds.

Now let’s take some questions from our readers:

Q: This Video Rollercoaster makes me dizzy. Is there a way to turn it off?
A: Actually it’s called Video Carousel and yes, you can turn it off. Go to Tools / Options / General / Show Video Carousel in the main Messenger window. It will go back to the 7.5 style ads banner.

Q: I’m a very friendly dude and my buddy list is huge. Can I turn the ads off so I can have more space in the main window?
A: Sorry, you can’t turn the ads off. But you can use groups and the word wheel to manage your buddies.

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New Orleans recovery after Katrina

webDotWiz doesn’t read the newspapers and certainly has heard much on radio or TV news about the continuing recovery of people affected by Katrina. However you can catch up at MSNBC news (www.msnbc.com) and there are plenty of others including blogs by those helping.

A blog for all you Microsoft Flight Simulator fans to read

Microsoft Flight Simulator fans – this blog has to be in your RSS aggregator or on your Live.com page – lots of inside info and reasons and explanations of what works and doesn’t work, and most importantly, why. A good collection of links, too, especially of screenshots from FS.