webDotWiz talks Windows Live

A daily list of links to interesting sites

Monthly Archives: April 2006

Visual Studio Express editions are free – forever!

The other day Microsoft announced its Visual Studio Express produces would be free for life. Here’s the official announcement from Dan Fernandez, Lead Product Manager – Visual Studio Express:


We are incredibly excited to announce that effective April 19th, 2006, all Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions including Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual J#, Visual C++, and Visual Web Developer Express will be free permanently.


For those wanting to get into programming, the Express editions is the best means available. And SQL Server 2005 Express Edition is also included. So that gives everybody all the major areas of today’s programming skills. And another important point, from the Express FAQs: Can I use Express Editions for commercial use? Answer: Yes, there are no licensing restrictions for applications built using the Express Editions. What more do you want? Get going at the MSDN Visual Studio Express site.

Windows Live Shopping launches

Today Windows Live Shopping was launched. Yes, ok, it’s presently U.S.-based however pay the site a visit and see how it all works. The first thing you can do is hover your mouse over one of the items in the Deals du jour section and up will pop a small window with more information about the product. There are three main functions: Shop (7 000 stores offering 40 000 000 products), Compare (drag two or more graphics of items over to the Compare box on the right-hand side of the windows) and Share (a shopping list with a friend, read a shopping guide or make your own). If you’re overwhelmed by the amount of shopping you could do, take the tour to see how the site works.


The Windows Live Shopping team has a blog on MSN Spaces so keep up to date with developments there.

Only one advert to be on Windows Live Mail page

The Windows Live Mail team have decided, after feedback from users (i.e., you), that only one advertisement is to be shown on pages in Mail. The tower-like ad on the right-hand side (called the skyscraper-ad) is the one that will be removed. Obviously Microsoft is going to lose some $$ as a result, as Robert Scoble mentions in his post (Windows Live Mail (formerly Hotmail) has a philosophy?), but it looks as though Microsoft has heard the old adage that "the customer is always right" (even though we don’t pay for our Windows Live Mail service – unless you’re a premium member). Omar Shahine, a member of the Mail team, has set out the thinking behind this decision in his post, From two to one.

Live ID latest update and service

A little while ago webDotWiz signed in to his Windows Live page and was greeted with the new sign-in page (it had actually been changed from when he signed in early in the morning with another of his Live IDs – which we used to call "Hotmail account" or "Passport account"):


Just to see how the new Windows Live ID service worked, webDotWiz signed out and then signed in again. Because he was on his own computer, he’d left the "Remember me" ticked so he was greeted with the following:


webDotWiz has got another couple of Live IDs so they’ll all be there to use when he wants to sign-in to Messenger or Live.com from now on. To see where all this is going, take a bit of time to read he Live ID team’s blog. Thanks to Liveside.

Internet Explorer Beta 2 now available

Internet Explorer 7 has moved from Beta 2 (trial) preview to Beta 2 status, just a few hours ago. This latest version can be downloaded from www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/default.mspx. Note, that if you’re running IE7 Beta 2 preview, you must first uninstall the Beta 2 Preview version before upgrading.
  • Open Control Panel and go to Add/Remove Programs
  • If you’re running IE7 beta 2 preview prior to the Mar 20 version, click on Show updates.
  • Otherwise scroll down to Internet Explorer Beta 2 Preview and click Remove. XP will want to restart so let it
  • Now go to the IE7 Beta 2 download page and install. You’ll need to restart XP after installation.
webDotWiz had the Windows Live Toolbar installed and the install of beta 2 kept all settings. Note you can now choose English (Australia) as default language (if you live in Australia).

Windows Live services – the big picture

Kip Kniskern over at Liveside has posted a good overview, which he’s called Ready for a new generation of services, of Windows Live services and where they might all tie together eventually. webDotWiz realises that there have been tons of new features lately but Kip’s article gives us the big picture of where things are heading.

Onfolio – How to get the most from it

Over at Heather’s Virtual Scrapbook there’s a good introduction of how to go about getting the most from Onfolio, the Windows Live Toolbar add-in. There’s also access to all the snippets, whole web pages and graphics that you collect for research, reference and other purposes through the Onfolio desktop app (start it from the Onfolio icon in the system tray).

It’s OUR content that makes the web go around

Robert Scoble, Microsoft Geek Blogger, had a week off from his blog and invited Bubba Murarka as guest blogger. In Bubba’s summary of the week’s experience, he points out the following as what he learned for the week (comments after the – by yours truly):
  • Blogging is a labour of love – the labour is not so bad when you’ve got a genuine interest in your hobby, craft, or whatever, and you want to let others know about it
  • Blogging is a huge source of connections & re-connections – we Australians are the first to try out the MSN Spaces Friend’s List and what an easy way to share our interests with others
  • Blogging is emotionally challenging – there will always be those who want to run down and "criticise" but their number is far outweighed by those who want to genuinely share our interests and contribute to the conversation
  • Blogging creates great offline conversations – "Oh, I never knew you were an artitist/were interested in…/knew so much about…/had that hobby…"
You can continue to read Bubba’s blog at his MSN Space, and, of course, Robert Scoble is still at the same place.

Searching in Windows Live Mail

webDotWiz should have mentioned ages ago – well, a week or two ago – that Find in Mail (the search function) now looks through everything, not just the To: and Subject: lines.

Live Favorites updated

The next time you go to manage your Live Favorites you’ll see a couple of new ways to view and sort your favourite sites. As well there will be a new tab on Windows Live Messenger to access favourites and the Live Toolbar will get a new add-in. Thanks to Liveside.