webDotWiz talks Windows Live

A daily list of links to interesting sites

Monthly Archives: October 2006

Microsoft Office Accounting Express – free download

Microsoft has just announced it is offering a free accounting package for small and home-based businesses.

You can download Office Accounting Express 2007 from www.ideawins.com.

Oops, but don’t bother if you’re on dialup or ISDN – it’s a 330Mb download. If you’re in Rushworth, come into the Rushworth Community House and make use of RCH’s 1.5Mb/sec broadband.

Windows Live Messenger 8.1 beta/trial now available

You can try out Live Messenger 8.1.

This version has several new features, including:

  • your display picture now travels with you
  • a better contact card display
  • sign out from the status menu (this one will save lots of time)
  • SMS phone book
  • updated menu for emoticons, winks, backgrounds and display pictures
  • automatic updates

Download Windows Live Messenger 8.1 beta from ideas.live.com.

Via Inside Messenger, Liveside.

Windows Media Player 11 now available

Windows Media Player 11 for XP, Home or Professional with Service Pack 2 installed, can be downloaded from the link on the Windows Media homepage. The download is 24.5Mb in size so it’ll take a while on a dialup Internet connection.

One of WMP 11’s new features is Media Sharing. Another webDotWiz noticed is that when burning CDs, there’s now an option to burn your data across multiple CDs if more than one CD is needed (it’s called Disc Spanning). Read about these features, and others such as improved syncing between different devices, on the Enjoy Everywhere page.

To get started with new features in WMP 11, check out the how-to’s on the Using Windows Media Player 11 page.

webDotWiz should mention, too, a feature he’s become accustomed to, namely the use of album art to display your library of music, videos and photos, and the quick search feature to find a particular song or album.

Happy listening and playing.

Live Messenger 8.1 trial version this week?

Liveside, via some people who attended the Windows Live Sessions (French), Live Messenger version 8.1 in trial form will be released to the general public this week (in fact, on Oct 30). We’ll see what comes about.

Apart from keeping an eye out here for any announcements, check ideas.live.com and Inside Windows Live Messenger (the Live Messenger team blog).

Windows Media Player final release Tue Oct 31 – just a rumour?

According to Bink (via Neowin), the final release version of Windows Media Player could be this Tue, Oct 31 (probably a day later for Australia, assuming the rumour is correct).

All this started from a Microsoft Press Release of Oct 12 which states:

Windows Media Player 11 will be available via free download beginning Oct. 24 and will enable users to take advantage of an elegant and intuitive user interface, a new level of online store integration, especially with MTV’s URGE service, and improved navigation for larger music libraries.

Having used the WMP 11 trial version, webDotWiz is eager to get his hands on the final release – he’ll be a happy boy .

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Windows Defender, Windows Desktop Search – latest versions available

Final versions of Windows Defender (a must-have download so you’re protected against spyware and malware – and it’s free!) and Windows Desktop Search version 3 are now available for download and install on valid Windows XP (with Service Pack 2 installed) systems.

You can download Windows Defender from the link on the Windows Defender hompage and Windows Desktop seach can be downloaded from here. These links are also available from the Shared Favorites list on this page.

Via Antimalware Technet blog and Bink.

Internet Explorer 7 – more information

If you’re looking for more info about IE 7 (apart from the tour on IE 7’s homepage), you can read through Paul Thurrott’s review at WinSuperSite. Among other things, he talks about the improved interface and tabbed browsing.

The IE 7 homepage has a link to a features page and you can try IE 7’s much improved printing system by printing out the Quick Reference Sheet which has all the keyboard shortcuts listed (e.g., the middle mouse button comes in handy with tabbed browsing) and how to go about some common tasks.

As well there’s a frequently asked questions page that answers your queries about RSS, tabbed browsing, favorites, and more.

There’s plenty of information for developers and web developers, e.g. a checklist and the IE team blog which has been putting out lots of information over the past 18 months or so. The Internet Explorer Developer Center goes into more detail and has a range of resources, ranging from a readiness toolkit, discussion on cascading style sheet changes to articles detailing what’s new in IE 7.

Installing Internet Explorer 7 – a couple of tips

As pointed out in previous posts, Microsoft is urging all XP users to download and install IE 7 because of its much improved security features over version 6. To this end, the Windows XP monthly update system will include the installation of IE 7 as a critical update (there’s a blocking tool for corporate users who don’t think they’re quite ready yet).

There’s no special dramas involved in downloading and installing IE 7 yourself – just go to the Windows Internet Explorer 7 homepage to get started (it’s a 14.8Mb download).

The only requirements for a successful installation on Windows XP is that you’re running XP with Service Pack 2 and that your copy of Windows XP is valid.

After the download is complete and click Run to start the installation, the first check carried out is to see whether your copy of Windows is valid. If you pass this (as you should), the installation begins by running the Malicious Software Removal Tool to ensure there are no bugs (viruses or spyware) on your system.

After you agree to the licence terms and begin the install, it won’t be long before you’ll be asked to restart your computer. When it restarts it complete the installation of IE 7.

Now’s the time to start IE 7 and the first time it runs, you’ll have a couple of settings to make:

  • turn on the anti-phishing filter so you don’t get caught out by malicious sites which want to steal your personal details such as credit card number and passowrd
  • set your language (e.g., English-Australia)
  • turn on ClearType so your monitor more clearly displays text (ClearType may be already turned on if you’re using a laptop – if not, you’ll soon notice the difference on both LCD screens and old-fashioned CRT monitors).

To calm down the more frenzied Microsoft opponents, you’re able to set your search provider – if you don’t want to do it during the install process, you can always use the drop down at the top right of your screen when a site offers a different search provider.

If this is your first look at IE 7, take the tour from the page that opens after you’ve changed your settings listed above or you can do the tour of IE 7’s features at IE 7’s homepage.

It’s worth spending some time becoming familiar with using the tabs so you can open as many sites as you want from just one copy of IE running on your computer. webDotWiz now makes lots of use of the right-click on a link on a page (e.g., ABC News) to load different stories or sites each on its own tab in the background while leaving the main page open and being able to continue skimming that page for more sites that might be of interest.

The toolbar and menus we’ve been familiar with in IE 6 have been replaced so that there’s more screen real estate for web pages so you might take a while to get used to the re-arrangement. For example, Favorites now isn’t just confined to favourite web sites but also includes RSS feeds (Really Simple Syndication) you can subscribe to.

As with any new software, give yourself time to learn your way around and it won’t be long before you appreciate the speed, stability and security offered by Internet Explorer 7.

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Internet Explorer is here

You can download the final version of Internet Explorer 7 right now.

Go to the Internet Explorer 7 homepage.

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Live Mail updated

As soon as you begin loading your Live Mail you can’t miss the first change – a full page indicating your mail is loading.

Then you’ll notice your colour theme extends across the top of the page and there are lots of handy tooltips to help you use the main functions – create a new message or contact, search your email messages or the web, change options, and so on.

Above is a snapshot showing the tooltips on the main functions.

The tooltips can be turned on and off as you please using one of the choices available on Options.

The Options menu also has more colour schemes/themes to choose from, and, as in the earlier version of Live Mail, you can see what your choice will look like as soon as you select it.

There’s more space on the page for reading messages and editing contacts – ads only seem to be shown when there’s plenty of space (apart from the top banner which is always present, unless you’re a Premium User).

Remember to make good use of the Search function – you can choose whether you want to search through your messages or contacts, or there’s a button to search the web for the sake of convenience.

Finally, when you’re posting a new message, there’s the option to send the message from another of your accounts, using Send Email As. If you can’t think of a use for this function just yet, don’t worry, it’ll come along one day.

Footnote: webDotWiz has yet to investigate whether the Calendar facility has been tidied up and is fully functional (e.g., being able to share your calendar with other contacts) but it seems better integrated than before this update.

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