webDotWiz talks Windows Live

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Monthly Archives: March 2007

Your contacts in Live Hotmail

Whether you’re using Hotmail in the classic view (because of a slow Internet connection) or the full version, you’re able to do a lot with your contacts.

You might want to have your contacts on one of your Hotmail accounts in your Outlook or Outlook Express contacts list so there’s the option in Hotmail to import and export your contact list.

The process is simple and the only bit you might wonder about is the mention of the list in CSV format – uh? what’s CSV?

CSV is shorthand for Comma Separated Values so if you export your mail as a CSV list, you’ll end up with a text file with each record looking something like this line:

Bloggs,Joe,23 Somewhere Street,Someplace,….

So don’t be put off by the jargon.

Remember, too, that you can easily put contacts into groups (handy when you want to send out party invites, for example, but please, please, use BCC so everybody doesn’t see everybody else’s email address).

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Let Live Hotmail sort your mail

For yonks Hotmail has been able to organise your mail into folders for you. This feature is particularly handy if you receive newsletter-type mail, e.g., latest prices for plane tickets, and don’t want it cluttering up your inbox.

In classic view go to Options and in full Hotmail go to Options/More options to get to the section where you can organise mail to go into certain folders according to your own rules. Look for Automatically sort e-mail into folders under Customize Your Mail to start setting up things.

Firstly choose the button to add a new filter and the next page brings up the two steps to get Hotmail to sort your mail.

In Step 1 you’ve got a choice from the drop-down list of deciding which posts you want to filter. For example,  you might receive a newsletter each week from a certain email address. So you’d choose From address in the first text box, then contains in the second and you’d type in the email address of the newsletter sender in the third.

In Step 2, for our newsletter example, it would be best to create a separate folder into which each week’s newsetter is automatically placed when it arrives. Enter a name for a new folder, click Save and you’ve finished setting up your first filter.

Note that there’s a separate section, Junk e-mail, in Hotmail for you to deal with spam and junk email. webDotWiz recommends you set the junk mail filter to Exclusive and then all you need do is keep an eye out for the first post from someone you know whom you gave your email address to and that person is not yet on your contacts list.

Windows Live Hotmail latest updates

By now everybody should have, or it isn’t be far away, the latest update (milestone 10 or M10) to Live Hotmail – you’ll know when you see the name change to Windows Live Hotmail above the Hotmail toolbar on the left of the page.

It’s now easier to choose which view you want to use, either the classic view similar to the old Hotmail, or the new view of the full version in which you can place the reading pane, use drag and drop and lots of shortcut keys. There are now three places from which to choose which view you want to use: on the Today page, at the bottom of the Inbox, or from Options.

When you’re on a slow connection, e.g. dialup, you’ll want to switch to the classic view and it’s easy to switch over to the full version when you’re on a broadband connection.

For those using the classic view, the M10 update brings back the spell checker, the photo upload tool and bi-directional language support.

The Hotmail team have worked hard on comments from users and it’s worth familiarising yourself with the safety bar, i.e., the tools provided to help make us aware of emails containing possibly dangerous attachments or emails that could lead to phishing sites.

Via the Windows Live Hotmail team blog and Liveside.

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More cities with birds eye view and high-def imagery

Live Maps has been updated with about another 4 terabyes of imagery (see Virtual Earth Imagery Update for March 29 on the Live Maps/Virtual Earth team blog).

New cities covered with birds eye view are mostly in Europe:

UK: Bedford, Chesterfield, Hull, Ipswich, Lowestoft, Morecambe, Carlisle, Tamworth, Aylesbury, Exeter, Kettinger, Newport, Pontypool, Stafford, Rugby, Taunton, Torbay

Germany: Bremerhaven, Celle, Delmenhorst, Esslingen, Ibbenbuerren, Oldenburg, Osnabrueck, Rheine, Wilhelmshaven, Aachen, Bremen, Flensburg, Fulda, Hamln, Herford, Minden, Muenster, Wetzlar, Ahlen, Arnsberg, Emden, Lippstadt, Wesel, Kassel, Neustadt

Italy: Naples, Bolzano, Cagliari, Trieste, Messina

The Netherlands: The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht

France: Grenoble, Limoges, Tours

As well, there are new cites covered in Spain, Norway, Switzerland and Belgium and more U.S. cities.

A few days earlier more extensive coverage of Chicago was announced. A good collection is the Chicago Architecture Landmarks one.

Update: Here’s a collection of U.K. cities in 3D (Plymouth, Cardiff, Bristol, Gloucester and Wolverhampton).

Official name is Windows Live Hotmail

Those of us trying out the new generation version of Hotmail have been calling it Windows Live Mail.

However the tens of millions who haven’t been part of the testing cycle have preferred that the veteran Hotmail title stay around for more years – and that’s good.

So the next generation of Hotmail is now officially called Windows Live Hotmail.

Footnote: it’s now easier to ask people questions such as "Have you checked your Hotmail?" rather than trying to remember if they were new users of Live Mail ("Have you checked your Live Mail?") or users who’d swapped over from Hotmail to Live Mail ("Have you checked your Hotmail, er… your Live Mail?").

Ten things you mightn’t know about using Live Maps

You can get to Live Maps directly via maps.live.com or via a search from www.live.com. For example, you might be searching for an electrician in your local area so on the Live Maps page enter electrician as the type of business and your town name in the address box. A map will come up with all electricians, with phone numbers and addresses listed on the left and pushpins showing location. As you pan the map (hold down the left mouse button and move it), new entries will pop up in the list and on the map.

You can make a collection of these businesses for later use if you want. If the scratchpad isn’t open on the right of your screen, click on Collections and choose Open to bring it up. For the businesses listed on the left, hover the mouse over any of interest and choose the Add to scratchpad option. Another way of saving your search for later use is to click on Share, choose Copy permalink and paste this link into your note scraps file.

Right-click can save you lots of time, especially when you’ve found a city or location and want to get a closer view. When you first right-click, you might only have the option to zoom to regional level – subsequent right-clicks enable you to zoom down to city level then street level.

Another trick is to move a pushpin. It can happen that Live Maps doesn’t show the correct placement for an address but you want to correctly place the pushpin. Hover over the pushpin and click Move pushpin, the mouse cursor changes to a pair of cross-hairs and all you need do is click on the correct place on the map.

Using the Draw a path or trail tool at the bottom of the scratchpad pane enables you you to measure distances – you might be planning a walk around heritage sites in town, creating a bushwalk trail or a bike riding route.

Hovering the mouse over pushpin no. 2 gives the distance between pushpin no. 1 and the end of the path (only on a live map, though).

By the way, if you weren’t happy with the blue colour of your path or you wanted to make it thicker. then being able to change properties is only a right-click away.

Finally, do you want to see an area in more detail? If you’ve got a centre scroll wheel on your mouse, hold it down and draw a rectangle – the map view will instantly change to zoom into the area you’ve selected. If your mouse hasn’t a scroll wheel, hold down the ALT key while you mark out a rectangle with your mouse.

All of us are a bit lazy at making the best use of the Help facility in services we use but it’s worth spending some time reading through the Live Maps help to find some handy shortcut keystrokes and other tricks.

Online learning courses for beginning developers

In November 2005 Microsoft released Express editions of their most widely used lanaguage development tools – Vusual Studio, Visual Basic, C#, SQL database, and more. These development tools can be downloaded for free and there are no strings attached. See the Visual Studio Express site.

Now Microsoft have released a complete series of learning packages at the Beginner Developer Learning Center. Learning activities have been divided into two tracks depending on whether you want to develop for Windows or for the Web. For example, Windows development gives you tutorials to get started with Visual Basic Express or Visual C# Express whereas the web development track presents learning material for Visual Web Developer Express.

For the younger ones there’s a separate set of tutorials with a more fun way of learning at the Kid’s Corner Beginner Developer Learning Center.

I’m making a difference project with Live Messenger

From the I’m Home site:

i’m is a new initiative from Windows Live™ Messenger. Every time you start a conversation using i’m, Microsoft shares a portion of the program’s advertising revenue with some of the world’s most effective organizations dedicated to social causes. We’ve set no cap on the amount we’ll donate to each organization. The sky’s the limit.

Even though Mess users outside the U.S. can’t contribute to the organisations when starting a conversation, you can still raise awareness by addding the special emoticon to your display name so your U.S. friends become aware of the project.

You can choose from the following – simply add the code (e.g., *9mil) to your display name:

(this list is an excerpt from the Live Messenger team Space where you can read more about i’m).

As well as the special Mess emoticon, you can add an i’m banner of your choice to your own web site – go to here to see what’s available and get the one that best fits on your site.

Some Goodie Gumdrop Uses of Live Maps – Harley-Davidson rides, historic Detroit, Weather.com

Via Live Maps/Virtual Earth team Space.

The first one is Harley-Davidson’s Great Roads Explorer. To get to the actual map and all the info about different rides, click the link to get it started from the text, All you need to do now is launch…, over on the right-hand side of the page. Even if you’re not a Harley-Davidson rider, you’ll get lots of good information about the rides that are up there so far – distance, where to eat, sights along the way, and so on. As well, each trip is clearly marked in colour. All the usual features of Live Maps are available – zoom, pan, road or aerial view, and so on. Note: this link will take you directly to the map.

Next is Detroit Through the Years since 1949. Using the list of aerial photography from different years on the left of the screen, you can overlay today’s view of Detroit with that of a year from 1949 through to 1976. As well, you can do a 3D view (see bottom of left-hand side of screen).

The third use is by Weather.com with their cloud cover and radar animated overlays (the weather coverage is U.S. only). It’s fun watching the clouds roll in.