webDotWiz talks Windows Live

A daily list of links to interesting sites

Monthly Archives: May 2008

Sites Sat 31-May-2008 – Security Advisory about Apple’s Safari Browser, Typewriters, Grace Hopper as teacher for a day

Today’s list of sites for the start of your browsing weekend:

Posted using Windows Live Writer.

Sites Fri 30-May-2008 – Live QnA, Live Mesh, Indy 500, Mars, Games on Vista, Safari browser flaw

Today’s sites:

Posted using Windows Live Writer.

Sites Thu 29-May-2008 – Pisa leaning tower, Photography, Fossils, FuelWatch, Rushworth Museum, Celtics

Today’s sites:

Pisa leaning tower niow stabilised. Click image to go to map in bird's eye view.
Pisa leaning tower niow stabilised. Click image to go to map in bird’s eye view.

Posted using Windows Live Writer.

Sites Wed 28-May-2008 – Flash player ALERT, Education, Windows 7 and Multi-touch, Zune, National Tree Day, Vista and rootkits

Today’s list of sites – and the webDotWiz Column for this fortnight has been published – there are two parts, one on getting started with using Live Mesh and another giving you an introduction to the WorldWide Telescope.

Posted using Windows Live Writer.

WorldWide Telescope

Jupiter showing the Red Spot.

The image above of Jupiter’s Red Spot was captured from webDotWiz’s own telescope running on his computer desktop. That is, he downloaded the free WorldWide Telescope from www.worldwidetelescope.org and started a tour of our sun’s planets (the download is about 20Mb but check the system requirements since you need a reasonably powerlful graphics system in your computer for best results).

While viewing Jupiter from a distance, WWT also popped up some of the moons of Jupiter (Europa, Io, Callisto and Ganymede) so he zoomed in to have a closer look at them.

Europa, moon of Jupiter

The it was off to find NG2700 in which astronomers were fortunate enough just the other day to observe an exploding star in the northern sky.

If you don’t know where to start you planet and star gazing, there are in-built tours. As well, various imagery has been grouped by its source, such as the Hubble Telescope, or you can search for a planet, star or constellation. As well, you can use collections of imagery that other people have created.

WWT enables you to set the location of your telescope (when it’s installed it’s set to a building rooftop in Microsoft’s campus at Redmond, Seattle) – obviously you can explore what the sky looks like from any world location you choose.

Once you’ve got it running, WWT will fill up lots of your time as you explore the sky (both night and day).

Posted using Windows Live Writer. Images above were captured from WWT and made available using Live Skydrive and Live Mesh.

In the mesh


Over the last few weeks webDotWiz has talked about Live Skydrive and Office Live Workspace, both free services where you can store files online so you can access your files using any computer connected to the Internet when you’re away from your home or work computer.

Once you’ve used Skydrive and Office Live for a while you begin imagining there must be a better (easier?) way to have your files available no matter where you are (assuming an Internet connection). As well, you’d like to be able to easily share some of your documents with others. Perhaps your imagination goes even further and you ask, for example, "Why can’t I run Office Word that’s on my home computer to edit one of my documents at work when I’m on a friend’s computer?"

What about devices, say your work laptop and home computer and smartphone? Is there a way to easily connect (mesh) them so you always have access to all your documents and you can make whatever changes you need to and not worry about all your files being up-to-date on each device?

The above scenarios – and more that we haven’t yet imagined – are what’s coming with Microsoft’s Live Mesh. webDotWiz got an invite to trial Mesh and he’s just starting out to explore the possibilities.

After he’d logged in to www.mesh.com using his Windows Live ID, webdotwiz firstly added his home computer to his mesh devices (the Live Mesh software installed under this Live ID).

Live Mesh after adding his computer as a device

Not having high-speed broadband, webDotWiz decided to set up some folders specifically to use with Live Mesh rather than, for example, adding his complete My Documents folder to his mesh. So he created documents and pictures folders then right-clicked each to add them to his mesh:

Adding folder to Live Mesh

From the following screenshot you’ll see that files will be automatically added to the Pics_on_Mesh folder whenever a files i changed or added.


Now let’s go to webDotWiz’s Live Mesh Desktop and see what’s there – yes, the Pics_on_Mesh folder has appeared:


Also on webDotWiz’s Live Mesh desktop is a notifier pane that lets him know what’s happening with his files and folders (Office Live Workspace has a similar notification pane):


This notification refers to one of the screenshots captured using OneNote and saved from Paint.Net into Pics_on_Mesh. A little while later, there are more notifications:


Let’s have a look at what’s in the Pics_on_Mesh folder but before we do, a reminder that this folder is on the hard drive on webDotWiz’s computer, and, since he’s designated it as a Mesh folder, it’s now also out on the Internet on one of Microsoft’s servers. The latter means that webDotWiz can find a computer somewhere that has an Internet connection and access his files in the Pics_on_Mesh folder.

So let’s return to webDotWiz’s Live Mesh Desktop and double-click the folder name to open the folder – whoosh, we see the screenshot files saved in Paint.NET (the png file extension is truncated):

An open folder on the Live Mesh Desktop

Now let’s try adding some documents to another mesh folder. From the screenshot above you can see webDotWiz has already created a new folder named Docs_on_Mesh and designated it as a mesh folder, just as he did for Pics_on_Mesh above.

Firstly we’ll copy some files into this new folder (under Windows XP it’s the usual process):


Returning to our Live Mesh Desktop, we’ll open Docs_on_Mesh to see what’s there – yep, they’re the two files that webDotWiz copied:


The notifier pane to the right of the folder view lets us know what action has taken place:


webDotWiz’s next task is to go to another computer (e.g. one of those at the Rushworth Community House), go to the Live Mesh site at www.mesh.com, sign in with his Windows Live ID, add this computer as a device to his mesh, create two folders Docs_on_Mesh and Pics_on_Mesh, add them both to his mesh and so be able to access his files from that particular RCH computer as if he were on his home computer.

Any changes made to any of these files on the RCH computer when they’re saved will automatically trigger Live Mesh to synchronise the changes to the files in the folders on Microsoft’s server (i.e., the folders on webDotWiz’s Live Mesh Desktop) and then the files in the folders on webDotWiz’s home computer.

So when webDotWiz got into the Rushworth Community House:

  • he signed into Live Mesh on www.mesh.com with his Windows Live ID
  • added the RCH computer to his devices
  • ran the Live Mesh software to install the Mesh Operationing Environment (MOE)
  • created the Docs_on_Mesh and Pics_on_Mesh folders
  • right-clicked them and added them to his Mesh

and away things went – after a bit, here’s what he saw in his Pics_on_Mesh folder on the Community House computer:


After a few days, webDotWiz is getting to used to being able to save files into his Mesh folders at home and be able to access these files in at the Community House from the computer’s hard drive as if he were working at home. The process works in reverse so, for example,  he can keep track of web sites of interest and put them into his list in a text file for each day’s posting of Sites for Todaywhich he does from his home computer.

Thus far you can see that the days of emailing files to yourself or copying files onto a flash memory stick have gone as far as webDotWiz is concerned. There’ll be some more trialling and new ways of making use of Live Mesh (no need to email attachments, just share a Mesh folder with others). Already one of the webDotWizards is using Live Mesh to "bring" his photos into the Community House from home (far easier that copying onto a portable drive).

Posted using Windows Live Writer, Live Mesh, Paint.NET, Microsoft OneNote and Live Photo Gallery.

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Sites Tue 27-May-2008 – Phoenix Mars Lander, Programming in school

Today’s sites. There are more images from the Phoenix lander on Mars so check the link below (Phoenix Mars Mission Photo Gallery):

North  Pole on Mars where Phoenix has landed. Captured from WorldWide Telescope. 

Posted using Windows Live Writer.

Sites Mon 26-May-2008 – Phoenix landing on Mars, Images from Mars

Today’s sites, with several leading you to plenty of photos taken by the Phoenix lander on Mars (successfully landed on Mars this morning Australian time):

Posted using Windows Live Writer.

Sites Sun 25-May-2008 – Cannonball watch, Photographers, Windows Media Center

Today’s list of sites:

Posted using Windows Live Writer.

Sites Sat 24-May-2008 – Flight Simulator, Office tutorials, Live QnA, Education

Today’s sites:

First mother and daughter to climb Mt. Everest
First mother and daughter to climb Mt. Everest

Posted using Windows Live Writer.