As you read this, a professional developers conference will be coming to an end in Los Angeles. This conference will be making announcements about many of the free services and programs we are currently using such as Live Mesh, Live Messenger, Live Photo Gallery, Photosynth, Deep Zoom, Silverlight, Image Composite Editor, Office Live Workspace and Live Writer (which was used to compose this column). Well, let’s take a breath and run through some of the special features we’re now using.
Live Photo Gallery
The latest version (which many have installed) features face recognition, straightening of photos and information about the photo currently selected. Using face recognition, you can go through your photos to put names to people in your photos with the help of your Messenger contact list to save some typing. If you don’t think this is significant, have pity on those who will inherit all your photos which haven’t any names on them!
We’re not all expert photographers and it’s all too easy to not have our camera level when shooting the ultimate shot. Photo Gallery now automatically levels any photo when you go into the Fix menu. The straightening function also comes in handy after scanning slides in which the film is not square in it’s cardboard holder.
Messenger has always had a feature whereby you could begin a conversation with a family member or friend on your contact list and then invite other people from your contact list to the conversation. Now in the latest Live Messenger Wave 3 version you can create a group of people (whom are invited and must accept to become part of the group) with whom everybody in that group can communicate. You can have different groups according to your needs. Using instant messaging, this means you can keep your group up to date and others can respond with their own snippets of information which is immediately passed to all group members.
Popular Mechanics voted Photosynth as one of its top ten innovations of 2008. A quick browse of synths that people have uploaded will attest to the popularity of Photosynth. All you need do is take a series of photos so that there is a fifty percent overlap of each photo and you can bring a two dimensional photo collection into life in three dimensions. If you haven’t started with Photosynth, go out and get some photos of your favourite flower pot, tool shed or rose bush.
webDotWiz has been using this free service since June or so to synch files and folders between his home computer and a couple of computers at the Rushworth Community House. This enables him to save a file, say, at RCH and then have it available on his computer at home without having to do anything else but the “save”. If he had a smartphone, laptop or other device (running either Windows or Mac), he could include these in his Mesh too.
As well, if he can’t access any of his usual computers that are running Live Mesh, he can still access his files and folders from his Live Mesh Desktop when he signs in on any computer connected to the Internet.
At present, one part that’s missing from Live Mesh is any application designed specifically to run in the Mesh – watch for news from PDC 2008 later this week.
Office Live Workspace
Using a small download, you can add Save to Workspace and Open from Workspace to your Office Excel, PowerPoint and Word file menu to save documents into your own online workspace. Further, you can choose to share any document with others for collaborative work so they can read and/or edit (if you allow).
Office Live Workspace is another way for you (and your co-workers) to always have documents on hand no matter where you are (as long as an Internet connection is available). This service is a candidate for integration into Live Mesh sometime in the future. Meanwhile increase the convenience of having your documents always accessible by using this free service. You’ll be allocated 500Mb for free online space so that’s plenty to get lots done.
Here are some sites to get you started:
Posted using the Wave 3 version of Windows Live Writer.