webDotWiz talks Windows Live

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Get started with Wave 3 Windows Live

The Wave 3 version of all the programs and services that make up the Windows Live suite (Live Calendar, Live Family Care, Live Hotmail, Live Mail, Live Messenger, Live Movie Maker, Live Photo Gallery, Live Toolbar, Live Writer) can be downloaded from http://download.live.com. Although these programs are still in trial (that’s why you’ll see “beta” in their title), webDotWiz has installed them on his own computer and those at the Rushworth Community House without any problem.

In this column we’ll take a brief look at some of the new features in just two of the Live suite: Live Messenger and Live Photo Gallery. There’s plenty to talk about but one of the snazziest little things in Live Messenger is when you hover your mouse over the top right corner to see the texture peel away so you can set your own scene. Choose from those provided or browse to use one of your own photos.

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The Wave 3 Messenger becomes a better central point to get to your email (note the small envelope on the right-hand side) either via Live Mail or directly to your Hotmail.

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Favorites is set up so you can add specific people to this group of friends. As well you can create groups of people whom you chat with (a group can consist of as many as fifteen of your Messenger contact friends).

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At the bottom of the Messenger windows is the What’s new section. This part of the window scrolls through what your friends have added to their Live Spaces so you’ll be up-to-date whenever they add new photos or make a new entry. Click the dividing line to expand the size of this section or click What’s new to take to your Live Spaces home page.

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Hover your mouse over one of your contacts to bring up a menu so you can post an instant message to begin chatting or share some photos or send an email.

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Turning to Live Photo Gallery, there are some special features that have been added. You’re now able to tag people in your photos with their name for easy reference, straighten any photos (often this is done automatically as soon as you choose the Fix menu), view and download photos of your friends on Live Messenger, and create a Photosynth directly.

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Now there are two types of tags – people and descriptive, the latter being the former Tags feature. When you first start Live Photo Gallery after installing the Wave 3 version you’ll note that it spends some time updating your photo library (look down in the bottom left corner) to look through your photos to apply its face recognition technology. Once this task is finished, opening any photo of family or friends will bring up a list of unidentified people.

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Over at the top right of the Live Photo Gallery windows you’ll see under People tags that you can identify this person.

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Hovering over the Identify link enables you to enter a name for this person and if you’re logged in to your Windows Live ID you’ll have access to your Messenger friends list to make the job easier.

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The Straighten photo function under the Fix menu repairs any photos taken when you weren’t holding the camera level. As well when you’ve scanned 35mm slides and the negative has slipped inside its cardboard holder the scanned result can be repaired.

Here’s a scanned slide that needs a little straightening:

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After choosing Straighten photo under the Fix menu, a grid is placed over your photo to help make the job easier if you’re not happy with Live Photo Gallery’s automatic straightening.

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Live Photo Gallery has plenty of excellent features to help you organise your photos and edit them for your viewing pleasure. The program is simple to use but at the same time is powerful – and it’s free! If you’d like to take the creation of panoramic photos further than Live Photo Gallery offers, you can download Microsoft Image Composite Editor which gives you more output options for your large panoramic creations.

Overall the Wave 3 version of the Windows Live suite is now at a stage where we can start to experience the benefit of how these services tie in together (webDotWiz hasn’t mentioned, for example, how Live Calendar now synchronises with the calendar in Live Mail or Outlook).

Here are some sites to get you started:

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May the Synth be with you.

Posted using the Wave 3 version of Windows Live Writer.

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