In his last column in December, webDotWiz walked you through the latest release of the Windows Live online services. The main online services are made up of Live Hotmail for online webmail, Live Calendar, Live Photos for online storage and sharing of photo albums, Live Skydrive to store online documents and pictures (25,000 metabytes of free online space), Live Spaces for your own website and Office Live Workspace to store and share Office documents. You can check out more information about these services at webDotWiz Online.
Then in the middle of Decemeber the other part of Windows Live, Windows Live Essentials, was updated and this release became the final released version a couple of weeks ago.
The Windows Live Essentials consist of free programs you download and install: Live Messenger, Live Mail, Live Photo Gallery, Live Movie Maker, Live Toolbar and Live Family Safety. You can easily tell if you’ve got the latest versions – you won’t see the word "beta" in the title of these programs on your Windows start menu. As well, if you’re getting a message when you sign in to Live Messenger that there is a newer version to download, then you’re still running the old version and should update to get all the new features now available.
The 2009 version of Live Messenger now enables you to sign in on more than one computer at a time thus simplifying your messaging habits. Another handy feature is that you can IM one of your contacts regardless of whether they’re online – they’ll get your IM as soon as they sign in at their end. To extend this feature, it’s worth considering having a Windows Live ID for home and another for work. Then you can IM reminders to yourself between home and work.
Sharing photos is now much easier whether you want to just show a few of your latest to a family member or friend. Simply drag a photo from Live Photo Gallery onto the conversation window.
Live Photo Gallery
Use Live Photo Gallery to organise your photos and scans by adding both people and descriptive tags, use the edit tools to remove redeye, sharpen or crop your photos, and easily upload and share your photos to your online Live Photos storage area or other online photos service providers.
Live Photo Gallery makes it easy to take photos off your camera by comparing what you’ve already taken off your camera with what you’ve stored on your hard drive. This option also works for CDs, DVDs and memory sticks.
As well Live Photo Gallery now works with Live Skydrive so that when a friend invites you to download some of their photos you can use the same technique as you do with your camera by choosing which photos you want to download.
Live Mail replaces the out-of-date Outlook Express email program by allowing any number of email accounts to be accessed as well as providing more modern security for protection from spamming and phishing. The program is easy to setup with your email accounts and will automatically give you updates of your contacts’ Live Spaces.
Use Live Writer to add entries to your Live Spaces website or to other blog services. Whilst the Live Spaces Add entry function has been updated by being able to add pictures so they show in full size, Live Writer has more options. As well as inserting photos, you can also insert a photo album, a map or a video.
The 2009 version of the Live Toolbar works quite differently from lots of current toolbars by opening a small pane for each service on the toolbar instead of just linking to a particular web page. One handy feature is to easily add sites to your Shared Favorites folder (stored in your Live Skydrive area) so you can access any of these sites regardless of which computer you’re using.
Live Family Safety
This Live Safety program enables you to set up permissions for the younger members of your family so they can more safely access the Internet.
Hints and tips
There are plenty of links in this week’s list of sites to help you out with making the most of the Windows Live Essentials programs. To get started, browse the webDotWiz Online Windows Live Essentials page which has links to separate pages for each Live Essentials program. As well, take the time to browse the webDotWizards web sites to see how Live Writer is used.
Posted using the 2009 version of Windows Live Writer.