webDotWiz talks Windows Live

A daily list of links to interesting sites

Monthly Archives: November 2009

Sites Mon 30-Nov-2009 – Windows 7 family pack for Australia, Expression Design how-to’s, Extending Small Basic, Writing or just practicing

Today’s sites:

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Journey to the centre of the universe with WorldWide Telescope – webDotWiz Online Sep 24 2009

To begin your journey to the centre of the universe, you need to download and install the Windows desktop version of WorldWide Telescope from www.worldwidetelescope.org.

If you find your computer is a bit old and the graphics aren’t up to running WWT (we’ll use this abbreviation for WorldWide Telescope to save screen space) or if you have a Mac, you can still get most of the features of the desktop version by viewing the heavens through the online web client at www.worldwidetelescope.org/webclient/ (note you may be prompted to install Silverlight so do that).

Start your engines

When WWT loads, you’ll see a 3D view of the solar system set against the Milky Way. Across the top of the screen are a set of menu items with the Explore mode set. On the next line are the first group of collections (to get to the next group, click the arrow on the far right).

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These collections are imagery captured from various telescopes, some ground-based, and others such as the Hubble Telescope, are carried by satellites. The second group of collections include a 3D view of the Solar System, Earth view and panoramas of views taken by Apollo and the Mars Pathfinder for example.

Each of the main menu items has a small white arrow which gives you access to a submenu of options.

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So to read WWT’s Getting Started help guide, choose the white arrow under Explore.

 

 

 

 

Set up WWT for your location

You’ll want to view the sky from where you live so click on View from the top menu.

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Now click the Setup button which gives you a list of cities around the world from which to choose. Note that you can be more precise by entering the latitude, longitude and height above sea level of your location. You can find your latitude and longitude in Bing Maps.

Notice to the right of Observing location is Observing time – yes, that means you can time travel (check WWT’s help as to how you might use this feature).

Let’s explore

Click Explore and then choose Hubble Studies. Imagery from the Hubble Telescope is often featured in the media so it’s worth exploring for that reason. If you look at the right-hand side of the screen, you’ll notice that there are fourteen different groups of imagery so there’s plenty here to explore.

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Choose SuperNova87A because it was only recently observed in 1987 and has been vigorously studied since that time.

Now the top image menu changes to show that there seven different views of SuperNova87A. Click the first one and the screen fills with a view of this supernova. At the bottom of the screen are similar links to the same images but others have been added to the list.

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In the bottom right of the screen you’ll see an indicator that shows the progress of the imagery download that takes place to build up the full screen view of the object you’re viewing. Imagery in WWT is drawn from a number of sources and it makes up terrabytes of data so what’s needed to create the image on your screen comes down and is pieced together by WWT as required.

Panning and zooming

To pan around the screen view, hold down the left mouse button and drag in the required direction. To zoom in and out, use your mouse’s scroll wheel or the page up and page down keys on your keyboard.

You’ll notice that as you navigate around and zoom that more imagery is downloaded to build your view. Depending on the speed of your internet connection, it make take a bit of time for the full image to settle.

Researching

Staying with our view of SuperNova87A, right click over the image that’s at the centre of your screen to bring up the Finder Scope. Firstly you can drag the Finder around the screen and it’ll give you information about what’s in its scope. Note, too, that the altitude and azimuth values are constantly changing due to the earth spinning on its axis and our view is thus moving across the celestial sphere.

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At the bottom left of the Finder is a Research button. From the popup menu you can choose to find out more information such as following the link to Wikipedia. As well there’s lots more information, much of which is for professional astronomers who want to contribute to various research programs.

 

 

 

 

 

Other viewing options

Click your way back to Collections and choose the Solar System. Now click on Jupiter and watch with awe as WWT swings around to a different part of the sky and zooms in to the planet. Depending on when you view Jupiter will determine which of Jupiter’s moons are in view at the present zoom level. That information will be indicated in the bottom pane. For example, at the time of writing (about midday), Io was the only moon shown.

But hang on, you say, Jupiter isn’t visible at midday. So go to View on the top menu and click View from this location. Woosh and you’re looking at a blue screen representing the placement of the horizon in relation to the sky at your location.

Background information

If you’re starting out in astronomy, you might need to look up some defintions such as constellation, nebula, supernova, galaxies, dark matter and inter-stellar gas. As already noted, the Finder Scope gives you direct access to information on the web and there’s Bing Search to help out.

As well there are a number of Guided Tours built-in to WWT to help out. Once you become familiar with WWT, you can even create your own tours of the universe. Hint: click on New Tours for more which include the first imagery of extrasolar planets.

When you’re exhausted from flying around the universe, take the 3D tour of the Solar System. For homework, look through WWT’s help guide to find out how to view some of the universe in 3D for a touch of realism.

WWT quicklinks

For all the sites that were listed with this week’s webDotWiz Online column, see www.webdotwiz.com/sites-240909.htm

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Posted using the 2009 version of Windows Live Writer.

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Free antivirus software – Microsoft Security Essentials – webDotWiz Online Oct 8, 2009

For many years webDotWiz has been pressing the point that there’s no excuse for a computer to be running without antivirus and malware protection because there have been a number of free antivirus programs available. Unfortunately some of these have slowed down our computer systems and there’s been the continual nagging to buy the full version.

There are no excuses anymore – Microsoft’s Security Essentials antivirus and malware protection program is lightweight to download – 2 and a bit megabytes for Windows Vista, 8 and a bit megabytes for Windows XP – and doesn’t hog your computer’s memory so you can happily work away without interference.

Before going further, your first step against having your computer hijacked by malware, that is, to stop the criminals trying to steal your money (today that’s the main purpose of malware in all its forms) is to NOT run your computer on a day-to-day basis under an administrator account. You should have an account set up as a limited account under Windows XP or standard user under Windows Vista – this is the account you use for all your work on your computer.

If there are other users, they also should have their own non-administrator accounts. The only time the administrator account is used – by one particular person – is for installing new programs and some system duties (such as checking Windows updates are installed). Windows help has lots of information about setting up non-administrate accounts so go and read it up now and create a non-admin account for yourself if need be.

So, ok, it’s a bit inconvenient running with limitations as a non-admin user – it’s also inconvenient locking the car in the carpark when shopping. In summary, DO NOT use your computer under an administrator account.

Now back to MSE. When you run the installer from the MSE homepage, you’ll be told to uninstall whatever antivirus program you’re currently running – so do that and come back to finish off the installation of MSE.

When MSE starts it will check online for the latest updates to its reference detection data file and begin a quick scan. The only setting you may want to change is when MSE carries out a scan – currently you’ll see it set to each Sunday. You can change that to each day or another weekday. This scan works away quietly in the background when your computer is not hard at work doing your jobs.

Each day MSE will update its reference detection file in the background and, if need be, MSE will do an online check in realtime if it suspects any program as possibly being malware. In fact, if all is well, you won’t notice MSE protecting your computer and you’ll only be aware of its presence when it finds some malware.

With the availability of Microsoft Security Essentials, there is absolutely no reason for not having your computer, no matter how old, protected against viruses and malware.

Live Hotmail updates

You may have noticed some new features in Live Hotmail that are being currently introduced.

Firstly if you’re a keyboard shortcut user, you’re able to go to Options – More options (at top right of your Hotmail window) and choose other shortcut layouts such as those for GMail or Yahoo! Mail. Oh, if you don’t know Hotmail’s keyboard shortcut keys, go to Help for a full list.

If you’ve received lots of attachments to an email, you can download them all in one go by selecting to download them as a zip; then you can unzip this file later.

As well your email drafts are now auto-saved and if you use Web Messenger which is built in to your Hotmail inbox you can check your friends list.

Finally the rumour mill has started in regard to what will appear in the next version of Windows Live.

Live Movie Maker tips

The Auto Movie feature is proving invaluable in creating a movie and by now you should have several movies made from collections of your photos. Remember to tag your photos in Live Photo Gallery then you’re able to easily add photos to different sections when creating your movie.

If you’ve created several movies, it’s time to try out Live Movie Maker’s video editing features. For example, what about adding several of your movies to Live Move Maker, trimming some clips and creating a completely new movie from what you already have? Remember to make a copy of your original movies in case things go wrong.

Quicklinks

Microsoft Security Essentials – free antivirus software
Live Hotmail updates
Live Movie Maker tips
For all the sites with this week’s webDotWiz Online column, see www.webdotwiz.com/sites-081009.htm
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Posted using the 2009 version of Windows Live Writer.

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A day in the life of Windows Live – webDotWiz Online column Oct 22, 2209

Live Photo Gallery

So your young ‘uns have made you set up a Facebook account but you don’t really feel like adding much to your Facebook pages when you’ve already got lots of services in Windows Live. You’ve just uploaded some photos to an album on Live Photos to share with your family and friends in your Live network. As well you’ve sent off a link to your album to other family and friends not in your Live network.

But there are those family and friends breathlessly waiting for you to add some content to your Facebook page. Well, these people can be easily satisifed – all you need do is install the LiveUpLoad to Facebook addon (see the link in this week’s Quicklinks) for Live Photo Gallery and Live Movie Maker and with a click you can upload photos from Live Photo Gallery to your Facebook page. Now everybody’s happy.

Just an aside for those of you Windows Live people who also have a Facebook page. Check with webDotWiz how you can turn off email notifications when your Facebook friends put something on their page.

Live Writer trick

Once you’ve created a few movies in Live Movie Maker you’ll want to share them by putting them into entries on your Live Space. You’ll need an account at YouTube (it’s free) and you can upload a movie directly from Live Movie Maker.

At YouTube choose the movie you want to include in your Live Space. On the YouTube page there’s a Share option with a link to your movie – copy this link and when you paste it into Live Writer – whoosh, your movie is automatically embedded in your post. Now all you have to do is click Publish.

Live Messenger

At the top of your Messenger window there’s space for you to enter a short message that all of your people in your Live network will receive on their Live What’s New page. It’s a good way to let people know, for example, that you’ve added some new photos to your Live Photos page.

Remember that hovering your mouse over your display picture gives you some quick links, such as to your Live Space. Hovering your mouse over one of your contacts also gives you quick options such as sending a message. With the latest version of Live Messenger, the person you want to IM doesn’t even have to be online at the time you send your message – they’ll get it next time they sign in.

You can add people from other services (for example, Facebook) to your Live Messenger contacts list so it’s easy to keep up to date in just one place with what your friends are doing.

Live Movie Maker

We all know by now that Live Movie Maker’s AutoMovie feature is a real timesaver. As well, Live Movie Maker’s range of options for the type of movie you want to output is extremely useful – standard definition, 720p or 1080p high definition.

Movie Maker accepts a range of movie filetypes including MOV files. So if you want to burn a MOV movie onto DVD, load it into Movie Maker, choose your output type and let Windows DVD Maker to all the work for you.

Live Hotmail

For those readers who have taken one of Terry’s beginner’s classes at Rushworth Community House will know that he stresses the use of shortcut keys to make computer use more efficient. Well, there are a whole set of shortcut keys for Live Hotmail such as CTRL+N to create a new message and CTRL+Enter to send a message – check them out on Hotmail’s help or hover your mouse over the relevant button. If you’re more familiar with keyboard shortcut keys in other web email services you can use them as an alternative (see Options).

Hotmail now has a web version of Messenger. You won’t need this when you’re on your own computer with Live Messenger running but it’s handy when you’re on another computer to be able to keep in touch with your Live contacts.

Remember that you can jazz up the colour of your inbox – click Options to choose Themes or More themes for dynamic ones that change according to the time of day (or to suit your mood).

You can bring all your email accounts into Hotmail so they’re all in one place to make life easier. Hotmail help tells you how to do this with your Gmail and Yahoo email accounts, for example.

Live Mail

The best part of Live Mail is being able to add as many email accounts as you wish so you access to your email in one place. Live Mail makes the task of adding other email accounts as simple as it can possibly be – in most cases all your need do is enter your email address and password for the account.

Let Windows Live bring the information to you and your friends

Windows Live has lots of easy-to-use ways for you to share information with your family and friends. Just as importantly, you can keep up to date with what people in your Live network are doing. When you’ve signed in to Live Messenger to being your computing day, click on Messenger’s What’s new link to start your day in the life of Windows Live.

Quicklinks

For all the sites that were posted with this week’s webDotWiz Online column, see www.webdotwiz.com/sites-221009.htm

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Posted using the 2009 version of Windows Live Writer.

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Bing’s new features, Windows 7, Apollo 12 re-enactment – webDotWiz Online column Nov 19 2009

Updates coming to Bing Search

image Remember that the aim of searching for information on the web is to actually find the information you want. It’s all well and good to see a huge list of links on the screen but that doesn’t help much. That’s why Bing search is more aptly described as a decision search engine to help you find, for example, the best deal for a plane ticket from Melbourne to Sydney (www.bing.com/travel) or to browse the latest video offerings (www.bing.com/videos/browse)

To see how Bing helps your decision making, imagine you’re looking to purchase a new digital camera. You want to compare prices, brands and features. So start at bing.com by typing in digital camera. Now look at the left-hand pane on the screen for a breakdown of headings that help you focus on a particular aspect, for example, price. If you’re not happy with the Australian version of Bing (since it’s still in trial mode), go to the top right of the screen, click Australia, and from the subsequent page, choose United States – English. Now you have more options on the left-hand side of the screen to narrow down your search and find the information you want.

By the time you read this, other features should be available including nutrition and fitness information and calculations using the Wolfram|Alpha computational engine. For example, you’ll be able to ask Bing to calculate your body mass index. As well maths enthusiasts will be able to ask Bing to plot a mathematical curve or ask for the properties of a dodecahedron.

Bing Maps updates

There have been imagery updates to Bing Maps in the last couple of months, the first focusing on a certain city which will be holding a major Olympic event in the near future. The November update concentrated on Eastern Europe so you can do some exploring.

image The UK has its own version of Bing Maps which was just updated the other day and you can now instantly obtain a map of the London Tube lines and stations with one click. Try out Bing Maps UK at www.bing.com/maps/?mkt=en-uk.

Bing Maps has also a more flexible driving directions feature. Once you’ve got the driving directions, by dragging the route line you can make changes to your journey (give a few days for the Australian version to be updated).

Installing Windows 7

Windows 7 certainly has plenty of features that make it compelling as upgrade from Windows Vista. However one stumbling block many people run into when upgrading an operating system is that they haven’t been backing up their important documents, photos and videos.

Many people purchased Windows Live OneCare and that purchase prompted the importance of a backup plan. Windows has its own built-in back up feature but we tend to forget about backing up until it’s too late, or almost too late.

Do yourself a favour and go out and purchase an external hard drive onto which you can backup your data both as insurance against your hard drive failing or when the day comes to upgrade your version of Windows. Prices for external hard drives are cheap and a hundred dollars or so now gives your more relief than you’ll ever know.

Apollo 12 re-enactment

As he did with the Apollo 11 re-enactment in July, webDotWiz is posting the major events that took place forty years ago on the Apollo 12 mission to the moon.

webDotWiz uses his Twitter account (www.twitter.com/webdotwiz) to post these major events. He’s linked his Facebook account (www.facebook.com/webdotwiz) to his Twitter account so tweets automatically are added to his Facebook wall.

As well, webDotWiz has used the Windows Live web activities feature to bring in his Twitter and Facebook entries so those people on webDotWiz’s Windows Live network are automatically informed of what posts he’s made on their Live What’s New page and they can follow the Apollo 12 mission without any extra effort.

A reminder that you can now add your YouTube account to your Windows Live activities so you can easily let your friends and family know when you’ve added a movie online that you created in Windows Live Movie Maker.

Quicklinks

Bing’s new features

Windows 7

For all the sites listed with this week’s webDotWiz Online column see www.webdotwiz.com/sites-191109.htm

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Posted using the 2009 version of Windows Live Writer.

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Sites Sat 28-Nov-2009 – Office Web Apps, Office Live Workspace, Sowing the Seeds free recipe book, Setting passwords, Copenhagen, Bali photos, Rushworth museum

image Today’s sites:

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Sites Thu 26-Nov-2009 – Online shopping tips, Bing Maps & Climate Mystery, Live Writer tip, Expression Design how-to’s, School websites

image Today’s sites:

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Sites Wed 25-Nov-2009 – Bing video & maths, Apollo 12 flight journal, CSIRAC’s 60th birthday, Spherical synths, Social media thoughts, IE8’s Smartscreen

Today’s sites and others from the past couple of days.

image The Apollo 12 re-enactment concluded this morning at 0758 AEST (244:36 Ground Elapsed Time) when Yankee Clipper splashed down in the Pacific so webDotWiz has more time on his hands 🙂

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Apollo 12 re-enactment – some parameters for the trip home to Earth

From the transcript document at http://history.nasa.gov/ap12fj/18day8_cislunar.htm, these are some physics parameters you might like to consider (look at Ground Elapsed Time (GET) 183:30 hours):

Apollo 12 will cross over from the Moon’s sphere of influence to that of Earth at GET 186:30:43

Equal distance point halfway between Moon and Earth will occur at GET 219:47:40 – distance will be 110 904 nautical miles

Point of equal velocity between Earth and Moon, i.e. when the craft’s velocity relative to both Moon and Earth is the same, occurs at GET 207:14:14 – value at this time will be 3 919.5 ft/sec

The point halfway back between Trans Earth Injection (TEI) burn and Earth entry occurs at GET 208:23:41 when craft is 139 992 nautical miles from Earth.

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Sites Sun 22-Nov-2009 – Behind Bing, Saturn photo, Apollo 12 re-enactment, Office Starter 2010, Windows Compatability Center, Ride-on mower injuries, UK floods photos

image Today’s sites with some from yesterday, too:

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