webDotWiz talks Windows Live

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Category Archives: Computers and Internet

Microsoft Surface

webDotWiz didn’t see the news story on TV the other night but there are plenty of videos online that show off the possibilities of this amazing piece of technology.

Can’t think of a use for Microsoft Surface?

How about this: place your mobile phone on the table top (you’ve taken lots of photos recently and want to download them to your computer), gesture with your hand so the photos are copied off your phone and placed in a pile on the surface. Now gesture to arrange them in order or spread them around the table for all to see. Want to resize some of them? use finger gestures to widen/change height. Others around the table can use hand gestures to look at the photos and decide which they think is the best… let your imagination come up with uses for the surface.

And think about a group playing Monopoly – Vista runs underneath the table so it would be in charge of rolling the dice and players couldn’t (accidently) move where they shouldn’t on the board or fudge the dice roll.

Anyway there are several videos at Soapbox including these ones on Nick Mayhew’s blog.

microsoft_surface Microsoft Surface is at www.surface.com or www.microsoft.com/surface/.

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Microsoft Popfly ready

Popfly, at www.popfly.ms, will be the place to go to create gadgets for your Live Space, blog or web site. Or you can create a complete web site without having to worry about writing any HTML code or know about CSS styles. In other words, you don’t need to know anything, or have ever heard, about HTML, CSS styles, Javascript or Visual Basic code. You’re a non-developer who wants to add more to your Live Space, for example, but until now haven’t been able to find the right tool.

We’ll be able to do all this creative work interactively online by just connecting blocks that contain all the bits for us to bring in the data and logic we need, such as combining photos from Flickr onto a Live Map. If you want to make a game, then Popfly can do that for you too.

The Popfly Creator is the part to use to make all this sort of thing.

If you want to make some web pages for your own site, then the Popfly Web Page Creator is the tool to use. We’ll have 25Mb of space available for web pages. For those who love to deal with HTML and CSS styles by hand, that’ll be possible – even Visual Studio Express code will be handled.

Another part of Popfly is that all gadgets made in Popfly will be shareable between users (similar to how we can add gadgets to our Live Spaces) so it’s just a click to add someone’s Popfly gadget to your own Live Space.

At the moment Popfly is in trial mode and restricted to just 2,000 users. You can register your interest on the Overview page and take a place in the waiting list for an invite to try it.

Here are some pages to look at:

Popfly is going to be a real boon for all webDotWizards, especially the webDotWizard webmasters, since until now the art of creating extras for our Live Spaces and web sites has involved knowing how to use HTML and CSS code, topics that takes a long time to learn.

Whether you’re eight or eighty years old, you’ll be able to use Popfly and have a lot of fun doing so.

Online learning courses for beginning developers

In November 2005 Microsoft released Express editions of their most widely used lanaguage development tools – Vusual Studio, Visual Basic, C#, SQL database, and more. These development tools can be downloaded for free and there are no strings attached. See the Visual Studio Express site.

Now Microsoft have released a complete series of learning packages at the Beginner Developer Learning Center. Learning activities have been divided into two tracks depending on whether you want to develop for Windows or for the Web. For example, Windows development gives you tutorials to get started with Visual Basic Express or Visual C# Express whereas the web development track presents learning material for Visual Web Developer Express.

For the younger ones there’s a separate set of tutorials with a more fun way of learning at the Kid’s Corner Beginner Developer Learning Center.

Paint.NET version 3 can be downloaded

The latest version of the free graphics program, Paint.NET, is ready.

Among new features is the ability to have several graphics files loaded at once and being easily able to access these files from the toolbar (either via a dropdown list or thumbnails).

If you’re running an earlier version of Paint.NET, go to File — Update now, or if you want to download it for the first time, use the link off Paint.NET’s home page at www.getpaint.net.

Vista and 2007 Office will be available from Windows Marketplace

January 30 is the day consumers can purchase Windows Vista and 2007 Office.

If you’re so inclined (i.e., you can’t bear to leave home to find a retail store but you have a good, high-speed broadband connection), you can make your purchase of Vista and 2007 Office from the Windows Marketplace site. By the way, your online purchase is protected by your digital locker which allows you to purchase, download, and install the products you have selected on Windows Marketplace and retrieve licenses stored on your behalf.

Via Windows Vista Team Blog.

Spam, spam, spam

You may have noticed a different kind of junk mail getting through your defences – the messages only contain images and this sort of junk can’t be stopped by the normal email defence systems which scan the text – there’s no text to scan!

Those of you using Windows Live Mail, or Hotmail if you haven’t changed over, can stop much of this junk by setting your mail inbox options to only allow mail from people on your Live Messenger contact list.

Those using Outlook, Outlook Express or Windows Live Mail desktop could make some rules to block the addresses from which all this junk is orginating. However, the spammers saw this possibility years ago and rarely use the same address more than once for a spam deluge. So that’s a waste of time.

Outlook users have Microsoft anti-spammers working hard all the time to develop new rules – a new definition file is installed as part of the Microsoft patch Tuesday updates each month. Sadly, lots of things can happen in a month .

For an interesting read of how Terry Zink, one of Microsoft’s anti-spam team, works out what is spam is what is not, what he has to do to create new anti-spam rules (e.g., read through about 25,000 junk emails to analyse the way text is written by junk mailers), and trends in the junk spamming world, you can add his blog to your feeds.

For more info about the war against spammers, visit The Spamhaus Project.

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Some sites for you to browse

webDotWiz always seems to find sites on all sorts of topics – just have a look through his webDotWiz columns. Here are some that won’t fit into this week’s online column.

There’ll be more listed here during the next few weeks when webDotWiz Online won’t be updated due to a break in publication of Rushworth’s fortnightly paper, The Waranga News.

The sites above will eventually find themselves into the various pages and sections of the webDotWiz Directory.

Australia’s broadband disgrace – summary of links

The print media via their associated web sites, have run a number of articles and commentary on the sad state of Australia’s broadband services.

Sites such as News.com.au, The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, have articles – here’s a list that Frank Arrigo has put together:

Ziggy slams slow broadband
Courier Mail, Australia – 25 Nov 2006
FORMER Telstra boss Ziggy Switkowski has added his voice to complaints that broadband in Australia is too slow. Echoing the concerns

Coonan hits out on net speeds
The Australian, Australia – 24 Nov 2006
MEDIA moguls complaining that Australia’s broadband download speeds are a "disgrace" are just trying to maximise profits, Communications Minister Helen Coonan

Coonan dismisses broadband complaints
NEWS.com.au, Australia – 23 Nov 2006
AUSTRALIA’S media moguls are pursuing their own commercial interests by complaining that the country’s broadband speeds are among the slowest in the developed

Moguls pushing own barrow – Coonan
NEWS.com.au, Australia – 23 Nov 2006
AUSTRALIA’S media moguls are pursuing their own interests by complaining that broadband speeds are among the slowest in the developed world, Communications

Australia’s broadband ‘disgrace’
The Age, Australia – 14 Nov 2006
Media rival and Publishing and Broadcasting Limited executive chairman James Packer was equally critical of Australia’s broadband speeds when he made a speech

Coonan cranky on Murdoch broadband blast
NEWS.com.au, Australia – 15 Nov 2006
COMMUNICATIONS Minister Helen Coonan has rejected Rupert Murdoch’s criticism of Australia’s broadband services, saying the media baron is misinformed.

Broadband a disgrace: Murdoch
NEWS.com.au, Australia – 14 Nov 2006
rival and Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (pbl.ASX:Quote,News) executive chairman James Packer was equally critical of Australia’s broadband speeds when he

Broadband expert backs Murdoch’s claims
The Age, Australia – 15 Nov 2006
Rupert Murdoch’s description of Australia’s broadband network as a disgrace would shake the government into doing something about high speed internet access, a

and the latest from Frank’s blog:

Broadband is a disgrace but don’t blame us: Telstra

Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo said today he agrees with media mogul Rupert Murdoch that Australia’s access to high-speed broadband is a disgrace.

Having seen this list a couple of days ago, written about webDotWiz’s last ten years on the ‘Net and now having had to help users through the past 24-36 hours when internet connectivity has been, to be polite, not good at all, webDotWiz is letting off a bit of steam .

 

webDotWiz is a D-List blogger – humph!

According to Are you an A-List Bloglebrity? over at Kineda, the best webDotWiz can do is get to the D-List status of bloglebrity. Oh, well, blog on is the only solution .

webDotWiz has some comfort from knowing that Frank Arrigo, the Microsoft Aussie blogger, is only a B-Lister.

Here’s my Badge of Bloglebrity:

D-List Blogger

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It’s time! Vista is on its way to us

Yep, and with that simple entry in the Windows Vista Team Blog by head of the Windows Vista team, Jim Allchin, Windows Vista has finished all the testing and it’s off to the manufacturing stage (listen carefully and you might hear the presses hard at work churning out Vista DVDs).

And the preses are also whirring away as they press the DVDs/CDs for 2007 Microsoft Office.

Or as Frank Arrigo, puts it, Snap! – it’s a Royal Flush: