webDotWiz talks Windows Live

A daily list of links to interesting sites

Category Archives: webDotWiz Online

New features in Hotmail and Office Web Apps-webDotWiz Online Sep 30 2010

Over the past week or so, the Windows Live team have announced several new updates to Live Hotmail and the Office Web Apps. The features in Hotmail will appear over the next few weeks so don’t be surprised if you don’t have them immediately.

Hotmail attachments size increased

Previously when using the Attachment option to attach photos or documents to an email, there was a total size limit of 10 Mb. That size will be increase to 25Mb when the new features roll out worldwide.

As well, we’ll all be able to send an email with up to 10Gb of photos attached (up to now this feature was limited to the U.S.). This will work by informing you as you attach photos that the 25Mb limit has been reached and offer the alternative of creating a temporary folder for you on your Live Skydrive into which photos will be uploaded and an email sent to your intended recipient containing a link to the folder. You can change permissions on this folder and the time for which the folder will exist (90 days is the default).

Hotmail folders and sub-folders

It soon became obvious in some cases that the Sweep function had limitations. For example, you receive newsletters from a car magazine and the newsletters alternate from news about different cars each week. You want to automatically send each newsletter about each type of car to its own folder and now you’ll be able to by creating sub-folders under your Newsletter folder, for example, and so fine tune your archive of newsletters.

Chat with Facebook friends

Later in the year we’ll be able to chat with our Facebook friends from Live Messenger (on the desktop) or from Live Web Messenger while in Hotmail or any other Live web service page (such as Live Photos). We’re already able to chat with our Windows Live friends from both Live Messenger and Web Messenger with messages appearing in both Messengers. While you’re working on your email, access Web Messenger by signing in after you click on Messenger from any of your Windows Live web pages, such as Hotmail.

Note that you’re able to send IMs to any of your Facebook friends from Live Messenger – simply hover over their contact name and the option Send message (Facebook) will pop up.

Viewing videos in Hotmail

If you receive an email from a friend with a YouTube or Hulu video embedded in the message, you can view the video directly from within Hotmail. Soon emails containing videos from DailyMotion and Justin.tv will also be viewable in Hotmail.

Office Web Apps

The Office Web Apps consist of online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. The best part is that these applications are free for Windows Live users and you don’t need to purchase a version of desktop Office. The Office Web Apps don’t have all the feautures of the full desktop versions in Office 2010 but they’re more than adequate.

One of their prime features is that you can easily share documents with your fellow Windows Live friends without having to resort to the old-fashioned way of emailing documents as attachments. If you don’t want to share, then take advantage of being able to access your Office Web App documents wherever and whenever you have internet access.

You’ll know you have Office Web Apps enabled when you go to Office from any of your Windows Live web services pages such as Hotmail and you see the four icons for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote in the top right of the Office Live page.

There have been some updates in the past couple of days including the option now to open a web app document in your desktop version of Office. As well, the print function in the Office Web Apps is more easily found and it’s included in edit mode as well as view mode.

The Excel web app now enables you to insert different types of charts into your online spreadshet; under the Insert menu you’ll find options for column, line, pie, bar, area, scatter and others. As well you can now use the auto fill handler just as in desktop Excel.

In the PowerPoint web app there are more styles from which to choose and new ones will become available from the Office.com libray. Also we can now insert clip art from the huge clip art library on Office.com.

Finally Excel and PowerPoint web apps can be embedded in web pages and blog posts.


Follow webDotWiz on Twitter @webdotwiz

webDotWiz Online www.webdotwiz.com

webDotWiz on Facebook www.facebook.com/webdotwiz

Posted using Windows Live Writer 2011.

Cross posted from webDotWiz Online at www.webdotwiz.com/column-130910.htm

Better security in Hotmail and other Live news-webDotWiz Online Oct 14 2010

This week we’ll take you through some notable updates to Live Hotmail and Live Calendar, some useful photo tips from the Rushworth Community House webDotWizards and how you can make life easier for yourself by using Live Messenger to link up with your Facebook friends.

Live Hotmail

It can happen that you or a friend get tricked by what’s called a social engineering email into giving away your Hotmail password. Consequently you lose control of your Hotmail account. All is not lost as there’s a recovery method.

When you first become aware that your Hotmail account is being used by someone else (e.g. your friends might inform you that they’re getting lots of spam in emails sent from your account), you need to change your password at account.live.com. However, your password may have been changed by the infiltrator and that’s where your secret question and answer or alternative email address and your location information that you entered when signing up for a Hotmail account will be needed. So before life gets complicated, check your account information at account.live.com and write down and store it in a safe place just in case you need it in the future to recover your account.

Recently Live Hotmail added further security measures to help us protect our accounts. To check your account status, while in Hotmail, hover over your name at the top right of the screen and choose Account. You will have to sign in again with your password and then you’ll see details such as your alternative email address and secret question. There are two new items: your mobile phone number and Trusted PC.

You can use the mobile phone option to request a one-off code when you’re using Hotmail at a public place (such as an internet cafe) when you can’t be sure if the computers have antivirus software nor are infected with keyboard logging software that records your keystrokes with the aim of stealing your password.

The final option is to declare your home or work computer as a Trusted PC and then this computer becomes the only computer at which you change or recover your password.

Live Calendar

A reminder that your Live Calendar is easy to access and use – just look down in the bottom right corner of your Hotmail or Live Mail screen to bring it up and get started.

To make an entry, such as an up-coming appointment or birthday, simply click on the appropriate date to enter details. You can use the recursion function to have Calendar repeat an event for as long as you need. As well, you can have Calendar send an email alert to give you notice of what’s on.

You’re also able to share a calendar with selected friends specifying whether those other people can edit the calendar or just view it.

Live Photo Gallery

The webDotWizards at Rushworth Community House have learnt some tricks they want to pass on.

Firstly, check your camera’s date and time settings when you’re setting out for that holiday whether within Australia or overseas. Especially when overseas, it’ll be to your benefit when you get home if you change your date and time camera settings to those where you’re clicking those many shots as a record of your trip. When you can, take a shot of any public noticeboards or signs that will later make it easy to know the location of the photos. Alternatively, after a day of sightseeing, take a few shots of any brochures you have collected during that day.

Secondly, immedately after you’ve loaded your photos onto your computer using Live Photo Gallery, add geotags, people tags and description tags so you can find these photos in a year or two’s time. With an eye to creating a DVD from your photos to share with family and friends, then add captions to your photos so when others are viewing your movie they won’t be ringing you up to find out any extra information.

Use favorites in Live Messenger

When you install the latest version of Live Essentials from download.live.com, the latest version of Live Messenger enables you to not only to chat to your Live Messenger friends but also to your Facebook friends (if you use Messenger Social to connect your Facebook service to your Live web services). Hovering over any of your friends, whether on Windows Live or Facebook, you’ll see the option to Send an IM.

As well, using the status pane at the top of Live Messenger, you can directly write to your Facebook wall to share what you’re doing with your Facebook friends as well as your Live friends.

Lives Spaces migration to WordPress

Windows Live Spaces will be phased out next March. In the meantime, you’ll be offered to migrate your Live Space to WordPress. This process is completely automatic and you only need to connect your WordPress site to your Live web services and provide a new password.

There are two links in this week’s list of sites to give you an idea of the process and how to set up Live Writer so you can post to your new website especially if you’re including photos and photo albums in an update to your site.

webDotWiz will have more information soon as to how to go about changing themes, adding your own image header to your site and making best use of other features on WordPress. One positive aspect that webDotWiz has already found is that WordPress has extensive antispam protection to keep spam comments away from your site.


Follow webDotWiz on Twitter @webdotwiz

webDotWiz Online www.webdotwiz.com

webDotWiz on Facebook www.facebook.com/webdotwiz

Posted using Windows Live Writer 2011.

Cross posted from webDotWiz Online at www.webdotwiz.com/column-141010.html

webDotWiz Online column Oct 28 2010-Hotmail updates now for everybody

Over the past couple of months there have been several updates for Live Hotmail. Some of these updates were available in certain countries only but now they’re available to Hotmail users worldwide. An overarching feature of the new Hotmail is that you can view documents, photos and videos from within Hotmail itself – that means no more having to start up other Windows programs outside your browser.

Insert toolbar – Office docs

The Insert menu in Live Hotmail.

When you begin a new email, you’ll notice the Insert toolbar now contains buttons for Attachments (as has always been the case), Office docs, Photos, From Bing and Emoticons.

Attachments works as it always has in the past to enable you to attach documents and photos. However there are now special buttons for these two functions, namely Office docs and Photos.

Clicking Office docs opens your Documents folder so you can choose a Word, Excel, PowerPoint or OneNote document you want to send to your recipient(s). Once you’ve chosen a document and clicked Open (yes, webDotWiz knows), you’re informed that the document has been uploaded to your Live Skydrive (your free 25,000 megabytes of online space for documents, photos and videos). If you look on your Live Skydrive (click on Office at the top of any Windows Live webpage or use the link to Skydrive under the Windows Live menu item) after this step, you’ll find there’s a folder name Folder in which the document is stored online.

Use he Edit Details dialogue to set permissions for your document.

Note the Edit details on the right-hand side of the screen.

The Edit Details dialogue.

Click this to bring up a dialogue where you can specify for how long the document will be available from your Live Skydrive and whether your recipient can edit and delete the document. Later we’ll look at what happens when your receive a document attachment.

The document is uploaded to your Live Skydrive online space.

Be aware that the recipient of your Office document doesn’t need to have Microsoft Office installed on their computer. Yes, that’s right – read that again if you have to. In fact, you can create Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents yourself without buying the desktop version of Office by using the Office Web Apps. The only requirement is that you have a Windows Live ID. webDotWiz had a column devoted to Office Web apps back in June so have a look to catch up on how you can make use of this free Windows Live service.

Receiving an Office doc in Hotmail

The email your recipient receives with a link to the document that's been stored online in your Skydrive. You've given permission for the user to view and/or edit.

When you open an email with an Office document attached, you can immediately view the document or download and save it. The latter will only be possible if you have Microsoft Office installed on your computer. If you don’t have desktop Office or you want to view the document immediately, click the link to the document, that is, click on the document’s name.

You view the document directly from within Hotmail.

A new webpage opens and the appropriate Office Web app loads the document (Word, Excel spreadsheet, PowerPoint presentation or OneNote notebook). There are options available at the top of the screen for you to edit in the browser using the appropriate Office Web app or you can save the document to your Documents folder on your own computer (only applicable if you have Office installed). What you’re allowed to do at this stage will depend on the permissions set by the sender but if you’re working with other people, you’ll be able to edit, save and share with others.

Attaching photos

Photos chosen from the sender's computer are being uploaded into an album.

The most common choice from the drop down menu will be Photo album. From a folder in your Pictures folder on your computer, choose the photos you wish to send.

The Edit Photo Album details dialogue where you set various permissions.

Click on Edit album details on the far right of the screen and you’ll see some details already filled in for you: the name of the photo album which will be stored on your Live Skydrive (the name is taken from your email’s Subject line), when the album will expire (at 90 days) and the size of the photos (set at 1600 pixels maximum). Those webDotWizards who have sent a link to an album from their Live Photos albums will be familiar with these options.

The reason why Hotmail enables you to send a photo album is that there are so many email systems that still restrict the size of attachments received to a megabyte or so. In these days of megapixel digital cameras, this restriction doesn’t enable your family and friends to view your photos in all their glory.

By receiving just a link to an album on your Live Skydrive, Hotmail enables you to “send” an album of photos up to a maximum of 10Gb (yes, 10,000 megabytes) with the album containing as many as 200 photos, each of maximum size 50Mb. No more excuses from your family and friends that they can’t receive your photos in an email.

This is the email your recipient receives. They can view a slide show of the photos or download them.

The email your recipients get enables them to view a slide show of your photos or download them all. Remember your recipients will have access to this album for the time period you set before you posted the message. If your recipients aren’t on Windows Live and they lose the link to the album, they’ll have to request the link again. In this way you can protect your photos so they’re not available to everybody.


Follow webDotWiz on Twitter @webdotwiz

webDotWiz Online www.webdotwiz.com

webDotWiz on Facebook www.facebook.com/webdotwiz

Posted using Windows Live Writer 2011.

Cross posted from webDotWiz Online at www.webdotwiz.com/column-281010.html

Let Live Messenger Social do the work-webDotWiz Online column-Nov 11 2011

Back in September one of webDotWiz’s column was titled Live Messenger, our people app. Since then Windows Live users have begun to see how Messenger Social makes life so much easier.


Want to write something on your Facebook wall? Simply fill in your text message in Messenger’s share pane at the top of the Live Messenger window and click Share.



Want to send a private message (PM/IM) to one of your friends on Windows Live or Facebook? Hover over their name on your list of friends, choose Send IM, type your message and press Enter.

Want to tell everybody you’ve put your holiday photos online? Just upload your photos to your Live Photos/Skydrive online and your Windows Live and Facebook friends (if you’ve connected your Windows Live account to your Facebook account) will be notified automatically.

Have friends on Facebook with whom you want to keep in contact and share photos and other activities but they don’t want to join Windows Live? Once you’ve connected your Facebook account with your Windows Live account, they’ll get access to your photo albums and other activities whenever you add new albums and content online from your Windows Live account.

Windows Vista and Windows 7 users can download Windows Live Essentials 2011 from download.live.com (which redirects to explore.live.com/windows-live-essentials) and you’ll then have the latest version of Live Messenger.

Windows XP users can check they have the latest version of Live Essentials for XP by going to the same address. However, the latest version of Live Essentials for XP was released last May and you won’t have the latest features of Messenger Social that Vista and Windows 7 users enjoy. You’ll have to use your Windows Live Home page at home.live.com to  keep your friends up to date and see their activities. A tip: use the text pane in the header of your Windows Live Home web page to let your Live and Facebook friends know what you’re up to.


You can easily check which services you’ve connected to your Windows Live ID by going to your profile page (there’s a link on every Live page at the top right or go to profile.live.com and sign in if necessary) and looking on the left-side of the page under Connected to for the Manage link. If you want to connect your Windows Live ID with other services, click the Connect link. You may be surprised to see how services that can be connected and if you’re a member of any of these, connect them so you have access from one place, namely Live Messenger Social.




Messenger Companion


This service is installed with the install of Live Essentials 2011 and you probably didn’t know you had it. When you find a site or web page that you’d like to recommend to your friends, simply go to Tools in Internet Explorer 8 or use Ctrl+Shift+C to bring up the sharing pane. You’ll have to sign in, then, if you want, you can write a sentence or two, or simply click Share.

All your Windows Live friends will be automatically notified and if you’ve connected your Facebook to Windows Live, your friends on Facebook will also be notified that you think this web page is worth looking at.

You might come across a site that has the Messenger badge with some text such as Share via Messenger. Clicking this link brings up the Messenger Companion, just as Ctrl+Shift+C does. For example, Liveside.net and webDotWiz’s latest links page have the Messenger badge.

Migrating your Live Space to WordPress

The migration process is automatic and you only need to make sure you connect your new WordPress site to your Windows Live ID so we all get notified when you add new content.

What can be a time-consuming task is to choose a theme from all those that WordPress offers. However, WordPress helps out by enabling you to do a preview of what your site looks like with any theme to try. So take your time and you’ll eventually find the theme that suits you best.

GenieChene thinks these themes are worth considering: Solipsus (e.g. cheniechene.wordpress.com), Andreas 04, Chaotic Soul, Flower Power and Koi Theme (e.g. see glorialennoxmyblog.wordpress.com). webDotWiz has changed over to the zBench theme just introduced a week or two ago.

Now that it’s not so convenient for friends who aren’t on Windows Live or Facebook to view photo albums, use Live Writer to insert an album and post to your site. For a good example to achieve this, see JBMurch Travel.

WordPress has an online new page creator and it’s quite good for posting text. However if you want to post photos and photo albums to your WordPress site, it’s much better to use Live Writer 2011 so, if you haven’t already, set up your WordPress blog account in Live Writer.


Follow webDotWiz on Twitter @webdotwiz

webDotWiz Online www.webdotwiz.com

webDotWiz on Facebook www.facebook.com/webdotwiz

Posted using Windows Live Writer 2011.

This post has been cross-posted from www.webdotwiz.com/column111110.html

Get ready for the holiday season–webDotWiz Online column Nov 25 2010

Last year a number of people created a seasons greetings movie from some photos taken during the year and emailed it instead of buying and snail mailing traditional cards. The movie was well received so it’s time to get ready for this year’s holiday season. The tools we’ll use are Live Photo Gallery and Live Movie Maker. If you haven’t got these apps yet, download Windows Live Essentials 2011 from download.live.com.

Browse and tag photos

In Live Photo Gallery browse through the photos you’ve taken this year (or older photos if you prefer). We’re looking for about twenty photos to keep the movie short and pithy. Think of a tag, such as Xmas movie 2010. You may want to create different movies for different groups of family and friends, so expand your tag with a number or letter, such as Xmas movie 2010 1 or Xmas Movie 2010 a.

We’ll be using this tag later on to group together all the photos for the seasons greetings movie by using Find in Live Photo Gallery so that we can then simply create the movie and all the photos will automatically load into Live Movie Maker.

To easily bring up all your 2010 photos in Live Photo Gallery, click the Find tab, then the Year icon and select 2010. If you need to, click Search all in the main window.

Alternatively you may want to focus your photos on people so then you can use Live Photo Gallery’s face recognition function. Simply click on a face in the face gallery either on the Home or Find tabs.

As you browse your photos, click the middle of a photo to select it. Then tick (i.e., click) the selection box at the top left of each photo you want in your selection. Remember if you click the middle of a photo, you’ll lose your selection so you’ll need to start again.

Once you’ve selected a group of photos, click Add descriptive tags in the right pane to tag all these photos (we’re using something like Xmas movie 2010 as a tag).

Once you’ve got about twenty photos, click on Find, the Tags icon and click Xmas movie 2010 to bring up all your photos as a whole. Now add a caption to each photo or a caption on the first photo of a group of photos. Now your audience will have some information about the photo when viewing the movie.

The reason for grouping about twenty photos for your movie is that each photo will display for five seconds (unless you change this time in Live Movie Maker) so we’re keeping our movie short. As well, we’ll be adding a title and credit image to our movie. The free music clips from last year are also short so twenty photos or so is a good number.

After you’ve added captions, it’s time to move everything over to Live Movie Maker.

Creating the movie

Select all your season greetings photos using CTRL+A. Click on the Create tab in Live Photo Gallery then click the Movie icon. Live Movie Maker will start up with your photos already loaded.

If you want to change the order of photos, click the photo you want to move and drag it to its new position. Just remember to use drag and drop you need to have placed the big black bar next to the photo you want to move.

Last year Windows Live made available a free collection of title and credit images as well as music clips. Maybe we’ll have the same this year but while we’re waiting, download last year’s free pack from the web address in this week’s sites list. The file is a zip file so right click it after downloading and extract the files into a folder on your computer.

Position your cursor on your first photo in Live Movie Maker, and on the Home tab, select Add videos and photos to load one of the titles from the pack. Place your cursor on the last photo and load one of the credit images.

You’ll want to add a personal greeting on the first image so click it and type in your text. Similarly you can add your own message to the credit image.

To add music, click the Music icon on the Home tab (after place the cursor at the start of your movie). After loading one of the free pieces of music, you’ll see its duration and you may need to add another music clip or two to fill out your movie.

Now you’re ready to save your work. Go to the File menu (the blue rectangle at the top left), choose Save Project as, give your project a name and click Save. This step saves your collection of photos, title and credit, and the music so you can return if you need to for some editing.

There are a couple of options as to saving your movie. The simplest is to save it to your Skydrive online. When the uploader comes up you’ll have to decide who you’re going to share your movie with. One option is set viewing permissions to Just me and later use Share in Live Photos to send out invitations to family and friends so they receive an email with the link to your online video so they can view it.

For those family and friends without email you’ll have to save your movie on your computer and use Windows DVD Maker to create a number of DVDs to pass around or mail.

Use Word or PowerPoint Web App

An alternative to creating a season greetings movie is to put together a Word or PowerPoint document in Office Web Apps and share it with family and friends even if you or your friends don’t have Microsoft Office installed on their computer.

After you’ve signed in with your Windows Live ID, go to your Live homepage, click Office and create the appropriate type of document (Word or PowerPoint being the most suitable).

You can insert photos into both. With PowerPoint you’ll need to browse through the different themes available to choose the most suitable one for your season greetings document.

In comparison to the desktop version of Word, the Word Office Web App doesn’t have all the styling features in desktop Word so you’ll have to use some creative genius to spice up your greetings document. Give the PowerPoint Office Web App a try to see if there’s a theme that satisfies your requirements.

Regardless of the type of Office Web App document you create, once it’s saved you can share (i.e., have Live Skydrive send an email) with family and friends without any further effort.

Another option is to use Docs.com to share a season greetings document with your Facebook friends.

You can see there are lots of choices to make life easier to share season greetings with family and friends this year.


Follow webDotWiz on Twitter @webdotwiz

webDotWiz Online www.webdotwiz.com

webDotWiz on Facebook www.facebook.com/webdotwiz

Posted using Windows Live Writer 2011.

webDotWiz Online column Thu, 16 Sep 2010-Live Messenger, our people app

Windows Live Messenger
The social web
We thought the internet was becoming really social when MSN Messenger (that’s the name Live Messenger was called many years ago) not only enabled us to text chat to a family member or friend but also audio chat using a simple headset. Then came video chat – wow, the web was really becoming social.
In those dim, dark ages, if you put up your own website to show off some holiday photos or to share information about an interest or hobby, the problem was to let family, friends and acquaintances know that you’d updated your site with new content. There were ways to help solve this problem, but what you really wanted was some automatic-type mechanism to let everybody know you’d added new content to your site. That was one problem but many, many mere mortals didn’t want to delve into HTML and CSS, much less find somewhere on the web to host a site for free.
Skip forward a couple of years and more and more people have affordable digital cameras and cameras on their mobile phones. So the world is full with the sound of "Click, click". Numerous sites offer free upload and storage of all these photos. But how to tell family and friends that we’ve uploaded our latest holiday snaps?
Along comes Facebook and all the younger ones join up. Those of us happy to use Windows Live to keep up to date with our friends’ latest photos and activites really didn’t want to be a member of another social network but a few phone calls from family and friends demanding why we haven’t seen those latest holiday photos soon sway our opinion. So we become one of the 500 million – and growing – people on Facebook. Now we have to check out two social networks. Who’s got the time?
Windows Live + Facebook
Live Messenger 2011 (which many are trying out at the moment) solves the problem of keeping up with the activities of our close friends on Windows Live and our friends and acquaintances on other social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and others. It’s our people application.
In Live Messenger 2011 we can share something new in what used to be the status message box at the top of Messenger with our Live friends and those on other social networking sites without having to leave Messenger.
Once we’ve connected other services to Windows Live, we receive comments, photos and videos from our family and friends. We can view photo albums and videos and leave comments directly within Messenger without the need to start another application or go to another web site. Note Windows XP users will need to use their Windows Live home page in the browser.
Switching Messenger to contacts view enables us to send instant messages to any of our Live contacts or to send private messages to our acquaintances on Facebook or other social network. Hovering your mouse over any person in your contact list, whether they’re on Windows Live or Facebook or another social network, displays the options you have to get in contact with that person.
As well, it’s handy to make some people "favorites" so their activities are at the top of Messenger Social. Do this by choosing "Add to favorites" from the popup menu when you hover over their name in Messenger’s contact list or social view.
Live Photo Gallery + Facebook
A reminder that you can upload photos and videos directly from Live Photo Gallery 2011 to other popular photo and video sites such as Facebook, Flickr and YouTube.
Whilst you can upload your photos in their original size (thus ensuring you have a backup of your original photos) to your Live Photos albums, photos uploaded to your Facebook albums are reduced to a maximum width or height of 720 pixels. So after uploading to Facebook, don’t delete the photos off your camera until you’re sure they’re all on your computer and you’ve uploaded them to your Live Photos.

Cross-posted from webDotWiz Online www.webdotwiz.com/column-160910.htm

Follow webDotWiz on Twitter @webdotwiz

webDotWiz Online www.webdotwiz.com

webDotWiz on Facebook www.facebook.com/webdotwiz

Posted using the refreshed version of Windows Live Writer 2011.

webDotWiz Online column Thu, 2 Sep 2010-It’s the small things in Live

Windows Live Essentials

The trial version of the free Windows Live Essentials 2011 package of programs (Live Mail, Live Messenger, Live Movie Maker, Live Photo Gallery, Live Writer, Live Family Safety) was refreshed on August 17 and some new features appeared. As well, the webDotWizards have been finding some little tricks and features  while becoming familiar with these new applications.

You can download the Windows Live Essentials 2011 beta suite from explore.live.com/windows-live-essentials-beta. Remember that this latest version works on Windows Vista and Windows 7 only. The latest version for Windows XP was in May.

Live Messenger
Coming later in the year to Australia, Live Messenger will enable you to chat to your Facebook friends (if you connect Facebook to your Live Messenger social service) from within Messenger itself.

If you have a Facebook account and you do connect it to your Windows Live, then the old status message pane at the top of Messenger can be used to post short messages both to your Live friends and your Facebook friends in one easy step. In the new Messenger, the old status message box is now dynamic rather than a means of just displaying a static message to your friends and family.

Remember when using Live Messenger in social view that you’re able to comment on your friends’ activities by clicking the little white bubble alongside the text description or any photo albums they’ve uploaded. This works for both Windows Live and Facebook friends.

Hovering over a photo album that family or friends have uploaded slowly plays through the photos. A better way to view these photos is to click the album and a new slideshow window opens; you can make this window full screen for better viewing. Hovering your mouse over the top or bottom of the window gives you all the options you need. Now there’s also a thumbnail view if you’re looking for a particular photo to view or want a quickview of the complete album.

To quickly see what family and close friends are doing by moving their activities to the top of Messenger Social, you can make each a favorite – change to contact view and right-click on the particular person seems to be the easiest method. Note your favorites can be your friends on Windows Live and/or your friends on Facebook if you’ve connected your Facebook account to Windows Live.

Remember to make use of the selections you can use from the top of Messenger Social to filter particular types of activities such as clicking on Me to check up on what messages you’ve posted and photo albums you’ve uploaded.

Live Hotmail
Those who’ve been shown how to use Sweep to keep their inbox and folders organised are now beginning to see the benefit of aiming at achieving a zero-inbox. Yes, it takes a bit of time to organise, but once done, that’s it (as long as you remember to tick the Move in the future choice).

Have you noticed you can get the Sweep menu items by hovering over an email item in your inbox list?

It’s easy to insert photos and videos into an email but did you know you can also insert a Bing map to give directions to a particular location.

Live Photo Gallery
The new version of Live Photo Gallery assumes you’ve now got lots of photos stored on your computer (probably thousands, and you’ll store lots more) and you’ve been tagging your photos as you’ve uploaded more from your camera or scanner. Thus the Find menu offers many different ways to help you view photos from past years – you can find them using date, tags, face recognition, published online or not tagged (nobody would use this, would they?).
So it’s important to have a work process when you store new photos on your computer. From experience the webDotWizards will tell you to immediately tag them (now we can geotag as well as face and descriptive tag) then tidy them. If you’ve been scanning negatives or 35mm slides, you’ll probably have to rotate and crop.

To focus your mind on the job of tagging, ask yourself will you be able to find this particular photo with one click in a year’s time when someone asks to view it?

Another way to focus on tagging is to aim at creating a movie from lots of photos from the past and present, say your annual holiday to Tahiti or Queensland over the past few years. Can you bring up all these photos with one click?

It’s worthwhile adding captions to your photos, not necessarily every photo, but perhaps the first one of a group since these captions are now moved with your photos to Live Movie Maker and will give information to viewers of your finished DVD movie.

With the August 17 refresh, webDotWiz has noticed that face detection works better, for example, by being able to recognise someone wearing sunglasses.

Another feature is being able to view the location of a photo that you’ve geotagged on Bing Maps; simply right-click on the geotag for this option.

An area of exploration in Live Photo Gallery is to use the filters on the Find menu so you can bring up, for example, all photos of your holidays in Queensland since June 2009 containing a certain person.

Live Movie Maker
The AutoMovie function is now a part of the different themes you can use to create your movie. Make use of the hover feature of the ribbon interface to get a preview of how things will look before committing to a particular theme. Hovering over a style will play the first few frames (photos) of your movie as a preview.

When it comes time to save your movie on the File menu, thus far the recommended setting works well when the DVD movie is played on a TV set.

Live Essentials 2011
Whether or not there’s another refresh of the trial version, it’s expected that the final, finished version of the Live Essentials applications will be available later in the year. All these applications take a little bit of work to get the most out of, but it’s worth it and satisfying when considering the power and utility of a group of applications that are free.

Cross-posted from webDotWiz Online www.webdotwiz.com/column-020910.htm

Follow webDotWiz on Twitter @webdotwiz

webDotWiz Online www.webdotwiz.com

webDotWiz on Facebook www.facebook.com/webdotwiz

Posted using the refreshed version of Windows Live Writer 2011.

webDotWiz Online column Thu, 19 Aug 2010-Sending photos & Office docs in the new Hotmail

Windows Live Hotmail logo

In the last column webDotWiz showed you how to use the new Sweep feature in Hotmail to organise your email inbox. Basically Sweep enables you to store incoming email from specific email addresses in specific folders for later reading so that at the end of the day you should have a zero-inbox, that is, an empty inbox. It can take a bit of time to get organised into creating new folders and calling up Sweep, but, if you remember to tick the box at the bottom of the Sweep pane, you only need do it once.

This week we want to look at, in the old language, how we send attachments (documents or photos).

The old days of attachments
When webDotWiz first began using Hotmail, there was a 1 megabyte limit on the total size of attachments that could be sent with an email. This limit was later increased to 5 megabytes and now it’s 10 megabytes.

If you look at the size of your photos in Live Photo Gallery, you’ll quickly see that they’re about 2 megabytes or more in size – that means you can’t post all those holiday photos to your friends in one email.

A more important fact is that, unless your friends are also on Hotmail, they may be restricted in the size of attachments they can receive at their end in their email client.

To bring us into the 21st century where we want to share photos with family and friends without restrictions on email attachment size, Hotmail now has an Insert toolbar.

Hotmail’s Insert menu toolbar
The first item on the new Insert menu toolbar is our old friend, Attachments (denoted by the well-recognised paper clip). You can use Attachments in the same way as you always have however, if, for example, you want to attach a whole group of photos, Hotmail will prompt you that there is a better way so you don’t exceed the 10 megabytes attachment limit and fill up the inbox of the people you’re posting to.

So after you’ve chosen a number of photos you want to send, Hotmail will tell you that the total size of your attached photos exceeds the 10Mb limit and you have a couple of options: firstly, to remove some photos to get below the 10Mb limit or to share the photos in an album using Live Skydrive. Using the latter means you can "attach" up to 200 photos (each with a limit size of 50Mb) in an album to a total of 10 gigabytes (10,000 megabytes). That should be enough!

If you agree to upload the photos to an album on your Live Skydrive, two things will happen. Firstly there is an automatic time limit of 90 days set on the availability of the album. Secondly, the recipients of your email won’t actually contain any photos but will be a link to a temporary folder on your Live Skydrive; your recipients will be able to download all the photos from this album or pick and choose as they so desire. This temporary folder has its permissions set to Just me thus, if your friends delete the email with the link to the folder album, they’ll have to ask you to re-send an email.

webDotWizards will recognise that what Hotmail is automatically now doing for us is the manual method we’ve been using in Live Photos. This process is: import photos from your camera into Live Photo Gallery, add people tags, geotags and descriptive tags, add captions (because they now carry over to Live Movie Maker), and upload to an album on Live Photos. Then using the Share menu in Live Photos, Send a link to the album for family and friends to either just view  using the Slide Show or download the complete album or separate photos. When you using this method, you also have the option of deciding what level of permission you apply to the album. If you set the permission to Just me and your recipients delete the email you asked Live Photos to send, they’ll have to contact you for a new Send a link email.

Note that the first item on the Photos dropdown list is Send compressed photos. So when you click this option, the photo upload tool will load to show you thumbnails of your photos and you can select which ones to send. Send compressed photos is the same as what’s been available for some time but the disadvantage is that your recipients will only see thumbnails of your original photos.


Cross-posted from webDotWiz Online www.webdotwiz.com/column-190810.htm

Follow webDotWiz on Twitter @webdotwiz

webDotWiz Online www.webdotwiz.com

webDotWiz on Facebook www.facebook.com/webdotwiz

Posted using the refreshed version of Windows Live Writer 2011.

webDotWiz Online column – 29 April 2010 – ICE + Photosynth = 3D Panoramas

Three or four weeks ago the Microsoft Image Composite Editor program (ICE) and Photosynth, the online 3D viewer, were updated to create and better display panoramas. ICE can now create gigapixel-sized panoramas and Photosynth uses its unique 3D viewing capabilities to enable us to view panoramas as we do with the naked eye by providing a depth of view.

Now that ICE and Photosynth work together, it’s just a matter of dragging and dropping your photos into ICE, allowing it to create the panorama and then clicking the Publish to Photosynth button.

Some of the webDotWizards have been experimenting with the ICE-Photosynth combination and re-creating panoramas they made some time ago in Windows Live Photo Gallery.

The first point to make is that panoramas which are created using a collection of photos taken from the same location by rotating the camera fit perfectly into how ICE and Photosynth work together to give a 3D perspective to the panorama.

image Some examples include JBMurch’s panorama that was taken of Rushworth Community House from the other side of the street and Poppy’s view along McEwan Road (go to Photosynth.net and search for JbMurchsynth for JBMurch’s panoramas and search for Poppyironbarksynch for Poppy’s).





image Full 360 degree panoramas now work much better after processing in ICE and viewing on Photosynth (the writer has already received enough comments about the tidiness of his desk so no more, please).





Secondly we’ve found that panoramas of flat views, such as the large painting of the Murchison POW camp or the artwork in the front room of the Rushworth Community House, aren’t suitable to process in ICE using the rotating motion camera setting. These two examples need to be photographed by moving along the original picture to snap the photos rather than standing in the one position and rotating the camera.

When you’ve taken your shots, create a panorama in Windows Live Photo Gallery as we’ve been doing over the past few years and then try the creation process in ICE. If ICE doesn’t change the camera motion setting, you’ll need to do it manually and set it to Planar motion 1. You can output the panorama as a JPEG file and try experimenting with the quality. You’ll find you can output your panorama in different sizes (webDotWiz found that one of his ranged in size from about 5Mb to 50Mb).

Finally a reminder that it’s a simple process to create panoramic photos. In most cases you’ll be photographing from the one location by rotating your view so just choose your starting photo and shoot your photo collection by overlapping each photo by 30-50%.

It doesn’t matter whether you rotate your view from left to right or right to left (or, for that matter, up to down or down to up). ICE can cope with collections of photos made up of rows and columns (that’s how the gigapixel-sized panoramas come about) but it’s a bit more complicated to shoot unless you’re using devices such as that made by Gigapan still it’s still possible if there are only twenty or so photos (JbMurch photographed the Rushworth Community House artwork without any special equipment).

Since ICE can create a panorama from rows and columns of images, there’s now the means to stitch together a number of scans or photos of large posters or documents, even patchwork quilts.

Windows Live news

For all the sites listed in this week’s column, go to www.webdotwiz.com/sites-290410.htm


Follow webDotWiz on Twitter at twitter.com/webdotwiz

webDotWiz Online is at www.webdotwiz.com and this column is at www.webdotwiz.com/column-290410.htm

webDotWiz is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/webdotwiz

Posted using the 2009 version of Windows Live Writer.

webDotWiz Online column – April 1 2010 – Hey, look at this – the WWT Bing Maps app

Look up and see the stars

Bing Maps has a new application, the WorldWide Telescope, that enables us to look up at the sky at any time of day or night.

To get started, you’ll need to go to www.bing.com/maps/explore. Before you do this, though, check that you’ve got the United State – English locale set. To do this, go to Bing Search at www.bing.com and look up at the top right of the browser window. If the locale is set to another country, such as Australia, click the country that’s displayed to open a new page from which you can select the United States – English locale. Now you’ll be able to load Bing Maps Explore.

At bottom right of left-hand pane, choose MAP APPS

At the bottom of the left-hand pane, you’ll see Map Apps – click this to bring up a page of Bing Maps applications and choose WorldWide Telescope.

Choose WorldWide Telescope from all the available MAP APPS

Now you’re returned to your map and the left-hand pane enables you to control what you want to view in the sky.

Click Start to begin

Click the Start Here button to get things underway (notice the blue telescope icon denotes you’re using the Bing Maps WWT app).

Other ways to view the sky

After a few seconds, the bottom half of the left-hand pane gives you more options as to what you want to view: Constellations, Solar system, All-sky surveys, objects photographed by Hubble, contributions from astrophotographers, and more. These options will be familiar to those of you who have used the downloadable or web client version of WorldWide Telescope.

Click anwayhere on the map Blue telescope icon shows where you are on the map after clicking on a location

Now click a location on the map area (click the telescope icon on the location; you can pan around the map and zoom the map in and out before clicking) from which you want to view the sky or enter a location in the search box at the top of the browser window.

Left-hand pane changes to show you what you're viewing or what you can view

The left-hand pane changes to inform you what’s above you at this location and as well the large right-hand pane displays the position of objects in the sky above.

The sky view

In sky view, you’re able to zoom in and out and pan around the view. As you do, the information at the top of the left-hand pane will change correspondingly.

The current constellation is the yellow outline and the red lines in the view represent the main stars. The green line – when it appears – is the ecliptic, the apparent path of our sun against the background of the sky.

Left-hand pane tells you the part of the sky you're viewing

The sky view is dynamic, that is, it changes in real time, so don’t be surprised when you’ve zoomed in on a planet to see it move across your screen.

Viewing Venus (zoomed in)

At the bottom of the sky view pane, next to the date and time display, there’s a small icon with a question mark – clicking this enables you to move around the screen and place the round marker over an object to obtain information about the underlying object. Just be patient since the information can take a few seconds to download and be displayed.

Get information about objects in the sky

Whenever you select an object from those shown in the left-hand pane – note you might be able to scroll through a list of objects – there’s the option to Fly in to view the object in more detail. It’s a very handy feature and saves lots of zooming and panning. As well, just hovering your mouse over one of these objects will display a yellow circle to indicate its position in the current sky view (zoom out if you don’t see the yellow location circle).

Get information about objects in the sky including galaxies

The above is enough information for you to start exploring the sky above (whether it be at day or night) at your location or any location around the world. Now it’s possible for you to view objects in the sky as seen by those in the northern hemisphere. When you’re ready to learn more about the sky, download and install the desktop version of WorldWide Telescope from www.worldwidetelescope.org. Oh, and you’ll be able to do all the homework that Cass assigns at his observatory nights.

Tip: At the bottom left of the sky view is a box displaying year, date and time. These values are "live" so you can go back in time to when webDotWiz took his screenshots. Simply drag your mouse over the month and/or date value to view the sky on March 18 or March 21, 2010. Then drag the mouse over the time value to adjust the viewing time at the time webDotWiz snapped his screenshots. Naturally you can jump back and forward in time by years or even centuries if you want.

Look up at the stars and look around

For other sites that were listed in this week’s column, see www.webdotwiz.com/sites-010410.htm


Follow webDotWiz on Twitter at twitter.com/webdotwiz

webDotWiz Online is at www.webdotwiz.com and this column is at www.webdotwiz.com/column-010410.htm

webDotWiz is on Facebook www.facebook.com/webdotwiz

Posted using the 2009 version of Windows Live Writer.