On Friday, 25 June webDotWiz awoke to the news that the beta (techgeek for trial) version of the new Wave 4 (the current, “old” version was known as Wave 3) Windows Live Essentials suite had been made available for download and installing. So away he went on his home Win 7 machine to get it installed and have a look. Fortunately the night before, Bigpond, his wireless broadband provider, had returned his speed to normal after his 10Gb quota for the month had been exceeded on the previous weekend and webDotWiz had been having a few very frustrating days at a (theoretical) 64kb/sec online speed (more like 6kb/sec, just like in the old dialup days, in practice, and the only thing happening quickly was webDotWiz’s level of frustration. It is the 21 century, isn’t it? Yes, webDotWiz apparently made a quick check of the calendar just in case. Ed.).
In short time, the Live Essentials beta was installed and the new Messenger window was the first item to appear.
Only install if you can cope with a glitch here and there
Now, the only people who should install this beta version are those who are prepared to come across a few glitches here and there. So if you’re not the type who can put up with some things not appearing to work as you’d expect, wait until August when the full, final version of Live Essentials is available for everybody (and any glitches will have been fixed). webDotWiz has only had a couple of glitches with Live Messenger not being able to sign in for a few hours and it didn’t want to start after being closed down. A computer restart sorted the latter out, though.
Uninstall Live Mesh
If you’ve been using Live Mesh, the Live Essentials beta installer will inform you that you have to uninstall it before going any further. This is because Live Mesh has been superceded by the new Live Sync application.
This came up on a Vista machine at work at RCH.
You have to uninstall Live Mesh from each account you may have installed it on a particular PC and it will take some time for the Live Mesh uninstaller to remove settings from all the folders you associated with Live Mesh.
Just watch out for one of the dialogues that hides behind the uninstalling dialogue box; it’s the dialogue that informs you that you’ll see the task bar and desktop icons disappear for a bit – it only needs a click on Ok but you can be sitting there wondering why the un-installation hasn’t finished if you don’t notice that dialogue box behind the uninstall progress dialogue.
The install dialogues
If you want to watch the install dialogue, you’ll notice that it informs you of what’s it’s installing and downloading.
The last dialogue informs you that a restart is required.
Setting up Live Messenger & privacy settings
Once you restart, the sign-in dialogue for Live Messenger appears. Unlike the old Messenger, it appears that there’s now a separate dialogue box for signing in to Messenger. So do that and you’re asked if you want to add other social network services. You can skip this step for the time being and do it later if you want.
Remember the new Wave 4 Live Messenger has two modes: the first is similar to the old Messenger we’ve grown accustomed to, namely, just a list of our contacts where we can see who’s online and we can start a conversation with. The second mode is a view of all that our contacts and friends have done (i.e., they’ve upload a new photo album, written a new entry on their Live Space, posted a few photos in an email, and so on). In this second mode we’re able to add our Facebook friends, for example, so that all our social contacts are in one place and we can see what they’ve been doing and can comment on their activities, that is, it’s a two-way process to save you having to go to your Facebook site to comment. We’ve already seen this in the Wave 4 version of the our Windows Live web services home page where it’s now called Messenger social (it replaces the former What’s new).
Next you need to check your privacy settings – either keep your current settings (it’ll be ticked for you) or choose one of the new settings (Public, Limited or Private). If My current settings is ticked, well keep that for the time being – there’s plenty of time to later fine tune your privacy settings and permissions from your profile page on Live web services. Otherwise choose Limited which will suit most people in all situations and you can fine tune later.
Welcome to the new Messenger
A big page then loads that looks like an information page but the two options that are mentioned can be clicked on (no, not at the same time, Ed.).
Click on Social highlights to bring up Messenger where you can view what your family and friends have been doing.
To return Messenger back to the traditional contact list view, click the little icon at the top right of Messenger’s screen. You can flip between the two views at your whim.
Interestingly, once you’ve moved Messenger to where you want it on the screen, it will remember this the next time you start your computer as well as remembering the mode you were last in.
webDotWiz has found it convenient to start the day with Messenger in social view to catch up on what everybody’s been doing and then switch to contact view for most of the day with the occasion switch to Messenger social during the day.
Now webDotWiz can hear you say, “But Messenger social is on my Live home page. Why have it in two places?” Well, there are those people with tons of time on their hands and they spend most of their day chatting to friends with Live Messenger so it’s convenient for them to look up news of their friends while in Messenger. Others have lots of work to do such as replying to email, uploading photos to their Live Photos albums or writing Word or Excel documents in Office Live, and may want to only occasionally check for any news of family and friends so in this case they can use their home page in Live web services.
Live Photo Gallery
webDotWiz has tried out Photo Fuse which makes a “fake” photo from a number of photos, especially those photos with a group of people when you can never quite get all those in the group to be looking at the camera at the critical moment. As long as you’ve taken a few photos of the group (those with good cameras can do this easily), you’re able to get the best photo in a few minutes.
When you start the Wave 4 Live Photo Gallery, look down at the bottom left corner and you’ll see it’s going through your photos to detect people’s faces. Now you can choose just one person, put a name to that person and that person will be tagged with their name throughout all your photos.
When started, it picked up all webDotWiz’s settings (i.e., email accounts) from the old version. Live Mail now uses the ribbon to make life easier, that is, it just takes one click to accomplish a task rather than several when hunting through menus to find the appropriate function
This post has been written up in the Wave 4 Live Writer which also has the ribbon to make life easier.
Live Movie Maker
webDotWiz is looking forward to trying out the new Live Movie Maker which has tons more themes. As well, if you’ve put captions on your photos in Live Photo Gallery, they’ll be carried over to the movie you make from them.
webDotWiz used Live Mesh to sync files and folders between his computers at home and work but the way his ISP counts uploads and downloads had to give up after a time. He’ll looking at using a small folder of files that he may want to sync between home and work for convenience. In some ways Office Web Apps can be used to enable files to be accessed whether at home, work or another place with internet access.
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