Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Microsoft’s Live — A Year Later

Real Life Experience

A year ago: (if the sentences below are familiar, please scroll down to “update”)
In my ongoing, relentless effort to be simply the Best Tech Writer on the Web, big changes are happening. HUGE changes. Ginormous changes. (I mean.. really big.) These changes will alter the way I do everything. I am undergoing a metamorphosis of epic proportions. I am going to have to unlearn the ways I have been doing things for.. well, forever. Which isn’t easy. I’m too old to be learning new tricks without a grumble.

One change is that Tech–for Everyone is now being co-hosted on *another* blogging site. This is due to my research into the GigantiCorp known as Google, and my exploration of their ever-expanding array of services, some of which I have reported here.

When you acquire a ‘G-identity’, you gain access to much more than just a Gmail account (which, IMHO, is the best free Webmail service going right now), and one of those things is access to Blogger. Google is continuing to grow even as we speak… who knows what service they’ll be offering next.

[Addenda: for those of you whose favorite feature of this series is the daily download, you will definitely want to be aware of the “Google Pack” of free downloads — Spyware Doctor being of special note — and you can find out more here]

What this means for me is, I now have to publish twice (six times a week!) each day– once here, and once there. Yuk. Fortunately for me, I have been doing intensive, in-depth explorations of the other GigantiCorp known as Microsoft.. specifically their competing array of services offered under the title “Windows Live”.

I am now writing this article in a completely different way.. one that makes it easy to write-once, post-twice. I have downloaded and Installed a MS program called “Live Writer“, which is a tool for bloggers. The way I had been doing things (all this time) was through my web browser. I would navigate to here, login, access the WYSIWYG writing tool, and when finished, hit the “Publish” button.

The other Big Change to my routine is caused by “Live Mail“, which is also freshly downloaded and installed. This is a program very much like Outlook Express and Vista’s Mail, only it allows you to access webmail accounts.. such as ‘Live Hotmail’.

It’s about time they did this. My usual routine was to open my web browser and open a tab for each webmail account. It is the way I’ve been doing it for.. well, forever. I have several webmail accounts (as you may have as well) and so this made for several open tabs and much clicking back-and-forth. Live Mail allows me to combine them into one collection of folders.
A big plus– it handles encryption certificates well (see, Simple E-mail Encryption).

If you use, or have ever used, an e-mail client (Thunderbird, Outlook, Outlook Express, etc.), then you will have a zero learning-curve with Live Mail, as it’s basically the same.. with one vital exception: it allows you to access all your mailboxes.

As you can imagine, my web browser had reached the point where I simply had too many tabs open (three Inboxes, WordPress, and now Blogger, plus a few of my favorite blogs..) and so I have “gone Live”. I am breaking my browser habit. I am trying New Things. No longer will I launch Avant and start Ctrl+T-ing. No! From here on out, I’ll launch a “Live” something-or-other.

Update: Loyal friends and true of this series will recognize the words above. They appeared a here a year ago. In that time there have been changes, both in the “Live” approach that Microsoft is implementing, and in how I use them. I will refer you to an excellent review of the individual programs that make up Live, rather than re-invent the wheel. I suggest you take a look at it, because when Windows 7 gets here, that’s how you’ll gain much of the functionality that came with Vista.

In the year that has passed since I downloaded these two “Live” programs–
* I have completely reverted to accessing my webmail accounts via a web browser, and monitoring them with either my IM program (Digsby/Trillian) or a notifier. I never was a fan of e-mail clients (and a big part of my job as a Tech is troubleshooting Outlook.. so I see their ‘dark side’ more than their good).
Please understand that this is not a critique of “Live Mail”. It just wasn’t “me”.

* Inversely, I have come to absolutely rely on Live Writer. It is one of my ‘essential programs’, and I love it. The new beta is — IMHO — fantastic.

The Windows Live programs are — as I’ve written here before — definitely worth looking at.

Today’s free download(s) and link: Well, gee! There’s been 7 download links already sprinkled through out the article.. which lead to, like, 60 programs.. but:
Windows Live Writer 2009 beta

Windows Live Essentials 2009 Review

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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February 2, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, Microsoft, PC, software, tech, Windows | , , , , , , | 2 Comments