Monthly Archives: December 2008

Seasons Greetings from Teching It Easy

I would like to wish Happy Holidays and a Happy/Prosperous 2009 when it comes to all readers of Teching it Easy.

Andre

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Filed under Health and wellness

Windows Live Essentials – Integration with Microsoft Office 2007

Windows Live is not just a consumer product, there are some business functionality built into the suite too. In addition to the Office Outlook connector for managing Live Hotmail email in the Office Personal Information Manager, the Office Live WorkPlace add-in allows you to save your Microsoft Office files directly to your own online work space at Office Live.

Save to Office Live Option in Office 2007

Installing the Office Live Save Add-in

Setup

The Windows Live Suite does not include the add-in itself, that you will have to download. The ‘Save to Office Live’ pane features a sign in link which triggers the installation of the ad-in from Microsoft Downloads. Once you have downloaded and installed the ad-in, a restart is required. Once you have done so, the Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint Office Fluent file menu includes a new Save As and Open As capability for Office Live. Hopefully by the next release or even before then, Microsoft will support the add in across the entire suite of products.

 

Log in prompt for Office Live Workspace

Once you have successfully installed the Ad-in, the next step is to sign into the service. Existing users of Office Live Workplace will get automatic access to their workspace, for first time users, you will need to signup and configure the service first. Lets take a look at that.

The Office Live Wizard gets you up and running in a few minutes.

After clicking continue in the Office Live Workspace wizard, your web browser is launched automatically which takes you to the Office Live web page where you must first accept the Service Agreement before continuing. 

 

Setup and Signing into Office Live Workspace (click to enlarge)

Once you have setup and configured your Office Live Workspace, you are ready to start saving and opening Microsoft Office files from the web. With your workspace, you can store 1000+ documents online, share them with others, and then access them directly from Microsoft Office Word, Excel, or PowerPoint.

Saving to the workspace is very similar to working in Windows Explorer. The Office Live ‘Save As’ window works more like a Mapped Network drive. Initially, I got an error message trying to save, but after closing out the window and trying again it worked successfully.

Save Progress

Document saved to your Office Live Workspace

Once your document is up on Office Live Workspace, users have the option of sharing files, viewing the document as a web page. Unfortunately, I was not presented the option of doing so in the browser. Office Live instead insisted that I download the file and edit locally. So there are some issues still to be worked out where that is the concerned. Microsoft is promising that the next version of Microsoft Office ‘14’ will support editing Word, Excel and PowerPoint files in the web browser. Users can still appreciate the basic collaboration functionality built in such as versioning of files, commenting and the ability to share files in work spaces with multiple users.

I would like to see federation across Windows Live storage services, such as the option to have files uploaded, replicated and saved in your Windows Live Skydrive too. Having data scattered across different but similar services seems like too much manage. Overall, I appreciate the ability to work with my Office files in new and innovative ways.

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Filed under 7 Journal

Windows Live Essentials Refresh BETA – Installed Successfully

I had a bit of issues earlier today installing Windows Live Essentials Refresh BETA. But I managed to get around it with the help of a few friends and some trial and error. Some things to take into account, I am running the suite on Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit build 6801. It seems the suite has some kinks to work out where 64 bit is concerned since it failed miserably trying to install on Windows 7 64 bit. Some users are noting issues on Windows Vista 64 bit so this is specific to the OS being beta software. The suite is noted in the system requirements as supporting Windows XP SP2 (no 64-bit support for XP Professional x64 Edition), but Vista is supported in general, no specifics on platform mentioned.

Windows Live Essentials BETA Refresh installed on Windows 7 32-bit build 6801

I wanted to show some of the nice visuals I have seen since installing the update. Windows Live Messenger 9 which has been Released To Web (RTW means its final), has a cleaner updated sign in screen. The IM client includes additional themes, some I don’t find so interesting. By default, you asked to join the IM initiative, I will be doing this now. 🙂

Windows ‘i’m’ initiative which donates a proceeds to worthy charities to help persons less fortunate.

New sign in screen and themes in Windows Live Messenger 9 (RTW)

Other noticeable changes in the main interface, include the addition of the more visible ‘Open your e-mail inbox’ icon and slick notification toast. The Windows Live Essentials suite also features some beautiful branded icons, the scaling on Live Call and Movie Maker have not been updated, but Mail, Messenger, Photo Gallery and Writer have been updated.

Friendly Windows Live Essentials branded icons.

I will be taking a closer look at the suite over the next few days, stay tuned. 🙂

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Filed under 7 Journal

UPDATE: How can I obtain the Windows Live Essentials BETA installer?

Hey folks,

I am throwing a question out to the community. How can I get the full Windows Live Essentials BETA Refresh installer instead of the web installer? I have multiple PC’s I would to install the suite on, but because I am on a slow connection, doing so would take a long time. Downloading the suite on a 1 MB connection is painful enough already.

The first Windows Live Essentials beta supported downloading of the entire suite, I was hoping this would continue as an optional trend.

Thanks
Andre

Update: My good friend Nicholas Rayner gave me the answer:

If you’re after the full installer head to download.live.com, click download and when the download box appears, click cancel then on the page click Try Again. This worked for me yesterday 🙂

Thanks a million Nick! 🙂

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Filed under MSN Spaces

Windows Live Essentials Suite BETA Refresh – Now Available

Brandon Leblanc over at the Windows Experience blog announced the availability of the Windows Live Essentials Suite BETA Refresh.

Quote:Today, we’ve released a refresh of the Windows Live Essentials Betas. You can download the updated suite at download.live.com. The Windows Live Essentials consist of Messenger, Mail, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Writer, Toolbar, and Family Safety.”

Read article here

As you know, I have been doing a series of articles on the new suite which not only contain applications, but rich services that allow you to share your photos, extend your personal identity and socialize in a powerful way with family and friends.

Resources:

Instant and Social Communication with Windows Live Messenger 9
Managing and Sharing Digital Memories using Windows Live Photo Gallery 2009

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Filed under MSN Spaces

Why can’t the Windows Team make Aero Basic look less cheap?

I have been running the Windows 7 Pre-BETA for sometime now and I have been using Windows Vista since the first BETA. One thing that has bothered me and it looks like it will be carried over into Windows 7 is the appearance of the Windows Aero Basic theme. The Windows Team created it for less graphically powerful systems that could not handle Aero Glass which features a semi-transparent UI with cool animation effects. Right now I have been restricted to Aero Basic on 2 systems running the Windows 7 Pre-BETA because the video card driver is either not WDDM 1.1 compatible or its buggy. What I find strange is how certain applications support elements found in the Aero Glass theme on in Vista Aero Basic, but don’t make it full application across all user interface in the OS. Take for instance, Windows Live Messenger:

Here you will see the normal Aero Glass integrated Minimize, Maximize and Close buttons. But When you change to an explorer window or another application on Windows, its those ugly buttons, see below:

Personally, just don’t like the look of the buttons, they just stand out and look like a sore thumb. Aero Basic itself could do with some well needed improvements, like the ability to change the color of the garish bluish scheme that is not compelling. But, I just don’t see what was so hard or wrong to add the same Min, Max, Close buttons to Aero Basic that I see available to Windows Live Messenger. The only drawback with the Aero Glass style buttons in Basic is the lack of the glowing effect which I don’t miss.

Now doesn’t that look better?

It actually gives the theme a bit of self respect and personality. Now, if I could at least get an option to tone down the garish blue, I think a lot users wouldn’t feel so let down when they get a laptop that can’t handle all the rich graphical goodness of Aero Glass. Its one of the things I liked about Windows XP, no matter the system, everybody had the same full experience with theming not matter the type of GPU options available to them.

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Filed under 7 Journal

Just a Note: A small change I noticed in Microsoft Word 14

Been searching around the web for information about Microsoft’s next version of Office, currently code named ‘Office 14’. Didn’t find much apart from what was demoed at PDC 2008 back in October. Some people are wondering, what’s new to the suite except for the addition of a webified version and OneNote 14 getting the Office Fluent (Ribbon) UI?

I stumbled across a Flickr photo stream with some shots taken by member gholzer, in one of the screenshots of Word 14 and even the new OneNote with Office Fluent UI, the Office Team has made some small changes to certain parts of the UI. I noticed that the Office Button or File Menu has been made more subtle with an integrated perspective instead of the tack on appearance in version 2007. Lets take a look:

Microsoft Office 14 Fluent application with a more subtle File menu – (image gholzer)

 

The Office button or File menu in Word 2007

There seems to be some streamlining between applications in Windows 7 and the Office 14 suite. Programs such as Word Pad and Paint that take advantage of the new UI also feature that subtle appearance of the File menu.

Word Pad and Paint in Windows 7

How major a release will Office 14 be? This is anybody’s guess, Office 2007 is major as it is already and a lot of people love it based on their experiences. But, is there anymore that Microsoft can do to a suite that has seen such a drastic update?

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Filed under Office Productivity