Monday, September 24, 2007
Windows Live Translator Beta


I just ran into Andrea while grabbing a quick lunch in #117 and she asked me if I'd tried the Windows Live Translator yet. I had! Then I see LiveSide had already linked to her post about it: Microsoft Research Machine Translation (MSR-MT) Team Blog : Introducing: Windows Live Translator Beta.

I really like the side-by-side and sentence highlighting between the two views as you hover over text.

Between a tool like this (and the classic Babel Fish) and French dubbed DVDs, I wonder how High School French would have gone for me...

Thursday, September 20, 2007
Windows Live Photo Gallery on Lifehacker


I point to a lot of things off of Lifehacker, and it's a delight when it's a product that your own team is working on: Featured Windows Download: Manage Your Digital Pics with Windows Live Photo Gallery - Lifehacker.

Sunday, September 16, 2007
Google, PostSecret, and Spam Blogs


So I read PostSecret as a guilty indulgence. Right now, it is locked down due to a programmatic sweep profiling it as a Spam blog:

Your blog is disabled

Blogger's spam-prevention robots have detected that your blog has characteristics of a spam blog. (What's a spam blog?) Since you're an actual person reading this, your blog is probably not a spam blog. Automated spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and we sincerely apologize for this false positive.

We received your unlock request on September 16, 2007. On behalf of the robots, we apologize for locking your non-spam blog. Please be patient while we take a look at your blog and verify that it is not spam.

(From: PostSecret: Blogger has locked PostSecret )

First of all, given how many blog search queries I run from day to day (either tracking InfoPath back in my Office days or now the Windows Live Photo Gallery) I have deep appreciation of getting rid of Spam blogs. Most of which seem to pop-up on blogspot. In fact, if I see a link to a blog, I'm highly likely to skip looking at it because usually it's a modern day textual mash-up of reposted text from popular blog feeds and Spam links. Tracking InfoPath discussion became near impossible.

But you've got to have a better pattern than what happened to PostSecret to detect if something is a Spam blog. PostSecret should have lots of incoming links from high-quality sources. Well, maybe that's not apparent scanning at the first of 28,000 incoming links, but let's see... being a finalist in the 2005 Weblog Awards (and being around so long) probably breaks any Spam metric.

This seems like a sloppy shotgun approach (yes, indeed, "inherently fuzzy")... like a 20% project gone horribly wrong and that should be suspended. Probably more important than this is a Spam blog scanner is something else like this is a cherished content blog scanner to ensure quality blogs never get blacklisted.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007
Publishing Videos to Soapbox Quick and Easy


In addition to photos, Windows Live Photo Gallery also supports organization and sharing of videos. Soapbox is the Microsoft video sharing site (yeah, not as big as YouTube). But I like the quality a bit more than YouTube.

Have a video you want to publish and try out? Read through Michael's blog entry on it: Microsoft Photography & Video Blog : We make it easy to share on your Soapbox.

One thing that's interesting to me: while I have a digital video camera, I've actually taken more impromptu videos as of late with our Canon point-and-shoot. Sure, it doesn't do zoom and all that, but it sure is convenient for small memories... or the case where a fellow was discussing some local history while I was taking sunset pictures. I asked, "Can I record this? It sounds interesting."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Seamlessly publish your precious photos on Spaces


A very nice walk through by Michael Palermiti of how Windows Live Photo Gallery's photo publishing feature works: Microsoft Photography & Video Blog : Seamlessly publish your precious photos on Spaces .

Monday, September 10, 2007
Google Picasa or Windows Live Photo Gallery - Which is Better?


 An interesting round-by-round comparison of Picasa and WLPG, including this observation:

When it comes to speed, Windows Photo Gallery wins over Picasa by a huge margin. Picasa, in the last few months, has become extremely slow - the software sometimes even freezes while importing new media content into the library. Windows Live Photo Gallery is lightning fast when you compare the start-up speed or when it process new photographs.

Full post: Google Picasa or Windows Live Photo Gallery - Which is Better? at Digital Inspiration - Software Reviews, Internet and Technology Guide.

Saturday, September 08, 2007
Live Photo Gallery - getting started


webDotWiz has a nice walk through of Windows Live Photo Gallery, from getting your photos, organizing them, shooting a panoramic shot, stitching the panorama together in WLPG, and then publishing the results up to your Spaces site: webDotWiz Online has a Space: Live Photo Gallery - getting started - from camera to panorama.

Friday, September 07, 2007
HP's iPAQ 610 mobile phone gets demonstrated on video


Well, it's not cool, but then neither am I. I love the look of the HTC Touch but it doesn't have a built-in GPS, which is a must for a GPS geek like me. The iPAQ 610 has some mighty nice features, but is about as corporate looking as any phone could possibly be. The antithesis of the iPhone.

Still, I wouldn't mind upgrading to it. I'm just stuck in the small dilemma of promising myself never to buy another iPAQ mobile device after being left stranded on the upgrade path of past PocketPCs.

Video: HP's iPAQ 610 gets demonstrated on video - Engadget Mobile

Soapbox Team on Soapbox and Windows Live Photo Gallery


Here's a post by the Soapbox team discussing video integration with Windows Live Photo Gallery now that you can select a video and publish up to your free Soapbox account for video-sharing: Soapbox on MSN Video: Soapbox Integration With Windows Live Photo Gallery and Windows Live Writer .

ExtremeTech's Hands-on with Windows Live Photo Gallery beta


Quite a nice write-up from ExtremeTech:

Some highlights:

First, the new Live Photo Gallery (LPG) is fast. It instantly indexed the meager photos I have on my XP work machine. Loyd tried it at home where he has a ridiculous number of photos, and it managed to rip through his collection in no time.


Once we click to "review, organize, and group" photos upon import, I was very quickly treated to a pretty elegant screen for selecting which pictures I'd like to keep. These thumbnails were generated very quickly, considering these are all 10 megapixel images at the highest quality setting.


One new feature I was anxious to try out is the panoramic photo-stitch. I took four images panning around Union Square, and stitching them together is almost too simple. Just select the images in the gallery, choose "create a panoramic photo" in the Make menu up top, and this is what you get. Unfortunately, this feature still needs some work. Other panoramic photo tools let you prioritize overlapping photos with a drag-and-drop interface and see where the seams might form, this one give you no options at all. My relatively simple shot, full of nice square buildings and such, had visible seams along photo boundaries.


Overall, I'd have to give the beta of Live Photo Gallery a big thumbs up. It's the easy-to-use photo importing and cataloguing from Vista's Photo Gallery, improved in many important ways, and made available for both Vista and XP. Free. It's fast, it's simple, and for the most part, it works. Right now I have two major complaints. First, the panoramic picture creator is a bit limited and creates visible seams in the final photograph. Second, the photo and video sharing is far too limited. Interestingly, you can order prints right from the Live Photo Gallery interface from FujiFilm, Shutterfly, and Kodak—this function appears to be plug-in based, or at least open to third parties in some way. Microsoft would do well to do the same thing with photo and video sharing.

For everyday "pulling my pictures off my digital camera", and for browsing, tagging, and cataloging your library of images, this is pretty slick software. And it's free.

Read the whole posting: Hands-on with Windows Live Photo Gallery beta .

Thursday, September 06, 2007
Photo/Video Import in the Live Photo Gallery Beta


Karen Wong has a great post about one of the coolest new features to Windows Live Photo Gallery: photo acquisition. Yesh! Photo acquisition can be cool. There's a step where, looking at time groupings, we help to put your photos together in groups that make sense.

For instance, say on this coming Saturday, you first take some shots of the morning sun hitting dew sparkling in a spider's web, followed later by some lunchtime shots of fruit at the farmers market, and then you end your photography for the day with some snaps of the sunset. When you import your photos with WLPG, we'll group these three events together and you can name them and tag them uniquely right there.


One principal thing for you to know about this:

Previously Imported Items
We know that a lot of users don’t delete their photos/videos on their camera after importing.  In the Vista photo gallery, we automatically detected items that were already imported into the gallery, and did not import them again to eliminate duplicates.  In Live, we will show these items in the ‘Review, organize, and group items to import’ option, but by default they will be unchecked.  You can go ahead and check these items if you’d like to re-import them into your gallery.

In this case, you might see the text "There are 0 new items to import" just because you've already imported everything. But like Karen says, you can re-import them by checking the group.

More here: Microsoft Photography & Video Blog : Changes to Photo/Video Import in the Live Photo Gallery Beta .

Michael Gartenberg on Windows Live Photo Gallery


 Direct from Michael Gartenberg over at Jupiter Research:

Microsoft quietly released this one into beta and so far I'm liking it a lot. There's a lot of similarity with the Vista Photo gallery app, and that's a good thing and it goes beyond it in a number of ways. Must have addition for XP users and a nice upgrade for Vista owners. Get it here along with a host of other stuff or follow the links to just get the app alone.

Michael Gartenberg - Windows Live Photo Gallery

Channel9 - Windows Live Photo Gallery rocks!


A thread on Channel9 about Windows Live Photo Gallery: Re: Windows Live Photo Gallery rocks! . Call-outs:

Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Techmeme on Windows Live Suite so far...


Seems as though there was a popular techie news item about iPods today. Or something. Anyway, here's what Techmeme is currently picking up about the Windows Live Suite release: 

Windows Live Wire:

Test drive the new Windows Live suite  —  You've probably already read about some changes we're making to Windows Live, and have seen some of your services change over the past few weeks.  Starting later today, you'll be able to test out the new suite of Windows Live software at

Link Search: Google, Ask, Technorati, Sphere, and IceRocket


Brandon LeBlanc / The Windows Experience Blog: Announcing the Windows Live suite with unified installer

Peter Galli / Microsoft Delivers Updated Windows Live Suite

Ryan / CyberNet Technology News: Windows Live Writer now has XHTML Support

Ed Oswald / BetaNews: Microsoft Releases Suite of Windows Live Software

Kip Kniskern / LiveSide: Windows Live Suite announced - Update

Mary Jo Foley / All about Microsoft: Microsoft releases Windows Live suite beta with common installer

Writer Zone: Windows Live Writer Beta 3 Now Available

Jason Cross / ExtremeTech: Microsoft Announces Live Suite and Installer


Robert McLaws / Windows Vista Edition:
New 'Live Suite' Beta Doesn't Support Vista x64

Link Search: Google, Ask, Technorati, Sphere, and IceRocket


Ryan / CyberNet Technology News: New Live Installer, Live Writer, & Photo Gallery

Elizabeth Montalbano / InfoWorld: Microsoft ties Windows Live services to OS

From: Techmeme: Test drive the new Windows Live suite (Windows Live Wire) .

Edit and Share Photos and Videos with Windows Live Photo Gallery


A nice overview of the Windows Live Photo Gallery Beta by Brandon LeBlanc: The Windows Experience Blog : Edit and Share Photos and Videos with Windows Live Photo Gallery.

Brandon quickly covers the major new features in the Beta.

And note not only are the new features in the Windows Live Photo Gallery client but we also have a team working on the web end for Windows Live Spaces, adding support for viewing albums full screen and more, like being able to download each photo directly (the high resolution, printable version, if it was uploaded) and going into full-screen slideshow mode.

Get a Live-ID if you don't have one and take 'er for a spin!

Windows Live Beta release notes - it's called "Beta" for a reason...


Please be sure to read before installing the release.

The first thing folks seem to be running into is that there is not a Vista 64-bit installer for this Beta release: Windows Live Beta release notes for Windows Live Messenger, Mail, Photo Gallery, Writer, Toolbar, and OneCare Family Safety.

Windows Live Wire: Test drive the new Windows Live suite


Announcing the new Windows Live Suite Beta:

Today we're releasing beta versions of a new generation of Windows Live software designed for your Windows PC that makes it easier than ever to get connected to Windows Live or other services. This suite of software includes e-mail (Windows Live Mail), photo sharing (Windows Live Photo Gallery), a great publishing tool that lets you post directly to your blog (Windows Live Writer), parental controls (Windows Live OneCare Family Safety), a new version of Windows Live Messenger (8.5), and more.


I really hope you'll download the betas today at ...

From Chris Jones' post Windows Live Wire: Test drive the new Windows Live suite. Windows Live Photo Gallery not only has new features compared to Vista's Windows Photo Gallery (more details later) but also works on Windows XP!

Monday, September 03, 2007
Microsoft in 'Cloud' Computing - New York Times


Niiiiiiice article by The John Markoff:

This week, [Microsoft] plans to turn that strategy upside down, making available free software that connects its Windows operating system to software services delivered on the Internet, a practice increasingly referred to as "cloud" computing. The initiative is part of an effort to connect Windows more seamlessly to a growing array of Internet services.

The strategy is a major departure for Microsoft, which primarily sells packaged software for personal computers. With this new approach, Microsoft hopes to shield its hundreds of millions of software customers from competitors like Google and, which already offer software applications through the Internet.

Software via the Internet: Microsoft in 'Cloud' Computing - New York Times

Eric Richards' place of techno (as in technology) happiness, rants, and corporate love. I work in Microsoft Office as a development lead.

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