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 Another impression of the second Windows Live Session
Another impression of the second Windows Live Session

dwergs says ( 19 May 2006 ):

 

windows live sessions UK zero one 01The forthcoming Live Mobile Messenger client was not the only thing on the delicious menu of the second Windows Live Session in the 01* building in London last Tuesday. We also had fried chicken, shrimps and spring rolls. And lots of Live-related brain candy, of course. (*Yup, a building bearing the same name as our forum admin... it can't be a coïncidence!)

Hosted by Heaven and its angels, presented by Windows Live evangelist Phil Holden and miracle programmer Koji Kato, it's hard not to put the event in a biblical perspective and consider ourselves, the circa dozen of invitees, as Live apostles in the making. Maybe next time we could meet the Almighty Bill and Messenger Marias Leah, Ines, Nicole and Vladka? Note to my readers: All this Da Vinci Code publicity has obviously taken over my mind.

Anyway, Phil started by mentioning the "milestone six" upgrade of windows live director phil holdenWindows Live Mail which took place at the beginning of this week. Three and a half million people already live in the post-Hotmail era and with scalability testing now on top of Microsoft's priority list, expect to get invited into the Beta soon in one way or another. If you live in the United States and are 18 or older, I suggest you upgrade via this link since you can win lots of prizes, including an 11-day African Safari trip, just for signing up for the Beta. Personally, I have given Mail another shot, but the thing still doesn't let me search properly through my 19547 e-mails.

As a reward, Windows Live Mail Beta testers will soon be offered a handful of free Winks for Messenger starring Betaman ("Changing the world as a Betatester"). This brings us to our favorite of the 17-ish Live services: Windows Live Messenger Beta which is in use by 8 million users right now (compare to 210 million for MSN Messenger). The fourth UI revision is here to stay, and so is the vitreous green buddy. Phil was particulary proud of the improved sign-in time in 8.0.0689.

windows live sessions UK zero one 01On to Live.com which will be much improved in terms of performance. And if I understood Phil right, they're considering the option to co-create Live.com pages with friends and family. After some comments on Local, Group Program Manager Koji Kato appeared on stage to demonstrate how easy it actually was to build on Messenger, Local and Search. In the break thereafter, he mentioned a soon to be published example of a Windows Live Messenger Add-in: some kind of animation that acts as an away message and will tell your contacts when you'll be back. I'd say, bring it on! :)

Right after the pause, Phil demoed the newborn Windows Live QnA service (I think the Kudos that you earn for accurately answering other people's questions should be exhangeable for Messenger extras, like eg. MeeGos or Call minutes) and the hot new mobile messenger.

Sad for not having won a Windows Live Messenger phone in the sweepstakes at the end of the session, I hit the ultrahip Light Bar together with Miel Van Opstal and Kris Hoet, Microsoft's Consumer Marketing Manager for the EMEA region. Always wanted to go there, and the caipirinha's were excellent ;) Thanks Microsoft and Heaven for another succesful evening!

>> Also read the reports by Seb Skuse, Miel Van Opstal, Robert Gale, Darren Straight, Zack Whittaker, etc.

>> Also read Windows Live Session UK/1 (January 26th 2006).



 Windows Live Messenger Contact Cards also in France, Germany
Windows Live Messenger Contact Cards also in France, Germany

dwergs says ( 19 May 2006 ):

 

free windows live messenger contact cardsThe Windows Live Messenger Contact Cards offer that first hit the UK and then The Netherlands, is also available in two more countries: France and Germany. The maximum number of free sets handed out each day varies per country. If you're lucky enough to grab some, expect three to four weeks delivery time.

>> Free Windows Live Messenger Contact Cards for Germany.

>> Free Windows Live Messenger Contact Cards for France (only available on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday).

>> Still available: Free Windows Live Messenger Contact Cards for The Netherlands.

>> Unfortunately, the UK offer has expired.



 Akonix L7 Builder SDK for Messenger bots reviewed
Akonix L7 Builder SDK for Messenger bots reviewed

dwergs says ( 19 May 2006 ):

 

Because one of the rules in the Invasion of the Robots contest requires you to use one of the authorized software developer kits, TB and Inky decided to review all three of them, to help those eager to participate make a good choice.

First up is the Akonix® L7 Builder™ SDK, which we first announced in March. TB isn't exactly overjoyed with this SDK: it's got a rather steep starting curve and a major lack of functionality in general (no MSN Display Pictures, emoticons, nudges,...). Making it even less interesting for use in the contest and beyond, is the usage license which expires after 180 days, and forces a watermark at the beginning of sent messages.

In short, TB would definitely not recommend the Akonix® L7 Builder™ SDK if you're thinking of programming a more complex bot than a mere answering machine. Looking forward what the guys will have to say about the Incesoft Bot Platform SDK and the Conversagent™ BuddyScript SDK.

>> Read the complete review here.



 Prêt-a-porter: transmutable emoticons
Prêt-a-porter: transmutable emoticons

dwergs says ( 19 May 2006 ):

 

emoticon t-shirtNew York-based MoBeeline is determined to revive 80s smiley face clothing adding a contemporary "tech" touch. What they're trying to do is realize an emotional mobile service based on a wearable Bluetooth accessory.

All you need to do is customize a garment of your choice with a special iron-on patch and have a piece of software installed on your Bluetooth-enabled phone. Your remote friends will then be able to share their emotions by sending words as an SMS, which are then via a Bluetooth signal converted into a pattern, color, or emoticon on the LEDs of the patch.

It's a cool concept but I don't understand why you'd want to express your friends' emotions, when they're not even there. I'd just be texting myself, I guess, to personalize my own tee.

>> Watch the MoBeeline demo here.

>> Read the MoBeeline PDF here.

>> More information on their homepage.



 Upcoming mobile Messenger client promises big improvements
Upcoming mobile Messenger client promises big improvements

dwergs says ( 17 May 2006 ):

 

It's 3:01 AM London time and I was just about to call it a night, but being the Messenger geek that I am I can't get one subject of tonight's Windows Live Session out of my mind: Windows Live Mobile Messenger (or whatchamacallit). Part of the Mobile Live bundle together with mail, local search and an RSS reader, the future mobile Messenger client is finally catching up with its big brother PC version. A more than welcome evolution, don't you think?

So forget about Pocket MSN, here come gleams, live contacts, emoticons, MSN Display Pictures, yes, even Nudges (they never felt so real making your PDA or cell phone vibrate). Oh, and fortunately Winks are not supported ;)

But what makes it so damn interesting is the fact that you'll be able to send pics taken with your camphone instantaneously to your Messenger contacts (no videos yet, but it's a start). Even cooler, instead of having to type your messages which can be a dreadful task on most devices, you can quickly record a Voice Clip and send it over to a contact behind his or her PC. I can already imagine myself receiving concert footage to my Messenger from friends out partying while I'm working late... like right now.

The Windows Mobile 5.0 software is still in Alpha stages, but I'm very much looking forward to its Beta version which should arrive in a couple of weeks.

Will keep you posted and stay tuned for some pictures, as well as more on the second Windows Live Session here in the UK.



 Prepare for another Bot invasion!
Prepare for another Bot invasion!

dwergs says ( 17 May 2006 ):

 

invasion of the robots contestI bet everyone's expecting me to blog about the Windows Live Session/UK I just returned from, but first things first. Not even all winners from the World's Best App contest have received their prizes yet or Microsoft is already rolling out another contest for Messenger developers. This time it's not the creation of Activities but of Bots they want to stimulate, and how! Under the name Invasion of the Robots, the company is rewarding the most original amateur chatterbots for Messenger with over $40,000 worth of prizes, including a $10k Alienware workstation, a $5k Bose home entertainment system, five Alienware laptops, a GPS slash translator, 80gb portable HDs, etc.

Like before, the contest is open to everyone in the world (even Microsoft employees though they can't win any prizes, bummer for Koji!). Make a choice out of the three free Bot SDKs we covered before, start building and when your bot is ready for some pipe-hittin' action you submit it here before September 15th, 2006.

Looking at the currently available tools and the collection of teasing prizes, I have a sliiiiight feeling a new Bot boom, even bigger than the 2003 one, is upon us.

[Thanks to TB who mentioned this during welcome drinks, and Todd Biggs for the e-mail. UPDATE: Actually Juzzi submitted this first!]



 Where's I at?
Where's I at?

dwergs says ( 16 May 2006 ):

 

I know, I know. Not a lot happening around here recently because of technical difficulties at yours truly's headquarters. But right now I'm in London for a second Windows Live Session with Phil Holden and other Microsofties. Watch this space for our report.



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