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 Quick News: updated Vista skin, Live in a Box, Soapbox closed, etc.
Quick News: updated Vista skin, Live in a Box, Soapbox closed, etc.

dwergs says ( 23 Mar 2007 ):


The final version of the Windows Vista Messenger 8.1 skin is out. If you've been using last month's release you'll notice visual changes including a new log-in screen background, new icons, a new scrollbar, etc., and a couple of bugfixes behind the scenes. Download Windows Vista Messenger v2.0 for Windows Live Messenger 8.1.0178 here.

By the way, if you created a badass Windows Live Messenger 8.1.0178 skin worth showing the world, get in touch.

The oddly titled Live in a Box project (oddly because my brain refuses to associate Microsoft with "living in a box") is a set of tutorials and sample applications put together by the Windows Live Platform guys and hosted at CodePlex, the company's open source project site. The "box" allows developers to familiarize themselves with Live Search/Virtual Earth/Messenger Activity/Windows Live Contacts APIs as well as Web Gadgets and WPF/e. Download it, use it, abuse it and leave feedback here (Note: requires IIS). If you leave feedback, don't forget to request expanding the Messenger APIs. If you use and abuse it, send us all racy details.

Soapbox, Microsoft's video-sharing service which went into public Beta only last month, has surprisingly been locked down for new users because of copyright concerns. Only existing testers can log in and still share videos over Messenger.

microsoft wireless laser desktop 4000Microsoft is about to release their Wireless Laser Desktop 4000 next month. The keyboard and mouse combo is optimized for Windows Vista and Windows Live. The latter manifests in a Windows Gadget Button which provides one-touch access to information such as weather, news, stock quotes and more, a Windows LiveCall Button to instantly start an instant messaging session or a video call, Customizable Hot Keys (to launch your favorites such as Messenger, Mail and Web/Home), and an Instant Viewer tool which enables users to view all open windows at once and switch between them with one click of the mouse. Expect to cough up US$79.95. For that price you'll also get loads of letter keys which allow you to chat and stuff!

 ScanSafe + Kaspersky Lab to defend Messenger from many threats
ScanSafe + Kaspersky Lab to defend Messenger from many threats

dwergs says ( 22 Mar 2007 ):


ScanSafe, provider of Web Security-as-a-Service and recently named "Cool Vendor" by Gartner Inc., has teamed up with Kaspersky Lab, developer of secure content management solutions, to offer three new services: webDefend, webControl and, what concerns us most, imDefend. The new alliance adds to an existing partnership between ScanSafe and Kaspersky Lab. ScanSafe already uses the Kaspersky Lab antivirus engine in its Web Malware Scanning and IM Control services.

"The imDefend service enables organizations to monitor the use of instant messaging systems, such as AOL, Yahoo!, ICQ and Windows Live [Messenger], by employees. After the network administrator makes minor changes to the network settings, all incoming and outgoing IM messages will be filtered and controlled in real time, increasing the company’s level of information security. The imDefend service also provides protection from malicious programs and spam distributed via instant messenger (SPIM)."

ScanSafe, in its latest monthly Global Threat Report, reported it blocked 24 new IM threats in February, 54 percent of which affected MSN Messenger compared to 21 percent that affected Yahoo! and 17 percent that affected AOL Instant Messenger.

Over the past 12 months, MSN Messenger has consistently ranked #1 as the most targeted IM platform. Fifty-three percent of all the IM-based threats blocked by ScanSafe in the past year have affected MSN [and Windows Live Messenger], compared to 41 percent that affected AIM and 29 percent that affected Yahoo!.

[Source: SourceWire and Security Park]

 Dutch Messenger favors PS3 over Xbox 360
Dutch Messenger favors PS3 over Xbox 360

dwergs says ( 22 Mar 2007 ):


msn shopping tab promotes PS3The battle of next-gen gaming consoles is imminent but Timothy noticed that Microsoft's being a good sport. In the tab section of MSN/Windows Live Messenger users in The Netherlands, the MSN Shopping tab shows a PS3 controller as its current icon and it's even been gentlemanly located above the Xbox 360 tab! You can't blame Microsoft for being hard on the competition, now can you?

Or is it a mess up from an ignorant MSN editor...

UPDATE: Logically, clicking the tab allows you to buy PS3 consoles or games straight from Messenger.

 Live Meeting 2005 Add-in Pack
Live Meeting 2005 Add-in Pack

dwergs says ( 22 Mar 2007 ):


There's an updated version out of the tripartite Live Meeting Add-in Pack which "enables users to perform conferencing tasks directly from within Microsoft Office Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Project and Visio, as well as from Windows Messenger, MSN Messenger and Office Communicator 2005."

The add-ins require Microsoft Live Meeting version 2005 and higher, and support Office 2000 Service Pack 3 through Office 2003, as well as Office 2007. The instant messaging add-in also requires Windows Messenger 4.7 and higher, MSN Messenger 6.0 and higher (Windows Messenger still required), and Office Live Communicator 2005. Both ends need to have the Live Meeting Add-in Pack installed to be able to start a Live Meeting.

Additionally, the add-in pack supports Windows XP, Service Pack 1a or later, Windows 2000, Service Pack 4 or later, and Windows Server 2003, as well as Windows Vista.

>> Download Live Meeting 2005 Add-in Pack.

>> Download the Live Meeting 2005 Windows-based Meeting Console Standalone Installer here.

>> More info on Microsoft Office Live Meeting here.

[Source: Redmond Developer News]

 AFKIM v3, a Universal Messenger Client for Sony PSP
AFKIM v3, a Universal Messenger Client for Sony PSP

dwergs says ( 21 Mar 2007 ):


afkim3, messenger client for sony pspAs opposed to our earlier described technique using a web messenger, AFKIM is a standalone multi-protocol client that you can install on Sony's sexy PlayStation Portable. Just connect to a wireless network and this homebrew allows you to chat with your MSN/Windows Live Messenger buddies as well as those on AIM, ICQ, GTalk, and Yahoo! IM. Note that version 3 also works with WPA-secured connections, but you'll need the OE kernel version.

>> Download it from QJ.NET.

>> You might want to take a look at the piKey keyboard driver hear for easier chatting.

 Proximus and Base extend free mobile Messenger trial
Proximus and Base extend free mobile Messenger trial

dwergs says ( 19 Mar 2007 ):


Allow me to post some good news for my homies and other mobile Messers based in Belgium: both operators offering cellphone access to Windows Live Messenger have extended their free trial periods for the IM service.

Base offers an i-Mode version of the Messenger client and allows you to send and receive up to 20mb worth of messages per month (that's about 20,000 average-sized messages). Try it free of charge until March 31st, and you'll pay €2,5 per month thereafter (add €5pm if you're not paying for i-mode access yet). Find out more here and/or watch the demo.

Proximus appended another two months to their initial trial, now offering free, unlimited access to Proximus Instant Messaging until April 30th. Expect to pay €6.99 for a one-month package, or €5.99pm for a monthly subscription. In addition, their client has been made compatible with the Nokia 5500 and 6230i phones as well as the SonyEricsson k700i, k750i, k800i, v630i, w550i, w800i, w850i, w900i and the z610i. That's a whole lot of new phones and I would've finally been able to try this service myself, if it weren't for the sudden death of my SE k800i yesterday. Anyway, all you need to know can be found here.

The other mobile operator in Belgium, Mobistar, has not yet announced any plans for offering their customers standard access to Windows Live Messenger. May I remind you though that Microsoft currently runs a public Beta for a browser-based, mobile Messenger client that can be accessed through any phone with a data subscription (and, obviously, a browser). Refer to our announcement post on that one.

Talking 'bout phones: after spending a week in Seattle and Redmond (home to Microsoft!), why am I not surprised that I didn't hear any Google phone rumors until today? Is it the Voldemort-syndrome? ;)

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