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 Free Christmas Theme Pack (first of probably many)
Free Christmas Theme Pack (first of probably many)

dwergs says ( 08 Dec 2007 ):


MSN Netherlands has a Christmas Theme Pack on offer for their visitors, but of course it can be downloaded by anyone around the world (who's not averse to Dutch keyboard shortcuts). The free pack contains:

- 1 Dynamic Pisplay Picture
- 1 Conversation Background
- 2 Winks (Christmas Tree, Happy 2008 Fireworks)
- and 13 animated emoticons.

The Dutch installer tries to set your default search and homepage to MSN.NL, so the following instructions might be helpful:

1) Click the "Volgende" button.
2) Untick the two options ("Stel mijn...") if you don't want to mess with your IE settings.
3) Click the "Accepteren" button.
4) Your Messenger is now getting a Christmas injection.

>> You can find the pack here by clicking the "Download" button.

 Counting down to Messenger Plus! Live 4.50
Counting down to Messenger Plus! Live 4.50

dwergs says ( 06 Dec 2007 ):


Patchou will be treating us all to the new Messenger Plus! Live 4.50 this weekend.

We already mentioned its brand spanking new skinning feature, and that it'll be compatible with the private Windows Live Messenger 9.0 Beta. Other new things include (but are not limited to):

- Insert a previously sent message in the text you're typing instead of replacing everything: press and hold the Control key when selecting the message in the Previous Messages panel.
- A new mode in the Contact List Clean-Up window which shows every contact who has you in their lists (including those not on yours). From this mode you can add the contacts back in your list or block/unblock them when needed.
- Event notifications can now be displayed in the information area of the conversation window (where "user is typing" is displayed).
- A new event notification for auto-accepted requests, and two new filters for the auto-accept feature: "send webcam" and "view webcam".
- Add a password hint for encrypted log files.
- Prevent "user is typing" notifications to be sent to your contacts.
- A new option to automatically separate the chat logs from different accounts into subdirectories with the user's email address.
- The /exit command closes all the current chats and exits Messenger.
- ...
[Reported by: knugarn] [Source:]

 Meanwhile, over at Microsoft's competition
Meanwhile, over at Microsoft's competition

dwergs says ( 06 Dec 2007 ):


After the example of Microsoft and Yahoo!, Google and AOL have joined hands and enabled Gmail and AIM to interoperate:

"Starting today, Gmail users can sign into their AIM accounts via Gmail chat and talk with AIM buddies just as they do with their Google Talk friends. Best of all, the features you love most about Gmail chat, such as chat history and automatic sorting of your buddies based on frequency of communication, work seamlessly across your Google and AIM buddies. This is rolling out in the newest English version of Gmail today and will be available in other languages soon."
>> Read the official announcement here.

Yahoo! on the other hand, released a preview version last night of the long awaited Yahoo! Messenger for Vista codenamed "Diablo". Windows Live Messenger users are likely to drool over the WPF-based interfaced, tabbed conversations, enhanced emoticons, skin chooser, columned contact list with resizable avatars, etc.

Note that many other features, such as audio and webcam conversations, are not yet available in this pre-beta version, but you can run it alongside your fully fledged Yahoo! Messenger 8.1 or 9.0.

>> Read the official announcement and watch the video here.

>> Download Yahoo! Messenger for Vista (preview version).

[Reported by: jrgbx & Steve]

 UPDATE: Santa bot caught talking dirty to children now fired
UPDATE: Santa bot caught talking dirty to children now fired

dwergs says ( 05 Dec 2007 ):


Shortly after yesterday's post about the smutty Santa bot, it signed out of the Messenger network and never showed its jolly face Display Picture again. All else failed and people kept eliciting embarrassing answers, so Microsoft pulled the plug on the bot and issued the following statement to Network World:

"Yesterday we received reports that the automated Santa Claus agent in Windows Live Messenger used inappropriate language. As soon as we were alerted, we took steps to mitigate the issue, including the removal of language from the agent's automated script. We were not completely satisfied with the result of these actions, and have decided to discontinue the automated Santa Claus agent"
The bot made its first online appearance last Christmas, but it is unknown whether the offensive reponses were present from the start as they were discovered only a few days ago. Santa's Spaces blog, part of the same Ask Santa campaign, is still online... until the prankster finds a way to mess with its postings that is.

UPDATE: One Santa bot may be down, but don't forget about his competition.

 Santa bot caught talking dirty to children
Santa bot caught talking dirty to children

dwergs says ( 04 Dec 2007 ):


santa messenger bot talks dirtyMicrosoft's Santa bot ( or has gotten itself onto its own naughty list. After being alerted by one of its readers about foul-mouthed replies, The Register started a conversation with the Messenger bot and successfully replicated the reported bad behaviour:

El Reg says: pizza (pi)

Santa says: Yum! What do you want for Christmas, El Reg?

El Reg says: Maybe you shouldn't eat so much! You are quite large!

Santa says: My elves will get right on that. And what else are you wishing for this year, El Reg?

El Reg says: Maybe you shouldn't eat it?

Santa says: See if you can get someone else to eat it!

El Reg says: Eat it

Santa says: No thank you. I don't eat things!

El Reg says: Eat it

Santa says: See if you can get someone else to eat it!

El Reg says: Eat it

Santa says: You want me to eat what?!? It's fun to talk about oral sex, but I want to chat about something else...

El Reg says: You dirty bastard!

Santa says: I think you're dirty bastard.
More questionable replies as reported by other readers:

"cake" or "snow" -> "You don't need drugs when you're high on life!"
"you are high" -> "I like being high!"
"have you slept with Paris Hilton?" -> "Not yet, but I hope to sometime."
"crack is awesome" -> "Crack sure is."

Although rather suggestive and/or simply provoked, they're not the kind of replies you'd expect from Father Christmas. But don't block and forever delete Santa from your children's or underage sibling's contact list yet. Microsoft has been notified about "inappropriate conversation taking place between a customer of Windows Live Messenger and an automated Santa Claus agent on Messenger" and has already removed most of the incriminating responses. In an e-mail to The Register, the company wrote: We're actively investigating the situation and are working to take the appropriate steps to address the situation as rapidly as possible. We sincerely apologise for any upset or offence this may have caused our customers."

The Santa bot still continually shouts "ho" though...

>> Screenshot of Santa's dirty talk.

PS: Messer J-Thread also reminded us of the slightly updated Sinterklaas bot (Dutch only).

[Source: The Register]

 Many Messenger improvements in Xbox 360 Fall Update
Many Messenger improvements in Xbox 360 Fall Update

dwergs says ( 03 Dec 2007 ):


Hardcore gamers will probably know this by now, but the "Fall Dashboard Update" for the Xbox 360 will be available as a free download starting tomorrow at 2AM PST. Besides the highly anticipated DivX-support, there are a lot of changes regarding to the Xbox 360 Messenger. Here's the list:

- Added Messenger Signup into Xbox LIVE signup
- Added support for switching between Windows Live ID accounts
- Added support to allow users to change the Windows Live ID they use with their Xbox LIVE gamertag
- Added IME indicator for Messenger Conversations
- Added "Invite Friends" scene after Messenger/Windows Live ID switching dialog
- Added localization support for " has joined conversation" in Messenger
- Added messenger notification to Private Chat
- Added support for adding contacts via Windows Live ID from Xbox 360 console
- Added support for child accounts (ages 13 through 17)
- Added support for dual platform invites / text messages to PC client
- Added support for IME in Chatpad overlay
- Added support to send game invite to Messenger Contact from Xbox 360
- Display Signin option instead of Join Xbox LIVE when accessing messenger from a signed out profile
- Improved handling of transitions between messenger conversations and personal profiles
- Improved localization text for Spanish, Portuguese and Russian in Chat and IM dialogs
- Improved online status reporting with accounts that have passcodes set
- Improved performance of buddy list enumeration
- Improved performance with greater than 250 contacts
- Improved performance with Messenger and large lists
- Improved support for sending multiple friends requests from messenger contact dialog
- Improved support for signing up for Messenger on 2nd signed in profiles
- Improved sync performance between buddies and gamertag friends during login
- Improved text message for blocking Windows Live ID Child accounts
- Improved visual display of Up/Down arrows on Select Contacts scene
- No longer displaying '??' when Kanji characters are used in Messenger Display Names
- Nudges from messenger now translated into rumble notifications on controller during game/movie playback
- Remove flash of LED on controller when Chatpad keyboard is invoked
- Removed 2nd notification when connection to LIVE and signed into Messenger
- Updated icons for Messenger in Private Chat area
The one in bold is good news for those younger than 18, who can now use to the integrated Messenger client after all. There's also a new Friends of Friends feature reminiscent of the one in Windows Live Messenger.

The complete list of changes can be found here, or you can watch this video for a visual preview (skip to 6:22 for some Messenger talk).

[Reported by: Timothy]

Click Here!

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