Main/News >> News Archives > The week of March 25 (2007) (you
Pure black or bright white? Get the multi-flavored Ev0 2.0 skin
dwergs says ( 30 Mar 2007 ):
Talking about an absolutely eye-popping skin for Windows Live Messenger 8.1! Will "Willz" Ingles is back with version 2.0 of his uber-slick Ev0 skin, which he first came up with during his "oceans of spare time" at the university (some study, some sleep, but very few "skin"). To suit everyone's personal taste, you can download Ev0 in two contrasting styles: Black and White (for what it's worth, I prefer the latter). Subsequently you can apply 8 color schemes with "Shadow" and "Milk" being the freshmen in this version.
- StuffPlug 3: To avoid a possible error message during the installation, disable StuffPlug before and re-enable it after the installation. Also, the StuffPlug button in the conversation window will have a distorted mouseover effect.
- Windows Vista: The skin works under Windows Vista but the installation will trigger the UAC protection and cause a pop-up to appear (click "Allow").
- If you are upgrading from 8.0 to 8.1 then uninstall Ev0 v1.0 or any other skin, patch (eg. MessPatch) before continuing.
>> Black Edition themes screenshot | White Edition themes screenshot | More screenshots here.
>> Download Ev0 Black/White Edition 2.0 here. Use the left "Download" buttons (those with Windows Live Messenger 8.0 can still download Ev0 1.0, but really, this second version of the skin alone is worth upgrading to 8.1).
>> Discuss this skin on our forum.
[Reported by: CoolBabe, ipab & Rolando]
Welcome to Tahiti! Wanna share something?
dwergs says ( 29 Mar 2007 ):
Mary Jo Foley yesterday discovered a new collaboration tool by Microsoft codenamed "Tahiti". The program, which is currently in limited pre-beta, will allow up to 15 people to create and collaborate on documents, share the desktop and exchange handouts on the fly and across firewalls.
Centered around Windows Live ID, users of Windows Live Messenger will be able to invite buddies to participate in "Tahiti" directly via the "Start an activity" menu or the "Invite someone using Instant Message" option inside the software. The current version has some issues with this feature, which will obviously be fixed in a future release.
>> Microsoft Codename "Tahiti"'s homepage.
>> Microsoft Codename "Tahiti" at Connect.
>> More screenshots over at Abhishek's.
Helio Ocean, the ultimate social networking tool
dwergs says ( 28 Mar 2007 ):
Hot gadget alert! The Ocean from Helio is a dual-slider phone which means it features both a numeric keypad and a full QWERTY keyboard, making it a bliss to make calls, chat via IM or write e-mails:
Oceanís integrated messaging dashboard includes out-of-the-box access to Yahoo! Mail, AOL Mail, MSN Hotmail, Gmail, Helio Mail, and EarthLink email, as well as the ability to add additional IMAP/POP3 email accounts. Want instant gratification? Ocean incorporates Instant Message access through Yahoo! Messenger, AOLís AIM Service and Windows Live Messenger all in this single messaging paradise. Ocean will also support push mail from Yahoo! and other providers, as well as Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, combining business with pleasure as Ocean wirelessly synchronizes Microsoft Office Outlook email, calendar and contacts from a corporate Exchange Server.Need more buzzwords? What about: 3G, over-the-air music downloads, video-on-demand, 2.0 megapixel camera, MySpace on Helio, GPS-enabled Google Maps for mobile, Buddy Beacon and much more.
The Ocean will be available in the United States this Spring for $295 (no word on other regions).
UPDATE: Found a video preview of the Ocean here.
Updated: Adium X 1.0.2
dwergs says ( 28 Mar 2007 ):
A new build of Adium X, probably the best multi-messenger client for Mac OS X, is now available and the changelog lists a lot of bug fixes (eg. incorrect indication of certain WL/MSN Messenger contacts as being mobile, and a crash when sending formatted MSN text).
>> Download Adium X v1.0.2.
The New Face of Emoticons
dwergs says ( 28 Mar 2007 ):
From Technology Review:
Computer scientists at the University of Pittsburgh have developed a way to make e-mails, instant messaging, and texts just a bit more personalized. Their software will allow people to use images of their own faces instead of the more traditional emoticons to communicate their mood. By automatically warping their facial features, people can use a photo to depict any one of a range of different animated emotional expressions, such as happy, sad, angry, or surprised.I can totally imagine a Dynamic Display Picture using this technology, but since Xin Li is now working at Google in New York City this is more likely to become a Google Talk feature instead.
All that is needed is a single photo of the person, preferably with a neutral expression, says Xin Li, who developed the system, called Face Alive Icons. "The user can upload the image from their camera phone," he says. Then, by keying in familiar text symbols, such as ":)" for a smile, the user automatically contorts the face to reflect his or her desired expression.
This is not the first time that someone has tried to use photos in this way, says Li. "But the traditional approach is to just send the image itself," he says. "The problem is, the size will be too big, particularly for low-bandwidth applications like PDAs and cell phones." Other approaches involve having to capture a different photo of the person for each unique emoticon [like one of our Messers did here], which only further increases the demand for bandwidth.
Li's solution is not to send the picture each time it is used, but to store a profile of the face on the recipient device. This profile consists of a decomposition of the original photo. Every time the user sends an emoticon, the face is reassembled on the recipient's device in such a way as to show the appropriate expression.
Face Alive Icons has now been incorporated into an application used for distance learning. "The teachers like to see the faces of their students," says Li. So, rather than seeing a screen filled with identical emoticons, teachers use Face Alive Icons to view each of the virtual pupils in the classroom and observe how he or she is feeling.
>> Read the full-length article at Technology Review.
>> Read Xin Li's paper here (PDF).
Quick News: X-Series goes Oz, viruses soar, poker beats Messenger
dwergs says ( 27 Mar 2007 ):
After first being rolled out in the UK, Denmark, Sweden and Hong Kong, mobile operator 3 today unveiled their X-Series service to its Australian customers. The service offers access to the Internet (including Windows Live Messenger) for a flat monthly fee of either $20, $30 or $40 for 500MB, 1GB or 2GB of data. More information over here.
In response to a recent question on our forum as well as seeing a few of my own contacts becoming affected, I'm repeating my old advice once more NOT to trust the various "messenger block checker" websites that claim to be able to detect contacts who blocked you. There's no reliable technique to detect this, and you should certainly not share your Messenger address and password with anyone, let alone a questionable website... unless you have an unhealthy propensity to spam your contact list through IMs, e-mails and even your own nickname.
Also, I've seen many reports on Messenger viruses again during the past few days. Worms propagating via file transfers (along with a message similar to "Do you want to see my Photo album?") as well as hyperlinks in automated messages (eg. "Is this you?" or "Check this hot babe", and domain names often including the words "messenger", "msn, "myspace", etc. ). As always: be wary.
Messenger is king, but poker is ace. Internet researcher Nielsen/NetRatings UK in January published its first "Application Index", a ranking of the most popular, most addictive and stickiest web apps. MSN Messenger wears the "popularity" crown, with an audience of 14.7 million Britons in November 2006 (that's just under half of the UK Internet population). Messenger leapfrogged last year's most popular application, Windows Media Player, who's closely pursuing with almost 14 million users. Second most popular IM in the UK is Yahoo! Messenger with an audience of 2.95 million users, and Skype climbs two steps on the popularity ladder (now 7th) with 2.3 users.
But that's just one way to look at things. If measured by "time spent" the ranking of the applications changes completely. MSN Messenger plummets to the 5th position (2 hrs 58 mins per person per month), largely overtaken by online poker applications. Everyone knows gambling can be addictive, but the 10 hours and 17 minutes spent playing cards with Pacific Poker each month is simply stunning. PokerStars follows with 6 hrs 7 mins and the twice as popular Party Poker software is used on average 3 hrs 43 mins per user per month. Beating MSN Messenger with an extra half hour of online time we see MSN Zone coming in at the 4th place. In terms of "stickyness" (number of sessions per month), Yahoo! Widgets holds the number one position with almost twice as much sessions per person (37 sessions) as MSN Messenger (ranked 8th with 18 sessions). Consult the top ten rankings here.
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