Windows Live Wave 3 Preview

Windows Live After getting the first beta of the new Windows Live suite (download it here) yesterday I thought its time to express my opinions on the first beta release of the software package.

The download includes new versions of:

  • Windows Live Toolbar
  • Windows Live Photo Gallery (replaces Windows Gallery)
  • Windows Live Messenger
  • Windows Live Writer
  • Windows Live Mail
  • Windows Live Family Safety
  • Microsoft Office Outlook Connector

And the new Windows Live Movie Maker (replaces Windows Movie Maker). It is also speculated that the installer has references to Windows Live Sync and an Office Live.

In short this It what I’ve found:

  • Windows Live Mail – now includes Calendar integration
  • Windows Live Movie Maker – designed more for creating videos for YouTube and other services (MSN Soapbox)
  • Windows Live Messenger – multi location sign-on
  • Windows Live Photo Gallery – now does facial recognition, more third party plug-ins
  • Windows Live Writer – many advancements with better video embedding and a smarter UI

Messenger

Windows Live Messenger 2009 The new Windows Live Messenger now allow you to be signed in in more than one place, and comes with a number of UI improvements, plus with WPF on Windows Vista the interface is very nice.

You can have the default scheme or choose almost any picture on your computer. Although this doesn’t apply to the chat windows (note: this is a beta and Microsoft may correct this later).

The groups feature may be something that accompanies Windows Live Groups, but I have not tested this feature as of yet.

imageThere’s a new bit above the bit above the advert that shows what’s new from you contacts. For example, change of picture and change of personal messages.

The new messenger also has some integration with with Windows Live Skydrive in the form of a link.

Writer

The new Windows Live Writer seems to work a lot better with other non Microsoft services now. Before I wrote all my posts in a web editor, where now with the new Windows Live Writer I can see myself writing more of my posts with the program.

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The new user interface for the program is a great improvement, the old one was bold and in your face while you was trying to write. This one is similar for those who used the previous one but it’s clean, keeping it out of the way while you work.

Photo Gallery

The new photo gallery from the Windows Live team have done a good job with this one, the original photo gallery was almost the one shipped with Vista and a new UI slapped on.

image However the new has the same style interface as Windows Live Writer and some new features, like face deception that works in a similar way to that of Google’s Picasa Web Albums.

Movie Maker

The new Windows Live Movie Maker is not so great as it replaces the Windows Movie Marker that shipped Windows, it’s a giant leap backwards. No HD support, one transition and very few styles (note: again this is an early beta release and Microsoft will probably add more later).

image

Mail

As I use Outlook and web based email I didn’t install Windows Live Mail and can’t review it.

Fix MobileMe’s Push

Apple have been having a lot of problems with MobileMe lately and one of them is a key selling point of the product, push email. I, and many others, haven’t been getting our emails pushed to our iPhone.

Today I found a fix for this problem, here’s what to do on the iPhone:

  1. Go to Settings icon and then select Fetch data, toggle Push to off
  2. Power cycle the phone (power off iPhone for 30seconds to a minute. Then turn the phone back on)
  3. Go to Settings, then select Mail, Contacts, and Calendars. From here select the Mobile Me account and at the very bottom delete the Account
  4. Add the account back to the iPhone. Make sure to use “@me.com” or “@mac.com”
  5. Turn the option for Push back on and power cycle the phone once again

When the iPhone starts back up, send a test email to yourself. It can take a few minutes to arrive. Once it does, go ahead and send another test email and it should almost be instantaneous.

This doesn’t work for everyone but it did for me.

Thanks to d900man on the Mac Rumors Forums

iPhone 3G: Is it worth the hype

The short answer here is yes but that’s not why I’m writing this, I was the first of my friends to put down and get the new iPhone 3G and now everyone asks me what I think and should they get one. This is a short review and FAQ for those people thinking about asking me the same questions.

The new iPhone is the same as the old one in most parts. The main improvements are the speed of data (with 3G) and GPS support. You can get almost all the apps on the old iPhone after you update to the 2.0 software.

The phone is major improvement in my books. I held off the original because a phone that relies so much on the Internet should at least have 3G. Now the phone has that I was willing to stick by my word and buy it.

Now I’ve said that let me answer the most popular questions I get asked.

Do you regret buying it? No it’s a fantastic phone. I truly love it.

Should I buy it? Yes if you’re looking for a phone on contract and can afford it. Although don’t get the £30 a month O2 contract it’s not worth it.

Will the iPhone be on pay as you go? Yes around December O2 will be offering the iPhone on pay and go for around £500 – £700.

Make MP3s into iTunes Audiobooks

Normally when you download free audiobooks they are in the MP3 format, which is not bookmarkable and iTunes treats it as music. To get them into and iTunes Audiobook format is easier than you think.

For the purpose of this guide I will asume your book is spilt into parts, if yours isn’t you can skip to 3.

  1. First you need to get those files merged together in one file, to do this I use a sound editor. Import your MP3s and add them to a track lining them up in order with no gaps.
  2. Now export these as a low qualty MP3 file, an audiobook is only spoken word so 64Kbps is more than enough.
  3. Add your file to iTunes
  4. Change your Import settings. Go to edit > Preferences > Advanced > Importing and change “Import Using” to “AAC Encoder”, chnage”Settings” to “Custom” and “Stereo Bit Rate” to “64Kbps”. Your setting should look like the image below (click to enlarge)
  5. Right click the ‘song’ in iTunes and select “Convert Selection to AAC”.
  6. When this is completed right the new ‘song’ and click “Show in Windows Explorer”
  7. Rename this file “.m4b” and add it to iTunes again.

Once your done done you can delete all the MP3 version of the book you have.

The World is Flat Free Audiobook

Thomas L. Friedman’s book The World is Flat, 3.0 is avaliable as a free audiobook on his site, all you’ve got to do is sign up for his email newsletter and wait a while and you’ll get an email with a link to go download the 3 parts in DRM free MP3’s.

Once you’ve signed up and got your downloads you can unsubcribe with the link in the first confrimation email.

To make the MP3 files into an iTunes audiobook follow this guide.

Update: The free audiobook giveaway has now ended.