‘Cross the vine

For the last few months I’m running a column at Newsvine next to my blog. I got on the Newsvine beta back in January, but it wasn’t until May or so that I actively started using it. I don’t use the Newsvine column to write stuff (which is possible though) because that’s what I do here. I use it to capture links to interesting articles that I’m not writing about on ‘Cross The Breeze. I’m on Delicious as well, but I miss the conversation element there, although it’s great to see who else saved the links. And Digg, well I got my account but never liked using it that much. And I think the conversation on Newsvine is in general of a better quality. But that’s a personal opinion of course.

So whenever you’re interested in the things I write about, then you might be interested in my Newsvine column as well. You can find an extract of it in the right nav, or at http://crossthebreeze.newsvine.com.

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It’s violent out there!

How long ago did you read about the latest iPod killer? Sony, Microsoft, … all of these companies had there secret weapon in the battle owning this space. And it is a battle. Microsoft attacks blackberry, Apple attacks digital living room, Google attacks the desktop, … and I could go on and on. And there are casualties as well. Apparently DVD is dead, radio is dead and cinema is about to die soon, … Yeah it’s violent out there, I wonder if I need to duck the next time I see one of our competitors ;-)

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Not enough drama?

Why do they do that? Isn’t there enough ‘drama’ in the image? This weekend bloggers found out about a photo that had been manipulated, faked by a Reuters’ photographer. In a really clumsy way, he added smoke to the image of Beirut to make it more dramatic i guess. Reuters pulled the image immediately and offered the corrected version soon after, question remains who really altered the image: the photographer or the editor?

Reuters fake:

beiroet-0.jpg

Reuters corrected (original):

beirut-real.jpg

Windows Live updates (4)

The fourth edition already of my Windows Live updates postings (number 3 was over a month ago). I got loads of news, links, stories, releases, … that I bookmarked since the last update so let’s hope I can make some sense out of this post, trying to put them all together.

The first big update is the most recent, namely the launch of Windows Live Spaces. It was announced quite a while ago, but here it is: spaces.live.com since a couple of hours ago. New Windows Live UI – of course – but also some new features like the possibility to upload 500 photos per month, friends of friends, RSS integration and gadgets for Spaces just like we know them from Live.com (not in all countries though).

Since my last update mid June, there have also been some updates on Live.com, mainly for Windows Live Search. The caching feature was added (finally) and together with the Messenger team, they added a search activity to Messenger that works really well (US only – screenshot below).

imsearch.jpg

Next up related to search are the Windows Live Toolbar and Windows Live Search Center, the new all in search solution for the desktop. The toolbar was launched in the US just a few days ago, and international releases can be expected soon. If you want to know more about the desktop solution, Darren wrote a post about it’s new UI.

toolbar.JPG

Other launches in the last few weeks: the Official US launch of Windows Live Expo and the start of the UK beta, the international launch of Windows Live Favorites and the beta launch of Windows Live Gallery, where you can get you gadgets, bots, activities, toolbar add-ins, … At experience.live.com you can a new way of presenting what Windows Live is all about.

Some cool Messenger stuff can be found at MSN Cartoon Creator from our Chinese colleagues. You can find a bit more info on how to do this (unless you speak Chinese) on Darren’s blog. The Xbox guys have made some changes as well to the Xbox tab in Messenger where you can now see your Xbox Live friends as well.

Finally, it ain’t over ’till it’s over, there is indeed a lot more to come. As you can read on Liveside, there’s more mobile on the way and Windows Live Drive maybe?

La Scuderia

Just before I was about to close my PC, I quickly checked my RSS feeds for a last time and well what do you know, … Schumacher has just been punished for his mistake during qualifying at the Monaco F1 Grand Prix. Man, that's just bad news! So much for a great Grand Prix tomorrow…

Windows Live updates (2)

Last Friday Live.com got a new update! The updates are related to user complaints or requests. Most important for me is the improvement on performance but also smaller updates like the ability to refresh gadgets individually or the possibility to export your OPML are interesting updates. In the meantime the US version of Live.com also got a new vertical/scope, namely shopping. Related to the subject is the Windows Live Shopping beta that was also launched just recently.

Another new beta on Windows Live Search is Windows Live QnA – or Community Q&A as we used to call it – which is an invite only beta, but here's a screenshot of the service and more info can also be found at Techcrunch and Search Engine Watch. Looking forward to the integration with the other Windows Live services.

02_qna ask screen.jpg

Windows Live Messenger got an update too. People using Windows Live Messenger were asked to upgrade to version 8.0.0689 which is like a final draft. Read the post of Program Manager Leah to see what's new in this version. If you're not on the beta yet: watch this space! On the MSN Space of the Windows Live Mail team we can read that the M6 release is to be expected soon with enhanced Firefox support and better performance as two key improvements.

Developers can also find some updates on the Windows Live Developer Center, mainly for Windows Live ID and Windows Live Custom Domains Management. Finally there's news for advertisers since Microsoft adCenter was released in the US. Curious what it can do? Then check out the fact sheet here

[UPDATE: the Livemsn.tv team just announced the 3rd episode of this MSN initiative (Netherlands) to inform advertisers on online advertising, you can get access at Livemsn.tv if you haven't got it yet]