All new Windows Live

Last week we announced the all new Windows Live, updating some existing services and adding new ones. Windows Live is basically split up in 2 free rich web services (such as Hotmail, Skydrive, …) and also free downloadable software called Windows Live Essentials. The software has been in public beta for some weeks now, but last week we announced the full story including the web services part. To be totally clear, the web services will be rolled out soon, but here’s what they’ll look like.

Together with the folks from CommonCraft they made a little movie – in the known style – to explain it all a bit more.

winlivefilm

What it all means? It’s almost there, it looks good and I can finally talk about it :) I’ve been using the full set of services and clients for a while now I find it the best release (this on is called ‘wave 3’ internally) so far. Checking on the blogs after the announcement shows that most bloggers, reviewers, … seem to agree. So that’s even better. Hope you will all like it too, here are some quotes:

”My early reaction is surprisingly positive, and I can’t say that the two earlier Live Waves impressed me. Microsoft had the right concepts, but marginally executed on them. Wave 3 feels different and may follow the old axiom that Microsoft gets things right on the third version. The private beta was very fast—surprisingly so. Response was quicker than running desktop applications in Windows.” Joe Wilcox (Microsoft Watch)

“Microsoft’s software plus services strategy has clearly infiltrated Live.com as well as their approach with Office. Live.com users can now access a variety of online services like mail, calendar, photos, online storage, etc., as well as downloaded services that include a mail client, instant messaging, Movie Maker, Photo Gallery, the Toolbar and other services. And now it’s also one big social network. The result is an impressive personal productivity suite that makes me almost wish I wasn’t solely a Mac user.” Michael Arrington (Techcrunch)

“This is Big. Overall, these new services represent a major upgrade to the online part of the Windows Live suite. Microsoft is clearly trying to challenge both Yahoo and Google with its new photo application, while the new profiles and groups tie all the Live services together into a very sophisticated social network.” Frederic Lardinois (ReadWriteWeb)

I hope you all take some time to check out what’s available already and check all of it once it’s out there. With the renewed services, more integrated approach, 25G of free storage, social network partner integration, … I really think it’s worth it.

Mustang hood spotted!

I normally keep my Mustang stuff for that other blog, but this somehow fitted more on this one. If you have an interest in technology then you probably read a few tech blogs and just like me and a lot of other people see the excitement about cool new technology months before it gets released. Think about the iPhone, Android, Windows 7, … people start speculating about features and every miniscule change to a release date is big news. And wait until you get to see the first screenshots, or was that Photoshopped instead of the real deal? Who knows, but it keeps us all talking of course.

2010mustang

The last few weeks something similar happened (and is still ongoing) with the new 2010 Ford Mustang. The teaser website doesn’t really say much, apart from the fact that we still have to wait until Spring 09. But in these past few weeks, there have been spyshots of the new Mustang aka photos of a car that is partially covered and has a slight Dalmatian look and feel in many cases. But that happens to pretty much any car. In case of the Mustang – similar to what we’ve seen in the tech industry – every single piece of news around the new model is big news on all auto blogs. Take this “2010 Mustang hood spotted” for instance or the interior shots, … I didn’t keep track of everything but it always reminded me of what happens when let’s say people know Apple is working on an update of one of their products. Funny enough – and again similar – I’m not even sure if you’ll notice the difference with the ‘older’ Mustang to begin with.

Last but not least, with the 2010 Mustang also the Mustang badge changes:

mustangbadge

“A stronger, more dynamic pony badge with defined edges and crisper forms in a subtly toned tinted-chrome finish will charge across the grilles of the V-6 and GT versions of the 2010 Mustang.”

Okay, that’s way cool and all but would you have noticed the difference if no-one had told you? Anyway, I will keep track of this news just like I do for what happens in technology, though there were some nice similarities here.

Zune 3.0

Ever since I started using the 30G first generation Zune (yes that brown one) I’ve become quite fond of both the device and the software. And now you’ll probably say ‘sure, you work for Microsoft so that explains…’ etc. but I actually bought an iPod first (yes I already worked here). I’ve never been much of a fan of the navigation on the device, let alone of iTunes. Huge catalogue and all but I just don’t like it.

zunecard

Yesterday the Zune team released the 3rd generation of the Zune and I updated both my 1ste generation 30G Zune as well as the 2nd edition 8G Zune, which is the one I use most. And I got to say, seriously. I think the Zune software is worth installing even if you don’t have a Zune. The visualization is very nice, and especially (which is new in this release) how you can go into the MixView which shows similar artists (similar music or influenced by, …) and other Zune users that listened to this music. A nice mixture between recommendations from the music engine underneath as well as the social… hence the ‘Welcome to the social’ slogan for the Zune. Here’s what Wired had to say about MixView’s recommendation engine:

“Microsoft showed us a sneak preview of the Zune 3.0 software it plans to release on Sept. 16 with the latest generation of Zune devices, and what we saw made iTunes’ simple Genius feature look like a blast from digital music’s past. While iTunes serves up a text list of recommended songs within your library and from the iTunes store, adding to the more basic recommendations its MiniStore feature used to make, Zune reinvented the recommendation concept by collapsing artists, albums and fans into the same recommendation engine, more accurately mirroring the way people think about music.”

There’s just one thing missing though and that is  access to the Zune Marketplace. Since I live in Europe the only way for me to benefit from the all-you-can-eat monthly charge of $14.99 is to get a US credit card unfortunately. The new MixView makes me want that even more, since you obviously want to buy the music you’re discovering right away. So bring the Zune to Europe guys!

Photosynth: it’s here!

I can’t count the number of times I’ve written about Photosynth anymore, but trust me when I say the number of times I wanted to say even more is even bigger. I remember how the first reactions (the oohs and aahs) were quickly followed by questions about the computing power that would be needed to create synths your own. Well, we’ve been having access (I work for Microsoft) to the tool that allows you to create your own Synths for a while and yes your personal computer will do just fine. And since yesterday, you can all give it a try for yourself (only on Windows for the moment though).

Synther

Explore the nicest Synths right here or start creating your own right away. Here’s how to do it. Read more about this fascinating technology on the Photosynth blog, or read some of the reviews that are popping up: Mossberg, Scoble, Webware, O’Reilly Radar, …