The slogan for Windows Cloud proclaims “To The Cloud!” The service claims to connect everything from your PC to the Cloud. Use it to create photos, documents and movies. Connect to the people and files you care about the most. Share what matters anywhere – anytime – easily. Doesn’t that give you warm, fuzzy feelings just thinking about it?
There are many other services out there which can accomplish the same things. It’s getting tough these days to know which one may be “right” for you. How do you decide?
You can never have enough storage space for files. What if I told you that you can get another 1GB of storage… absolutely free?
If you have a Windows Live id, you can sign up for the new SkyDrive from Microsoft. This Internet-based storage solution is free, and very easy to use. Simply sign up using your Windows Live id, and start uploading files.
Once your files are uploaded, you can access them securely using either Internet Explorer or Firefox. You can also choose to share your files with friends and associates. There are two levels of “outsider” access: reader and editor. The names are self explanatory. A reader is allowed access to read your files once you give them the login information. An editor has access to read and manipulate or change the files. They can be shared across the country… or across the world. When you sign in to Windows Live SkyDrive, you’re in charge. For each folder you create, you choose who has access to it. Add new folders, rename them, or change who has access at any time. So you can share some folders… but not others!
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Ponzi hates the WordPress admin interface – hates it to the point where she complains about it every time she views it. As such, I think she’s decided to stop blogging (although she loves talking about blogging, she never actually gets around to doing it). I don’t mind it with SpotMilk, actually. Every time I go looking for a desktop blog management tool, I always go back to the original Web interface. The Windows Live Writer is hoping to change all that, but they’re not even close to winning me over (haphazard fonts, few customization options, built on the slow .NET platform, etc.). I think it’ll be good at v3.0, but let’s just see if Ponzi likes v1.0. Until then, I’ll continue to prepare posts in Outlook message windows. Anybody else giving this newly-released Windows Live Writer utility a stab – or comparing it against other clients like w.Bloggar (which is also in sad need of updating)?
Sean Carver is a rock star. No, seriously – he’s one of the guys at Microsoft who has always listened to my feedback. Not sure he’s always able to push my suggestions through the pipeline, but he really does listen (and I wish I could say that about more people I kenw). Microsoft just launched v8 of their Messenger product. It’s good, and I’d recommend it over previous versions of Microsoft’s IM client, but there are a few things that are holding it back from being great:
Yay: Cleaner, more efficient UI. I’m still not going to switch from Trillian 2.0, but I’m not immediately turned off by Windows Live Messenger’s interface. It’s still a bit laden with oversights, but not so many that it’s painful to use.
Boo: Advertisement overkill. Seriously, can’t I just pay to remove all ads from all Windows Live / MSN services? That, to me, would be worth $100 a year. Enough with the upsells, man – some of us just want to connect with friends and co-workers.
Yay: Yahoo! IM interoperability is coming. While this is a huge step in the right direction, I think more people would opt for the Yahoo! IM experience – which is far less annoying and contains fewer (if any) ads.
Boo: I don’t use MSN Spaces, I don’t use Windows Media Player, I don’t use Windows Live Mail, I don’t use Windows Live Search – but that’s all I can get to through Windows Live Messenger (go figure).
Yay: You can easily change the color of the window. Sounds like a minor feature, but try a few different colors on for size. It’s kinda nice!
Yay: You can import favorites from your del.icio.us account. Of course, I don’t use del.icio.us because they’re still blocking Gada.be – but it shows that Microsoft is willing to think outside their own universe (if only for importing).
Boo: You can’t control conversation fonts. I hate when people use 84pt Courier New to send messages to me. They think it’s wonderful – I don’t. And now, apparently, there’s no way of turning that off? Gah. Big mistake.
There, at least my impressions weren’t completely negative – but as I mentioned before, I’ll be sticking with Trillian 2.0 for the time being (going on record as stating that Trillian 3.0 is a performance dog). Windows Live Messenger 8.0 is certainly an improvement over 7.5. No instant messaging client is perfect, but if I were Microsoft, I’d start paying attention to Google. They hired the GAIM guy for Google Talk, ya know? No matter, I’m glad that Sean Carver’s team got this one out the door – but I want them to invite me into their office to make 8.5 a little more power-user friendly.