New releases from Microsoft: Windows Live Writer, IE 7 RC 1

There has been a number of new software releases mostly from Microsoft recenlty. This blog post was composed using a beta software from Microsoft called Windows Live Writer. It is a beta and as such anything that is to be expected of a beta will likely show up at some point. I installed it but was not impressed by Windows Live Writer’s first impression so I left it alone for a couple of days.

Looking at it again today does not change my impression about it. First of all, it is just too basic and thus increases anxiety about its prospects for a break down. The first thing I did after installing Windows Live Writer beta, was connect to my blog on; I am not a veteran of the blogging world, but I expected at least an ability to see my previous posts and such. Oh wait, I can see my previous posts but I have to jump through a couple of hoops to get there.

The interface of Windows Live Writer is horrible: its like a cross between pre-Vista/Office 2007 layout and Windows XP/Office 2003 layout. There is no harmony in the whole interface; I can’t help feel like there are a lot more features lurking under those menus.

The other application that I have been looking at is called Windows Live Mail Desktop Beta. Well, it is not exactly new but this is the first time that I have downloaded and installed it. All in all, I am impressed and frankly looking forward to the final release of Windows Live Mail Desktop beta. The interface is Windows Vista style and the layout is great; there is a certain degree of simplicity in it which makes some pretty complex operations seamless and almost effortless.

I have also been exploring RSS feeds over the last couple of days. I spent some time configuring my page on I was pleasantly surprised that I can access the RSS feeds I added to IE from Windows Live Mail Desktop  Beta. Reading the feeds from the mail client is more convenient than having to follow them through the web. I have since then added a number of feeds to IE so that I can have a look at them from Windows Live Mail Desktop beta; browsing the feeds offline will be a great addition to the whole experience.

At the start of Windows Live Mail Desktop beta installation, it advertises its ability to manage multiple email accounts (Gmail, Yahoo and AOL Mail). I have tried setting up Yahoo Mail in Windows Live Mail Desktop beta without any success so far. I don’t have the required server info to connect to Yahoo Mail servers. I have had earlier attempts of setting up Yahoo Mail on Outlook and other mail clients like Thunderbird – the same ol problem of server addresses is alive and well. I didn’t try to configure Gmail as it will most likely work flawlessly. Well, I just don’t want to have both email accounts accessible from a single interface. Interacting with Windows Live Mail Desktop beta is an experiment though Gmail is a long running experiement in itself (judging by its long beta status – and it still continues).

Still on Windows Live Mail Desktop beta, it allows for blogging as well though that is a feature which I am yet to test but I can see its usefulness in blogging about the various RSS feeds that I come across.

IE 7 RC 1

IE 7 is nearing completion and so far I have not had any major problems with it since my struggle with the first beta. I have been using IE 7 beta for the last two months. Overall, it is an improvement over IE 6 and catches up with Firefox (oh good ol Firefox) on many features. I still prefer Firefox though. For some strange reason, I tend to think of IE when I am surfing MS ware such as MSDN, Hotmail and even My experience with these websites on Firefox has not been the best: the main problem is that the font size is just too small for comfortable reading. Yes, I am guilty of customizing Firefox settings but I don’t feel like making adjustments to accommodate MS websites.

I am still getting used to the IE 7 layout – I find myself looking for the stop button when surfing since it is practically hidden next to the address bar. Of course it could be residual programming from the days of IE 6 as well as my continuous interaction with Firefox.

I have not yet insalled IE 7 RC 1 but I don’t expect any new features … if I do find anything interesting, this post is going to be edited accordingly.

All the software I have mentioned in this blog post are some what connected in one way or the other: there is a tool bar that allows blogging from within IE 7. The toolbar is called Windows Live Toolbar.

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