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Windows Azure Services

October 31st, 2008 by kenlin@HK [MVP]

Windows® Azure is a cloud services operating system that serves as the development, service hosting and service management environment for the Azure Services Platform. Windows Azure provides developers with on-demand compute and storage to host, scale, and manage Web applications on the Internet through Microsoft® data centers.

To build these applications and services, developers can use their existing Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2008 expertise. In addition, Windows Azure supports popular standards and protocols including SOAP, REST, and XML. Windows Azure is an open platform that will support both Microsoft and non-Microsoft languages and environments.

 What is the Azure Services Platform?

Posted in .NET Framework, MS SQL, Windows Live | Comments Off on Windows Azure Services

Windows-Live Messenger TV

May 13th, 2008 by Patrick S

With the availability of rich media such as online video becoming more and more important in day-to-day life the Windows Live team have come up with a pretty neat idea to share video with a friend through Windows Live Messenger.
Messenger TV is born: Launching in 20 countries (Surprisingly not the U.S) and in 12 languages, Microsoft hopes to lure a few more people away from youtube and onto the MSN powered service.

“Watching online video is no longer about one person in front of their computer, it’s now a social experience. Users can now share a selection of free content and watch it at the same time as their friends through Messenger TV.” 

To do this Microsoft have partnered with a number of popular content providers, such as MTV, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, National Geographic, and the U.K.’s Channel 4 to offer content that people will want to watch

To give it a whirl simply open up a convo with a friend, click activities and select Messenger TV. If you cant wait to try it with a buddy you could add the bot ( [click on the link to add]) and it will take care of the rest.

The service is determined by your Internet Language options…so if you have it set to English (U.S) then chances are it won’t work for you. Using something link English (U.K) or English (N.Z) should do the trick. 

Click for bigger view

Check out

Posted in MS News, Windows Live, Windows Live Messenger | Comments Off on Windows-Live Messenger TV

Uploading photos without connecting physical camera cable???

February 1st, 2008 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

What is Eye-Fi?

eye-fi-box-smallThe Eye-Fi Card is a wireless memory card. It automatically uploads pictures from your digital camera to your PC or Mac and to your favorite photo sharing, printing, blogging or social networking site.

No cables, no waiting, no hassles.

What have we done?

I’ve been working with the awesome team at Eye-Fi (and others from Windows Live – shout out to JP Wollersheim, Federico Raggi & YuanYuan Yu) to enable user’s photos to be seamlessly transferred from their camera into their Windows Live Space. We weren’t the first to the party here as our Photo API only came out in November, but it is awesome that any of our 100 million+ Windows Live Spaces users could use this Eye-Fi service.


Why would I publish to Spaces and not some other service?

Other people (not me, I’m a super extravert) may only want to share their photos with friends and family (i.e. the people on your Windows Live Messenger Buddy List). Using Windows Live Spaces it is really easy to setup those permissions. That way you get the flexibility of instantly sharing your pictures, but knowing they are secure. You can also store lots more information in your Windows Live Space which you can securely share with your friends & family, so it is more than just a photo sharing site.

How did they do it?

Eye-Fi used the Windows Live Spaces Photo API which allows users to delegate permission for Eye-Fi to Create/Read/Update/Delete Photos & Albums in their Windows Live Space. Delegation is important (as I mentioned in this Wired article with my new promotion) because users should never share their Windows Live ID credentials (username & password). The end user is also in control of their information as they can revoke permissions, so any web site they have granted access to will need to re-request.


Posted in Windows Live | Comments Off on Uploading photos without connecting physical camera cable???

Spammers Hijack Microsoft’s SkyDrive Service

January 11th, 2008 by Patrick S

Microsoft’s Windows Live SkyDrive (formally Windows Live Folders) launched their public beta late last year. It is an online storage service for sharing files and links… and NOW it’s also an online repository for spammers to host links to their electronic junk-mail/spam.

The service lets you save information online for personal use; share information with select people based on their Live ID, with either read or contributor permissions; and makes content available to anyone via web-links. The Live SkyDrive interface is simple and intuitive, and the service currently enforces a 1GB limit.

As of late spammers have been abusing this service by taking advantage of a loophole (of such) within the Sky Drive system itself. So how do they do it?

Spammers simply create a free SkyDrive account and upload a simple html file that redirects the unsuspecting viewer to a respiratory of pills and meds for sale (how cliché).
The html file is relatively simple, consisting of some basic JavaScript:

<html><body><script language=JavaScript>window.location.replace(

So what makes services like these worth abusing and attractive to spammers?

  • Unique urls
  • Domains relatively safe from blacklisting
  • Link longevity
  • abuse handling issues
  • Features – host *almost anything*
  • Great Price
  • Someone else pays the hosting costs

Usually spammers use compromised servers in foreign countries or bonnets to send out their spam, however utilizing file sharing sites (such as SkyDrive) is not the newest trick in the book, this one just got hit…hard & suddenly.

Another interesting point is the number of times we trapped each URL was interestingly low for such a big campaign, I’d therefore estimate they had tens of thousands of files uploaded- McAfee Weblog.

Microsoft have come to the party however and are beginning to shut down these malicious SkyDrive accounts (some 24 hours after they had started), instead replacing the old malicious files with Sky Drive Welcome Notes as seen here.

Yet another instance of “If its free and worth abusing, discovery time is the variable these days”

Posted in Security, Windows Live | 2 Comments »

[Microsoft Live Labs] Volta: Web Development Using Only the Materials in the Room

December 7th, 2007 by kenlin@HK [MVP]


Today, Microsoft Live Labs is announcing the Volta technology preview, a developer toolset for building multi-tier web applications using existing and familiar tools, techniques and patterns. Volta’s declarative tier-splitting enables developers to postpone architectural decisions about distribution until the last possible responsible moment. Also, thanks to a shared programming model across multiple-tiers, Volta enables new end-to-end profiling and testing for higher levels of application performance, robustness, and reliability. Using the declarative tier-splitting, developers can refine architectural decisions based on this profiling data. This saves time and costs associated with manual refactoring. In effect, Volta extends the .NET platform to further enable the development of software+services applications, using existing and familiar tools and techniques.

You architect and build your application as a .NET client application, assigning the portions of the application that run on the server tier and client tier late in the development process. You can target either web browsers or the CLR as clients and Volta handles the complexities of tier-splitting. The compiler creates cross-browser JavaScript for the client tier, web services for the server tier, and all communication, serialization, synchronization, security, and other boilerplate code to tie the tiers together. In effect, Volta offers a best-effort experience in multiple environments without requiring tailoring of the application.

Posted in .NET Framework, Beta News, Computing, Daily Life, Microsoft, Windows Live | Comments Off on [Microsoft Live Labs] Volta: Web Development Using Only the Materials in the Room

Project Shutter on Windows Live – Win Prizes by just taking photos!

June 13th, 2007 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

All residents of Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, India, and Mainland China above the age of 21, there’s a photography contest in town!

Project Shutter – Live In My City is about showing your own city’s uniqueness through your city’s FOOD, CULTURE or ARCHITECTURE. So if you are good, creative and interested in photography, come join this contest and you stand a chance to win prizes which include HP Pavilion or HP Printers!

What are you waiting for? Submission ends on the 29th June 2007!

You can find more about it at Project Shutter’s website!

Posted in Windows Live | Comments Off on Project Shutter on Windows Live – Win Prizes by just taking photos!

Windows Live: undocumented links

May 12th, 2007 by Zack Whittaker

I’ve just written a post on how big Windows Live is (basically my way of spreading a few links that aren’t very well documented around the web. It’s worth a look, there are at least 7 there which you might not even know exists.

View at source.

Posted in Windows Live | Comments Off on Windows Live: undocumented links

Microsoft is entering the porn business

April 1st, 2007 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

Every year, porn industry earns billions of dollars, and this industry isn’t slowing down any moment yet. Porn is still a growing industry especially with the introduction of internet.

When there’s a market, there’s Microsoft. There was Macintosh, before Windows. There was Netscape, before Internet Explorer comes into the picture. There was Google, then Windows Live.

According to our insider, Microsoft is going to have a press release this week about entering the porn business. It seems like Microsoft is going to brand this new porn business division under Windows Live brand.

Believe it or not, we’ll have more coming this week.

Stay tuned!

Posted in MS News, MSBLOG Related, Windows Live | 5 Comments »

Windows Live Mail desktop beta refresh

March 30th, 2007 by Zack Whittaker

With little news coming over the networks and the wires, Windows Live Mail desktop beta has been refreshed and somehow rolled out. Now this is very confusing, as a little time earlier, my application crashed and caused me to restart.I restarted, and the advertisement pane just vanished. So maybe now the final version won’t have advertisements? Who knows, the adverts are still around on my Windows Live Hotmail and Spaces pages, so who knows.

The new build appears to be 8.0.1226, three builds up from the previous version reported here. No differences are noticed as yet – the beta tags are still in place, and as of 00:43 BST in England, LiveSide hasn’t reported it yet – as it seems, we’re the first people. Check out the screenies below.

Source: Live and Beyond

Posted in Windows Live | 4 Comments »

Windows Live Hotmail Milestone 10

March 23rd, 2007 by Zack Whittaker

You can expect to see the following updates/fixes/changes in M10:

  • Windows Live Hotmail branding.
  • Faster & More Reliable.
  • Classic Version enhancements such as Spell Check, improved Photo Upload Control, and Bi-directional language support.
  • Improved Safety Bar.
  • Version Picker (choose “Classic” or “Full”).
  • More “forgiving” checkboxes.

The Hotmail Team rolls out Milestone updates in waves by server bays instead of all at once. So if you’ve not been updated, give it some time. You’ll know you’re updated once you see the “Windows Live Hotmail” branding in the header.

Source: Liveside

Zack’s Note: different types of user, users from different locations and a number of different factors determine your bay number. Your bay number is found in the address of when you access your Live Hotmail (mine is 9 by the way). Bays related to virtual servers running the backend stuff, and some will be updated before others. Mine already has new branding, whilst my other email account doesn’t. It’ll take time, around 24-48 hours for everything to get re-done.

Posted in Microsoft, Windows Live | 1 Comment »

Bye bye Microsoft, and thanks for all the fish

March 9th, 2007 by Zack Whittaker

Some people have questioned me over the last week or so asking, “are you leaving Microsoft” and all this. Let’s get something straight first… I was never Microsoft’s b***h and never will be. I’ve worked with the Windows Live guys now for little less than a year starting off on Messenger and Spaces and moving on to web safety. Web safety (or rather as it’s now known as family safety as it’s more appropriate) means an awful lot to me. I’ve got a young goddaughter and a much older sister who uses the Internet and to be fair, there are all kinds of weirdo’s out there who would love to bury their faces into a young’un and it makes me sick to the core. Being a younger gentleman, I have added advantages of being young and having that special perspective which a lot of other people have. I started really young – most people could never say they’ve worked with some of the amazing people I have by the age of 15, and now I’m 18 and have met even more influential people, it makes me glad I started testing in the first place.

The Windows Live division, more specifically the family safety section is undergoing a major restructuring backend with people being shifted around from place to place, even if they’ve been doing that job for a good length of time. Family safety is really important to Microsoft but from my perspective, it’s being put off more and more because people are being shifted around. Someone I’ve done work for, Jo who worked on the family safety products for some time, isn’t working on it anymore; that really saddens me as I know she loved doing it. From what I understand, a big head of citizenship (of which the family safety comes under the hood of) has been replaced which will mean it’ll take months to find someone else let alone the time to bring them up to speed with what’s going on.
There aren’t the resources available, nor is there enough money to really push forward with some of these great ideas which have been bounced around internally.

Because of this, people have already reported that the Windows Live OneCare Family Safety product won’t be around until the summertime. The product is pretty much nearly done and I suspect one of the reasons why it’s not moving forward is because of the lack of resources and people. There are some interdependencies here and there however, like needing to interact with other products and ensuring that other teams are on track so that the Family Safety product can move forward. We’re talking about Microsoft, one of the biggest and most wealthy organisations in the world, and there isn’t the money to do these things, to protect the kids online from the things they should never have to experience. I’ve had a whole wave of ideas which could seriously improve the family safety side of things within products and existing solutions, but because of the lack of money and people being busy with hiring new leads of citizenship, these ideas are all pending for a good 6 months.

Now maybe it’s because I’m young and stupid and naïve, but can the kids of this world wait another 6 months? These threats are getting more intense every day and its Microsoft’s products which are central to these because they’re so popular with the users. It’s not Microsoft’s fault that these services are being exploited; it’s their fault for being so popular, which is hardly a bad thing. This is why I focused on Microsoft for the web safety – because they have the products and the services which are being used and that could be improved and secured for the younger generation.
One thing I can be super proud of – is that I’ve greatly contributed to improving the Windows Live OneCare Family Safety filter with the help of Jo, and that’s something which I’m proud of. Some of the people I’ve worked with – my God, just brilliant.

I’ve had a “mentor” being Philippa, and without doubt the best “boss” I’ve ever had. Cristiano, Dev, Andy, Jo, to name a few – it’s been a good stretch. But for the time being, I’ve only really got to say this as I wrap it up. I’m not leaving Microsoft as I was never really part of it in terms of a paid full time position. For the time being, I’m stepping back for some time, letting things mull over, I’ll still do the odd bit here and there no doubt but it’s time to focus on me and me only. I need to get past these next few months and finish my further education, and head on to higher education at university starting this September/October. Who knows what’ll happen next… I guess I’ll just have to take things in my stride and let things happen as and when they do.

Posted in Daily Life, Microsoft, Online Safety, Windows Live | 3 Comments »

OneCare Family Safety updated

March 2nd, 2007 by Zack Whittaker

Windows Live OneCare Family Safety has been updated to a Beta 2 refresh status. Current users will get a notification through asking you to update, new users will be able to download it from the website by tomorrow morning.

Check it out:

Posted in Online Safety, Windows Live | Comments Off on OneCare Family Safety updated

Windows Live Mail hits the next milestone

January 23rd, 2007 by admin

As we were expected, Windows Live Mail was upgraded to M9 (Milestone 9) last night. Some changes include:

  • Much faster loading and advanced Firefox compatibiity (works fully in Firefox 2)
  • The Classic Mode will be the default view from Hotmail users – brand new users won’t be taken to the fully AJAX’d page but to the Classic interface for “ease-of-use” purposes.
  • A new Today page rolls out, including what would be on your Today page in Windows Live Messenger.
  • Recent Updates now added as a tabbed page on the Today page allowing you to switch to what’s changed (blogs, contacts and newsletters etc.)
  • Search bar at the top of the page updated and tweaked slightly for the other themes.
  • New icons added to the right click menus, and generally the right click menus have been added and updated.
  • In Classic view, the top menu bar with “New, Reply, Forward and Delete” have been added to the bottom of each message for ease-of-use for longer messages.

Check the new interface here at Windows Live Mail.



Posted in Windows Live | 1 Comment »

What Windows Server Home is all about

January 8th, 2007 by Zack Whittaker

Windows Home Server is certainly going to be a highlight for Microsoft in the home-user department. It’s going to be based loosely on Windows Vista but with some server addition’s thrown in which make it easier for the standard home user to administrate and sort out their files and networking.

It’s not clear however whether Windows Live Drive will have anything to do with Windows Home Server or not. What we’ve managed to establish so far:

  • Windows Home Server will be released sometime this year as a product for home users to centralize their files, media and folders.
  • Storage will be easily expandable so you can have gigabytes, terabytes and even petabytes of storage as long as your hardware supports it.
  • You’ll be able to access your files from anywhere on the web.
  • Windows Home Server will be an operating system similar to Windows Vista and not so similar to Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server “Longhorn”.
  • Windows Live will be involved in making remote access possible.
  • Server backups will be optional but installed as standard, and each file will be backed up incrementally online saving your bandwidth and online storage space*

Read full story at source.

Posted in Windows Live, Windows Server System | Comments Off on What Windows Server Home is all about

Upcoming interview with GPM of Windows Live – get your questions in!

December 21st, 2006 by Zack Whittaker

Got a treat for you guys! In a series of interviews which will be coming to MSBLOG over the next few weeks, we start off with…

Philippa Snare
Group Product Manager – Live Services – Microsoft UK
She manages a team of UK product managers who are responsible for the end to end
    business plans and strategies for each of the Live Services Products: Mail, Messenger,
    Mobile, Spaces, Domains, Family Safety, Premium Services and Personal Expression.

A highly respected and important figure for Windows Live in the UK, and she’ll be answering your questions on all that is Windows Live. I’ve worked with Philippa for some time in and out the London office during my internship-type-thingy, and she’s a wealth of knowledge for MSN, Windows Live and life within Microsoft.

Get your comments in now! Simply add a comment, and she’ll pick out the best ones and we’ll have a reply here on MSBLOG in a couple of weeks. Closing date: Thursday, 28th December 2006.

 Digg this story

Posted in Interviews, Microsoft, Windows Live | 7 Comments »

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