Jamie Thomson

Thoughts, about stuff

Another 10 secrets about Windows Live

with 4 comments

My last two 10 Secrets posts have garnered a fair bit of attention so I thought maybe it was time for another. These posts document all those little tips and tricks that newcomers to Windows Live products may not know about – I hope they are proving useful.


If you want to blog about something you are browsing on the web (and if you have Live Writer installed) then click the ‘Blog This’ button in Internet Explorer’s tab toolbar.

Live Writer will open up and be pre-populated with information about the web page.

Windows Live Tags: writer





You don’t need a @hotmail, @msn or @live email address in order to use Hotmail. I have a number of email aliases at my personal domain (jamie-thomson.net) and I access all of them using Hotmail. That gives me a great seamless experience because http://home.live.com doesn’t have any useless gaps.

Not only that but:

If I wanted to I could also let other people create email aliases at my domain as well. I don’t actually want to do that but you can see why this would be valuable for, say, a sports team or a theatre group.

Its all made possible at http://admincenter.live.com

Windows Live Tags: Admin Center







If you want to want to share a file that is on your SkyDrive with the rest of the world then you could provide a boring old URI.
Why not be bolder and add a user friendly icon for it instead. The "embed" link provided with each file is all that you need.

Windows Live Tags: Skydrive






A little known fact about Live Writer is that it can be used to update blog entries that you have already posted. Simply open the post from your "Recently Posted" list, hit ‘Publish’ and let Live Writer do all the work.

I don’t know if this works for all blog engines but it definitely works for Live Spaces.

Windows Live Tags: writer, spaces





If you use Office Live Workspaces at http://workspace.office.live.com then your recently updated workspaces will appear at http://home.live.com. Very handy.

Windows Live Tags: home





If you have a blog, or in fact any RSS feed, you can build a Live Alert that will send an alert to Messenger and/or an email telling you when a new post occurs at that feed.

Go to http://signup.alerts.live.com/brochure/index.jsp to set it up. You’ll be given HTML code that produces a sign-up link which you can then embed into any web page. The link opposite sets up a Live Alert for my blog at http://jamiethomson.spaces.live.com

Windows Live Tags: alerts


Windows Live Alerts




How often are you in need of phone support from your more tech savvy family members? Well if you’re talking to them on Live Messenger then use the ‘Request Remote Assistance’ feature and let them see your desktop or even control it.

Request Remote Assistance can be found on the ‘Activities’ menu of a Messenger conversation window.

Windows Live Tags: messenger





Would you like to keep your Messenger and Facebook statuses in sync? If you add the Windows Live Messenger application to your Facebook profile then any update to your Messenger status will automatically update Facebook.

Windows Live Tags: facebook, Messenger





Do you have friends that don’t speak your language? If you’re having a Messenger conversation with them then you can add the Machine Translator bot to your conversation and have it translate everything you say.

Just add mtbot@hotmail.com as a contact.

Windows Live Tags: Messenger, Translator





Often its useful to track search results to know when new content that you’re interested in appears on the web.

Live Search enables this by simply appending "&format=rss" onto the end of the Live Search URL.

For example, http://search.live.com/results.aspx?q=barack+obama&format=rss returns search results for Barack Obama as an RSS feed.

Windows Live Tags: search



If you want to read the previous two 10 secrets posts then hit the links here:


Written by Jamiet

September 16, 2008 at 10:47 pm

Posted in Windows Live

4 Responses

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  1. On your item on Live Writer, I do love the product but it does not go back far enough.  For example I have been posting for over a year now, back then tags weren’t really used and I would love to go back and tag/reorganize my posts but the limit is something like 25 entries.


    September 16, 2008 at 11:25 pm

  2. Jamie the update old posts works fine with LiveJournal but I agree with John that as you can only do this with your last 25 posts, its a little bit limited. Hmm, perhaps some feedback John to the Writer team.


    September 17, 2008 at 7:42 am

  3. Hey, this is Becky from the Writer team.  The 25 post limit is a known limitation of Windows Live Spaces (thta’s why it works with LiveJournal and other blog providers, but not yet Spaces).  This is something that we’re trying to address with a future release – thanks for the feedback!
    Also, Jamie, a question for you: I’m assuming you’re using Writer to publish the post and I’m wondering if you meant for the images to be right-aligned (and seemingly cut off) the way they appear on your blog.  Is that what you expected your post to look like?


    September 17, 2008 at 9:06 pm

  4. Hi becky,
    I’ve actually got them center-aligned. I guess that was a bad idea! Layout isn’t my strong-suit.
    Perhaps a "layout suggestion" feature for WL Writer might be in order? :)


    September 17, 2008 at 10:33 pm

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