Problems with your Hotmail upgrade? have recently published their latest post regarding some problems that some users are currently encountering since the new Hotmail upgrade. These problems can all be read on the Windows Live Solution Centre and tend to range from not being able to open any emails  in order to read them to not being able to reply to someone. Funnily enough, the obvious workaround for any Hotmail user is to simply use Windows Live Mail on their computer desktop in order to access their Hotmail accounts until such time as the Hotmail team gets these problems sorted out. As a user who never accesses her Hotmail online ever, I have not suffered from any problems with my Hotmail account. Of course, some users may not have used Windows Live Mail before so here’s a step by step through using Windows Live Mail in order to access your Hotmail Account.

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Windows Live Writer. the new Wave 4 version.

I have recently been putting the new beta version of Live Writer through its paces, and I thought that some of you might be interested in my findings.  For most WordPress users there are some very useful  new features available in the Ribbon Interface and I will feature some of these now.

The first welcome addition for WordPress users is the ability to not only go straight to your dashboard from the ribbon, but also to be able to manage your comments as well as go straight to your blog. I think that WordPress users will really welcome this new feature.

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Windows Live Wave 4. The Home Page.

Our Home page has had lot’s of fantastic new features added in the new Wave 4 updates, and I know that they will all be popular with everyone who uses the Windows Live site. Here are some of my favourite new features in the Home page.

Hotmail Highlights.

Hotmail highlights lets you see as soon as you enter your home page whether you have any emails, any private messages, all your flagged messages, etc. It also has a very useful birthday reminder for you which shows any up and coming birthdays of any of your friends on Windows Live, Facebook or any other service that you have enabled. Not only that, you can send that person a message straight away by clicking on the ‘send a message’ at the side. How handy is that? Now you have no more excuses for forgetting anyone’s birthday!

Private messages kept seperate.


Over on the right hand side of your Home page is a list of your messenger friends and this will show three of your contacts who are online by default,  but you can click on show all and the rest will then appear. Just click on a name, and the Messenger chat window will then open so that you can chat to your friends right there on your home page. Now that’s handy I’m sure you’ll agree! You can move the Messenger chat window around the Home page and place it anywhere you prefer. The Messenger chat window can be made larger by clicking on the ‘pop out’ icon at the top right hand corner of the window.

Using the chat window on the Home page

Messenger Social.

Underneath the Hotmail highlights lies Messenger social, the new name for all of your updates formally known in Wave 3 as What’s new with your Network. However in my opinion, the best new feature in Wave 4 is there is no longer any need to read about what your friends are up to on other sites or on Windows Live and not being able to interact with any of those updates , or have to click on the update and then leave Windows Live. Now you can comment on any of your friends updates made in  other social networking sites such as Facebook that you are connected to without leaving your home page!  The Highlights tab which is the default choice for your updates in Messenger social shows any updates from friends who are favourites for example. The other choices of updates that you can view are as follows, Recent, Me (your own updates) then under the More tab, you have the following updates, Photos, Status Messages, Links, Videos and Blogs.  If you choose the to see all your video updates, you can then watch them  right there in the Messenger Social feed, or you can comment on others blog posts and status updates without moving from your Home page. Not only that, all updates go up to at least 100, so you easily catch up what’s been happening whilst you’ve been offline or asleep.

Watching a video from inside my updates

So in the new Windows Live Wave 4 it’s so much easier to keep tabs on everything your friends are up to wherever they hang out and keep in touch with them but still remain in Windows Live, and you can chat away with any of them right there on your Home page.

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Windows Live Writer Wave 4, some more screen grabs.

Of all the leaked screen grabs of the upcoming Windows Live Wave 4 updates posted on the Internet so far  Windows Live Writer certainly seems to be the furthest ahead in terms of development judging by these pictures.

windows_live_writer_wave4_image_editThe screen grab above shows the Picture tab choices across the ribbon complete with all the obvious choices available to the user in easy to click on (and find!) icons which are really simple to understand for the most novice user. These are divided into seperate areas across the ribbon as follows, Size, Rotate, Picture Styles, Properties, Settings, Alignment ( complete with easy to understand icons of each picture position in relation to the text) and lastly Margins. (which I find that most Writer users don’t make enough use of.) Also note that the Set Category and Set Publish date are now placed just below the ribbon so the user isn’t constantly having to scroll down to the bottom of the edit/compose screen in order to access any feature.  Good thinking team!  Note also that the right hand side bar is now no longer needed as every choice and feature that it contained is now easily available via the ribbon interface thereby allowing the full width of the screen for a users blog post.

Wave 4 Live Writer ribbon

This next screen grab shows the Home tab on the ribbon. There does seem to be one area  of this screen grab that I feel is not needed on the Home ribbon and that is the Insert area.  The Home tab ribbon is divided into Clipboard, Publish, Font, Paragraph (which also contains tabs,numbering, quotes and align) HTML styles reminiscent of those found in the Word ribbon and which appears to work in a similar way, Insert which is not necessary in this Home ribbon seeing as it has its own tab and so is surplus to requirements in this part of the Ribbon Interface, and lastly Editing which contains the inbuilt spelling checker, word count, find and Select All. Note everyone that lovely wide area now available for your composing and editing!  Brilliant!

Smileys in Writer wave 4 1

Lastly a much closer view of the Insert tab ribbon showing everything that you can insert into your post. Firstly we have the all new singing and dancing Breaks consisting of Horizontal line (Hurrah!) Clear break and Split post followed by Tables, Media which naturally includes Hyperlink, Picture, Video, Photo Album, Map, Post Tags and some cool new Emoticons, and lastly Plug-ins containing Add a plug-in and Manage plug-ins. I just wish I had my mitts on it all!

My grateful thanks to for these screen grabs.


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