Moving your Photo Albums over from Windows Live To WordPress.

This how to is specifically aimed at all those Spacers who are requesting that they be able to transfer not only their blog to WordPress but also their photo albums they have stored on Windows Live. Here is a step by step through transferring them over to WordPress.

NOTE!  WordPress does not allow as much storage for your photos for free as is available on Windows Live, therefore it might be prudent to choose only those albums from Windows Live that you really want to associate with your blog on WordPress. Any other Photo Albums might best be either left on Windows Live or if you intend to not visit there once your blog is transferred to WordPress, then it might be better to alternatively download them  and store them all  on an external drive or DVD.

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Windows Live, stats and nostalgia.

Seeing as I have been so bored waiting for the new Wave 4 updates to arrive,  I thought I’d do some ‘homework’ on the Windows Live site itself. Who uses it? How many users per month? Are there less users now than there were last year? What sort of user is the ‘average user’ of Windows Live? What do users search for and what do they mainly use when they are on the site?   These are questions I often ask myself as a Windows Live user, and so I recently did a search for a ‘Social Site statistics’ site and found Alexa.

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What is Windows Live?

What is Windows Live?  Perhaps some of you reading this post might not have even heard of Windows Live, or come across it in your travels around the internet.  Some may think of it as a Suite of programs that you need to download to your recently bought computer simply because you need them in order to access your emails in Windows 7.  Others might have stumbled across the Windows Live site, gone and taken a look, tried to join it  and then after finding it far too hard to get to grips with and navigate, moseyed off somewhere else. As a Windows Live user and fan, I readily admit its a hard site to find your way around  if you are a new to it.  Its also a site that doesn’t seem to be able to make its mind up quite what its there for and in which direction its going.

Windows Live Home PageA Social networking site a la Facebook?  Well, let’s take a look at the similarities of them both shall we?  Both contain a users Profile and a Home page in tabs at the top of the page which in turn contain other choices in drop down lists. . Also Friends are easy to access as well as Messages. (In the case of Windows Live this is of course Live Hotmail and the Friends tab in Facebook is replaced with People)  So far they are pretty similar. In both, you can set up your Profile/Account and any Settings/Permissions that you wish to set and have more or less total control over who has access to what.

In the usage of Facebook,  you remain on the Home page for the majority of time unless you are using one of the Applications of course. Also you now have both a Live feed and a News feed to access from that Home page.  If someone posts an update you can react to that update by either liking it or joining in and commenting on it.  In that way,  Facebook  allows you to be ‘interactive’ with your friends and family as if you were actually in the room with them discussing something.  Not only that, Facebook added a ‘chat’ facility to the excellent Facebook ‘bar’ at the bottom of the page.  Similar in concept to Messenger, this allows you to chat to someone when they are online at the same time as you.

Facebook Home page Unfortunately, Windows Live does not allow this ‘interactivity’ at all with your friends and family, unless you count being able to place a comment on their blog posts and in a note on their profile page.  The ‘What’s new with your Network’ feed on your Home page doesn’t allow you to do anything with it apart from read it and then click on it to go to that particular site. You can’t like/dislike it if the friend has posted some remark somewhere, you can’t comment on it, its a passive update and not  a socially interactive update.  So for someone like me who wants to interact with my Windows Live friends and family when they do something somewhere, but do so whilst remaining on Windows Live, then the ‘What’s new with your Network’ feed is practically useless because all it does is allow me to leave the site completely in order to react to it, unless the update is about some activity that is carried out on Windows Live itself such  as a comment on someone’s blog or a note posted on someone’s profile on Windows Live.

What's new updates. Can't reply,comment or likeThe other big problem is that the feed is currently only accessible for the last 50 updates made to it.  You can’t run through any past updates before then in order to check who has been  doing what whilst you have been asleep for example. There is no limitless  ‘earlier posts’ button at the bottom as on Facebook.  If you are offline for a number of hours and someone on your Network does something somewhere whilst you are offline, you will be really lucky to be aware of it.  For me, it renders the whole idea of the ‘What’s new with your Network’ more or less useless seeing as I don’t want to really move onto another site in order to react to them in any way, added to the fact that I miss seeing most of them anyway.

Where are they heading with Windows Live?  In which direction? Just as an ‘update’ on where everyone in your network  is currently spending their time when online so that you can go and join them elsewhere?

The new OrkutFunnily enough, just as I am composing this blog, Google have just released a beta update to Orkut, their ‘Social Networking’ site, and its an  update that practically copies Facebook item by item, feature by feature. Why the incessant need for every social networking site to ape Facebook? Because its so popular?  I often  wonder though how many  use Facebook just  because most of their family members and close friends are on there as well.  Personally that’s why I am on there, and I can find lot’s of things about it I don’t like.

Those blasted applications and their intrusiveness for one!


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Windows Live, its not the same……..

For the last five  years Windows Live has been my home on the Internet. Its where up until recently I tended to spend most of my time when online.  I made loads of ‘friends’ on there.  Spaces friends. It was so easy to make friends  because it was one of the few sites where you had your own ‘webpage’ easily constructed just the way that you wanted it.   Then you could, via your Home page, find other users Spaces and  go and read what they had to say,  then decide if you wished to be friends with them or not. Your home page contained an absolute brilliant search feature where you could search by Gender and age for example, thereby searching for like minded folks by using lots of useful criteria.

y1pL5FiVW-WIorH_sVKz3K9XgMntmdTpNCaRtm_o3TFib9hO7sM3bi6Ctb_dqf-JfrS6YLTg_-mjOS5Qjr2o4MKJQ  You could share your photos via your Spaces page, show your favourite books, music, films and for any visitor to your Space,  it was fairly straight forward to arrive at a decision as to whether they liked what they saw and then become your friend. Not only that but your home page also showed you a ‘running’ update of NEW users Spaces as well, so you could mosey over there and make friends with them if you liked what you saw. For me and countless others,  there was no other blogging site quite like it for forming friendships and becoming a  community.

Then Wave 3 arrived. None of the changes made to the Windows Live site in Wave 3 had been asked for by the ‘bread and butter’ ordinary user. Not only that, but the whole site became a nightmare to navigate around. Users couldn’t  find their friends. Why? Because now they were referred to as your Network and  not Spaces friends as before.   Users panicked. At  that time I became very busy trying to help those on my Network who couldn’t find their way around because of the new changes. Many of my friends ended up leaving the site  because they just couldn’t get used to any of the new changes, nor did they feel the changes enhanced  the site or improved it.  

 What's new with your network feed

One of the biggest changes was the introduction of a feed on your home page called ‘What’s new with your Network’ and the  inclusion  into that feed of ‘Web Activities.’  The idea behind this was that when anyone in your Network did anything on another site such as Twitter, Digg or flickr for example, it would show in your ‘What’s new with your Network’ feed.  Since the inception of this idea, many more sites have been added including Facebook.  The big problem  with this idea is that you can’t actually react to any of these updates apart from clicking on the update which just serves to take you from the Windows Live site to the external site.  Over a period of time, this has had the increasing effect that Windows Live users have slowly drifted away to using these other sites instead of staying on Windows Live as they were doing before Wave 3.

On your home page, you could be forgiven if you didn’t realise that on Windows Live you can create a webpage of your own called a Space. Despite the fact that previously this was the ‘hub’ of most peoples usage pre Wave 3, in Wave 3  it was ‘shunted’ to the depths  of the More tab with the result that anyone new joining Windows Live will not even be aware of its existence.   To add to this, where previously you could skip from blog to blog easily and also find new people with just one click, now its an absolute nightmare to go to another users Space never mind finding any new ones.

Any updates made on the site itself such as someone posting to their blog or making a comment on someone else’s blog which used to take centre stage on your home page, now tends to get  lost in a barrage of ‘Fred Bloggs said this on twitter’ or ‘ Sid Blank stated this on Facebook’  and as your home page only displays up to 20 updates by default, you miss most updates anyway, unless you were to sit there for hours glued to your home page!  You can extend this to 50 updates from your Home page, but cannot make that the default number.

Unlike on Facebook or twitter etc, the feed updates do not let you interact with them in any way. You can’t even ‘like’ or ‘unlike’ them and you certainly can’t comment on them. They are just feed updates and the only thing you can do is click on the URL if present or the update itself, and therefore whizz off somewhere else.  Is this really the outcome that the Windows Live teams wanted to occur?  I know that I wouldn’t want to encourage my users to go elsewhere if I had a site, I would want them to stay right there.

Some more spam Then there’s the constant spam to contend with in the  comments on your blogs.  Windows Live doesn’t employ Captcha. Well, not for comments at any rate.  It employs Captcha  if you try to complain about said spam where you the innocent party in the whole affair,  have to fill one in alongside a copy of the spam message you received and  the URL of the perpetrator.  Then repeat the whole thing again in a follow up email.  If the Live teams want to see proof of the Spam perpetrators, they just have to go and look at the comments on their own Space! 

Its all very off-putting for users including me, and if I am getting fed up when I have been an avid Windows Live user and stalwart fan then it  really isn’t looking terribly positive in my book.

I know its not easy to get feedback from all of your users, especially when you are such a large corporation such as Microsoft.  Its easier to ask those users who can make their voices heard such as the MVP’s, the Information Technology people and the professionals, but obviously there is a mismatch between what they think is an essential feature for the site and what the ‘ordinary everyday’ user actually needs.  Meanwhile Windows Live is slowly bleeding its users elsewhere.


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