100,000 Views Today

•June 17, 2008 • 5 Comments

Back in February, I posted a blog entry when my blog views reached 50,000.  Today I was surprised to see that they have now passed the 100,000 mark! 

100KPageViews1

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Windows Live Features we’d like to see

•June 14, 2008 • 16 Comments

Recently I’ve been talking about some of the cool uses for Live Spaces but, in this post, I’d like to talk about a pet peeve of mine – the lack of work that is put into development and communication from the Live Spaces team about upcoming features

I’d like to use this article/post as a place where I can keep a list of the things that the community believe we need to improve Live Spaces.  If you have any items on your wish list please add them as comments and I’ll add them into the table.  Then hopefully we can send them off to the team and lobby for a response of some kind from the Spaces team.

 

Submitted By

Feature

Description
Darren Neimke

Modules

Include the ability to have JavaScript in modules.  I’d like to use Google Analytics on my Space to get proper statistics.  But because Spaces strips out any JavaScript, I am currently unable to do this.

Darren Neimke

Statistics

Include some richer statistics out of the box.  Currently all that is offered is the ability to view a giant, paged list of ‘page views’.  Benefits could be gained by adding some simple extra views such as:

  • Most common search terms from referrers (such as Google search terms used to land at your site)
  • Most popular pages
  • Daily, Weekly, Monthly traffic charts
Darren Neimke

Comments

Improved ease in managing spam comments.  I made some suggestions about how to do this at the end of this post.

Darren Neimke

Comments

A bulk, paged view of comments.  Currently I am only able to see the most recent 7 or 8 comments on my Spaces home page.  But what if I wanted to find comments older than that?

Jamie Thomson Publishing

I just tried to post a blog entry contianing pictures from WL Writer to my Live Space and received an error: "The server reported an error with the following URL:

The remote server returned an error: (507) Insufficient Storage."

I *presume* that this is because earlier today I hit the 500 photos per month limit on Live Spaces. I have no problem with that but I would assume that it wouldn’t prevent me from posting new blog entries. That’s bad.

I’d appreciate it if you could contact me about this and tell me if my suspicions are correct but I suspect you won’t.

Jamie Thomson Blog Blog posts can only appear in one category and that’s not particularly useful. Better would be the ability to tag blog entries with zero, one or many tags. Just like nearly every other blog engine on the planet enables you to do
Jamie Thomson Notifications Please tell me (via my Live Spaces newsfeed) when one of my friends has commented on someone else’s Spaces blog. I would love to know what my friends are up to and, moreover, I would love for people I don’t know to be made aware of my blog.
Jamie Thomson Notifications

If I post a comment on someone else’s spaces blog I have no way of knowing if someone replies to it or not. I know there’s an RSS feed for blog comments but I’m not going to go and subscribe to every single blog entry I ever put a comment onto. Given that all comments are posted using our Live ID it shouldn’t be that difficult to receive an email and/or live alert telling us that someone has replied to my comment.
Of course, we should have the ability to subscribe/unsubscribe to/from these notifications.

Jamie Thomson Notifications

When I post a comment on someone’s space there’s no way of knowing if someone replies to it. perhaps they ask a question requesting a follow-up – and I’ll never know.

here’s an idea. Why not put something on our "What’s New" feed telling us when someone has replied to one of our posts?

Jamie Thomson Notifications

The news feed tells us when soeone has posted a blog entry – and that is useful. However, in order to read it you have to leave the page.

Live.com allows you to hover over a link and it pops up a window showing what’s in the post. It’d be handy if the same was in the Spaces feed.

Jamie Thomson Calendar

If someone shares a calendar publicly it would be great if on the HTMl link to that calendar (e.g. http://jamie.calendar.live.com/calendar/SQL+Server+MVP+Summit+2008/index.html) there would be the following information:

-Name of the person who created the calendar
-Link to their Live Space
-Use Messenger IM control to IM them (if they have allowed it)
-A link to "More calendars made available by this calendar author"

Of course, we would have the option to make this information available or not

Jamie Thomson Calendar

I’ve got a calendar here: http://jamie.calendar.live.com/calendar/SQL+Server+MVP+Summit+2008/index.html and there are various things I’d like to have appear as a different colour even though they are on the same calendar.

You’ll notice that each event on that calendar has some information in brackets (e.g. Event Details for Beyond Relational I – unstructured and semi-structured data (Engine) (Deep Dive)) so I’d like to treat those things in brackets as free-form attributes of the event. In other words, I’d like to create custom attributes for each event such as "Subject Area", "technical level", "Presenter". Thereafter, it would be good to be able to create seperate colours based on values of those attributes.

Hope that makes sense.

Jamie Thomson Calendar

I can distribute a URL that links to my calendar (e,g. http://jamie.calendar.live.com/calendar/SQL+Server+MVP+Summit+2008/index.html ) and that’s very useful.

However, that particular calendar only has events on 3 days (April 15th-17th) so it’d be nice of I could post a RESTful URl that links directly to those days. (e.g. http://jamie.calendar.live.com/calendar/SQL+Server+MVP+Summit+2008/index.html?start=20080415&days=3 )

Jamie Thomson Notifications If I change the tagline on my space, display that on my friends’ What’s New feed
Jamie Thomson Notifications We don’t get a notification when someone accepts a friend request. Please could you add this to the What’s New feed?
Jamie Thomson Modules Please provide a Spaces Gadget or Sidebar gadget that allows us too browse skydrive.
Jamie Thomson Blog

Please add ‘Search this blog’ onto the title bar along with ‘Spaces’ and ‘Web’. I’m always searching for blog entries that I know exist and this addition would make it SO much easier.

In addition, automatically generate a search macro for every space. The search macro would be owned by the space owner.

Darren Neimke 

Favorites

Add the ability to add a description of the link.

Darren Neimke  Favorites Sort tags and folders alphabetically
Jamie Thomson Live Home It’d be nice to be able to delete an email from home.live.com without having to click on the mail and go through to Hotmail.

How to delete spam from your Windows Live Spaces blog

•June 12, 2008 • 12 Comments

One of the first questions that I had when I started using Windows Live Spaces last year was “How do I remove spam comments from my Live Spaces blog”?  It took me a while to work it out because the process for getting to the right screen to delete these comments is not necessarily that intuitive.  So here are the steps that you can go through if you need to delete comments from your Live space.

The Problem

When you browse to the home page of your Space, you are presented with several modules (web parts), one of which shows you a listing of the recent comments on your space.  We can see this module in the following image along with some comments which appear as though they might be spam.

image

As someone who likes to keep my blog free of spam, I’ve always been in the habit of removing the wretched stuff promptly – partly because I believe that spam has a habit of leading to more spam.  So let me take you through the steps that are required to remove just one of these spam comments from my Live Spaces blog.

 

The Solution

Step 1 – Identify the comment as spam

The first thing that I like to do is to click through to view the full comment, just to be sure that the comment is actually spam.  In the case of the comment below we can see that it clearly is spam.

image

 

Step 2 – Get the date of the blog entry

Now that we’ve identified the comment as spam, we need to get the date of the post so that we can locate it when we switch into Summary mode in just a moment.  For the post that we are concerned about here, we can see that the date is the 27 January.  

image

Step 3 – Switch the Blog View into Summary View Mode

In order to delete the spam comment from your blog you must switch into the Summary View mode which you can do from the navigation controls located on the left side of the page.  You can also select the month of the post that you are interested in to quickly navigate to the correct set of entries.

image

Step 4 – Select the spam comment to mark it for deletion

Once in Summary View mode you can scroll to the location of the post and then click on the Comments link to expand out a view of comments for that particular post.  Once you have the comments displayed, simply check on the checkbox to the left of the offending comment to mark it for deletion.

image

Step 5 – Delete the spam comment

Now that you have selected the comment for entry, scroll back to the top of the page and click the Delete selected items link to delete the comment.

image

You will be asked to confirm that you wish to delete the entries that are selected.

image

A Proposed Solution

Because most of the spam that I get is easily identified on the home page comments module, a feature that I’d love to see is the ability to delete comments directly from within that view.  The following image shows my proposed solution for doing that.

image

It would also be good if spam could also be removed directly from within the post as you were reading it as shown in the following image.

image

 

Windows Live Tags: clubhouse, spaces, how-to

Manage your Favorite’s online

•June 11, 2008 • 8 Comments

image Over the years I’ve used many methods for managing my Favorite web sites on the Internet.  While each new method has provided it’s own set of features, each has fallen short of becoming my favorite Favorite method 🙂

Today I thought that I’d share how (and why) I’m currently using Windows Live Favorites to manage all of my Internet favorite sites.

Before we get into an explanation of Windows Live Favorites, let’s take a look at the trusty browser-managed favorite’s, and see where they fall short:

 

  • They are not automatically backed up.
    This often leads to losing favorite’s whenever you rebuild your computer or purchase a new one.
  • They are not synchronized across computers. 
    If I work from a different computer then I no longer have access to my favorite’s.
  • They are not centrally managed.
    Even though I can copy my favorite’s and manually share them around on all of my computer’s, if I make a change on one computer, this change is not replicated to all of my other computer’s.

Windows Live Favorites solves each of these issues by allowing me to manage your Favorites from a centrally hosted location online. 

Another reason that I love having my Favorites stored online is that it makes them so much easier to use in other ways – such as sharing them between my other web applications.  Here’s an image of my Favorites being displayed via a module on my Live Spaces portal:

image

Windows Live Favorites allows me to manage your Favorites both through the traditional ‘Folders’ paradigm or through the use of tagging.  Let’s take a peek at the following screencast to see how simple it is to use Windows Live Favorites:

http://cid-15630f96cb7d86c1.skydrive.live.com/embedrowdetail.aspx/PublicVideos/ManagingyourWindowsLiveFavorites.wmv

So now the only thing that I need to remember to access my Favorites from wherever I am is: http://favorites.live.com.

 

Windows Live Tags: clubhouse, favorites, toolbar, story

Staying connected with Live Writer

•June 8, 2008 • 2 Comments

Staying connected for me means that my friends get to read my imagealerts and find out where I am and what I’m up to whatever I’m doing.  To keep them informed I constantly update my ‘status’ on various social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and of course richer content goes in my blog. 

In the past, getting my status alerts updated has meant visiting each site separately and making updates.  Thankfully the tools are getting better and much of this stuff is now getting automated as the sites start to integrate and tools make it easier to share my updates around.

A few moments ago I published an article on my blog about how I had downloaded the latest version of Live Writer and the associated SDK.  One of the sample applications that comes with the SDK is a plug-in that cross-posts your published articles as a tweet on Twitter.

To highlight how well this works for sharing information with my circle of friends, within 4 minutes of me posting that article, one of my friends read the tweet on Twitter and instantly posted a comment against the blog post to let me know that they were sold on this feature and that they were heading off to download the new version right away!

image

For me, staying connected means sharing information and experiences.  By using Live Writer and the new Twitter Notify plug-in, the job of managing my community updates just got easier!

 

Testing the tech preview of WLW

•June 8, 2008 • 5 Comments

I’ve just downloaded the latest version of Live Writer and the SDK for developing against it.

There’s a few changes to the UI of the new Writer application but by far my favourite is the tabbed interface for switching between views of your posts.

image

One of the things in the SDK which has generated some interest so far are the new events that you can hook when developing Plug-ins for Writer.  There’s an event that you can handle prior to publishing and one which fires post-publishing too.  This potentially opens up many scenarios for adding value to markup prior to posting and doing things after you’ve posted – such as notifying your social networks that you’ve posted.

In fact the SDK comes with a sample Plug-in called Twitter Notify which sends a tweet after you’ve posted alerting your Twitter friends of your new post.  In fact, I’ve just installed it prior to writing this post, so if it worked, then a tweet should be appearing on my Twitter account shortly

 

Update: Sweet, it worked 🙂

Twitter Post

The Saturday Set – 7th June

•June 8, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Band of Horses – Ode to LRC

 The Shortwave Set – No Social