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Showing posts from 2006

Windows Live Mail (beta): Hotmail spruced up

Microsoft is spending billions to spruce up its web based service operations and all the web services are being now brought under the banner of 'Live'. And to counter the Google's onslaught that started with mail (GMail) and is now directly challenging MS Office applications with Google Calendar, Google Spreadsheets and Writely (online word processor), Microsoft is going to push Live brand with great aggression.

So our good ol' Hotmail is now being converted to Windows Live Mail with a whopping 2GB mail box and 10 MB attachment size. And thankfully size is not the only thing that make it a much improved version of Hotmail.

The mail box looks more like Outlook now, as the mail can be read with a single click in a third pane which can be put below the mail list or right to it or just turned of. This feature would be familiar to users of new Rediffmail in which mail can be previewed below the mail list contents. But flexibility in positioning the pane makes it better.

The ma…

Google Spreadsheets : Spread Across Network

Microsoft may not yet be losing sleep over Google's seemingly real WebOffice threat, as yet (and I think some of the things they are saying may be correct as well,combined with present user behavior) but are they really being arrogant or online Productivity Applications (MS Office or Open Office like applications such as PowerPoint or Excel or Calendar) a fad which eventually will pass?

Well leaving that debate to MS and Google, I decided to use Google Spreadsheets. Again you have to sign up and wait for the invite: "First Come,First Served".

I had read earlier that Spreadsheets will affect Excel usage heavily. Can't predict that as yet,but if your use is limited to entering/importing data (.xls and .csv supported) and performing mathematical,financial or statistical formulae on it and you don't need to advanced stuff like creating macros (in short use it like a basic spreadsheet only!) then you are in familiar territory. So apart from allowing importing and export…

How would you like your Java? Sunny or Googly?

Whatever little bit I read about recently held JavaOne 2006, the biggest news undoubtedly was created by the man at the helm himself. Whole world (well almost complete Java Developer's community) waited with baited breath as Sun Microsystem's new CEO Jonathan Schwartz raised the issue about Java being open sourced and then left it open!

There are those who love its being open sourced, those who hate its being open sourced and those who simply don't care now and won't care about its getting open sourced till they come up against any compatibility issue or something that really makes using Java simpler or better or both (Imagine an integrated AJAX-like API in Java6.0!)

Apart from that the conference was buzzing loud (again this is what my RSS Feeds have told me!) with chatter about new Frameworks, Web 2.0 (O'Reilly please don't send me a legal notice for using that term!) and obviously AJAX. And due to all this 'new stuff' there was another question: Has J2… : Online word-processor

If you remember Google Calendar that was released some time back, and if you have read my review to that, you will recall that I said that there is nothing so special about this apart from the power of sharing your calendar with your friends. Now the new crop of online word-processors comes armed with this concept. Sharing! So now you don’t have to save any file in your online briefcase or mail it to yourself or your friend to keep it safe and accessible from anywhere. This is more or less similar to what did in the area of managing and saving bookmarks. No dependence or boundation to a single system! I have still not been able to use Writely, now acquired by Google, and as usual there is a wait period involved. But I got to lay my hands on another free online word-processor!

Writeboard allows you to create any file (called writeboard) and associate a password to it. Now you can invite your friends to collaborate on this writeboard through ‘Invite Frie…

Google PageCreator (beta)

Really. Honestly. Truly. I feel blessed! After all, The God of All Things (Big and Small), the great Google allowed me to access its service! And I was 'invited' to do so!

So ladies and gentlemen, I was given an 'invitation' (after I requested one by signing up on their site) from Google to try another new offering from Google stable, Google PageCreator.
PageCreator is a WYSIWYG ('What You See Is What You Get') tool that enables you to create a web page, using available templates and FrontPage like controls (e.g. inserting image or formatting text). Your pages are saved automatically and you can publish them on a 100 MB server space provided by Google, accessible by domain name: <\your-gmail-domain'> my homepage URL is

What is so special about PageCreator? The controls are very elementary in nature. You can't access or edit the source-code of the page being generated. There are a number of page…

Google Calendar (beta)

I like the way Google presents its new services to world. There is just the right amount of buzz about the service which gets magnified 100 times due to the air of exclusivity which surrounds its availability! So either you will need to have an 'invitation' (in case of GMail or new or the launch news will be heard so softly that you will think yourself lucky to even know about it (and when you come to know of it, you will definitely scramble to get a taste of it!). So when almost all my news feeds were telling me that Google is to launch their Calendar service ‘soon', Google Calendar was happily up there. (Thanks to for informing me)
So what is so special about Google Calendar? Honestly speaking nothing much! If you have used Microsoft Outlook Calendar, you will find the interface very similar. Your calendar can be viewed according to Day, Week, Month and next four days (in Outlook it is 'Work Week', which I think is more sensible).

Adding an …

Windows Live (beta)

I was waiting something of this sort from Microsoft Mandarins from quite some time now! The battle-field of personal and customizable web-sites, which give the users facility to put up all their favorite online-content at one place, should now get a bit hotter with entry of Windows Live (still in beta, available at Windows Live is pitching against Yahoo! 360 and Google Personalized Homepages. And apart from the tough competition on hand, the initial reactions from users should be a cause of worry for MS.

Live gives us first glimpse of the new web-search that will be integrated with Windows Vista, and will replace MSN search gradually in coming months. Apart from a new search algorithm (perhaps, because the search results differ for MSN search and Live search), Live team has tried to float a new and innovative interface as well. However it remains to be seen that how much it is appreciated (or rejected) by our Google-fed generation.

The search results are presented on a…