Windows Live Essentials 2011 ~ Test Run

I’ve been a long time user of Windows Live Writer, suggesting it to family and friends and using it on a number of blog properties. So I saved my test of the new blog authoring environment for last Friday and thought that some of you would be interested in my experience. I’m using Windows 7 (Vista is supposed to be an okay environment too) which is the starting point for the test run. If you are on XP, you simply stick with the old version.

The Install

The install was easy from http://explore.live.com/windows-live-essentials?os=other. I made sure that once the download was completed, I closed my Internet Explorer, IM and actually all other programs on my computer. The download took some time, even with my FiOS high speed connection, so I went to get a drink while that was happening. Then the install offered to install everything (recommended) or select what you want installed. So I selected the program I felt I would use. Once the install kicked off, I took some time to practice my sax, checking the progress every so often. I want to say no part of this required more than ten minutes, but in this world, that is a long time. The install completed with a request to reboot the computer.

The New Look and Feel

It took a little bit of time to find the drop down for selecting which of my blogs I wanted to post this on. I can blog on WordPress, eBlogger, and a proprietary service at work using the same editor. But where did the list of my blogs go? Turns out it’s not in the menu anymore; it’s in the Ribbon, right next to the Publish button. And the Ribbon makes it easier for me to style my fonts, create hyperlinks, check the spelling and add pictures and videos because that’s all exposed on the ribbon and automatically as I type.

The add-on tools that I carefully selected over time are no longer on the right side frame, which is gone; they are in the insert menu. This is fine with me as it gives me more real estate for working on the blog text, videos, and pictures. The bottom of the page has been redesigned to provide quick-tabs to the Edit, Preview, and Source modes. So the categories for my posts are now under the ribbon as is the Set Post Date option.

Overall Rating

I am really happy with the quality and fit and finish of this release. So far I give it 5 out of 5 star rating. I’ll report on some of the other apps as I get time to play with them. My next two things to try are listed below.

Mesh

I look forward to playing with this new app, but I haven’t started yet. I sounds like it could make home networks with three or four computers, fast becoming the norm for many families, much easier.

image

Live Movie Maker

I have used the Windows Live Movie Maker all the time to prepare movies for posting to YouTube and Facebook. I like to edit out some of the fumbling around that inevitably occur during the starting of a session. I like to add music to the background of a video and picture show. Live Movie Maker does that and more. Here is a sample that I did in 2009:

Amber Moves to Missouri

So I look forward to trying this new version of Live Movie Maker out after I record some friends playing a gig this evening.

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About Gandalfe

Just an itinerant saxophonist trying to find life between the changes. I have retired from the Corps of Engineers and Microsoft. I am an admin on the Woodwind Forum, run the Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra, and enjoy time with family and friends.
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