It’s bad news as far as I’m concerned. Microsoft has decided to mothball Windows Live Messenger (WLM) on March 15, 2013. Taking its place will be Skype (which Microsoft acquired for a cool $8.5 billion back in May 2011). I’m not a Skype fan—I hate its dated interface, its inability to support third party emotes, sending of files, tabbed chats, lack of online games, etc. Fortunately, I’ve found a great substitute for WLM, and that’s Yahoo Messenger (current version is 126.96.36.199). You can download it here. Here are some highlights of YM (Yahoo Messenger):
- Instant messaging with a friend or a group of friends
- Customize your IM experience with emoticons, avatars, audibles, and IMVironments
- A built-in media player to watch web videos and view photos with friends
- Play Yahoo games while chatting
- Cam with your IM friends
- Facebook and Twitter integration is available. WLM integration was disabled last year but since WLM is biting the bullet soon, it’s not going to be missed
- IM on mobile—iPhone, Android, or any Internet enabled phone
- Tabbed IM windows
So there you have it. WLM might be relegated to being just a memory, but there’s a good substitute for it. That is, until Microsoft has enough sense to port over the fun features of WLM into Skype.
What a harrowing day. No, it wasn’t Mother Nature, an illness, or anything like that. Rather, it was this blog, LMAO. It started off with me updating a plug-in in the morning. Somehow or other it just screwed things up. I couldn’t log out or in, and a string of cryptic error messages appeared on my browser—I am not a programmer, so those messages made as much sense to me as Egyptian hieroglyphics. Well at least I could still access my blog by typing in its URL address. Anyways, off I went to have lunch with a friend. Ate like a piglet, as usual.
Came back in the afternoon, and decided to be a smarty pants. Edited the wp-config file, thinking I could make things right—hmm, that wasn’t so clever after all. Now I can’t even access my blog, let alone log in or out. Surprisingly I didn’t perspire, but I did have one big serious headache. UGH, how do I get my beloved blog back? Fortunately I went to the WordPress.org site and they walked me through creating a new wp-config.php file. When that was done I was invited to click on the Log In button. Uh oh. I was really trembling.
Success! Things are back to normal now—I hate it when a plug-in does that to me, grr.
Oh how I wish I had WLM (Windows Live Messenger) while studying in the States in the early eighties. I remember how I used snail mail to correspond with my parents. A letter would take about ten days (count them) to reach me from Malaysia. If I had something urgent I would have to use my land line to call them (no cellphones in those days) or send a cable through Western Union. Ugh, ugh, and ugh. It would have been nice to have WLM then or even email, at least. I’ve been using WLM for almost eight years and there’s absolutely no way I would give up on it now. So what is it that makes me feel at home with WLM? Plenty.
- It’s free. This is a no-brainer. All you have to do is download and install it in your computer, and it’s yours. Period. And while we’re on this, Hotmail—the wonderful program for email, is free too and so much more user-friendly and fast now. And look what comes with the rest of the Live Essentials suite: Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Live Mesh, Writer, Bing Bar, Mail, Family Safety, Outlook Connector Pack, Messenger Companion, and Microsoft Silverlight. You can customize what you wish to install, or install all of them. The choice is yours!
- It’s easy to use. Invite your contacts in your Hotmail or any other list to add you to their WLM. Choose your font (or use the default) and type away. If you’re an emoticon lover you’re in for a treat. WLM has a pretty cool bunch of emotes and you can add third-party ones as well.
- Video capability. All you need is a webcam and away you go. Talk to your friends and loved ones and see them in a flash. I’m using the Logitech C510 webcam which is a great HD webcam with a built-in microphone. If only I had this in the eighties!
- With WLM you have the best of everything. You can choose either to type, to make a voice call, or make a video call. Needless to say these three options aren’t mutually independent. For instance you can still type stuff in even though you’re having a video conversation with a friend .
- WLM gives you time to think. In a normal phone call we normally talk. And talk. And talk. Sometimes we do it without collecting our thoughts first. The thing I like about instant messaging is that you can type at your own pace; you don’t have to give an instant reply, and as long as you don’t hit the Enter key your message remains with you (of course once you do hit the Enter key your message is on its way)
- WLM allows you to put up a display message. Not only that, you can set your status to any one of these—Available, Busy, or Away. There is one great feature too. WLM now allows you to appear offline to all your contacts, or you can choose specific contacts (very handy when you don’t want a certain someone to know you’re online)
- Busy? On the go? Fear not, because you can do the WLM thing on your cellphones and other devices. Just download the Messenger App for your device and it’s easy as pie to chat on WLM when you’re moving around. You can download the mobile app for Windows Phone, iPhone, Android, Nokia, and Blackberry.
- What if I encounter problems? Help is just a click away at the Messenger Help Center. There are also plenty of websites that offer help free of charge, like BigBlueBall, of which I’m a staff member. Generally each new version of WLM gets better and more reliable, so much so that you might not require any help at all *wink*
- What if I get tired of chatting? Game time then. Choose from a plethora of games to play with your friends when you’re online. You can even indulge in a video call at the same time you’re playing games. Great for really getting visual!
- Get all your social updates in one place.WLM can directly connect to Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, Blogger, MySpace, StumbleUpon, Multiply, and a host of other sites. This is so useful if you’re into the social networking thing.
So there you have it. Windows Live Messenger is a godsend to me because it really is a jack of all trades. I can’t wait to see what they’re going to include in the next version!
We tend to give our ISPs a lot more flak than compliments. Malaysia’s Streamyx has received more than its fair share of brickbats but their services have improved greatly. I’ve been using their 2MBps package for some time now and recently they called me up and gave me an incentive to upgrade to the 4MBps package for just an additional $10 a month. To top it off the technician came to my apartment the very next day and I received a D-Link modem/router combo absolutely free of charge (I’m keeping it as a backup since I already have my existing D-Link modem and Linksys router) I was a little disappointed when the guy said the 4MBps speed would only be activated in a few days. However, an hour after she left my fingers grew twitchy and I went to the Speedtest site. I expected the download speed to be hovering around 2MBps but was pleasantly surprised to see the results above. Thank you very much, Streamyx!
I’ve been running the latest and greatest version of WLM (Windows Live Messenger) for close to nine months now. Although there are some things I can get used to, one thing has always irked me about this version (15.4.3508.1109)—the inability to change your name. Meaning that WLM forces you to have a first name and a last name properly filled in. I’ve just discovered a way to circumnavigate it, and it’s legal. It’s a useful utility called Character Map, and it’s found in all Windows versions. According to Wikipedia Character Map “is a utility included with Microsoft Windows operating systems and is used to view the characters in any installed font, to check what keyboard input (Alt code) is used to enter those characters, and to copy characters to the clipboard in lieu of typing them. The tool is usually useful for entering special characters.”
Here’s what I did. I didn’t want my last name to appear in WLM, I just wanted Philip. In the WLM main window just below your display picture, click on your Name and a drop down menu will appear. Choose Edit your Name. A browser window will open up. Leave it in the background for now. Bring up Character Map by going to Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Character Map. Or you can just type charmap.exe in the Run dialog box. Scroll down almost all the way until you find the U+202A: Left-To-Right Embedding symbol. It’s one of the blank symbols (see picture below) Then select it and click on Copy. That will copy it to the Windows clipboard. Don’t worry if you don’t see it in the Characters to copy window, it’s there.
Once this is done, I go back to my browser window where the Edit Name is displayed. I delete my last name and then paste the U+202A into the same box (Ctrl+V will do it) Click on Save and I’m done. I log out and then back in to WLM and voila! Only my first name appears. Simple, huh?
Through the kindness of Microsoft Malaysia (and special thanks to Miss Ng Koh Ping) my MVP T-shirt arrived yesterday in the mail. No longer will people ask me what the initials stand for (Most Valuable Professional) and as an added bonus it even has my name imprinted on the sleeve! It was a very nice gesture on Microsoft Malaysia’s part, so thank you very much, guys.
I’ve had my MVP for two years now and God willing, there will be another year added (anyone from Microsoft reading this?) It’s only fair to mention that I’m married to Windows Live Messenger LOL. Every morning when I wake up I need to boot the computer up to see her, muahaha!! I think WLM is the coolest IM program available out there on the web. Grab it here and start IM’ing. Besides WLM there are other cool programs such as Windows Movie Maker, Live Writer (I use this to write my blog posts), Photo Gallery, and lots more. They’re all free.
It seems that a lot of users on WordPress self-hosted blogs have seen their stats vanish on their admin dashboard pages. There hasn’t been any official word from WP Support, but I did find a solution to the problem. Installing the Jetpack plug-in enabled my stats to work again on both my blogs. I actually like the Jetpack stats display better than the former WP stats—I see them as a vertical graph now, and it loads much quicker. Hovering your mouse over any of the date bars will cause a window to pop up, informing you how many readers visited your blog on that particular day.
Besides stats, Jetpack offers a host of other features:
Bear in mind that for Jetpack to work, you need to upgrade your self-hosted WP blog to the latest version (3.1 as of now) The plug-in will only work with WP versions 3.0.5 and higher. Hope this helps those who have problems viewing their stats. Have a nice day.