Eric Richards' place of techno (as in technology) happiness, rants, and corporate love.

Browsing Posts published in September, 2007

I just ran into Andrea while grabbing a quick lunch in #117 and she asked me if I’d tried the Windows Live Translator yet. I had! Then I see LiveSide had already linked to her post about it: Microsoft Research Machine Translation (MSR-MT) Team Blog : Introducing: Windows Live Translator Beta.

I really like the side-by-side and sentence highlighting between the two views as you hover over text.

Between a tool like this (and the classic Babel Fish) and French dubbed DVDs, I wonder how High School French would have gone for me…

I point to a lot of things off of Lifehacker, and it’s a delight when it’s a product that your own team is working on: Featured Windows Download: Manage Your Digital Pics with Windows Live Photo Gallery – Lifehacker.

So I read PostSecret as a guilty indulgence. Right now, it is locked down due to a programmatic sweep profiling it as a Spam blog:

Your blog is disabled

Blogger’s spam-prevention robots have detected that your blog has characteristics of a spam blog. (What’s a spam blog?) Since you’re an actual person reading this, your blog is probably not a spam blog. Automated spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and we sincerely apologize for this false positive.

We received your unlock request on September 16, 2007. On behalf of the robots, we apologize for locking your non-spam blog. Please be patient while we take a look at your blog and verify that it is not spam.

(From: PostSecret: Blogger has locked PostSecret )

First of all, given how many blog search queries I run from day to day (either tracking InfoPath back in my Office days or now the Windows Live Photo Gallery) I have deep appreciation of getting rid of Spam blogs. Most of which seem to pop-up on blogspot. In fact, if I see a link to a blog, I’m highly likely to skip looking at it because usually it’s a modern day textual mash-up of reposted text from popular blog feeds and Spam links. Tracking InfoPath discussion became near impossible.

But you’ve got to have a better pattern than what happened to PostSecret to detect if something is a Spam blog. PostSecret should have lots of incoming links from high-quality sources. Well, maybe that’s not apparent scanning at the first of 28,000 incoming links, but let’s see… being a finalist in the 2005 Weblog Awards (and being around so long) probably breaks any Spam metric.

This seems like a sloppy shotgun approach (yes, indeed, “inherently fuzzy”)… like a 20% project gone horribly wrong and that should be suspended. Probably more important than this is a Spam blog scanner is something else like this is a cherished content blog scanner to ensure quality blogs never get blacklisted.

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In addition to photos, Windows Live Photo Gallery also supports organization and sharing of videos. Soapbox is the Microsoft video sharing site (yeah, not as big as YouTube). But I like the quality a bit more than YouTube.

Have a video you want to publish and try out? Read through Michael’s blog entry on it: Microsoft Photography & Video Blog : We make it easy to share on your Soapbox.

One thing that’s interesting to me: while I have a digital video camera, I’ve actually taken more impromptu videos as of late with our Canon point-and-shoot. Sure, it doesn’t do zoom and all that, but it sure is convenient for small memories… or the case where a fellow was discussing some local history while I was taking sunset pictures. I asked, “Can I record this? It sounds interesting.”

A very nice walk through by Michael Palermiti of how Windows Live Photo Gallery’s photo publishing feature works: Microsoft Photography & Video Blog : Seamlessly publish your precious photos on Spaces .

 An interesting round-by-round comparison of Picasa and WLPG, including this observation:

When it comes to speed, Windows Photo Gallery wins over Picasa by a huge margin. Picasa, in the last few months, has become extremely slow – the software sometimes even freezes while importing new media content into the library. Windows Live Photo Gallery is lightning fast when you compare the start-up speed or when it process new photographs.

Full post: Google Picasa or Windows Live Photo Gallery – Which is Better? at Digital Inspiration – Software Reviews, Internet and Technology Guide.

webDotWiz has a nice walk through of Windows Live Photo Gallery, from getting your photos, organizing them, shooting a panoramic shot, stitching the panorama together in WLPG, and then publishing the results up to your Spaces site: webDotWiz Online has a Space: Live Photo Gallery – getting started – from camera to panorama.

Well, it’s not cool, but then neither am I. I love the look of the HTC Touch but it doesn’t have a built-in GPS, which is a must for a GPS geek like me. The iPAQ 610 has some mighty nice features, but is about as corporate looking as any phone could possibly be. The antithesis of the iPhone.

Still, I wouldn’t mind upgrading to it. I’m just stuck in the small dilemma of promising myself never to buy another iPAQ mobile device after being left stranded on the upgrade path of past PocketPCs.

Video: HP’s iPAQ 610 gets demonstrated on video – Engadget Mobile

Here’s a post by the Soapbox team discussing video integration with Windows Live Photo Gallery now that you can select a video and publish up to your free Soapbox account for video-sharing: Soapbox on MSN Video: Soapbox Integration With Windows Live Photo Gallery and Windows Live Writer .

Quite a nice write-up from ExtremeTech:

  • Yeah: overall client.
  • Yeah: fast.
  • Yeah: acquisition wizard.
  • Yeah: overall thumbs up, “pretty slick software.”
  • Ouch: seams appearing in the stitched panoramic photos.
  • Ouch: publish only goes to Windows Live Spaces and MSN Soapbox.

Some highlights:

First, the new Live Photo Gallery (LPG) is fast. It instantly indexed the meager photos I have on my XP work machine. Loyd tried it at home where he has a ridiculous number of photos, and it managed to rip through his collection in no time.


Once we click to “review, organize, and group” photos upon import, I was very quickly treated to a pretty elegant screen for selecting which pictures I’d like to keep. These thumbnails were generated very quickly, considering these are all 10 megapixel images at the highest quality setting.


One new feature I was anxious to try out is the panoramic photo-stitch. I took four images panning around Union Square, and stitching them together is almost too simple. Just select the images in the gallery, choose “create a panoramic photo” in the Make menu up top, and this is what you get. Unfortunately, this feature still needs some work. Other panoramic photo tools let you prioritize overlapping photos with a drag-and-drop interface and see where the seams might form, this one give you no options at all. My relatively simple shot, full of nice square buildings and such, had visible seams along photo boundaries.


Overall, I’d have to give the beta of Live Photo Gallery a big thumbs up. It’s the easy-to-use photo importing and cataloguing from Vista’s Photo Gallery, improved in many important ways, and made available for both Vista and XP. Free. It’s fast, it’s simple, and for the most part, it works. Right now I have two major complaints. First, the panoramic picture creator is a bit limited and creates visible seams in the final photograph. Second, the photo and video sharing is far too limited. Interestingly, you can order prints right from the Live Photo Gallery interface from FujiFilm, Shutterfly, and Kodak—this function appears to be plug-in based, or at least open to third parties in some way. Microsoft would do well to do the same thing with photo and video sharing.

For everyday “pulling my pictures off my digital camera”, and for browsing, tagging, and cataloging your library of images, this is pretty slick software. And it’s free.

Read the whole posting: Hands-on with Windows Live Photo Gallery beta .