Zach Beauvais

Windows Live Services Suck/Look Nice (Delete as Appropriate)

by | Mar 8, 2008 | Digital, review

Live Writer

Right, so I’ve been blogging using Windows Live Writer for a few weeks, and have generally enjoyed it. It’s easier than logging into my CMS, and it integrates with the site theme, so what I see is actually what the post looks like.

As you can see, it’s a pretty slick interface, and I think it’s  relatively simple, so the focus is on the writing rather than the application (Windows’ biggest design fault IMHO!) There are a few exasperatives, however:

  • Insert Video only works with a select set of video sources, and I even had trouble with YouTube. It’s a slick idea, but it executes poorly.
  • My Site favicon appears, which is nice, but it runs over ‘View Weblog’ and falls off the bottom of the window. Surely it’s not too hard to resize or align it in a satisfactory way?
  • Set-up was quick, but there’s no native support for Drupal (you have to cheat and call it WordPress or MetaWebLog). This isn’t so bad, but it does limit the options you’re given if you choose the wrong one.
  • It has the ability to tag posts, but it calls them ‘Categories’. They’re Tags. It’s a Blog. And, it’s one of the things that doesn’t work if you choose the wrong set-up type.

Aside from those, it’s brilliant. I use it all the time, and it is easy to use. You just have to html-in the videos you want. And, like I said, it’s pretty.

Live Mail

I hate Outlook. It’s ugly, complicated, and runs slowly and in its own very particular way. I’m sure it’s brilliant for all you Server-Oriented people out there, but I don’t use Exchange. I’ve been using Gmail’s web interface for three years or so, and decided I’d like to explore a desktop app. I set up Outlook 2003, but I hate it so much… Besides, I use Google Calendar, and I haven’t got a satisfactory sync yet (Yes, I have added Google’s new Sync app, but I use multiple calendars…) You have to muck about with the OS’s Mail settings to get rid of unwanted accounts. Then it crashed, cause I deleted it’s precious Data File…  so, Outlook’s out. Instinctively, I’d use Thunderbird, but it isn’t as good as Firefox for some reason, and I don’t want to think of Mozilla in a bad way… (Whoever said I was unbiased?)

Thing is, I like the OS integration of things I use all the time, I just don’t like Window’s versions. I like the Idea of Internet Explorer, but Firefox is better in so many ways. I like the idea of Windows Contacts, but it doesn’t grab my contacts from the Cloud… like Plaxo used to before it broke! So I love the idea of Windows Live Mail… it’s eye candy Aero style and looks simple, to contrast Outlook’s frankly cluttered layout.

Unfortunately it works simple too. Not simple as in keep it simple, but  simple as in: ‘He was a bit simple, now you mention it.’ IMAP frankly frightens it, and you have to use advanced settings to keep it from defaulting to POP. My favourite thing about it so far, though, is the way it mindlessly keeps doing what I tell it not to. I don’t want it to synchronise the ‘All Mail’ folder with Google, cause it’s colossal. I don’t want it to sync the spam folder, cause it’s full of spam and I’m happy with my c0k $iz£, thanks! But it keeps doing it. I tell it not to synchronise, and even remove it’s messages; they keep appearing. And I know it remembers what I told it because the tick box is still ticked (it’s not the only thing getting a ticking off) (See Image).

It also doesn’t seem connected with its tray icon, which still displays unread mail long after you’ve read and cleared the inbox.

For some positives, it’s pretty, not complicated, and it has a structure which works better than Outlook. It supports a big, one-stop inbox without needing a BSc (Hons): Outlook Settings and Apologetics. I like it, I just wish it worked like it should. Kinda… like Vista!


It looks like Live Writer has updated and now recognises Drupal. Unfortunately, it now sees the CSS in a different way, and makes posting very visually difficult! It used to have  a white background (See top image) but now looks like this:

It’s a nightmare to read… oh well, I can’t really be arsed to muck about with the CSS of my theme… it was fun while it lasted!

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  1. Hermaine

    Maybe you can help me — Internet Explorer 7 keeps changing my choice of Windows Live Mail under Tools, Internet Options, Programs, E-mail back to Outlook???? HELP

  2. Zach

    I’m probably not the best place to look for Windows support, I’m afraid.

  3. Zach

    I'm probably not the best place to look for Windows support, I'm afraid.



  1. Aesthetics and Applications | Zach Beauvais Online - [...] I much prefer to blog using Windows Live Writer! Its design works well, it’s interesting-looking (without being LOUD, like…

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