Articles from Windows Live

Return to Inbox After Sending Email

By Michael Flanakin @ 7:12 PM :: 3351 Views :: Windows Live, (Open), (Reported) :: Digg it!

One thing I've always hated about Hotmail is the fact that, after sending email, the app sends you to a page to add the people you've just sent an email to to your contact list. I guess I could stand this if I used it, but the fact is I don't; at least not often. My main annoyance is that you're sent to this page even if everyone you just sent an email to is already a contact. The page is just a waste of time that forces users to make an extra click. At least skip it in this scenario. This minor change would definitely lessen the annoyance. If you really want to improve the experience, show me that info on the follow-on page in a small module, which would give me the same capability. Alternatively, Gmail automatically added these people as contacts in one of the early versions of the system. I think that'd be a good option, but wouldn't force it across the board.

I mentioned this internally, but didn't really get much out of it. I'm not sure what the thoughts are for the future. Others did, however, agree the page was wasteful.

Consolidate and Integrate WL Storage

By Michael Flanakin @ 4:17 PM :: 2981 Views :: Windows Live, (Open), (Unreported) :: Digg it!

I like the fact that Hotmail now supports 5 GB, but SkyDrive is limited to 500 MB. 500... megabytes!? You've gotta be kidding me, right!? Well, I guess I'll get over all that because I know that limit will be raised in time. What I'd really like to see, tho, would be to have all of my Windows Live storage grouped together. That way, I have 5 GB across everything. I imagine this including mail, SkyDrive, and even files I'd like to upload on Spaces. I think Google just did this and I have to commend them for it. I'm sure some would like 5 GB on each individual service, but I don't need that much. I'm also hoping this would add additional integration between the services to allow me to attach SkyDrive files in email and/or show them on my Spaces profile.

Move Files/Folders in WL Folders

By Michael Flanakin @ 1:53 PM :: 993 Views :: Windows Live, (Open), (Unreported) :: Digg it!
I'd really like to see the ability to move files/folders around in WL Folders. I'm guessing this will be added in the future, but haven't gone thru the process of investigating that. That seems like a big deal to me. Perhaps in an updated release.

Custom Web Mail UI for WL Custom Domains

By Michael Flanakin @ 6:39 PM :: 1043 Views :: Windows Live, (Open), (Reported) :: Digg it!

Windows Live Custom Domains allows you to utilize WL Mail  for your domain. There are a few things I'd like to see, tho. First, I'd like to customize the URL I use to access the site. Instead of, I'd like, for instance. Next, it'd be nice if I could sign in without specifying the domain name. Not a big deal, but it'd be nice. Lastly, I wish I could customize the look and feel of the site used to access email. Since WL Mail is built with .NET, a master page seems the best solution here. I'm sure there are certain requirements of the UI, but I'd be willing to work around those to get the look and feel I want.

Edit: I just reported this, but seeing as tho WL feedback isn't published, I doubt we'll hear back about this anytime soon. I need to see if there's an internal resource to discuss feature requests.

Show Who's Logged in on WL FolderShare

By Michael Flanakin @ 10:50 AM :: 908 Views :: Windows Live, (Open), (Unreported) :: Digg it!

When I'm running Windows Live FolderShare, I'd like to know what machines I have up and running. I have numerous machines running FolderShare and don't always know which machines are up, so having a submenu off the tray icon would be very helpful. All I'm looking for is an informative list, so clicking them isn't all that important to me. Ideally, tho, this could be a trafficlight-style link, where green represents a computer that's online; yellow might mean the computer is online, but not yet synchronized or maybe the status hasn't been identified, yet; and, red would obviously mean it's down. Looking at it another way, disconnected computers could be disabled and the status identifiers could represent the sync process or something like that. Going the extra mile, these items could even link to the FolderShare website on the remote file explorer page for that computer. That would be pretty nice.

Edit: This has been suggested in two ways: a list of available devices with an online/offline status icon (green/red); and, a notification balloon message that pops up when another client changes status.

Add Versioning Support to WL FolderShare

By Michael Flanakin @ 12:20 PM :: 871 Views :: Windows Live, (Open), (Unreported) :: Digg it!

This is probably a suggestion that will never be implemented in Windows Live FolderShare, but I'd love to have the ability to support versioning. This drastically changes the service, tho. This would essentially be a personal CM repository. Perhaps FolderShare on Vista might solve this in part with the built-in versioning, but what I'm looking for is the ability to share that version history with multiple clients -- namely personal computers, but multiple users would be nice, too. Every time I think about this, I question whether or not it's really appropriate for the service, and I don't think I can say it is, but it is definitely a nice-to-have. For those who have the time and resources for it, I'd suggest using Subversion and TortoiseSVN; but FolderShare with versioning, a lot of this would be done for you. Perhaps this could be an additional service for the WL team. Hmm...

Edit: While not exactly version control, there have been a few suggestions the FolderShare team has received to keep a copy of files on a server. Additionally, there was a "check-in/check-out" suggestion. Together, these are the beginning of version control. I doubt we'll ever see it, but you never know.

Create Icon Overlays for Sync'ed Files and Folders in WL FolderShare

By Michael Flanakin @ 12:08 PM :: 935 Views :: Windows Live, (Open), (Unreported) :: Digg it!

For anyone who's seen and/or used TortoiseSVN Mobile-ready link knows how great it is and how informative the icon overlays are. In a perfect world, Windows Live FolderShare would take one from the Tortoise book and provide both context menu commands to manage sync'ed data and provide a visual identifier of what has been changed locally and needs to be sync'ed and even conflicts, if appropriate. Having this would be absolutely awesome.

Edit: A suggestion has already been made to provide "better shell integration." This doesn't go into the level of integration I'd like to see, but it's a start. We'll have to see how that matures.

Enable Offline Sync Setup in WL FolderShare

By Michael Flanakin @ 11:58 AM :: 810 Views :: Windows Live, (Open), (Unreported) :: Digg it!

I completely understand that I can't sync between two computers when one isn't online, but I don't understand why I can't setup a sync directory. I should be able to install FolderShare on one machine and setup all the directories I'd like to sync. Then, at some later time, subscribe to those sync's when I install FolderShare on another machine. I don't think this is a huge deal, but it was a minor aggravation for me when I first got setup.

Edit: Someone already suggested that files should be sync'ed to an online storage somewhere, which would enable the "offline sync" I'm looking for. No word on any implementation.

Add Client-Side Configuration in WL FolderShare

By Michael Flanakin @ 11:22 AM :: 789 Views :: Windows Live, (Open), (Unreported) :: Digg it!

One thing I expected when I first started using Windows Live FolderShare was the ability to configure sync directories from my computer, as opposed to the website. I'd really like to have that capability from the context menu.

Bulk Setup in WL FolderShare

By Michael Flanakin @ 9:23 AM :: 817 Views :: Windows Live, (Open), (Unreported) :: Digg it!
Plain and simple, I want to have the ability to setup more than one directory at a time when I create sync'ed directories in Windows Live FolderShare. This can be done a couple ways, as far as I see it. First, a matrix can be setup to allow the user to type paths in, which is probably my preferred method. Second, the radio buttons used to select a directory could be changed to checkboxes. The latter option would only allow you to create sync'ed directories in one parent directory, tho, so that may not be the best option.

Use Same Directory Option in WL FolderShare

By Michael Flanakin @ 9:14 AM :: 794 Views :: Windows Live, (Open), (Unreported) :: Digg it!
When I'm working on a computer, I start off by doing a few things: customize the experience with my preferred settings and add a custom directory (c:\flanakin) to save all of my files to. I hate all the bloat in the protected storage directories, so I avoid them. Since I can guarrantee directories are in the same location no matter what computer I'm on, I'd really like the ability to have a checkbox that allows me to use the same directory path on all machines -- at least for the current setup, anyway. Having the ability to select a "use same directory" option would save a lot of time.

Specify Path in Textbox in FolderShare

By Michael Flanakin @ 8:48 AM :: 831 Views :: Windows Live, (Open), (Unreported) :: Digg it!
I'm just now using Windows Live FolderShare Mobile-ready link and I'm liking what I see. Granted, I'll need some time to ensure it works as intended, but I have high hopes. I've tried a couple of other tools that didn't work out as I hoped, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed with this one. With that, when I create a sync'ed directory, I really wish I could just type the path to sync. If I know the path I want to sync, it's somewhat annoying if I have to browse thru the directory structure to find what I want. I should be able to type the path, which can then be validated. This would make sync setup quicker.

RSS-Based Alerts

By Michael Flanakin @ 7:06 PM :: 926 Views :: Windows Live, (Open), (Reported) :: Digg it!
Windows Live Alerts is a nice service, but the real reason I don't use it more is because it's primarily email-based. I have absolutely no interest in getting more email than I already do. RSS alerts, however, would be priceless. I may skip over some that I don't care too much about, but RSS would be much more valuable than email alerts.

Create Simplest Route Driving Directions

By Michael Flanakin @ 3:50 PM :: 942 Views :: Windows Live, (Open), (Reported) :: Digg it!
First, let me say that this may not even be a big deal. I simply thought about it after hearing a few to many confusing directions. Have you ever been given directions to someone's house and they can't decide whether you should take the faster or shorter route, both of which consist of 20-some turns? There's got to be a simpler way, right? Well, maybe... Honestly, like I said, this may be stupid; but, I'd like to see the ability to get the "simplest" driving directions. These directions may not be the shortest or fastest way, but my hopes are that they'd give you the least number of turns. Why, you ask? Well, I personally hate giving directions for the first time and trying to figure out which of the 10 ways I'd like to suggest; especially considering I'd use them all, given the different set of circumstances that may be thrown at me.

Get Rid of Today Screen

By Michael Flanakin @ 9:58 PM :: 2564 Views :: Windows Live, (Closed), (Reported) :: Digg it!

I absolutely hate the Today screen in Windows Live Mail. I'm sure some might use it, but I don't. I go to mail to do exactly that... look at mail. Why are you wasting my time with this blank screen? Sure, I know that it can do some nice social networking stuff with your contacts, but I think I'll pass. Give me the option to just look at my mail. That's all I want... well, and a million dollars, of course.

Edit: I just submitted this via the public WL Feedback mechanism.

Edit: This is now an option in the latest internal version of WL Hotmail! THANK YOU!!! I believe this will be out in Fall 2007, but I haven't seen any absolute dates.