posted by Nicole

What time is it? Beta time

If you are up for some Messenger beta testing beta’ read the rest of this post
If you aren’t up for beta testing beta’ check back next time

Important Details: 

  • Get Messenger 8.5 Beta1 (build 517) here
  • Send feedback here
  • Talk about it here
  • Get support here
  • Markets (Country + Language) in order to get this Beta out asap we limited the number of supported markets. If your market is not listed below, please know that we are working on it! 
    • English – United States, United Kingdom, India
    • French – France
    • Japanese – Japan
    • German – Germany
    • Chinese (Simplified) – China
    • Spanish – United States, Spain

What’s new:

I have listed what’s new in order of appearance…

Windows XP SP2
OK OK I know Windows XP SP2 is definitely not new (in fact it is almost 3 years old), what is new is that Messenger 8.5 Beta1 has bumped up the minimum OS requirement from Windows XP SP1 to Windows XP SP2.

If you are still running Windows XP SP1 I am absolutely shocked and you can:
     Get SP2 here OR
     Better yet you can get Vista here

Setup - the look
The next thing (or probably the first thing) you will notice is Messenger Setup looks different than previous Messenger releases. However it is the now same as the new setup experience for WL Mail and WL Writer 

Some before and after glamour shots of setup:

Setup – the desktop short cut
During Messenger setup you may notice that you are not prompted to create a desktop shortcut for Messenger. If you have an desktop shortcut from a previous release it will continue to work. Let us know what you think about this change here.

Setup – the start menu short cuts
After setup you will notice that the start menu short cuts are included in a Windows Live folder so you can easily find all your Windows Live clients. If you had Messenger installed previously your other start menu short cut will still appear.

Setup – Microsoft Update
If you read through the setup screens carefully you will notice that updates are going to be published through Microsoft Update – affectionately known in the office as MU pronounced "moo". Meetings about this are entertaining – we sound like a bunch of cows chatting it up – moo this, moo that, etc. Any moo, during the beta we will be testing this out with your help of course. Stay moo-ned I mean tuned

Sign-in - the look
Right after setup of course you need to sign-in. A picture is worth a 1000 words (according to someone) so I will let the picture do the talking here. This reminds me of those games in a magazine where you are supposed to spot all the differences. Can you find them all

Menus - the look and feel
After installing a Beta the first thing you might do is look through the menus to see what has changed… for this Beta the menus haven’t changed but you will get to them in a different way.

 

Contact Window – the look
After you sign-in you will likely want to find someone to IM with. For this example I am looking for my dad – Dan.

Conversation Window – the look and a little feel
Now on to IMing, you will notice the typing indicator and "Last message received.." information has moved. After you have used if for a bit, let us know what you think by voting in the poll (note if you are reading this in an RSS reader – click here to see the poll). We collect feedback in multiple ways – the poll is an unscientific but fun method so you may not see changes based on it. If you are really passionate about it head on over here to provide detailed feedback.

New Emoticon – the bunny
While you are IMing you will likely want to send an emoticon or 2 or 100  
I would like to introduce you to the bunny emoticon (‘.’) ….
 

OK so you are thinking if we like moo-ing so much why did we add a bunny instead of a cow. Stay tuned.. the mystery will be solved in an upcoming post  <Nicole laughs as she adds a cliff hanger – not as good as the Lost ones but still>

What else is new around Windows Live:

Windows Live Writer
Most of the MessengerSays posts are created through Windows Live Writer including this one. If you haven’t used Writer yet let me tell you it really rocks! Here are some of my favorite things about it:

  • It works well with Windows Live Spaces and works well with other non-Microsoft blogs (Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, WordPress, etc)
  • It is so easy to insert a picture into a post – Insert -> Picture – could it get any easier?
  • It supports plug-ins – my favorite plug-in is the Insert Spaces Emoticon 
  • It has spell check!
  • The team is really responsive to feedback, if you have any head over here.

Windows Live Writer has also released a new Beta today! Important details:

    • Get the Writer Beta here
    • Send feedback here
    • Talk about it here
    • Get support here
    • Read their blog here

Windows Live Mail
You can also use Windows Live Mail to check and organize all of your email. I use it for all of my newsgroup activity as well.  If you haven’t used Mail yet let me tell you it rocks! Here are some of my favorite things about it:

  • It works well with Windows Live Hotmail and with other non-Microsoft email (gmail.com, yahoo.com, etc)
  • It is really easy to setup, click "Add an e-mail account" and then you only need to add the stuff you will know – Your name, e-mail address and password and ta-da it figures out the rest of the stuff.
  • It has the ability to insert emoticons built in
  • It has spell check!
  • The team is really responsive to feedback, if you have any head over here.

Windows Live Mail has also released a new Beta today! Important details:

    • Get the Mail Beta here
    • Send feedback here
    • Talk about it here
    • Get support here
    • Read their blog here

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If you have a comment on this post please comment! For other questions/concerns/discussion topics/rants/raves/etc – please head over to the Windows Live Messenger Newsgroup.

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