A few of my favorite things …
Just like Julie Andrews from the Sound of Music, (who? What? – how old is this guy!) I’d like to talk about a Few of My Favorite Things in Windows Live Messenger. There are so many awesome new features and core functionality improvements like sharing, unified contacts and improved peer to peer connectivity, and selectable colors as described by Nicole, but it’s the little things that make me smile every time I log into Windows Live Messenger these days. For instance, the sign in screen is simple and clean, like the new Live.com site. Just enough there to get me in and online. Simple, clean and it works reliably – except when my cat chews on the net cable behind my desk. We’ve got help links, password reset links, sign up for new account links all up front so even if you can’t sign in we’re there to help you. And it remembers everyone who has signed in, and their passwords if you’ve selected those check boxes right above the Sign In button. (don’t worry, they’re off by default). There’s even a Forget Me feature so if you sign into a public computer at the library or a kiosk, it will wipe your credentials from that machine and prevent others from using your account. Nice, huh?
Once signed in I’m really addicted to the new Sort by Status option so only people online are at the top of my list. With the new unified contacts paradigm our contact list now includes non Messenger contacts as well as Messenger contacts, with non-Messenger contacts (from you email address book for instance) placed at the bottom of the list. Word wheel is awesome too, just type a few letters of the person you’re looking for and your list is reduced to only those contacts with matching patterns.
One of the simplest new features that tops my list (so why is it 3rd, who knows – quit counting) is the new frameless mode. Just click the control at the top of the any window and the title bar and surrounding standard Windows frame disappear leaving a beautiful three dimensional, round cornered, hovering panel with your info on top, your contacts in the middle and video and search on the bottom. Again, really clean, really simple and it just floats on the desktop. For an even cleaner look you can turn Tabs off. This isn’t a new feature but it adds to the simple elegance of the frameless window. (You can turn off tabs under Tools/Options/Security and check This is a shared computer…)
There’s so much more to Windows Live Messenger, but these are just a Few of My Favorite Things.