Yeah… there isn’t a typo here – man is "man" with a small "m" and not a big "M" which generally refers to mankind (meaning men and women and all). Why do I say so, gee… I guess the screen shot tells a thousand words.

google-kr-mans-best-friend

The people at Google Korea do know what’s most important/best for men, since by any order, the first match should have been the second match instead.

Ed: This is not the AutoComplete feature in IE. This is the AutoComplete feature on the Google site.

One of the fears of investing into technology is that it would become obsolete as soon as it is purchased. This is especially so when pursuit of the technology is ceased instead of it dying a natural death or being superceded by newer technology. With Toshiba flying the white flag now, many consumers will be stuck with HD-DVD players with a very slim chance of seeing more movies produced on the media.

This is worse than having a mature technology dying because there may still be libraries of movies that are already available on the old media. In this abrupt pull back of technology, there is a high chance that companies will stop investing in this technology and hereafter move on to producing movies on the Blu-ray disc – the Sony technology that HD-DVD lost to.

One would then wonder what happens to the consumers then? Well, the HD-DVD player will probably go the way of the LD player, except that there’s still a chance of finding old movies and Karaoke discs on LD than on HD-DVD discs. To add salt to the wound, if the HD-DVD player is white and huge, it’d indeed be a white elephant.

TOKYO–Investors cheered an impending end to a format war for next-generation DVDs on Monday, pushing up shares of both Toshiba, on the verge of abandoning its HD DVD discs, and Sony, the leader of the rival Blu-ray camp.

Toshiba shares jumped 5.1 percent as analysts praised its decision to cut its losses, while Sony, whose technology is set to become the industry standard for the next generation of high-definition home movie DVDs, rose 2.7 percent.

"It doesn’t make sense for Toshiba to continue putting effort into this," said Koichi Ogawa, a chief portfolio manager at Daiwa SB Investments. "It needs to cut its losses and focus its resources on promising businesses."

A source at Toshiba told Reuters on Saturday that the electronics conglomerate was planning to give up on the HD DVD format after losing the support of key retailers and several movie studios including Warner Bros.

Toshiba, which led a consortium promoting HD DVD, would suffer losses of hundreds of millions of dollars to scrap production of its equipment and other steps to withdraw from the business, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported.

But analysts gave high marks to Toshiba’s seemingly quick decision to pull the plug on HD DVD because of the heavy costs involved in promoting the format.

Nikko Citigroup raised its rating on Toshiba to "buy/high risk" from "hold/high risk." JP Morgan maintained its "overweight" rating while predicting the elimination of sales promotion costs would add $280 million to Toshiba’s operating profit in the next business year from April.

"Since the business has no growth potential without video software, we think the company will probably withdraw completely rather than just partially," JP Morgan analysts Yoshiharu Izumi and Masashi Hayami wrote in a note to clients.

While keen on a new format DVD that can hold more content and produce higher-quality pictures, movie studios, and retailers want a single format that would avoid the cost of producing and stocking two different types of DVD.

Shoppers, faced with two formats and movies that might only play on one or the other, have tended to buy neither at a time when the entertainment industry was hoping the new generation discs would revive the $24 billion home DVD sector.

An end to the war means consumers can now be sure they won’t be stuck with a 21st century equivalent of Betamax–Sony’s videotape technology that lost out to VHS in the 1980s.

The defection of Time Warner’s Warner Brothers to Blu-ray from HD DVD in January was a heavy blow to Toshiba’s plans. It took Hollywood’s biggest film library into the Sony consortium’s camp and meant 70 percent of Hollywood movies would be in the Blu-ray format.

When the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores, said Friday it would quit stocking HD DVD movies in its 4,000 U.S. stores, both consumers and pundits said the war was over.

The decision matched earlier ones by consumer electronics chain Best Buy and online video rental company Netflix.

"Blu-ray won. It’s fantastic and I trust Sony," said one customer who was browsing the DVD player aisles at the Best Buy Co Inc store on New York’s Fifth Avenue.

Tania Bonetti, who works in the home theater section of the store, where DVD players cost from $399 to almost $1,000, said, "Blu-rays are flying off the shelves, but we have to order if you want HD."

Wal-Mart’s own movie and gaming blogger put the future of HD DVD in stark terms.

"If you bought the HD player like me, I’d retire it to the bedroom, kid’s playroom, or give it to your parents to play their John Wayne standard def movies, and make space for a BD (Blu-ray disc) player for your awesome Hi Def experience," Wal-Mart blogger Susan Chronister wrote in a posting.

Stephanie Prange, editor in chief of Home Media Magazine, said the war’s end should boost high-definition DVD adoption.

"It would definitely help. The two formats, though both were good, have confused consumers and prevented them from moving into the high-def future," she said.

Article obtained from ZDnet at http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9584_22-6230980.html on 19th February 2008

Really, I have nothing against Sony, Ericsson, Sony Ericsson, nor their products, i.e. before they decided to adopt Microsoft’s Windows Mobile as their OS of choice. I have personally given WM many opportunities as my OS of choice but it had time and again failed and fall short of one of my simplest expectations – answering phone calls.

Yes, my WM-based phones have either:

  1. Failed to detect an incoming call, or
  2. Failed to answer my phone calls despite me pressing the Answer button, or
  3. Failed to make phone calls given good signal strengths, or
  4. Failed to send our SMS given good signal strengths, or perhaps it just…
  5. Failed to report the actual signal strength

Yes, I am irritated by my WM-based, and yes, I am switching back to a Nokia. =) Nokia’s a god-send, until it becomes gey kiang (act smart). At the end of the day, a phone is still a phone… is still a phone. When it has all the bells and whistles but fails to function as what it is meant to do, then it is not a good phone. No amount of software including MP3 player, Flash player, or Microsoft Office Suite built-in will make it a good phone if it fails to perform its most basic function of answering a call.

I hope Sony Ericsson got it good.

BARCELONA (Spain) – SONY Ericsson on Sunday announced a new premium handset aimed at capturing the Web convergence market blending multimedia with mobile web communication in its first product using Microsoft’s operating system.

The Xperia X1 will launch in the second half of 2008 and will be sold worldwide, including in the United States.

It marks the first time Sony Ericsson is using Microsoft Windows Mobile in a departure from its collaboration with Symbian, an open operating system that is partly owned by Sony Ericsson.

Executives said their focus was on the user experience, not the operating system, and said that many Sony Ericsson signature features, including a patented nine-panel interface, had been built on top of the Windows operating system.

Sony Ericsson executive Steve Walker said Microsoft Mobile was the ‘ideal’ platform for the X1.

‘In the case of the X1, Microsoft gives us an opportunity to build on,’ Mr Walker said. But he said that did not necessarily mean that subsequent handsets in the Xperia sub-brand would be based on Microsoft.

The handset features an arc sliding mechanism with a 3-inch-wide (8-centimetre-wide) DVD-quality video display, a full keyboard alongside a touchscreen and optical device for navigation.

Sony Ericsson executives declined to give pricing on the handset, except to say that it would be at a premium mobile phone, or to say how many models it plans to ship.

The partnership was announced on the eve of the Mobile World Congress, the largest wireless industry conference bringing together more than 50,000 industry executives from some 1,300 companies.

‘With Sony Ericsson we are now working with the top five handset makers around the world,’ Microsoft product manager John Starkweather said in an interview before the Barcelona wireless conference.

Samsung, Motorola Inc., and LG all ship cell phones with Microsoft Mobile, while Nokia, the largest handset maker by volume, incorporates some Microsoft technology, including Windows Media Player.

Microsoft expects to ship 20 million new phones using Windows Mobile in the fiscal year that ends June 30, Mr Starkweather said. — AP

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 11th February 2008

Sun Microsystems – made famous by their Sun machines and SunOS, has agreed to purchase MySQL for $1 billion, promising to push the open-source DBMS to larger corporations. MySQL has always been the DBMS of choice for freelance programmers because it can be easily set up and configured – with a large community for support.

With Sun’s acquisition, and pending further analysis and information, this could go either way in that:

  • part of it will remain free and supported by the community while another part becomes commercialised (pretty much like how it is now)
  • the entire thing goes commercial, with a watered-down version for free

This is pretty much like where Redhat was headed for – Redhat Enterprise for corporate and Fedora Core for enthusiasts.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Sun Microsystems Inc. has agreed to buy open-source software maker MySQL AB for $1 billion, beefing up the server maker’s database offerings with a company whose technology is used by some of the world’s biggest Web sites.

Santa Clara-based Sun, in separate announcements before the market opened, said its second quarter revenue would narrowly exceed Wall Street estimates. It also said profit would fall at the high end of analysts’ expectations. The company revealed its preliminary results ahead of schedule.

Sun is paying $800 million in cash and assuming $200 million in options to acquire MySQL. The Swedish company makes open-source database software used by companies such as online search leader Google Inc., popular Internet hangout Facebook Inc. and Finnish phone maker Nokia Corp.

Sun said the deal will help spread MySQL’s software to large corporations, which have been the biggest customers of Sun’s servers and software, and boost its distribution through Sun’s relationships with other server makers such as IBM Corp. and Dell Inc.

The acquisition, expected to close in the third or fourth quarter, takes pressure off Sun to spend some of the cash it’s been accumulating. It also bolsters its software offerings with a well-known known name in Internet data retrieval.

Sun also said it expects net income of between $230 million to $265 million, or 28 cents to 32 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were expecting profit of between 22 cents and 38 cents.

Sun said it expects to notch about $3.6 billion in sales during the second quarter. Analysts were expecting, on average, $3.58 billion in sales.

Article obtained from Associate Press on 18th January 2008

Recemt sales in consumer electronics exhibitions had been focusing on Blu-ray players – or at least that’s what I had been seeing. Either that or the marketing that was done was really good. For the uninitiated, the Blu-ray is just 1 of 2 of the successors of DVD technology – promising to provide higher definition playback as well as other enhanced features. Blu-ray promises a larger capacity and better protection while HD DVD – the other competitor seems to provide only higher definition.

Perhaps the marketing strengths of Sony – who owns Blu-ray, had been really good because I can probably recall about hearing a Blu-ray player, but a HD DVD player? Hmm… probably just HDTV.

LOS ANGELES – THE high-definition DVD war is all but over.

Hollywood’s squabble over which of two technologies will replace standard DVDs skewed in the direction of Sony Corp late last week, with Warner Brothers casting the deciding vote in favour of the company’s Blu-ray discs over the rival HD DVD format.

In some ways, the fight is a replay of the VHS versus Betamax battle of the 1980s.

This time, however, the Sony product appears to have prevailed.

‘The overwhelming industry opinion is that this decides the format battle in favour of Blu-ray,’ said Mr Richard Doherty, research director of Envisioneering Group, a market research company in New York.

Behind the studio’s decision are industry-wide fears about the sagging home entertainment market, which has bruised the movie industry in recent years as piracy, competition from video games and the Internet, and soaring costs have cut into profitability.

Analysts predict that domestic DVD sales fell by nearly 3 per cent last year, partly because of confusion over the various formats.

But HD DVD is not dead.

Two major studios, Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures, have deals in place to continue releasing their movies exclusively on HD DVD, as does DreamWorks Animation.

Warner Brothers, part of Time Warner, will also continue to release its titles on both formats until the end of May. But by supporting Blu-ray, Warner Brothers, the largest player in the US$42 billion (S$60 billion) global home entertainment market, makes it next to impossible for HD DVD to recover its early momentum.

Consumers have been largely sitting on the sidelines waiting to buy high-definition DVD players until they see which will have the most titles available.

Retailers have been complaining about having to devote space to three kinds of DVDs, and the movie business has delayed tapping a lucrative new market.

‘Consolidating into one format is something that we felt was necessary for the health of the industry,’ said Mr Barry Meyer, chief executive of Warner Brothers.

With Warner on board, Blu-ray now has about 70 per cent of the market.

Toshiba said in a statement it was quite surprised and particularly disappointed by Warner’s decision.

Which technology is better has been the subject of intense debate. HD DVD players have been much cheaper, but Blu-ray discs have more storage space and more advanced protection against piracy. Both versions deliver sharp resolution.

Blu-ray titles have sharply outsold HD DVD offerings by as much two to one, according to some analysts.

In Singapore, sales of either type of disc have been slow to pick up as well.

Retailers say regular DVDs outsell Blu-ray and HD DVD discs 20 to 1.

Viewers have stayed away because players are still expensive – usually at $1,000 or more. They are also waiting for more titles to ship in the new formats.

As of last month, there were about 100 such titles in either Blu-ray or HD DVD, compared with about 1,000 in the United States.

NEW YORK TIMES

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 7th January 2008

PhoneBAK for O2 Zinc by Bak2U (bärk-tə-yōō) is probably one of the most amazing software I have ever installed in my entire life till this point in time. My ActiveSync didn’t work as I thought it would – which I later discovered to be a setting on my PDA. Despite this, all it took was for me to copy the .cab file to my PDA to run on it. This is just the beginning of the fun part…

 DSC01352

Ok, I have to admit that I am not a manual’s person – which means I don’t usually like to RTFM (read the friendly manual), but the installation process is intuitive enough for me to get to this stage.

After installing it, I didn’t see any icons in the Programs directory – which is quite a good thing because you won’t want the person who found/took your phone to know that you have PhoneBAK installed. So being a geek, I went into the Program Files directory where I found the directory. Clicking on PhoneBak.exe, the program fired up. As I didn’t want to mess up any settings, I opened the PDF file that came together with the software.

Ok. I admit it. Before I could proceed any further, it asked me for a password, which I won’t know till I read the manual. =P

After I got in, it reminded me that I have 3 days to register my copy before it expires and locks me out of my own phone ceases to be a really useful software to help safeguard my precious phone. Configuration from here on is a breeze. The first tab allowed me to add in notification numbers. It is important not to add in your own number. At first, I thought I had it figured out, but on second thoughts, I still don’t know why… but oh well, I added in the number of my other phones, my friend’s, my mum’s, my grandma’s, my dad’s, my neighbour’s and the police station hotline because I realise that I can now send SMSes to landed numbers and when the other person picks it up, the entire SMS gets read. Then again, I’m not too sure if it’s a good idea. Well, it probably depends on what messages you configure for it.

The next tab allows you to add in your SIM ID. This can usually be found on your SIM card. However, it adds the current SIM ID to the software database and you can either add the other IDs in manually or run this program again when you insert your other SIM cards. Of course, when you do the latter, an SMS will be sent out from that SIM card that you just used.

The 3rd tab is my favourite tab. You can add any messages you want. I replaced the default message with something along the lines of "Your stolen/missing phone has been used by an unauthorized SIM card". Of course, if you really lose your phone, then it’s no longer as amusing. However, if you do intend to use the police hotline as your notification number, then you might want to key in something like "This is a prank message. I don’t think you police can really catch me. Really. Maybe you should try hard, like really hard. Moreover, you guys probably do not know what I am using a stolen phone. Do you guys think you can really catch me? Really? Really? Really?". Well, it’s extra long so that the police can have some time to trace the number. =P But seriously, DO NOT route your messages to the police hot line because you might one day get a new SIM card (perhaps a 3G SIM card with the same phone number) and it’d still send the message if you hadn’t configure it. You have been warned.

The next tab is the activation tab – where you must enter your activation code within 3 days before it locks up your phone the software deactivates. It’s quite a simple step so there is no need for further discussion.

The last tab is the password tab – where you change the password where you initially entered. Do (1) change your password and (2) try not to use your mobile number/NRIC number/IMEI number as your password because these are some of the first few things that the perpetrator will use. Instead, use something that only you know. Something that is seemingly random… like 3452897956098204098560982345454524879098234957985692736487643593854. Ok, I was just kidding. It’s probably too long anyway.

So there you have it – the really useful software that doesn’t give the finder any excuse not to return you your phone. However, do remember to reward the person if you really dropped it and someone really returns it to you. After all, what is more precious than preventing your videos from leaking out? It’d be fun if the software can access the mobile cell station ID and triangulation information – better if it is able to record incoming and outgoing calls, SMSes and conversations. This will definitely track them down.

And just for the fun of it, I swapped the SIM card with my other SIM card and it worked like a charm. My friend, mother, grandmother, neighbour and minus the police station all got the message. Of course, besides my friend who has my other number, no one knew what in the world the message was for, so do think of a useful message to write when you configure your software so that you can also be notified somehow. Either that or you tell your mother, grandmother, dad and neighbour about the new software too and get them to try it as well! Haha… you’d never know if they’d ever need it. 😉

However, while that is still a dream, PhoneBAK from Bak2U still does what it is meant to be – an excellent anti-theft software that aims to provide loss protection. So, go on and try it today at http://bestmobilesoftwares.com/Home.htm or find out more at http://www.bak2u.com.

Just laid my hands on a Fujitsu P1610 (3G) and I am going to give the low down on it. At first sight, this is probably no bigger than an ordinary note book – the paper ones and probably just as thick as a 200-page textbook that I can easily find in the school’s library. Weighing just over 1kg with battery included, this seems to spell the end of heavy days for me.

The set that I got comes installed with Windows XP tablet – not because it is the default installatin, but because I requested for it. The Vista DVD comes together with it so that I can review it if I ever want to. Powering up this baby, it gives the familiar POST screen, showing its prowess as a U1400 Intel 1.2Ghz machine come loaded with the maximum of 1GB of RAM. Not a lot of RAM to run Windows Vista on, as I had assumed but this proves to be suffiient for Windows XP.

Starting up the machine in Windows XP was easy. There was the familiar screen of Omnipass that allows the user to log in with his fingerprint – a good alternative to trying to recall hard-to-remember passwords. For a machine that’s still running in the lower of the 1-2 GHz range, starting up is faster than expectation – mind you, this is a new machine and had not been subjected to the evils of mountains of software installation.

LCD screen and digitizer

I was eager to test out the tablet mode and hastily logged in and twisted its screen so that it becomes an instant slate. Navigation with the stylus was easy – as long as you did your calibration before hand. As this is a passive digitizer, there’s no additional functions that allows you to use other parts of the stylus for other purposes, such as erasing your text or drawings. However, the pros of it is that it allows you to nagivate using your finger tip.

The digitizer recognises gestures and writings very well and is not affected with your palm resting on the screen. Its sensitivity is precise and accurate, leaving very little fuss with whatever I wanted to do. Overall, I think Fujitsu had done a good job on it.

Peripherals

Used as a normal notebook, the mouse pad that I am so used to is sorely missing. In it’s place is a mouse stick which requires a little bit of familiarizing. The good thing about having a passive digitizer is that it allows you to scroll by just moving the scrollbars with your fingers – no fumbling over the stylus as with an active digitizer. To a certain extent, it is as convenient as it can get – until I am used to the mouse stick.

The keyboard is confined to a space of slightly more than 9 inches diagonally – and probably needs a little getting used to for people with bigger palms and fingers. However, the pitch is the keys is really confortable and there is very little mistyping, if any at all. The keyboard layout is the same as most other Fujitsu notebooks – with the use of the Fn function key to access the Page Up/Down and Home/End keys. While this may sometimes be a little daunting for first-time users, it becomes intuitive with time.

Display

This ultraportable also comes with function buttons just below the screen, which allows the user to configure and access frequently used programs at the touch of a button. There is also a function button that allows – at a single press – to toggle the backlight in the LED, hence allowing the user to turn of the backlight without turning off the monitor entirely. This is allows a quick toggle of the backlight to save power when the laptop is not in use momentarily without having to meddle with the actual LCD display. Think of it as putting the LCD brightness to the dimmest possible at a single touch.

Connectivity

The SIM slot that enables 3G capabilities is located behind the battery – and this means having to remove the battery and slipping the SIM card in. At first instance, I thought this was rather anti-intuitive. However, on second thoughts – it prevents the SIM card from being accidentally removed, or worse, stolen. Connection to the local 3G network was a breeze as the P1610 comes with a pre-installed network that makes connection as easy as firing up notepad. It also comes with wireless LAN capabilities that allows connection to A/B/G networks at the flick of the switch on the side. However, do note that this switch also controls the 3G connectivity, so selective wireless connection would have to be done via the application that comes with it.

Configuration

The P1610 also comes with standard ports, including 2 USB ports, 1 set of audio in/out, 1 SD slot, 1 PCMCIA slot, 1 VGA output port, 1 10/100Mbps LAN socket and a 56 Kbps modem socket. A Keningston port is also available for securing your P1610. At the bottom of the laptop is a docking port for an optional port replicator.

The laptop has a maximum memory configuration of 1 GB of RAM, which I suspect may not be sufficient for Windows Vista – and this should be a consideration if you have an option for the Operating System to be installed. It also comes with a 1.8 inch 80 GB HDD, which is partitioned into 2 drives. It should be generous enough for most usage as the largest 1.8 inch drive that is available in the market at this point is only 120 GB. The user should consider external storage if more hard disk space is desired.

Conclusion

Overall, the P1610 can be described with one word – sexy. It’s small built with a bundle of functions and crystal clear screen makes it an ideal companion to bring along for travel and redefines mobile computing in its own class. While a mouse touch pad would have been desired, I have no qualms sacrificing it for the power that it packs for its weight.

If you paid way much more for your new Sony PSP Slim, then you’d be in for a surprise. This is because you are actually paying way much more for less with not much improvement in functionality. Everything else is pretty much the same, except that they have removed more parts from the original PSP that makes the PSP Slim… slimmer.

However, along with this weight loss also meant a certain amount of innovation that makes it less power hungry – allowing the PSP Slim to run with the same number of hours using a lesser capacity battery, resulting in the use of a 1200mAh battery instead of the original 1800mAh. It is not stated if the older battery can still be used for a longer play.

One of the items that went with the weight loss is a set of metal plates that where embedded at the back panel of the PSP. This was supposed to aid in withstanding any twisting forces that may result from game play. In place of these metal pieces, Sony has put in ribs, which is supposed to withstand the same amount of force applied onto it.

So, there really isn’t much cutting-edge technology in the new PSP Slim – just a whole lot slimmer and lighter, and less power consuming.

"They aren’t really using any cutting-edge technology. It’s more like they’ve just eliminated the parts that were unnecessary to assure quality." That was what our engineer said after disassembling the PSP-2000, the latest model in the line of PlayStation Portable (PSP) game consoles from Sony Computer Entertainment Inc (SCE) of Japan, released in September 2007.

The PSP-2000 uses the same liquid crystal display (LCD) size, input interface and other specs as its predecessor, the PSP-1000, but weighs less by about a third as much, at only 189g. The case is also 4.4mm thinner, at only 18.6mm. "The PSP-1000 was the first portable game system that SCE manufactured, and came with a large 4.3-inch display. That resulted in a pretty difficult requirement specification as far as strength goes. In designing the PSP-2000, though, it looks like the firm applied what it learned to remove unneeded parts," added our engineer.

Eliminating Components
SCE adopted a fairly standard approach to making the PSP-2000 lighter: it reduced the number of components and replaced metal parts with plastic ones. The biggest contribution to weight reduction came from elements like the case, LCD panel and universal media disc (UMD) optical drive. On the PSP-1000 the plastic case bottom was reinforced with a metal chassis, but the bottom of the PSP-2000 is made entirely of plastic, cutting weight by 20g. The metal chassis was removed from the UMD as well for another 16g reduction. The front-panel metal reinforcement for the LCD panel has also been removed, and the glass substrate thinned down, reducing weight by 23g.

It would normally be impossible to ensure sufficient strength by merely eliminating metal parts, and it appears that SCE engineers tweaked the design to provide the needed strength. According to the engineer,

"The PSP-1000 enhanced rigidity by combining various components like the LCD panel, case and UMD; but in the PSP-2000 rigidity is instead provided by reinforcing the bottom of the case." The bottom of the PSP-2000 is covered with reinforcing ribs, which are sufficiently strong to withstand twisting stress.

The batteries in the PSP-2000 are also 8g lighter than those in the old model, although capacity has also dropped from 1800mAh to only 1200mAh. According the SCE, however, battery drive time is the same, leading us to believe that they have found a way to reduce power consumption.

The engineer noted that the PSP central processing unit (CPU) and the 64-Mbyte memory have been implemented in a single package in the PSP-2000, explaining that the switch would reduce power consumption during memory access by the CPU.

Article obtained from http://techon.nikkeibp.co.jp/article/HONSHI/20071127/143110/ on 16th December 2007

If only I have this during my Seoul trip, then I can tell you guys where exactly I am… well, almost. However, it seemed a little difficult to find where the roads are in Seoul via Microsoft Virtual Earth, so I thought I’d do something simpler – finding Pedra Branca.

Map image

As it turned out, it wasn’t that easy to find Pedra Branca either! So, you’d have to use a little bit of imagination. Do you see the words “Kampung sungai Rengit” and “Lagoi”? Well, the island is supposed to be somewhere between those words.

Perhaps the next plug-in that people should write is to help label the map. =)

Of course, this is the Aerial version, which basically shows what the satellites capture. If you want something crisp, you can try the Road-only version, which should look something like this:

Map image

There you have it! Hmm… so, if you haven’t downloaded WLW yet, do have a try. You do not necessarily need to post to your blog, but you can just play around with it without saving drafts.

And oh, did I mention that you can also select which category you want to post to? The toolbar may not be visible by default, so you’d have to click on View and then Properties. There should be a new toolbar at the bottom of the window.

Have fun!

This is the first entry that I am writing using life writer, and I am not sure if it’s because of the settings, or if it’s emulating my CSS of my WordPress theme. It seemed to be the same form and header that it looks like in my blog!

So what am I going to write about? Naturally, I am going to go through the step by step installation of Windows Live Writer (WLW) up to the point I submit this post.

You would have to firstly download the latest non-beta version of WLW at http://windowslivewriter.spaces.live.com/, which will also give you an insight of what WLW is all about. Beta testers have complained about crashes, so this might be something that you want to look into. Currently, WLW supports MSN Spaces and WordPress. I am not sure if it supports the more popular Blogspot thought. Anyone Blogspot users out there? =)

So, after you are done with your download, you should see the following screens:

wlw01

Now, you should really click on Accept because clicking on Cancel is not going to get you anywhere. This you have to trust me. =) After this, you should get the next screen:

wlw02

Now, because I am not exactly an avid fan of MSN Live yet, I unchecked all the rest of the checkboxes. You should check according to your preferences. After you have decided on this, you click on Install. For obvious reasons, you may also choose to click on Cancel. =)

wlw03

This portion begins the scan of your computer for other Windows Live programs, such as your Windows Live Messenger, which is essentially your MSN Messenger. This should take quite a while. It took a few minutes on my computer, and lo and behold, you get the follow screen:

wlw04

Installation has apparently started without me knowing, except that it says so in the middle of the window, and  that you may feel free to do other things while you wait. This is really interesting. This is the first time that I see such messages. I hope they don’t mean that I can do *many* other things while I wait.

wlw05

Thank goodness it finished within a reasonable amount of time. However, instead of the usual blank screen that screams *installation is complete*, this still looks pretty much the same, except that it tells you that the Start Writer is installed and the Cancel button changes to a Close. At this point of time, should you decide to install Messenger, Mail, Toolbar, Photo Gallery (wow!) and Family Safety, you may check on the respective boxes and click on Add to installation. It should probably continue.

When you first start WLW, it’d prompt you to set up your blog settings, or if you would like to sign up for one using either Windows Live Spaces or SharePoint blogging. Since I am using WordPress, I selected "Another Weblog Service".

wlw0A

After making your selection, you would go on to the next window that’d prompt you on your Weblog Homepage and Login. For WordPress, you just need to specify your blog URL as well as the username and password that you use to access your /wp-admin.

wlw0B

When this is done, WLW starts scanning the URL for more information as well as downloading the current WordPress theme so that you have a WYSIWYG effect in the editor.

wlw0D1

Lastly, it confirms with you your configuration. If you see a "Switch to this weblog now" checkbox, it means that you have a preconfigured weblog using WLW previously.

So, installation of WLW did turn out to be a rather pleasant experience – and hence, the next challenge would be the usability. Remember I mentioned something about the editor looking like my WordPress theme? Well, here it is:

wlw06

Quite a cool interface, isn’t it? If you noticed, the title "First entry using Windows Live Writer resembles that of my current WordPress theme! This is totally awesome! Ok, let me enlarge that a little.

wlw07

Did you see that red line under the "wordpress" word? Yes, there’s also a spell checker installed, and apparently it supports 4 languages including English, French, Spanish and German.

So, what’s my 2 cents worth of this? I’d think this is a pretty good offline blogging tool – that means I am no longer at the mercy of my WordPress which dies on me every now and then and not saving my drafts properly. The next challenge is of course, using this as a platform to live blog – to test if it can publish and then "save and continue editing". If this is doable – without the system crashing, then this will indeed be my ultimate blogging tool.

One last thing. The images inserted in this entry is done effortlessly using the Insert Picture command on the sidebar panel. It’s totally incredible because you can just resize your pictures while maintaining aspect ratio. In addition, it throws in the shadows for you too (there are options on the right panel when you select the picture)!

This entire blog post was done using 3 tools: Windows Live Writer, Windows Snipping Tool and Windows Paint. I do hope WLW lives up to its name. =)

PS: The reason why I put a "Part 1" is because I think there’d be more to come. So do stay tune if you are interested in offline blogging (not that this is the only tool around, but it does seem to work well so far).