Windows Live ID to finally support OpenID

It looks like the Windows Live team is at it again. They’ve taken the plunge at PDC 2008 and committed to supporting the OpenID initiative.

All Windows Live product teams are committed to supporting open standards where such standards are relevant to our work and when they reach a sufficient level of maturity, and the Windows Live ID Team is no exception. We have been tracking the evolution of the OpenID specification, from its birth as just a dream and a vision through its development into a mature, de facto standard with terms that make it viable for us to implement it now.

We look forward to making it easier for our users to access the Web sites they use, by reducing their need to create additional identity accounts. That is the promise of OpenID. We are happy to support that goal by providing OpenID-based sign-in functionality to Windows Live ID account holders.

This may not seem like much but its Microsoft validating an open standard and making every one of their Hotmail and Passport users have ubiquitous access to a growing number of OpenID-enabled websites.

Well done to the Windows Live team.

How to get Windows Live Installer to work behind a firewall and proxy

If you are like me and obsessed about security, then you might find that your PC is sitting behind a firewall with no direct outbound web access. That is other than through an proxy server of some sorts like the Linux based squid.

What happens is the Window Live Installer (WLInstaller.exe) searches your computer for installed Windows Live programs and then fails to check for and download the new versions. Why? Because it ignores the default proxy settings you’ve configured under Internet Explorer. To solve it simply execute proxycfg -u to import proxy settings from current user’s Microsoft Internet Explorer manual settings and try the installer again.

[tags]Windows Live Installer,Windows Live,howto[/tags]

Windows Live Tools CTP

Windows Live Tools logo Angus Logan, Senior Technical Product Manager for Windows Live, just announced on his blog the first CTP for a cool set of add-ins for Visual Studio 2008 (formerly code-named Orcas) for getting started with Windows Live in your own applications.
Windows Live™ Tools for Microsoft® Visual Studio® are a set of control add-ins to make incorporating Windows Live services into your Web application easier with Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Web Developer 2008.

Download the Community Technical Preview of  Windows Live Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio Now

The four controls included in this CTP release are:

  • Contacts Control
  • IDLogin Control
  • IDLoginView Control
  • SilverlightStreamingMedia Control

Update: Check this page out for more information.

[tags]Windows Live,Visual Studio 2008[/tags]

Silverlight Streaming plug-in for Expression Encoder

For those of you that were at Tech-Ed or at his SA Developer talk, Angus Logan demonstrated publishing Silverlight content directly into the Silverlight Streaming service cloud from inside Microsoft Expression Encoder. He has just announced that a new preview version of the plug-in is available for download along with an introduction video on how to get started.

So why not take advantage of the 4GB of free storage and the worldwide content delivery network provided by the Silverlight Streaming by Windows Live. There is even a cool plug-in for Windows Live Writer to make publishing of Silverlight videos a piece of cake in blog posts. The best part is that because the video is hosted in the cloud, you won’t be running out of hosting bandwidth anytime soon.

I suggest following his blog post for instructions and download links.

[tags]Silverlight,Expression Encoder[/tags]

Tech-Ed 2007 day 3

Tech-Ed South Africa 2007Its honestly amazing how time flies when you are at Tech-Ed. I found that day three just flew past in comparison to day two; I suppose it has to do with the sheer number of sessions I attended.

The first talk worth mentioning today was one by Angus Logan where he shared information about the Windows Live technologies currently available for integration by developers. I never realised that Windows Live ID was recently made available as a single sign on solution for end-user applications coupled with the various other services likes Virtual Earth, Live Contacts, Silverlight Streaming and numerous other cool services. They are all covered under one “no lawyer required” terms of use and unless your web site has more than about a million users, its free to use. For more information on the APIs, code samples for .NET, Java, Python, Ruby and many more take a moment and check out dev.live.com and there is even a .NET wrapper library for the REST APIs on CodePlex. Don’t forget to attend Angus’ talk for SA Developer .NET this Thursday, you won’t be disappointed.

Chris, some other dude, Hilton, Nicolas and Ronald Hilton Giesenow, SA Developer Lead and MVP, gave an awesome talk on the hidden gems of ASP.NET 2.0 where he shared some very cool but lesser known features of the ASP.NET. One of them that comes to mind is the SessionPageStatePersister class that provides a simple means of reducing the viewstate of each page in a site with no changes to the actual pages themselves.

Chris Auld from New Zealand was highly entertaining to experience. He was wearing a Sprinkbok rugby jersey after he lost a bet. He is genuinely a unique character and showed us all how to implement and use WCF (Windows Communication Foundation) for various connection endpoints including TCP, SOAP, JSON and even RSS. Unfortunately his demos were plagued with exception pop-up dialogs due to the Visual Studio 2008 beta quirks but seemed to work nonetheless. I found his “go go gadget stack trace” comment quite amusing.

Just to make sure we didn’t have a dull day, we got Nicolas Blank to interview Hilton Giesenow, Willie Roberts and myself about the technical communities in South Africa. I’ll make a post here when the video has been edited and posted on the international Virtual Tech-Ed site.

Laser finger-tipped skeleton dancerAs day four is a half day it is customary to have the closing party the evening before. The theme was CSI and we were treated to an awesome buffet in the Sun City Superbowl followed by local band Springbok Nude Girls on stage and then lots of dancing and partying.

[tags]Tech-Ed 2007,Windows Live,ASP.NET,WCF,Virtual Tech-Ed,Springbok Nude Girls[/tags]

Tech-Ed 2007 day 1

Its the end of day 1 of Tech-Ed 2007 South Africa and I must say it is what I expected it to be. Apparently there are almost 2000 delegates here this year which is an impressive improvement over the 1600 delegates last year and the most delegates at any Tech-Ed event in Africa ever. Are there any other Tech-Ed events held elsewhere in Africa, I’m not sure. Strangely the male to female ratio is still sitting at 10:1 which doesn’t surprise me at all considering women are generally illogical. (I’m going to suffer for that comment, I just know it, but its true.)

This is my first Tech-Ed event as I finally decided to take leave from work and cough up the cash to see what its all about. I haven’t bumped into too many people that I know as of yet although the first person that Willie and I happened to stumble upon was Angus Logan. Angus is an Australian now living in Redmond and on the Windows Live team. The great thing is that Angus will be giving a talk for SA Developer .NET in Bryanston just after Tech-Ed and you are all invited to come and hear about the cool stuff happening in the Windows Live realm. Take a moment and RSVP over here.

I must say that the keynote speech was a bit too long; two hours and my butt was asleep and I was surprised that I wasn’t as well. Thankfully it was followed by a Lost themed opening party at the Valley of the Waves. The food was ample, hot and delicious. The pudding afterward was even more delicious with the bread and butter pudding disappearing moments after new trays were put out. Naturally the free beer flowed happily and there was an awesome fireworks and laser presentation. Some random band named Voodoo Child or something to that effect was on the stage for most of the evening thumping out popular covers that really set the mood for a chilled out evening under the stars on the fake beach. All in all, a great start to what hopes to be an awesome 3 day event.

[tags]Tech-Ed 2007,South Africa,SA Developer .NET[/tags]

Windows Live doesn’t support Vista x64, yet!

As you may have noticed earlier this month, Microsoft released new builds of the Windows Live series of programs that it seems are destined to form the Windows Live Suite 2008. The individual components and their build numbers are listed below for prosperity

Unfortunately users that try to run the installer on a Windows Vista x64 system will encounter the rather obscure error message “Windows Live programs can’t be installed on this operating system.” as can be seen in the screen shot below.

image

A search using Google didn’t bring back anything useful so I wandered over to the newsgroups and found a workaround as well as the following statement from Brandon LeBlanc on Vista x64 support:

“To everyone running 64-bit and unable to install the betas – do not worry. Microsoft fully intends to support 64-bit users for the new Windows Live installer and apps at release.”

Apparently the problem is not with the actual applications or their individual installers but rather with the new shared Windows Live Installer (WLInstaller.exe) which doesn’t support x64 as yet. This is confirmed by the release notes I found for Windows Live Installer (build 1320.0823).

However I did find some users posting workarounds to the problem. The easiest solution is to run the shared installer on a x86 machine first and to then copy the MSI files and run the individual installations manually. If you don’t have access to an x86 machine then you can always hack the shared installer using a hex editor and get the installers out that way.

I’m personally very excited to check out the new Windows Live Writer features as well as the first public beta of Windows Live Photo Gallery which apparently replaces the Vista Windows Photo Gallery component.

[tags]Windows Live,Windows Live Messenger,Windows Live Writer,x64[/tags]