Updated: Windows Live Messenger 2009 RC next week!
Posted by absorbation on Fri 05 Dec 2008 (17:53 GMT) (8807 views)
Darren Huston, Corporate Vice President of Consumer and Online International at Microsoft, has revealed a more detailed timeline for the future of the Windows Live Wave 3 applications and services this week. LiveSide claims a new version of Windows Live Messenger will be released next week (with around 200 bug fixes!):

The Event was all about Windows Live Wave 3: Darren Huston kicked off with Vision on Life without Walls (PC, Mobile and Online - Windows + Windows Live = full Windows experience), followed by Joost Nienhuis who spoke about the digital behavior of consumers which led to the Windows Live demonstration given by Arnout Hemel. Here we saw how the new Windows Live will make live easier for the various consumer groups, mainly the Social web users (stay in touch with friends easier and in a more personal way), and the Functional web users (how to organize my online life better).

- When will the (RC) apps (Windows Live Essentials) be released?
The answer to that is they will be released next week at http://download.live.com/

You can expect the scoop when the build is released (presuming it is). Let's hope all those small, annoying, little issues are resolved. In case you were wondering what has been going on in the beta world, here's some statistics that we've received about bug reports since the last beta version:

By design: 81
Duplicate: 1
External: 15
Fixed: 191
N/A (investigating): 113
Not reproducible: 46
Postponed: 52
Won't fix: 125

Further reading: LiveSide - Life Without Walls, Windows Live Timeline Revealed

Extra footnote by the andyman: The new versions of the Windows Live Wave 3 applications being released next week (or around the 15th of December as I'm hearing from other sources) - through the new Windows Live Essentials installer - should be the release candidates (RC) of the software, meaning that not much will change between then and when the final versions are released approx 9th/10th February next year. Expect the new Messenger build to look something like the one shown in this teaser video a few weeks ago.

Messenger Plus! Live public beta now available for Messenger Wave 3
Posted by absorbation on Sat 01 Nov 2008 (10:19 GMT) (4215 views)
The release of the public beta of Windows Live Messenger 9 has sparked a series of emails and forums posts from those seeking to have a version of Messenger Plus! Live compatible with Messenger's latest surprise. Days after its release, beta testers were hunting for bugs, providing feedback, and making sure the program was stable before any beta was made public. Now, after a lot of work, Patchou made this statement:

If you've been using the latest beta version of Windows Live Messenger lately, I have some good news: Messenger Plus! is now fully compatible with it! Although I don’t like releasing anything that's not "final", the growing popularity of this new Messenger made it clear something had to be done on my side. For that reason, Messenger Plus! Live 4.79 has been added to the Download section and the Change Log has been updated accordingly.

Keep in mind that this is beta material so no support will be given for it. Some of the improvements (display pictures in notification popups for instance) are global to all Messenger versions so if you like what's fresh and new, this beta is for you. Also, while you have fun with this new release, get prepared for a very special promotion coming your way for Christmas. Those of you who like action figures and collectibles (yes, you read correctly) are in for a shock.

I'm glad to see people can now get their Messenger customization fix. The program would of been out earlier, if it wasn't for a beta leak, and some crazy server problems. Download now!

Download Messenger Plus! Live for Windows Live Messenger 9 Wave 3
View the announcement at the Messenger Plus! Forums

Windows Live Messenger Wave 3 public beta released
Posted by absorbation on Wed 17 Sep 2008 (12:54 GMT) (78826 views)
Despite the recent news on a new private beta of Windows Live Messenger ready to ship out to testers, Microsoft have released a beta of the Wave 3 generation of Windows Live products, including Windows Live Messenger 9. The update includes several updates, as we have already discussed. Below is a list of some notable changes:
  • Cleaner icons and softer sounds have replaced the current ones
  • The toolbar menu has been removed, and the email button enlarged and placed to the right
  • Contacts now have new hover effects
  • Display picture containers change colour depending on your and your contacts' status
  • A new feature called "What's new" gives updates on alternating contacts at the bottom of your contact list
  • A "Change your Scene" feature allows you to change the header background image in the contact list
  • There is a layout option within the options menu
  • The statuses "Out to lunch", "In a call" and "Be right back" have been removed
  • A chat history button has been added to conversations

The update is still incompatible with Messenger Plus! Live, however Patchou has told users: "I'll start working on it today but I can't say yet if I'll release something publicly before the final version is released by Microsoft or not (all of that depends on when they'll actually release a final)."

Personally, this version is the improvement I have wanted for years. A cleaner design, that doesn't really need patching, and highly customisable features, along with a more polished feel, is what Messenger should be. The new sounds and icons seem refreshed and as if they have been created by someone with a good eye for program design. Wave 3 gets the big thumbs up from Messenger Stuff.

Download the new beta version (in your own language)
Get the new beta via Windows Live Installer (Direct link, English version)
View our gallery containing screenshots of the new Windows Live Messenger Wave 3 beta
View more coverage over at LiveSide
View the announcement at the MessengerSays blog

Released: Phunk'n: Infusco and Niveus
Posted by RebelSean on Tue 19 Aug 2008 (17:25 GMT) (15601 views)
It's not often that I take the time to write about skin releases, but Willz over at Designed Evolved has done it again. Today he has released my now favourite skin set called Phunk'n. A quick summary of the release:

Phunk'n is unique in the sense that it brings a lot of things that have never been seen in Windows Live Messenger skins before, which is why I kept a lot of it under wraps for a long time. It is the first skin to utilize Messengers animation tags all around the entire use interface which means every single button will fade animate in and out and other things around messenger will also slide around.

What else is new in Phunk'n? Well Phunk'n also features the first fully fledged Messenger Plus skin. Yes I went to the exhaustive effort of skinning plus itself (which isn't easy by the way) to make the skin a bit more complete. While I tried to skin every window, there are some that couldn't be skinned because of technical reasons which I hope will be fixed in the future by Patchou (hint, hint).

Now onto the skin itself. The skin comes in two editions: Infucso (Black) and Niveus (White). Both offer the same variety of user options except that Infusco has one extra option that enables a lighter background in text areas for those too lazy to use the text override feature in Messenger Plus Live.

Infusco - Sign in
Infusco - Contact List
Infusco - Conversation
Niveus - Sign in
Niveus - Contact List
Niveus - Conversation

Download: Infusco (Black) - Niveus (White) - Messenger Plus! Live 4.70 (required for skins)

Messenger Plus! Live 4.7 released, skinning contest launched
Posted by absorbation on Sun 10 Aug 2008 (18:10 GMT) (8298 views)
As discussed last week, Patchou has updated his popular Messenger add-on, Messenger Plus! Live. The update carries the new major build number of 4.70, and adds the ability to automatically update your skins and scripts from within the program.

The big news really then is the skinning content. Since we announced Messenger Plus! Live would contain skinning capabilities, those with little or no skinning knowledge attempted to create unique and stylish skins for Windows Live Messenger. However, less than a 100 skins have currently been made, and, as a tactic to get more skins created, Patchou has launched a contest where you can win some exciting (and expensive) prizes:

Starting today, you have 5 weeks to create the most outstanding skin imaginable. The deadline is September 14th at 23:59:59, Greenwich Mean Time. To participate, all you need to do is submit a skin to the official database (the contest is open worldwide), updates of existing skins are accepted. All the skins will be tested in the current most popular version of Messenger, Windows Live Messenger 8.5 (no need to make them work in the outdated Messenger 9 Beta from last winter).

For those of you who have never skinned before I suggest giving it a try. Messenger Plus! makes the whole process very simple, and the amount of tools and resources built up over the past few months will make your skinning experience even easier. All I suggest to you is to have a good imagination and an eye for a polished look, but it really isn't hard to beat Windows Live Messenger's current design (hint to Microsoft there). For those of you who actually are up for this, you can create a good and detailed skin in less than two weeks. Here are the prizes up for offer:

Not 1 but 7 Wacom Tablets will be distributed to the winners of this contest. Your skin(s) will be judged and placed into three different categories: originality (something never done before), deformity (shaped windows), and functionality (improved user interface). The first prize for each category is an excellent Cintiq 12WX (check out the video on their site), a 12.1" TFT screen that acts like a second monitor for your computer and lets you draw directly on the pictures you want to edit with incredible precision. The second prize for each category is a very respectable Intuos3 6*8 with 1,024 pressure levels and professional software such as Adobe Photoshop Elements. And finally, the creator of the one best skin, all categories considered, will get rewarded for his efforts with a magnificent Cintiq 20WXS. This dream-come-true for any graphic designer features a 20.1" wide screen with a resolution of 1680*1050, has 14 customizable hard keys, 2 touch strips, a special rotating stand so that you can use the tablet like a big sheet of paper, anti-glare and friction coating to simulate the texture of paper and a wide viewing angle.

So will you be up for it? I won't be, despite that I once did some skinning back when MSN Messenger 7 was the new thing and everything was complicated and long-winded. I was 14 then so there is no reason why any of you, no matter what age, can do this now. If any readers here have decided to start skinning or have completed a skin, keep in contact with us and we may help to promote your skin once it's released.

Download Messenger Plus! Live 4.7
View the announcement at the Messenger Plus! Live forums

Updated: eBuddy for iPhone/ iPod Touch
Posted by absorbation on Mon 28 Jul 2008 (18:27 GMT) (5689 views)
Just a quick post here, the popular web messenger eBuddy has been updated for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The new interface is sleeker and easier to use than ever, with the ability to add eBuddy to your home screen if you're an iPhone 3G user.

View the announcement at the eBuddy blog

Messenger Plus! 3 update fixes OS compatibility issues
Posted by chris on Thu 24 Jul 2008 (12:02 GMT) (4213 views)
Patchou has released a small update for Messenger Plus! 3. Due to it being recompiled early this year with Microsoft Visual Studio 2008, it meant that older operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows 98 would not be able to run it. The update corrects this problem and it is now available for download:

It's not everyday that I find myself recompiling an old friend. Messenger Plus! 3 had been recompiled early this year with Visual Studio 2008 and because I do not test any of my products in Windows 98 anymore, I had the bad surprise today to learn that VS2008 does not produce compatible binaries for older operating systems. Long story short, it meant that Messenger Plus! 3 couldn't be installed on some older versions of Windows while it should have.

The problem has been fixed so if you're one of those still forced to use Windows 98 or Windows Me on a regular basis, you can now download the updated version of Messenger Plus! 3 on this web site which will continue to work beautifully with MSN Messenger.

Download: Updated: Messenger Plus! 3.63.148
View: Patchou's thread about the update

New Yahoo! Messenger for Vista beta refresh
Posted by the andyman on Sat 12 Jul 2008 (12:30 GMT) (5024 views)
Looks like we missed this one last week so just a quick post to let you known that Yahoo! have released another small update to their new beta Vista-only, user-friendly, GUI-orientated messenger client.

There are lots of bug fixes and general enhancements as well as the main improvements:

Persistent text formatting
Now when you change your font, text size or color for your IM messages, we’ll save your settings between sessions. So if you like to IM in font size 14 using red letters in Arial Bold, we’ll remember!

Voice improvements
We updated the user interface for the voice feature to make the buttons more clear and added a new voice visualization called “Color Burst”. Plus there’s an updated incoming call notification that appears front and center when a call comes in.

No webcam yet, but we’re making that clear
A lot of our feedback has been from users asking for webcam support or users that look for the webcam feature but can’t find it in the product. Currently, we don’t have webcam support in Yahoo! Messenger for Vista but to shorten our users’ search for it, we added a webcam menu item. Those not in-the-know will get a message telling them that webcam support is coming soon.

Source: Yahoo! Messenger blog
Download the latest Yahoo! Messenger for Vista beta
Official Yahoo! Messenger for Vista site
Send feedback about the latest beta version

Yahoo! Messenger logo

Google Talk now available for the iPhone
Posted by absorbation on Thu 03 Jul 2008 (16:31 GMT) (3544 views)
The iPhone's large high resolution touch screen interface has made it very popular for web applications to take advantage of. Google have continued this trend by today releasing Google Talk for the iPhone and iPod Touch:

Attention iPhone owners! You can now chat with all your Google Talk buddies while on the go. Our new version of Google Talk is designed specifically for the iPhone and runs in the iPhone's browser, so you don't need to download or install anything. Just visit www.google.com/talk on your iPhone, sign in, and start chatting. And because it is built for the browser, it will work on today's iPhones as well as on tomorrow's 3G iPhones.

The success of the iPhone has meant many popular web services now have specific pages and functions designed for it, including the most popular web messengers.

Source: The Google Talk development blog
View Google Talk for the iPhone

Microsoft Messenger for Mac 7.0.1 released
Posted by dempsey on Sat 28 Jun 2008 (13:40 GMT) (3224 views)
Messenger for Mac 7.0.1 is an integrated communications client that enables you to communicate with contacts within and outside your organization. Messenger for Mac 7.0.1 is a Universal application that is built to run on both PowerPC-based and Intel-based Macs and makes it easy to take advantage of the full power of real-time communications.

Messenger for Mac 7.0.1 improves support for users of the VoiceOver feature in Mac OS X, and it fixes user interface issues that appear when Messenger is used with some European languages.

Download Messenger for Mac 7.0.1 (official source)
Find out more about Messenger for Mac