Have it your way

When Windows Live “wave 3” launched in December, its popular photo-sharing service was relocated from the flagging Spaces service to a shiny new home within SkyDrive. It was definitely a good move, considering that SkyDrive offers each user a whopping 25 GB of online storage space, p rovides a myriad of permission configuration options, and supports blog-like discussion comments. There were a handful of other enhancements, including the ability to “tag” people’s faces within your pictures, as well as a really slick slide-show feature that dynamically generates color-matched backgrounds and a really nice photo scatter effect.

However, with every step forward, it seems that the fledgling services of Windows Live take another step back. In this case, WL Photos lost the ability to control the order of photos within albums. However your photos were uploaded to the album, that’s how they were arranged. And people complained. A lot.

The backlash was almost instantaneous. The plucky Windows Live team reassured us from day one that they were feverishly working on restoring this critical functionality as quickly as possible, but disgusted users furiously commented that they’d bail on Windows Live if photo ordering wasn’t restored at once.

I’m sure that Windows Live lost a few casual users to Flickr or Photobucket, but most of us Live-lovers hung in there, hoping against hope that one sweet day, it would be back and better than ever. Well, mere seconds ago – thanks mostly to the power of Twitter – I learned that Windows Live Photos once again supports drag-and-drop functionality. And how.

Yep, that’s Silverlight-powered drag-and-drop goodness, fresh from the oven. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg; as I understand it from sources at LiveSide and the SkyDrive team blog, we’ll soon see even more socially-oriented updates to Photos. More and more frequently, it seems that Windows Live is going for vast long-term improvements to their services in the form of small, staggered updates.

I don’t know why, but I suddenly feel very vindicated being a Live-lover. Nice work, SkyDrive team.

– Greg

Update: Due to the imminent closure of its Soapbox user-generated video sharing service, I just moved the one and only video I ever posted over to YouTube. Sucks to lose the service, but thanks for the heads up anyway, Microsoft.

Update 2: Thanks to a tip from Microsoft author, MVP, and Facebook buddy Chris Leeds, I’ve uploaded my very first Silverlight-powered video to the Silverlight Streaming Beta on Windows Live! How do you like that?! Nerd

Update 3: Since they killed Silverlight Streaming, it’s back to YouTube for the video. 😦

28 Replies to “Have it your way”

  1. OMG! Thank you Windows Live! And thank you Greg! A video is a great way to demonstrate that new feature! Woo! l’m SO happy!!!


  2. About time, but why did they take the facility away in the first place? Seems obvious that if you have an album you want to be able to put the photos in the right order. Albums that Had been on Spaces for a couple of years, were reordered, into chronological but showed in the module on my space, in their original order. I wonder what’s happened to them now?


  3. Oh. That’s lovely! I don’t want a whole craze of outlets to have to look after. If I can ‘keep it Live’, then everything gets cared for in one place. No offence to those who like Flickr or Photobucket. It’s just that I want to keep things as simple as possible, so this is lovely news. That picture above looked like a viddy so I’d better watch it, now! As for you, Greg – you’ve posibbly saved WLT from having to write this blog themselves – which gives ’em a bit of spare time to do any other tinkering they might fancy:-) Ta for blog. Isn’t Live Spaces a lovely place to visit today!


  4. Jen, Flickr and photobucket are not the same thing as your own album. Being able to re-order photos in your own album isn’t exactly the same as being able to search for through 100’s of 1000s of pics for something that suits your needs …… !


  5. What about the copyright on things left in there? I looked at Photobucket the other day, plus some other sites and you’re always asked to sign up for something! Don’t fancy my details being used all over the web!


  6. And now Soapbox has pulled my video down prematurely. Boy, I’m glad I didn’t use that service more than was absolutely necessary. Fail.


  7. Working again now. Weirdness. I’m still plan on moving it over to YT ahead of the August 31 closure of Soapbox. Thanks!


  8. The download link is finally up, but the server resets when I try to download videos. Guess they are still working on it.


  9. Check out "update 2" in my post above. It seems that WL has a little-known Silverlight beta property at silverlight.live.com where you can host your own Silverlight apps and videos. Accepts WMV uploads and gives you 10GB of storage. Not nearly as user-friendly and socially-oriented as YouTube (yet), but works pretty well for a beta. Plus, it’s a Microsoft service and part of Windows Live! Win!


  10. Greg,I just checked into it. It seems pretty complex for little old X. I made an account so I could check it out. Is there any reason why I would want to use it? I like learning better ways to do things, if it’s a thing I do, that is….X


  11. Didn’t you hear? They are cancelling that beta! LOL! J/K! I’m going to load to YouTube. At least I can count on them to hang around for a while!


  12. Cooee! Just clicked your Silverlight streaming beta link but didn’t get your vid on it. Where IS the bloomin’ fing?


  13. Well, I did upload to that site. Since my clubhouse post for the contest thing has a video on soapbox, I wont do anything yet. Don’t want to break it, but it looks simple enough. And yes X, sometimes it is hard to tell when I am kidding… LOL! Greg, excellent find. Makes me wonder about something new now. I wonder, tidadada, who wrote, oh wait, lol, I wonder if this demise of soapbox is really a premeditated disposal of adobe flash. Your find could be a new feature of Windows Live Wave 4.


  14. So are there any more of those beta subdomains out there? I have found a few. The beta ones are mostly gone. There is videomessage and one for domain admins, and what else…?


  15. @ Jen – There’s no "central page" to view and search for vids. If you click the link above, you’ll be taken to your own SLS page where you can manage your own apps/vids. I don’t think it’s designed to be a social site, just a place where SL developers (and non-devs) can host their content. Maybe someday the stars will align and it’ll all fold together into the SkyDrive/Mesh/Azure military-industrial complex.@ Jeff – You may be more right than any one of us knows. The player is pretty basic, and relies on either an iframe or scripts/sls tags to work. I’m not crazy about the black bars on the sides of the player, and there’s no full screen or sharing options, either. Might be a configuration issue. I’ll have to keep playing with it.


  16. I was reading this when I realised, ‘hang on, I know this already. I have lived through the pain.’ Then I looked at the date of this blog. Oh well.


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