Get Back On Windows Live (formerly MSN)!

Bud Gallant_s Profile - Windows LiveI’ve rediscovered Windows Live, and it’s not just a step above Yahoo IM (which sure wouldn’t be hard), it’s a step above Google, too. Now that is saying something.

Windows Live has gotten an overhaul.  Your profile is now actually good for something… There’s been an integration of Windows Live, which has left it looking fantastic and offering some very useful free services, such as SkyDrive.  SkyDrive gives Windows Live users the ability to share folders and files online, complete with permissions.  The best thing about SkyDrive? The free 25 gigabytes! It would seem that Google has more or less abandoned it’s rumored “GDrive” attempt to keep pace.  I probably don’t need to point out how lacking in file-sharing Google is.  Anyone with a Gmail account knows exactly what I’m talking about.

The other thing that should get you taking a second look at Windows Live, is your profile is no longer just a profile, it is a social networking tool, with integration of all the popular services out there, such as Twitter, Last.fm and WordPress. In fact, personally I find it more attractive than Facebook.  It’s sort of a Facebook light, without all the garbage and spam.

So, if you’ve been neglecting Windows Live, you might want to go back and have a second look. For the longest time, I’ve been a critic of Yahoo! Instant Messenger, but also a regular user.  In that time Yahoo’s IM has sunk in popularity quicker than it’s arrogant CEOs (here’s lookin’ at you, Yang).  Only with Yahoo have I used a service which literally got buggier and junkier with each version, and they sure did pump out those updates. 90% of my Yahoo contacts were Windows Live users, anyway, and the buggy integration between the two clients led to no updates on status messages, and display pictures never appearing, as well as my contacts not being able to see my online status correctly. I’ve more or less dumped everything Yahoo now, in fact.  It’s never been a decision I have ever regretted.

Rarely have I seen Microsoft absolutely excel at offering a service over Google.  Orkut never impressed me… Windows Live’s social network is much better visually, and practically. Skydrive is just the icing of the cake. It’s almost enough to make me consider using my Windows live account for email, too. Go take a look. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Any Windows Live fans out there? Anyone who, like myself, has ditched Yahoo for something better? Do you have other similar services to suggest? Comment below!

Google Wave Invites: Don’t Get Scammed

Google Wave invites are the latest fad to hit the net.  Like many people, you might be wondering how to get free Google Wave invites, or you might even be willing to pay for one. You should exercise some caution, however as there is no shortage of opportunists out there looking to take advantage of the hype.

Here’s some brief points on what not to do, and some advice on the quickest and most effective methods to get yourself that invite you are looking for.

Do Not:

  • Respond to Twitter spam claiming you will receive an invite if you re-tweet or follow. It’s a lie, and Twitter is banning accounts for encouraging this. You can report them to @spam. Do not re-tweet them, as you may be banned yourself.
  • Bid on Google Wave invites on Ebay. These listings are a violation of the terms of service, and are probably scams, in addition. You can report these to Ebay if you come across them.
  • Post randomly on every blog or forum you can find begging for an invite.  You will be wasting your time.
  • Fill out surveys online in response to offers for an invite.  These are scams. Report the url to the survey site.
  • Attempt to buy an invite through PayPal or some other method online.
  • Put in multiple requests for multiple accounts to the official site for requesting an invite from Google. They know what you are doing, and they won’t reward you for it.

Do:

Google Wave is the latest big thing from Google, and we’re all looking forward to trying it out.  I’ve yet to get an invite myself, but if I do I will be sharing them with others.  Please be patient, and when you have your invite, remember how you got it, and be generous. There’s at least  100,000 of them out there, so chances are if you go looking within the next week, you’ll be o.k.  Not everyone follows tech news as closely as others.  If you do not receive your invite, just be patient.  Once Google releases a large amount, the second batch is never too far away from the first.

Good luck, everyone.  Please do not support the scammers and liars.  If you see one of the deceptive attempts at exploiting users listed above, take the time to report them and help educate others.

And while you’re here, let us know what feature most excites you about Google Wave.  If you can’t think of one, you shouldn’t be worrying about an invite to begin with! If you’ve seen the video, or are already familiar with Wave, what do you like best?

Update: Thousands of people are now tweeting and re-tweeting this post. I’ve been getting a lot of requests for my Twitter account, so if you’re interested in following on Twitter, I’ve set this one up to share similar posts and have relevant discussions, and thank you everyone for helping get the word out and get people the tools they need to get invites in a legitimate fashion! @budgallant

Update: There’s a lot of fraudulent websites popping up (such as http://www.googwave.info). Do Not give these sites your Twitter info or email address! They are scammer sites. Google Wave Invites site, as posted above seems to be legitimate, since it has a forum and has been referenced by media, but I haven’t confirmed anyone has actually received an invite through that site yet.  Exercise caution always when it comes to your online identities.

Update: Originally this post endorsed the Google Wave invite trading platform that was in use on GoogleWaveInvites.com. Unfortunately, the website was closed with an announcement from Google that recent Wave invitees would no longer be able to invite other users, effectively shutting down this site and other similar invite trading platforms. So, as it stands now, beware of ANYBODY claiming they can get you an invite. With a few exceptions, there is no longer any way possible.  The only way to get an invite now is from Google or from a friend who has 1 of their original 8 left over (don’t count on it).

Digg this post.

Don’t Be An Alphainventions.com Spammer Or Do What I Say, Not What I Do

So I noticed with some surprise I had 56 views, from the site Alphainventions.com.

This site bills itself as some type of experimental traffic generating website to help promote blogs… I go to the site and it immediately starts flipping through blogs, displaying them for an instant before going to the next. If any of you have been taken in by this wishful thinking, and it seems many of you have, I have some bad news to report. It would seem this site is of little to no benefit to a normal blogger.  Nobody will read your post when it is displayed barely long enough to even get the title. The website is an automated spam traffic builder, not for the blogs it “promotes”, but for itself. If common sense has eluded you, here’s the evidence:

Out of those 56 redirects to my blog supposedly “promoting” it for all of 2 seconds, not one click through came on the video enclosed within the blog post that was the entire purpose of the short post. In other words, nobody is engaging the blog from this site.

I don’t know for sure that the inventor intended the site to behave in this fashion when they designed it. Perhaps they had completely altruistic intentions as they claim, and only meant to promote other people’s blogs. Perhaps they didn’t realize that only their own website would end up with any real promotion, with it’s frame that remains immobile and therefore readable, in stark contrast to the flashing collage of insta-changing blogs. Either way, unless you’re looking to skew your stats and artificially inflate your bog traffic (I guess to sucker in advertisers), this supposed “service” is of no use.

If you don’t believe me, visit for yourself, and see how many great new blogs you discover through it, or click here.

Edit: I should mention that http://condron.us/ Is operating a similar platform, but includes reasonable delays between blog changes, and a quite desirable “back” and “forward” option. If you’re interested in the concept, I suggest looking into this site instead. Your blog will thank you for it.

Update: Criticisms notwithstanding it seems I was perhaps (typical to my nature), a bit hasty with my judgments. I encourage everyone to read the comments to this post and consider for themselves.  I still believe the website could implement the type of features present on Condron, to truly be beneficial, but in saying it had no benefit at all, I was being premature and somewhat unfair.  It’s has brought traffic, and beyond that, this post has encouraged discussion from the users who came to it, through Alpha Inventions. If the site implemented a longer delay, so it wasn’t just flashing blogs across the screen to get traffic back to it’s site through referrers, I’d likely endorse it.  There does seem to be better alternatives, as far as setup, but as far as traffic, the numbers are speaking in it’s favor.

But, wait… There’s more. One user who commented on this post had an extremely negative experience with AI.

Do you have an opinion on the site? Can you relate your experiences if any with it? If so, please comment.

Update: Alpha Inventions has changed, and I think improved quite a bit. See my latest review of the site, “Alphainventions.com Revisited”.