New LiveWriter Technical Preview Available

Of interest to me and any other bloggers out there: Microsoft has a Technical Preview of the latest version of LiveWriter available here.

This release is largely about updates to the Writer SDK, which now includes hooks for pre- and post-publish events. These updates are still experimental and these APIs are not stable–we may make changes based on your feedback that break plug-ins that use these new methods. However, we’re really excited about the new set of scenarios have been unlocked and look forward to hearing feedback from all of you Writer plug-in developers out there.

For more details about the SDK, please see the blog post on Windows Live Dev.

New Features

You’ll also get an early look at some improvements and new features we’ve been working on:

Video and Image Publishing Enhancements

  • Upload videos to Soapbox
  • Image cropping and tilting
  • Additional border styles
  • Support for LightBox and other image previewing effects (like Slimbox, Smoothbox, and others)
  • Support for centering images

Editing Enhancements

  • Auto Linking
  • Smart quotes/typographic characters
  • Word count

UI Improvements

  • Revised main toolbar
  • Tabs for view switching
  • Improved category control with search/filtering

Gathering data on Shavlik NetChk Protect

shavlik_logo I just installed Shavlik’s NetChk Protect 6.1.0 (build 57), a product that that I used more than a year ago, back when it was version 5.31.   This previous product ran for a whole year and kept my six systems (one server, two laptops, and three desktops) fully up-to-date. 

Sure, Windows Update can do this for you for free, but the process is controlled by Microsoft, who does not always have the consumer’s best interest in mind when they install products like Windows Genuine Advantage, which can take a totally legitimate installation of Windows XP and disable it for no apparent reason.

Also, NetChk Protect updates a lot of common non-MS applications like Adobe Reader,  WinZip, etc…

I will be performing a product review of the NetChk Protect application in the future, so we’ll see how this product does in the next month or so…

Windows XP Service Pack is now available…

I heard through a co-worker in the IT department at my day job that the Windows XP Service Pack 3 is now available, but I don’t know of anyone within the company who is considering deploying this update, as Windows Service Packs have been known to cause more problems than those that they are supposed to fix. 

Here too, the better part of wisdom might well be to leave it alone for a few weeks (or a month) in order to see what problems everyone else reports after having applied this service pack themselves.

As for me and my family, we’ll likely install this SP on one the home computers first, then, if no major problems appear in the near future, we’ll update our own company computers and see how well those work out…