MSN Live Messenger (V8)

Thursday 12th January, 2006
Peter de Haas of Microsoft was kind enough to send me an invitation to try out the Beta of MSN Live Messenger this morning.

I've used MSN pretty much since launch and it's by far my Primary instant messenging client. We use Sametime at work but, for chatting with external contacts, MSN seems to be taking a lead. The ICQ days are long over, my Yahoo IM contacts moved to MSN a long time ago and that just leaves me with MSN for all of my contacts except the few who still hang on to AIM.

Just to state, for the record, that I don't like proprietary IM products. Like internet emails transfer between mail systems using the standard SMTP protocol, we should have a similar open system for IM and then we could just install our client of choice that integrated best with what we do. As it is, I use the systems that my friends are connected to which, in the case of some IM clients, isn't all that pleasant.

I'm currently using MSN7 which is the lastest release. MSN8 which Peter has invited me to try has this nice new 'Live' branding that Microsoft have come up with. Live seems to be one of those new buzzwords, I'm reminded of the IBM Workplace live shows that ran throughout 2005.

So, what's MSN 8 like you're asking? The answer is that I don't know. Initially I was a bit bemused that the 'download now' button in the invite email didn't work. The nice rich, HTML based invite email is exactly what Lotus Notes refused to render properly making the button useless. Good security indeed, but no use. Opening the same button in Domino Web Access email (is it called iNotes again yet?) worked fine and I got the download...how exciting.

A quick click to install and I was disappointed again. I nice big error message that looked like this. For those of you watching in black & white (or Google searchers), the installer is telling me that "Messenger Beta requires Windows XP or later. Once you have upgraded your operating system, please try installing Messenger Beta again. This told me several things:
  • The Windows Messenger-Live team don't realise that Windows Vista isn't out yet.
  • I can't install MSN live at work for 6months until my company upgrades to a new OS version. We're currently running Windows 2000 as we haven't had the resource available for the major upgrade task yet.
  • Microsoft regard an OS upgrade as a trivial task that can be done ad hoc when one needs to install an application.

So, it's time to try this thing out on XP, I'll report back when I've tried it.

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