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Microsoft Launches Blogging Site 286

Posted by michael
from the bandwagon-jumping dept.
Jeff Clark writes "In yet another attempt to take over all of the Internet, MSN has launched a blog service called MSN Spaces with the new version of MSN Messenger due out shortly. Features include comments, stats and trackbacks just like every other blog out there. Another built-in feature is also available where you can send pictures from your camera-phone directly to your Space. Now you can let Mom know just exactly what happened at that party last night!" Reader JDBaker adds, "Microsoft have released the first public beta of MSN Messenger 7. It can be downloaded direct from Microsoft, and carries the same build number as the recent private beta release. New features include: Winks, Set Status Before Login, Drag and Drop Backgrounds and Feedback."
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Microsoft Launches Blogging Site

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  • by -kertrats- (718219) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @09:52AM (#10973458) Journal
    Animated smilies that make noise. The illiterates at my school are gonna be overjoyed at the prospect. I'm just going to be annoyed.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Oh god what I'd give to go back to a text based internet of the 80's where my usenet reader didn't have to decode animated GIF's, my e-mail client didn't have to understand MIME attachments, emotions were just :-) and chat was BITNET Relay...
    • by onepoint (301486) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:03AM (#10973552) Homepage Journal
      A helicopter was flying around above Seattle when an electrical malfunction disabled all of the aircraft's electronic navigation and communications equipment.

      Due to the clouds and haze, the pilot could not determine the helicopter's position. The pilot saw a tall building, flew toward it, circled, and held up a handwritten sign that said "Where am I?" in large letters. People in the tall building quickly responded to the aircraft, drew a large sign, and held it in a building window. Their sign said "You are in a Helicopter."

      The pilot smiled, waved, looked at his map, determined the course to steer to SEATAC airport, and landed safely. After they were on the ground, the copilot asked the pilot how he had done it.

      "I knew it had to be the Microsoft Building, because they gave me a technically correct but completely useless answer."

      Onepoint

      p.s. Just need to make you all laugh. Have a cup of coffee on me.

      • by ch-chuck (9622) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @12:42PM (#10975316) Homepage
        the copilot asked the pilot how he had done it.

        "I knew it had to be the Microsoft Building, because they gave me a technically correct but completely useless answer."


        Then then co-pilot says, "Gee, you must be a Linux user". "How did you know that?" says the Pilot. "Because here you are in a broken helicopter, you didn't know where you were, and suddenly now it's Microsoft's fault".

  • by Tuxedo Jack (648130) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @09:52AM (#10973461) Homepage
    That MS will bundle this with the next version of Windows, thus going up against LiveJournal and taking a large percentage of the new bloggers with it.
    • by Paska (801395) *
      While we are on the subject of messenger, and bundling it with their OS.

      Does anyone want to tell me why Microsoft make both MSN Messenger, and Windows Messenger? And why Windows Messenger (The featureless version) was added into WinXP and now MSN Messenger?
    • by Billly Gates (198444) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:03AM (#10973549) Journal
      They wouldn't do that.

      That would be illegal and unethical. This is Microsoft we are talking about here. Last thing they want is the DOJ investigating them and breaking them up.

    • I heard the same thing with MS Media player and IIS taking over apache since apache required Unix.

      OMG MS is going to bundle it with Windows and kill the market. Well Media player is number 2 but still can't budge winamp and custom video players. IIS is not going anywhere either besides corporate America.
      • Media player number 2?
        Forget it.
        Just about EVERYBODY i know who used a computer and isnt a nerd uses wmp, because thats with the computer when he/she gets it...
        Installing a 3rd party media player is allready an act of deeper understanding of computers...
    • that's kinda like saying people are going to use file based favorites because it's a feature of IE which is bundled with windows. Online portals are a little different than bundled software.
  • by l1nuxpunk (738263) <linuxpunk&linuxpunk,net> on Thursday December 02, 2004 @09:53AM (#10973467) Homepage
    Another new feature of the MSN beta that the article fails to mention is it's un-godly amount of bloat.

    Seriously, does anyone really need the Nudge function? To all those of you who don't use MSN (whom I hold the deepest respect for, btw), all Nudge does is shake your window and the recipients window in some weird kind of internet seizure.

    Looks like I'm going to migrate back to IRC.
  • by amrust (686727)
    From clicking on the link, you can also visit some of the "recently updated Spaces" (Spaces, heh). My blog is plain as a loaf of bread, sure. But at least it looks semi-original. Maybe they'll add some "skins", with an equally original twist on the name for them.
    • If you want to differentiate your blog, focus on content. Express your real-life experience as effectively as you can. When you start to run out of interesting content, that's when it's time to focus on skins.
  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @09:54AM (#10973472) Homepage Journal
    New features include: Winks, Set Status Before Login, Drag and Drop Backgrounds and Feedback."

    They forgot to include the ability to have your system come to a crawl at an even faster pace with quicker ad and spam delivery

    • no, no, check the change logs, that has been in there from the earliest versions!

      They might have made some upgrades to it, you know... take some market away from other computer hogging apps, the usual 'hit all markets' approach.

    • They forgot to include the ability to have your system come to a crawl at an even faster pace with quicker ad and spam delivery

      Well, sure, if you want to call "architecture design" a feature.

  • by Ford Prefect (8777) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @09:55AM (#10973479) Homepage
    I was reading through the list of things Microsoft were adding, thinking that it's just another place Google are at already [blogger.com], then I realised that while there's Gmail, there's no Gmessenger or similar as far as I'm aware.

    How long do you reckon before Google launches such a thing, potentially pushing MSN Messenger out the market? :-)
    • Gmessenger has been mentioned in slashdot before and is being worked on. I think Google plans to make it archivable like gmail with unique features. Who knows.

      But yes I was thinking of the same thing when I read the story. WHen MS does it they are evil and taking over the world and the net. When Google does it they are innovative.

      MS has alot to fear with google. They are the number one threat probably over Linux if I were Billy Gates. :-)

      If Google makes inroads with the desktop then it would leave MS's a
    • I realised that while there's Gmail, there's no Gmessenger or similar as far as I'm aware. ... yet.
    • I hope not long. The only reason I use MSN Messenger is because I tried Yahoo! Messenger, and it installed a bunch of crap I purposely told it not to, as well as adding to my right-click dialogue box "Email with Yahoo! Email", and also because I'm not about to have anything to do with AOL.

      Believe me, the minute there is Gmessenger, I'll be the first one downloading it and convincing my friends to do the same. Google is the only large company I semi-trust nowadays.

      - Yolego
    • by shird (566377) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:36AM (#10973868) Homepage Journal
      They have "hello" [hello.com]
    • "How long do you reckon before Google launches such a thing, potentially pushing MSN Messenger out the market?"

      Because we all know how Gmail completely knocked out Hotmail...
    • *DISCLAIMER* I work for Google.

      There is a 'gmessenger' application being worked on. It is not named, 'gmessenger', but rather, something marketable.

      It's interface is typical Google. Clean and uncluttered. It's very similiar in functionality to some of the more popular jabber/gaim clients (in both appearance /and/ function *wink* )

      It uses targeted advertising based upon current text typed as part of any conversation (There is a middle text box used for this purpose)
  • Spin... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sheetrock (152993) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @09:56AM (#10973481) Homepage Journal
    In yet another attempt to take over all of the Internet, MSN...

    How about, "In yet another attempt to make the Internet relevant to the average person?" Why is this a laudable goal for everybody but Microsoft to strive towards?

    To have a one-stop shop for communication is pretty much what it's all about. E-mail, instant messaging, fax, voice, photos, movies, TV, radio, and the blog (considered to be the future of websites) converging in a simple-to-use way. This should be something to look forward to.

    • Re:Spin... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Winterblink (575267)
      Yeah, but this is /. we're talking about. When Firefox releases a new version everyone's all raving about how it's a great competitor to IE, that competition is good and that IE is going to die off because of it. Then when MS releases a new blog it's suddenly an attempt to take over the world, and when THEY introduce a little competition it's suddenly a reason to pick up the pitchforks and light the torches.
    • Agreed (Score:2, Interesting)

      by yup that's me (827290)
      This is what businesses do: they attempt to gain control of as many markets as possible, and it's becoming clear that blogging is a new market. Argue against the quality of the software, point out that Microsoft seems to be lacking in innovative new ideas, argue that people really shouldn't try to make money from the internet, claim that customers might get better products by having companies specialise in providing only a few really good services rather than having fingers in thousands of pies, but don't b
    • Re:Spin... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mant (578427)

      Becuase what you likely end up with is something from MS that does everything badly, is buggy and insecure. Plus, if it does kill the competition, they will stop adding anything new worthwhile.

      Of course, maybe this offering from MS will be different.

      • I use my own blogging site myself to keep family and friends updated. Thanks to User-Mode Linux hosting, I can keep it going even if I end up being the only user. Currently it's used by 5 households total, all people I know, but it's open to anyone who will pay $6/month. I'm not going to stop adding worthwhile features because I use it myself. Here are some of the worthwhile features already there:

        • Upload a zip file of digital photos, and the timestamps are used to sort them out by date and prompt yo
    • How about, "In yet another attempt to make the Internet relevant to the average person?"

      Sorry, but Microsoft hasn't been interested in the "average person" since at least Windows 95. Windows has become so amazingly complex that just about every "average" user I know complains constantly about it. Don't confuse "average person" with "average person with a technical background" - there are a LOT more of the first type. Just about every time I get a call from a family member or non-technical friend these d
    • Yes and no. The idea is to have components that all work together, so that you can achieve the aim seamlessly.
      The aim is not to have one company insert things into the OS that force a de facto monopoly on one application.
      Any system is most robust when it's heterogenous, but co-operative (i.e. wide variety of systems that understand each other and can happily transact between each other). This way, something designed to compromise one system will at most break only a part of the whole.
      MS want everything
    • by mcc (14761)
      To have a one-stop shop for communication is pretty much what it's all about. E-mail, instant messaging, fax, voice, photos, movies, TV, radio, and the blog (considered to be the future of websites) converging in a simple-to-use way. This should be something to look forward to.

      The problem is that this all-communication-converges-in-one-product thing was something that was available literally decades ago in the form of, say, Lotus Notes and similar products. What people then decided-- leading to this whole
  • by deletedaccount (835797) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @09:57AM (#10973493)
    Great. MS making it easier for another swathe of barely litterate nobodies to spout off uninformed bollocks on the internet. Not like erm, us... erm. Bugger. *gets coat*
    • Eye um not bearly literate! & I have nevur worn a uniform neither, with or without my bollocks hanging out. Retract that statement or as it says in the bible "I'm gonna sue your arse, mutha".

      And leave that *goat* alone you prevert!
  • by WARM3CH (662028) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @09:58AM (#10973507)
    I've just took a look at MSN spaces. It's interface to create the weblog and change its layout is interesting and very easy to use. But my main concern is that it is very limiting. You can't edit the template in the way you can do it like in Blogger (which is now owned by Google). In blogger you can edit the HTML file that is the template of your weblog and this gives you the control on EVERYTHING but in MSN spaces you can just play with the layout of predefined "module" but can't really change the code behind. Also, it seems the total space allocated to each weblog is very small (10MB). Plase notice that it also includes the space for the photos and "music" so you can imagine you can't expect much from it. The other problem is that there is no support for internationalization: you can't create a chines, korean, arabic, persian... blog! You can't change the stylesheets to support RTL paragraphs etc. All in all, it's nice, but very limited. It's like comparing the notepad to Ultra-Edit....
    • As long as its bundled with Windows it will be a killer. It doesn't have to be as good. Just more installed and popular. Microsoft learned this along time ago and I still appauled how Windows 3.11 and 95 beat Os/2 as a result.

    • Unfortunatly, a lot of people doesn't do any difference between notepad and ultra-edit. As long as you can edit a text... It is the same with all tools. For this, as long as you can edit your comments and easily change your skin to personalize it a little bit, they don't want more. It could be funny to see my wife trying to change an html file to set the layout of her blog... Not everybody need the full set of capability Ultra-edit have some people have enough difficulties just using notepad.
      For each person
      • You're right about this fact that MSN spaces does most of what lots of people need. Lots of people, though, not most of people. The number of blogs in asian/persian/arabic/hindi... languages are so big that the lack of support for internationalization is a big concern. You simply CAN'T do it with current version of MSN spaces, no matter how simple and basic your needs are for a say, Persian weblog (I think now there are round 18,000 Persian weblogs on the net!).
  • by dnaboy (569188) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @09:59AM (#10973510)
    Dammit-

    MS is trying to do it again. They're trying to break down any barriers to setting up a blog. Great. Now I can be chastized for not reading my 8 year old cousin's blog, or even better, my 90 year old grandmother's.

    What happened to the days when there was SOME barrier to entry, that at least made you put a LITTLE thought and energy into feeling important enough that people should read your every thought?

    • What barrier to entry?

      You mean like signing up with Blogger?

      Doesn't sound like much of an barrier compared to Spaces most likely being integrated with Passport, so after being logged in one would just have to say "I want a blog".
    • They're trying to break down any barriers to setting up a blog

      Isn't that supposed to be a good thing? Why should only geeks be allowed to have blogs?

      Reminds me of the typical attitude some phoney geeks had towards linux, that it should not be made easy to install and use.
    • You're doomed! Doomed! Soon they will also expect you to get an email subscription to receive their blog entries and photos every day.
  • "...now you can let Mom know just exactly what happened at that party last night!" How many people are going to tell their mom what happened at the party last night? O.o I mean, that was between me and that blond chick, and only because we were drunk...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Quite personally, I prefer spending $50 a year on a Custom DNS and my own private domain than putting my stuff on anyone elses server.
    What I do is this:
    1) Go get a Custom DNS [dyndns.org] from DynDNS.org.
    2) Go get a Domain Name from a selection of many [register.com] different [godaddy.com] registrars [yahoo.com].
    3) Go set up a box running Gentoo, Debian, SuSE, or FreeBSD, and install Apache.
    And then boom. I'm the master of my own domain, for the low-low price of $50 per year. thats an average of $4 a month for hosting, totally within your control.
    I c
    • I prefer spending $50 a year on a Custom DNS and my own private domain than putting my stuff on anyone elses server.

      You know, that is a GREAT idea! I bet no one else on Slashdot has ever thought of this!

    • If you're looking for this on the cheap, you don't even need to pay for Custom DNS... you can get the cheap version and set up a subdomain like, oh, http://fennec.homedns.org [homedns.org] (they have a variety of choices, including stuff like isa-geek.com, kicks-ass.com, blogdns.net, game-host.org, et cetera et cetera). It's not as cool as having your own domain, but it's still nice.
  • oblig Monty P. (Score:2, Redundant)

    by fizban (58094)
    "Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more."
  • by shird (566377) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:11AM (#10973612) Homepage Journal
    New features include: Winks, Set Status Before Login, Drag and Drop Backgrounds and Feedback.

    And, as been mentiond, a huge amount of bloat. Plus 'buy emoticons', 'backgrounds', 'winks' etc spam littered throughout the program with direct links to MS sites to buy shitty little pictures which you can get for free. The "for sale" emoticons are more prominently placed and larger and in the way than the emoticons you actually use. The whole thing is just a way to sell that crap. A blantent sell out.
  • by echocharlie (715022) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:12AM (#10973624) Homepage
    Why the links to "every [wordpress.org] other [movabletype.org] blog [textpattern.com]"? Those are not blog sites, just links to blogging software. More appropriate links would have been to sites [livejournal.com] like [blogger.com] these [xanga.com].
  • by robyannetta (820243) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:13AM (#10973633) Homepage
    Hi, my name is Rob, and I'm a Linux advoc*$#*&^ NO CARRIER ^^^^^^^^^^^^

    HELLO. MY NAME IS ROB AND I AM A MICROSOFT ADVOCATE.

    [insert MSN advertisments here]

  • Moderation? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MacGod (320762) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:15AM (#10973646)
    I wonder if there will be moderation of blogs. If for example, I create a vehemently anti-Microsoft blog (possibly one that borders on slander), will the block/censor it? How does this work on other blogs?

    I think the question is more valid for Microsoft's blog service because there are more anti-Microsoft people than anti-Google people (or whatever). And many of the anti-Microsoft people would find it cute or ironic to post an anti-Microsoft blog on Microsoft's own servers.
  • Blogim (Score:3, Informative)

    by tinla (120858) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:17AM (#10973664) Homepage Journal

    BlogIM [blogim.com] has allowed you to update your blog via IM for ages.

    (Although the site is a tad stalled. And it remains, as is famously the case for all the author's projects, about 2 weeks from true completion).
  • Browser wars (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Leeesher (831509)
    "Note: With the latest version of Internet Explorer you can take advantage of richer customization options." is the message it shows when I use firefox. Slick m$. Slick. Although.. in all honesty, when I read that, I did think.. "hm...maybe I SHOULD dust off good ol' IE and see how it looks.."
  • by jav1231 (539129)
    Another case of "Anything you can do I can do better...though not necessarily as securely" from M$. Say it with me, kids, Microsoft is to software as Satan is too????
  • Do Microsoft have any standards when it comes to (X)HTML documents? they use single quotes, double quotes, and no-quotes to delimit HTML attributes, indentation ranges from tabs, to spaces, to none at all, and CSS ranges from being specified in-line tag attributes, to being specified inside style tags, to including it from an external file. And their span ridden excuse for semantics certainly is not XHTML compliant.

    If they can't unify simple HTML documents, how the hell the they organize code for an entire
  • Missing New Feature (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ThatDamnMurphyGuy (109869) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:29AM (#10973769) Homepage
    New features include: Winks, Set Status Before Login, Drag and Drop Backgrounds and Feedback.


    The only new feature I want to see is for MSN Messenger to stop fargin using IE even though I set my default browser to Firefox!

    Even if I setup a new computer for someone and hide IE, and insteall Firefox, the minute they hit that damn "x new messages" email popup in Messenger, they're using IE and the viri/spyware starts rolling in.
    • Disable the "x new messages" thing so that messenger doesn't check their email for them.
      • Disable the "x new messages" thing so that messenger doesn't check their email for them.


        Well, this works for the popup message, but the link in the top of the main messenger window still has the same problem, of even any link send in a message that you click on I believe.
  • by B5_geek (638928) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:52AM (#10974043)
    As if the "internet-generaton" isn't full enough of themselves, why dear $deity are blogs so bloody popular?

    I just don't get it. If you are so self-absorbed that you feel the need to publish every thought & whim about yourself on the web (as if the anybody on the planet actually cared about you), how/why would you then go searching for and reading other peoples mutterings?

    As a previous person stated, there used to be a barrier to entry that prevented a lot of this drivel from poluting the electrons; but alas now it's easy to whine and pout in public.

    I think Fight Club got it right: "You are not a beautiful & unique butterfly." We are faulty-carbon units that need a swift kick in the ass more then we are getting.

    People please, get over yourselves. * If you agree with anything that I have stated here, please come to my blog at http://blah.blah/ [blah.blah] at sign my guestbook! **

    *PS: I was not refering to any of the beautiful butterflies that visit /.
    **PPS: For the humour impaired - I was joking
    • Some of them are truly interesting and insightful. The rest are of no consequence, and their existence does not bother me.

      Just like everything else on the internet.

      Just like everything else in the real world.

      Finkployd
      • Sturgeon's Law, 90% of everything is crap. Unfortunately as the barrier gets lower the 90% becomes 95%, 99%, 99.9%. On the plus side there is more good stuff, you just have to be able to find it amoungst all the noise.

  • There's a feature missing from that list that's quite a terrible omission - "break all 3rd party MSN clients - again."

    How often do they release without that gem of a feature? Hell, they even enhance and update it between releases!

    In fairness, they're quite within their rights in doing so, but you'd think they'd break 3rd party clients PROPERLY if they were going to, eg require TLS with the right client cert. That way, third party products would have to bundle a cert that the MSN license said was only lice
  • I'll see your MSN Spaces, and raise you some free wordpress hosting [blogthing.com].

    Weee!

    The knee-jerk reaction might be a "huh-huh! MS sucks goats, Beavis!", but anything to add to the, ahem, blogosphere is probably a good thing for us all. 99% of it will be dross, but a handfull of good writing-type people (ie, not me) will appear on MSN Spaces, and we'll all be better for it.

    Maybe.

  • Anyone knows if the new beta will finally allow one to locally rename its contacts, like you can with ICQ, for example?

    I use Messenger for work communications, and it annoys the heck out of me that I have to live with whatever the other person decided to set their screen name this morning ... I much rather set it myself and have it never change, thank you!
  • Blogger (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mtrupe (156137) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @11:29AM (#10974473) Homepage Journal
    Seems to me that Blogger is already taking over the blog space. It seems that MS is a day late and a dollar short in this arena. MS seems doesn't seem to compete very well in the Internet arena (outside of Explorer, and people are now discovering the Firefox is a much better browser). Once you have a blog, its hard to switch blog providers. http://fromthemorning.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]
  • I just got this error:
    Space not available
    The MSN Spaces network is being upgraded and is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.
    Before it crashed, it looked like a nice interface. It just didn't have a whole lot of options.
  • "send pictures from your camera-phone directly to your Space. Now you can let Mom know just exactly what happened at that party last night!"

    I don't think its going to be MOM who gets the picture. Get the picture? The party last night is going to be the peep show and the participants were unaware (and unpaid.)

    And of course there will be something about it which makes it incompatible with the published standard but still work with M$ media center.

    I used to think: "There ought to be a law."
    Then I found out

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