Mailbag: June 13, 2010

This week in the mailbag:

Accessing Hotmail with Exchange ActiveSync
Use Safari 5's Best New Feature in Other Browsers
How to Play a Genre on Zune HD
Third Party Desktop Search?
Why Google Picasaweb Instead of Windows Live Photos?

Have a question? I can't guarantee an answer, but I'll try. Drop me a note! (And let me know if you'd prefer not to have your name published.)

Accessing Hotmail with Exchange ActiveSync

I've received a number of emails from readers who are curious what the server information is for Exchange-based access to Hotmail. That is, they want to configure their iPhone (or Android phone, or whatever, to access Hotmail now.

It won't work. My Hotmail account was provisioned to work with Microsoft's pre-release "dogfood" servers and the address I'm using won't work with a normal Hotmail account. I expect Microsoft to reveal the final server address for this use when the new Hotmail service begins rolling out later this month.

On a related note, a number of people have asked if this address could be used to configure Hotmail to work like Exchange in a desktop (PC or Mac) email application like Outlook or Apple's Mail app. I'm not positive, but I don't believe so. Certainly, I've not gotten it to work.

Use Safari 5's Best New Feature in Other Browsers

Thanks to everyone who wrote in with regards to my comments about the new Safari Reader feature in Apple Safari 5 to let me know that there is a similar add-in called Readability for other, more popular browsers. As the site notes...

Readability is a simple tool that makes reading on the Web more enjoyable by removing the clutter around what you're reading.

Sounds a lot like Safari Reader, right? In fact, I've read that Apple actually licensed Readability for use in Safari. But Readability is not as seamless (it's implemented as a browser bookmarklet) or attractive as Safari Reader, and it does some weird text wrapping around pictures. The nice thing about Readability, however, is that it works in the browser you already use. It's compatible with IE 8, Firefox and Chrome.


How to Play a Genre on Zune HD

Andrew H. asks:

When I try to play a specific genre on my Zune HD, it brings up all the albums that are in that genre, but when I click on an album it brings up everything in that album. So how do I get the Zune to play only classic rock [or whatever genre]?

My original email response to Andrew noted that you could use a smart playlist to make that work. This would be better than a traditional ("dumb") playlist because it would auto-update as you added/changes songs.

But, looking at the Zune HD again, I see that you can, in fact, play a genre. Just navigate to the Genres list under Music, scroll down to the genre you want to play, and then click the circular Play button found to the left of the genre's name. (That is, don't click the genre name. That will bring up a list of albums instead.)

Third Party Desktop Search?

Barry B. asks:

Do you use a third party desktop search product like Google Desktop or Copernic, or just the built in Window 7 search?

Years ago I used to use and recommend Copernic, and of course I've used Google Desktop from time to time. But I just use the built-in Windows 7 search feature, which is called Windows Search 4.0. This works well for me, and because I use Windows Home Server--which can be updated to WS 4.0 for Windows 7 compatibility--searches of my server-based documents are very quick as well.

Why Google Picasaweb Instead of Windows Live Photos?

John K. asks:

I was listening to Windows Weekly and have to wonder why you use Google Picasaweb. Photos.live.com works just as well.

I'd love to use Microsoft's online photo service, but my photo collection is currently over 34 GB big and SkyDrive/Windows Live Photos is limited to 25 GB of storage with no option to purchase additional storage. The advantage of Picasaweb is that you can purchase additional storage at extremely reasonable rates. (In fact, Google keeps raising the tier limits and lowering prices.) Currently plans include 20 GB for $5 per year, 80 GB for $20, 200 GB for $50, and so on, all the way up to 16 TB (!).

More next week...