Sessional Tests, Windows Live and Songbird

The last week has been really eventful and hectic. The University held the second sessional tests for the first year. My tests did not start off well, as I made a few mistakes in Mathematics. Barring those mistakes and a hopeless Environmental Studies test, all went well, and I hope to get good marks. I hate the Environmental Studies exam, not for it’s syllabus but for it’s insistence that we learn everything by rote. Our professor is also one of the reasons why I detest the subject. I would rather prefer a more practical approach towards Environmental Education, and I try to contribute to the environment in whatever way I can.

This week, I installed Windows Live for Windows 7. It came with a useful set of packages, such as Windows Call, Windows Mail, Windows Messenger, Movie Maker, Windows Writer. Most of these applications such as Windows Photo Gallery, Windows Messenger and Movie Maker were there in previous versions of Windows. Microsoft has reduced the bloat of Vista in Windows by making these applications as optional downloads. The features of these applications are similar to the ones in Vista, except the “Live” tag has been included, and a few changes have been made to the interface. I found Windows Writer to be the most useful application in the bundle. It makes publishing content to your blog really easy, and almost all major blogging platforms are supported. Presently, this content has been written on Windows Writer. It is almost a visual editor, and the theme of the blog is downloaded to your computer, and thus you can see how the page will look after publishing. This is probably one of the best apps to come out of Microsoft in recent times.

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I used to use the default Last.fm software for playing the Last.fm radio. Now, to the annoyance of users, Last.fm radio has gone paid. Now, you can scrobble but cannot use the radio feature, which was the mainstay of finding music online. For quite some time, I didnt know that Last.fm had gone paid. The default software doesnt work for me at Manipal, and thus I was looking for an alternative, and I came accross Songbird, which is a great software. It’s interface is a clone of iTunes, with most of the accessibility options being similar. It recognises almost all major formats and plays easily. It integrates with Last.fm for scrobbling. It’s mini player is by far the best I have ever used. It’s compact, sleek, and shows the most information about the track that is being played than any other player. Library Management is superb. The biggest advantage is that it comes from the Mozilla stables, and thus carries the trademark Extensions and add-ons. It is also free and open source, and being an open source enthusiast, I prefer using it.

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