With your Hotmail or Windows Live e-mail account you get more than just a mail box. You get a cornucopia of services – a veritable “mansion in the sky”. This mansion can be a very private place or you can have elaborate public spaces, with rooms for just your friends and family, and still have some private nooks just for yourself. You have a photo gallery with a multitude of of public and private wings – your Photos album pages. There is a “reading room” – the Spaces page with many options for blogging, slide shows, news, even videos. There is also an attic, the SkyDrive, for storing odds and ends. The “foyer” has bulletin boards showing what you and your friends have been up to. There are even “doors” to step into your friends mansions. There must be places you have not explored yet, so let me be your guide. Of course, I can’t show you around your mansion, so I will use a friend’s grand place to illustrate. I will also get away from the mansion metaphor. It is a good one, but can’t describe the full array of goodies at your finger tips.
So first an overview. When you are logged in to your online mail page, you are also logged in to your Windows Live account. At the top of the browser window there are a row of links:
You see these links whenever you are signed in even as you visit other Windows Live sites. These links lead to your own pages. Some of your services can be accessed by clicking the “More” link.
As you can see, the drop-down menu offers many additional links.
The first link, “Home”, gets you to your home page, or the foyer in the mansion metaphor. This shows your top mailbox contents, and a variety of other information. The options links allows you to customize this page. But not today, we are still doing the whirlwind tour.
The next link in the top row, “Profile”, opens your profile page. Lot’s of information here. We will skip this and the next two pages, “People” – your contacts, and “Mail” – your Hotmail page.
“Photos” opens your main page showing your albums.
Not all your albums will be shown. You can see them all by clicking “View all”. Since you are signed in you see all your albums. Some albums may be open to the public, everybody on the Internet, others may be shared with friends or just private for yourself (the little lock indicates that it is yours alone). For now we will visit just two of the pages shown in the “More” menu. Look at “SkyDrive”. This page is quite similar to the Photos page, except it shows all you folders. The photo albums are shown with picture icons, the others with folders icons.
Here also, “View all” will display all your folders and albums.
In SkyDrive there is a distinction between albums and folders. Albums are for photos and can reside only on the primary SkyDrive page. Folders contain files and folders. Any subfolder created inside an album or inside another folder is just a folder. Albums can be displayed on the Spaces page. Windows Live Photo Gallery can upload pictures to albums. Folders cannot be displayed or uploaded to, but you can add “files”. Since this is getting a bit complex already, let’s leave the details for another time.
The last place on this visit will be to your Space. This is your public website. You can choose to keep most of it private. You can have some fancy public pages. I already mentioned some at the start of this tour. Look at the site my friend, “Student”, presents to the public.
You can visit the actual page at studentsa.spaces.live.com – In the blog here, the picture links to the site. There is much to explore. There are pictures, albums, a video, a book list, stock quotes, weather, blog posts, …. So much to see and learn.
Let’s keep it for next time.