More Live!

Microsoft has rather quietly upgraded its Live.com platform again. This time it was MSN Spaces, the easy to use but somewhat lame blogging bit that was revamped.

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More Live!

Microsoft has rather quietly upgraded its Live.com platform again. This time it was MSN Spaces, the easy to use but somewhat lame blogging bit that was revamped.

It’s now called Windows Live Spaces, which is a typically bizarre Microsoft name. However, WLS is worth a look, because the whole thing works rather well and has lots of nice features such as RSS, adding video clips (only from MSN Video though), photo galleries, statistics and mobile device integration.

Customising the WLS pages is dead-easy: you can drag the different modules around on the page to re-arrange the layout and there are number of themes for WLS to choose from.

You also get email publishing of blog entries for free, plus gadgets like weather reports. There’s Xbox360 integration too, for games presumably, which would be nice to try out but I don’t think I’ll ever see one of games consoles unfortunately.

Believe or not, some 100 million pageviews get served up on WLS. It’s the biggest blogging service there is, apparently. I’m not sure how much storage space is available for bloggers, but it’s probably the same as for your Live Mail account, or 2GB.

WLS is pretty slick but… I don’t like the way it locks you in with Microsoft stuff. You can’t create your own custom stylesheets for the blog design by the looks of it, and Microsoft won’t let you put up ads. Microsoft’s own ads are served though, and you can’t do anything about them. Doesn’t look like you can stick Flickr photos there either, or YouTube videos, which is weak by Microsoft especially as it’s trying to lure MySpace users onto WLS.

In other words, WLS doesn’t play nicely with established services – or the rest of the Internet. Very typical. I’m also deeply suspicious of putting any content on WLS after hearing that just like Yahoo, Microsoft censors bloggers in markets like China.

Still, the whole Live.com platform is going to be a formidable competitor for everyone on the Internet. Just look at the Expo service which is sort of coming out of beta now. I say “Sort of” because it’s still aimed at the US and it’s hard to get on it without some “location tweaking” of your MSN, sorry, Live.com details. Expo is like Craigslist on steroids, and provided Microsoft doesn’t get too intrusive with what people put on it (yeah, right), it could become very successful indeed.

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My propeller has slowed down

FryUp July 14: 7.34, 72.69, 4.48

Recent CW story: 13.08, 47.75, 8.65

Old PC World review: 11.31, 57.80, 7.26

Entry from my personal blog: 7.79, 72.69, 4.72

The figures above are the Gunning-Fog, Flesch Reading Ease and Flesch-Kincaid indexes respectively. Gunning-Fog provides a rough measure how many years of schooling is needed to understand the content; the lower it is, the easier to figger out wots writed the text is. Once you go over 17, you are at Post-Grad level.

Next, the Fleich Reading Ease score: it should be around 60-70 on a 100 point scale so that most people can understand the text. On the other hand, the Flesch-Kincaid index measures how many years you need to spend at school before you get what’s written.

As a guide, scores of 6-10 on the G-F scale correspond to the difficulty level of the bible, Mark Twain, Reader’s Digest, popular novels, and Newsweek; 11-14, and you’re in Wall Street Journal, The Times and Grauniad territory. Academic papers rate between 15 to 20; over 20, and “only government sites can get away with this, because you can’t ignore them.” Over 30, and “the government is covering something up.”

Let’s see how OBEP does:

CW news story: 13.67, 51.65, 7.93

Editorial: 11.59, 59.30, 7.34

Clearly, the OBEP is aiming at a well-educated audience here.

Oh dear. I really have dummied down then. Have to watch it from now on, or I’ll end up doing general journalism.

- Juicy Studio Readability Test

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