Live performances

By a strange quirk of coincidence, both items I’m going to discuss today come with the word Live in their names.

First off, is a neat little drawing program called Livebrush. It basically gives you a canvas and the ability to draw lines in an unlimited variety of styles and decorative flourishes. Every aspect of the brushstroke can be controlled via on-screen control palettes and each line is created on a new layer. You gradually build up your picture, layer by layer, until you’ve got what you want on canvas.The basic Livebrush program is free but there is a paid version for $10, with extra features. Chief among these is the ability to stipulate a size for the canvas you are going to work on, and to export vector images.

I certainly had fun with Livebrush but it is the sort of program where you will need some artistic ability. Just as a fine watercolour brush would do me no good at all, Livebrush is not something that I’m likely to be able to use effectively.

On to other matters; I am very familiar with Google’s online suite of applications including a word processor, spreadsheet, calendar and e-mail. I did take a look at the Microsoft offering some time ago but I thought I should revisit it, seeing that it is about to acquire a wordprocessor and spreadsheet as well.

The service goes under the generic title of Windows Live and presently consists of a photo storage and sharing facility, calendar, a group facility, and e-mail. One feature, which particularly caught my eye, is the free SkyDrive, which allows you to store 25 GB worth of files online.

I’m always keen to have copies of my vital files squirrelled away in more than one place, so I went ahead and signed up for a Windows Live account. The signup process didn’t take long at all and I soon manage to access SkyDrive, and upload some files to it.

I then thought, seeing that everything had gone so smoothly, that I would give the Windows Live e-mail a try as well. I clicked on the mail link, and was a bit surprised when the system logged me out automatically, and asked me for my details again. I was a bit suspicious but pressed ahead anyway, hoping that the Windows live e-mail address would be grafted onto my existing account, rather than that a whole new one would be created.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite clever enough to realise that I already had an account, and created a new one, with the result that I am now two people on Windows Live. I could send rude messages to myself or, this is a very tempting option, I could just lose interest.

The jury is still out on that however, but things were not helped by the fact that, when I logged back into my previous account, I was presented with a SkyDrive belonging to No Name, with nothing in it.

My day was not improving!

Eventually, I managed to fix that particular problem by clicking on the link to my profile page and, from there, clicking the SkyDrive link. Both my files were still present and correct and so, for good measure, I also uploaded a couple of pictures.

That also worked smoothly and I was pleased to see that it allows you to send an e-mail link to friends and family so that they can view the pictures you’ve uploaded, without requiring them to go through the process of joining Windows Live as well.

From time to time, I’ll be returning to Windows Live, as I get more familiar with it and a number of associated downloadable applications that you can run on your desktop computer. I don’t yet see anything compelling me to change from the services I’ve been using up till now, which include Gmail, Flickr, and Facebook, but that may change.


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