Windows Live Writer goes to Beta 3

I have been very happily using Windows Live Writer Beta up until Sunday gone when publishing now returned me a nasty error message that gave the impression that something horrible had gone wrong when, in fact, the blog had been successfully updated.

The error message was this:

The response to the metaWeblog.newPost method received from the weblog server was invalid: Invalid response document returned from XmlRpc server.

Well, I am happy to report that Windows Live Writer was bumped up to Beta 3 today and that particular error has gone. Yay!

Another bug that has now gone is the blank menus. The menu bar (File Edit etc.) always worked fine but all other menus including the toolbar menus (Publish New etc) and the context menus were full of emptiness until you used the menu bar menu at least once.

It also seems to load and load posts quicker but the category list is definitely slower.

Unfortunately, the installer is a bit nasty as you kick off the installation by clicking a button marked “Add to Installation.” Not exactly intuitive, or even obvious. Even less intuitive is that the installer then hung on me when I added Photo Gallery to the installation. A swift Cancel, then an uninstall of Windows Live Writer and Windows Live Installer from Add or Remove Programs and it all went okay next time around.

Also unfortunately, Windows Live Writer’s inability to download any WordPress theme after it has been installed and a theme downloaded once remains. I might try uninstalling, then cleaning out the Application Data and Local Settings folder of anything Writer related and see if that helps. If I can be bothered. Happily, the normal view is nice and easy to use.

Slimm Says

Overall, however, my experience with Windows Live Writer has been very positive. It does what it promises and it does it well. This is in stark contrast to every other offline blog writer I downloaded and trialed. It is also nice and small and attractively and functionally presented. I highly recommend it and I have successfully used it to write this blog for many months now.

Recommended Software: CCleaner

CCleaner - Freeware Windows Optimization

I’ve been using CCleaner for a couple of years now and it does exactly what it says on the tin. It adds a menu option to the Recycle Bin that allows you to quickly call it up and get it to clean in those hard-to-reach spots in Windows and a good number of different applications that run on it such as Microsoft Office, Opera, eMule and a load more. (It can also be run from your Start Menu or Desktop, I find it handiest on the Recycle Bin.)

Difficult to describe this better than the site itself so I’ll just quote shamelessly:

CCleaner is a freeware system optimization and privacy tool. It removes unused files from your system – allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history.

The next part of their statement can be qualified, however.

But the best part is that it’s fast (normally taking less than a second to run) and contains NO Spyware or Adware! :)

While it is fast enough, it takes rather longer than a second to run on my machine (AMD Athlon 64 4000, 2Gb RAM, 7200rpm hard drives). I can confirm that my machine remains spy-ware free after installation. The installer offers to install Yahoo! toolbar. The option is checked by default and can be unchecked. This, however, is ad-ware, surely. I always uncheck the Yahoo! toolbar option during installation.

However, this is a terrific little util that should become a standard part of your Windows installation and cleaning policy.

Recommended Software: Explorer Breadcrumbs

One of the smarter new features of Windows Vista is the replacing of a simple text address bar for local browsing with an address bar where each part of the folder hierarchy is clickable. This allows you to jump quickly and intuitively to a parent folder.

There is a toolbar for Windows Explorer on Windows XP that provides the same functionality. I have used it for a quite a while now and it’s recently been updated to remove a couple of bugs. It uses your current theme (and I use WindowBlinds to skin XP entirely) and simply does exactly what it says it will. Thankfully, it also doesn’t require a restart of your computer to install.

Explorer Breadcrumbs at Minimalist

The software is fully functional but the following, entirely reasonable, request is made under the Registration / Licence section:

You’re free to install this on any number of machines for any amount of time. We ask that if you find this software useful, that you register it for the low low price of $7.95. That’s cheaper than seeing a movie, and we’d really appreciate it.

So, for taking up somewhat less room than Vista’s hilarious 12Gb install footprint (Explorer Breadcrumbs is only 333kb) and doing exactly what it says on the tin, I recommend Explorer Breadcrumbs.