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Windows Live Folders: coming soon to a computer near you
At this point, it’s still in private beta testing, but Microsoft’s new Windows Live service, Live Folders, is expected to be available to the public in the next couple of months. A free online file storage service, it allows you to create three types of folders: private, shared and public, on which you can set permissions for others to access them via the web. You get 500 MB of storage free, and it works with all Windows and Mac computers with recent versions of IE and Firefox. Find out more here.

Speaking of Windows Live betas
There are a whole slew of Windows Live services that are available for public beta testing now, including Windows Live services for mobile devices. Some you may not have heard of include Live Q&A, whereby you ask questions and get answers on a wide variety of topics; Live Product Search, which helps you compare products and make buying decisions; Live Academic Search, for accessing academic research; and Live Alerts, which notifies you of news stories, sports scores, stock quotes etc. that you preconfigure. You can try any or all of these, and more, by going here.

Xbox 360 warranty extended
After reports of hardware failures, Microsoft has extended the warranty on the Xbox 360 game console to three years from the purchase date. If you experience an error message accompanied by three flashing red lights, your Xbox will be repaired or replaced free of charge and if you’ve incurred repair costs for this problem before the announcement, Microsoft will reimburse you. Find out more here.

Iphone2348888888888iPhone alternatives on the way?
Last week, in my blog, I told you all the reasons why I won’t be buying an iPhone, at least not until a few important missing features, like over-the-air Exchange support, faster network support and a user-removable battery, make it into a future version. Some research in the meantime has turn up some potential alternatives with some of the iPhone’s design features for those of us who prefer to use Windows Mobile 6. One contender is LG’s KS20, a model that’s been the subject of rumors for several months now. You can see its resemblance to the iPhone here.

Meanwhile, another Windows Mobile phone with an iPhoneish look is the HTC Touch, which you can see here.

What’s your favorite alternative to the iPhone? Let us know.

Tiny TV episodes save time
With today’s DVR technology, some of us are already doing it ourselves – fast forwarding through the commercials and sometimes through the less exciting parts of the program, too, so we can get the gist of the story without spending an entire hour watching. After all, in today’s fast paced world, who has the time? I admit to watching some of my favorite half-hour HGTV shows in 15 minutes or less, speeding through the demolition to see the final results. Now you can see classic programs in an even more abbreviated format on the Minisode Network. Read more here.

New version of Movie Maker on Vista
Vista includes a new version of Windows Movie Maker (v. 6) that has some cool improvements. If you’ve used the XP Movie Maker, one enhancement you’ll appreciate is no longer being limited to a 320×240 preview. Another great new feature in Vista is the ability to publish Movie Maker projects directly to DVD with Windows DVD Maker. And if you’re a Windows Media Center fan, you’ll be glad to know that Movie Maker now supports the DVR-MS format that Media Center uses to record TV programs. You can edit out the commercials and/or save the program in WMV format to make a much smaller file, which is especially handy if you want to, for instance, store the program on an SD card and play it on your Pocket PC (note that you can’t edit programs that use Broadcast Flag, such as HBO and Cinemax programming). For more about Vista Movie Maker and to see a screenshot of the interface, see my blog post titled Making Movies with Vista published July 4th.

Deb Shinder