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Windows Live Writer Plugin #1 – YouTube Video.

**ANOTHER EDIT** Version 1.0 out now.

**EDIT** version 0.2 now includes support for Google Video

Version 0.1 still available (in case the new mods give you trouble).

Here’s my first ever Plugin for Windows Live Writer.

It requests the ID for a video clip in YouTube (for example, the url of the default video is so the id from that url is GtdJFtdXYps ).  For Google video, you need to docid number (19 digits) for example : would give the docid of 3573852431733156394.

From that scant information, the plugin adds the embedded player for the video into your post.  Simple.

Download the file, and then extract the DLL into the Plugins folder of your WLW installation.  It will then appear in the “Insert” menu on the next restart of WLW.

I know it’s not much, but I thought I’d write it as a quick practice.

Demo :



Windows Live Writer

I’ve been pointed in the direction of this tool by a co-worker, so I thought I’d have a look.  It’s always tough to review these blogging tools because you’re working out what you’re doing as you type.

Picking categories for a post is a simple drop down list in the interface, and typing / adding pictures, etc is all WYSIWYG.  No quibbles there.

Th only thing that doesn’t seem to be working as it should is the style detection.  If I understand correctly, it is supposed to be able to pull down your stylesheets, etc, so the WYSIWYG is just that.  Not in my WP install it doesn’t.

Other than that, it seems like a good enough tool.  I’ll explore more later.

**EDIT** Apparently, there is an SDK that you can use to write plugins . Also check out the forum , where you will see the issues others are having.

**EDIT 2** On my other machine, the download of the style information seems to work.  However, there’s an issue with this theme and the editor, so I have to type all the text in a box about an inch wide. :)

Google Maps Updated

Maybe I missed it when it was first released, but Google Maps in the UK has had a bit of a revamp. Some of the imrpovements I’ve noticed have been :

  • Double clicking on a map zooms into the clicked location
  • Scroll wheel functions to zoom in / out.
  • Zooming retains the previously loaded images until the new ones load.
  • UI layout tweaks. The links from the right hand side of the search bar have now been moved to a more “tabbed” look underneath it

On the whole, I like the new features. The navigational controls are more intuitive, although I am going to have to unlearn some of the old behaviours. The scroll wheel functionality appears to me to be back-to-front. Certainly, in Google Earth scrolling the wheel down zooms in, and up zooms out. The implementation in Maps, though, is the opposite.

Shorthand for Geeks

Surely there should be some kind of law against this kind of thing [1], but it appears not. *sigh*

[1] I removed the hyperlink because it appears there is a malicious script on that site. If you have good AV, you can go to but don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Google do spreadsheets.

Google Spreadsheets (yep, another Google Beta ;) ) looks great.

I’m not entirely sure how much use it will be to me, but for those without spreadsheet software, who may have a need to use it once in a while, I think this will be a great tool.

It’s not an original idea, though*. This kind of functionality appears in Microsoft’s Sharepoint Server 2007 Beta, but of course, that’s the kind of software you have to pay for – and far too complex / costly for the average user.

Whatever the level of user who is going to use this tool, I’m all for it. As long time readers will know, I’m a big fan of Google, and this is not doing anything to change my mind about that.

* Of course, Google could have come up with the idea first – I just don’t know.

So what am I up to now?

Well, about 5 weeks ago I joined Avanade as a solution Developer, and since joining I’ve had all kinds of things going on – not least of which was a trip to Seattle for an orientation / training week. It sounds terrible, b ut is actually really good. I’ll be blogging about that later.
I start my first customer facing role on Monday. I’m not going to say anything about who it is for, or what it is doing, but it *is* going to teach me new skills, and give me the opportunity to meet some more of my colleagues “in the field”

Buffalo LinkStation as a SlimServer

This post should prove useful for anyone thinking about using a Buffalo LinkStation to run their SlimServer instance. The advantages of doing this are:

  1. The LinkStation is a small and quiet device, so it can sit just about anywhere without being obtrusive.
  2. The SlimServer software runs quite happily on this unit, saving the requirement for a full-blown PC or server to serve media.

There are several ways to do this installation, but I found the following to be quite painless.

The first thing to do is the read the warnings and information on Please take these warnings seriously. They DO matter.

Once you are happy that you know what you’re doing, you can move on to and start the actual installation. If you follow the instructions carefully, you should be fine.

To install SlimServer, follow the instructions from the heading “Getting SlimServer on the LinkStation.” at

Having installed the software, I had issues with several Perl modules not being in the new firmware. To remedy this, download MIPSelSlimServerModules, and copy them to the root (/) of the LinkStation. From there, unpack the package (tar –zxf mipsel-slimserver-modules-0.5b.tgz) and run (./ This should resolve dependencies for SlimServer version 6.2.2 and older.

That, all being well, should be enough to get you going.

Outlook 2007 Beta 2 RSS Feeds

I’ve been playing with Office 2007 Beta 2, as have many other people, and I like it. In fact, this post was composed in Word, and published straight here.

One thing I don’t seem to be able to get to the bottom of, though, is the RSS reader built into Outlook. I can set up all my feeds and get the headers at least once. The problem is that it will often just bug out on a certain feed, and no amount of fiddling will bring it back. It fires back into life if I delete the feed and recreate it, but what’s the point in that? I’ll be Googling like crazy today trying to find the problem.

I’ll get back to you later.