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Windows Live and You: “I use a variety of the Live services” (Jonathan Kay)

15 May 2009 by J.M.

Jonathan KayThis time I spoke with a member of the Windows Live Community about his thoughts and ideas. Many of you might know Jonathan Kay as a helpful Messenger expert.

mynetx: Nice to see you! Windows Live and You—that includes some personal questions as well. You could start with describing yourself and your connection with Windows Live, in one sentence.

Jonathan Kay: I am Jonathan Kay and currently a Microsoft MVP for Windows Live Messenger (aka MSN Messenger/Windows Messenger), assisting in Microsoft Messenger related newsgroups since 2001. I also run my own Messenger blog.—Gah, two sentences! :P

mynetx: An MVP?

Jonathan Kay: [Microsoft] Most Valuable Professional. It’s a yearly award given to people who’ve been identified by Microsoft as making a significant contribution to their community.

mynetx: Ah. So they consider you making significant contributions to the Windows community?

Jonathan Kay: Well, Windows Live community. Prior to their being a “Windows Live” MVP category, it was all bunched in with Windows, but right now it’s separate.

mynetx: Helping other, inexperienced users to get their, for example, Messenger working is interesting work, isn’t it.

Jonathan Kay: It is, not to mention quite satisfying. You also gain a lot of knowledge and experience in other related areas by doing it.

mynetx: Since when are you in the Live business? Tell me a bit about your history.

Jonathan Kay: Well, when I got my first modem 1992-ish, text-based real-time communication attracted me pretty quickly. I spent many hours dialed up to local bulletin board systems just chatting to people in my own city. This fascination carried over to Internet Relay Chat (IRC) when I got Internet access a few years later and then gave way to what we would consider modern instant messaging with ICQ in 1996. In that time span, I met some really extraordinary people which led my interests to obtaining my first MVP award in 98 for Internet Explorer. As IM has evolved, so have I, which brought me to being given the MVP award as a top contributor in the Messenger community in 2001. This has carried on since, all the way to Windows Live Messenger and I’ve continued to meet some exceptionally brilliant people.

mynetx: Like?

Jonathan Kay: I won’t name names because it’s far too easy to forget one and the whole community is just filled with them. Yourself included naturally… :P

mynetx: :P

What is your favourite feature in Messenger?

Jonathan Kay: If you mean favourite feature of all time, that would be really difficult to answer since there’s a lot to choose from. Earlier this year, In the brief webcast that was done at the MVP Summit, I mentioned What’s New as my favourite new feature, which is still true, but I had forgotten that MPOP (Multiple Points of Presence) was also an option so I think I’ll go with that here. MPOP is a really well implemented feature and being able to seamlessly move from one client/device/location to another is just excellent. It will be even better once more software/devices support it.

mynetx: What devices are you using MPOP from?

Jonathan Kay: Myself personally, just my desktop, server or laptop. Conversations can just continue as you go off to do something else, or need to reboot one machine, it’s great. But there’s lots of other scenarios that would be very nice too that I know people are just waiting for (like Xbox for instance).

mynetx: And what do you like most in Windows Live at all?

Jonathan Kay: Obviously I need to say Messenger as it’s my “first love” as it were, but there are certainly lots of awesome products under the brand. I think what I like most about everything in general is just how everything works together. For example, if you’re logged into a Hotmail-enabled account in Messenger and the same account in Live Mail, when you receive an e-mail to that account, you’ll be notified in Messenger, Live Mail will immediately have the message ready and if you log into the Hotmail website, it will all be synchronized with the desktop application. Photo Gallery is able to make use of your existing contacts’ information and can publish photos to Live Photos or third party sites (Flickr, Facebook, etc.). There are similar functions across all the products and I’m looking forward to more of this in the future. I certainly don’t believe anyone else has offered this sort of integration story previously, especially not with third party sites and for no cost.

mynetx: True, Windows Live offers unique features—for free. However, I think there are still many good ideas for new features to be implemented into Messenger. What is one thing you’d love most to be added to Messenger?

Jonathan Kay: Oh, most definitely. I have yet to meet anyone who didn’t have their own personal Messenger feature wish list.

Personally, I’d like to see some resources allotted to revisiting and enhancing some of older well used features in Messenger. There is a lot of functionality that has remained relatively unchanged since first introduced that is really in need of updating. A lot of these—custom emoticons, message history, and other core features originally showed up in MSN Messenger 6 (circa 2003) and are really due for some upgrades. Also, because there’s no way I can limit myself to one here, I’d also like to see some options to explicitly control parts of Messenger’s interface. For instance, I would love to be able to decide who and what sign in events specifically generate a toast on my screen.

Of course, the Messenger community provides some great options for overcoming both of these today.

Oh also, I’d like to see group and multi-person functionality continue to evolve more, such as multi-person voice conversations. Okay I’ll stop now! :P

mynetx: Lol, seems like there is much to do. :D Do you think any of these will be added in Windows Live Wave 4? If so, which are most likely, in your opinion?

Jonathan Kay: Really hard to say as they’re certainly tight lipped. However I would love to be pleasantly surprised.

mynetx: On to your personal habits… Running Messenger 24/7? Maybe you’ve got kind of a daily routine with Windows Live.

Jonathan Kay: For the most part I leave Messenger running all the time. I have no specific routine, but I certainly make use of a variety of the Live services every day (Messenger, Mail, Spaces, and so on).

mynetx: When you’re using Messenger intensively, I’m sure you’ve got a breaking tip for an “aha” effect. Give me a tip you consider precious :)

Jonathan Kay: Let’s see, there’s probably better ones, but one unobvious thing is you can drag (the icon of) completed files in the conversation window elsewhere to your desktop, to other conversation windows to resend, or to another application, such as a music player’s playlist to queue up a just transferred song.

mynetx: Hey, great tip! Didn’t know that myself either. :P

And finally, are you currently working on any Live-related project?

Jonathan Kay: I have a few ideas rattling around in my brain, but I’m not working on anything specifically that’s Live-related presently.

mynetx: Fine! Your last small project you made with PatchWise, was a good idea as well. Did you start right away on the tool for preventing automatic PhotoShare in Messenger, when you read about the patch?

Jonathan Kay: Well I checked to see if someone else had done made anything yet, and they hadn’t, so I thought I would make it easy for everyone.

mynetx: And you did! What download counter do you currently have?

Jonathan Kay: I just let the data accumulate in web logs and use a PowerShell script to extract and do the sum calculations. I haven’t felt the need to do much more than that, as the real reason for my redirect links is just so I can easily move it to another hosting location if I needed to.

mynetx: True… Have anything else to tell my readers? ;)

Jonathan Kay: Yes, if they’ve made it this far, then I appreciate their time going through all this and hopefully it was at least somewhat interesting. And thank you for the opportunity to be on here.

mynetx: No problem—thank you for taking the time to talk with me about Windows Live and You!

Jonathan Kay: You’re very welcome ;)

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