Word, the Expensive Blogging Tool?

I’m always looking for a better way to blog and some folk are pointing to the tools available from within Word 2007:

From within Word, you can create a blog entry with extensive formatting and imaging, and easily upload to your blog – whether hosted by a company such as Blogger, or hosted on your own website through installed software, such as WordPress.

Along with that, the software comes with additional features, such as “live previews for text styles, images, paging, etc.” and image effects, including shadows, orientation, borders and shapes.”In summary,” dkaye says, ”Word 2007 is simplifying blogging, so it’s not just straight and boring text anymore.”

Interesting. Of course you’ll have to shell out for all the other features of Microsoft Office, whereas Windows Live Writer is free, but if you’ve got Office already, it’s probably worth checking out the features.

Intriguing that Microsoft is backing into the blogging revolution with these types of tools, which I imagine would somewhat cannibalize each other. But then again, Microsoft have long learned the lesson of diverting the unschooled, unwary or click-happy user into their own sales channel, as the default option in this dialog box for adding a blog to your Windows Live Writer illustrates:

This post was written on, er, Windows Live Writer.

News: Dodgy Viral Marketing

 The folks at Sophos antivirus are drawing attention to something I think is going to pose a real problem for more sincerely motivated companies: Dodgy Viral Marketing or DVM. It’s nothing new, but it’s back, and it works like this: receive an email which invites you to visit a website to view comedy video clips, such as one of Bill Gates being hit with a custard pie by Belgian anarchists. (Gratuitous picture of Bill Gates being hit with a custard pie by Belgian anarchists now follows):
 
 
Follow the link in the email, and you are invited to install an application called “Internet Optimizer” (IO) from a website run by Avenue Media NV, based in the Caribbean island of Curacao. An end-user license agreement (EULA) for IO is displayed, stating that by viewing the movie you are giving permission to send an invitation to view video clips to all addresses found in the user’s Outlook address book and via instant messaging systems: “In consideration for viewing of video content, Avenue Media may send email to your Microsoft Outlook contacts and/or send instant messages to your IM contacts offering the video to them on your behalf. By viewing the video content, you expressly consent to said activity.”
 
Whoa! Back up the cart a bit, Alfie! And that’s not all. The EULA continues: ”For your convenience, [IO] automatically updates itself and any other [IO]-installed software to the latest available versions at periodic intervals. In consideration for this feature, you grant Avenue Media access to your machine to automatically update [IO], add new features and other benefits, and periodically install and uninstall optional software packages.” Great, excellent! Come on in!
 
Needless to say, Sophos is not happy about all this, and warns folk to read EULAs properly, and look carefully at what they may be installing. Sad thing is, folk like Plaxo, which I’ve talked about at length here, don’t seem to get that they have to work really, really hard not to play similar tricks in their yearning to get viral. Lesson to marketers: Don’t treat customers like idiots, just because, confronted by free software and the chance to see software billionaires being hit by Belgian desserts, we behave like them.