My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

MSN 7.0 review

I woke up today, intent on changing my address from a Hotmail one to a Gmail one. I also found out that MSN 7.0 was out of beta, and Microsoft is heralding it as its "New Messenger." Although I did not download MSN 7 while it was in beta, now that it is the official version I think it is prudent to download it. I haven't explored half the features, but we'll see how they stack up:

The version has marked advantages over 6.2. Overall, it is quite a lot more graphical: your display picture (which can be dynamic/animated now) is displayed by your username, and thumbnails of your contacts' display pictures can be displayed on your contact list. You can "wink" or "nudge" someone, and use a handwriting feature to send someone a handwriten message. The emoticons are also organized nicely and you can have animated emoticons.

However, MSN 7 does not address a lot of the issues that I found wrong with MSN 6.2. Namely PNG support! Why is it that Microsoft insists on ignoring the existence of PNGs? I tried uploading some lovely nomicons to MSN 6.2 but they would not display because they were PNGs. Hoping the problem had been corrected in this version, I tried again. Lo and behold, MSN did not display them. So I converted the 75 images into GIFs. Unfortunately, this addresses my other problem with MSN: you cannot modify the default emoticons! I don't want ":D" to represent that inane MSN emoticon of a grinning head. I would want to delete that smilie, or at least change its shortcut.

MSN 7.0 is worth the download. But it isn't much of an improvement, so much as an addition of new features while keeping the less satisfactory ones intact. . . .