A New Outlook From Microsoft

Photo courtesy Microsoft

Microsoft just introduced a completely new email service called Outlook, which brings you a simplified, Metro-inspired interface with a multitude of useful features to your inbox. We’re already familiar with the Office program Outlook we’ve long used on our computers, but this new service offers you a clean interface, works well with your smart-phone or tablet, and will be replacing Hotmail.

As you may recall, Hotmail was introduced in 1996 and it was one of the first Webmail services out there. Eight years later, Gmail came along and offered 1GB of storage (which at the time was a phenomenal amount of space, and now it’s up to 10GB). Since then, Webmail has not really progressed significantly, but with this introduction of the Outlook.com inbox, Microsoft is hoping to change that.

Your Outlook.com inbox brings your personal email to life with photos of your friends, recent status updates and Tweets that your friends have shared with you, the ability to chat and video call — all powered by an always up-to-date contact list that is connected to your social networks. You are always in control of what you share, the networks you connect to and your personal information.

According to Microsoft, “today’s inbox is about more than just exchanging mail with the people you know — 50 percent of the email in a typical inbox is newsletters and another 20 percent is social network updates. This is part of the reason our inboxes are overloaded and we often feel it’s a chore to do email.” It designed Outlook.com to automatically sort your messages from contacts, newsletters, shipping updates and social updates. Plus, with the Sweep features you can move, delete and set up powerful rules in a few, simple clicks so you can more quickly get to the email you really want.

Additionally, Outlook.com uses Exchange ActiveSync, so it powers your mail, calendar and people experience on your smartphone, tablet and the new Outlook 2013 Preview. If you hurry, since this is so new you might be able to get the email address you really want, visit Outlook.com to create your free account.

Photo courtesy Disney

Click Chick’s Mobile App of the Week: PIXEL’D

Since I just took my daughter to Disneyland last month, so Disney characters (especially Minnie Mouse) are embedded into my life. Adding on, Disney just released its free PIXEL’D app, which lets you create original and Disney-themed pixel art and animations for your iOS device. Whether you’re an artist or not, the app allows you to create pixel art and animations (up to 20 frames) easily.

You can interact with canvas backgrounds that feature artwork from various Disney properties.

A few backgrounds are included with the app, and you can buy more through in-app purchases. Your default canvas resolution is 150×150, but you can bring it as low as 4×4 or as high as 1024×768. You can draw freehand, generate lines or shapes and use color fill to help you make your creation. More developed artists can use three modifiable layers to help with advanced editing.

After you’re done, share it on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube or via email. Additionally, the Buddy Draw feature allows you to connect via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to draw together with another user in real-time. Visit disney.com/pixeld to see tutorial videos and inspirational fan art.