MSN Search Unavailable

screen-msn.search-unavailable.png

MSN Search Unavailable

From a technical person’s point of view, for serve farms like MSN Search, even to put one this temporarily unavailable page is a big challenge – how many servers need to be configured to serve this page alone?

P.S. It is a technical article again, some kind of. I do enjoy to slip away from the Shanghai focus topic, when I found something really interesting for ME (maybe only me). Hope people don’t get annoyed. Anyway, it is still my PERSONAL blog. :-D

Hotmail Blocked in China

It is brought to my attention that Hotmail is presently blocked in China. I can access it everyday (I don’t know why, but it just works for me.), but I saw a lot of complains on my old post: Does Hotmail Work in China?. There are 52 comments so far. Why? Because it is the first result for Hotmail China in both MSN Search and Google search.

Well. It seems I need to do a little bit homework to find ways to help people out. Here is my analysis.

The Problem

When you type http://hotmail.com or http://www.hotmail.com, you will receive DNS error, as if the site never existed. You may experience long waiting time, before it reports the error.

When you type in http://hotmail.com, it reports DNS error, like the screen capture. Created at 21:40 May 10, 2006 at China Telecom FTTB+LAN in Pudong, China

When you type in http://www.hotmail.com, it also return error, but this time, it return the default error page from China Telecom: advertisement from Yahoo! China, including Yahoo! MP3 search, Baidu.com and Sina.com.cn. Created at 21:40 May 10, 2006 at China Telecom FTTB+LAN in Pudong, China

It seems the domain name DNS service is blocked.

The same problem happens with the Windows Live services, http://live.com.

When you type in http://live.com, it returns this error. Created at 21:40 May 10, 2006 at China Telecom FTTB+LAN in Pudong, China

Other Impact

Since recently, MSN transformed its passport services (the familiar hotmail logon page) to live.com. When live.com is blocked, as shown above, all Microsoft services related to authentication dies. For example, the popular MSN Spaces, a blogging service, becomes instable because it requires authentication. Other services, like http://download.microsoft.com is also reported to be impacted.

I chatted with my friends who may know the situation. None of them really have any suggestions, except asking me to use a proxy server.

Workarounds

Let me try to give several workarounds I collected. It may work now, but no garrentee it works in near future. Just let me know if any method works or stop working. At least at the time I write this article, I personally tested all the methods. They work at least for me on China Telecom FTTB+LAN home broadband in Shanghai.

Option 1: Use Mobile Version

Only the domain names are blocked. The server is live. If you have ways to access the servers without using the hotmail.com or live.com domain, you have a chance. Here is a backdoor:

Visit http://mobile.msn.com/hm/folder.aspx

MSN Mobile logon interface

This interface is designed exclusively for Windows Mobile cellphones. You can login to check your emails. The interface is very simple and small – to fit into mobile – but it is better than nothing if you urgently need to check your Hotmail messages.

The reason it works is because, the link I provide will redirect you to this URL:

https://mobile.passport.net/si/default.aspx?

lc=2052&id=961&ru=http%3a%2f%2fmobile.msn.com%2

fwml%2fmigrate.aspx%3freturl%3dhttp%253a%252f%252f

mobile.msn.com%252fhm%252ffolder.aspx%26fti%3dy&

mlc=zh-CN&mspsty=302&tw=1814400&kv=7&ct=1147269673

&ns=hotmail.com&ver=2.5.1027.0&ec=e21

It does not use the hotmail.com or live.com domain

Thanks for this article to share this methods with me.

Option 2: Using MSN Messenger 7.0

If you have MSN Messenger 7.0 or 7.5 (I am using 7.5) on your computer, you can simply click on the Mail icon to enter Hotmail. It is still using the old passport service, not live.com. Please make sure you are using these versions, not MSN Messenger 8.0.

Option 3: Logon to Passport First

If you feel the mobile version is not acceptable, try this.

Visit https://login.live.com/login.srf

>

Passport logon page

Also live.com is not accessible, https://login.live.com is OK. Please note the URL is https:// instead of http://.

After you enter your Hotmail username and password, you will see the MSN Account Services page. Click the hotmail link on the left top of the page, and you should be able to access hotmail.

Option 4: Direct URL

This URL works for me. But I have no idea about whether it works for you. Let me know your feedback.

https://login.live.com/login.srf?lc=2052&sf=1&id=2&ru=

http://www.hotmail.msn.com/cgi-bin/sbox%3fid%3d2&tw=0&fs=1&kv=0&cb=&cbid=24325

Option 5: Use Outlook Express

Just configure Outlook Express to check emails from hotmail.

If you haven’t done it before, here are the steps:

Go to Start -> All Programs -> Outlook Express.

Tools -> Accounts -> Add… -> Mail

Display Name: Your real name, click Next.

Email address: yourname@hotmail.com, click Next.

Accept defult HTTP as server, Hotmail as provider, and click Next.

Enter your user name and password, click Next.

Click Finsih. Then click Close to close the account tab.

Then you will have all your mails in your hotmail in your mailbox.

I’d like to hear your feedback about what option worked and what didn’t. If it didn’t work, please post comments and let people know what you have tried, where are you, and which provider you use.

Good luck!

Hotmail Does Not Work

My password for my hotmail does not work now. There must be delay for replying your email. I also have some emails inviting me to dinners, sorry that I cannot make it or reply the email from hotmail due to the password problem, and I don’t remember the email address. :-( How bad. But thank you very much for your kindness.

How to Tell if Someone Block You on MSN Messenger

Due to the privacy improvement of Microsoft on MSN Messenger, it seems definitely impossible to have a tool to check whether someone blocked you, or he/she is always offline. Many people claim they have MSN block checker. Unfortunately, they are useless, if the privacy setting is turned on (the default). It is very unlikely the person you want to check has changed the setting.

The only way I can think of is to call some friends (who also on that person’s contact list) and see if the status of the person is the same. If he/she appears offline on your MSN Contact List, but online on the other, you must be blocked by that person.

If you don’t have this kind of friend, or you don’t want others to know what you want to know, just create a new MSN account, and sign in MSN Messenger. Then send an invitation to that person until he/she add you. Then compare the status.

However, Try Your Luck!

I do have a tool that can help you to try your luck. Although only once out of ten times of try may turn out to show you the right result (when your friend did turn the privacy setting off), if you are feeling lucky, give it a try:

Try Your Luck and See if You can Check Whether You are Banned

Updated April 8, 2008

There is a technique to check whether you are block by your MSN contact. However, this technique has a very limited usage senario:

  • The person you want to check has a Microsoft Live Spaces Blog (previous MSN Spaces Page)
  • The person also set the setting to “Only allow access to Messenger contact”.

If the above are all true, you can try to visit that person’s Live Spaces Blog. If you can access it, although the person may seem offline, you are not blocked. If you cannot see the space blog, you are for sure blocked.

As I said, there are no other good way to do it so far.

MSN Virus omg.pif

Be cautious to open file at this location: http://home . earthlink . net / ~ gallery 10 / omg . pif. Do not even try it. Your friends may send it via MSN Messenger today or tomorrow. DO NOT OPEN it. It is virus. I have also found people pasting link to my site, which may cause people get infected. I have added the URL into my MT-blacklist banned word list.

I Got Wallop Invitation

George sent me the wallop invitation today. Thanks very much!

Wallop is Microsoft’s answer to blog, social software… It is distributed as GMail way – only those who have the invitation can login to Wallop.

This is my way to distribute the invitation ticket I got (inspired by Run).

Below are quoted from http://bbs.wangjianshuo.com/ShanghaiWiki/Wallop

Wallop is Microsoft’s answer to hot topics like blog, SNS, personal network… To fully leverage the five invitations, we will create a pool. The rule, as Run suggested, looks like this:

  1. Everyone need to accept this rule before requesting an invitation.
  2. In return, everyone should contribute TWO invitation back to the network.
    1. One will be dispatched as the wish of the person who granted the invitation, and
    2. the other one must send to others who registered on this page (the choice is yours)

Steps!!

  1. Sign your name below the horizontal line
  2. Create an order before I distribute the first ticket
  3. When the list is ready, we will distribute the first ticket.
  4. The first one will send the invitation to the one below him/her. Meanwhile, anyone owes one invitation as the wish of the person whose name is immediately above him/her
  5. Now click Edit Page on the top of the page to get started.

Credits

  • George Yan, for the first ticket to Jian Shuo Wang
  • Run Liu, for the idea of the pool
  • Jian Shuo Wang, for creating the tool for everyone to collaborate

Sign Your Name Here


  1. George Yan
  2. Jian Shuo Wang jianshuo@hotmail.com (Sent)
  3. Run Liu
  4. Charles Li
  5. Wei Xu [v-weixu#microsoft.com]
  6. Carsyn Koo CarsynKoo@gmail.com
  7. Wendy Fan
  8. Tian Qiang Chen
  9. John Xu
  10. Jack Koo(Gu) gushaofeng#gmail.com
  11. Zhe Wang

Note

  • Please APPEND your name to the end of the list, NOT insert into the list.
  • If you found anyone changed the order (remember your order number), you can change it back.
  • After you sent the invitation, please add (Sent) behind YOUR name, so others know the progress

Comments


I have logged in, and tried to invite the next one, and got the message:

Wallop has a limited number of invitations available at this time, by request. Unfortunately there are currently no invitations available to you.To request invitations, select ‘Invite More People’ to get additional invitations as they become available.

I have requested the invitation permission, and will provide one back to Jian Shuo, another one to Charles Li.

by Run Liu

Update November 21, 2004

Although you can post to either this page or the Wallop Invitation Wiki Page, please note that it is not likely for your to get an invitation this way. As you may know, I only have 5 invitations and the chain idea needs time to complete.

250MB from MSN Hotmail

Received this message from Hotmail this morning:

As a valued MSN Hotmail Member, you will receive your storage upgrade automatically in the coming days. Over the month of August we will upgrade the storage capacity of your e-mail account to 250 MB – that’s 125 times your current storage limit! We will also increase your attachment size from 1MB to 10MB. This means you will be able to store and attach more than ever and it’s free!

That is great. I registered my hotmail address in 1997 and sticked to it till today. I almost forget the miracle of hotmail of starting a company with 300,000 USD and sold it to Microsoft at 400 million two years later. The day the founder Sabeer he sold it is exactly his birthday…

MSN.COM Offers 2G Storage?

My frien told me to register a new email using the MSN Explorer, which is included in Windows XP to apply a new @msn.com email address. I applied one and saw I have 2000M storage space.

screen-hotmail-2G.PNG

Image in courtesy of hotmail.com

Is it true? I counted the zeros twice and was sure I didn’t make a mistake here. It should be a feature of MSN Hotmail Plus, but why it is free now? Puzzled. Anyway, email storage is not a *big* problem (I didn’t say it is NOT a problem) for me. Identity is. So I will stick on my exisiting hotmail address, no matter how small it is.

Does Hotmail Work in China?

Dick asked: “As you see, I have a Hotmail email address. Is there any problem in using this account in China.”

Sure. Hotmail works in China. Althought there is a short preiod of time of block of hotmail (who knows whether it is a block or technical difficulties), it is OK most of time.

There are some very big sites that people in China cannot see. Among them are Geocities.com and blogspot.com.

Update Ways to Access Hotmail May 4, 2006

Recently, I mean more than 2 years after this article was first written, some people report that they cannot access hotmail in China. I experienced the problem sometimes using other providers. Thanks for Mike in Guangzhou’s comment, if you cannot access Hotmail in China, try the following link:

https://login.passport.net/uilogin.srf?lc=1033&id=2

It is reported to work perfectly (I can access Hotmail in Shanghai with Shanghai Telecom FTTB+LAN using the normal login at http://hotmail.com).

Update Hotmail is Blocked May 10, 2006

The content of this original content is out-of-date. With so many people complaining about Hotmail problems, I think it is safe to say Hotmail is blocked in China. The reason people gather in this page is because, it is the top result in Google for Hotmail in China. Wow…

If anyone has any confirmed ways to workaround this problem, please let me know by posting comments. If someone confirmed the methods work, please also let us know, so I can promote the methods here.

Update Hotmail is Blocked May 10, 2006

I posted the workarounds I know in this article: Hotmail Blocked in China. Here is the content of the article.

It is brought to my attention that Hotmail is presently blocked in China. I can access it everyday (I don’t know why, but it just works for me.), but I saw a lot of complains on my old post: Does Hotmail Work in China?. There are 52 comments so far. Why? Because it is the first result for Hotmail China in both MSN Search and Google search.

Well. It seems I need to do a little bit homework to find ways to help people out. Here is my analysis.

The Problem

When you type http://hotmail.com or http://www.hotmail.com, you will receive DNS error, as if the site never existed. You may experience long waiting time, before it reports the error.

When you type in http://hotmail.com, it reports DNS error, like the screen capture. Created at 21:40 May 10, 2006 at China Telecom FTTB+LAN in Pudong, China

When you type in http://www.hotmail.com, it also return error, but this time, it return the default error page from China Telecom: advertisement from Yahoo! China, including Yahoo! MP3 search, Baidu.com and Sina.com.cn. Created at 21:40 May 10, 2006 at China Telecom FTTB+LAN in Pudong, China

It seems the domain name DNS service is blocked.

The same problem happens with the Windows Live services, http://live.com.

When you type in http://live.com, it returns this error. Created at 21:40 May 10, 2006 at China Telecom FTTB+LAN in Pudong, China

Other Impact

Since recently, MSN transformed its passport services (the familiar hotmail logon page) to live.com. When live.com is blocked, as shown above, all Microsoft services related to authentication dies. For example, the popular MSN Spaces, a blogging service, becomes instable because it requires authentication. Other services, like http://download.microsoft.com is also reported to be impacted.

I chatted with my friends who may know the situation. None of them really have any suggestions, except asking me to use a proxy server.

Workarounds

Let me try to give several workarounds I collected. It may work now, but no garrentee it works in near future. Just let me know if any method works or stop working. At least at the time I write this article, I personally tested all the methods. They work at least for me on China Telecom FTTB+LAN home broadband in Shanghai.

Option 1: Use Mobile Version

Only the domain names are blocked. The server is live. If you have ways to access the servers without using the hotmail.com or live.com domain, you have a chance. Here is a backdoor:

Visit http://mobile.msn.com/hm/folder.aspx

MSN Mobile logon interface

This interface is designed exclusively for Windows Mobile cellphones. You can login to check your emails. The interface is very simple and small – to fit into mobile – but it is better than nothing if you urgently need to check your Hotmail messages.

The reason it works is because, the link I provide will redirect you to this URL:

https://mobile.passport.net/si/default.aspx?

lc=2052&id=961&ru=http%3a%2f%2fmobile.msn.com%2

fwml%2fmigrate.aspx%3freturl%3dhttp%253a%252f%252f

mobile.msn.com%252fhm%252ffolder.aspx%26fti%3dy&

mlc=zh-CN&mspsty=302&tw=1814400&kv=7&ct=1147269673

&ns=hotmail.com&ver=2.5.1027.0&ec=e21

It does not use the hotmail.com or live.com domain

Thanks for this article to share this methods with me.

Option 2: Using MSN Messenger 7.0

If you have MSN Messenger 7.0 or 7.5 (I am using 7.5) on your computer, you can simply click on the Mail icon to enter Hotmail. It is still using the old passport service, not live.com. Please make sure you are using these versions, not MSN Messenger 8.0.

Option 3: Logon to Passport First

If you feel the mobile version is not acceptable, try this.

Visit https://login.live.com/login.srf

>

Passport logon page

Also live.com is not accessible, https://login.live.com is OK. Please note the URL is https:// instead of http://.

After you enter your Hotmail username and password, you will see the MSN Account Services page. Click the hotmail link on the left top of the page, and you should be able to access hotmail.

Option 4: Direct URL

This URL works for me. But I have no idea about whether it works for you. Let me know your feedback.

https://login.live.com/login.srf?lc=2052&sf=1&id=2&ru=

http://www.hotmail.msn.com/cgi-bin/sbox%3fid%3d2&tw=0&fs=1&kv=0&cb=&cbid=24325

Option 5: Use Outlook Express

Just configure Outlook Express to check emails from hotmail.

If you haven’t done it before, here are the steps:

Go to Start -> All Programs -> Outlook Express.

Tools -> Accounts -> Add… -> Mail

Display Name: Your real name, click Next.

Email address: yourname@hotmail.com, click Next.

Accept defult HTTP as server, Hotmail as provider, and click Next.

Enter your user name and password, click Next.

Click Finsih. Then click Close to close the account tab.

Then you will have all your mails in your hotmail in your mailbox.

I’d like to hear your feedback about what option worked and what didn’t. If it didn’t work, please post comments and let people know what you have tried, where are you, and which provider you use.

Good luck!

Option 5: Use Torpark.

Thanks for Amelia’s recommendation. Download Torpark may solve the problem. (I didn’t verify it yet).

MSN Messenger Virus Jitux.A

Warninig! Virus Alert!

According to MSN Messenger newsgroup (microsoft.public.msn.messenger), a new virus is found.

2003 is ending with another computer virus causing havoc on the net.

Anti-virus company Panda Software has warned net users to watch out for a new virus, a worm called Jitux.A, which is spread via MSN Messenger.

Jitux.A is an aggressive code that contains a link to the web page www.home.no/ / jituxramon.exe. Once open, the file JITUXRAMON.EXE automatically downloads, infecting your computer. The worm file stores itself in the computer’s memory and sends new infected

messages every five minutes to all contacts in your Messenger’s Contact List. Panda Software advises web users to update their anti-virus patch as soon as possible. Users can also download the free online anti-virus PandaActiveScan available at the company website.

More info here:

http://www.pandasoftware.com/virus_info/encyclopedia/overview.aspx?IdVirus=43211&sind=0

Panda software online virus scanner:

http://www.pandasoftware.com/activescan/com/activescan_principal.htm

Also, don’t accept invitation from dar0nb0y187@hotmail.com.

Thanks for Linda‘s reminder.

MSN Messenger Emotion Pictures

Update: August 12, 2006

I have collected 2000+ MSN emotion icons in 46 categories. For your convenience, I packaged them in ZIP files, so you can download many icons in one file. This site is not a commercial site, and there is only the pictures in the ZIP file. No readme files, no hidden links, no adware, no any executable. Just click on any of the icons to download more MSN emotion pictures, and enjoy your MSN Messenger.

Please note: all the icons below are clickable, and lead you to more icons of the same type.

Here is the table of content:

End of Update

The New MSN Messenger Emotion is interesting. There are many new emotions in the new version. I believe the emotion for smiley face, the confused smile, and open-mouthed smiley are all very nicely designed. Here is a list of all possible built-in emotions in MSN Messenger 6.0. The MSN Emotion Icons can also generate interesting pictures. Here is a big heart (via dotnettools.org). Just type it into MSN Messenger and the picture below will appear on the screen. Looks very nice.

(F)(F)(F)(F)(F)(F)(F)(F)(F)(F)(F)(F)(F)

(F)(F)(F)(L)(L)(F)(F)(F)(L)(L)(F)(F)(F)

(F)(F)(L)(L)(L)(L)(F)(L)(L)(L)(L)(F)(F)

(F)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(F)

(F)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(F)

(F)(F)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(F)(F)

(F)(F)(F)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(F)(F)(F)

(F)(F)(F)(F)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(F)(F)(F)(F)

(F)(F)(F)(F)(F)(L)(L)(L)(F)(F)(F)(F)(F)

(F)(F)(F)(F)(F)(F)(L)(F)(F)(F)(F)(F)(F)

(F)(F)(F)(F)(F)(F)(F)(F)(F)(F)(F)(F)(F)

will produce:

screen-msn.messenger-big.love.PNG

({)({)({)(f)(f)(f)(L)(L)(f)(L)(L)(f)(f)(f)(})(f)(f)(})(f)

(f)({)(f)(f)(f)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(f)(f)(})(f)(f)(})(f)

(f)({)(f)(f)(f)(f)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(f)(f)(f)(})(f)(f)(})(f)

(f)({)(f)(f)(f)(f)(f)(L)(L)(L)(f)(f)(f)(f)(})(f)(f)(})(f)

({)({)({)(f)(f)(f)(f)(f)(L)(f)(f)(f)(f)(f)(f)(})(})(f)(f)

will produce:

screen-msn.messenger-narrow.love.PNG

Update November 28, 2003

screen-msn-beat1.gifscreen-msn-beat2.gifscreen-msn-beat3.gif

Credit: Anoymous

You can also import the three icons (19×19 pixel in size) into your MSN Messenger (Click the emotion icon (the smiley face) and click “My custom emotions…” when you chat with some body. Then click Add to add these three icons to your MSN one by one. Be sure to assign a short cut to each of them. I am using //c1, //c2 and //c3. Thanks Alex for sharing.

The following icons are widely distributed on the Internet in China. I searched for some time but still didn’t get the source of the authors for these icons. I believe it must comes from different authors and some one helped to combine them. Otherwise, I’d first ask for permission and then give them credit and link for their great work. Alex shared it with me. It is the most comprehensive package I have ever seen.

   

   

 

Download all the pictures in a zip file.

MSN Messenger Virus BR2002

At 1:40 PM, Beijing time (+8), I received a message from

Hey!! Could you please check out this program for me? I made it myself and want people to test it. Its a readme with the program that explains what it does! http://home.no.net/downl0ad/BR2002.exe <-- There you can download it! give me advices on what to upgrade please!!

Do not click on the link!

If you click and open the EXE, you will send a message to each contact in your contact list, asking them to click it as you did. It is very dangerous. I don’t know what the EXE will do on your disk.

I will keep an eye on this issue.