More Hotmail updates on the way

More Hotmail updates on the way

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We’ve kept ourselves busy this summer. A few months ago, we released a re-invented Windows Live Hotmail designed around what people said they wanted—a more efficient service to help them manage clutter with features like Sweep and one-click filters, save time with ActiveViews, share hundreds of large photos in a single email, and be more productive with Office by viewing and editing documents right from Hotmail

Following this release, you may have noticed a string of smaller updates. Some were planned, like push email, calendar, and contacts through Exchange ActiveSync, but others were the results of feedback we received and acted on during the rollout. We put a lot of time and effort into careful planning, but we also recognize that with any release, we can improve, so we do our best to listen closely and respond actively to feedback. Some of the feedback we’ve addressed with updates in the last few weeks include the way you can view message source (right-click in the Inbox is back!), an easier reply action in threaded conversations, and more visible signout for the integrated Messenger on the web. (See our Facebook page for more details.)

In addition to these adjustments, we’re beginning today to roll out new features and highlight new partners that will continue to address the customer needs we focused on this summer.

Track packages referenced in your email from Hotmail

Emails that include a package tracking number will now light up in Hotmail thanks to ActiveViews, which automatically recognize the number and display the real time shipping status above the email, saving you a trip to the shipper’s website. The US Postal Service is fully supported, and with this new release, our new partner FedEx will be as well, with light versions for DHL and UPS that provide a link to the shipper’s website instead of full shipping details inside the email.

FedEx tracking inside a message

Chat with Facebook friends in Hotmail

We recently announced that Messenger would let you chat with your Facebook friends. We released this into the beta of our Messenger app for your PC a few weeks ago, and last week we added this into Messenger on your iPhone. We’re now adding this ability to chat with Facebook friends into Hotmail, making it easier for the 250 million Hotmail users that also use Facebook to stay in touch with those friends. Initially, this will be available in the US, UK, France, Brazil, Germany, and Russia, and we will continue to expand this offering to more regions over time.

Facebook chat in inegrated Messenger

Share photos more easily with expanded coverage and new features

Email is the most popular place to share photos, with 1.5 billion pictures shared each month on Hotmail alone. But attachment size limits have long made the process cumbersome. Over the summer, Hotmail became the first service to let you to send hundreds of large photos per email, up to 10 GB of photos per email, by sharing them as a new photo album on SkyDrive. Today, this option is only available in the US, but with this release, we are rolling it out worldwide.

Photo slideshow in an email message

We also know that there are times when sharing photos or files as regular attachments is necessary, so we’re increasing the total attachment size limit per email to 25MB, saving you time by letting you send what you want with fewer emails.

View more videos from inside Hotmail

Earlier this summer we helped people save time by viewing Hulu and YouTube videos within any email containing a link to content on those sites. With this release we’re supporting videos from two more fantastic partner sites, Dailymotion and

Active View of Dailymotion video inside an email

Organize and find important email with Subfolders

If you like to use folders to organize your important emails and find them more quickly later, you have something in common with nearly 100 million other Hotmail “filers”. The new Hotmail lets you create folders inside of folders to more precisely manage your email, making it easier to quickly find an important message you’ve filed away.

Organizing folders and subfolders

We believe that these features will benefit people using Hotmail with a more efficient email experience that saves time and is just more fun to use. During the rollout, we want everything to go smoothly as new features are added, so we will start by upgrading a small percentage of our accounts, and as the kinks are worked out, quickly roll the features out to everyone. This process will take a few weeks, so if you don’t see the new features right away, rest assured that they’ll arrive soon.

Dick Craddock
Group Program Manager
Windows Live Hotmail

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  • @Yogesh and Windows Live Hotmail team

    Hotmail was "bespoke" in 1997.  That's NINETEEN NINETY SEVEN!!! when Microsoft bought and has trailed Gmail in innovation ever since '04.  It seems the farting brain trust that "develops" hotmail has uncontrollabe gas and faints every two minutes for hours at the keyboard from their own fumes.

    Ironically, Google does not own the Exchange ActiveSync protocol, yet after getting an EAS license, Gmail has more complete support for HTML-formatted email than Windows Live Hotmail Wave 4 (WLHW4) and more of the other features supported beyond EAS 2.5 than even the Microsoft's own email service????????   Gmail had that support in February (calendars and contacts) and September (email) 2009!  The current iteration of WLHW4 only supports Exchange Active Sync 2.5, which does not support native push of HTML-formatted email to mobile OS's EAS clients, just the HTML code.  There is limited or no support for encryption via EAS for those that want it, especially those mobile users that have their email hosted via Office Live Mail.  MOST smartphones on the market have EAS clients that support at least EAS 12.0, which supports more advanced EAS features including HTML-formatted email.  EAS 2.5 was a terrible idea to use without also adding EAS 12+ to have those more advanced features available for the compatible EAS clients.  In basic theory, most mobile OS EAS clients aren't designed to go back into EAS 2.5 pushed data, compile HTML code received via EAS 2.5, and present it as HTML-formatted email (which iOS appears to programmed to do), unless we're naïve to think that only iOS 4 and Windows Phone 7 have the "right" EAS clients. While companies that buy an EAS license decide how they implement EAS in their own EAS clients, they can only receive what the EAS-enabled email service pushes.  There are tons of professionals that use Windows Live Hotmail who do not use and are not planning to use iOS 4 or Windows Phone 7 devices.  In the US, that leaves 3rd party EAS apps, Android, Nokia and webOS users under-served (BlackBerry OS remains EAS-averse). Office Live Mail users with whom I associate are absolutely PISSED that a soft, basic email experience is being pushed at this point in an email service that has increasingly declined when barely improving features (i.e. playing catch up).  Some of my associates immediately abandoned the service after WLHW4 was launched and shown to be bunk in comparison to competing solutions.  It is hard not to consider following suit now that more is being done away from the desktop while EAS protocol is more completely elsewhere.  Questions still remain as WLHW4 is a Microsoft-owned service:

    Microsoft’s own desktop Outlook email client requires a “connector” to enable basic email/calendar/contact sync.  Will Microsoft overhaul Windows Live Hotmail to be seemlessly usable in Outlook without having to have a connector for its own email provider?  Microsoft has owned Hotmail since late ‘97 and has STILL not made this transition.  The user interface for contact and calendar management in Outlook vs. Hotmail doesn’t even match?  Why is this disconnect in web vs desktop vs mobile experience continuing?  (Hint:  Professionals  don’t want to download the Windows Live Mail application for use because it doesn’t sync with many non-Windows Mobile/Phone smartphones without additional apps.)

    Why was EAS 12.0 not also used in Windows Live Hotmail Wave 4?  Was it too hard to do or at least considered?

    Will Windows Live Hotmail receive an EAS upgrade to at least EAS 12.0 within the next 3-6 months?  If yes, what month is it expected to be released?  Will it launch unilaterally or will users get to bite their nails until the "cluster" they're in gets the update?  (It seems like a cluster is where you fall in the work schedule. DO WORK MICROSOFT! Stop kissing Zuckerbergs a** and do something about your own flagging services.)

    Lastly, Ballmer made clear that other “free source” mobile OS’s aren’t free if Microsoft tech is in on-device or in-house developmental use.  So why shortchange WLHW4 and Office Live Mail users of your service with diminutive features if EAS client providers prove to be legally using licensed Microsoft IP?

  • controlz
    145 Posts

    In the next release, Wave 5 or another version of Wave 4, it would be great if you gave the option to 'attatch' files already on SkyDrive. Like Windows Live Messenger 2011 lets you add photos to your status message that are already on SkyDrive.

    Also, I have the new features mentioned above, but no pinning to taskbar features. I still get a white box with the Hotmail logo in, with no Jump-list support. Any help?

  • controlz
    145 Posts

    Andrew Tech Help: The subfolders do work in Windows Live Mail 2011 - set them up in Hotmail, sync Live Mail, and hover over the folder with a subfolder in it and click the small arrow.

  • Woohoo... Just got the new features added to my account.... Sub-Folders are great and re-enabled Vacation Replies - so good to have this feature back.

  • ivan_v
    4 Posts

    Are this changes taking effect? I still don't have them on my account.

  • @bpa – I think that your critique of the EAS implementation is somewhat blinkered.

    Firstly you have to appreciate that EAS is designed for use within an Exchange messaging environment whereas Hotmail is in essence a ‘bespoke’ messaging platform system. Ergo, it makes perfect sense to implement a ‘simpler’ version of EAS (2.5) which is likely to cause fewer integration issues to start with, rather than using a more advanced version (e.g. EAS 14.1).

    I guess I‘m one of the fortunate ones that hasn’t experienced any snagging issues since EAS went live on Hotmail, although (having been involved in some major system implementations of my own over the years) I can appreciate that when things don’t go right users who are reliant on any given service can and do get frustrated.

    That said, if your need for multiple e device synchronisation is critical to your life/work, why don’t you just go with a hosted Exchange mailbox (Simply Mail Solutions will do a single Exchange 2007 hosted mailbox for £40.00/$60.00 per-annum) which has EAS 12.1 and Outlook 2010 support.


  • bpa
    3 Posts

    I'd just like to say that because of the botched EAS implementation for Hotmail I have officially abandoned my hotmail account.  I've been a hotmail user for at least 10 years now.  But the move to the cloud and syncing with it, my home and work computers, and my phone has just become too important.  The lack of HTML aware email in Hotmail's EAS implementation just shows how much Microsoft doesn't grasp how technology is being used today and how it will be used tomorrow.  Google gets it.  You guys used to be beasts!  What happened?

  • langware
    154 Posts

    Currently, there is a serious problem with customers not being able to access their Hotmail account.

    Have you seen this thread ...

    It was just created this morning, and in just a few hours the thread has almost 60,000 views with almost 1400 replies.

    Moderators are unblocking accounts, but will anyone have the courtesy of informing Hotmail's customers of the root cause and the strategic actions taken to prevent this problem from re-occurring?

    Please fix the problems with Hotmail's current version before investing resources into developing new features.

  • When will Microsoft again offer read/unread status syncing for Blackberry users?  Ever since Microsoft ditched DAV over a year ago, Blackberry users have lost the ability to have the read/unread status of their messages synced.  I'm sure this has driven more than a few Blackberry users to Gmail, which indeed does offer this feature.  Are there at least plans to offer an alternative to this important feature?

  • Are there any updates with the login problems many of us face?

    I hope microsoft is not ignoring us.

    no point having all these so called upgrades when we cant even login (through no fault of our own) and having non-existent service

  • Hello Microsoft support, if any of you see this, please do something on the hotmail problem because most people account are being block and all the help given are the same in different thread in window live solution. Give us an answer because most people needed their primary hotmail back urgently.

    The problem:

    It keeps saying:

    "You've tried to sign in too many times with an incorrect email address or password."

    can u help unblock my account pls? Its been very long already.

    window live solution keep asking validating and it took longer then it stated. Can your support team do something about it now?

  • Hi, my hotmail account has been locked out for a day and there has been no response from your hotmail/microsoft team at the windows live solution center.

    It keeps saying:

    "You've tried to sign in too many times with an incorrect email address or password."

    can u help unblock my account pls? Its been very long already.

  • How about doing something about unread, deleted messages ?  I don't need to (or want to) see a message that I chose to delete showing up as unread (bold font) in the deleted folder.  I don't need a reminder that I haven't read it.  Of course, I haven't read it.  I chose to delete it before doing so.

    How about either: 1) having an "empty" link next to the deleted folder so it could be emptied manually without first going TO that folder, or 2) marking as "read" unread messages sent to the deleted folder ?  I'd prefer both. :-)

  • iChaz
    2 Posts


    I also discovered that you can set SMS alerts for email messages, but had no use for that.  There could possibly be a rare occasion when that might be something to turn on, but SMS calendar reminders are used all the time.  Once you have that capability, it's very hard to do without.  I rely on it often and assumed Hotmail would have it.  Hope they add it.

    Using the 'snooze' option in Outlook just doesn't cut it.  It >only< snoozes a reminder in Outlook, this appointment parameter doesn't sync to anything.  Multiple reminders per appointment, with the option to set them as SMS (which can be saved on your device) is the only way to go.  It extends Calendar functionality and reliability to a whole new level.

  • @iChaz

    Agreed! I played around with the email sms settings in windows live, trying to set everything right so that I could receive a text message to remind me of a calendar event, but no dice. I was able to get 25 text messages telling me about all the emails I had received, but never got one sms about my event. They do need to implement an additional method of receiving event reminders by sms.

  • iChaz
    2 Posts

    Subfolders -- finally!  That's great.  With the most recent changes, I moved my personal domain over to Hotmail for a few days to try it out.  Not being able to create subfolders was one of the reasons I moved it back to Google Apps.  The other reason was related to the Calendar.

    With Google Apps you can create multiple reminders per calendar event >>and<< reminders can be SMS messages.  No need to bother with snoozing reminders, etc.  For example, I can receive an SMS alert 2 weeks, then 1 week, and then 3 days prior to an event -- in the form of a pop-up, email, and/or SMS.  Much more flexible than the 1-reminder per event with the Hotmail calendar, which as no option to deliver reminders as SMS messages.

  • Steve B
    15 Posts

    Are there any plans to upgrade EAS to a newer version?  There are A LOT of people updset at the fact that an old version of EAS was used that doesn't support HTML email.  It is creating havoc with different mobile email programs.

  • danielgr
    73 Posts

    at Peter Hoyer,

    An easy way of importing tones of messages and folders is to use the PC client of Windows Live.

    Once you add both your hotmail and gmail accounts you can drag and drop folders from one to the other pretty easily.

    Of course, you can also do that with Outlook and Hotmail connector.

  • danielgr
    73 Posts

    Hotmail is sure getting better and better everytime, and love all the new features.

    Unfortunately, many of them remain unavailable to international users outside the US, which is a pity because I wouldn't mind if not having them, but to learn that they are out there and still can't use them isn't really nice...

    Guess we'll just have to be patient...

    Keep up your hard work !!!

  • It is important that the Hotmail team are aware out the unreliability of Hotmail activesync in the UK (possibly other places outside of the US) It may well be latency that causes it, but push is so unreliable I have had to revert back to google for the time being.

    If more worldwide servers are released in future it may improve the situation, but right now way, way too many emails fail to push to the device.

    I created a test hotmail account and it was exactly the same, so not just my "mailbox"

  • kcrannie
    31 Posts

    The new features in WLH are an added improvment, however, one area I would like to see Microsoft improve on is in the advertisement department.  The ads throughout WLH are oversized and intrusive.  It would be helpful if Mcrosoft would improve in this area.  The old MSN Hotmail did not feature oversized adverstisements rather inline links  (see lower left-hand column).   I've an an Hotmail account for as long as I can remember and the oversized advertisements throughout WLH has never been as bad as it is currently.

  • I'm personally a little bit disappointed to read that the new Facebook messenger functionality has already come to the Apple iPhone, yet nothing on Microsoft's own Windows Mobile. I know you are all probably gearing up for Windows Phone 7, but surely to those who have stuck through thick and thin with Windows Mobile, a small update to 6.5's Windows Live suite wouldn't hurt.

    What's gone wrong with the world!?

  • Thank you for the subfolders, I have been waiting for that feature sooo long! Now I can finally move my mails from gmail which I have used just for mail storage so far. A folder import feature from Gmail to Hotmail would be absolutely great!!!

  • qiziq
    23 Posts

    @Gawicks  I share your frustration but there is a workaround.  If you want to keep sharing files that are already stored in Skydrive, go directly to skydrive and you can share them from there.  This has the added benefit of not requiring the recipient to have a Windows Live ID.

  • Xsever
    1 Posts

    Thank you for the new updates.

    However, I have a suggestion which I think the Hotmail mail team should really focus on: Uploading Attachments.

    One should be able to upload multiple files at the same time (such as Gmail) and also have the ability to drag and drop.

    Please take this into consideration since each time I try uploading an attachment, I think why haven't they innovated this thing yet.

    Thanks a lot.

  • @stevesinchak - SSL is coming and we'll have more news to share shortly. One thing you will notice is the login experience is now entirely over SSL. This is our first step in lighting up SSL.

  • JohnCz
    204 Posts

    Great updates!  I appreciate that Vacation Replies are being renabled.

    @gawicks, makes a good point about the inability to access/attach photos already in SkyDrive from Hotmail message composition screen.  If not in this set of updates, I do hope you address this in the following service update.

    Thanks and keep up the excellent work!

  • KayeB
    1 Posts

    All these features are great, and they certainly make Hotmail a better email experience. What you need to work on now is customer support, which currently consists of posting in the Windows Live Customer Support Forum and then waiting for days to recieve a scripted answer that may not even apply to the problem, because Microsoft outsources this service, leaving many frustrated and unhappy customers. I was so disillusioned when it took me 3 weeks to regain access to my Hotmail account after it was hacked, that I wrote an article titiled, "Is Customer Service a Myth in the Internet Age?" I wonder if anyone would address this Hotmail issue?

  • "3. When reading a long message, the Next and Previous arrows are scrolled off screen .... requiring the user to scroll in order to view and click the Next/Previous arrow. This is poor User Interface design. The Next/Previous arrows should be placed into the "frozen" menu at the top of the page."

    I'm glad someone else has that problem. This needs to be addressed.

  • @ adacosta, @pezzonovante - We've included IE9 "pin to taskbar" and jumplist support in the release that's rolling out now. I'm using it, and it's pretty cool. You'll have it in the next few weeks. Hope you like it!

  • @ Yogesh Sharma  - We're re-enabling the Vacation Replies in the release that's rolling out right now. You'll have it soon.

  • langware
    154 Posts

    Wave4 Hotmail was rolled out last July with many known bugs. The sticky thread, created in the Windows Live Solution Center specifically for customer feedback on Wave4 Hotmail, has been locked. Are you no longer interested in receiving customer feedback?

    When will the following bugs be fixed ...

    1. With the Reading Pane sized to occupy the bottom 30% of the screen, when a message is selected (and appears in the reading pane), and the Actions (or Reply) option (top right of the message) is clicked, the drop down list is truncated (cut off by the top of the reading pane's frame).

    2. When the reading pane is on the right, the number of messages in a folder (usually displayed on the left side of the footer) is not shown ..... the left side of footer is truncated.

    3. When reading a long message, the Next and Previous arrows are scrolled off screen .... requiring the user to scroll in order to view and click the Next/Previous arrow. This is poor User Interface design. The Next/Previous arrows should be placed into the "frozen" menu at the top of the page.

    4. In IE8, if an Explorer Bar (Favorites, History, Feeds) is displayed, the User name, profile, and sign out selections are truncated off the right side of the screen.

    5. The previous version of Hotmail allowed one to navigate the inbox (and all other folders) by page number. The ability to navigate by page number has been removed from Wave4 Hotmail.

    6. The Vacation reply feature has been removed.

    7. After selecting "Show Cc & Bcc" and then canceling the new message, the setting becomes permanent until a new message is sent.

    In addition, one of the most frequent complaints on the Windows Live Solution Center is from customers whose accounts have been hijacked. Yes, we have seen the articles that have been written giving us customers suggestions for practicing safe computing ... but when is Microsoft going to take some strategic actions to improve Hotmail's security  and help prevent frequent hijackings. Here are some examples ...

    1. An option that allows users to specify a default IP address. If an attempt to sign on to Hotmail does not originate from the user's default IP address, then the user's secret question(s) must be successfully answered before the sign on is accepted.

    2. An option to warn the user if there was more than one computer currently signed on to the account (possibly indicating that a spammer was in the process of hijacking the account). The IP addresses of all computers using the account could also be displayed.

    3. Insert a warning (telling the recipient not to respond) into every phishing message that claims to be from Microsoft and asks for the recipient's Hotmail password. These phishing messages are a scam and only result in user's accounts being hijacked (if the user responds to the official-looking message).

    4. A table showing the last 10 sign-on attempts to the user's account ... with the IP address and date/time of each sign-on.

    5. Two-factor authentication similar to what Google announced on Sept 20 (user has option of requiring both a password as well as a code sent to their smart phone in order to successfully sign on).

    Hotmail hijackings have reached epidemic proportions (as shown by the number of complaints in the Windows Live Solution Center). When will Microsoft take actions to address this problem?

    Finally, Hotmail outages due to "maintenance" often extend for days. Hotmail's availability and reliability need to be addressed.

    The new Wave4 Hotmail was a good start ... but there are many many unresolved issues that need to be addressed. Please help improve Hotmail with some strategic changes. Just monitor the Windows Live Solutions Center .... and get the pulse of your customer's feedback .... the necessary improvements will immediately become obvious.

  • I agree with stevesinchak.  What's the point of all the featured if we're all still using them with a non-secure connection ?  Just about all other webmail services (with the exception of Yahoo) offer SSL for the full session.  Hotmail promises, then delays while introducing more things I won't be using, since I refuse to use webmail that doesn't offer session long SSL.  FIRST secure the connection THEN offer the bells and whistles.

  • Thanks for the update, I'm looking forward to sub folders but is there any news on SSL?  I think SSL is the most important missing feature.

  • Will you please add IE9's pin to taskbar feature for the Hotmail website?

  • adacosta
    91 Posts

    My biggest beef with the new Windows Live Web Messenger is when it signs me out. There is no "Re-sign" link/button. I either have to refresh the Hotmail page or close the tab/window and reopen Hotmail. There needs to be a Re-sign butt when it does this. Is the Windows Live Hotmail team working on Internet Explorer 9 integration? I would love to be able to pin Hotmail to the Windows 7 Taskbar and be able to access convenient Jump List features such as New Message, Inbox, Calendar, Contacts. Also, make the pin to Taskbar Webicon look exactly the one in the Address Bar or tab. I notice when I pin Hotmail to the Taskbar or Start menu in Windows 7 the icon looks like a page with the Hotmail icon on it. I want the exact "Mail" pictorial representation to be the icon on the Taskbar.

  • gawicks
    3 Posts

    Thanks for the update. keep them coming please.

    I have a few problems with hotmail

    1.I was previously a yahoo user and a gmail user, My yahoo account was the most active one and I have it linked to my hotmail account.

    But I am getting an unbearable amount of spam in my yahoo folder , Doesn't hotmail spam filters work on other accounts?

    2. I have several pictures stored in skydrive , How can I use them as attachments directly without having to download them and upload again.

  • @Dick Craddock : Thanks for the update (sub-folders will be v. useful).

    However is there any update on the reinstatement of the Out of Office/Vacation Reply feature that disabled some months ago?

    This was useful to have, and I am now finding that I have no option other than to keep checking my messages even when I don’t have time/want to as the Out-of-Office feature has been disabled.


  • Tip: If you use Chrome or Firefox you can use the Windows Live Ad Remover extension. Works fine for me!

  • Man, I love the new Hotmail interface and the great features it has now. But you should really find a better way to sell advertising. This enormous banner, with animations and colorful is so annoying and ruins the entire interface. Plus: I NEVER click on it.

  • adp
    9 Posts


    You can actually pay for the "Plus" service and no add are being displayed. Here's the link

  • bpa
    3 Posts

    How about fixing Exchange ActiveSync so we can see HTML emails on devices other than iOS devices?  Yeah, I know it isn't technically broken because you used version 2.5, but that's not really an excuse.  It's useless without HTML email, 2/3 of all meails are unreadable...

  • The good thing about the hotmail connector is that it works alongside an existing exchange account - ie: you can use it at work as an additional mailbox as you cant have 2 exchange accounts in one profile in outlook

  • Honestly, I was hoping for a far more practical use of tags / labels in Hotmail and later in Outlook. The subfolders are just speeding up the road to nowhere. :(

    But the other features are pretty cool, I must say. Although I would really appreciate push Hotmail via Exchange protocol in Outlook. The Hotmail Connector isn't the right cup of tea. ;)

  • Hotmail is great and I'd really really switch to the service from Google Mail.

    But - sorry - that's just impossible! Colored image ads or even animated ads are an absolute show stopper. That's really, really not the context for such a thing like WRITING LETTERS! And there is no possibility to switch them of, not even against paying a fee. You can overlook Google Mails text-only ads after a while, but showing these flashy ads, especially when it's stuff like dating services etc. next to my email is almost insulting!

    Best regards


  • adp
    9 Posts

    when can we expect push Hotmail for Outlook or is it already happening?

  • Couple of Questions:

    How will subfolders work in the Windows Live Mail desktop application? Will subfolders work in there and if so, how will they appear? Same question with how it will appear on a smartphone, including Windows Phone 7?

    When will the Photo Sharing and Office Web Apps be enabled for Australian markets?, because I cannot use them at the moment sadly and I really want to!

    Lastly, when will the header for Hotmail, Contacts and Calendar match the rest of the live suite, because for most services it appears centre aligned, but in Hotmail, Contacts and Calendar it appears left aligned and it feels disconnected and a bit inconsistant and odd.