Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

I think I'm in love with Live Mesh

While himself is writing away (write like the wind! so we can go out in the sun!), I decided to set up Live Mesh. I'd followed the link they handed out at Web 2.0 but I knew from the Mesh team that those invites had all been used up (my guess: Microsoft provisioned for all the folk at the show but it wasn't a hard URL to guess even if you didn't find it in a blog). My signup was pending, but once you're in you can invite people and they get to join the Mesh straight away, so Simon invited me and shared his writing folder.

He sent it to the Live ID I use for my main email address, which for reasons of complexity is set to US locale and for reasons of me being a bear of little brain I can't remember the password for. I don't normally need to remember it because I have it linked to the Live ID I use all the time, which is my Hotmail address. After a couple of guesses I thought, 'let's see how smart Mesh is' and signed in with the main Live ID instead. Mesh accepted it. I could install the software (tiny) and see Simon's folder - but not his devices, so good separation. I added a folder that I don't have set up with SyncToy to replicate back to the server because the path isn't straightforward and as it has conference presentations it's useful for Simon on the road. But I didn't want to share it back to his Gmail account because I couldn't remember the email. He was in the process of linking his Live ID 's so I invited his main email account. And when he accepted the invitation while he was logged in with his other Live ID (still with me at the back?), it worked - all the linked Live ID 's have access to the Mesh they're supposed to have access to.

Now we have folders we can see and choose to sync from each other's machines. They sync quickly - and with placeholders for any files that haven't synced yet. Files are replicated into the cloud (up to 5GB) but if there's a direct path from my PC to Simon's the connection goes that way for speed and you can sync files over 5GB to another Mesh endpoint as long as it has the disk space.

If I don't want to sync the files to my PC because I don't need to have them, I just need to have access to them - I can see them online, through the Live Desktop - a browser window that shows me files and folders. I can open a file onto my PC or save it onto my PC or upload a file myself. This is the most idiot-proof syncing and sharing system I've ever seen and I speak as a bona fide idiot before my first cup of coffee.

I can think of so many ways to use this - and this is just the demonstration app. What matters is that underlying synchronisation layer. I want Flickr to be a Mesh endpoint so I never explicitly use an uploader again; I just mark a folder for sync and every image with a 5-star rating goes up (or maybe every image goes up but the rated ones go in a set). I want this to sync OneNote notes to my phone (Windows Mobile and Nokia clients are on the way). I'd quite like it as a way of doing posts from my mobile to LiveJournal - it would leave me an archive that could also be synced to the Semagic archive folder for local backup. It will mean that when Simon downloads videos he doesn't have to move them onto the NAS by hand. A universal list of the widgets I like and what basic settings I want them to have for every new widget platform to snarf up instead of me saying 'Weather: London, San Jose, Seattle, Christchurch' by hand every time.

Yep. There may be heartbreak and throwing of china in my future (What do you mean you don't like mapped drives? Mapped drives are very important to me!) but for now, Live Mesh is my new shiny.

Hey - I like it enough not to save all this until I get paid to write about it!
Tags: geek, identity, live id, live mesh, microsoft, technology, web 2.0

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