So, I’ve decided to use my Saturday to geek-out and try some new computer stuff. While Microsoft is making a somewhat lackluster presentation at CES compared to the likes of Sony, Palm, and Dell which have announced slick-looking gadgets, in terms of things to try right now, two Microsoft betas have caught my attention. The first is Live Mesh, the subject of this post. I’ll write something a little later about Windows 7.
I noticed that Microsoft’s Live Mesh service won a “Crunchie” from TechCrunch.com, so I decided to give it a try. At its core, it’s a service for syncing files and folders among multiple computers. But, in addition to updating your different machines, it includes a “Live Desktop,” which is a 5GB storage area in Microsoft’s cloud to allow you to get access to your most important files on any computer with an internet connection. It also includes remote-access software, which is nothing new, but is accessible with just a click or two (at least in theory–my desktop crashed the first time I tried it). It certainly seems much more sensible than the complicated setup one needs to do on both ends which is currently par for the course. It also has some sharing features, but as far as I can tell, these require others to sign-up and sign-in, which will limit their usefulness severely (especially while the service is still in beta).
I’ve installed it on my home desktop and lappy, and will give it a go on my office computer when I get in on Monday. I have to say, I’m not particularly impressed with the syncing so far from an interface perspective: the size totals for transfers don’t make a lot of sense, and my lappy started uploading even though I told it to sync a new folder taken from my desktop. These may just be initial hiccups, so I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. We’ll see how diligent it is at keeping the files up to date without intervention.