For some, the idea of using a product from Microsoft is akin to selling your soul. That is because you drank the kool-aid.
For others, you might consider using an Apple product were it not for the prerequisite tattoos and body piercing necessary to “fully embrace the experience”.
Sometimes, either side comes out with something the other has to give them props for. The iPod is one for the Bohemian kool-aid drinkers. The iPhone is another. However, when it comes to crunching data in a corporate environment, the Borg is hard to beat. Boring, but the mortgage gets paid.
With the 2008 Olympics and the inauguration, Silverlight certainly seems to be one for the camp whose shorts are permanently in a bunch. However, dangle a Macbook Air in front of even the most die-hard accountant and his eyes will glaze over like an infant staring at a jangling set of keys. “ooo, pretty….”
About three weeks ago I stumbled upon Microsoft’s Live Mesh. Another of those terminally “beta” products. With it, you download a program from the Borg (resistance is futile) and set up a Mesh that is linked to your Windows Live ID. From there you get this “Mesh” or “ring of stuff” that includes a remote access to your machine and a “virtual desktop” for your documents.
One nice thing is the “Add a device”. By adding multiple devices, this allows you to synch docs across multiple machines.
I have always liked the idea of the Skydrive, but frankly, uploading docs individually (or even five at a time) is ludicrous. However, with Mesh, you get a new option when you right click on a file or folder and in addition to “copy, delete, send to “x” etc., now you have “add to Mesh”. Then, when you open a folder, you get an additional pane that shows your mesh history.
I did that for my entire Documents folder at work. All 3.8 gb of it. (You get 5g of free storage). Over the next two days, ALL the files were all magically indexed and uploaded to my virtual desktop. All with just a few mouse clicks. Cool. Integrated cloud storage backup.
So now, if I am at home, Starbucks (drinking THEIR kool-aid), etc. I sign in to my live ID, grab a document out of my Mesh desktop, edit it, save it, and when I go to work I can pull it out of my regular, old fashioned “My Documents” folder and all the changes are there. Always. Synchronicity.
There is also remote desktop login. The login process is easier than logmein.com. When it redraws a screen on the remote computer, it does it in rows, but overall the delay is not bad. The redraw seems to take longer on opening applications or sometimes switching between applications. I am on a 6meg connection. Also, I have been “kicked out” without the ability to get back in a couple of times. Major frustration. However, this just affects the remote login and not the document synching.
Coming soon is the ability to put your Mac as well as your mobile device into your Mesh ring. Imagine, a single ring of devices where you can access a combined documents area, or remote into your work desktop, home desktop, etc with one unified login. Take a picture with your phone, log into your mesh, hit your Live Desktop, and there it is. Nerds and Free Spirits unite!
This does have some very nice features. The auto syncing of documents is a big one. No more wondering what version you are working with etc. I am sure there are some who will say “You have the same thing with Google docs etc,” But for now, the Borg’s office products are pretty hard to beat. Anything that gets me synchronized access to my docs has a lot of value-provided you can put down your non-fat, mocha, carmel, naccanacca, zuzu venti whateverelse you call it long enough.
And now, for the obligatory plug:
You can learn all about this and more at the Florida Church IT RoundTable (fl.citrt.org) on Monday, January 26.