Over the last few weeks webDotWiz has talked about Live Skydrive and Office Live Workspace, both free services where you can store files online so you can access your files using any computer connected to the Internet when you’re away from your home or work computer.
Once you’ve used Skydrive and Office Live for a while you begin imagining there must be a better (easier?) way to have your files available no matter where you are (assuming an Internet connection). As well, you’d like to be able to easily share some of your documents with others. Perhaps your imagination goes even further and you ask, for example, "Why can’t I run Office Word that’s on my home computer to edit one of my documents at work when I’m on a friend’s computer?"
What about devices, say your work laptop and home computer and smartphone? Is there a way to easily connect (mesh) them so you always have access to all your documents and you can make whatever changes you need to and not worry about all your files being up-to-date on each device?
The above scenarios – and more that we haven’t yet imagined – are what’s coming with Microsoft’s Live Mesh. webDotWiz got an invite to trial Mesh and he’s just starting out to explore the possibilities.
After he’d logged in to www.mesh.com using his Windows Live ID, webdotwiz firstly added his home computer to his mesh devices (the Live Mesh software installed under this Live ID).
Not having high-speed broadband, webDotWiz decided to set up some folders specifically to use with Live Mesh rather than, for example, adding his complete My Documents folder to his mesh. So he created documents and pictures folders then right-clicked each to add them to his mesh:
From the following screenshot you’ll see that files will be automatically added to the Pics_on_Mesh folder whenever a files i changed or added.
Now let’s go to webDotWiz’s Live Mesh Desktop and see what’s there – yes, the Pics_on_Mesh folder has appeared:
Also on webDotWiz’s Live Mesh desktop is a notifier pane that lets him know what’s happening with his files and folders (Office Live Workspace has a similar notification pane):
This notification refers to one of the screenshots captured using OneNote and saved from Paint.Net into Pics_on_Mesh. A little while later, there are more notifications:
Let’s have a look at what’s in the Pics_on_Mesh folder but before we do, a reminder that this folder is on the hard drive on webDotWiz’s computer, and, since he’s designated it as a Mesh folder, it’s now also out on the Internet on one of Microsoft’s servers. The latter means that webDotWiz can find a computer somewhere that has an Internet connection and access his files in the Pics_on_Mesh folder.
So let’s return to webDotWiz’s Live Mesh Desktop and double-click the folder name to open the folder – whoosh, we see the screenshot files saved in Paint.NET (the png file extension is truncated):
Now let’s try adding some documents to another mesh folder. From the screenshot above you can see webDotWiz has already created a new folder named Docs_on_Mesh and designated it as a mesh folder, just as he did for Pics_on_Mesh above.
Firstly we’ll copy some files into this new folder (under Windows XP it’s the usual process):
Returning to our Live Mesh Desktop, we’ll open Docs_on_Mesh to see what’s there – yep, they’re the two files that webDotWiz copied:
The notifier pane to the right of the folder view lets us know what action has taken place:
webDotWiz’s next task is to go to another computer (e.g. one of those at the Rushworth Community House), go to the Live Mesh site at www.mesh.com, sign in with his Windows Live ID, add this computer as a device to his mesh, create two folders Docs_on_Mesh and Pics_on_Mesh, add them both to his mesh and so be able to access his files from that particular RCH computer as if he were on his home computer.
Any changes made to any of these files on the RCH computer when they’re saved will automatically trigger Live Mesh to synchronise the changes to the files in the folders on Microsoft’s server (i.e., the folders on webDotWiz’s Live Mesh Desktop) and then the files in the folders on webDotWiz’s home computer.
So when webDotWiz got into the Rushworth Community House:
- he signed into Live Mesh on www.mesh.com with his Windows Live ID
- added the RCH computer to his devices
- ran the Live Mesh software to install the Mesh Operationing Environment (MOE)
- created the Docs_on_Mesh and Pics_on_Mesh folders
- right-clicked them and added them to his Mesh
and away things went – after a bit, here’s what he saw in his Pics_on_Mesh folder on the Community House computer:
After a few days, webDotWiz is getting to used to being able to save files into his Mesh folders at home and be able to access these files in at the Community House from the computer’s hard drive as if he were working at home. The process works in reverse so, for example, he can keep track of web sites of interest and put them into his list in a text file for each day’s posting of Sites for Todaywhich he does from his home computer.
Thus far you can see that the days of emailing files to yourself or copying files onto a flash memory stick have gone as far as webDotWiz is concerned. There’ll be some more trialling and new ways of making use of Live Mesh (no need to email attachments, just share a Mesh folder with others). Already one of the webDotWizards is using Live Mesh to "bring" his photos into the Community House from home (far easier that copying onto a portable drive).
Posted using Windows Live Writer, Live Mesh, Paint.NET, Microsoft OneNote and Live Photo Gallery.