Live Mesh : I get it now.

13 06 2008

 96px-Live_Mesh

When Microsoft released the Live Mesh Technical Preview a few weeks ago I was intrigued to see what it was all about. Thanks to the Grumpywookie I managed to wangle an invite and could experience it in full technicolor and I have to admit I was a little dumbfounded as to what it was.

After a couple of hours playing with it and some thinking, I have to admit I was under-whelmed, but then I don’t think I was judging it fairly.  You see, we have been spoilt by the live team at Microsoft, they tend to ship highly functional stuff really quickly, so when I looked at Mesh the stuff I was surprised all it did was:

  • Sync folders (ala Foldershare/ Synctoy) across computers and the cloud
  • Mimic remote desktop
  • Provide a cloud based desktop to access files

But being the self confessed MS fanboy, I have continued to use it, syncing files between my home and work PC’s with ease and dreaming of the day that the Mesh Operating Environment (MOE) is made available for people to develop against (for some strange reason I really WANT to use the MOE WebDAV mount for storing docs in the cloud).

Anyway, fast forward a couple of weeks and I was listening to the Windows Weekly podcast with Leo Laporte and Paul Thurrott. They were discussing Windows 7 and how they are expected to merge the operating system and Live services even more, this got me thinking. Damn, MESH is a clever play by Microsoft, why? Well if you start thinking about Mesh as a platform, you can start doing things like this:

  • Extend the OS’s backup functionality, like Vista’s backup to push up to the cloud. In fact you can probably do this pretty easily when the MOE is opened up for programming against. Obviously this is going to require more space, and MS will be in an ideal position to offer more storage ala Google or Amazons’ S3;
  • RSS platform – Instead of storing RSS information in Vista and then letting things like IE and Outlook access it, why not store it in the cloud, then other services can access it. Why is this a good idea? Well you could have an RSS reader that uses this source and stores it’s read state in Mesh, then if I go to use a rich desktop app, the same items will have been read there;
  • Roaming profiles – Imagine having the same settings / desktop for every computer you use. If you store your roaming profile in the Mesh, this would be possible;
  • Software distribution – Once an application has been installed , Mesh could be used to distribute that software amongst computers on the mesh, a bit like a kind of private Peer-to-peer network. The application would need to be pretty isolated and not touch the registry but it should be possible;
  • Network drives – Through the MOE, you will be able to store your documents, pictures, movies, music in the cloud as if it were a normal network drive.

The MESH previews and blog posts are also talking about applications that run in the desktop. If that starts to leverage SilverLight (if it isn’t already) there will be some fantastic applications popping up.

Looking forward, there is a whole heap of sessions on Cloud services and Live Mesh coming up at PDC 08. I am hoping the Developer tech preview will be released there so developers can start to innovate on the platform and Live Mesh will sprout it’s wings and fly amongst the clouds! 🙂

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One response

13 06 2008
Chris

I reckon the roaming profiles is a good one, scope for “MyDocuments”, etc.
And – there would be stuff like DRM for MyMusic – with your MP3’s stored in the cloud, and playable from a Zune, Media Centre, Windows Mobile, etc.

I wonder if it will be a part of the Windows 7 stack from a licensing perspective – ie. with free Mesh – or a subscription basis – like $9.95 per month.

Mesh it up, baby !




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