Since sometime back in 2008 Live Mesh Tech Preview has been a valuable tool for creating this blog. Now, like all betas, it’s demise is near:
Dear Live Mesh beta participant,
You're receiving this message because you used the Live Mesh beta from Microsoft. On March 31, 2011, the beta of Live Mesh will end, and the Live Mesh beta will stop working. After March 31, you won't be able to access any files stored online in your Live Desktop or connect to your PCs remotely using the Live Mesh software…
I have already moved the content I need but noticed some big differences in the new Live Mesh. You can’t complain about the price — free software and 5GB free storage with every Windows Live account — but there have been some changes.
Although the concept and operation are the same the move from Tech Preview to Production has removed significant functionality from the User Interface. I still love the Live Mesh idea — store local & sync cloud — and hope these shortcomings are addressed in Live Mesh 2012 (or sooner).
No Local Folder Sync Indication
Live Mesh Tech Preview changed the folder Icon, blue, in Explorer & added a news pane to the window with activity for the folder. This was useful because, unlike say Dropbox, you can “Mesh” any folder without moving it to a special location. For me this was, well still is, a significant advantage over other systems. Especially useful as the synced folder could even be in different locations on different devices (where user name or similar might alter the path).
Live Mesh Release has no indication that the folder is synced. Below you see the synced Mesh “My Maps” Folder and how it appears in the local machine explorer view. It is being synced, is up to date, but how would you know?
In the Mesh UI you see the folder path & devices it’s syncing to but there is no indication on the device itself.
No news is bad news
Live Mesh Tech Preview showed transactions happening in Mesh folders. I'm the only user of my Mesh but there is no reason why several users could not edit files. The news tab gave an audit trail of changes as they flow from various local to Mesh folders. Live Mesh 2011 doesn’t appear to have this in any form.
Apart from a “Syncing” or “Up to Date” status there is no indication of how much bandwidth Mesh is using, where it has got to in the update or what files are being processed. The beta at least gave an upload estimate & progress bar so the volume & time remaining could be assessed.
I like Live Mesh but this version appears to have been released half finished. If anyone at Microsoft reads this I’d be happy to test any future Live Mesh developments. Maybe they can match the functionality seen in the Tech Preview? Oh, and an iPhone version wouldn’t be a bad idea either.