I was struggling to make sense of the overlapping mish-mash of cloud-type services being created by Microsoft. Currently I'm experimenting with Live Mesh, SkyDrive and Office Live, or is it Live Office? *
All of those offer file storage in various forms, some with sync, and that's without factoring in FolderShare, which is soon to be re-branded Windows Live Sync (which Mesh does too), or Live Mail and other services. Surely, I thought, there is a cunning plan which slots all these options - with their confusing branding - together to form the perfect cloud software + service mix? Maybe not...
It's evolution, organised complexity?
This post from James.Random() - which also links to a fascinating Wired article about Ray Ozzie - explains what is happening at the Windows Live Group:
James.Random() : Live Sync, Live Mesh, SkyDrive and why patience is a virtue
There has been some confusion recently about conflicting products and services coming out of the Windows Live group. There’s a good explanation for the confusion but first to give some context...
It seems instead of trying to create behemoth solutions along a planned path Microsoft have adopted a more evolutionary approach. Try lots of solutions and let "survival of the fittest" decide which wins. That's fine, it got us here, except you wonder where it leaves the losers. What happens to those who are developing/depending on services that don't survive and what about the potential nightmare integrating those that do. It's problematic when Microsoft can't cope with it's own evolution, as I experienced recently with Windows Live.
More than one "Me" at Windows Live:
I have a Windows Live identity which started out as "Passport ID" so long ago I'd rather not think about it. In those days Microsoft didn't offer email storage - in New Zealand at least - but it was tied to my ISP email identity as they happened to use MSN Services. They had their own browser based mail access so I had no real need for Hotmail or Gmail type services. They now partner with Yahoo! but that's another story.
Recently I decided to try some of the newer Windows Live services, like Outlook Sync'ed Contact Storage, and found my old identity can not be used with them. It's a Windows Live ID, works with most services (even Mesh) but not the mail related ones.
Can you upgrade an old Windows Live ID? No!
The only solution is to create another "new" Live Account which can access the newer services. You can link these ID's, but not merge them, leaving me with two identities for one service provider. Seems evolution is complicated for the user too!
* And darkness replaced the cloud:
I wrote this post in BlogJet with drafts saved into the local folder of my Mesh "Cloud". It wasn't until I tried to check the naming of Office Live on-line that I found there was no "Cloud'. My Internet provider, probably New Zealand's largest?, suffered a total broadband outage which left many Kiwis with no connection for at least 8 hours. They quoted restoration at 05:00 today and my connection disappeared about 21:00 last night. It didn't impact my work which is one reason why I prefer the Software + Service (synchronised local + cloud) model over pure cloud solutions. The cloud wasn't there but I didn't care!