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How I Use Live Mesh RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Hi Guys,

    I have searched the forum for a thread like this, can't find any, so I am starting this thread. I'll be updating this entry with more ideas.

    I find Live Mesh so useful, so much so that I think a fan-base thread should be opened so that people could tell how they use this tool in their daily lives. It will encourage others and maybe open people's eyes to other areas they didn't think of before.

    I am a technology specialist and a Mobile warrior, I am always on the move so Mesh has been a blessing to my busy digital life. Being a techie, I am the Ghost-buster for most of my family and friends for computer issues, so you can imagine my enthusiasm when Mesh got launched.

    I have two Mesh profiles, one private and one public. The private one I used to mesh-up my work and private life. It contains my home and work devices.
    •  Home devices: 7 or more clients (not counting mobile devices) Vista and XPs and three servers including ISA proxy and firewall server.
    • Office: 3 XP clients.

    Office Environment:

    • I am able to install the clients on my office clients, I sync one common folder with my main home workstation and my mobile table-slate. I was initially worried about having work documents synced to the Live Desktop, but found I could exclude Live Desktop to sync with this folder. Also I was happy that the sync take place in SSL encryption.
    • I also tried to encrypt the synced folder but it didn't work, so I just ended up putting most of the files I find sensitive in zipped file with password. Just for second level safety. I intend to experiment with TrueCrypt with this later.
    • I was actually hoping I will be able to reach my office desktops with the clients installed, but my office uses Authenticated ISA Server Proxy, which according to Ben somewhere in this forum is not supported. So I can't reach my desktop in the office(yet). Hope MS has a change of mind on this and support it in the future.

     

    Private Environment - Public:
    This is where Mesh really shines for me. Like I said, I support the whole world with computer issues. Before, I have to go to peoples places to give them support. Imagine people calling me that their Antivirus is out of date and need updated and they don't know what to do, always something like that, which is a simple routine for a geek, but I have to jump into a car to reach the place to help, because giving instruction on the phone can be a harrowing experience sometimes.

    • With Mesh, I have created a public profile and added the devices of all the people I know to this profile. I have made it a habit even since XP that the people I support login as standard users, I always create a single Admin user as administrator. I have installed the Mesh client on their machines under the Admin account, and enable the Auto-Login of the Mesh account.
    • When the users start their machines and login with their standard account, they don't see the Mesh "Halo" (the notifier icon), but I seen them in my public profile that they are online and "connectible".
    • When they call for support and it is a simple problem that I can fix online, I just login to my public profile, I see the machine I want online, and connect to it. Mesh automatically locks the machine, then I ask them to login again, or I login with the admin account and give the support they need.
    • Thanks you MS for this, you made my life a bit bearable with this function.


    Private Environment - Personal
    :
    In my personal Mesh profile I have added all my personal devices including servers.

    • MediaCenter devices: I have two mediacenter devices (Vista and XP versions), I use Mesh now to control the programming. Imagine I can now reach my mediacenter from anywhere in the world and update my program schedule, delete old recorded programs to make room for Scheduled recordings. This is especially wonderful when we are on vacation.
    • Media Consumption: I can't watch recorded TV or stream audio from the MediaCenters through Live Mesh, I use MS WebGuide for this. Now that I can reach my servers (especially my ISA server) I can open up the ports to the Web for WebGuide through ISA server and consume my media. I don't want to have WebGuide exposed all the time, so through Mesh, I can now close the WebGuide ports at will. Maybe MS should integrate the functionality of WebGuide with Live-Mesh.
    • Servers: There may have been initial problem to install Mesh on servers, but with the latest updates, I was able to install the Mesh client on my servers without problem. Now I can manage my servers from anywhere in the world. I keep an eye on my home network and check security logs on my ISA server. I don't have to have ports open all the time on the ISA server, but open and closed them when needed. This is good for security.
    • Home Clients: We have three tablets and a few workstations, both Vista and XPs. I can give support to my wife and kids when needed. I mentor one of my sons for IT, I can now teach remotely. From my central workstation at home, I keep all clients up to date with antivirus and MS updates without leaving my seat.
    • Folder Syncs: This is an on-going project for me really; I haven't gotten to the bottom of this yet. I want to know how other people are using this feature. For me, I use it this sceanario:
      • My Browser Favorites folder: I have shared this folder between my workstation and tablet pc, anything I bookmark anywhere is available immediately to the other system. This may seem simple, try to keep hundreds of bookmarks up to date on different locations.
      • Apod's Astronomy Picture of the Day: I am space buff, I download Apods Daily space pictures to a folder I am using as screensaver. I sync this folder with all my personal clients.
      • OneNote folder backup: I sync the OneNote folder on my systems so that my meeting notes on my tables is up-to-date on my workstation
      • Pictures: I am planning to share a folder with family and relatives and give them access via Passport IDs
      • Outlook PST file: I have a large PST file on my tablet. I am afraid of loosing data if my tablet get lost. I am not a champion at making backups. I wanted to try auto-sync of mesh with outlook, but to my amazement I discovered Mesh does not sync PST files. I created a small one with few Items to see if it is size issue, but it just doesn't sync. MS please allow Mesh to sync Outlook, at least bulk-sync the PST file.
      • Like I said this is an on-going project to see how much I can use Folder sync, these are what I am thinking of:
        • Syncing my OS user profile across systems
        • Syncing my MS Office profiles across systems
        • Syncing my Large Picture folder to the web or other places, can't afford to loose children pictures in-case of crash, but Mesh's 5-gig is too small, so how about 1 terrabyte of USB Drive in another part of the world (at my brother's place in LA, I am in the Netherlands) so if anything happens (think earthquake, fire, flood etc) causing total devastation I don't loose vital data that I can never get back). This is already in my Mesh wish list (Bulk-Syncing).


    So people, this my Mesh fan entry, any of you using mesh to bridge your life, please add to this thread, lets fire-up each other's imagination. MS, if there is already a thread like this please move this entry and inform me. Thanks.

     

    • Edited by Denny McAkins Thursday, July 31, 2008 8:56 AM update: TryCrypt = TrueCrypt
    Tuesday, July 29, 2008 12:49 PM

All replies

  • Cool post and one that I'm sure that the Mesh team will appreciate, since it describes your usage really well.

    I wondered why you didn't use the OneNote shared notebook functionality at first, but then realized that using the Mesh to keep it n sync allows this to happen from anywhere - the OneNote shared notebook only works when your machines are on the same LAN.

    For the .pst file, I suppose that you can either zip a copy up or look at a 3rd party program like the one I just learned of (and haven't tried) from www.sync2.com to keep the .pst file in sync using a "meshed" folder as the shared folder.

    -steve
    Microsoft MVP Windows Live / Windows Live OneCare Forum Moderator
    Tuesday, July 29, 2008 4:22 PM
    Moderator
  • McAkins,

    Thanks for sharing!  We really do enjoy it when people tell us of new scenarios that have been enabled from the stuff we've built.

    RE: .pst.  We explicitly block this today just because .pst files tend to change *a lot* when Outlook is still writing to it.  We've gotten feedback that people want to be able to sync around old archives so we may revisit this decision.  Thanks for the feedback.

    Mesh it up!


    Richard


    Richard Chung [ Live Mesh ]
    Tuesday, July 29, 2008 6:18 PM
    Answerer
  •  

     

    McAkins said:

     

    Office Environment:

    • I am able to install the clients on my office clients, I sync one common folder with my main home workstation and my mobile table-slate. I was initially worried about having work documents synced to the Live Desktop, but found I could exclude Live Desktop to sync with this folder. Also I was happy that the sync take place in SSL encryption.

     



     

    How are you able to exclude Live Desktop to synch with the folder?

    Wednesday, July 30, 2008 7:08 PM
  • Greg,

    You can't exclude Live Desktop from syncing using local clients, you'll have to login to Mesh via the web and access the live desktop. Follow these steps:

    1. Login to Mesh via the web
    2. Click on Live Desktop, and click "Connect", you'll see all your shared folders
    3. Right-click the folder you want to exclude from Live Desktop and click "Change Sync Settings"
    4. A list is shown with all your devices on the left column and thier sync state with this folder on the right. You can choose which device may or may not sync with this folder. Find the device "Live Desktop" in your left column, on the right of it select "Don't synchronise this device".
    5. Click OK, and there you are. Now all sync will be between your private devices.
    Thursday, July 31, 2008 8:29 AM
  • DevDuck said:

    McAkins,

    Thanks for sharing!  We really do enjoy it when people tell us of new scenarios that have been enabled from the stuff we've built.

    RE: .pst.  We explicitly block this today just because .pst files tend to change *a lot* when Outlook is still writing to it.  We've gotten feedback that people want to be able to sync around old archives so we may revisit this decision.  Thanks for the feedback.

    Mesh it up!


    Richard


    Richard Chung [ Live Mesh ]



    Richard,

    Untill you guys can implement full Outlook sync, is it not possible to allow PST file to sync purely at file level? I am talking of pure backup function here, backing up of in-use database files is something we've conquered in the 21st century through Volume Shadow Copy (or what is the name that technology again that MS introcuded to do hot-backup of locked files files?), in which a snapshot is made of the file in use.

    So I am thinking why not make a snapshot of the PST file at a point-in-time, and have the delta sync to another pst file on another device (my fileserver/homeserver in this case) then delete the snapshot. The PST file on the fileserver at home is just purely for backup, it is not in use. Of course this event will need to be scheduled to run maybe once or twice a day (or more to reduce the size of the deltas for heavy users.)

    This way if I ever loose my mobile laptop/tablet, at least I have up to the last snapshot a backup of my PST file.

    Thinking loud here guys, any response?

    Thanks all.

    McAkins.

    Thursday, July 31, 2008 8:49 AM
  • McAkins said:

    Greg,

    You can't exclude Live Desktop from syncing using local clients, you'll have to login to Mesh via the web and access the live desktop. Follow these steps:

    1. Login to Mesh via the web
    2. Click on Live Desktop, and click "Connect", you'll see all your shared folders
    3. Right-click the folder you want to exclude from Live Desktop and click "Change Sync Settings"
    4. A list is shown with all your devices on the left column and thier sync state with this folder on the right. You can choose which device may or may not sync with this folder. Find the device "Live Desktop" in your left column, on the right of it select "Don't synchronise this device".
    5. Click OK, and there you are. Now all sync will be between your private devices.



    Are you sure that this completely avoids the cloud? Or is there some metadata going there at all? Given the volumes of data some people are talking about wanting to transfer, and some of the costs people claim their ISPs are charging for transfer usage, having small amounts of data going through the ISP for large transfers could still accumulate some significant bandwidth. Some of the other Microsoft responses seem to suggest that there's _some_ traffic off your network.
    Friday, August 1, 2008 1:03 PM
  • GuyWithDogs said:

    McAkins said:

    Greg,

    You can't exclude Live Desktop from syncing using local clients, you'll have to login to Mesh via the web and access the live desktop. Follow these steps:

    1. Login to Mesh via the web
    2. Click on Live Desktop, and click "Connect", you'll see all your shared folders
    3. Right-click the folder you want to exclude from Live Desktop and click "Change Sync Settings"
    4. A list is shown with all your devices on the left column and thier sync state with this folder on the right. You can choose which device may or may not sync with this folder. Find the device "Live Desktop" in your left column, on the right of it select "Don't synchronise this device".
    5. Click OK, and there you are. Now all sync will be between your private devices.



    Are you sure that this completely avoids the cloud? Or is there some metadata going there at all? Given the volumes of data some people are talking about wanting to transfer, and some of the costs people claim their ISPs are charging for transfer usage, having small amounts of data going through the ISP for large transfers could still accumulate some significant bandwidth. Some of the other Microsoft responses seem to suggest that there's _some_ traffic off your network.



    Although I don't have all the information to accurately answer your question (only MS can actually answer this), logic will determine that metadata has to flow to the cloud for Mesh to be able to keep track of things for possible sync equalization. Most of us are only worried of syncing Terrabyte of data via the ISP, as long as raw data is not going through the ISP, this is OK.

    I my humble opinion, you can't use Mesh and expect MS not to know which file you are syncing, whether they know the content of the file is another matter. As for the metadata, I am sure the bandwidth consumed will be minimal, its just the price to pay for the convenience.

     - McAkins
    Saturday, August 2, 2008 12:32 PM
  • McAkins said:

    I my humble opinion, you can't use Mesh and expect MS not to know which file you are syncing, whether they know the content of the file is another matter. As for the metadata, I am sure the bandwidth consumed will be minimal, its just the price to pay for the convenience.

     - McAkins


    I don't disagree with you, but it would be useful (and, really, I think almost mandatory) for Microsoft to give a rough guideline on how much traffic will go through the cloud when doing a peer-to-peer sync. As apps become "Mesh-enabled", some of these are going to be going into areas where network usage is a serious concern. For example, at work we fielded an app into a bank, where each branch had a couple of PCs running our app, communicating to an external server. Our app had a "ping" or "hearbeat" type function that gave a short status message every 60 seconds. It was less than 1000 bytes of traffic, but their network guys freaked. We had to fight to get them to let us do it at 5 minute intervals.

    Some people guard their bandwidth, and they want you to justify any usage, particularly if it competes with other important functions.

    So knowing the bandwidth usage for off-network traffic would be beneficial, from my chair.
    Sunday, August 3, 2008 4:26 AM
  •  @GWD,

    I guess you are right, I was curious to see what what traffic is being generated by the MOE Service, so I installed MS Network Monitor 3.2. I indeed see lots of Keep-alive kind of traffic to *.mesh.com, also my ISA Server reports permanent SSL traffic to storage.mesh.com and accounts.mesh.com. 

    This will probably not be too much of a pain for home users, but if used on a corporate leven, then we will be talking of serious bandwidth issue, even for an Intranet, with a local Mesh server.

    Hopefully, MS will clarify this further.

     - McAkins
    Monday, August 4, 2008 2:56 PM