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When will Mesh be usable? RRS feed

  • Question

  • My experience with Microsoft products is that when they are released in Beta they are usable or quickly get to the point of being usable.  Mesh isn't there and doesn't seem to be getting there.  My question is when will Mesh get to a state where people can simply, easily, safely, quickly and reliably for the first application - synchronizing files?  

    Users (normal non-techies and many techies like myself) care about the application of technology not the technology itself.  I want to use a Microsoft product to synchronize data across devices as I trust the security process at Microsoft.  I tried Mesh quite a while ago now (~ a year ago) but it was too slow, the web UI was difficult to use and it generally did not work well.  Looking at the known issues list and doing some reading on the forums, it still seems like the software is not usable.  

    What I want to do is try out the software to synchronize files.  Maybe I should just use it to do remote desktop but I don't really want remote desktop (in fact I'd like to disable that) as it is my data I care about synchronizing - running a program over the Internet sounds like it would be really slow.  Maybe Mesh is good enough for simple remote-control software.

    File sharing is another story.  I want to sync 3 computers so one folder has the same content on all three of them.  I (my wife and I) own both the comptuers and so all computers will have full access.  Simple case - should work easily.  I would like this to be simple, easy, safe, quick, and reliable.

    • Simple & Easy: Installation seems like a minor pain.  The interface on the web is hard to use (I deleted a folder and was told I "Joined" the folder but when I clicked it it said "Not Found" - huh?).  Marking a folder as synchronized seems a bit complex (by default I would suggest having a single folder "My Mesh Documents" with all the documents and eventually give more customization for advanced users if needed).  
    • Safe: Storing a file in 4 places (3 PCs plus the cloud) should mean that it is very hard to loose a file.  Unfortunately, deleting a file anywhere means its gone everywhere - this just makes NO SENSE.  Giving access to all my files and control of my desktop via my hotmail email password also seems a bit unsafe to me.  At a minimum I'd like to have the option (by default) to disable desktop sharing; a secondary or separate password for Mesh functions would mean that if my email password was hacked at a cyber cafe all of my data and computers would not get hacked.
    • Quick: Mesh is big and slow in my experience and it looks like files are synchronized as a whole file not just as the bit that changed.  Slow can be overcome with time (faster PCs) but it will make it a no-go until then.
    • Reliable (Company): Mesh does well here - Microsoft is a reliable company who can generally be trusted for support.  In fact, this is why I so want Mesh to do better!
    • Reliable (Software): Basic bug-fixes are needed (my impression from reading the issues list and forums).  It is no good to add features if the current ones don't work.  In fact, it would be MUCH better to offer fewer features (e.g. have separate "Remote Access" and "File Synchronizing" apps on top of Mesh and only work on one of them - file syncrhonizing - to get it working right before moving on)

    I don't like using DropBox (which I am using) as their security page basically says "We use SSL and AES encryption."  The service, however, is wonderful to use - simple, easy, safe, quick and reliable.  When will mesh be so?
    Wednesday, August 5, 2009 10:45 AM

Answers

  • For your suggestions, see here:
     

    Live Mesh Beta: Suggestions - Go cast your vote!

    However, to address your points:
    Simple & Easy - depending on your approach, it can be perceived as very simple or very convoluted. If all you want to do is sync a few folders and start on one PC, it works quite nicely. However, it quickly becomes more complicated as you add devices and folders.
    Safe - well, safety is a goal of the Live Mesh team. They take data loss very seriously. However, the way it works now is very sensible - it is a Sync program, meaning that any changes or deletions will sync to *all* locations. it isn't a backup program.
    You are not granting control of Remote Desktop with your LiveID. You still need to login on the remote machine with valid Windows logon credentials.
    You can create a LiveID that is only used for Live Mesh access, if desired, and share all folders with that LiveID. Then, you can login to the Live Desktop from PCs that are not in your control via a web browser.
    Quick - yes, it does not yet do a delta sync
    Reliable - it is still in beta, but I'm sure that the goal is near 100% reliability. The functions of remote desktop and file sync are accessed through the notifier, but they are indeed individual applications and services.

    And to answer your subject line question - it is usable now, but it is a beta and problems can happen. No firm release schedule or plans have been announced.

    -steve


    Microsoft MVP Windows Live / Windows Live OneCare, Live Mesh, & MS Security Essentials Forums Moderator
    Wednesday, August 5, 2009 12:42 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • For your suggestions, see here:
     

    Live Mesh Beta: Suggestions - Go cast your vote!

    However, to address your points:
    Simple & Easy - depending on your approach, it can be perceived as very simple or very convoluted. If all you want to do is sync a few folders and start on one PC, it works quite nicely. However, it quickly becomes more complicated as you add devices and folders.
    Safe - well, safety is a goal of the Live Mesh team. They take data loss very seriously. However, the way it works now is very sensible - it is a Sync program, meaning that any changes or deletions will sync to *all* locations. it isn't a backup program.
    You are not granting control of Remote Desktop with your LiveID. You still need to login on the remote machine with valid Windows logon credentials.
    You can create a LiveID that is only used for Live Mesh access, if desired, and share all folders with that LiveID. Then, you can login to the Live Desktop from PCs that are not in your control via a web browser.
    Quick - yes, it does not yet do a delta sync
    Reliable - it is still in beta, but I'm sure that the goal is near 100% reliability. The functions of remote desktop and file sync are accessed through the notifier, but they are indeed individual applications and services.

    And to answer your subject line question - it is usable now, but it is a beta and problems can happen. No firm release schedule or plans have been announced.

    -steve


    Microsoft MVP Windows Live / Windows Live OneCare, Live Mesh, & MS Security Essentials Forums Moderator
    Wednesday, August 5, 2009 12:42 PM
    Moderator
  • http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/LiveMesh/thread/10b08a61-0231-427c-978b-f8af5e90b3bc

    If I look at the above link the issues with Mesh are still there. Mesh should be the leader over upstart dropbox.  Mesh has the backing of Microsoft which includes distribution channels, consumer trust, and the ability to get publicity - dropbox has none of this.  Dropbox does not explain its security development processes (and they are nowhere near as mature as Microsoft's). Dropbox has recently changed it's policy on retaining backups and didn't do a good job of explaining it (for backup software this is a big deal - you shouldn't delete backup copies that you have promised to keep - period).

    Yet with all these advantages Mesh is still not the leader over upstart Dropbox. Mesh even does more than Dropbox with a remote-control tool (though some would argue that in a good design less-is-more). Maybe calling it a beta just means that Microsoft can try it and later kill it if it wants but if we compare that beta to Google's betas (e.g. of GMail) it becomes clear that the term is used differently; when you have a service that is publically available and has been for quite a while one needs to question the appropriateness of the term 'beta' to describe it. 

    Come one, where is Microsoft's drive to win that you have demonstrated numerous times in the past? You beat IBM, WordPerfect, Quattro Pro, 123, and Netscape handily, you should certianly be able to beet a tiny startup with a couple dozen people in an area you have chosen to compete with them in. 

    What is going on?

    Microsoft chose to compete in the file synchronization space but is trailing badly behind a small upstart - you can make a better product and a better service - do it!
    Sunday, September 6, 2009 2:13 AM
  • I don't disagree with you that movement is slow in this. Do keep in mind that often small upstarts have the edge over monoliths in getting a new product or service out the door.
    I'll repeat from my last post:
    "And to answer your subject line question - it is usable now, but it is a beta and problems can happen. No firm release schedule or plans have been announced."

    -steve
    Microsoft MVP Windows Live / Windows Live OneCare, Live Mesh, & MS Security Essentials Forums Moderator
    Tuesday, September 8, 2009 11:30 AM
    Moderator
  • It is a bit disappointing that it's taking so long to get stuff done. A lot of future features was shown when it started, but so far all I've seen is file sync and remote desktop.
    Monday, September 14, 2009 12:56 AM
  • Shouldn't it be easier for a big company that's done it many times before and hassupporting processes in place? I think part of the problem is that us users hare no idea why it is taking so long maybe it is taking along time because MS is developing the platform and not worrying much about the apps (if so then they should not have released the beta so early).

    Also, MS needs to make a statement of direction on MESH, FolderShare and Skydrive. Haring three incomplete solutions that overlap a fair bit is just not smart.
    Friday, September 25, 2009 2:28 AM
  • Agreed but even if they only had sync as a full solution it would be good progress and a worthwhile product.
    Friday, September 25, 2009 2:30 AM
  • I use Mesh all the time with very few issues. I love it.

    My only complaint is being able to force a sync, any ideas on how to do that.

    Outside of that, on the wish list would be delta syncs with a TimeWarp kind of feature so you can rollback the changes.

    Do you know if that is in the pipeline?

    Thanks!
    Friday, October 16, 2009 2:29 PM
  • Hi, Jonathan C.
    There's no way to force a sync. DeltaSync is something that the Live Mesh team has mentioned as being on the plate for quite some time. I don't know about the other idea of a roll-back. It has probably been suggested, though.
    Have a look here for how to submit and vote on suggestions:
     

     

    Live Mesh Beta: Suggestions - Go cast your vote!

    -steve


    ~ Microsoft MVP Windows Live ~ Windows Live OneCare| Live Mesh|MS Security Essentials Forums Moderator ~
    Friday, October 16, 2009 2:41 PM
    Moderator