One of the most frustrating aspects about computing is being able to access your data anytime, anywhere. Some people will say “That’s easy, store it in the cloud”. As promising as cloud computing may be, in reality it is still not the be all and end all solution. For starters, cloud computing requires internet connection ALL the time. A point MAY come that everyone will be connected to the internet but as of the moment we are not. With that, the cloud falls short in solving the problem. For this limitation, various tools can be used to achieve data ubiquity.
As an IT professional, it is almost mandatory that you have access to your data anywhere, anytime. Imagine doing a presentation and telling your audience that you forgot your presentation material in one of your computers. Or finding that you forgot to attached a report to an email for your boss. Having your important data always available makes your work more predictable and controlled. It certainly a good habit to practice.
Here are the tools that can help you in making your data always available to you:
- Live Mesh – is a free file synchronization tool. It allows you to sync your files to any device and the cloud. It supports Windows, Mac and Windows Mobile. I believe this one of the best synchronization product out there. It is nicely baked into the OS that you need almost zero attention when and how to sync data. Download Live Mesh.
Other products that you may use: DropBox, Box.net
- FeedDemon (w/ Google Reader) – is an RSS reader for Windows (the best one!). You can manage all of your RSS subscription from here plus, with Google Reader, it synchronizes your subscriptions on all of your machines. Download FeedDemon. Sign up for a Google Reader account.
Other products that you may use: MS Outlook, Web browsers
- RoboForm (w/ GoodSync) – is password manager plug-in for IE and Firefox. It also stores your credentials on the cloud and can sync it to any machine that you use. I must say after using it for a few days, I can’t imagine how I lived without it. It makes browsing such a pleasure! Download Roboform here.
Other products that you may use: Keepass
- Windows Live Mail – is desktop email client. Synchs your email to any machine and the cloud. I use most of Windows Live products since they are a combination of software + services and nicely integrated to Windows. Get Windows Live Essentials here (Windows Live Mail included)
Other products that you may use: Thunderbird, Zimbra
I hope these can be a good addition to your arsenal as an IT professional. If you have other tools that you use please hit the comment section and let me know.
I’ve been testing Live Mesh for Mobile for almost a week and I must say it’s very impressive. The product is still in beta and except for some usability problems, it’s working like it’s supposed to. Also, this product is only available for US and UK users, however I managed to pull some strings off and get on the program, heh (Actually, here’s the trick, just install this CAB file on your Windows Mobile 6.x device, and your Windows Live account should be US – i.e. the country on your profile should be set to US – then fire up your mobile’s browser to this link). Here are some of the screenshots that I made:
Live Mesh icon on a Windows Mobile device
You will need a Windows Live account for your Live Mesh. If you have your old hotmail account, you can use that.
Once you’re in, the Live Mesh mobile client will list all of your Mesh folders. Just like on it’s desktop counterpart, you can add folders that you can sync in your own mesh.
Pictures are automatically synched on my desktop PC
If you’re asking what can you do with Live Mesh on Mobile, I’ll give you a very cool scenario. The ‘My Picture’ folder on my phone is included on my ‘mesh’ therefore whenever I take pictures, It is automatically synched to my PC. No need for manual transfer. No wires, no fuzz.
Today I was invited to the private Beta of Microsoft’s Live Mesh! Thanks to Nadia Fortini for inviting me. There’s so many things to say about mesh so I’ll just quote something from Liveside.net:
Live Mesh is a “software-plus-services” platform and experience that enables PCs and other devices to “come alive” by making them aware of each other through the Internet, enabling individuals and organizations to manage, access, and share their files and applications seamlessly on the Web and across their world of devices. Live Mesh includes:
- A platform that defines and models a user’s digital relationships between devices, data, applications, and people—made available to developers through an open data model and protocols.
- A cloud service providing an implementation of the platform hosted in Microsoft data centers.
- Software, a client implementation of the platform that enables local applications to run offline and interact seamlessly with the cloud.
- A platform experience that exposes the key benefits of the platform for bringing together a user’s devices, files and applications, and social graph, with news feeds across all of these
According to the news the beta is limited to 10,000 users only but some folks at Liveside was able to find a loophole on the system. Mesh allows you to invite people view your shared folder. Invited user will need to sign-up before they view the folder. Viola! Instant access to the system.
I’m a Foldershare user (which is also in beta) and functionally speaking they’re pretty much the same. But since in the coming months, Mesh will allow users to add their mobile devices (my assumption is Windows mobile powered device is the first priority, but support will come to other phones. Especially MS recently announced the availability of Silverlight to Nokia phones) and will support Mac computers, I think Mesh will be another great product from MS. And it’s been getting a good review. Here’s a great article from TechCrunch stating why Google should be worry about Live Mesh. And here’s another from ZDNet.
Being a Microsoft fan, I’ll be objective and use the product first before I give my verdict. I’ll use it for a week and get on with my review then. In the mean time , I still have a few invitations here, so if you’re interested, leave a comment with your email. Thanks.
Here are some more interesting links:
– Robert Scoble made a very good post with lots links.
– TechCrunch outlines Mesh.