Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cloud 2 – synchronize files and folders

Here comes second part of posts about my cloud – synchronizing files and folders between multiple computers.

Currently I am using Live Mesh – this is cloud computing from Microsoft itself. You will get 5GB for free and online desktop (AJAX based of course). There is also beta client for Windows Mobile available. Live Mesh is simply automated synchronization between multiple computers – and one of “computers” is your online desktop. New feature is that you can join (if you are invited) folder of someone else – so Live Mesh is not only synchronization between your computers, however also synchronization between different people.

I still don’t understand Microsoft strategy – and I think it is some kind of fight for power that there are few different technologies from Live that are very, very similar: Live Mesh, Live Sync\FolderShare, SkyDrive… Each of them have little bit different set of features – SkyDrive gives you most space (25GB vs 5GB), Live Mesh has online desktop, Live Sync has ability to browse remote files… Joining them would make ultimate cloud experience :(

Even though there are some nice ideas, it still contains too many issues – or lets say missing features.

What I want to synchronize between my computers (and have available online)?

Of course documents – that is normal Live Mesh usage, together with photos. However I also want to synchronize more dynamic stuff like Favorites – and Mesh doesn’t really work with this type of data.

Where is problem? Internet Explorer is periodically overwriting existing .lnk files for some reason and Mesh doesn’t have any advanced conflict handling. You will see conflicts once you open folder:


There is however no central overview of all conflicts. So if you think you got conflict, you must go through all your folders :(

So once you will start synchronizing Favorites folder, synchronization will stop after few minutes. There is no way how to setup conflict handling in Live Mesh – for Favorites, I would like to specify that latest file should always win.

I am also using Live Mesh to synchronize my tools and utilities – and they are automatically updated (wait for Cloud 3 ;)).

Anyway, there are too many features that are missing that I can almost feel potential of Live Mesh. Here is my wish list:

  • Automated conflict resolution or central conflicts dashboard
  • Browse remote folders without need to subscribe
  • Ability to connect to remote computer without requiring confirmation
  • Ability to browse remote computer (remember FolderShare?)


jerryhuang said...

For cloud related tools, also try out gladinet cloud desktop. It is related to the SkyDrive here by mapping it into Windows Explorer. It also go out of Microsoft to map Google Docs and Google Picasa and Amazon S3 into Windows.

Martin Zugec said...

Hi Jerry,

thanks for suggestion - I know Gladinet, however when I checked last time they didn't have 64bit client and SkyDrive integration was failing (however that was when they released new version)...

Your post forced me to test it again - and this time it works like a charm, thanks :)

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