Archive for August, 2009

Ending the Boycott

August 16, 2009  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

Ok, I haven’t exactly been boycotting Microsoft products, but I have been trying to avoid them wherever possible. I still use Microsoft Word, but I do so sparingly (and only for the tasks that it truly excels at like complicated tables). And I have replaced Excel and Powerpoint with Numbers and Keynote with very happy results.

So I was a little surprised when someone suggested using Windows Live Mesh to replace Syncplicity as my synchronization solution. Two weeks ago I grudgingly installed the beta for Live Mesh and set up my first computer. Nothing seemed to break or disappear, so a couple of days later I set up my second computer and started synching.

Live Mesh and I didn’t get off on exactly the right foot because I turned synchronization on for the second computer from the website. That plopped the synched folder right on my desktop, not exactly where I wanted it. But after doing some quick internet research, I was able to delete the desktop folder and put the synched folder right where I wanted it by using the local Live Mesh application.

Two weeks later and I am pretty happy. Synching isn’t as fast as with Syncplicity. I don’t know exactly how fast it is, but it can take more than a couple minutes to get even small files from one place to another. I’ll probably run some tests to narrow that number down so I know how to plan my workflow on multiple computers.

Importantly, I haven’t lost any files that I am aware of. And I haven’t created any unnecessary duplicate files from hitting Save too often (something that was a problem with Syncplicity and may have been related to them pulling the Mac client).

In fact, I have had only one spotty problem. For a period of about 3 days, the Live Mesh client had trouble connecting. It looked like it was trying to synch, but instead of the new or modified files I expected, there would be 0Kb files with a different extension (which I can’t remember at the moment). I learned how to detect this problem, though, by looking at the Live Mesh menu extra. If it wasn’t connected properly, quitting Live Mesh and relaunching it 2-3 times would generally fix the problem. It’s been clear sailing for the last few days, though. So its possible the problem was on the back end and has been fixed.

If you’re in the market for a synchronization solution, I would suggest giving Live Mesh a look. It’s free, and you get 5GB of storage for your files.