July 6, 2009

About Microsoft’s Live Mesh

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 12:03 pm by sagito

Not long ago I found out about this new Microsoft product called Live Mesh. The idea was appealing, if you have some data that you want to synchronize between your computers (PC or Mac) or even with your mobile phone, then you just had to install the Live Mesh client, sign in for a Windows Live ID account and it’s ready to use. Microsoft synchronized data among the computers and mobile phones and also with a Remote Desktop which is located somewhere in some Microsoft server and has a 5GB storage space.

At first this seemed like an amazing idea! Was it really? Of course not!

As soon as I heard about this Mesh thing, I installed the Live Mesh Client thing in both my desktop and my laptop. As I was working in a project that used a SVN repository, I wanted to synchronize the SVN local folder between my desktop and my laptop automatically to avoid having to do a SVN update on both computers every time I changed something. Live Mesh looked like a great option for that!

However, one beautiful day, the SVN just crashed in my laptop while updating. Then, as usual, the .svn folder became corrupted, the cleanup wouldn’t work and so, I had to delete the whole folder and perform a complete checkout again. Problem is, that when I deleted everything that was inside the folder, Live Mesh synchronized and deleted everything on both the Remote Live Desktop and in my desktop. Well, that kinda makes sense, because I actually wanted to delete the whole project, right? The problem comes when I do a new full project checkout… For some stupid reason, as the new files were being downloaded from the SVN, they were imediately deleted by Live Mesh! Why? Because it synchronized with the desktop and the Remote Live Desktop and decided that those files should definitely NOT be there… And this would happen everytime I did a checkout, so if I kept Live Mesh working I would have lost the entire project. Thank you Microsoft!

But you may say that this happened because this is a beta version! Oh c’mon, this is a problem that is too serious to be left undetected and released to the public! Either this reveals an amazing lack of testing or an amazing ammount of naiveness…

However, this is not the only problem… When you install the Live Mesh client,  your computer is automatically open to Remote Desktop Connections (RDC). With a RDC you can control your computer over the internet and perform any action that you would do if you had physical access to the machine. Of course that this feature should only be enabled when its really necessary because it represents a serious security issue… But Mesh does not even ask! It just opens the RDC and controls it as it wishes… The access is locked to your Windows Live ID account, of course, but… What if your Windows Live ID is stolen/hacked?

Not only do you lose control of your MSN, Hotmail, etc. but also to your computers now! Every single one that is connected to the Live Mesh! This is too serious to be put aside, and as far as I know, I refuse to use Live Mesh until this is solved! Once again, thank you Microsoft for making me lose my time and work!

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2 Comments »

  1. Abel Maio said,

    Bad luck.
    I tried out Live Mesh too. I actually loved the Remote Desktop Connection. But I don’t use it, so I don’t care (Team Viewer do the similar job).

    Well… I hope you learn the lesson.
    But this product of MS is not so exclusive as many people may think.

    Why don’t you check my beloved Dropbox ( https://www.getdropbox.com/ )? It syncs with the cloud too. It don’t have the RDC. It syncs very (but really very) fast. And instead of uploading the full file anytime you change it, it only upload the Delta.
    For example, I have a file with 1MB. When I put the file on DropBox it will upload 1MB of data. Then I open the file and change 20KB of the file. On Live Mesh the new upload will be again 1MB. With Dropbox the only upload will be 20KB. This makes Dropbox very fast and reliable.

    Dropbox have also a “Public Folder” which allow you to share files with other people that don’t have Dropbox.

    If you want to test Dropbox use this referral link:

    https://www.getdropbox.com/referrals/NTEyNjc3OTM5

    This link will give you (and me too) a bonus of 250MB. You win. I win. We both win. =D
    I really recommend Dropbox.

    If for some mysterious reason you don’t like Dropbox, you can try also, Syncplicity ( http://www.syncplicity.com/ ).
    I use Dropbox for my everyday needs. And use Syncplicity for my backups.
    For example, let’s imagine that I want to make a backup of my 3DS Max Projects folder. I simply associate that folder with Syncplicity and it automatically sync with the cloud. If I lose my PC, format it and forgot to backup my folder, no problem!
    Simply install Syncplicity and it will ask you where do you wnat to sync the folders and it will make the download of the backed up folder.

    If you want to test Syncplicity I can send you a referral link. It will give you and me a Bonus of 1GB.

    But I personally recommend Dropbox. It’s the best of it’s kind! And works on PC, Mac and Linux. And also it has a nice and cute (and very useful) iPhone interface.

    And Dropbox will never make you lose time and/or work! =D

    • sagito said,

      Yes, I know DropBox and I find it quite useful! And if you think it through, there were MANY implementations of such things, which worked nicely, but still… Microsoft decided to poke the lion with a stick…

      And of course, screwed the whole thing up, made people lose data, compromised the security of the operating systems, etc…

      I used to defend Microsoft every time I could… Now I just feel sorry about them, they are doing a great job digging their grave…


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