Why Microsoft Live Mesh will fail with early adopters

OK, OK, forget for a moment that many early adopters are serious Mac fans and are trying to wash Microsoft out of their hair.

I’ve stumbled onto what really is challenging for companies that want me to load software onto my computer: when something goes wrong we start uninstalling everything to see if there’s something the matter. And things with limited utility are gonna stay uninstalled.

Joel Spolsky said this yesterday about Live Mesh, but came at it another way.

I just had a problem with Skype video and I uninstalled everything to see if I could get my system to behave. Guess what? After uninstalling 10 things Skype video works great. I need Skype video a lot more than I need backup.

So, guess what goes? Everything but Skype video.

Fail. And we wonder why most of what gets the hype lately is Web sites? Here you go. Sorry Ray Ozzie.

Comments

  1. Thats your experience, but I am feeling more and more that this is a very useful tool, much more than backup. It wont be something that people ditch just to see if that was their problem.

  2. Thats your experience, but I am feeling more and more that this is a very useful tool, much more than backup. It wont be something that people ditch just to see if that was their problem.

  3. So true about the “washing Microsoft out of their hair”… not to mention: leave it Ray Ozzie to take a simple concept (cloud storage, collaboration, and sharing) and turn it into something so needlessly complicated that 60% of the EARLY ADOPTERS can’t even figure out what the hell it is.

    Another classic example of WHY we are becoming such Apple fanboys… :-

  4. So true about the “washing Microsoft out of their hair”… not to mention: leave it Ray Ozzie to take a simple concept (cloud storage, collaboration, and sharing) and turn it into something so needlessly complicated that 60% of the EARLY ADOPTERS can’t even figure out what the hell it is.

    Another classic example of WHY we are becoming such Apple fanboys… :-

  5. Skype video is the only app that’s been crashing on my Dell 1310. Had not tried uninstalling apps. I usually just wipe the whole drive clean when frustrated enough and re-install minimally. There is always something chopped from the original list of installs that’s been replaced by some better app (be it web or pc based).

  6. Skype video is the only app that’s been crashing on my Dell 1310. Had not tried uninstalling apps. I usually just wipe the whole drive clean when frustrated enough and re-install minimally. There is always something chopped from the original list of installs that’s been replaced by some better app (be it web or pc based).

  7. I usually like Joel, but with that post he sounds awfully out of touch. Foldershare is a fairly ancient app that just got a new version; it doesn’t do cloud storage, it’s p2p synchronization. But I guess keeping up is hard work, better be paid to show up at conferences and recite the usual tripe…

  8. I usually like Joel, but with that post he sounds awfully out of touch. Foldershare is a fairly ancient app that just got a new version; it doesn’t do cloud storage, it’s p2p synchronization. But I guess keeping up is hard work, better be paid to show up at conferences and recite the usual tripe…

  9. Christian: right now, though, it’s a platform without any good apps other than backup (and that’s of limited utility since I have three cell phones that don’t work on it — one of which is a Microsoft phone, and a Mac too that isn’t yet working on it).

  10. Christian: right now, though, it’s a platform without any good apps other than backup (and that’s of limited utility since I have three cell phones that don’t work on it — one of which is a Microsoft phone, and a Mac too that isn’t yet working on it).

  11. Paolo: good point. Keeping up on everything new that’s coming out is really pretty tough. How many things have you tried that TechCrunch has talked about in the last week? I have a list of 87 things people have asked me to try. Sigh.

  12. Paolo: good point. Keeping up on everything new that’s coming out is really pretty tough. How many things have you tried that TechCrunch has talked about in the last week? I have a list of 87 things people have asked me to try. Sigh.

  13. I just don’t trust Microsoft. They have to be 150% better than the next thing for me to even consider them.

    I assume they will make it break with other platforms, browsers and cram in all sorts of crap to try to sell SQL Server, Windows, etc. I assume it will be mostly marketing hype. I assume they will try to charge exorbitant enterprise licenses.

    This is coming from a guy that started not one, but two companies who were Certified Microsoft Developers.

    Their past practices have made them guilty until proven innocent in my book. The technology is really irrelevant. It might be God’s gift to the internet, but I’d be more likely to adopt something 75% as cool from someone else or an open source project because of the lack of trust.

  14. I just don’t trust Microsoft. They have to be 150% better than the next thing for me to even consider them.

    I assume they will make it break with other platforms, browsers and cram in all sorts of crap to try to sell SQL Server, Windows, etc. I assume it will be mostly marketing hype. I assume they will try to charge exorbitant enterprise licenses.

    This is coming from a guy that started not one, but two companies who were Certified Microsoft Developers.

    Their past practices have made them guilty until proven innocent in my book. The technology is really irrelevant. It might be God’s gift to the internet, but I’d be more likely to adopt something 75% as cool from someone else or an open source project because of the lack of trust.

  15. I have had another good look at Mesh and can’t see how it is much more than what .Mac + Leopard 10.5 is already offering. And .Net seems to be easier to use…

    I think simplicity is what Microsoft should strive for. The problem is that’s not what they have been about in the past… If you look at the Xbox though you see that it’s something they are certainly capable of.

    Robert, in regards to web applications example I can only agree with you though. I am hard core user of Outlook and Entourage but must say I am swaying more and more to move my email requirements online either by using Google Mail or installing something like Smartermail on my VPS.

  16. I have had another good look at Mesh and can’t see how it is much more than what .Mac + Leopard 10.5 is already offering. And .Net seems to be easier to use…

    I think simplicity is what Microsoft should strive for. The problem is that’s not what they have been about in the past… If you look at the Xbox though you see that it’s something they are certainly capable of.

    Robert, in regards to web applications example I can only agree with you though. I am hard core user of Outlook and Entourage but must say I am swaying more and more to move my email requirements online either by using Google Mail or installing something like Smartermail on my VPS.

  17. Eh. I think you missed the point. I dont think MS is really expecting people to sign up for the beta then depend on it for all their most important work. I think the object was simply to get an early version of the app out there to get people talking about the idea and to prime those “early adopters” for when the product really launches with outside developers contributing applications. At this point it doesn’t matter if you uninstall it to run whatever isnt working. It just matters that a good number of people do at least check it out (which I think is already happening despite your speculation) and reserve a place in their brain for “Windows Live Mesh”

  18. Eh. I think you missed the point. I dont think MS is really expecting people to sign up for the beta then depend on it for all their most important work. I think the object was simply to get an early version of the app out there to get people talking about the idea and to prime those “early adopters” for when the product really launches with outside developers contributing applications. At this point it doesn’t matter if you uninstall it to run whatever isnt working. It just matters that a good number of people do at least check it out (which I think is already happening despite your speculation) and reserve a place in their brain for “Windows Live Mesh”

  19. What I really want is a mesh that works in a conference room where I want to share files with my neighbors laptop, or collaborate on a presentation when we don’t have an internet connection. The P2P concepts of Groove were very cool. Mesh misses the point by requiring us to always interact with the internet. If it is a PC tool then make it a PC tool that helps us use our PCs.

    My 2 cents.

  20. What I really want is a mesh that works in a conference room where I want to share files with my neighbors laptop, or collaborate on a presentation when we don’t have an internet connection. The P2P concepts of Groove were very cool. Mesh misses the point by requiring us to always interact with the internet. If it is a PC tool then make it a PC tool that helps us use our PCs.

    My 2 cents.

  21. Mesh is just a desperate ploy to get people to stop migrating to the cloud and keep them on the flat client by telling people “hey, you can get all the cloud advantages like accessing your data anywhere and utilize your cool new laptop (with Windows preinstalled of course) . Some technologies have bust written on them from day 1, and Mesh is another of them.

  22. Mesh is just a desperate ploy to get people to stop migrating to the cloud and keep them on the flat client by telling people “hey, you can get all the cloud advantages like accessing your data anywhere and utilize your cool new laptop (with Windows preinstalled of course) . Some technologies have bust written on them from day 1, and Mesh is another of them.

  23. The platform approach MS is taking to Mesh reminds me in a sense of WinFS. WinFS was promised as being so much more than just search (it had to be, since Spotlight and Google Desktop were already doing that quite nicely), and technically (or at least, based on the technical details of what was promised) it was so much more capable, but the problem is the only obvious use for it _was_ search. It was a cool idea, the sort that programmers like, but the actual use cases for it to justify its existence were rather thin on the ground. All the other opportunities it would afford were either very niche or required too much radical overhaul in how existing programs operated. And no one could think up the new killer app that actually needed it.

  24. The platform approach MS is taking to Mesh reminds me in a sense of WinFS. WinFS was promised as being so much more than just search (it had to be, since Spotlight and Google Desktop were already doing that quite nicely), and technically (or at least, based on the technical details of what was promised) it was so much more capable, but the problem is the only obvious use for it _was_ search. It was a cool idea, the sort that programmers like, but the actual use cases for it to justify its existence were rather thin on the ground. All the other opportunities it would afford were either very niche or required too much radical overhaul in how existing programs operated. And no one could think up the new killer app that actually needed it.

  25. So your day-one contention that “Windows 7 gets more a lot more interesting” on account of Mesh is now moot?

    It’s a non-starter anyways…developers can’t even make much sense of it, and it’s a consumer-targeted app (mind you Microsoft has always failed or taken serious losses in anything direct consumer). CALs are their lifeblood, as such Mesh will fail. Besides it’s not so much as a real app, as a showpiece strategy chess piece, stopping (or delaying) people from going cloud.

    PDC 2003 era hype all over again, over-promise, under-deliver. But wake me up, if it ever morphs into something worth caring about.

  26. So your day-one contention that “Windows 7 gets more a lot more interesting” on account of Mesh is now moot?

    It’s a non-starter anyways…developers can’t even make much sense of it, and it’s a consumer-targeted app (mind you Microsoft has always failed or taken serious losses in anything direct consumer). CALs are their lifeblood, as such Mesh will fail. Besides it’s not so much as a real app, as a showpiece strategy chess piece, stopping (or delaying) people from going cloud.

    PDC 2003 era hype all over again, over-promise, under-deliver. But wake me up, if it ever morphs into something worth caring about.

  27. Sorry Robert, but only in your part of the world are early adopters Mac fans,
    The rest of us don’t care and are quite happy on our PCs.

    What a bunch of bitchy winers.

  28. Sorry Robert, but only in your part of the world are early adopters Mac fans,
    The rest of us don’t care and are quite happy on our PCs.

    What a bunch of bitchy winers.

  29. Robert I concur with Michael, check out Ori Amiga’s video on channel 9 and let it sink in before calling it a failure…

    This is the first ‘cloud’ platform with possibilities, they may have mad some wrong choices or cut some corners but this is the first platform wich is backed by serious money and a three way strategy. (pc, mac & web access)

    They promised Mac and Windows Mobile at beta launch so hopefully you’ll take another shot at it once that’s working, otherwise i’d love to get your invite…

    J.

  30. Robert I concur with Michael, check out Ori Amiga’s video on channel 9 and let it sink in before calling it a failure…

    This is the first ‘cloud’ platform with possibilities, they may have mad some wrong choices or cut some corners but this is the first platform wich is backed by serious money and a three way strategy. (pc, mac & web access)

    They promised Mac and Windows Mobile at beta launch so hopefully you’ll take another shot at it once that’s working, otherwise i’d love to get your invite…

    J.

  31. Sometimes people don’t know what they need until it comes along. The iPhone is an example of this principle. Now, all the phone makers are scrambling to match the innovation. Please note, I am NOT a Microsoft advocate, but the Live Mesh will probably turn out to be quite a useful concept.

    I have used Groove on our LAN; Remote Desktop to admin our machines and Shared Folders at home and work. Mesh, however, brings this all together with the ease of logging on.

    Eventually, home users will need home servers and the cloud to help utilize all the resources they have accumulated. Granted it may not be Microsoft that wins this market niche, but they are trying. Microsoft has lost most of its innovative nature.

    Innovation’s success is not always giving people what they have been wanting, but rather providing something so new that they can’t live without, once they see it, even though they never asked for it.

    Live Mesh does not do this, but it may be the spark needed for the real innovators to take the next leap. IMHO.

  32. Sometimes people don’t know what they need until it comes along. The iPhone is an example of this principle. Now, all the phone makers are scrambling to match the innovation. Please note, I am NOT a Microsoft advocate, but the Live Mesh will probably turn out to be quite a useful concept.

    I have used Groove on our LAN; Remote Desktop to admin our machines and Shared Folders at home and work. Mesh, however, brings this all together with the ease of logging on.

    Eventually, home users will need home servers and the cloud to help utilize all the resources they have accumulated. Granted it may not be Microsoft that wins this market niche, but they are trying. Microsoft has lost most of its innovative nature.

    Innovation’s success is not always giving people what they have been wanting, but rather providing something so new that they can’t live without, once they see it, even though they never asked for it.

    Live Mesh does not do this, but it may be the spark needed for the real innovators to take the next leap. IMHO.

  33. Lets see. I am a developer and I have VB6, VS2003, VS2005, Skype, SQL Server 2000, SQL Server 2005, Oracle Client, VS 2008, DB2 Client and tons of other product on my computer. And I have LIVE MESH and everything runs without a single problem. So now can I come and make a pronouncement that Live Mesh is going to be successful?
    I cannot do that because it is just my experience and in the same way Scoble should not be making a pronouncement because he had some problem. In the end it will be decided by how many people feel good with it and have hassle free experience and since this technology is in tech preview stage, I would say lets wait and see and not jump to conclusions.
    However the fact that Scoble states that it will be a failure is more a reflection of what MS is up against. Perception.
    But thanks god silicon valley is a small place and most of the billion people who use windows don’t even know what it is.

  34. Lets see. I am a developer and I have VB6, VS2003, VS2005, Skype, SQL Server 2000, SQL Server 2005, Oracle Client, VS 2008, DB2 Client and tons of other product on my computer. And I have LIVE MESH and everything runs without a single problem. So now can I come and make a pronouncement that Live Mesh is going to be successful?
    I cannot do that because it is just my experience and in the same way Scoble should not be making a pronouncement because he had some problem. In the end it will be decided by how many people feel good with it and have hassle free experience and since this technology is in tech preview stage, I would say lets wait and see and not jump to conclusions.
    However the fact that Scoble states that it will be a failure is more a reflection of what MS is up against. Perception.
    But thanks god silicon valley is a small place and most of the billion people who use windows don’t even know what it is.

  35. Christopher:

    >>So your day-one contention that “Windows 7 gets more a lot more interesting” on account of Mesh is now moot?

    No, actually that explains why most of us won’t think about the Live Mesh UNTIL it gets put into Windows, where it won’t be one of those things that gets removed when Vista is burping, like mine did last night.

    Rohit:

    I didn’t see you say a single thing that early adopter developers are using. Ruby on Rails? Django? Hadoop? Amazon’s S3? Java? Javascript? Microsoft Expression?

    You’re actually using tools that help you build more Windows apps. That’s cool, there’s going to be a lot of work for you for a long time.

    But, where’s the growth in the industry? Even inside Microsoft it’s in Web services that have advertising attached. You’re a late adopter in that world.

  36. Christopher:

    >>So your day-one contention that “Windows 7 gets more a lot more interesting” on account of Mesh is now moot?

    No, actually that explains why most of us won’t think about the Live Mesh UNTIL it gets put into Windows, where it won’t be one of those things that gets removed when Vista is burping, like mine did last night.

    Rohit:

    I didn’t see you say a single thing that early adopter developers are using. Ruby on Rails? Django? Hadoop? Amazon’s S3? Java? Javascript? Microsoft Expression?

    You’re actually using tools that help you build more Windows apps. That’s cool, there’s going to be a lot of work for you for a long time.

    But, where’s the growth in the industry? Even inside Microsoft it’s in Web services that have advertising attached. You’re a late adopter in that world.

  37. Live Mesh has potential far beyond simple backup and sharing, like in the field of digital preservation. The perpetual preservation of digital information requires that it be synchronized across multiple geographical locations. Check out LOCKSS for example. If Live Mesh can integrate this concept at the platform level, digital preservation will become much more widely available.

  38. Live Mesh has potential far beyond simple backup and sharing, like in the field of digital preservation. The perpetual preservation of digital information requires that it be synchronized across multiple geographical locations. Check out LOCKSS for example. If Live Mesh can integrate this concept at the platform level, digital preservation will become much more widely available.

  39. won’t think about the Live Mesh UNTIL it gets put into Windows

    Well, what I said day-one, whilst you where going all ‘Second Coming of Ray Ozzie’, and more like IF, rather than UNTIL, and even then no guarantee, as lots of things still in Windows that have gone abandonware serious. Mesh will become a new Mobile Devices/ActiveSync Control Panel center at best, working about as well, which is to say, not at all.

    And while on the topic of ‘things in Windows no one uses’, who actually uses Media Center, a few Green Buttonish fanatics, about it. And then the stuff never in, that MS Reader update in Vista, nix.

    But at least you (eventually) correctly morph cynic, after weeks of hype.

  40. won’t think about the Live Mesh UNTIL it gets put into Windows

    Well, what I said day-one, whilst you where going all ‘Second Coming of Ray Ozzie’, and more like IF, rather than UNTIL, and even then no guarantee, as lots of things still in Windows that have gone abandonware serious. Mesh will become a new Mobile Devices/ActiveSync Control Panel center at best, working about as well, which is to say, not at all.

    And while on the topic of ‘things in Windows no one uses’, who actually uses Media Center, a few Green Buttonish fanatics, about it. And then the stuff never in, that MS Reader update in Vista, nix.

    But at least you (eventually) correctly morph cynic, after weeks of hype.

  41. I dont understand where you get this idea that “early adopters” are a single, coherent group. They aren’t. Early adopters are people who are willing to get through the extra cost and work just to try something that they find interesting. So if you dont like it enough to keep it on your machine, then you arent an early adopter of that thing. People decide what to stand behind. In speculating that “early adopters wont keep mesh on their systems” you first assume that all early adopters will remove mesh before other things IF major problems come up. Second, they wont TRY to get mesh to work, which goes against what it means to be an early adopter. Those two assumptions contradict what it means to be an early adopter. Anyway, just from what people are saying, I think that its pretty safe to say that a good number of people are at least open to the idea of what MS is pushing. And that simple interest is the first and most necessary component of “early adopterism.”

  42. I dont understand where you get this idea that “early adopters” are a single, coherent group. They aren’t. Early adopters are people who are willing to get through the extra cost and work just to try something that they find interesting. So if you dont like it enough to keep it on your machine, then you arent an early adopter of that thing. People decide what to stand behind. In speculating that “early adopters wont keep mesh on their systems” you first assume that all early adopters will remove mesh before other things IF major problems come up. Second, they wont TRY to get mesh to work, which goes against what it means to be an early adopter. Those two assumptions contradict what it means to be an early adopter. Anyway, just from what people are saying, I think that its pretty safe to say that a good number of people are at least open to the idea of what MS is pushing. And that simple interest is the first and most necessary component of “early adopterism.”

  43. Robert Scoble:
    >> I didn’t see you say a single thing that early adopter developers are using. Ruby on Rails? Django? Hadoop? Amazon’s S3? Java? Javascript? Microsoft Expression?

    Agreed to some extend. But there are several points I would like to make:
    1. I was trying to point out that my system is not crashing even with so many different applications from different sources. I think that was your beef that you had to install something on your system which was a pain for you as your system crashed and you had to uninstall several app to figure out what happened. I never had to uninstall and re install anything. Mesh works perfectly. I have created a folder which I sync with my home PC and yesterday I synced about 70MB of file without any problems. I just placed MP3 and pics in the sync folder and it was waiting for me at my home desktop when I got home…perfect!!
    But again that is just my experience. This product is not even in beta. My point was that with so much of crap installed on my system Mesh seems to work fine. Let us wait and see what public in general will experience. But to generalize on the basis one experience(yours) and reach a conclusion about a product which is in tech preview is just plain wrong.

    2. Since when did early adopters, testers and people with access to tech preview start to expect a stable system which has been tested fully?? People who install beta product and tech preview should know what they are getting into.

    3. Perception. That’s all we see getting played out here. That’s MS’s biggest challenge.

  44. Robert Scoble:
    >> I didn’t see you say a single thing that early adopter developers are using. Ruby on Rails? Django? Hadoop? Amazon’s S3? Java? Javascript? Microsoft Expression?

    Agreed to some extend. But there are several points I would like to make:
    1. I was trying to point out that my system is not crashing even with so many different applications from different sources. I think that was your beef that you had to install something on your system which was a pain for you as your system crashed and you had to uninstall several app to figure out what happened. I never had to uninstall and re install anything. Mesh works perfectly. I have created a folder which I sync with my home PC and yesterday I synced about 70MB of file without any problems. I just placed MP3 and pics in the sync folder and it was waiting for me at my home desktop when I got home…perfect!!
    But again that is just my experience. This product is not even in beta. My point was that with so much of crap installed on my system Mesh seems to work fine. Let us wait and see what public in general will experience. But to generalize on the basis one experience(yours) and reach a conclusion about a product which is in tech preview is just plain wrong.

    2. Since when did early adopters, testers and people with access to tech preview start to expect a stable system which has been tested fully?? People who install beta product and tech preview should know what they are getting into.

    3. Perception. That’s all we see getting played out here. That’s MS’s biggest challenge.

  45. Michael: Good point. Steve Gillmor is VERY bullish on Microsoft Live Mesh. So am I, actually. I loaded it the first day I saw it and, unlike Joel Spolsky, I do see some value in it already (and, like you said, it’s not even in beta yet). But, I am giving you some feedback about why many early adopters will be far more excited about technologies like drop.io that run in the browser than stuff that needs to be installed. My experiences last night are a good description of the hill that installed software needs to climb to get noticed. Microsoft is one heck of a hill climber, but you notice that there hasn’t been any discussion of Mesh on TechMeme since the announcement, right? The early adopters have already answered: “meh.”

  46. You know, Robert, you wouldn’t have those weird application interactions if you were using a Mac. Skype is a pretty crappy and flaky app, but it doesn’t have any problems with other apps on Mac OS X. A proper OS doesn’t let apps interfere with each other.

    As for Mesh, OS integration might help its adoption on the Windows side, but will never help on the Mac side, where we already have .Mac, and it works great for the few things anyone uses it for.

    The lack of .Mac for Windows is a little frustrating on the rare occasions that I have to touch Windows: I go to a Windows box, log into mac.com, go to my iDisk, grab my bookmarks (auto-synced every day) from Library/Application Support/Bookmarks, and import them into Safari for Windows. Worst of all, Windows doesn’t have Applescript (and I’m not stupid enough to write VB), so I can’t script this task like I could on a Mac.

    .Mac for Windows would help, but Mesh for Mac would be more trouble than the current process.

    There are much larger examples than just syncing bookmarks, of course, but that’s a good “Hello, World” application. If Mesh isn’t usable for that, it won’t be of use for anything larger.

  47. Michael: Good point. Steve Gillmor is VERY bullish on Microsoft Live Mesh. So am I, actually. I loaded it the first day I saw it and, unlike Joel Spolsky, I do see some value in it already (and, like you said, it’s not even in beta yet). But, I am giving you some feedback about why many early adopters will be far more excited about technologies like drop.io that run in the browser than stuff that needs to be installed. My experiences last night are a good description of the hill that installed software needs to climb to get noticed. Microsoft is one heck of a hill climber, but you notice that there hasn’t been any discussion of Mesh on TechMeme since the announcement, right? The early adopters have already answered: “meh.”

  48. You know, Robert, you wouldn’t have those weird application interactions if you were using a Mac. Skype is a pretty crappy and flaky app, but it doesn’t have any problems with other apps on Mac OS X. A proper OS doesn’t let apps interfere with each other.

    As for Mesh, OS integration might help its adoption on the Windows side, but will never help on the Mac side, where we already have .Mac, and it works great for the few things anyone uses it for.

    The lack of .Mac for Windows is a little frustrating on the rare occasions that I have to touch Windows: I go to a Windows box, log into mac.com, go to my iDisk, grab my bookmarks (auto-synced every day) from Library/Application Support/Bookmarks, and import them into Safari for Windows. Worst of all, Windows doesn’t have Applescript (and I’m not stupid enough to write VB), so I can’t script this task like I could on a Mac.

    .Mac for Windows would help, but Mesh for Mac would be more trouble than the current process.

    There are much larger examples than just syncing bookmarks, of course, but that’s a good “Hello, World” application. If Mesh isn’t usable for that, it won’t be of use for anything larger.

  49. Mark: yeah, yeah, I know. I have a Mac too. Most of the early adopter types are on Macs for just these reasons. Go visit a Gnomedex Conference to see just how many are on Macs.

    Funny, though, if you get it working right Skype Video on Windows runs faster frame rates than Skype on Macs.

  50. Mark: yeah, yeah, I know. I have a Mac too. Most of the early adopter types are on Macs for just these reasons. Go visit a Gnomedex Conference to see just how many are on Macs.

    Funny, though, if you get it working right Skype Video on Windows runs faster frame rates than Skype on Macs.

  51. In some regards I understand what Joel and Robert are saying, but the bottom-line is, Microsoft has always been about platforms. Yes they build applications but most of their applications are built with a way to programmatically interact with them. This includes the Zune and 360 (via XNA).

    So when I see the current Mesh app, yes it is limited (currently I’m largely using it sync music and remote between my machines), but the architecture does tell a different story. Is it overblown as Joel says … can’t say because the SDK isn’t out and I haven’t played with it. Nor has Microsoft really talked about what applications they are building to make use of it. But it is clear that Mesh is meant to be a platform and if built correctly can be extremely powerful. Potentially more poweful than Google Gears (and certainly more stable … offline Google apps are a bit of a joke at the moment).

    I’ll will fully pass judgement once I can a) see the SDK, and b) see what else MS is doing with it.

  52. In some regards I understand what Joel and Robert are saying, but the bottom-line is, Microsoft has always been about platforms. Yes they build applications but most of their applications are built with a way to programmatically interact with them. This includes the Zune and 360 (via XNA).

    So when I see the current Mesh app, yes it is limited (currently I’m largely using it sync music and remote between my machines), but the architecture does tell a different story. Is it overblown as Joel says … can’t say because the SDK isn’t out and I haven’t played with it. Nor has Microsoft really talked about what applications they are building to make use of it. But it is clear that Mesh is meant to be a platform and if built correctly can be extremely powerful. Potentially more poweful than Google Gears (and certainly more stable … offline Google apps are a bit of a joke at the moment).

    I’ll will fully pass judgement once I can a) see the SDK, and b) see what else MS is doing with it.

  53. Aww, Robert. What happened? Your friends in the Valley tell you that saying nice things about Live Mesh was bad because saying something good about Microsoft would keep you from sitting at the cool kids’ table?

    Seriously, early adopters use Mac? Joel understands Live Mesh?

    Maybe you spent too much time doing the wine tour.

  54. Aww, Robert. What happened? Your friends in the Valley tell you that saying nice things about Live Mesh was bad because saying something good about Microsoft would keep you from sitting at the cool kids’ table?

    Seriously, early adopters use Mac? Joel understands Live Mesh?

    Maybe you spent too much time doing the wine tour.

  55. I’m not sure I get the logic behind this post. “x will fail because people uninstall stuff as part of troubleshooting,” where x is any application that requires installation? “Web sites” FTW? But Skype is an application that requires installation, not a “web site,” so you seem to be arguing against yourself.

    If anything you seem to be saying that an application has to have a lot of value in order to stay installed on your PC… but I’m not sure you can logically get to “Why Microsoft Live Mesh will fail” from there…

    I don’t get Joel’s Spolsky’s post, either, and normally he’s a good writer. It’s a rant about how he doesn’t want a “1955 Salisbury steak” and yet it’s served to him over and over and over. He’s apparently looking for a Lean Cuisine featuring “lightly braised veal medallions in a white wine reduction,” but last time I looked, Stouffer’s was selling a hell of a lot of Salisbury steak, so somebody must want it. :-)

    I know a lot of people — not necessarily early adopters — who have banged their heads against the problem of using iTunes with multiple PCs and multiple devices.

    – Someone has their music library at home, but not at work.
    – Someone wants to rent a movie at work and have it show up at home.
    – Someone wants to move their library from one PC to another.
    – Someone wants to back up their library but not spend a sunny Saturday afternoon shuffling blank DVD-Rs into their PC. etc.

    Live Mesh at least has the potential to make those problems completely go away.

    Ironically, simple synchronization was one huge reason for the success of iTunes. You just plug in your device, boom, it’s synched. You didn’t need to worry about resolving update conflicts or whether you wanted to replace older versions, etc. — it just worked. It was FAR easier than Windows Media, and by the time Microsoft figured it out and came out with Zune, it was too late.

    If Live Mesh gave people enough space to upload their iTunes libraries, there would be massive adoption on that one application alone. You could rent a movie at work and it would be waiting for you by the time you got home and microwaved your Salisbury steak dinner.

    Why was Blackberry a success? Same thing, simple synchronization. All your email everywhere at the same time.

    Why is the iPhone going to drive sales of Microsoft Exchange and vice versa? Instant push email with your mail, contacts and calendar all synchronized.

    Now, imagine you take a photo with your camera. Your camera automatically puts the picture in your Mesh Pictures folder. Joel says people like Picasa, people like Flickr — maybe there’s an app that automatically runs and uploads your new pictures to Picasa and Flickr and your blog, without you having to do a thing. Or maybe people just have an RSS feed into your Mesh Pictures folder, so they don’t use the web apps anymore…

    Repeat with contacts, calendar items, email messages, browsing history, bookmarks, wish lists, stuff you bought… you can see where this is going….

    What they’re trying to do is admirable. Whether they will succeed or fail is probably more of a function of how well Live Mesh works — do they give you enough space? Does it cost too much? Does it bog down your PC? Is it too hard to use? etc.

    It won’t just “fail” simply because it requires installation. And it won’t fail because some early adopters are “serious Mac fans” who feel defiled whenever they have to touch a Microsoft product.

  56. I’m not sure I get the logic behind this post. “x will fail because people uninstall stuff as part of troubleshooting,” where x is any application that requires installation? “Web sites” FTW? But Skype is an application that requires installation, not a “web site,” so you seem to be arguing against yourself.

    If anything you seem to be saying that an application has to have a lot of value in order to stay installed on your PC… but I’m not sure you can logically get to “Why Microsoft Live Mesh will fail” from there…

    I don’t get Joel’s Spolsky’s post, either, and normally he’s a good writer. It’s a rant about how he doesn’t want a “1955 Salisbury steak” and yet it’s served to him over and over and over. He’s apparently looking for a Lean Cuisine featuring “lightly braised veal medallions in a white wine reduction,” but last time I looked, Stouffer’s was selling a hell of a lot of Salisbury steak, so somebody must want it. :-)

    I know a lot of people — not necessarily early adopters — who have banged their heads against the problem of using iTunes with multiple PCs and multiple devices.

    – Someone has their music library at home, but not at work.
    – Someone wants to rent a movie at work and have it show up at home.
    – Someone wants to move their library from one PC to another.
    – Someone wants to back up their library but not spend a sunny Saturday afternoon shuffling blank DVD-Rs into their PC. etc.

    Live Mesh at least has the potential to make those problems completely go away.

    Ironically, simple synchronization was one huge reason for the success of iTunes. You just plug in your device, boom, it’s synched. You didn’t need to worry about resolving update conflicts or whether you wanted to replace older versions, etc. — it just worked. It was FAR easier than Windows Media, and by the time Microsoft figured it out and came out with Zune, it was too late.

    If Live Mesh gave people enough space to upload their iTunes libraries, there would be massive adoption on that one application alone. You could rent a movie at work and it would be waiting for you by the time you got home and microwaved your Salisbury steak dinner.

    Why was Blackberry a success? Same thing, simple synchronization. All your email everywhere at the same time.

    Why is the iPhone going to drive sales of Microsoft Exchange and vice versa? Instant push email with your mail, contacts and calendar all synchronized.

    Now, imagine you take a photo with your camera. Your camera automatically puts the picture in your Mesh Pictures folder. Joel says people like Picasa, people like Flickr — maybe there’s an app that automatically runs and uploads your new pictures to Picasa and Flickr and your blog, without you having to do a thing. Or maybe people just have an RSS feed into your Mesh Pictures folder, so they don’t use the web apps anymore…

    Repeat with contacts, calendar items, email messages, browsing history, bookmarks, wish lists, stuff you bought… you can see where this is going….

    What they’re trying to do is admirable. Whether they will succeed or fail is probably more of a function of how well Live Mesh works — do they give you enough space? Does it cost too much? Does it bog down your PC? Is it too hard to use? etc.

    It won’t just “fail” simply because it requires installation. And it won’t fail because some early adopters are “serious Mac fans” who feel defiled whenever they have to touch a Microsoft product.

  57. It’s going to fail with early adopters because most of us are already using VNC and know our IPs, so there’s no need for this when we can just remote into our own pc to access files.

  58. It’s going to fail with early adopters because most of us are already using VNC and know our IPs, so there’s no need for this when we can just remote into our own pc to access files.

  59. I don’t like Mesh because I can see at a glance that it’s communist collectivism.

  60. I don’t like Mesh because I can see at a glance that it’s communist collectivism.

  61. I think many people, early adopters or not, technology savvy or not, are getting increasingly fed up and exasperated with MS’s tendency to dump buggy, ill thought out and crashable software on an unsuspecting public. Look at the Vista disaster, for example. As an incandescent friend said recently, “They hide everything, so you have to stumble over what you don’t want to get what you do want. And then it keeps crashing.”

    Will Mesh be any different? The concept might sound cool, but execution is crucial for the long running health of any business. Fail at that too many times and people will start looking elsewhere.

    Fed up with Windows and high priced Office, I switched to Apple gradually; I’m not technology geek but I do like stuff that works. Stuff like a stable OS, a search tool that looks for a word in the document (Spotlight), a phenomenal backup system (Time machine), an easy to set up wi-fi… the list goes on. Files can be easily shared between different computers across my wi-fi network between the office and the garden, for example. It even mirrored my old Dell’s hard drive for easy copying of hundreds of old files in minutes, all without a cable. I didn’t need an instruction manual, it was intuitive and easy. It was also very stable.

    My point is, would I trust MS not to make a balls up of Mesh and offer yet another buggy, flawed and unstable software? My experience tells me to be cynical, weary and suspicious.

  62. I think many people, early adopters or not, technology savvy or not, are getting increasingly fed up and exasperated with MS’s tendency to dump buggy, ill thought out and crashable software on an unsuspecting public. Look at the Vista disaster, for example. As an incandescent friend said recently, “They hide everything, so you have to stumble over what you don’t want to get what you do want. And then it keeps crashing.”

    Will Mesh be any different? The concept might sound cool, but execution is crucial for the long running health of any business. Fail at that too many times and people will start looking elsewhere.

    Fed up with Windows and high priced Office, I switched to Apple gradually; I’m not technology geek but I do like stuff that works. Stuff like a stable OS, a search tool that looks for a word in the document (Spotlight), a phenomenal backup system (Time machine), an easy to set up wi-fi… the list goes on. Files can be easily shared between different computers across my wi-fi network between the office and the garden, for example. It even mirrored my old Dell’s hard drive for easy copying of hundreds of old files in minutes, all without a cable. I didn’t need an instruction manual, it was intuitive and easy. It was also very stable.

    My point is, would I trust MS not to make a balls up of Mesh and offer yet another buggy, flawed and unstable software? My experience tells me to be cynical, weary and suspicious.

  63. Wow… uninstalling random software to fix a flaky OS? Sure takes me back to my Windows days.

    – happy Linux user

  64. Wow… uninstalling random software to fix a flaky OS? Sure takes me back to my Windows days.

    – happy Linux user

  65. I really wish Apple frees .Mac so everybody else knows how to do web stuff that appeals to the end user, not just the developer or geeky type.

    Mesh is a failure worse than hailstorm.

  66. I really wish Apple frees .Mac so everybody else knows how to do web stuff that appeals to the end user, not just the developer or geeky type.

    Mesh is a failure worse than hailstorm.

  67. […] The idea of the Technical Preview was primarily to let the world know that Microsoft has something very serious in the works and that they shouldn’t be counted out just yet regardless of some people are saying. […]