Live Mesh, the portable code repository.

The Environment.

I’ve got three machines that I’ve allocated to role based use, as typically given the nature of my role here at Microsoft I'm all to often loading/unloading software far to much (I dogfood a lot of our internal products).

I not only dogfood, but I constantly roam the hallways of Redmond campus using a couple of laptops depending on the meetings I attend. If it’s a meeting where I'm a simple listener, I'll bring my EEE 1000H PC notebook as it’s small and typically only used for notes and email.

If the meeting requires me to demo or write document length notes, then I’ll take my Macbook Pro along for the ride.

If I’m at my desk, I’ll use my iMac given I like the screen it has and secondly it takes up little room (Windows 7 on an 24” iMac is gorgeous).

Meanwhile, at home I have what I call my gaming rig, which is the primary use for it. The reality is I end up doing most of my 3D animation/modeling and 2D design on this rig.

Enter Live Mesh.

I typically have kept various documents, artwork, code, decks etc on a portable HDD i lug around. It’s got about 500gig of space on it (80% full). This has worked in the past, but it’s a pain in the butt to remember to copy files over to the HDD each time i move between machines.

That is until I discovered Live Mesh. This is by far a sweet product of ours and here’s why:

  1. Sync Files. I’m working on a Silverlight project which has a lot of digital assets and code attached to it. Given I use different machines for the generation of such assets, I’ve found a Live Mesh Folder to compliment this. As no matter what machine I’m on, I'm able to keep all machines synchronized with my latest assets.

  2. Invite others. I’ve already shared my Silverlight project with a few other folks, and instead of putting them in an internal sharepoint site or fire up Office Groove (which is kind of like Live Mesh), i can simply give them READ access to the files to review as I progress.

  3. Remote in. I’ve found this to be the best of all, as at times I need to find a file i left on my portable HDD or in my home pc that i had ages ago. The fact I can remote in via Live Mesh to my machines from work etc to get the said files is a bonus. The sweet spot is once I find the said files, I just add them to my Live Mesh folders and boom, all machines get the said files there after..

    Kind of like reaching into the void and grabbing what you need.

I’ve personally found Live Mesh to be something I just can’t live without now, and it’s a brilliant concept for you to share projects around with. The downside however is that it doesn’t have versioning so be aware! :)

The Prank.

I found when I fired up the “Remotely Connect” into my work computer one night that the webcam can be turned on, so I was able to view my office via home via my iMac.

As I switched it on though, I found a certain utility worker snooping around in my office, and thought that was quite odd. I then decided to have a little fun to discourage this from continuing, so I quickly fired up Zune Player on the desktop.

Loaded up a song, and hit play.. he jumped with fright and began to inspect what the hell was going on (given the iMac looks like it’s turned off).

He then walked outside of my office into the hallway, and i stopped the music. He came back in, I turned it back on and we repeated this for a good 10mins.

He then called in his other co-workers to “Check this out”. This time, I fired up an old trick, by loading the “Arnie Soundboard” and proceeded to relive a jerky boys moment.

Next thing you know all were hearing “Excuse me, I’d like to ask you a bunch of questions and I want them answered immediately” only in Arnie’s voice.

It was heaps of fun, and they got a giggle out of it, but the most important thing of all, is the utility worker knew that someone was watching the office and it discouraged him from poking around in sensitive areas.

Live Mesh is awesome! Great work Live Mesh team!