Having all your data wherever you go is useful beyond measure. A Web-based service and series of open APIs unveiled this week by Microsoft is intended to offer a solution to keeping all our devices in sync.

If I had a dollar for every time I accessed an Outlook contact, set a reminder with my desktop-synchronized Palm Treo (or heard Microsoft claim to know "the way"), I could solve world hunger.

With the official announcement on Wednesday of Live Mesh, Microsoft revealed its vision of an open Web service that would “connect and bring devices together,” according to Amit Mital, general manager of Live Mesh, who spoke at O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco this week. "The mesh" has been hinted about by Ray Ozzie and others for the last few weeks.

People (myself included) are skeptical about Microsoft’s willingness to offer a level playing field. In a BBC News report from the conference, several developers expressed concerns that Microsoft was just trying to “own the pie” and that the only thing available thus far is “demo ware and advertising.”

The platform will initially support XP and Vista, but later will accommodate Macs and mobile devices, Mital said, making no mention of Linux or Unix.

“Devices are how we interact in this new ‘web connected’ world, and we use a variety of them,” wrote Mital on Microsoft's Live Dev blog site earlier this week. He said those devices include PCs, laptops, media devices, phones, digital picture frames, game consoles, music players “and the list grows at every CES. However, as we discover, adopt and use more of these digital devices, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep the people, information and applications we depend on in sync.”

Keeping them all in sync will be Live Mesh, a series of Web services and APIs for storage, membership, sync, peer-to-peer communication and news feeds. In his extensive post, Mital claims the APIs will be consistent from desk to device and elsewhere. “The programming model is the same for the cloud and all connected devices, which means a Live Mesh application works exactly the same regardless of whether it’s running in the cloud, in a browser, on a desktop, or on a mobile device.”

Good luck with that one.

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You just can't help wanting to be negative about Microsoft, can you?

Of course they'll support the operating systems they create software for first and foremost.
And Microsoft knows full well that the Linux crowd isn't going to use their products anyway for religious reasons, and the Linux community is small enough that supporting the platform for the few users who aren't religious Microsoft "hating" zealots isn't economically feasible.

But what I expect is that they're going to make the Mesh available as a series of web services, which are operating system and programming language agnostic.
Microsoft is after all one of the major pushers for web services and has been for a long time, something else ignored by the Microsoft "hating" slashdot kiddos.

And with docx now an official ECMA standard, noone can blame Microsoft if the slashdot kiddos fail to support it in their own vaunted "open" operating system and applications.
By them choosing to ignore Microsoft in their own products they only show their own parochial nature, their unwillingness to deal with the de-facto world standard while expecting Microsoft to bend over backwards to please them (while knowing full well they'll never be pleased).

...Microsoft 'webservices' tend to require a great lump of ActiveX and the IE browser... or Silverlight *shudder*. I don't even use Flash viewer, so it's not like I have a problem with Microsoft specifically.

I'm in the Linux and Microsoft crowd ( I use both happily ), and I just don't need this stuff. Synchronized devices? As long as it works as a USB mountable drive, that's fine for me, anything more reeks of pointless proprietry red-tape.

DocX royally sucks, it's an 'open standard' designed for a single product suite. ( *giggle* still no ISO I see ^_- ). OpenOffice sucks, but at least it's free ( as in beer ).

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