Live Mesh Technology Preview: A closer look – User perspective, Part 3

In this Part we will take a closer look at the Notifier and Remote Desktop.

Notifier

The Notifier is shown on the Live Desktop and on your device, if you installed the software. It shows up when you hover over the Live Mesh icon horizonicon Featured News either in bottom right at Live Desktop (to pin click the icon once) or the icon in systray on your device. On your Device right click also holds a menu similar to the one next to your name at the top of the Notifier (on Device only).

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Update Live mesh. Live Mesh will automatically be updated, you can use this if need be.
Help. Opens the help center on the net. The various help buttons throughout all screens will lead directly to the help section for said part. Under arrow next to the Help button you see on the Notifier the menu holds an additional menu item called Version. This will show the current Live Mesh version number.
Work offline. Continue to work with and edit files in Live Mesh folders on your computer, even when you’re not connected to the Internet. Everything will by synchronized again when you sign in again. Offline means you you won’t be able to create a new Live Mesh folder, synchronize a folder, change synchronization settings for a folder, share a folder with someone, add to or edit the list of members of a folder, see which members are currently in a folder and/or use Live Mesh Remote Desktop to connect to your other devices
Sign out. Log out of Live Mesh if you’re at a public or shared computer and have finished using the service.
Show Notifier will open the Notifier.
Exit. Quits the Live Mesh software on your device and closes the Notifier and removes it from your taskbar. To reopen the Live Mesh software and restore the Notifier in your taskbar, click Start, click All Programs, then click Live Mesh. You’ll need to sign in again using your Windows Live ID.

If there are actions you can take to update or enhance the Live Mesh software on your device, a System notifications icon IconInfo24 Featured News will appear at the bottom of the Notifier. Click it to view the notifications.

The Notifier consists of 3 parts, News, Devices and Active Folders.

News
Here we are looking at the News section (click News icon at the bottom) in the Notifier, this section keeps you up to date on all the activity in the folders you share.

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You might be wondering why there’s more in the Notifier from the device (my computer), well that’s only because I did some stuff between taking the screenshots :P You can see I added the screenshot to my Mesh folder called Screenshots and that I modified it a couple of times. View all news will take you to the News section on the site (reviewed in Part 2).

Active Folders
This section will give you an overview of all your shared folders and shows how many persons are active at that moment in the folder. Folders synchronized with the device you’re using will appear in blue folderinsync Featured News . Unsynchronized folders will appear faded foldernosync Featured News . Clicking on a folder name will open that folder, on Live Desktop if from there or on your device if clicked in Notifier there.

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In the above you you see that on the Live Desktop one it shows 1 active member for every folder, and that on the device one it does not. The Live Desktop one does that at the moment even if you have no folder opened on the Live Desktop, this is currently under investigation (I filed a bug report on it).

Notifier on Live Desktop – detects folders opened/viewed on Live Desktop only, both owner and shared members.
Notifier on Device – detects folders opened on Live Desktop (owner and members) and the Device(s) you added, if you yourself are viewing that folder at several devices this will only be counted once (it’s counted per Live ID)

Manage folders will open the following when clicked in Notifier on device:

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As you can see in the screenshot from here you can manage the folders (select and right click for menu), meaning open the folder (Explore)/delete/rename, change sync settings and add and manage members.

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Here you can see lots of grayed out stuff, this is no bug..it just hasn’t been implemented yet.

Clicking Manage folders in the Notifier on the Live Desktop will open the following on the Live Desktop

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Not much you can do from there (yet) besides view some info on the size of the folders in total and on specific folder if you select the folder, watch the info bar at the bottom of that folder.

Devices
This shows all the devices in your mesh and their online status. The device you’re currently using is shown in bold, gray in case of the Live Desktop.

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Clicking on Manage devices will land you on the Devices section at the website, reviewed in Part 2, where you can view synchronization state and Storage (coming soon)…

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…or remotely connect to a device in your Mesh with the orange Connect Button, which brings us to the next subject of part 3.

 

Remote Desktop

Ever needed that file that’s on another computer? Now I hear you say put it in the shared folder, sure…but what if you forgot and you need it now and no chance to physically access the device it’s on? Live Mesh has thought of that too, you can remotely connect to any of the devices in your Mesh, either from the Live Desktop, which you can reach on any device (computers only now, mobile in future) that has an Internet browser, or from any of the devices through the Notifier. The connection goes over the Internet for both methods now, even if the two devices are on the same local network, but in future true P2P connection will be possible.

To be able to use remote desktop make sure the device(s) is/are added to your Mesh, turned on and connected to the Internet. Also during install of the Live Mesh software on those devices make sure the Live Mesh Remote Desktop enhancements are installed. These enhancements make it possible for you to log on to a remote computer and respond to User Account Control prompts (Vista). Live Mesh adds a firewall exception so inbound traffic is allowed from peer devices. Security rules are always applied to peer-to-peer communication, so only authorized traffic is accepted. The checkbox (Vista only) to install the Remote Desktop enhancements is checked by default, so if you doubt now wether you did: don’t worry you most likely did. Else you will see a System notifications icon IconInfo24 Featured News at the bottom of the Notifier on said device, click that, then click Configure Live Mesh Remote Desktop to install the enhancements afterwards. If you’re running Windows XP, the enhancements are installed automatically as part of the Live Mesh software.

To remotely connect to one of your devices click Connect to device from the Notifier (either on Live Desktop or Device), or make sure the device you wish to connect to is pointed at on Devices section on the website then click he Orange Connect button. If connecting from the web, you may be prompted to install an ActiveX control. Please install else remote desktop will not work.

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After clicking Connect in the prompts you will be presented with one of the following 2 screens…

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…the latter is when the device is currently in use and shows a countdown until connection. If someone is actively using the remote computer you’re trying to connect to, they’ll see a notification that you’re trying to connect to the computer. If your request is not denied within 30 seconds, you’ll be connected automatically.

The Mesh Bar at the right is giving you additional information about what’s going on and Tips and Tricks. If secure logon is enabled on your remote computer, you’ll need to click Send CTRL + ALT + DELETE in the mesh bar to unlock the remote computer and get the Windows logon screen to appear.

Once connected, click on the account name you wish to work on and you can work on that device as if you were sitting behind it. That includes working with programs, restarting (will require you to reconnect to that device if you wish to continue working on it remotely) and/or closing down that device (make sure none of the users has anything open/unsaved, this might get lost on shutting down). If at that time somebody is sitting behind that device and you don’t want him/her to watch along with what you are doing, click Hide desktop on remote device.

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Notice the connected bar at the top of the Remote Desktop.

Notes
  • To help improve the speed and performance of your remote connection, the desktop wallpaper on your remote computer won’t appear when you use Live Mesh Remote Desktop.
  • Microsoft DirectX is not supported in Live Mesh Remote Desktop.
  • If you enable the Live Mesh Remote Desktop enhancements on your computer but don’t have a video driver installed, your screen resolution will decrease to 640 x 480, with 4-bit color.
  • If you’ve installed software on your device that alters your Windows Remote Desktop Connection settings, those settings may not work the same way when you connect to a device using Live Mesh Remote Desktop.

The user of said device/computer can also disconnect you by clicking CTRL+ALT+DEL.

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For security reasons the connection will be closed automatically after several minutes of no traffic over the remote connection. If you want to reconnect you will have to click Reconnect, in future auto-reconnect will also be offered. To disconnect from the device yourself, simply click the close button and you will be presented with the following

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If you want to reconnect immediately after, then you may not get connected again immediately as it takes time (up to about a minute) to reset everything.

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I hope my articles have made clear how one uses Live Mesh. Finally I would like to show you how you can remove devices from your Mesh. To do that you go to the Devices section on the website, select the device you wish to remove then open the options menu and select Remove Device from Live Mesh

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After removing the device you can uninstall the Live Mesh software from that device if you like to do so.

Note that none of the folders in your mesh will be deleted when you remove a device. Folders will remain on your device, and you’ll continue to have full access to the files in those folders. You can always access and work with folders in your mesh and those on your Live Desktop too, just no more synchronizing of folders with that device!

This concludes Part 3 of my series, previous parts:
Part 1 – Folders And Files
Part 2 – The Mesh Bar and Website sections

More information:
Live Mesh
Live Mesh – Learn More (includes videos)
Live Mesh Help
Live Mesh Team blog

Live Mesh on Channel 8

Previous LiveSide article – Live Mesh Technology Preview: First Look
All previous LiveSide Stories about Live Mesh

If you are a developer please have a look at Scott’s article, Live Mesh, From A Developer’s Side

Still not in the Live Mesh Technology Preview? Sign up on the waiting list at http://mesh.com/ or find a friend who is in.
Our Live Mesh Invites forum for LiveSide Members is also still open!