Software Above the Level of a Single Device – Live Mesh

18 04 2010

Overview
Nowadays, with the advancement of technology, information and applications that are stored online or on a device are accessible in a vast amount of ways. Computers are no longer the only access device for internet applications. Other mobile devices are capable of interconnecting with each other and utilizing multiple resources seamlessly.

Imagine, instead of configuring and editing applications on a phone with tiny screen, it would be more convenient to do so on a management console on your PC. Apple has cleverly made it simple for users to manage their iPhone on iTunes. It’s a richer way of managing all digital assets that are stored on devices, and making it accessible in many ways. And those assets are increasingly “above the level of a single device” (O’Reilly, 2007).


As an example, Live Mesh is a data synchronization system from Microsoft that allows files, folders and other data to be shared and synchronized across multiple personal devices and up to 5GB on the web (Wikipedia, 2010). It has the ability to allow other people to connect in order to share resources and at the same time synchronize any changes seamlessly. FeedSync is the main technology that synchronizes the changes made in each device. Live Mesh is virtually an online operating system with multiple devices which encourages users to be at the centre (Udell, 2008).

Comparison with other web 2.0 applications

Like Live Mesh there are other similar applications out there; some of these applications are, Dropbox, Syncplicity, Live Sync and MobileMe. They all have a common purpose to share and access data with multiple devices through a “cloud” service with a rich level of functionality, robustness, and flexibility. However, unlike other applications, Live Mesh solves the problem of needing both applications to be online at the same time in order to synchronize changes. It solves the problem by allowing other applications to synchronize with the server (“the cloud”) along with other devices running on the same application (Hoffman, 2008).

Critical and strategic implications
Despite all the benefits and conveniences of Live Mesh there are possible implications concerning the safety and privacy of the data being stored in the so-called “cloud” service. The more popular an application may become, the more likely an attacker will abuse the system. Why wouldn’t they? In a worse case scenario, imagine a hacker taking advantage of valuable data such as, bank details, company documents, and personal information belonging to targeted individuals (GNUCitizen, 2008).

On the other hand, could computing can offer additional security features because users won’t have to carry physical storage devices, such as Laptops, CD-ROMs, USBs or External Hard-Drives that can get lost or potentially stolen. Additionally, as long as the security is maintained and well implemented, storing data on a could service makes it easier to protect the data that is stored in multiple devices (Shinder, 2008). Along with this, Live Mesh uses HTTPS to encrypt traffic between the users and the server to prevent replay attacks.

Legal and ethical issues
The biggest concern of having an application like Live Mesh is the storage of the user’s data in the cloud and the resources required to maintain it. As users of the World Wide Web, we tend to question where our data might be stored and who might have access to it? Some may not even know where in the world their data is being stored (Shinder, 2008).

According to economists, several governments have already imposed new laws for cloud providers to build data centres in every country where they do business. The implications of this may result in a major barrier for small to medium developing companies who want to be involved in the could-base infrastructure business (Giordano, 2008). Furthermore, in order to cater the exponential growth of users accessing these services, extra processing power and storage capacity are essential. Therefore, lands and massive buildings are required to house these technologies which consume an overwhelming amount of energy to maintain it (Could Nine Computing, 2010).

Future directions
Like any other “Could Computing” applications, Live Mesh is just another revelation of Microsoft’s development. Aaron Woodman, Director of Product Management for Windows Mobile, said “Live Mesh is important..But it’s more about plumbing. It’s not something we will put in front of consumers” (Foley, 2009). The future of Live Mesh is unpredictable; however to some extent many organizations are enjoying the idea of having the application to assist users in storing and sharing their files through a “cloud” system which may also act as a backup system (Oliver, 2008).

References:

  • Could Nine Computing. 2010. Green Cloud (accessed April 18, 2010).
  • Foley, M. J. 2009. When will Microsoft’s Live Mesh matter? (accessed April 18, 2010).
  • Giordano, G. 2008. More on cloud computing (accessed April 18, 2010).
  • GNUCitizen. 2008. Live Mesh – Good Or Bad Idea? (accessed April 17, 2010).
  • Hoffman, K. 2008. MobileMe vs Live Mesh – Round 1. Net Developer’s Journal (accessed April 18, 2010).
  • O’Reilly, T. 2007. Software Above the Level of a Single Device. O’Reilly Media, Inc (accessed April 17, 2010).
  • Oliver, D. 2008. What is Live Mesh? (accessed April 18, 2010).
  • Shinder, D. 2008. Microsoft Live Mesh: What are the Security Implications? (accessed April 18, 2010).
  • Udell. 2008. LiveMesh and FeedSync: software “above the level of a single device” (accessed April 17, 2010).
  • Wikipedia. 2010. Live Mesh (accessed April 16, 2010).
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    2 responses

    19 04 2010
    Jack marrows

    Google is another great example of software utilizing the cloud. Interestingly, it has been digested cloud computering can be more secure for users because large companies tend to have better security and keep software up to date. All in all a good blog. Live mesh is a great example because it doesn’t only allow applications to be accessed across devices but also data.

    22 04 2010
    Amiel

    Yes, Google is another example. There are just a vast amount of applications out there utilizing the cloud due it’s scalability and high availability. Another advantage that I didn’t include in my post was Live Mesh’s VPN. User’s with the same applications are able to have remote access with the approval by the other party.

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