Monday, November 1, 2010

Great FREE Cloud Services from Microsoft

This article was started using Microsoft's Word Web App. This was possible by having a Windows's Live Account and a SkyDrive account. Although Word Web app doesn't have ALL the features of the PC version of Word it has the 20% most people use exclusively. You can even quickly bring the document into Office. When you hit the save button it saves it to your SkyDrive.

What is SkyDrive? It's your own hard drive in the Internet Cloud. A virtual file storage area hosted in the Microsoft Cloud. Pretty neat.

Last good thing about this? It's FREE.

So I click the button to bring the document into Office Word (one click, enter by Live id password and then when my local machine prompts me I allow it to enter my local machine.

So my curiosity chimes in, where is the document now? So I click save as and I find that my machine now have an extra network connection to this

(I did that by using the built in screen capture tool in Windows J).

So what happened during those prompts is that a secure connection (like a VPN) was created between my SkyDrive and my local machine. Very nice!

As I click save the document is saved to the SkyDrive so I don't have to worry about duplicate copies or not having access to this document when I move from this machine (actually my netbook) and my work desktop machine.

How does Live Mesh fit into this? Clicking on the help launches me to this page which helps me understand how all this works. What I find out are a few interesting things. First, you can sync one or more folders from one or more computers to your SkyDrive. Amazing! This gives me anywhere anytime access to my documents without additional software, hardware, or configurations. Nice! Second it tells me that if I leave my computer online (I assume that means powered on, logged on with an live internet connection) that I can get to ANY files and folders on my local machine. WOW. Last in this section it tells me I can sync up program settings between computers. This means I can have my favorites, office document templates the same on the different computers I work on. Boy is this going to reduce frustration and time.

On what machines can you install Windows Live Mesh? The newer stuff, Vista, Windows 7, Mac OS X version 10.5 or later.

So I wondered, "what happens if I need more than 25 GB of space? Granted that's a lot but if I'm going to start playing this into client environments; I need to know just how far I can take this. Found a good article from life hacker that provided some additional insight on SkyDrive As I read through this article I did find a slight limitation to SkyDrive; individual files are limited to a 500 MG. A comment from a reader questioned the availability of the SkyDrive, something I'll need to do a bit more research on.

So what now? I finished my exploration for today and I'm clicking the publish button in Word and posting this to my blog. All very efficient!

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