Tag Archives: windows

Live Mesh Adventures

I’ve had adventures with Live Mesh before (Live Mesh Ceased Connecting After Update).  Today’s adventures were of a different sort.

First, Live Mesh wouldn’t connect and, therefore, wouldn’t synchronize data with my laptop.  I could connect to Live Mesh through a browser just fine.  When in the browser I could see the folders and that the same folders had updated.  But Live Mesh itself was not connecting.  It was reporting the error message “Failed to start Live Mesh.”  No amount of stopping and starting Live Mesh or rebooting the computer resolved the condition.

Live Mesh Failed to Start
Live Mesh Failed to Start

Naturally, this situation was fairly frustrating and the normal Google research didn’t reveal much about the why the start failure happened or what could be done to resolve the situation.  I did learn that Live Mesh does have the ability to collect logs and send those to Microsoft as part of a bug report.  On the start menu choose Live Mesh –> Collect Live Mesh Logs.

Collect Live Mesh Logs
Collect Live Mesh Logs

This will launch a batch file that will launch a command prompt that will collect a bunch of logs and create a CAB file on your desktop to send to Microsoft (it should be name LiveMeshLogs.cab).  In my case, this log file was over 100 meg.  I wasn’t going to send that to Microsoft, so I fired up my trusty CAP explorer (WinZip) to see what it had.  The number and kind of log files vary by system (as I later learned).  The file that you are looking for is, probably, the latest file with a name like Moe-YOURCOMPUTERNAME-YOURUSERNAME-2010-04-05-101026.log.

Live Mesh Logs
Live Mesh Logs

Open that last log file to see the most recent error that Live Mesh has recorded.  The lines that are in the file will vary.  In my case the one I needed was:

2010-04-06 13:49:05.468,WARN,AccountsManager,0,1,4,The current device certificate in MOE accounts
cache doesn't match the device certificate obtained from the AuthenticationProvider.

Basically, this log message suggested that somehow the Live Mesh configuration had become corrupt.  With that being the case, there really were few options available.  Remove Live Mesh and reinstall was really it.

Googling for this particular error message didn’t yield a solution, but other similar complaints described the process to follow.

1.  Remove the machine from your device ring at www.mesh.com
2.  Uninstall Live Mesh
3.  Reboot
4.  Reinstall Live Mesh from www.mesh.com

It is very important to follow the instruction exactly.  I did not and that led to the second adventure.

I messed up the very first step.  I removed the wrong computer from the device ring (mesh).  This caused me not to be able to access the computer removed from the mesh through Live Mesh’s remote desktop functionality.  That was the whole point of using Live Mesh as there were files on the remote computer that would have been helpful for work (I’d forgotten to commit to version control before heading in).

Removing and reinstalling Live Mesh did resolve the “Failed to start Live Mesh” error.

When I arrived home, I needed to add the computer I had accidentally removed from the mesh back.  That seemed to go alright.  But it didn’t actually as the synchronized folders were desynchronized.  The Live Mesh folders were sitting on my desktop waiting for me to tell them where to synch.  So I pointed them at the existing folders.  Live Mesh complained that the folders already existed and that if they contained data then the existing folders would be merged with the mesh folders.  That was fine.

Then Live Mesh displayed this error:

Request to MOE failed
Request to MOE failed

Very, very cryptic.  Googling failed as well.

I went through the process of creating the Live Mesh logs on this computer and locating the most recent log file within the CAB.  The log message looks like:

2010-04-06 23:44:01.843,INFO,Moe,0,0,19,Request failed:
http://localhost:2048/Proxy/(https)storage.mesh.com(443)/CoreObjects/TXF4IUNOOTCE5EQ4O76G4AHCVM/Members/DFLW2IQ4QIREJDMYVNBBPKAJKQ/Mappings/ POST COM
InternalServerError:Invalid mapping location: 'C:\Some\Directory'.

Googling this error message didn’t reveal any useful information.  But, it did suggest that removing the wrong computer from the mesh earlier in the day probably was the proximate cause of the problem.  So, I followed the process of removing the computer from the mesh, uninstalling Live Mesh, rebooting, and reinstalling as described above.  Once that was done I was able to resynchronize the mesh folders with this computer.

All is well once again with my use of Live Mesh.

Windows 7

It has been almost a week after loading Windows 7 on my main desktop system and on my wife’s laptop.  Quite frankly I don’t see what the big deal is; I’m not impressed.

My first observations:

  • The Quick Launch toolbar was completely removed by the upgrade process.  Removing the toolbar took with a carefully constructed list of applications that I use frequently and that were ordered in a way that made sense.  I understand that “pinning” applications to the Task Bar is supposed to make the functionality of the Quick Launch toolbar substantially better.  I would almost buy that if the applications I’d had in the Quick Launch toolbar were automatically pinned to the Task Bar and pinned in the order I had them.  But the installer decided that service wasn’t necessary.
  • The applications that I’d previously had pinned to the Start menu were removed from the start menu.  I’d had Google Chrome, Microsoft Outlook, and Windows Explorer pinned there so that they were incredibly easy to access even with the keyboard.  All it took was hitting the Windows key, the down arrow one to three times, and the enter key.  Yes, I know I could have used the Windows key plus another hotkey to access any of those items; I just found it easier to use the arrow method.  Win7 supports pinning applications to the Start Menu.  Why would it have been so difficult to retain the applications that had already been pinned there by me?  Is that a subtle hint that pinning items to the Start Menu is something that I shouldn’t do?  If that’s the case, why?
  • The new Aero Glass interface looks like crap.  Yes; I said it looks like crap.  The version running on Vista was much more attractive.  The UI does not look professional or modern.  I suppose I’ll eventually get used to it.  But I’m already wondering if it will be butchered again in Windows 8?
  • Snippy is a handy tool for making quick screen shots with basic markup and editing.  It’s particularly useful for me as software developer when I need to make screen shots to send to members of my team that are scattered all over the country.  I’d rather not have to fire up Paint every time I need to do something simple and quick.
  • Speaking of Paint:  It was overhauled and given an Office 2007-style interface.  Very nice.  It also looks like the number of tools have been increased.
  • WordPad has also been updated to have the Office 2007-style.  While I rarely use WordPad, it does look a lot better.
  • Windows 7 is suppossed to be faster and have less of a resource footprint than Vista.  I’m not seeing either of those results on my desktop system.  It’s possible that the desktop system had enough resources that Vista didn’t have any issues.

My wife’s first observation after upgrading her laptop to Windows 7 was “Where did Outlook go?”  A fair question.  She’d always found it either pinned to the Start Menu or in the Quick Launch toolbar.  Before I could start an explanation she asked, “Where did the Internet go?”  I knew she meant Internet Explorer (and she does know that many things comprise the Internet and its not just the IE browser … she just doesn’t care about those details).  I explained that the Windows developers decided that applications didn’t need to be in either of those places any more.  She said, “Well, that’s dumb.  Put them back.”  Putting Outlook and IE back wasn’t possible, so I set them up for her the “Window 7 Way”.  She’ll probably forget the way XP and Vista did it soon enough.

After getting her setup with those basic applications in places she’d easily find, her next question was “Why did we spend money on this?”  Never mind that I got in when the Windows 7 pre-order period was open and got a really good deal.  She wasn’t seeing the benefit of any of the changes that came along with Win7.  It wasn’t rocking her world … at least not in a good way.

She isn’t noticing, but her laptop does seem to be a little bit faster to me.  This laptop of hers has always been slow and it is only about 18 months old.  This particular computer seems like it never had the resources to any thing.  Memory, for example, was almost fully consumed by Vista.  Of course, I haven’t spent a substantial amount of time using it since the upgrade.  But I haven’t heard any complaints about it being slow yet.  We’ll see how this works in the long run.  If it does turn out that it runs faster and is less resource constrained it will have been worth the “that’s dum” and “why did we spend money on this” comments.

Live Mesh Ceased Connecting After Update

It’s never good when an application like Microsoft’s Live Mesh offers to update itself and goes through this series of screens afterwards.

Signing in ...
Signing in ...
Something Went Wrong
Something Went Wrong
Signing Out ...
Signing Out ...

If I hadn’t done the update I would have been fine.  I would have been able to continue to access whatever files or computers that are part of the mesh.  Now I can’t; bummer.

Modular Windows

There is alot of speculation that the next version of Microsoft Windows will be “modular.”  ArsTechnica has a fantastic discussion here.  The article misses the point, though.  Microsoft certainly misses the point.

I want a modular operating system.  What’s that mean?  To me it means an operating system that installs just what’s necessary to boot the computer, enable support for all of my devices (like video cards, printers, keyboards, network cards, external drives, …), and provide a graphical framework for my applications to run on.  Graphical framework?  Well, strictly speaking that isn’t necessary to run a computer; but we are in the 21st century and that’s what users expect.  It should povide support for common communications protocols (via libraries) that my chosen applications can use.

Modular operating systems should allow me to install whatever web browser, email client, ftp client, picture software, office software, anti-virus/anti-spam software, or instant messaging client that I want.  An arbitrary piece of software like a web browser shouldn’t be wired deeply into the OS and then claimed as an essential part.  The operating system should provide a simple and well-documented method for any class of software to be installed and provide its services.

The OS shouldn’t come with any “helpful partner” applications to “make my experience better.”  At the very least if it going to recommend some “helpful partner” applications then the default option should not install anything the user didn’t explicitly give consent for (it should be opt-in, not opt-out).  My experience would be better if the OS just worked.

Ok, the part about a web browser being wired deeply into the operating system is an old complaint.  And taking it out isn’t what is being talked about when the term “modular Windows” is thrown about.  I’d like my “consumer” system to be as bare as possible (but with support for all the cool graphical interfaces that can be made).

I know, some of you are going to say “Just use Linux; all your desires for a modular OS will be met.”  Well, I have some installations of Linux floating around.  The problem is:  Linux never “just works” for me.  When Linux attempts to install and can’t figure out my nice, new LCD monitor then there is a problem.  I realize where the “fault” is, but Linux gets the blame because it didn’t “just work.”  I know I can take the Linux source and do whatever I want with it to make as modular as I want.  But, while I am a software developer, that’s just too much work for this consumer.

If Microsoft is really basing the idea of “modular Windows” on what users of their software really want, please, Microsoft, come talk to me.  I have some idea about what real consumers want.