I tend to work with a fair number of documents in my job. Between articles that are sent to me, editorials I write, and presentations I give (not to mention blog posts), I have a lot of data floating around.
Over the years I've organized things into a few folders that I tend to use to keep myself on task. I have one for my OneNote documents that I use for Editorial writing. I have a second folder for all the articles I get from authors, and I have a presentations folder. Pictures, video, etc. I have in other places, but I rarely use this stuff away from my desk.
When I was traveling last fall to various places, I found myself way out of sync. I'd get articles from authors and then had trouble trying to get them back to my desktop, match them up with the correct author, keep track of them based on dates, etc. I ended up losing a couple articles and really annoying authors.
For awhile I would just copy my entire folder of "articles" to a USB key and then copy it to my laptop when I traveled and then reverse the process when I returned home, but I ended up losing track of which machine had the latest version of which article. What I really needed was ...
I really needed some way to easily replicate data. During an interview with Eric Johnson of CSTechCast, he showed me Live Mesh, a service from Microsoft and Windows Live, that allows you to share folders among machines.
It sounded great, so I gave it a try, signed up, and then registered both my desktop and laptop as "devices" in my mesh. This is essentially a cloud for your folders and machines.
I then picked my presentations folder, my OneNote folders, and my articles folders, and marked them as items in my mesh. Once they were registered on each machine, I could see my files in sync from either location.
I've been doing this for about two months, and so far it's been a breeze to use. And my files stay in sync. I can edit something on my desktop, walk upstairs to my laptop, and in a few minutes they're in sync. I can take my laptop on a trip, edit things and then they're back on my main desktop when I get home. Since the desktop is where I do most of my work, this is really handy.
The only downside is that if I go disconnected on the laptop and edit things without an Internet link, I need to make sure I let it sync up at home before I start using those same documents on the desktop.
OneNote is interesting because it saves automatically as you type. If I pause for a minute, I'll see the Live Mesh in my task bar syncing up with the cloud. I was worried about trying it with Outlook PST files, but Google gave me another way to do things, so I'm sticking with that.
There's a remote control option as well, which I tried on a trip, but it didn't work. I'm not sure if my connection was too flaky or the 3 monitors on my desktop broke it, but I couldn't get it to work.
I'll give Live Mesh 2 thumbs up for now. I've found this to be a simple, easy, and reliable way to keep data in sync across multiple machines.