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Follow the mesh

Life of BrianOld-time PC software players used to kid about Microsoft’s ability to create buzz.

 Whenever a competitor came out with something nifty, Microsoft would crank its code-name generator, priming the pump for a deluge of stories about how Microsoft ‘s newer technology, just around the corner, would kick everyone else’s stuff  to the curb.

The more things change …. Last week at Mix 08, Ray Ozzie talked about “mesh” or “synchromesh” which connotes the concept of Web-connected devices and people. The term mesh—in the context of “the social mesh” or “device mesh” was used 14 times in his keynote. You can count it yourself on the keynote transcript here. (At least he refrained from the “S” word although tools guy Scott Guthrie broke out “super” a few times.)

“We need to think of the Web as a hub, the hub of our social experiences, our social mesh, the hub of our technology experiences, our device mesh,” said Ozzie. He admitted that this was not exactly new news. But he persisted in the mesh metaphor.

Money quote:

“Related to the device mesh, this first principle also recognizes that we’re living in a world where the number and diversity of devices is on the rise. From phones and PCs to smart TVs, DVRs, media centers, game consoles, digital picture frames, pocket media players, digital cameras and camcorders, recently, home servers, car entertainment and navigation systems — the list just goes on and on and on and it grows every CES. Until we believe that the quaint concept that we’ve kind of grown up with of one PC, of my computer, will give way to the notion of a personal collection of connected devices brought together by the Web. At the principle level, we believe that the Web will be used across all our offerings as a hub to simplify your life in managing and using a world of devices. “


“Office Live will extend PC-based Office scenarios into the social mesh, expanding the classic notion of personal productivity into the realm of the interpersonal, again, through social mechanisms such as the linking, sharing, and tagging of documents.”

Voila: the Microsoft software-plus-services take on software-as-a-service.

It’s nice to hear the vision thing. But once again, it seems Microsoft is puffing out vapor.
More Microsoft mesh coverage here. And here.

The whole scenario reeks of the “follow the sandal, follow the gourd” scene out of The Life Of Brian. Monty Python fans will know what I mean. For the rest of you, hit Netflix, it’ll be worth it.

Barbara Darrow can be reached at

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Try typing "web" into a MS Word doc, then click on thesauarus and voila, "Mesh!"