If you’re using my favorite web service Live Mesh, watch for an update in the next few days. It will be required to continue using Live Mesh; file sharing and remote access will go dead until the update is installed. I’m going to do a backup of the files stored in Live Mesh folders, just in case of any problems during the upgrade. Live Mesh is about to be opened up to a wider audience as a “beta” release and the update goes along with moving the service onto servers that can handle a bigger load. Here’s more information from the Live Mesh team.

That’s not the only reason, though. Microsoft is hosting the Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles over the next four days and new features added to Live Mesh will be the focus of some of the more interesting announcements at the show. The details are a closely held secret – I can guess that Live Mesh may begin to support Macs and Windows Mobile devices, perhaps, and there are likely to be new collaborative applications that leverage the Mesh platform’s ability to securely communicate among several computers on widespread networks.

That won’t be the only news out of PDC. Much of the development of personal computing over the next few years will be outlined at this conference! Many of the announcements will be directed at developers rather than consumers and there may not be many services that you can start using the day after the conference ends, but this is the one to watch if you want to know where things are going. The media will breathlessly cover announcements concerning “Windows 7,” next year’s successor to Vista, but that’s a marketing distraction that you can safely ignore for another few months.

Instead, watch for announcements of new and upgraded online services and lots of talk about “cloud computing” – and ready or not, here it comes, that’s the world we are moving into faster than you realize. The services that will change your life are the ones that move your programs and files online where you can be connected to them from any device – desktop computer or notebook or mobile device or game console. There are lots of issues to be addressed before we will be fully committed to that vision – the programs will have to look familiar and work in familiar ways and you’ll have to be convinced that your data is secure and backed up and under your control. The announcements at PDC will give us a good look at some of the steps we will make toward those goals in the next few years.

I’ll keep you posted!

PDC 2008