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New Hotmail Integrates Office Features

StoneLion posted more than 2 years ago | from the you-can-dress-it-up dept.

Microsoft 90

angry tapir writes "Microsoft is set to begin rolling out the latest enhancements to its Hotmail (warning: interstitial ad) web mail service, with an aim to reduce clutter and make it easier to send photos and handle Office documents. Microsoft is making a Web-based version of Office available from within Hotmail's Web interface that allows use of Microsoft document formats such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote."

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90 comments

Hotmail? (3, Funny)

netsavior (627338) | more than 2 years ago | (#32252416)

I thought they went out of business in the mid 1990s, haven't heard of them since.

Re:Hotmail? (3, Informative)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 2 years ago | (#32252540)

They didn't go out of business, Microsoft bought them and that was post-'97 (I think it was around '99). I had a pre-MS account but have since closed that one. I still have one hotmail address (I used to have three), though.

Wannabee fools. (5, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#32252428)

where were they up until google did it ? they realized to do this just now ? all they are doing is 'me too' for a long while now.

In other words... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#32252502)

...this whole story is just Slashdot whoring itself out to Microsoft marketing chumps.

Re:Wannabee fools. (3, Interesting)

zkp (1634437) | more than 2 years ago | (#32252524)

Actually, some of the features sound pretty useful to me. The claimed improvement (we will have to see, but it seems plausible) is that they do a better job integrating real office documents.

From a security standpoint, I have often wanted to be able to generate something like a one time password when logging in through a public computer.

One thing, OneNote (2, Interesting)

xtracto (837672) | more than 2 years ago | (#32253878)

IFF, Microsoft offers the OneNote program online (for free) and manages to integrate it in a sensible way to Hotmail, I might be sold.

Currently I am using Google Notebook (I was lucky to get an account before they closed the subscriptions) to organize my life. I have really tried to use other online alternatives (like Zoho) but they just do not feel right.

On the other hand, the times when I have used OneNote, it has *really* impressed me. That is a really good program.

Re:One thing, OneNote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#32254224)

How would you integrate Hotmail and OneNote?

Re:One thing, OneNote (1)

ashridah (72567) | more than 2 years ago | (#32255446)

They're basically planning to, once the release of office 2010 hits the shelves next month. Onenote should be available via skydrive when office 2010 is released, so you can sync locally, on skydrive, with phones, etc.

Re:Wannabee fools. (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 2 years ago | (#32252528)

I know! I liked hotmail because it meant I could escape the dreaded Power Point Presentation...

Why must they make the laser sound effect for every letter flying in from the side of the screen. Make it stop!

Re:Wannabee fools. (1)

box4831 (1126771) | more than 2 years ago | (#32253538)

(pew!)W(pew!)h(pew!)a(pew!)t (pew!)a(pew!)r(pew!)e (pew!)y(pew!)o(pew!)u (pew!)t(pew!)a(pew!)l(pew!)k(pew!)i(pew!)n(pew!)g (pew!)a(pew!)b(pew!)o(pew!)u(pew!)t(pew!)? L(pew!)a(pew!)s(pew!)e(pew!)r (pew!)s(pew!)o(pew!)u(pew!)n(pew!)d(pew!)s (pew!)a(pew!)r(pew!)e (pew!)a(pew!)w(pew!)e(pew!)s(pew!)o(pew!)m(pew!)e(pew!)!

Re:Wannabee fools. (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 3 years ago | (#32260266)

I watched the video introduction, and do you know what I thought about Powerpoint files? She e-mailed a file to herself so that she could work at home?!? What? Really?

Come on. This isn't the 90s anymore. MS should at least have promoted SkyDrive, or if they wanted to promote in-email editing, said that she was working with a frie ... never mind. That second one would be stupid, too. There's no reason to attach a file so you or someone else can edit it at home. In short, I think the new Office-for-attachments-in-Hotmail feature should have been rethought.

I liked the photo gallery instead of attachments, though. I liked it even better when Naver / Daum were doing it years ago in Korea. Why is it taking everyone else so long to get that idea implemented? 90% of attachments should just be hosted somewhere.

I don't use Hotmail -- I use GMail, and I can't figure out why Google won't let me "attach" (insert a link to) a Picasaweb photo or album from within the GMail compose window, why I can't do something similar with Docs, or why all my GMail attachments don't automatically appear in those services instead of me having to download the attachments and immediately upload them again or import them. If you're going to be a company going all hosted and "cloudy," then go all the way. Don't keep one foot in the past when it just makes stuff more difficult.

Re:Wannabee fools. (3, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#32252642)

Microsoft has been 'me too' since early days. Microsoft's strategy has been to let some other company prove there is a market for a particular function then write a competing product and gradually improve it (and modify the OS so that the competitor doesn't run as well) until they take over the market (see: Excel, Word, Internet Explorer...to name a few). It doesn't always work (see MS Money).

Re:Wannabee fools. (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 2 years ago | (#32252928)

Microsoft's strategy has been to let some other company prove there is a market for a particular function then buy a competing product and gradually improve it (and modify the OS so that the competitor doesn't run as well) until they take over the market

FTFY

Re:Wannabee fools. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#32253114)

Huh? I thought that was Google's strategy?

Google Groups, Maps, Blogger, AdWords, Gmail, Desktop, Talk, Youtube..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_acquisitions_by_Google [wikipedia.org]

Maybe they copied it from Microsoft.

Re:Wannabee fools. (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#32264742)

Seriously?

You must be GNU here

Almost all of Microsoft's "innovation" has come through aquisitions and mergers [wikipedia.org].

Of course to look at a successful company and not learn the lesson of their success would be foolish...NO?

Re:Wannabee fools. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#32252846)

That is all MS has done since it's inception, why do you get on them for following a successful business plan?

Re:Wannabee fools. (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 2 years ago | (#32253208)

To be fair, Google also did a 'me too' since they bought the companies Upstartle and 2Web Technologies to get word processing and spreadsheet components of Google Docs. There were other paid services that did the same thing too. Also Microsoft haven't only just realised to do this now. It was announced back in October 2008.

And frankly, who cares if it has been done before. There is no doubt that Microsoft's Office Web Apps will be a great step up from Google Docs in terms of functionality, but the requirement of Silverlight means I will give it a miss. I don't want to install stuff locally to access my files on the web. That defeats the purpose in my opinion.

Re:Wannabee fools. (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 2 years ago | (#32253388)

I just read on the Wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] that Silverlight is optional. Oops, TFA says the same thing. It will be interesting to see how useful it is without the client side plug in.

Re:Wannabee fools. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#32255040)

They had a fairly shitty data storage policy (like 100MB or so) until Gmail got in the game. Playing catch-up with Google isn't that new to them. They still terminate inactive accounts after 60 days, so if you don't check your email too often or go on an extended hiatus from the net then Gmail is better in that regard too.

Hotmail still has it's uses though. I use it as my general purpose public email and spam-trap. Friends and family or legit business contacts know to go to Gmail.

Re:Wannabee fools. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32260042)

Your memory is a little generous. Hotmail had an insanely low 2mb limit at one time!!! A few e-mails would freeze your inbox. Only after gmail appeared were they so generous to offer 100mb.

Re:Wannabee fools. (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 3 years ago | (#32261296)

Your memory is a little generous. Hotmail had an insanely low 2mb limit at one time!!! A few e-mails would freeze your inbox. Only after gmail appeared were they so generous to offer 100mb.

Yep. It was $10 an month (or year) to raise that to 10mb if I recall correctly.

Re:Wannabee fools. (1)

KnownIssues (1612961) | more than 2 years ago | (#32255448)

where were they up until google did it ?

Waiting for Google to do it.

they realized to do this just now ?

Right. Because Google hires geniouses while Microsoft hires stupid noobs.

all they are doing is 'me too' for a long while now.

Why hello there, Captain Obvious.

Why does everyone act surprised or disgusted or flabberghasted that a huge successful company could maintain its success by building on other peoples' innovations? Either their business model is stupid, and their stock will tank and their sales will drop off and they will go bankrupt, or their business model works. I'm not saying I like their business model, or agree with it, or think it's healthy or beneficial to society. I'm just saying it's not such a surprise that this works for them.

Re:Wannabee fools. (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 2 years ago | (#32255832)

where were they up until google did it ? they realized to do this just now ? all they are doing is 'me too' for a long while now.

I dunno where they've been... but what's to say that sending emails in doc format wont somehow become standard for Hotmail users? It'll look and work just like regular email when using Hotmail and such, but to those who dont (gMail users, Yahoo, etc), the email will have to be opened with provided or installed Word readers.

That'd be interesting. I seem to remember something similar happening in the early days of Hotmail with non-standard text markup being used.

I'm not suggesting this is their eventual motive, or even that it's a good method to boost either (a) use of Hotmail or (b) purchases of Office or (c) use of their upcoming Online Office or (d) a method to try to get more people back to IE (for either email viewing purposes or for the "advanced" features in Hotmail that only work correctly under IE) ... but it would be interesting if that's the direction they decided to go... I wonder if it would be one more nail in their Hotmail/Office/IE coffin, or actually to their benefit.

Open Document (5, Interesting)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 2 years ago | (#32252448)

I usually use Linux and I want to avoid lock-in. Microsoft Office supports the OpenDocument format, so how about these Microsoft services? And with OpenDocument I mean the Oasis format, not OpenXML (which I don't trust to be suffiently interoperable).

Re:Open Document (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#32253100)

I usually use Linux and I want to avoid lock-in.

Run. Run far away, and never return. Anything that they support can and will be used against you once the Microsoft Lock-in apocalypse comes.

Re:Open Document (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#32254934)

Once it comes? That ship sailed a decade ago. We're just now digging out from under the rubble.

It looks like you're using hotmail... (5, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 2 years ago | (#32252458)

Would you like me to interconnect every program Microsoft has to offer to your account so that way you can be tied to us forever?

Yes/No

It looks like you've said "No". Are you sure?

Yes/No

I'm sorry, but it appears you keep clicking on "No". I believe you meant to click "Yes."

Is this correct?

Yes/Yes

Ok, great! Downloading files....12567 of 9,324,456,765 Bytes downloaded.

Re:It looks like you're using hotmail... (1)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | more than 2 years ago | (#32252912)

Sorry for being the Boolean Nazi, but on the second question the "wrong" (i.e. anti-MS) answers is "Yes" (Are you sure? Yes ... it appears you keep clicking on "Yes").
Apart from that... LOL

Re:It looks like you're using hotmail... (1)

quickOnTheUptake (1450889) | more than 2 years ago | (#32253286)

Is this correct, namely: Is my belief that you meant to click yes correct?
Seems coherent to me.

Re:It looks like you're using hotmail... (1)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | more than 3 years ago | (#32262920)

I meant the second question, i.e. "It looks like you've said "No". Are you sure?" - In which the sane user would answer "Yes" (I'm sure I don't need your Hotmail interconnection) - And then the program should say you keep pressing "Yes", etc...

Re:It looks like you're using hotmail... (1)

Smauler (915644) | more than 2 years ago | (#32253698)

My parent's freeview recorder has a similar one to that last :

Are you sure you want to cancel this reservation?
Yes/Cancel

Re:It looks like you're using hotmail... (1)

ShecoDu (447850) | more than 2 years ago | (#32253768)

Step 3 is more like ???

PROFIT!!!?

No, seriously, step 3 is more like, "you have to press 'Yes' to continue"

Re:It looks like you're using hotmail... (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 3 years ago | (#32261308)

No, seriously, step 3 is more like, "you have to press 'Yes' to continue"

Unless I am missing what you are saying, that was step 3

Losing (2, Interesting)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 2 years ago | (#32252474)

Heh. Once again we have MS playing catch-up to Google. I thought Hotmail was turned into Windows Live or something like that anyhow.

Re:Losing (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 2 years ago | (#32252568)

Yes, never mind that Microsoft had an office suite for a good decade before Google even existed, and that its offline version has always had and continues to have a mound more useful features than Google Docs, and that its launched web version has many more features than Google Docs.

You Google fanboys are tedious. You don't even know why you like them.

Re:Losing (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 2 years ago | (#32252702)

Well, I googled "Why I like google" and received 503,000,000 responses, so yeah, I don't know why I like google since I haven't read all of them yet. ;-)

Re:Losing (3, Insightful)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 2 years ago | (#32252874)

Yeah, that's just a mixture between your and Google's incompetence. If you put it in quotes, nearer 383,000. If you browse to the last page of results, about 199.

Re:Losing (1)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 2 years ago | (#32257404)

I binged "why i like microsoft" [bing.com], and received 133 hits.

In comparison, bing gives 211.000.000 hits for why i like google [bing.com].

Re:Losing (4, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#32253094)

I don't see Google with an on-premise deployment option - how is that 'catch up'? (And no, I don't mean the desktop versions of Office, Microsoft has an on-premise version of its Office Web Apps so you don't have to trust your data to third party servers)

Re:Losing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#32256016)

SharePoint 2010 has online office web apps available for on-premise web apps.

Re:Losing (1)

loudmax (243935) | more than 2 years ago | (#32257324)

I don't think Google is all that interested in on-premise software. On-premise is valued by sysadmins because they perceive themselves as in control of the system. Once online companies can start delivering software that equals the reliability and UI quality of local apps, you're going to see a huge migration away from locally maintained software. Obviously, that's a tall order and not something we're going to see for a few years. But give the cloud another decade and people will wonder that every mid-sized organization had their own help desk and IT staff.

Lots of IT folks today like being in control of their own hardware and focus on that aspect of running their systems locally. They argue that management will see things the same way. Ten years ago, I thought pretty much the same thing: "Surely, no organization that cares about its data will let themselves be locked into proprietary software. That is why open source and open formats will soon dominate corporate IT." I was wrong. Open source has proved itself, but most organizations today still run a proprietary IT stack. Any sysadmin who thinks that management cares that Sharepoint and Exchange are running on local hardware is fooling himself. Management will be happy to outsource the IT division to cloud services run by Google or Salesforce or Microsoft or whoever offers what appears to have the best ROI. Once cloud software reaches the reliability and responsiveness of desktop apps, they'll demand the infrastructure be switched to the cloud in a heartbeat. No more desktop support and server rooms in the basement. Just plug your monitor and keyboard & mouse into the network and go. Microsoft realizes that their days of locking in customers via proprietary local apps are numbered. The future of vendor lock-in is the cloud, and that is the market that they, and Google, and others, are aiming for.

Spam? (1)

pinkj (521155) | more than 2 years ago | (#32252504)

Why would I want to open all my spam in Office?

Re:Spam? (2, Funny)

Jazz-Masta (240659) | more than 2 years ago | (#32252730)

Why would I want to open all my spam in Office?

Because all the best email viruses have word and excel macros built in...you can't open those in Google Docs.

Re:Spam? (1, Insightful)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#32253142)

Not only spam, but everyone can read your spam, and your email, and your online office documents!

The last paragraph of the article:
"Later this year, Microsoft plans on introducing SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption for Hotmail, although the company has not decided whether it will be optional or not, Mehta said."

Nice.

sigh... (3, Insightful)

AlexiaDeath (1616055) | more than 2 years ago | (#32252510)

They are several years late. Again. And Google gives me a lot more formats, all of the OO ones for example and an online PDF reader, best thing since sliced bread. And it does this without the need for closed clumsiy plugins like MS-s silverlight.

Re:sigh... (3, Interesting)

dward90 (1813520) | more than 2 years ago | (#32252666)

While it's true that Google supports more file types, it shouldn't be unreasonable to assume that Hotmail's integration with MS Office will be substantially more seamless.

Google Docs is still pretty atrocious at handling any formatting quirks of Office file types, and given that MS Office is still the most popular suite to format things in (for better or worse), Hotmail could have a strong selling point above Google in this regard.

*Disclosure* I use Google Docs almost exclusively for my academic and personal needs.

Re:sigh... (1)

AlexiaDeath (1616055) | more than 2 years ago | (#32252832)

So Ill forward any particularly difficult MS document I get to my hotmail account and wait until Im behind a windows computer with silverlight available.

Or not.

That windows computer (my work laptop, parents computer, whatever) has most likely some version of Office installed. So Ill just use that.

Re:sigh... (0, Redundant)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#32253122)

You can use the web apps without silverlight - it degrades nicely. Silverlight adds additional features, but its not required for basic use. Even without Silverlight, these web apps are certainly more than equal to those from Google - add the SL option there for those who wish to use it and you have a very nice offering.

Re:sigh... (2, Insightful)

AlexiaDeath (1616055) | more than 2 years ago | (#32253674)

Nice, yes. But not enough to cause mass move over from Google.

Re:sigh... (0)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#32253960)

Why not? Have you used it? What are you basing your opinion on?

If a business already has Office under certain volume licenses from Microsoft, they already have a license to deploy the on-premise version. Businesses are going to use this massively.

Re:sigh... (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 2 years ago | (#32253956)

The truth is Google Docs is still nothing more than the web version of Write/Wordpad (maybe only with the added ability to put tables... which do not work so well). A much better implementation is the one from Zoho.

If the online version of Word is as complete as say, OpenOffice then it will be much better than Google Docs.

Late, yes... (2, Interesting)

Benfea (1365845) | more than 2 years ago | (#32252976)

...but I'm betting this will be a heck of a lot more robust than Google Docs. Competition is a good thing.

Re:Late, yes... (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 2 years ago | (#32253064)

Yeah, but will it work with non-IE browsers?

Re:Late, yes... (4, Insightful)

jslater25 (1005503) | more than 2 years ago | (#32254240)

Don't forget that Hotmail (or is it Windows Live or Windows Hotmail Live or Windows Live Mail? I can never remember!) STILL doesn't support IMAP. So while Microsoft is busy trying to integrate most Microsoft Office products (Outlook integration requires an annual fee along with additional software), they continue to lag behind the competition in other areas.

Silverlight is a turd on fire (1)

newdsfornerds (899401) | more than 2 years ago | (#32255224)

I was so pissed to find out Netflix chose Silverlight to deliver steaming movies. You're actually complementing it when you call Silverlight, clumsy. "Flaming paper bag full of doggie dirt" is more accurate.

Re:sigh... (1)

orient (535927) | more than 2 years ago | (#32255398)

I was disappointed to see that Google would fail to import may OOWriter document (.odt created with OO 3.2) and I had to convert it to .doc before I could import it into Google Docs...

Re:sigh... (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 3 years ago | (#32260390)

Umm. I just imported an OOWriter doc. Are you using the incomplete, new interface or something?

ActiveX? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#32252586)

Requiring IE or ActiveX, I'm sure.

Re:ActiveX? (3, Informative)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 2 years ago | (#32253436)

According to Wikipedia: Supported web browsers include Internet Explorer 7 and later, Mozilla Firefox 3.5 and later and Safari 4. In another thread, I just criticised the Microsoft web apps for requiring Silverlight, but I just read that according to Wikipedia it was: optional and its availability will only "enhance the user experience, resulting in sharper images and improved rendering."

I should have read TFA.

Re:ActiveX? (2, Interesting)

rampagea1 (1571127) | more than 2 years ago | (#32255620)

To use Microsoft Office Live Workspace beta, your computer must meet one of the following requirements: 1) Microsoft Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8 running on Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Vista. You can download Internet Explorer from the Internet Explorer page. 2) Mozilla Firefox running on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, or Mac OS X 10.2.x and later. You can download Firefox from the Firefox download page. 3) Safari 3 and 4 on Mac OS X 10.2.x and later. No support for Linux... just Mac or Windows :(

Re:ActiveX? (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#32257562)

Live Workspace is an old thing, and is not the same as Office Web Apps / SkyDrive.

Now, I haven't found any place that'd list system requirements (and specifically browser/OS) for Office as exposed on SkyDrive, but it is reasonable to assume that they will be the same as for Office Web Apps in SharePoint 2010 - after all, it's supposed to be the same code. And for those, Firefox on Linux is explicitly supported [msdn.com]. No Opera on the list, though - a pity.

Inter-what? (1)

sanjosanjo (804469) | more than 2 years ago | (#32252680)

Am I the only one that learned a new word today? Interstitial advertisements. Now I know the proper term to use when I curse those god-damn ads!

Wait, wait, wait, I'm sure I've seen this before (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 2 years ago | (#32252686)

Let me think ... integrated e-mail, search engine and online office suite. I'm sure I've seen that before. Now it comes to bing and hotmail, but I'm sure I've seen it in some other search engine that also has an e-mail service. I can't seem to remember the name right now.

Anyway, Congratulations microsoft! Definitely original and innovative new product, as usual.

Interstitial ad (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 2 years ago | (#32252704)

Slashdot readers still allow their browsers to display ads? That's adorable.
But seriously, all I use my Hotmail account for is logging into messenger (using an app called 'A-Patch' to remove ads there as well) and as a dumping ground for spam.

Re:Interstitial ad (1)

TiberiusMonkey (1603977) | more than 2 years ago | (#32253152)

(using an app called 'A-Patch' to remove ads there as well).

A-Patch always seemed very very suspicious to me on casual glance whenever I went looking for something to get rid of MSN ads.

Re:Interstitial ad (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 2 years ago | (#32253190)

The developers site is weird. Apparently he is some kind of Muslim evangelist. But I have had it installed for years now and it works well.

Login-ID (1)

FatJuggles (1206940) | more than 2 years ago | (#32253244)

They can spend millions in trying to integrate office in to hotmail and yet every time I enter my user-id I have to put the "@hotmail.com" Really? You couldn't check to see if I put in hotmail.com in my address bar and then just assume that? I can understand if I linked from MSN.com and you gave a drop down for it. At least make it a drop down so I don't have to type the damn thing out.

"Already done" (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 2 years ago | (#32254360)

I guess since it's already been done, we don't want anyone else to do it. Competition is bad. And stupid. Once an idea has been done, it's futile to try to improve on it in any way, or implement it for your own clients.

Most of the Slashdot posts so far appear to be saying that it's "just Microsoft playing catchup, as always" as if that is always a bad thing. I guess Microsoft should be the lead innovator in every single area, and if another company comes out with a good idea, Microsoft should not offer it to their current customers/clients/users/whatever... and if they do, it's definitely bad.

And Google? Great innovator! Like buying GrandCentral and turning it into Google Voice! Very innovative!

Don't get me wrong, I like Google Voice. I'm just saying that the comparison gets really frustrating sometimes. Microsoft has done some pretty innovative things, so has Google, and they BOTH do the catch-up/acquisition thing.

(Microsoft innovation thing, at least one I haven't seen as well implemented elsewhere so far.... that works on such a wide variety of platforms and is pretty easy to install/use: Live Mesh)

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