I have two computers - and trying to live with both isn't exactly an easy proposition. One
is a Compaq Evo N800, a workhorse of a machine if there ever were one, but not without
some quirks. The other is a Toshiba Portege
3500 - a TabletPC. It'd be great if one
of these just stunk and drove me to the other, but they both have features that the
Probably the most important difference is I've spent the past year-and-a-half on the
Compaq and have a huge investment in data files already on the machine. This,
more than anything else, makes living with two computers difficult.
It doesn't make sense to carry both machines with me, so something has to give. Lately,
I've been biased towards using the Toshiba because a) it's lightweight and b) it's
tablet features for meetings and reading material in it's converted state is fantastic. However,
I don't want to be copying files back and forth between the two machines and trying
to keep track of what has and hasn't changed.
Enter Offline Files in Windows XP.
I've taken to making my Compaq the central place to store stuff as much as possible. For
example, I've been using Microsoft OneNote to write and store my blog entires (more
on that in a future blog.) I've made
the My Notebook folder on my Compaq available offline for my Toshiba, and then opened
the Blog section in OneNote on my Toshiba. OneNote
is actually smart enough to recognize that the section is from another computer and
treat it somewhat as a shortcut. Because
the section is made available offline, I can blog in OneNote on either machine and
keep the content centralized, with one minor exception &
Offline Files isn't smart. It just copies
stuff from the source to a cache on your local machine. It
will automatically push chances from the cache back to the source upon synchronization. It
can also detect if both the source and cached copies have changed and prompt you to
deal with it before blindly overwriting either. This
makes Offline Files sensitive to the order in which you do things. When
I return to the office, I need to make sure that my Toshiba has synchronized its Offline
Files with the Compaq prior to using the Compaq to avoid any conflicts.
Also, Offline Files has a small interaction problem with managed assemblies. The
.NET Framework sees these assemblies as running from an intranet location, and therefore
Code Access Security does not (by default) grant these assemblies many of the permissions
they need to work. So even though the
cache is on my local machine, the Windows redirector does a good job of hiding this
fact and CAS can't tell the difference. This
makes taking a Visual Studio .NET project offline from the Compaq and working with
it on my Toshiba a difficult and challenge proposition. Since
I haven't fiddled with CAS policy yet, I'm not sure if I can get around this little
hiccup or not. More to come.
All in all, it was much easier living with one machine, the Compaq. What
I really want is the Compaq's screen size
and keyboard layout with all the features of my Toshiba - convertible TabletPC, light
weight, tons of features, etc. Compaq
or Toshiba - if you're listening ...