In the wake of a recent Dropbox security snafu, I made my case for Windows Live Mesh, which I find to be better for my PC-to-PC (and PC-to-cloud) file syncing needs. But Windows Live Mesh isn't just for Windows-based PCs, despite its (somewhat unfortunate) name. It's also available for the Mac. And this week, coinciding with the release of Mac OS X "Lion" (v10.7), Microsoft has updated Windows Live Mesh for the latest OS X version.
Now, I know what you're thinking. What kind of self-respecting Mac user would ever install an application with the name Windows Live anything? And that's a fair question ... if you're just a Mac user. (Though, again, I think certain Windows Live Mesh advantages over Dropbox make it a viable alternative even for the Think Different set.) But let's face reality here for a moment. Many Mac OS X users--most, perhaps--don't just use a Mac. They also use Windows PCs. And if you're looking to sync two or more folders of content between both Windows PCs and Macs, well. Windows Live Mesh is just the ticket.
(I haven't confirmed this yet, but I believe Windows Live Mesh for Mac is only for folder syncing. That is, it doesn't support the other major feature of Live Mesh for Windows, remote PC desktop access.)
Installation is super-simple: Just download the latest version of Windows Live Mesh for Mac, extract the disk image file (.dmg) and then drag the application package icon onto the Application folder shortcut provided in the resulting folder. (Just as an aside, these Mac-based self-contained application packages, which are essentially just specially made folders, are excellent. Something like them is available now in Windows Phone 7, and an updated version of that will be coming to Windows 8. Finally.)
Once Windows Live Mesh is installed, you can run the application, specify your Windows Live ID, and choose whether to automatically run and logon to Windows Live Mesh when the Mac boots. (You should do so, but be sure to protect your Mac user account with a password too.) Then the application starts and, as you can see, you're provided with a very simple interface that lists your synced folders and the other devices that are part of your mesh. (These are mostly Windows PCs, but you can also have SkyDrive synced storage and a phone.)
You sync folders individually, and when you select one to sync, Live Mesh will prompt you with a pretty intelligent guess about where you want the folder (Documents for folders full of documents, and Pictures for folders full of photos, for example), but you can optionally specify any location you want.
As you configure each folder, the contents are synced to your Mac as you'd expect. From here, you can just access and use those folders, and their contents, as you would normally.
Going forward, Windows Live Mesh will continue to sync the content between your Windows PCs and Mac(s), regardless of which you choose to use at any time. You can open the application window at any time, or access synced folders from a drop-down menu accessed via a new Windows Live Mesh icon in the Mac OS X menu bar.
See, we really can all get along.