Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Microsoft Codename "Tahiti"

As I came to know from Abhishek Kant, my MVP lead about the Microsoft codename "Tahiti" which is in limited beta, a collaboration service, I downloaded it to check what all it can do.
Using Tahiti, one can easily share documents and screen captures with small groups.
You can review a document,spreadsheet or slides, or you can help your friend to fix his computer by sharing the desktop.So in a way anything can be reviewed in collaboration, either be documents, codes etc.
It works across firewalls,and one has to sign-in using Windows Live id.
You can start a session by inviting using instant message, email, or phone where a user name with password will be sent to join the session. Upto 15 persons can be in a session.
Now that you are in current session, it'll be highlighted as shown where you will have one of the menu choices as options.

This is what you'll see from the options

Here one of the interesting thing is use of 'use Track Changes'. If you check that 'use track changes' in MS Office word option, you'll be able to track the changes made by each participant using a unique color when a word document is shared.

Now, how to share this word document? This can be shared either from the Tahiti menu bar -'share'
or its share option will be available in MS Office word 2007 itself.

You, as an attendee can also point out specific areas of shared application or desktop.You can move your pointer which will be identified by your user name and can highlight making a circle which will be of of different color for each person.
You can share any document or any work files using handouts option also from the menu bar.

So looking at so many options and ease of use, i think it'll be a very useful tool among groups to discuss, collaborate and solve problems online.

I also had earlier come across a tool 'crossloop', a simple Screen Sharing tool , where you'll be provided with an access code , which you have to give it to the other person via email or phone who wants to collaborate, but its limited in feature as compared to 'Tahiti'.

And also there is indeed Built-in facility in Windows as Remote Desktop for collaborating. But Tahiti is much more friendlier with lots of features as compared to others.

In the next release of Tahiti, there's going to be addition of more features such as whiteboard, where one can type in something to communicate with each other.
A graph paper like facility(may not be for dimensional accuracy , but for convenience of free hand drawing) in the whiteboard, that is to say a grid 'on' or 'off' facility where one can draw something for explanation is a feature i would like to see in the whiteboard.

At present its supported on:
XPSP2 32bit
Windows 2003 Server SP1 (32bit)
Vista Home premium (32bit)
Vista Ultimate premium (32bit)

I'll keep an eye for its next release of this exciting collaborative tool.

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