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A Tablet PC, Windows Live Mesh, Mobile Success Story



LivemeshThings are moving rapidly here in the final sprint to finish up our renovations and re-open the Wayside Theatre. But as we deal with electricians, sound techs, rehearsals, and the like, we’ve also got the ongoing work of keeping the theatre running to keep us on our toes. Today was one of those days where a couple of solutions I use in my daily work flow came in very handy and sort of saved the day, if not just some precious time.

As a 501–c-3 not-for-profit corporation we apply for and receive a number of grants to support the theatre (our ticket sales only cover 1/2 of our operating costs as a general rule.) One of those granting agencies holds back a portion of the funds until the end of the program and our submission of final reports. That granting agency also requires that we include a mention of their support in our programs and materials, which is only appropriate. This past season, we changed how we acknowledged that generous support, incorporating all such acknowledgments into the design of the artwork on our title page in our printed programs and our ad copy. While still mentioned prominently, it apparently wasn’t too easy for the grant agency’s staffer reviewing our final report to spot it and I got an email that wondered if we had omitted that obligation, and saying this would hold up the release of funds. Yikes!

I was not at the office when this came in, instead I was at the rehearsal hall. So, when I got the call from the office I had an employee scan the title pages of our programs as pdf files into a Windows Live Mesh folder on my desktop. Once that was done I grabbed the pdf files off of the corresponding folder on my Tablet PC and using the stylus, highlighted and marked up the acknowledgment text on each page using BlueBeam PDF Revu. I then sent the files off to the agency via email.

I got a quick reply of thanks, letting me know the funds were now in the mail.

Now, of course, there are other online file syncing solutions that would have given me access to the files, but right now the one I’m using is Windows Live Mesh. It did the job.

The real key here for a circumstance like I just described though is connectivity. Our local town government allows us to use the town council chambers as a rehearsal hall. This saves us a lot of money and aggravation and in and of itself is a very generous donation. But it has only been recently that the town office has installed a WiFi network and allowed us to access it. Lacking that solution I could have tethered up to my Sprint Mogul and connected that way and grabbed the files, but I don’t get a good enough signal in the town hall to make that a reliable method of connecting. But thanks to a WiFi connection, it took very little time to communicate back to the office and get the job done. In fact, I was done in less than the 10 minutes I had given the actors as a break.

Without that connectivity I would have probably left the rehearsal hall to take care of this back at the office. In this circumstance the email that accompanied the files was one I really needed to write rather than delegating it to someone else. So, in addition to getting the funds moving, I figure I saved about a half hour to forty minutes of rehearsal time and also a quick trip during the heat of the day.

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