I needed to do a quick screen-sharing session with a couple of folks today.
In the past, I’ve always reached for MSN Messenger. At my last client, Messenger was the default chat client, and since it has built-in application sharing, we used it daily for all kinds of tasks from troubleshooting code to figuring out where to eat.
For some reason, however, I got stuck in an infinite loop when I tried to use Messenger to share a web page. Selecting “Application Sharing” from the “Start an Activity” menu, I was presented with this disturbing message:
Your invitation was not sent because you need the latest version of Messenger to use the Application Sharing feature. Please go to the Windows Live Messenger update site to install the latest version.
That was a strange message, because I’m running the latest version available, 8.5.x. But, being a sucker, I clicked the provided link, which started up the Windows Live Installer, which promptly informed me that I was, in fact, running the latest version.
I tried to get help on the Windows Live site, but there is no help at all on the “Application Sharing” feature. In fact, the closest item in the Help Table of Contents was this useless page.
Frustrated, I turned to one of the last remaining software companies that still seems to have a clue (Google) for an answer to my problem. Google quickly provided this thoroughly helpful link, which, as you can see, explains that Application Sharing (as well as Whiteboard) are no longer available in Vista. Instead, we have Windows Live Meeting, which is a Vista-only application (and is much more clumsy to use than Messenger).
Yet another place where I’ve bumped my head on Vista. It’s not that it’s different. It’s that it doesn’t work as well.
Or, in this case, AT ALL.