Tag Archives: Sync

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Modern Mac Synchronization with ChronoSync

ChronoSync is one of those tools that’s been in the Mac community for a long time (rightfully so). It’s been a little while since I got the chance to really tinker around with ChronoSync so I thought I’d do a little article on what I got to find during my tinkerations. To get started with ChronoSync, go to their website at http://www.econtechnologies.com/chronosync/overview.html. Next, we’re going to walk through the most basic of setups (and you can get all kinds of complicated from there if you’d like!).

Once you’ve downloaded, ChronoSync, run the installer from the disk image that was downloaded.

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Then walk through the installer, basically following the defaults (unless you’d like to install to a volume other than your boot volume).

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Once the installer is finished, open the app and register the product.

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Once registered, you’ll see a nice screen giving you a few options. We’re going to create a single plan (synchronizer document) to backup a single source to a single target. To do so, click on the option to “Create a new synchronizer document”.

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At the Setup screen, you have a right and left column. When I used to do a lot of manual migrations, I would always always  always line up my source on the left and my target on the right (or invariably you risk data loss by copying in the wrong direction), so the workflow in ChronoSync has always made sense to me. Because a lot of the data I use needs root access, I’m going to select “Local Volumes (Admin access)” in the “Connect to” field and then use the Choose button to select my actual source. Repeat that process in the Right Target section of the screen.

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The default action that will be performed is to backup from the left to the right targets (the term target referring to the folder, not that it’s a source or target in the backup operation). Click into the Operation field to bring up a list of the options that can be performed between your left and right targets.

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The option I’m selecting is “Synchronize Bidirectional” as this is an article about syncing data. The other options are pretty well defined in the manual, but it’s worth mentioning that the Bootable Mirror options are especially useful. Once you’ve set the type of sync, you can also use the Options menu to define some pretty granular settings for your sync. For the purposes of this sync, which brings over server shares, I’m going to leave Conflict resolution set to Ask User and use the custom option under the Special File/Folder Handling section to enable the “Verify copied data” option and “Preserve Comments” option. Note that if you’re doing this on servers and would like to stop a service (such as postgres) before a sync and start it after, you can use the scripts section of this screen. You can also configure notifications, sending emails when syncs have errors, or every time there’s a sync.

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Click Rules to build inclusion/exclusion rules (for example, I don’t often sync things like operating system and software installers since I can just go download them again, pretty easily). Click Archive in the sidebar if you’d like to remove files based on a trigger (e.g. if it’s been removed from the source, archive it, etc).

Next, you can simply click Synchronize to run an immediate sync of the files and folders you’ve defined in your Sync Document. Or, you can click Add to Schedule to define when you’d like to run your Synchronization Documents.

There, less than 5 minutes and we’ve got a pretty advanced sync going. Use the Log button to see how everything went. And remember, always verify that the archives and backups are running on a good schedule. For example, I like to have at least a weekly cadence to make sure that media one each side of a sync can still open. It helps me sleep better.

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iWork Public Beta Goes Bye-Bye Today :: Last Call

I’m sure you’ve heard by now. But just in case you hadn’t logged into iWork.com in awhile or let the to-do lapse, it’s just worth a reminder that iWork Public Beta, the site that you could upload Pages, Numbers and Keynotes to, is being deprecated. The end comes on today.

In other words, if you have documents up on the site, you should download them immediately or you won’t be able to come August. Apple has even provided a document explaining how.

The service that was being provided by the iWork public beta is replaced by iCloud. Using iCloud, you can sync your documents between all of your devices. When you configure iCloud in System Preferences, you are prompted to sync contacts, calendars and bookmarks, but iCloud also gets configured for file synchronization as well at that time. While iCloud doesn’t allow you to edit documents online, you can access them through the iCloud web portal and download them from any computer you like. The new iCloud integration also allows for seeing all your documents in each supported app, when first opened:

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I

Google recently decided that it was time to force some other company to buy cloudy dispositioned upstarts, Dropbox and Box.net. Google also decided that Office365 represented Microsoft being a little too brazen in their attempts to counteract the inroads that Google has made into Microsoft territory. Therefor, Google thumped their chest and gave away 5GB of storage in Google Drive. Google then released a tool that synchronizes data stored on a Google Drive to Macs and Windows systems.

Installing Google Drive is pretty easy. Just browse to Google Docs and Google will tell you that there’s this weird new Google Drive thing you should check out.

Here, click on Download Google Drive for Mac (or Windows if you use Windows). Then agree to give your first born to Google (but don’t worry, they’d never collect on that debt ’cause they’re sworn to do no evil).

Once downloaded, run the installer. You can link directly to your documents now using https://drive.google.com.

The only real question the installer asks is whether you’d like to automatically sync your Google Drive to the computer. I said yes, but if you’ve got a smallish drive you might decide not to. Once the Google Drive application has been downloaded and installed, open it (by default it’s set to open at startup). You’ll then see a icon in the menu bar that looks a little like a recycling symbol. Here, click on Open Google Drive folder.

The folder with your Google Docs then shows up on your desktop. Copy an item in there and it syncs up to Google. It can then easily be shared through the Google Apps web portal and accessed from other systems.

While there are still a number of features that Box.net and Dropbox will give you due to the fact that they’re a bit more mature, I’d expect Google Drive to catch up fast. And given that I already have tons of documents in Google Docs, it is nice to have them saved down to my local system. I’m now faced with an interesting new challenge: where to draw the line in my workflow between Google Drive, Dropbox and Box.net. Not a bad problem to have, really! Given the frustrations of having things strewn all over the place I’ll want to minimize some of the haphazardness I’ve practiced with regards to why I put things in different places in the past. In some cases I need to be able to email to folders, have expiring links or to have extended attributes sync between services, so there are some aspects that are likely to be case-by-case… Overall though, I’m very happy with the version 1 release of Google Drive. I mean, who complains about free stuff!?!?!

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Keep iTunes in Sync

I’d still like to have a better way to have a centralized iTunes media server.  But in lieu of that I’m OK keeping multiple libraries in sync.  One way to do this is to use a tool such as rsync to actually synchronize the files.  But this isn’t going to keep the iTunes library updated on what files were added.  For that consider TuneRanger. TuneRanger will keep iTunes for Windows or Mac in sync. More importantly it will update your playlists to accommodate for the new location of your media.

TuneRanger also makes a nice addition to the switchers toolbelt.  You can use it to synchronize media from a Windows to computer to a Mac (or vise versa) without having to rebuild all of your playlists.  And it let’s you do so graphically without doing a find and replace in a file for paths, etc.  Overall, it’s working nicely so far.  I like the fact that I need to authorize all of the computers that will be playing purchased content.  Makes me feel legit (and the library is 100% legal btw).  Again I’d prefer a centralized repository that doesn’t force me to have all of the library sprawled across 3 different computers.  But in lieu of that, synchronization is the next best thing…