If the answer is rsync, then I need to be told what the question is.
February 25, 2011 7:02 PM   Subscribe

Help me choose a file synchronization solution to keep a set of RTFs up to date between two computers, must be able to operate both over wifi and via a usb thumbdrive. Must also be free and work on all of Win XP, Win 7 and Linux.

I have one computer which, due to its position in the house has spotty wifi reception at the best of times. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, since it is my writing workstation and being without the distraction is often better. I'm considering just pulling the network card from it. This computer runs Windows XP professional and will continue to do so.

I have just acquired an Acer Aspire One netbook, running Windows 7. I will be dual booting to Ubuntu.

My ideal solution would, whenever both computers are simultaneously connected to the same network, silently synchronize all the files in a given directory on each computer with the most recent copy, prompting me for input only if both have been changed since the last update.

Because one of the computers will be online so rarely, I need to be able to shortcut this by plugging a USB drive into one computer and then the other. In the perfect world, it would just me a matter of plug-in-to-compy-1, updater runs automatically, plug-in-to-compy-2, updater runs automatically.

I've perused this comparison chart but am overwhelmed by all the choices.
posted by 256 to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
SneakerNet, which is what you are running now, meets your stated requirements, but is inconvenient and requires manual intervention.

Dropbox is free, and is explicitly used to sycn machines with intermittent connections to the internet. You should maybe take a look at it.
posted by FauxScot at 7:43 PM on February 25, 2011

Big fan of Dropbox myself. Keep several computers connected to my Dropbox account. Works fine for rarely online machines, it will sync whenever a connection becomes available. Windows, Mac, and Linux client, so you can even keep both sides of your Aspire One in sync. Also gives you the option to access your files from any machine with an Internet connection. And it supports versioning, which can be useful.
posted by PhillC at 7:46 PM on February 25, 2011

Dropbox is amazing.
posted by zug at 10:56 PM on February 25, 2011

Definitely dropbox. shoot me a mefi mail and I'll send you a referrer link and we can both get an additional 250mb.
posted by koolkat at 4:26 AM on February 26, 2011

Here's the thing. Maybe it's my inner luddite, or my inner privacy geek, but I'm not sure how I feel about the idea of trusting a third party with my most precious data, not to mention the data of people I might be freelancing for. Dropbox's privacy policy seems to suggest that they reserve the right to 1. look at your files, and 2. subcontract other companies to do any task they normally do. Which means that, theoretically, anybody in the world could have access to anything I upload to Dropbox at any time.

Is this a crazy concern?
posted by 256 at 6:23 AM on February 26, 2011

Then DropBox a TrueCrypt virtual encrypted disk. Or tar it all up and GPG the thing.
posted by Brian Puccio at 8:30 AM on February 26, 2011

Yeah, google around, you can encrypt stuff before you dropbox it, and it minimally affects performance. I haven't done it though. Dropbox is amazing.
posted by zeek321 at 9:03 AM on February 26, 2011

Dropbox is the best thing ever.

Here's how to use it with encrypted data.
posted by empath at 10:42 AM on February 26, 2011

Spideroak works very similarly to Dropbox but with security and privacy policies that address your concerns (your data is encrypted, and they do not have your password).

I have used both Dropbox and Spideroak for a couple of years. Dropbox is less complex. Spideroak is much more configurable. Both are cross-platform and have worked very well for me.
posted by quarterframer at 9:53 AM on February 27, 2011

« Older Animal actors for fair pay   |   Kingdom of Plaice? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.