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Old 04-27-2014, 02:18 AM   #1
Gregg Bell
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Can someone explain file syncing between two different computers?

I know what it is to sync an ipod to a computer. That's simple. But syncing files between computers, like in Dropbox or Copy.com, I just can't get my head around. So I have all these files and I plop them say in Dropbox. But one of those files I would like synced between my work and home computer (both Linux btw if that matters). So I tell Dropbox which file to sync and then whatever changes I make at work on that file are on my home computer (again on that file) when I get home and turn on the computer? And whatever changes I make on that file at home when I get to work are on my work computer? I can see if I have a flash drive that I'm carrying back and forth. I can see if I'm putting the file into say Google Drive's cloud storage when I'm done. But I can't see how just working on the file in a computer is going to get the changes made in that computer to the other computer.
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Old 04-27-2014, 03:23 AM   #2
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The dropbox software running on your work computer notices that the file has been modified, and uploads it to the dropbox servers.

Then on your home computer, the dropbox software notices that the modification date of the version on the dropbox servers is more recent than the modification date of the file on the home computer, and so downloads it from dropbox and replaces the older version.

And vice-versa, of course, if you modify the file on your home computer.
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Old 04-27-2014, 04:09 AM   #3
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Yep, that covers it.

I'll add a slightly different take, as I do all of my sync'ing among three computers at home.

I do most of my writing on a small (10.1 inch screen) netbook computer. It's easily portable, goes up to 6 hours on a freshly charged battery, boots up quickly, etc. The only real drawbacks are its keyboard, which is a bit cramped, and the screen, which is a bit small.

I also have a small (14 inch screen) laptop. A fresh battery charge keeps it going a little more than 2 hours, it's heavier, it's clumsier to handle -- but it has a larger, higher resolution screen, and a larger keyboard with a better feel. When possible, I'll do my writing on the laptop. It doesn't matter if I just finished writing on my netbook -- when I power up my laptop, the most recent version of my work is there.

I almost never use my desktop computer, upstairs, for writing. But I do use it to track which stories are in progress, and what I've done with the finished ones. I always have the latest version, even on the desktop computer.
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Old 04-27-2014, 04:43 AM   #4
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You can also change the settings so that after you upload a file you can delete it from your local computer and yet retain it in your drop box (or sugar sync etc) account. It is still accessible though and you can always resync your local computer so as to re-download the file later if you want.
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Old 04-27-2014, 05:47 AM   #5
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The only thing I would add is that if DropBox can't tell which file is the correct one, it will not overwrite, instead it will make a new copy and add "(Conflicted Copy - Gregg Bell - 04-28-2014-4-00-am)" or something like that to the name. Then it is up to the human involved to make the call which file to keep. Delete the wrong one, and keep the good one.
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Old 04-27-2014, 08:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
The dropbox software running on your work computer notices that the file has been modified, and uploads it to the dropbox servers.

Then on your home computer, the dropbox software notices that the modification date of the version on the dropbox servers is more recent than the modification date of the file on the home computer, and so downloads it from dropbox and replaces the older version.

And vice-versa, of course, if you modify the file on your home computer.
Thanks pdurrant for the simple and understandable explanation. (I have read many explanations that muddle things.) I get it now. Appreciate it very much.

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Originally Posted by cromag View Post
Yep, that covers it.

I'll add a slightly different take, as I do all of my sync'ing among three computers at home.

I almost never use my desktop computer, upstairs, for writing. But I do use it to track which stories are in progress, and what I've done with the finished ones. I always have the latest version, even on the desktop computer.
Thanks cromag. Yeah, it'll be nice to have the current file to look at even if it's not going to be modified on that computer.

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You can also change the settings so that after you upload a file you can delete it from your local computer and yet retain it in your drop box (or sugar sync etc) account. It is still accessible though and you can always resync your local computer so as to re-download the file later if you want.
Thanks crich. I hear what you're saying but would what you're saying involve syncing? It seems to me this is what I can do just uploading a file to Google Drive. I upload it. I delete it from my computer. It's still up there and I can download it. How does syncinig and resyning figure into it?

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The only thing I would add is that if DropBox can't tell which file is the correct one, it will not overwrite, instead it will make a new copy and add "(Conflicted Copy - Gregg Bell - 04-28-2014-4-00-am)" or something like that to the name. Then it is up to the human involved to make the call which file to keep. Delete the wrong one, and keep the good one.
Thanks Vincent. That sounds like a great feature. Now do you happen to know if Copy.com has that feature too?
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Old 04-28-2014, 02:50 AM   #7
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Thanks crich. I hear what you're saying but would what you're saying involve syncing? It seems to me this is what I can do just uploading a file to Google Drive. I upload it. I delete it from my computer. It's still up there and I can download it. How does syncinig and resyning figure into it?
Yep. Let's say you have your computer and the dropbox account synced so that what happens to one happens to the other. If you don't unsync the folder (on your computer) in which you have something stored from the copy online and you delete your copy on your computer the online copy will do as the copy on your computer did and will be deleted. At least that's my experience with such software.

It's like if you read part of a book from Amazon on kindle for pc and then later open the book on your kindle or kindle app. The book opens at where you left off. If you then read more of the book on your kindle and then later go back to Kindle for pc you'll find that you aren't where you left off while reading it on Kindle for pc earlier but where you left off reading it on your kindle or Kindle app device (such as cell phone, ipad, etc.).
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Old 04-28-2014, 08:38 AM   #8
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Yep. Let's say you have your computer and the dropbox account synced so that what happens to one happens to the other. If you don't unsync the folder (on your computer) in which you have something stored from the copy online and you delete your copy on your computer the online copy will do as the copy on your computer did and will be deleted. At least that's my experience with such software.

Yes it will be deleted from all your sync'd computers - but through the web interface you can undelete it and it goes back.
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Old 04-29-2014, 02:07 AM   #9
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Yep. Let's say you have your computer and the dropbox account synced so that what happens to one happens to the other. If you don't unsync the folder (on your computer) in which you have something stored from the copy online and you delete your copy on your computer the online copy will do as the copy on your computer did and will be deleted. At least that's my experience with such software.

It's like if you read part of a book from Amazon on kindle for pc and then later open the book on your kindle or kindle app. The book opens at where you left off. If you then read more of the book on your kindle and then later go back to Kindle for pc you'll find that you aren't where you left off while reading it on Kindle for pc earlier but where you left off reading it on your kindle or Kindle app device (such as cell phone, ipad, etc.).
I see what you're saying. Thanks crich. In other words--when you sync a file you gotta be careful you don't think, 'Oh, I can delete this. If I should happen to need it later, it's always in the cloud.'
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Old 04-29-2014, 02:08 AM   #10
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Yes it will be deleted from all your sync'd computers - but through the web interface you can undelete it and it goes back.
Yes, but the one time I need to do that it probably wouldn't work! (And even if it did, I'd probably have a heart attack waiting to see if it would.)
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Old 04-29-2014, 07:27 AM   #11
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Yes, but the one time I need to do that it probably wouldn't work! (And even if it did, I'd probably have a heart attack waiting to see if it would.)
My local copy of my cloud drives sit on a SSD where I use full drive encryption, and have automagic back up to an encrypted external drive via Time Machine. So even if I delete it from my main drive AND the cloud, I still have a third chance to get it back via Time Machine.
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Old 04-30-2014, 12:28 AM   #12
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My local copy of my cloud drives sit on a SSD where I use full drive encryption, and have automagic back up to an encrypted external drive via Time Machine. So even if I delete it from my main drive AND the cloud, I still have a third chance to get it back via Time Machine.
Okay, but what if a nuclear bomb lands on your computer? What then, eh?
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Old 04-30-2014, 12:48 AM   #13
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Okay, but what if a nuclear bomb lands on your computer? What then, eh?
Everything goes into the cloud and we stop worrying?
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Old 04-30-2014, 02:24 AM   #14
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Okay, but what if a nuclear bomb lands on your computer? What then, eh?
As it's dropping I tell it I'm almost done and to give me a "few more minutes" -- which inevitably stretches out to weeks, months and years. Voila! I single-handedly save civilization!
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Old 04-30-2014, 06:33 AM   #15
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Okay, but what if a nuclear bomb lands on your computer? What then, eh?

Then I go to heaven and don't care what you do with the copies of my files that are safely stored in both Dropbox and Copy.com
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