Syncing under the weight of the cloud

10 01 2013

This will have to be a two part post because, this problem isn’t easy to solve. But, I think I’ve found a solution. I haven’t tested it thoroughly enough to say “yes this is as awesome as I want it to be” but, it is getting there…

After 8 months of preparing for the death of Windows Live Mesh, that day is so near that it was time to take action. But the cloud has killed Peer to Peer file sync!

The two reasons I am unable to ONLY use SkyDrive are twofold:

  1. I need, really need, Peer to Peer Sync without the cloud. And the “partial sync” of SkyDrive is great, but Comcast will simply shut down my up / downlink if I need to re-sync a few hundred GB of RAW photos between hard drives via the cloud.
  2. I need to have folders that sync outside a single hierarchy.

But what options are left if you want to NOT include the cloud?

It turns out, not very many. And, by the time you read this post, there may be fewer. At least 2 of those options that do P2P sync use Java – which is a non-starter for me personally right now. If the security profile of Java improves, that’s fine. However, a file sync engine with Java as its basis seems like an invitation to badness.

(Those two are Wuala and AeroFS – which is still in private beta.)

Also, most of the offerings that do P2P sync require a monthly fee, which includes cloud storage – which I already have SkyDrive for.

Why copying files is so freaking hard

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Going for 3TB in WHS v1

22 04 2011

So Windows Home Server 2011 is out, but it is missing a major component that I really liked about WHS (and what made WHS unique) – Drive Extender.

Basically, in WHS v1, you could add a drive to your machine, and WHS would add it automatically to its “storage pool”. From there, my files would get distributed and duplicated across the new drive. That means in case of failure, my files are fairly safe, and Drive Extender removed most of the concerns about sizing drives properly when you do a “hardware RAID” type solution on regular hardware storage options.

In Windows Home Server 2011, they removed Drive Extender. But I wrote about why I don’t like that already.

So, I bought an HP MediaSmart Home Server just after they decided to pull the plug on them. (Why? Because they’re nice boxes and 64 bit – so if I decide to jump on WHS 2011, I can do it manually.) But, I wanted to add a big big drive, and WHS v1 doesn’t like anything above 2TB.

Here’s how you can fix it…

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Moving to Windows 7 while keeping one foot in the past

17 11 2009

I finally made the commitment to Windows 7 as my main OS on my tablet PC.  I’d been running it in a dual boot configuration for a while, but a few weeks ago, it was time to move on.  My Vista installation was over 2 years old and was starting to act unpredictably.

As with every fresh operating system installation, the pain of starting from scratch makes you swear to never let your machine get to its inevitable ugly state again.

Keeping that promise might be a little easier this time around though.  By using some cool virtualization technology, you can have the best of both worlds.

Easy transfer wizard

There are many discussions about how to make life a little bit easier when moving to Windows 7 by using the Microsoft Windows Easy Transfer wizard.  I discovered a few things that I didn’t know while using it and thought I should pass it along.

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Windows Home Server + Live Mesh = Nice

21 07 2009

What I’m about to discuss is not recommended.  I know that Windows Live Mesh is not designed to run on Windows Server 2003 or Windows Home Server.  So, if you do this, know that your mileage may vary (YMMV) and that you are taking a risk.  It is up to you whether that risk is acceptable or not.

Now, on to the good stuff…

Windows Live Mesh

If you don’t know what this free service from Microsoft is, you should check it out.  It is absolutely essential for anyone that manages multiple computers for their job.  Meaning either you switch between computers frequently (like when I go from my Tablet PC to my Netbook), or you want to ensure that multiple people have the same files on their computers without actually making any effort.

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Windows Home Server and the Hamachi Surprise*

18 05 2009

Synchronizing your digital life is a necessity in today’s modern world.  When you work for a company with a good IT department, you can keep up with the mothership using a collection of software applications and Virtual Private Networks (VPN’s).

But, let’s say you’re at home.  Maybe you have a home office, or maybe you just need to access stuff from your computers at home once in a while.  There are many options that can help you get the job done (and everyone has their own preference).  I’m going to talk about the way(s) I do it.

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OneNote + Windows Home Server = Awesome

5 05 2009

In this installment of my ongoing consumer technology series, I wanted to write a little about how I use my Windows Home Server with OneNote.  This time, I’ll focus on OneNote’ shared, synchronized notebook capability.

A computer for all seasons

Whether you have a home office, or you’re just really geeky, you may discover that you have need for more than one computer in order achieve true enlightenment.  Maybe it’s a desktop at home and a notebook for travel, or a netbook for compact, light duty work and a bigger notebook for heavy lifting.

Whatever the situation, you will eventually run into a multifaceted issue: how do I keep my digital life synchronized?  Let’s take on one aspect. Read the rest of this entry »

Home is where the server is

27 04 2009

It’s time to make good on my threat to post about home technology.  This post will be part of a series about stuff that makes my technical home life functional, yet very geeky.  It’s a mix of things that anyone with a small office / home office (SOHO) might enjoy using.  Some of it may save your bacon.  Even if it’s Canadian.

Just to get some affiliations out there – I don’t have particular allegiances, but typically I’m Microsoft-centric these days.  I do maintain a Mac (a post on that later), iPod, and used to have some Linux boxes around.  So I’m no stranger to any of that.

Why you need a Windows Home Server

This is a product that Microsoft got right.  There are others as well (Microsoft OneNote, and I’ll post about that later).  But I digress.

A stay at home server is right for you.  Be sure to check out the children’s books for those inevitable questions. Read the rest of this entry »