The World of Synchronization

>> Sunday, February 11, 2007

What kinds of things do you need to synchronize? For me, I would ultimately like to synchronize selected files between my desktop and work PC's. Then, I want to synch my daily information such as appointments, contacts, notes, and tasks between both of my PC's, plus Gcal + Gmail, and my PocketPC / PDA phone. Finally, I want to also synch other select files between my PDA and both of my PC's. I've almost got everything going properly, and here's how:

For computer-to-computer syncrhonization, I've currently got two tools in utilization, although technically I might only need one. The first one that I set up came along with my purchase of FTPVoyager: Scheduler. Essentially, it runs a specified FTP process at a requested time. This requires a little more knowledge than just installing the program; you'll need to set up your own FTP server somewhere (or have one hosted for you), and then you'll have to go through a little trial and error to make sure your synchronization settings are just right. But I keep this around because I like the one-way syncrhonzing that it offers. Say I download a file while I'm at work and want to be able to access it later from home. I've got an extensive "download" directory on my home server, for archiving everything I've ever been interested in. But I don't want to bother having the whole thing stored on my work PC as well. So, anything I save at work gets copied home automatically.

I have since been introduced to FolderShare, a free across-the-internet file sharing/syncrhonization tool that has recently been purchased by Microsoft. It has even more potential, and I really enjoy using it, as well. This provides you with automatic, two-way file synchronization of any directories or files you so choose. In addition, you can also create a shared folder to which you give other FolderShare users read and/or write access. I like this because of the side bonus of being able to create a communal, photo screensaver. Just point the default My Photos screensaver to one of your Foldershared directories, and viola! Now you and your parents can update each others' list of pictures that show on the screen while idle.

In the past few days, I've also noticed GigaTribe, which touts privacy/encryption for file sharing, but I don't see that it's so much of a synchronization tool. In the past I've tested FolderMatch, and Microsoft SyncToy, but they didn't measure up to what I needed - they were too manual in operation.

In trying to set up Outlook to Gmail synchronization, which I have not truly achieved yet, I attempted to test the "holy grail of synchronization" but found it to be far too bothersome both to set up AND to run, plus it requires a purchase I didn't want to make (because I didn't want to pay for such a cumbersome process.) So, I'm still on the lookout for a way to do this. I have hopes that somehow the Google API will be modified to allow services such as Plaxo to automatically synch, because they do such a great job of the things they do already.

As for getting things to my PDA phone (which by the way if you have a regular cell phone, Plaxo (the non-free version of it) does offer a synch service for you), I use the default ActiveSync in addition to a practically-free third-party app called MightySync. This particular program is important to me because it allows me to synch up files/folders from my PC specifically to the memory card on my PocketPC, something that ActiveSync does not do by default. I like MightySync, even though I have found reason to fault it from time to time, such as the "unkown errors" that it sometimes shows...


Christoffa 5:53 AM  

To sync with Google Calendar and almost any mobile device take a look at its free.


Winkyboy 8:02 AM  

Cool, thanks Chris - I'm clickin' on it, now. Free is always good :) I'll report back here what I think about it, afterward.

Winkyboy 1:19 PM  

Okay, so it's been a while since I said I'd report back, but here I am: GooSync is nice & easy, and the only downside is that it's a manual process. I also experienced a slight problem where two appointments I'd deleted on my PocketPC/Outlook calendar were recreated after syncing with Google. The latter problem worries me more; what if there's more than just the two appointment mix ups that I just didn't notice?

My brother recently sent this link to me, talking about RemoteCalendars:

I will also have to check this out. It dawned on me after thinking about RemoteCalendars that I kinda like having the sync program on my PocketPC; it lets me NOT have to install it twice (which would be the case for RemoteCalendars, once at work, and once at home.)

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