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View Full Version : Networking...am I expecting too much?




Indy Golfer
May 6, 2011, 06:45 PM
Hello everyone! This is my first post on this forum, but I have been visiting for awhile now. I hope you can help, or point me in the right direction.

Pardon my ignorance on these issues, I'm certainly a newbie, but I am trying to change that with your help.

I currently have a MacBook Pro (Spring 2010), Time Capsule and PC. I use the PC strictly for school, but that will be changing in the very near future since it is on its last leg. I plan on buying an iMac this summer to replace the PC. That is, as long as I can get the network to work the way I want it to.

I will be taking my MBP to school so I can work on projects between classes. I would like the network to work in a way that allows me to work projects on the MBP, then when I get home and turn on the iMac I can resume working on the projects and visa versa. So the computers basically mirror each other for files, documents, music, email, etc. (this is how my network at work performs). There has to be an easy way to do it, I'm just not crafty enough to figure it out. I was told I could do it with my PC, but I never could get it to work correctly. Maybe if I run a back up with I get home, log out of the MBP, log into the iMac, run a backup then i'm on my way???

I asked the guy at the Apple Store, he said "yeah that's easy" then went through about 10 key strokes and said "there you go". Then he said that I would have to do that for each file, folder, picture...., who has that kind of time?

I also thought about buying the 1 on 1 service through Apple to help me with this, but I'd rather not lug my iMac, MBP and Time Capsule through the mall. Think this would be worth the money for me?

Thanks for any help!



PinkyMacGodess
May 6, 2011, 07:50 PM
The problem is the potential scattering of files and the date/revisions getting confused.

You could do a VPN with remote access when you are on the MBP and then have the files local when you get back to the home network. Although a VPN can be blocked by firewalls and are heavily (obviously) on the network speed.

I'll be interested to hear what other people have to say in response to your query...

Indy Golfer
May 6, 2011, 08:15 PM
Thanks for the reply!

I am trying to find a way to do this without using services like mobileme, VPN or any type of remote access. I believe there has to be a way to make this happen, although that probably comes from my ignorance. I feel like the guy on the Dyson commercials, "I just think things should work properly".

I think there was a Windows 7 commercial about doing something like this, so I was hoping I could do it as well.

Anyone else want to chime in?

Thanks!

wpotere
May 6, 2011, 08:20 PM
Windows is using cloud computing now which is what you are sort of referring to. The problem is that they way you think it should work is not how someone else might think it should work. Frankly I don't like having files sync across all computers as there is a potential to screwup revisions. This is control I want.

What you can do is simply share the folder on one computer and connect to it with the other to get to the file you want. If you don't like that, other methods like a sync program could be used to copy the files to the other computer.

Les Kern
May 6, 2011, 09:39 PM
Download Dropbox... done.
Keep it simple to set up, it's free and works perfectly. I use it to work on docs from home, work, my laptop and my iPad.
Pay a little and get a lot more server space.

spacepower7
May 7, 2011, 12:23 AM
Download Dropbox... done.
Keep it simple to set up, it's free and works perfectly. I use it to work on docs from home, work, my laptop and my iPad.
Pay a little and get a lot more server space.

What he said

Dropbox rocks and the first 2GB are free with up to 5GB thru their referral program.

It basically sets up a folder with subfolders to sync to the cloud.

I went back to school last year and used dropbox everyday to sync files between my MacBook and Mac mini.

If I edit a word or excel file in class on my MacBook, dropbox automatically uploads the changes to the cloud. My Mac mini is running 24/7 and downloads the new edited version 10 seconds later 10 miles away from campus.

I set up my folders with their relative files in each, such as finance, accounting etc.
Sitting in class, I download my PDFs and power points from the schools server to my MacBook which instantly syncs to my home computer, works cross platform from your MacBook to your PC.

If you are all Mac, you can buy MobileMe. With the time capsule, and Back to My Mac, you can easily log into and control your home computer, such as reloading your handbrake or torrent queue. In Have both and find dropbox much better. I also have it on my iPhone and iPad.

Dropbox is what the MobileMe iDisk was meant to be, but much better and free.

Indy Golfer
May 7, 2011, 06:08 AM
Thanks!

I really appreciate it

Have a great weekend

wpotere
May 7, 2011, 08:07 AM
Just realize that what you are putting out there is on someone else's servers. If you have sensitive data I wouldn't stick it out there.

Les Kern
May 7, 2011, 10:53 AM
Just realize that what you are putting out there is on someone else's servers. If you have sensitive data I wouldn't stick it out there.


Sure, when using the cloud it's always a good idea to spend some time deciding on the level of security you need. In my biz I may have pretty sensitive info on Dropbox, and I may elect to encrypt it. You can use Disk Utility to do an image, or something like Cryptix.
But I always look for the absolute easiest solution that fits all my needs. For instance, instead of bothering with the server/cloud/internet thing at all, simply carry around an encrypted USB drive. When I do, it is attached to my keys, which are on a chain attached to me.
Rule of thumb: You can't bee too safe, but hey, I don't want to have to open Fort Knox to get to a file.
And the bottom line for me is that most times the fancier the technology used the more work it is to manage and operate. K.I.S.S.

jtara
May 7, 2011, 12:15 PM
You don't need "the cloud" or Dropbox or anything of the kind to do this.

All you need is file synchronization software.

There is file synchronization software that comes with OSX - it's called rsync. There are a number of free and commercial software packages that are alternatives of rsync and/or build on top of rsync (say, to give it a friendly GUI face.) For example, take a look at Chronosync.

These can all do a two-way sync. They will keep directories on multiple computers in sync with each other. You just need to make sure that you sync before starting work on the other computer.

Shouldn't be too hard to remember to sync when you get home and before you leave. However, even this can be automated. Take a look at MarcoPolo. It can automatically run scripts based on current context. Although it's a lot more comprehensive than this, your "context" includes your current location and network connection. So, you can set-up Marco Polo to automatically run a sync when it detects you've connected to your home network.

Now, add to this a VPN connection to home, and you'd have a fool-proof system. Even if you forgot to sync before you left you could still sync over the VPN from wherever you are.

paduck
May 7, 2011, 12:46 PM
Try Dropbox (https://www.getdropbox.com/referrals/NTE0NzU0NDM5). That should do it. Basically, it downloads from the DropBox server and keeps a particular folder in sync. You get 2GB for free and an additional 256MB per referral (full disclosure - link above is a referral from me).

While there are some space limits, it's free, and a popular service. Good luck!

Don Kosak
May 7, 2011, 03:56 PM
Do you want perfect syncing of your:

* Bookmarks
* Calendars
* Contacts
* Dashboard Widgets
* Dock Items
* Passwords
* Mail Accounts
* Notes
* Settings and preferences
* Files, folders, and Documents?

Your MacBook and iMac would be essentially the same computer. And even if you were off-line, any changes you make would sync back up when you reconnect.

If that's what you want, then get MobileMe. You also get sharable photo albums, remote access, remote screen sharing, and a lot of other features. I've used it for 4 years now across 3 different Macs (as well as an iPad, and iPhone.) It works great.

Want something more basic?

If you don't want a "full synchronized" experience between the two machines, you can just keep a folder shared between the two machines with DropBox. You can have 2GB of files sync'ed for free -- more if you pay.

Honestly, MobileMe is pretty cheap, and is the easiest way to keep two Mac's nearly identical to each other.

DropBox is nice if you just care about files. I'd also recommend DropBox if one or more of your computers runs Linux as its OS.

Mobile Me is from Apple.

DropBox is from Dropbox.com

assembled
May 8, 2011, 05:08 AM
Take a look at Unison (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unison_(file_synchronizer))

But Dropbox is a very simple solution if you're happy with the security of using a hosted provider.

And1ss
May 8, 2011, 11:40 AM
Use dropbox + Chronosync.