How Does One EFFICIENTLY & AUTOMATICALLY Sync 2 Or More Macs?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by OneBlueFire, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. OneBlueFire macrumors member

    OneBlueFire

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Location:
    Manila, Philippines
    #1
    I've gone through MRoogle a few times with different keywords, but it didn't come up with anything definitive, and the threads that did come up were about 3 years old.

    I have quite a few Macs I use on a daily basis, 4 to be exact. 1 UMBP, 1 MBP, 1 MB, and 1 MBA.

    You might wonder why I have 4. It's really about my mood for the day. I use the UMBP when it's gonna be a heavy workload day at the office, the MBP when I plan on going out of town (since it already has a few dents and scratches, a few more from putting it in my travel bag wouldn't bother me a bit), the MB when I plan on hanging out with my friends (because my friends tend to borrow my laptop whenever I'm with them and they just treat it so poorly - I have this notion that the MB can handle their knack for mishandling), and finally the MBA when I plan on kickin' back at some cafe while I type some documents.

    Back to the issue:

    I don't want a .Me subscription or anything that requires an internet connection coz we all know that there're places that just don't have internet. I want something more "real-time".

    Example:
    When all the Macs are in range of each other via my home wi-fi, they automatically (or manually, by physically launching the program) communicate with each other to sync the folders that I set them to sync.

    I know that dragging and dropping between Macs is a solution, but it just seems so Jurassic in this day and age.

    Is there a program that can do this or is there something that comes close?
     
  2. Ekos macrumors newbie

    Ekos

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    #2
    I was thinking about using Chronosync, but have not decided yet whether I want to pay or not.
     
  3. linuxophile macrumors regular

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    here
    #3
     
  4. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #4
    Use OSX server and have roaming profile for when your user is off the network.
     
  5. ksmith80209 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2007
    #5
    I use DropBox (getdropbox.com) to sync my MBA & my MBP. It works so well I paid to upgrade from 2GB (free) to 50GB ($49/yr).
     
  6. striatedglutes macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #6
    So all of your computers are always on, waiting to be synced, and you pick them up and run out of the door with them? Otherwise, you can't expect it to sync while off or without an internet connection :confused:

    Sounds like you want a push solution, not a "sync every x minutes" solution, right?
     
  7. OneBlueFire thread starter macrumors member

    OneBlueFire

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    Oct 12, 2008
    Location:
    Manila, Philippines
    #7
    Thanks for all your replies... It's great to see us Mac users all together trying to help each other out. I'm sure I'm not the only one with these types of needs. Someone or some corporation should actually listen to comments like ours. They'd be able to develop solutions for us and become millionaires in the process.

    If I knew how to create software, I'd create a solution for something like this. There're tons of us who have more than 1 or 2 computers and would love if all of them were in sync without all the hassles of having to do it manually by dragging and dropping or updating the itunes and iphoto libraries after every sync. As I said in my first post, manually doing everything is so Jurassic.

    We all want something that's automated and simple. It's the year 2009... Geez... Apple or any other corporation could make a fortune with a software program that does this.

    Something like that, yeah. Kinda like the Windows computers at my office. No matter what PC I log into, the server automatically shifts my user settings, software, and files to that specific computer. But I think that's a little overkill, 'coz I asked my IT people about it, and they say that our server has mirror images of all 300+ computers at my office and just sends all of that data to the computer I log into... I think it's called Microsoft Intelimirror.

    Link to Intellimirror is here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb742423.aspx

    It seems like exactly what I want, but it requires so much technology, like a server and tons of RAID or SCSI drives.

    A little too overwhelming for someone like me.

    That's still dependent on an internet connection... I need something that works over my Wi-Fi connection and doesn't have to communicate to a "Cloud"

    Something like Chronosync... I just don't know if Chronosync is the best that's out there or if it'll suit my needs or if it actually seamlessly and automatically updates everything.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't that require a computer that acts as a server that holds all the contents of all my 4 macs?

    Plus I'd have to buy OSX Server Edition which is $1,000!!! That's like getting another laptop.

    That's just it... I don't want to know how. I want something that does it for me. That would mean I'd have to go to Terminal every few hours or so. Really what I want is for each laptop to be a mirror image of each other, or at least have mirror images of specific folders, and that would include making sure that my iTunes and iPhoto libraries were synced too.

    Is Chronosync the only software out there? Chronosync was developed in 2006 (I think). Hasn't someone developed anything new? Something more streamlined and has seamless integration across Macs and maybe even Windows.
     
  8. Dmac77 macrumors 68020

    Dmac77

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    Location:
    Michigan
    #8
    Well, it's the most streamlined way to do it. And OS X Server is actually $499 (for the 10 client edition). And you can use an old G4 tower as the server, it's actually not as expensive as you think. I've been thinking of doing this, because I'll be getting a MBP soon, and I'll want to keep that synced with my iMac.

    Don
     
  9. OneBlueFire thread starter macrumors member

    OneBlueFire

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    #9
    Ok... Sounds decent... But then, I have to get a machine to act as a server and then get OSX Server for $499.

    New Machine: About $1,000.00
    OSX Server: $499
    The Smile On My Face: Priceless
    My Accountant Frowning On My Lack of Discretion: Disturbing

    All it takes is Mastercard (Or was it Visa?) LOL!!!

    I think it's just a little too much for desires that are mostly whims and not necessities, Don. =)

    And Don, when I say "whims" I'm referring to myself alone. You probably have valid reasons to acquire a new machine and get OSX Server such as redundancy and data protection and management. I don't. I just want the convenience. Think of me as the brat who wants everything done for him at just one click... Come to think of it, wouldn't we ALL want that?

    Admit it, if you were given a cheaper option that didn't require you to purchase a machine that you wouldn't necessarily use and purchase OSX Server for a "network" comprised of only 2 to 3 macs, you'd probably jump right at it.

    All of us (home and office users of macs) need a solution to this... I just don't know if a solution for home users like me has already been made.
     
  10. striatedglutes macrumors 6502

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    USA
    #10
    Glad to hear I'm not alone in my world!
     
  11. Dmac77 macrumors 68020

    Dmac77

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    Michigan
    #11
    You don't need a new machine. You can pick up an old G4 for under $200. the necessary RAM can be had for under $100, and then HDD's depend on your size requirements. It's not as expensive as it seems. And it can be expanded as long as SATA HDD's are being made. There's no reason that you would need OS X 10.6 Server when it becomes available.

    You could have a decent server setup for under $1000. And it would be expandable depending on your needs.

    An no, I wouldn't jump at another opportunity, because I do have a need for secure backup, and syncing.

    I'm just saying that it's not as expensive as it seems.

    Don
     
  12. OneBlueFire thread starter macrumors member

    OneBlueFire

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    Oct 12, 2008
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    Manila, Philippines
    #12
    :)

    I get your point, Don... I'm just wondering if there's something else that doesn't require me to purchase another machine.



    Like I said, you have valid reasons like redundancy and security and everything else... I don't...


    Nope... We're in the same boat, bro. =)

    A Club of MacBrats with too much money on their hands and come close to getting a seizure when a new Apple product is introduced (Checking MacRumors.com and Apple.com with credit cards and wallet ready and waiting)... LOL!
     
  13. redsteven macrumors 6502a

    redsteven

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    #13
    I use "Synk" (the standard version) from http://www.decimus.net/ to the "Documents" folder and a couple of other things between my MacBook Pro and my iMac (i keep a lot of stuff in that folder... 1.85 gigs). I let the synchronization script run over night, but sometimes I'll execute it during the day if I want to transfer stuff over quick.

    I'm not sure how much you're looking to synchronize (EVERYTHING... or just the Documents folder), but I'd definitely check out Synk. The "Professional" version is advertised for "N-way synchronizations", so you should give it a shot. Synk has a 30 day free trial.
     
  14. OneBlueFire thread starter macrumors member

    OneBlueFire

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    Manila, Philippines
    #14
    Just downloaded the Demo of Synk Pro. Looks a little daunting to use... I'll still give it a try over the next few days...

    I just wish there was something that had a simpler GUI but extensive capabilities.

    And it seems that this doesn't automatically update iPhoto and iTunes libraries. It'll transfer the files, but the libraries within the applications remain the same.

    Thanks for the help... Will still try out this Synk program and I'll provide feedback here in this thread. =)
     
  15. netdog macrumors 603

    netdog

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #15
    Chronosync is your friend

    I can highly recommend Chronosync. Well worth the money and it does exactly what you want.
     
  16. andiwm2003 macrumors 601

    andiwm2003

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #16
    what you want is what i think the future of OSX should be. One system that syncs everything (bookmarks, keychain items, calendar, addressbook, all files, all programs, all sytem updates, all settings) between ALL your macs.
    Please Apple solve this!

    Until then syncing all your documents, iphoto, itunes via chronosync and syncing all settings, bookmarks, calendar via mobile.me is the only good choice you have. I do this for my two MBP's.

    However I sync with chronosync the entire Home folder. That takes quite a while. You can somehow schedule that during the night. But working on your UMBP, putting it down and picking up your MBA and going out won't work that easily. You would have to start a sync, wait for 10 min and then your MBA is up to date. And then make sure ALL your macs get the sync otherwise it will be a mess. I ended up syncing three macs every week for the entire home folder (that took sometimes hours and ran at night) and synced the document i was working on manually because that is then fast.
     
  17. SailorTom macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 15, 2008
    #17
    arrsync is another app you might try. It's a GUI for rsync, but as yet has no scheduling. However you can setup a scheduled process/script with launchd or by using automator to make an ical plugin.

    launchd would probably be the better way to go, as it can start a script at timely intervals or for specific events (or both), e.g when a volume becomes available. Lingon is an app that will help in setting up launchd

    I'm also looking at using unison instead of rsync as it seems like it has better bidirectional sync. Unison is command line but also has a GUI, again no scheduling.

    The is also a wiki in Mac Guides for syncing iTunes via rsync which may be useful.

    I'm still working on my sync solution, but it's most likely going to be scripted. I just have no experience. If anyone gets there before me your help will be appreciated.

    To OP: for your problem, your going to need some sort of server which holds the 'master copy' of your docs and will detect when your other macs are on the network and start syncing. This could be one of the computers you already have, with some limitations. There's no need to buy OS X Server with the scripting solutions available.
     
  18. OneBlueFire thread starter macrumors member

    OneBlueFire

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    Oct 12, 2008
    Location:
    Manila, Philippines
    #18
    Arrsync and Chronosync are things I haven't tried yet...

    They still don't have the "Push" or "pull" functionality that I'm looking for.

    I think what we all want is a program that's installed on each Mac we own that checks for differences between the Folders we assign for it to check the moment it detects that the other macs become available on the network. If there're differences, it'll either "Push" data or "Pull" the data.

    Since I'm assuming that the program we're wishing for doesn't exist, then I'll have to settle with what's available.

    Till then, I hope that some developer reads this then creates that software... I hope he makes it 64bit as well and Mac and Windows compatible.

    *Sigh* In a world of GHz and Terrabytes, some of the simplest necessities to make owning multiple computers easier STILL haven't been created... Some software developer could make a fortune after reading this very thread.
     
  19. mik34 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2008
    #19
    You have a UMBP, MBP, MB and a MBA and you're worried about this?! I think your accountant should already be frowning on your lack of discretion.

    I do agree it would be nice to have a "push" or "pull" app that syncs between computers on a network. I don't have to do it often so I just manually pull a file off the other computer's HDD.
     
  20. OneBlueFire thread starter macrumors member

    OneBlueFire

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    Manila, Philippines
    #20
    Touche... :D

    Fact remains that I actually use the 4 machines... The 5th machine that would act as a server would be only that... A server. I wouldn't actually use it, per se.

    It would have no other function than to sync everything for me... A little too much, that is if a software solution under $100 existed. Too bad that software hasn't been developed yet.

    Can somebody please develop a solution and charge $99 for the application? There would be hundreds of thousands of laptop users who'd be willing to buy it...
     
  21. tuzed macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Location:
    Canada
    #21
    Snow Leopard???

    This feature should be included in Snow Leopard. I have the same problem.:(
     
  22. SailorTom macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 15, 2008
    #22
    assuming your not going to want to sync when not at home, you could setup one of the computers you already have as 'server' to hold the master copy. you can still work on it. you'll just have to remember to leave it on when at home. The only problem you could encounter is when you make changes on that computer and none of the others are available to propagate the changes to.

    I don't think a true push/pull service is available. You can either setup the sync to occur every x minutes, probably down to about 5 is practical. Either that or it might be possible to use folder actions to initiate the sync.

    Just be aware of syncing open documents. They can get corrupted, or so i've heard.
     
  23. Junk DNA macrumors regular

    Junk DNA

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    Location:
    London
    #23
    I've just started using ChronoSync - so far its pretty good.

    Using it to sync some files form the PC network at the office when I'm there.

    Has lots of options I've get to explore
     
  24. OneBlueFire thread starter macrumors member

    OneBlueFire

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    #24
    I hope you keep us updated with its pros and cons so that we can all make an informed purchase. Let us know how seamless and easy it is to use.

    One thing that I'm not so sure about Chronosync is if it uses an XML database to match the files (The way iTunes and iPhoto does) to ensure that files you deleted from one machine don't suddenly appear again after syncing by way of comparing "Date and time of last sync" vs "Date and time the file was deleted". Deleting files would be a nightmare if it didn't check those parameters the way iTunes does when it syncs our iPhones and iPod Touches.
     
  25. linuxophile macrumors regular

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    Nov 8, 2005
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    here
    #25
    Ok, my setup does not require any intervention. It just does it automatically.
    However there are a few steps to do to have it working (set-it and forget-it).

    a) allow remote secure logins (need to edit .ssh/authorized_keys)
    b) setup crontab to sync every x minutes (which could be 1min or 1day).

    However beware: a mirroring like you dream of has dangers. Any corruption of files will propagate to all the mirrors (and iPhoto does corrupt files on occasions).
     

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