In sync

Windows guide on how to synchronize all sorts of different files across different platforms

Tags: Google IncorporatedInternetMicrosoft CorporationUnited Arab Emirates
  • E-Mail
In sync DoubleTwist
More pics ›
By  Gareth Van Zyl Published  October 20, 2009

This guide will give you advice on ways to sync your files, bookmarks, passwords, emails and so on, on to any platform or device you may have. We take a look at the major syncing technologies out there and give you advice on the best solution for you.

DoubleTwist (www.doubletwist.com)

Double Twist allows you to sync your media across numerous devices and then share that media with others online. The DoubleTwist team highlights their aim as follows:

"Our vision is simple: to create a unifying media platform that connects consumers with all their media and all their devices, regardless of whether they are online or offline. We feel that just like you don't use a different browser for every web site you visit (Firefox to read the NY Times, IE to stream Hulu, Chrome to browse YouTube, etc) you shouldn't have to use iTunes for Apple products, Nokia software for Nokia phones, Sony software for Sony products, etc. The typical household today has many such devices and there is a need for a simple and powerful software that connects them."

DoubleTwist is software for both PC and Mac that allow you to transfer media from your computer to a huge number of devices. It works like a multi-platform version of iTunes, and you can drag and drop your files to share with others as well. For example, the software can sync all music files you bought on iTunes with your Blackberry, Nokia phone, Kindle or Sony PSP without you having to worry about file format compatibility. Media files can then be uploaded to sites like Flickr, Facebook or YouTube from within doubleTwist.

DropBox (www.getdropbox.com)

DropBox is software that allows you to sync files of any size or type, make automatic online backups, share those files and track and undo changes to files. If you put your files into your ‘Dropbox' on one computer, they'll be instantly available on any of your other computers (Windows, Mac or Linux-based). A copy of your files are then saved on DropBox's  servers, so you can then access your files from any computer or mobile device using the DropBox website. It's merely a matter of signing in to
the website.

As mentioned, even if you're editing a file, and then save that file, DropBox saves it for you on all your other computers as well. You can also share files and folders with others, as it is merely a matter of sharing the link with others.

DropBox also automatically updates your files. So, if you lose all your files on one computer, your files, theoretically, should be safe on the dropbox servers. You can have up to 2Gbytes of storage on a free account, but, if you're willing to pay, you can have larger accounts of up to 100Gbytes.

The software also automatically syncs your files when new files are detected. You can even access your files on your Mobile Devices such as the iPhone and iPod Touch. You can, for instance, take photos and videos and sync them to your drop box.

Google Sync (m.google.com/sync)

This is a great feature for syncing your mail and calendar and contacts. The way in which it typically works is by using IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol), a protocol that is different to POP and SMTP. The thing with IMAP is that it can be configured to be used via your mail client or, alternatively, your POP mail can be accessed via your gmail with a number of configurable steps.

It's a matter of clicking on the ‘Settings' link in your gmail account, heading over to ‘Accounts' and following the directions on adding / removing email accounts. Apart from syncing your mail, you can also sync your diary in Outlook with the likes of Google Calendar.

You can start this syncing process by downloading the Google Calendar Sync program, executing the program. Furthermore, depending on the phone model you own, you can synchronise it with Google as well. You can, for instance, access your Google calendar and be alerted of up and coming events through your phone's sound or vibration. You can edit information on your phone as well and have that information changed on the Google servers as well. Visit http://www.google.com/mobile/products/sync.html#p=default to find out more.

 

Live Mesh (www.mesh.com)

Microsoft's Live Mesh works on PCs and Macs (surprisingly) and this is the gist of how it works. The idea is that you ‘mesh' your network of devices and synchronized folders by, firstly, installing the Live Mesh software on each of your computers.

Then, you should be able to right-click on a folder you want to sync, and you'll then see a menu option to be able to ‘Add folder to Live Mesh'.  You then should have the ability to choose which devices in your ‘mesh' you want the folder to synchronise with.

You can then invite friends to share your mesh as well. It works by opening a folder and then being presented with a mesh bar, where you'll have a Members tab. You can then invite friends by clicking on their email addresses to share certain folders. What's useful about this feature is that an orange dot appears next to the name of the member to indicate that a particular member is using a certain file.

What takes the degree of collaboration even higher here is the fact that you can communicate with your fellow members whilst using the files and stay informed via a news feature that tells you when the folder has had its information changed. You can work with your folders and connect to a remote computer from another computer or via the web. You can also use Live Mesh from any online browser. Of course, you would need to navigate to www.mesh.com to be able to use it.
Windows Live Sync (www.foldershare.com)

Similar to Mesh, Microsoft also has Windows Live Sync. The difference between the two is that Live Sync works more on a local computer level, whereas LiveMesh relies heavily on the cloud. The issue here is that it, in a way, turns your computer into a server, and therefore you would have to leave it on at all times to be able to continuously use it.

You can download files both big and small and it is perfect to use for friends and family. The disadvantage with this is that you can't make changes to documents like you do with LiveMesh (both computers have to be on).

To get it started is similar to LiveMesh. You need to download the program and install it. You can log into it using your Windows Live ID and the interface of the website is simple, but efficient. You can also configure which folders you want to share.

Opera Link and FoxMarks (now Xmarks)

So, we've gone over what it takes to sync your files, folders, email and other information across a variety of devices. It's only appropriate that we don't overlook synchronizing your internet browser's bookmarks either.

The Opera browser offers a facility whereby you can create bookmark your links on one computer and then access them on another computer. In Opera, it's as simple as clicking on 'File' and then navigating down to ‘Synchronise Opera'.

Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer also have an add on called Xmarks that give you the opportunity to access your bookmarks on different computers. Once you've installed Xmarks as an add-on, you sign into your Xmarks account, and Xmarks stores all your bookmarks (even your passwords) onto a database on a third party server.

As long as all of your computers have this add on, you can maintain your saved bookmarks across all your computers.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code