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Get Your Cloud Sync On

Syncing data from device to device via the Cloud is certainly one of the hot mobile topics these days. There are quite a few services available, some free, some not so free, some that charge by the amount of data you wish to store, etc.. Given that I bounce from device to device, having my data available on multiple platforms is a must for me. DropBox is the primary service I use at the moment, along with SugarSync. Why do I have two accounts? Well, who knows when one will go belly up or get bought by another company, and I like to be redundant. I also use PogoPlug for my own personal cloud for files (music, videos) that I don’t always need access to, as well as key files that I’m working with at the moment.

There are a range of services from a range of companies big and small, and while most do the job, something eventually leads us to choose one or the other.

So, I’m curious and am putting out a roll call. Sound of in the comments and let us know what syncing services you use for your data. Tell us your reasons and how the service works for you. Tell us what you’d like to see happen differently.

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25 Comments

  1. Rob

    06/18/2010 at 8:23 am

    I’m using DropBox exclusively for syncing files across mac, pc, android, iPad, and iPhone. I also use DropBox for sharing folders with customers and their projects.

    I’m using EverNote for all notetaking, syncing across all the above platforms.

    I’m using Google Apps for Domains for email access across all platforms (includes email, contacts, and calendars).

    I’m using Kindle for PC, Mac, iPhone, and iPad for syncing books across all platforms. I’ll use it for Android when it is released.

    I’m using MindJet’s Catalyst for MindMap sharing and collaboration with clients.

    I’m exploring office.live.com for live document sharing / collaboration.

    Reply

  2. lsbeller

    06/18/2010 at 8:37 am

    I am using Drobbox exclusively. Did OneNote 2010 ever figure out how to have notes emailed to it like Evernote?

    Reply

  3. TabletLawStudent

    06/18/2010 at 8:47 am

    Ditto to everything Rob is doing. I dumped Live Mesh for Dropbox even though LM was free and for more space because Dropbox is cleaner and faster.

    Another piece of my puzzle is LogMeIn. The web app is very handy for stuff that I haven’t saved in my Dropbox. I can get over to my remote computer, move the file into my dropbox, and I’m synchronized.

    Reply

  4. Vitaly

    06/18/2010 at 9:24 am

    Still using Live Mesh, primarily to sync OneNote files. But considering switching to DropBox, LM is slow and seems to never come out of beta…

    Reply

  5. sbtablet

    06/18/2010 at 10:58 am

    I use SugarSync, probably because I won a free year of premium service a couple of years ago on GBM. Now you get 2 Gig free, and pay for more, so I cut down to just my work files. I find it works great, although I wish they had a file search capability and their interface was drag and drop.

    I also still email a lot of things to myself, and carry things on flash drives.

    Reply

  6. GTaylor

    06/18/2010 at 12:06 pm

    This comment is more in answer to “Tell us what you’d like to see happen differently.” I have a strong cautionary bone in my head about putting any more of my biz out over the web, cloud, cell phone system, or wifi waves than is necessary and depending on the public airwaves to bring it back to me when I need it.

    On the other hand I feel that my bag of data, my files, contacts, and programs, should be with me when ever I need them. With storage being cheap, many types of gadgets being able to handle the same kind of stuff, and syncing utilities becoming more customizable, I think that the more responsible path to personal information management is to make use of common connectivity options to keep all devices up to speed on what I am doing. Where devices can’t go, a jump drive with a virtual computer using something like “Portable Apps” can fill in.

    An external hard drive can act as a back up device and as a sort of home base for my data set. Connectivity can be in real time or as available if I can’t plug something into my LAN until tomorrow. What I’d like to keep in the cloud is all of the excess baggage that is in my operating programs so that the software stack on my portable devices is as small as possible. And on that last point, there should be some online intellectual property clearing house that registers my purchased programs, media, and services so that I can access them from whatever device that I am using at the time.
    I actually have written the above in several articles on the various subjects, but this was the first time that I was able to get it into less than 300 words.

    Reply

  7. Night

    06/18/2010 at 3:10 pm

    Well, i use Memopal just because it offers a lot of free space. Yuo can try it using this link (http://apps.memopal.com/r/?VDZWbAIxB2ZZYgA1). With its “invitation system” it is possibe to potentially have a 25GB free account. I am a univeristy student and i have to store about 4 to 5GB of data for each semester. Thus 25GB of free space is a good solution.

    Reply

  8. Bobby Brooks

    06/18/2010 at 4:49 pm

    Dropbox has perfect pitch and bullet proof. It is what every other web app should aspire to be.

    Reply

  9. mrpacs

    06/18/2010 at 7:31 pm

    SugarSync hands down and I’ve tried them all.

    Reply

  10. TateJ

    06/18/2010 at 7:38 pm

    I use Pogoplug and an HP MediaSmart Windows Home Server as my personal cloud. I’m working on upgrading to Windows Server 2003.

    Reply

  11. Joe

    06/19/2010 at 4:27 am

    I use Microsoft Live Sync and REALLY love this free service to sync my work files across all my PCs. The service stores files locally and syncs when the computer has an internet connect. The program is VERY flexible as far as what folders you want to sync. (e.g. I have a huge folder that I share between my home computer and my office computer only, but not my tablet, while other folders sync between all three PCs)

    The service allows you to share folders with others, but requires the person you want to share with to install the program, so I haven’t really used this feature with my clients. I use 4shared.com to share files, which is a really cool free website that allows you to set up folders and password protect the folders.

    I’ve tried sugarsync, dropbox, etc. and in my opinion, all of the free versions of these have file size and/or storage limits that make it a real deal breaker for me.

    Right now I’m syncing between my 3 computers:

    16 GB of data (about 30,000 files)

    There are some limitations of what you can share, but I haven’t had a problem yet. Those limits are:

    20 folder shares
    no file larger than 4 gb
    20,000 files per folder

    As far as syncing across other devices, I really don’t find my android smartphone or my ipad effective devices to do “real” work. When I do need access to my files on my ipad, I use a remote desktop app and remote into my office or home computer.

    If you haven’t tried live sync, I highly recommend you give it a try.

    Reply

    • GoodThings2Life

      06/19/2010 at 7:25 am

      I love Live Sync and have used it for a while now too… and I’m looking forward to the convergence of Sync and Mesh with the new Windows Live coming out. But it also has some big limitations that will have to be increased or else an option to buy an increase before it becomes truly valuable to a majority of users.

      They really should have integrated it with SkyDrive for storage. Then it truly would be more cost-effective for them while still being more functional for us.

      Reply

      • joe

        06/19/2010 at 10:14 am

        I didn’t realize that live sync and mesh are soon to merge! Thanks for the heads up!!!

        From what I found online on a MSDN blog that the new (sync & mesh) limitations will be

        100K files per folder
        no file > 40GB
        200 folders supported

        I hope this remains free, but would pay for it if I had to.

        Integration with Sky Drive would be VERY cool.

        Reply

    • Night

      06/19/2010 at 9:53 am

      “all of the free versions of these have file size and/or storage limits that make it a real deal breaker for me.”
      Have you already tried Memopal (http://apps.memopal.com/r/?VDZWbAIxB2ZZYgA1)? I guess that it is the only FREE service that allows you to store up to 25GB of data. This limit is very high. Moreover there is no “time limit” for shared files. I can upload a file today, set an “unlimited” share time and the links for this file’s download will be active forever! Or at leat actve untill i will decide to disable that link :-)

      Reply

      • joe

        06/19/2010 at 10:16 am

        Hi Night,

        All I see is free storage up to 3.5 GB, am I missing something?

        Thanks,

        Joe

        Reply

        • Night

          06/19/2010 at 12:00 pm

          Hi Joe! Those 3.5GB are the starting space (instead of the standard 3GB); with an “invitation” system you can then achieve a 25GB of space. That is: You start with 3.5GB and then if you invite about 25 persons you will have more 0.5GB*50=25GB of space. Is that clearere now? :-)

          Reply

    • DP

      06/19/2010 at 2:07 pm

      Totally agree…Windows Live Sync, going back to the days that it was called Foldershare, falls under the category of “just works.” It has, as you note, limitations, in that it isn’t a storage service, just a syncing one, and that it doesn’t currently work with phones, iPads, etc. But if you’re looking for a fast, lightweight, free and dependable way to sync across computers, I can’t imagine a better service than Windows Live Sync. It’s criminal that Microsoft fails to market it better, and, I suppose, another sign of how that company’s dominance on the desktop is slowly eroding and fading away…

      Reply

  12. Mike

    06/19/2010 at 7:33 am

    I tried sugarsync and generally liked it.
    However, it needed me to be running as admin to work properly.
    There is no reason it should but sloppy product.
    The simple lessons, like not running as admin day-to-day seem to go largely unheeded.
    MicroSoft itself does not help, as Windows implemenation of multi-accounts without running admin can be quite screwy and confusing – especially to newbies.
    I have had more than one friend tell me to just change it and let them go cowboy as it was less hassle.

    Reply

  13. GoodThings2Life

    06/19/2010 at 7:42 am

    I’m a Windows Live SkyDrive and Live Sync user mostly, because I explicitly use Windows-based systems, however, I’m more and more interested in DropBox now that I have an EVO running Android.

    My girlfriend uses DropBox for her PC and iPod Touch, and seems to really like the service.

    Reply

  14. Robert Kosednar

    06/19/2010 at 12:29 pm

    We do a lot of business support with Droid, Palm, and iPhone 4 exchange activesync
    http://computerrepairservice.net/blog We have spoke with many business customers about remote sync of files. Most find dropbox to function perfectly for their business needs. The Microsoft Live still has some quirks to work through.

    Reply

  15. kaz911

    06/20/2010 at 6:10 am

    I came only to check for SugarSync alternatives. I have now lost so many files with SS -and have problems getting new computers to sync – and despite they have “launched” v. 1.8 according to the release notes – the only one you can download is 1.7.7

    My problems have been:
    1. upload of photo archive. Machine says upload complete. Then I check in – and then SS says on about 5% of the files (web interface says : waiting for XXX to upload) – upload pc says it is finished.

    2. I added new machine/folder today. It is only showing up in SS on it self – not on any of the other computers

    3. SS uploads all the time – you can’t pause an upload

    4. You can’t make exclude rules (exclude a folder in a range of folders) – or exclude file types

    5. I have a lot of archive PST files. They will not upload – SS says – we do not support Outlook yet. But a PST file is just a PST file. It is for backup only – but only way to get them “in the cloud” is to rename them to something else.

    In general SS has been at a standstill for the past 2 years it seems.

    So Im looking for something else that supports mac/pc and iOS.

    Reply

  16. Mike

    06/20/2010 at 7:06 pm

    It’s not really a straight file-sync app, per se.
    However, the paid version of Evernote has a good deal of capability and might work for lots of people.
    It is on a lot of platforms and gets active development as well.

    It is too bad they share with 3rd parties based upon notebook though and not labels. That would be quite a change in their infrastructure I think – but ever so much more flexible.

    Reply

  17. Gordon Cahill

    06/20/2010 at 8:56 pm

    This is interesting to me because I’m only just beginning to investigate the cloud as a valid synching source. Until now I’ve relied on the fact that I’ve always carried a device that had a USB port and so my data has always been stored on externals and then just plugged into whatever computer I’ve had on me. My weapon of choice has been my P1620 for some time. With a 120GB drive upgrade and a 1TB portable, who needs a cloud?

    Now I have the “large fruit tablet thingy” in my arsenal I’m being forced to change this mindset. I have a paid evernote acccount but you can’t open documents from it on the iPad for editing. But I’ve long used it to view emails/notes/documents on my iPhone so I will continue to keep using it for that purpose. Plus I can email “ink” notes to it from Penultimate that will be OCR’d. I also have a mobileme account that I use to sync my calendars/mail/contacts and that’s now what I’m going to use for my “cloud storage” as I can get access to it from all my devices and I can easily edit documents etc from the iPad as well as my other devices. While I do use vast amounts of data for work (photographer) I don’t need a lot for when I’m travelling and if I do edit on the road I’m going to want a faster device with a bigger screen and more storage, so I’ll use a laptop.

    But I’d be very interested why adding, say a Dropbox, account would be better than what I’m using now. I know I’m paying for mine but I also already have them so it’s costing me no more than before. Is there any other reason to not use something like a Mobileme/Evernote combo as your cloud service provider?

    Gordon

    Reply

    • Mike

      06/21/2010 at 4:15 am

      Just thought I’d note that in one of the recent evernote podcasts they addressed the topic of opening different types of documents on different platforms.
      They said that typically it would completely depend on that platforms ability to handle the note.
      In other words – if I have that correct – then any type of document you have in an evernote note, you should be able to open on your ipad. That is, if you have an app on the ipad for that type of document.

      Reply

  18. Jerry

    06/24/2010 at 10:18 am

    Currently using both Dropbox and SugarSync for most of my files. I like Evernote a lot (only one I pay for), but it’s really not suited for continuously editing documents.

    I like the Microsoft offerings and also use SkyDrive and Office Live. Tried Live Sync, but it won’t work with network drives at my hospital so it doesn’t do me a lot of good.

    Was using Live Mesh initially, but ran into some problems with lost documents across platforms and some really buggy behavior like days going by before certain files arrived on my other machines. I’m looking forward to the merge of Live Mesh and SkyDrive; the 25GB makes it very appealing.

    Reply

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