Friday, January 24, 2014

Syncing has failed me (again)

A few weeks ago I was going to write a rant about Bittorrent Sync and how it was giving me all sorts of strange problems.  At the time, the problems boiled down to deletions on my phone not persisting in my netbook folders.  Then I realized I might have made a huge mistake in my installation (which I did).  I uninstalled everything and started over, and that problem was solved.

So let the new problems begin!

A week ago I edited one of my documents.  It was a major edit, a final edit one might say.  Then, within a minute of saving it, jEdit popped up a warning that the file had been changed, and it reverted to the changed version.  First of all, excuse me jEdit?  Perhaps I've been spoiled by Notepad++, but you just automatically load the changed version file?  You don't even ask? There is an option to ask the user how they want to handle it, which I enabled immediately afterwards, but I'm actually shocked that isn't enabled by default.

Looking at the file that was changed, all my edits were gone.  It was nothing I couldn't replicate, I had just renumbered some headings and fixed a few paragraphs, but it was boring tedious work and I didn't fancy re-doing it all.  Okay, so I might have mentioned before that I have a ridiculous series of backups.  I plucked the last file I'd saved out of the backups and I restored it, and it hasn't changed back since.  This is worrisome, I thought, but I'll let it ride for now and keep my eyes open for anything else fishy.  (and just a side note, BTSync's history folder had a copy of my edited document pre-wipe, so I assume it replaced it the file, as it only seems to save revisions when it's replacing them.  I think.  I don't know, it's weird)

And let me tell you, now that I'm paying attention I'm having all sorts of weird issues.  Today I had just created two text files, saved them, and then was told that the source files had changed, which I ignored.  I have no idea what was going on there.  Then I went and looked at some other document folders.  Documents were missing.  One folder had duplicates, which I expected.  I'd changed a filename's case from Name.txt to name.txt, and I had a feeling BTSync would leave me with two copies.  I knew the lowercase version was the newer one, so it was okay.  But other files were missing.  Once again, I found copies in BTSync's history folder, so I'm assuming it deleted them.  Why, I don't know.  I certainly hadn't deleted them on any of my other devices.  It's possible a device that was a few weeks behind on syncs got on my wifi and caused some havoc, but a) that shouldn't happen, I mean BTSync should know better and b) I don't think that happened.

My primary device is a Chromebook that does get a little confused when it wakes up, meaning the clock can be off by a few hours and stuff like that.  Could there have been some timestamp related issue?  Surely not, but I suppose that's a possibility too.

The biggest issue is I'm in the middle of nowhere right now with no internet, and I doubt I'll have a solid (ie non-cellular) connection for a few months (then, if all goes well, I may get me a fiber connection!).  That means Drive, Dropbox, etc are out, even though they didn't have ARM versions last time I checked anyway.  I did a cursory Google search on my slow-as-molasses connection for any other offline file syncing apps, but I couldn't find any that seemed relatively easy to set up and also synced to my phone.  For now I'm relying on a bash script that uses rsync to keep everything backed up (one-way sync) to a SD card, and I'll just have to deal with not being able to edit my files on my phone.


So in short (hahaha) I still have BTSync installed, and I'm still using it to transfer files back and forth between my devices, it's faster than AirDroid and more convenient than USB.  But either BTSync's got some big syncing issues or there's something in my workflow that's keeping it from doing it's job properly.  Since I'm in the middle of nowhere, no sync for me.


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