Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bittorrent Sync has just used up its last chance with me.

After ditching BTSync once, then deciding I installed it wrong on Linux and trying it again, finding errors but later discovering that it was my gaming laptop and not my Linux netbook that was causing problems, and then later facing a host of other inconveniences that were ultimately circumvented (by uninstalling BTSync from devices I don't use much), I for some reason kept using BTSync.  Today I once again went to the documents directory on my PC to see that a handful of my files have been reverted to a state so old that they are completely blank (they were placeholder files for a month or two during project planning).  What the fuck?  BTSync, that's what.  I've made a lot of concessions by using this program because I don't have a consistent connection to the internet at home and this works offline, (and also it works on Ubuntu ARM), but I'm no longer on ARM and I'll be moved back to a place with regular internet in two weeks, so I'll just suffer through it for now.

Anyway, here's what I learned in using it for the past few months:
  • Using BTSync to sync any files you don't ever intend to edit or alter seems fine.  I still intend to use it to quickly transfer video and comic files across devices (though 250kbps isn't that fast it's still better than my devices being tethered to one another during a transfer).  If you want to sync text files you regularly edit, for instance, then BTSync will occasionally replace your newer versions with older ones. If you want it to sync mp3 files, and then edit the tags on those mp3 files, they will become corrupted.  These are not things that have happened to me just once, these are things that have happened many times and across versions.
  • If you have a directory that sees its contents change regularly, you can use BTSync, but only if all the devices are regularly connected.  I had my tablet set up to use BTSync, a tablet I only use once every few weeks.  Lo and behold, the last time it was on BTSync started reverting all the files on my netbook to the much older versions on my tablet.  This included deleting folders I'd recently added in a fit of organization.
  • If you lose something, if a file is ever replaced by BTSync, you can usually find the desired version in the ".SyncArchive" subfolder (if you catch it soon enough).  But let's be honest, you (and by you I mean I) should be backing your (my) stuff up regularly in somewhere where no sync app can touch it. It's not that hard to set up a 7zip command to run daily.  I've been burned enough that lesson runs deep in my workflow setup.  The problem is I can't easily replace a file if I don't know it's been automatically depreciated.
All this said, they do disclaim that this software is in a beta state.  I feel bad as I haven't submitted any bugs,  but every time I have an issue it burns up so much time trying to fix it (I was using it for work) that I don't have any more time to spend on it.

Maybe I'll give it another shot when it loses it's beta tag, but I suspect that by then I'll have found a better solution.  Right now I'm eying git-annex, which certainly seems promising (but its Windows build is in alpha, so the joke's on me all around).

Til then,


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