Synchronisation habits

To avoid cluttering my top 10 tools list (next post) with details, I am going to describe my synchronisation habits in this separate post.

For syncing my office and home materials, I use a method that might look odd, old-fashioned, or suggest that I don’t know how to use a USB stick. Yes, the USB sockets at my office are located at the back of the computer and under the table, and yes, I find the Safely Remove Hardware procedure annoying. But I doubt that I would be happy if it were simpler. I think the real problem is different, and I have been struggling with it already at the times of My Briefcase.

The most onerous part is not doing a few sync actions but to figure out what to copy where, what to move where, what belongs where, and which versions to keep. After I settled for my fool-proof routine procedure, I found that I dont mind a few thoughtless steps as long as I am able to retain some sense of place, as long as I stay aware what is at home and what is at office. I find it very important to quickly push things from home to office or vice-versa, since it is difficult enough to keep some work-life balance, especially if work focus and personal interests are closely intertwined.

So I regularly create a folder “4home”, and I use kind of a primitive “satellite” transmission method: Upload the folder “4home” from the office desktop to our old unix system, and download it back at the other and. (Correspondingly, the opposite transfer works from home via unix to the office desktop.) The intermediate repository is uncomfortable and distant enough from my desktops so there is no temptation to use the copies lying there directly. If this third place were a viable option, the confusion would start again, until I would have abandoned both of my harddisks and worked only from the mobile transport vehicle environment (or eventually from a web office).

Another issue seems quite trivial but kept causing confusion: What to do with the numerous copies left from this procedure? What if I deleted them instantly, and just in this moment the computer containing the main copy would crash? I would be hopping mad. But keeping many copies raised the version problem again. Eventually, I decided to neither keep nor delete these copies but just rename them: Appending suffixes “-s” and “-f”, “-f2”, … for sent and fetched. So I need deleting the incidental backup files only once in a while. (To be accurate, I often rename the 4office folder in fromhome and vice-versa.)

I use SSH filetransfer from ssh.com for this synchronisation. Additionally, I need SSH (terminal) occasionally for some relics from my unix times, particularly for tasks that I still can’t do well on the PC, such as awk and sed.

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