Sync Dev: How I Sync

Developing on the BitTorrent Sync API? Our developer evangelist is here to work with you.


Admittedly, I really enjoy reading the Sync Stories that Lou puts together – they’re a great look into how folks from all walks of life use Sync to better handle their data.  This week’s story – 5 Ways A Photographer Can Use Sync – got me thinking about how I use Sync to move my data around at work,  in the two cities I call home, and while I’m on the road.  Today I’m going to walk through my Sync Story and my personal Sync configuration.

Lets start with a little bit about me and then we’ll move on to hardware.  I split my time between the San Francisco Bay Area and my place in Newport Beach, which is 400 miles south of SF.  I’m on the road a lot – I’m United 1K (100,000 miles flown per year) and find myself at conferences, speaking engagements, and the occasional vacation getaway with photos and data to send home all the time.  As a hobbyist photographer (I shoot a Canon 5D Mark II + 1D Mark III, a Leica M240, and a Ricoh GR most of the time), I use Sync to move photos between wherever I happen to be and my work/home computers for archival and post-processing.  Here’s how I do it:


My travel laptop is a 2013 Apple MacBook Air 11″ with a Haswell Core i7.  It has immense battery life and has enough processing power for most of the computing I do on the road: web browsing, email, virtual machines and Photoshop.  I usually back up my photos at the end of the day onto the laptop, then Sync them back home since my MacBook Air only has a 256gb SSD.  The receiving Sync server back at home is a BeagleBone Black Rev C with a Sandisk Cruzer Fit 64gb USB key.  I’m lucky that Cox has fairly huge internet plans in Newport Beach – I have a 100mb down / 25mb up connection.  This means that the bottleneck for Sync is usually the hotel or MiFi internet.  From there, a cron job on the BeagleBone will move the photos off of the BeagleBone’s USB key and onto one of my NAS devices – which are scheduled to power on/shutdown at specific times for power savings reasons.  Once I get home, Sync keeps my working folder with RAW files and processed JPGs consistent across the computer in my home office where I process them, the iMac in my bedroom and my other devices around my home so that I’m always looking at the latest edit on whatever device I’m working with.


My home storage array probably deserves a paragraph of its own – I’ve got 2 Netgear ReadyNAS boxes – an early ReadyNAS 600 with 4 Seagate Enterprise 750gb drives in RAID 5 and a ReadyNas NV+ with 4 Seagate Enterprise 1.5tb drives in RAID 5.  I also have 4 HP MediaSmart EX-series Windows Home Server boxes – each one has 4 Western Digital 2tb drives installed and one has an eSata breakout box with 4 additional 2tb drives in it (that one houses my DVD collection).  All said and done, I have something like 30+terabytes of storage at home.


I also use Sync at home for setting up new machines.  I have a thing for hardware – specifically older ThinkPads – and have accumulated a few over time.  When installing a new SSD and OS, Sync simplifies the process for me by pushing my “App Installers” folder to the new device as soon as I get it up and running.  My “App Installers” folder has all of installation bits for applications like FireFox, PuTTY, Adobe Reader, TorBundle, WinRAR, Evernote, etc.  It’s convenient and fast to pull down all of the installation bits this way and it’s easier for me to maintain vs a USB stick with the installers.


So, that’s how I Sync at home.  Tell me about what interesting things you’re doing with Sync!