Better than a Crystal Ball

Every time I go on a trip – or take a work-at-home-day – I have to stop before I leave my office, gaze into my crystal ball and ask it, “What files will I need while I’m away from my computer?”

My crystal ball is crap. Because more than half the time, I forget the one file I really need. I’ve been thinking about upgrading that crystal ball. But then a technology came along that made my old crystal ball completely obsolete. Now it’s just gathering dust on a shelf, indistinguishable from all the other snow globes.

What is this technology, you ask? It’s a cloud service, actually, call Syncplicity. The company called me in response to something I wrote over at the Gripe Line and set me up with an account so I could try it out.

A month later, I freakin’ love this service.

Here how it works: I installed a bit of software on both my laptop and desktop. Then I told same which folders on my computer I want to keep in sync. I keep all my magazine work in one folder (with a lot of subfolders) and my blogs in another, and etc like that. Not knowing what files I might want in the distant (and not so distant) future, I told it to sync pretty much everything. I did the same thing on my laptop.

So now whenever I change a file or create a new one and save it in one of those auto-syncing folders on either machine, the software automatically copies that file to its server on the Internet. So when I save this file I’m writing right now – the one that will become this blog post you are reading – and save it on my desktop, it will be waiting for me when I get home in case I want to polish a bit on my laptop. I don’t have to upload it, copy it, or even think about it. It will just be there.

It is seriously like magic.

Even if I’m working on my bitty netbook, which does not have the software installed, all I have to do to get the latest version of any file, is log into my Syncplicity  account online. And all my files are waiting for me. So if disaster strikes and my laptop is stolen or my desktop goes caput, my files will not go down with the ship. I can get a new computer and lose no data along the way. I won’t even have to go through an arduous backup restore processs either.

If I’m collaborating with someone on a project (as I sometimes do) I can share the relevant folder(s) with that person and — no matter how many changes either of us make — the file that’s online will always be the very latest one. No emailing files back and forth.

It’s so sweet; it’s the way it should always have been.

Syncplicity set me up with their fancy business account but there is a free personal account that comes with 1GB of online storage.

Check it out and let me know what you think!