Syncing podcasts and videos between machines

synctoy folder pairs

Slowly I've been adopting the use of FireANT for my podcasts and vlogs (video blogs?) downloads. I'm still mainly using Azereus with the RSS plugin for its TV RSS method which has saved me a lot of time and effort downloading TV shows and the like. It was very good today, finding Lost ep5 seeding without any human interaction on my behalf.

Anyhow, I have FireANT running on both my laptop and main workstation. They both use the same OPML file from Bloglines which means they both download the same media! This is not ideal and bandwidth killing as you can imagine, specially when you get some of the larger Channel9 videos downloading. So I was looking around and found Microsoft's synctoy.

Now although this Sync toy isnt as powerful as Rsync on the unix platforms its actually quite neat and has all the modes needed for full syncing.

  • Synchronize: New and updated files are copied both ways. Renames and deletes on either side are repeated on the other.
  • Echo: New and updated files are copied left to right. Renames and deletes on the left are repeated on the right.
  • Subscribe: Updated files on the right are copied to the left if the file name already exists on the left.
  • Contribute: New and updated files are copied left to right. Renames on the left are repeated on the right. No deletions.
  • Combine: New and updated files are copied both ways. Nothing happens to renamed and deleted files

You can also Schedule it using the standards Windows Scheduler, Preview a sync, use UNC paths, sync deep folders (perfect for backup) and tell it to move files to the recycle bin instead of deleting them.

So with all this in mind, I've setup Fireant to download and for Synctoy to sync across to my laptop before it downloads on my laptop. This seems to work, because the stupid file names are at least unique across all Fireants. I've been trying to convince the people behind Fireant that the human readable podcast download names are unique enough to do the same thing, but its still a on going debate. If the human readable filenames were in place, I could then sync files to my storage card, pocketpc, mobile phone and laptop without human interaction. Using filetype filtering in synctoy, its possible to sync audio files to the phone while videos files go to the pocketpc. Hey and if Fireant used human readable filenames and Synctoy regular expressions the limits would be endless.

fireant and synctoy working together

So in summary,

Microsoft's Synctoy should be renamed Synctool and should add regular expressions to the filetype filering. I'm also hoping syncing to the PocketPC's storage card will be a option soon and there certainly should be a option to divert sync if the removeable storage card is not in place.

Fireant can keep its sync option but should give people the option to automaticly save as human readable filenames.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.