Tagged With syncing

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Dear Lifehacker, We live in a world with multiple computers for one person, but I am having one issue. How can we keep everything in sync? I would like to work on my Mac at home. Close it, go to work and open my (different) Mac at work. I want the same configuration (yes, I do have some tendencies...), same files, same everything where I left off at home. Any suggestions?

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

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Dear Lifehacker, I'm looking for a way to sync my iPhone, Outlook and Gmail calendars all together, so when I make a change on one all of the other calendars update to the changes automatically. I have tried to use the iCloud control panel in Windows, without much luck. Even when I can set my iCloud and Gmail calendars as internet calendars on Outlook they show as read-only calendars and I can't add appointments. Please help. Thanks, Calendar Clod

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The auto-detected search engines in Google Chrome are one of those niceties that makes the browser outshine Firefox among power users. Without it, all those shortcuts that are burned into your muscle memory are useless. Or at least they were. You can now enable search engine (and open tab) syncing in the dev channel of Chrome.

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If your family uses one Apple ID to purchase music and apps and have more than one iPhone or iPod Touch you probably won't want to share the same Apple ID account for iCloud on each phone. Doing so would sync the same contacts, inbox, bookmarks and other personal settings.

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Reader hominid.todd says that a Google rep emailed him about the long-awaited status of the Browser Sync extension for Firefox 3. Turns out they're discontinuing development on it. Here's Google's response to hominid.todd's inquiry:

Thanks for trying out Google Browser Sync and for all of your feedback. It was a tough call, but we decided to phase out support for Browser Sync. Since the team has moved on to other projects that are keeping them busy, we don't have time to update the extension to work with Firefox 3 or to continue to maintain it.

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Mac only: The newest beta release of Senuti—a utility that copies music from your iPod to your computer—now supports the iPhone and iPod touch. Just install Senuti on your Mac, hook up your iPhone or iPod touch, and the Senuti beta will list all the songs on the device and place a blue dot next to songs that already exist in your iTunes library. Select the songs you want and press the Transfer button to copy them to your Mac. The touch-friendly Senuti version is a beta, but it worked like a charm on the one iPhone I tested it on. Senuti is a free download for Mac only; be sure to hit the beta link lower on the homepage for iPhone and iPod touch support. Thanks, smackswell!

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iPhone/iPod touch only: The lamest omission in the whole of iPhone development is the lack of sync for Notes. Let's be honest—the iPhone keyboard is nice, but you don't want to have to use it for all your notes. That's where RemoteNote comes in, a donationware iPhone application available through Installer.app. Whenever you run it, you can view, edit, create, delete, back up, and even print your notes through your web browser. Similar shareware tools have been available, but RemoteNote is the first no-cost option I've seen. RemoteNote works with both the iPhone and iPod touch, requires installation of the Jiggy Runtime (also from Installer) and a jailbroken iPhone. Thanks Lee!

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FuseCal is a web app that does something so useful, yet so seemingly rare, that it's hard to believe it's both free and easy to use. The app, currently in alpha, lets you add iCal-based calendars (and a few other formats) to a master calendar, then choose whether all those events, just the ones you pick, or events filtered by keyword will be synced to Outlook, Apple iCal, Google Calendar, or another program. I've only had time to test the Google Calendar->FuseCal->Outlook setup, and it seems to work. Those with web sites can also publish their combined FuseCals on their site. FuseCal is free to use; a sign-up lets you keep your calendars in sync.

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Mac OS X only: One conspicuously yet-to-be-implemented feature of the iPhone and iPod touch is the ability to sync notes between your computer and your device. Until Apple figures out what should be a simple feature, freeware application iPhoneNotes wirelessly syncs notes between your jailbroken iPhone or iPod touch and your Mac. The set up is simple, but not obvious, and since the main site is light on documentation, hit the jump for setup details.

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Nothing sucks worse than getting to the office in the morning and realizing you left the most recent copy of an important file—whether it's your to-do list or a PowerPoint presentation—on your home computer. No matter where you are and what computer you're using, you always want the most updated set of documents and files you've got without having to carry 'em around on a thumb drive. Luckily, several free solutions can automatically sync folders between computers—even over the internet, through office firewalls—no matter what operating system you use. Whether you want work files edited at home to magically appear on your PC at the office, or the family room Mac to have a copy of the latest batch of digital photos downloaded onto the computer in the den, three free applications can help.

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Windows Mobile/Pocket PC only: Get access to all of your Windows Mobile or Pocket PC device's files with Mocha FTP Server, a (newly) free utility. Simply load and run the software on your mobile device, point a browser or FTP client on a networked computer to the address it provides, and you can do what you want with pictures, music, and other files. You can get pretty fancy if you want, setting up multiple users with different rights, time-outs, and more. Mocha FTP Server is a free download for Windows Mobile and Pocket PC devices; once you hit the registration screen, enter "freeware" for a licence name and "111425" for a code.

Mocha FTP Server

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If you've spent hours ripping a DVD or downloading a video just to find—when all's said and done—that the audio and video aren't matching up, reader Will suggests using video-Swiss-Army-knife VLC's desynchronisation feature to sync up the audio.

In the VLC Preferences, click on Audio and then tick the Advanced options checkbox; there is an Audio desynchronization compensation setting that allows you to set a positive or negative time delay between the video and audio tracks in milliseconds. I find unsynchronized video/audio unbearable, and have been known to delete files without watching them for it. It never occurred to me that there would be such a simple solution!

Will points out that you need to stop and start the movie each time you make an adjustment, but if you've been banging your head against the wall over poorly synced audio, VLC can make quick work of it. Thanks Will!

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Windows and Mac OS X: Free data-syncing utility FolderShare has released an updated Windows client with better Windows Vista support and performance, as well as a redesign of the website where you can easily share and grab files from another computer, whether it's Mac or PC. As with the first time we mentioned it, FolderShare only limits individual file sizes (up to 2 GB) and the number of files per shared library (10,000)—other than that, it's whatever you want to share. If you've got a different OS at home and work, or you just want an easy synchronisation tool for an always-on box, FolderShare fits the bill, and can help you keep Firefox profiles and Greasemonkey scripts in sync. FolderShare is a free download for Windows and Mac OS X systems (with an updated Mac client in the works, according to developers).

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Windows only: Have your calendar available on the desktop as well as in the cloud with the Google Calendar Sync desktop tool, freshly released from the big G. Sync your primary calendar on your vanilla or Google Apps account to Outlook automatically at a refresh rate you define. Syncing can be one or two-way, meaning you can add and edit events in Outlook and have them sync to GCal or vice versa automatically. The only catch is that it only works with your primary calendar, not secondary ones. Google Calendar Sync is a free download for Windows only. (Of course, having Outlook helps.) This coupled with Gmail IMAP really makes Outlook a viable GApps client.

Google Calendar Sync

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Windows only: Freeware application doubleTwist converts your DRM-laden iTunes purchases to DRM-free MP3s that you can play pretty much anywhere. In addition to the DRM-stripping (which really is the marquee feature), doubleTwist is actually a full-fledged tool for sharing music with friends and syncing your iTunes library to any device—currently supporting devices like the PSP and Sony phones, Nokia N-Series phones, Windows Mobile phones, and even the Amazon Kindle. The DRM-stripping isn't lossless (sound degradation is reportedly about 5%), but at a conversion rate of about 100 songs per half hour, it's very fast. Brought to you by DVD Jon (the guy famous for cracking DVD encryption), this freeware, Windows-only (for now) app can free you from the shackles of Apple DRM.

doubleTwist

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The CyberNet blog tackles an annoyance that any (Windows-using) iPhone or iPod touch owner likely noticed within minutes of setting up their new device in iTunes—no support for syncing Firefox bookmarks. The solution, CyberNet suggests, lies in seamlessly coordinating your Internet Explorer bookmarks (built into Windows) with Firefox. Luckily, a few extensions have this covered, including the two-way BooKKit, and SyncMarks, already pointed out by a commenter, which one-way syncs from Firefox to IE favorites. Of course, a browser-neutral solution could likely be worked up with a syncing solution as well. Got a better idea on how to integrate Firefox bookmarks into your Apple device? Share your solutions in the comments.

Syncing iPhone Bookmarks with Firefox

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Dual booting Windows and Linux doesn't mean you have to maintain two separate sets of applications, preferences, and documents. With cross-platform, open-source applications like Firefox, Thunderbird and Pidgin, you can use the same apps with the same configuration automatically no matter what OS you've booted. Always access the most recent state of your Firefox browsing history, IM buddy list, Thunderbird address book, and more from Windows or Linux using a single-point-of-contact data partition. Let's tear down at least part of the wall between Windows and Linux and start sharing files between the two dual-boot desktops. Photo by hsivonen.