Oh, and amortized over a few years it’s not even a penny a day. Or 10-cents a day for less than a year.
I’ve written extensively on the need to backup your Mac files. One of the easiest ways is simply to clone your Mac to an external hard drive. Cloned backups couldn’t get much easier on the Mac. Two clicks, five minutes, you’re done.
File synchronization between Macs and between backup sources is a whole ‘nuther problem altogether. I’ve tried nearly everything from Retrospect to Synchronize Pro! Success has always been spotty at best.
No more. Almost by accident I found what I think is the best Mac file synchonization program around.
Econ Technologies ChronoSync™. It just works.
These are the same folks who publish ImageCaster and Portraits & Prints, both of which I have, use regularly, and wrote about in previous articles. Click Here for the ImageCaster review, and Click Here for the Portraits & Prints review.
There are some Mac developers who just “get it” and publish excellent Mac utilities that work in that special Mac way. Apple gets it (of course), so does Adobe. The folks at OmniGroup with their great OmniWeb browser get it. Click Here for a look at our reader’s favorite Mac developers.
The folks at Econ Tech “get it.” And they got it right with ChronoSync.
Remember, backups and file synchonization are not really the same thing. If you need to backup a Mac, cloning is easy, inexpensive, and works well using a dozen different Mac applications.
File synchronization requires more thought, more care, and a little planning. For example, for many years I used Synchronize Pro! X from Qdea Softare. While it’s been a good application, although pricey at $100, it would often “forget” which files needed to be backed up automatically.
Not so with ChronoSync. Once I tried the updated version of Econ’s Portraits & Prints (what a sweet application for printing digital photos), I decided to give their ChronoSync a try. I’m glad I did as I no longer use the much more expensive Synchronize Pro!
What do you want from file synchronization? Usually it’s a simple sync between two Macs, or sync of select groups of files between your Mac and, 1) an external hard drive (not cloning, just backing up a bunch of important files), and 2) another Mac or network server.
Synchronization implies that you want all the files on one Mac to be the same as the files somewhere else (external Mac, external hard drive, network hard drive). This is especially important with a desktop Mac and a laptop Mac. There are some files you just need to be in sync on both machines.
ChronoSync to the rescue. For $30 (less than a penny per day, amortized over a few years, 10-cents a day for less than a year—meaning, it’s a good value) you get point and click simplicity for synchronizing your Macs or important files. It’s really that simple.
Open up ChronoSync (you get 30 day eval with the free download). The left pane could be your desktop Mac. The right window pane could be your laptop (or external drive, or network drive). On the left, select the folder you want to sync. On the right, select the corresponding folder you want to sync.
Click Trial Sync. Check the files to be synchonized. Click. ChronoSync handles the rest. After that, it’s usually just one click and your two machines (or drives) are synchronized. Simple enough?
OK, what if you have multiple folders to synchronize? For example, iTunes music, iPhoto photographs, select folders in the Documents folders, and your Mail folder (important). That’s four or more folders to synchronize.
You could do four individual synchronizations to get the job done. ChronoSync lets you combine individual synchronization jobs (like music, photos, Mail) into a “container.” Then the container syncs automatically to the other Mac or hard drive, one job after the other until done.
The process is very simple. If you’re like me, a nut for backups and sharing files between multiple Macs and hard drives, this is a Godsend.
Icing on the cake? Yes. Automatic syncs. This is so important. Set it and forget it. That means the sync program needs to know when to begin the sync process, and where to connect.
ChronoSync “remembers” your set up (passwords, login ID’s, network drive, Mac name, etc.) then sits there until the appropriate time and does the job. Every time.
More icing? Email notification. It’s nice to get that email message first thing in the morning that says “here’s what happened while you were away….” For our web site, we use ChronoSync to “backup” important files between machines.
So, in the end, though both machines have different purposes and functions and files, things are “synchronized” enough between them that, in a catastrophic failure of one machine, the other could quickly be brought online and keep things going—all the files needed are already there.
I’m about to run out of time and space (that whole space time continuum thing means no long, long articles) but there’s more with ChronoSync. Rules. Sync files and folders by date, name, size, labels, whatever. Analyze Data. Do this before you sync the first time, then save the results. All future syncs are handle the same way. In other words, only copy/sync what you want.
What’s also important here is that ChronoSync is one of a number of excellent Mac applications from a developer who obviously just “gets it” the Mac way. I purchase what I write about (good or bad, and why I scour the web for “free” applications, too) and I can’t say enough about those Mac developers who put out products like ChronoSync, ImageCaster, and Portraits & Prints.
Get this. I’ve used all three extensively over the past few months and not had a single crash. Not once. And my Macs are running pretty much 24/7 with a bucket of open windows.
Critical analysis? When I find something wrong or that I don’t like I’ll let you know. Click Here for more detail and the download.
update I forgot to add this—what success (or not) have you had with Mac synchronization apps? Good? Bad? Care to share? Click on Comments below to view other comments and leave your own (all anonymously, of course, if you wish).