Technology Redifined

Friday, 16 May 2014

BitTorrent Syncs Cloudless File Syncing Devices

Cloud services like OnevDrive and Dropbox are dead-simple to set up and make multi-device file syncing an absolute breeze—but those services force you to stash your files on the company’s third-party servers. For some people that’s just not an option, or at least an option they’d rather do without.But there’s another easy alternative that lets you automatically sync files between devices even if you don’t trust the cloud: BitTorrent Sync Beta.BTSync is also flexible. You can specify which folders to sync between devices. You can share documents with other BTSync users in read-only mode (meaning they can’t change the file on your devices). Advanced users can even use BTSync to track document versioning.But there are some downsides to BTSync. You can’t sync specific files with specific devices. With BTSync, you either sync a folder among your devices or you don’t. You also need to have your devices powered on and signed in for BTSync to work; the BitTorrent protocol relies on both devices being active to share files.Perhaps most notably, the program isn’t very newbie-friendly—though BitTorrent Sync chief Erik Pounds says the team is “laser-focused on making BitTorrent Sync drastically easier to use.”All that said, BitTorrent Sync is a terrific option for folks who want to sync data without relying on cloud services and third-party servers.


share the same Awesome Videos folder on the OFFICE computer with an Android tablet. Open the program on the PC, select the Awesome Videos folder, and then click the Connect mobile button. You’ll see a QR code pop up in a new window.If your tablet has only a front-facing camera, the QR code may be a little trickier to line up. You can manually enter the secret code in the “or enter secret here” field under the Scan QR code button, too that field is automatically populated when you photograph the QR code. Once the code’s there, tap Done.On the next screen, tap Choose folder,then select where you want to save the data on your tablet and press the Choose folder button. You’ll return to the Add folder screen. Tap Scan QR code, which will activate your camera. Take the picture!BitTorrent Sync works similarly on iOS, but with one major difference: You don’t have to choose where to save your synced data. Just snap the QR code and BTSync takes care of the rest.Note that both apps also have a backup option. On iOS, you can sync your photos to your PC, while the Android app can back up any folder you’d like. The setup process here is basically the same as above.

Sharing is caring:

Beyond syncing, you can also share folders with other BTSync users. You can give them the full-access secret code, as if you were sharing with one of your PCs, for example. But if you don’t want to give someone full, permanent access to your files, you can share a folder with either read-only or full privileges for 24 hours.To share a folder, select it in BTSync, and then click the Info button in the main menu.But back to sharing folders! The One-time secret option creates a code that lets you share the folder with others, with either full or read-only access, but the code becomes invalid 24 hours after creation. It’s sharing with security in mind. You can also give mobile devices a one-time secret by clicking the Connect mobile device button at the bottom of the Folder Info window.From here it should be pretty obvious what you have to do. The permanent “Read only secret” lets you share the folder with others. Any changesyou make will be pushed out to the read-only copy, but any changes made by the recipient of the read-only secret does not sync back to your folder. If you share a text document and give someone full access, then any changes they make to the text document are sent to your devices.

BitTorrent Sync is built around syncing entire folders rather than individual files at this point, you can force it to ignore specific files in a folder, which could be handy in sharing situations.Doing so requires tinkering with the “.SyncIgnore”file that appears when you enable hidden files in a synced folder (just like .SyncArchive). Open .SyncIgnore in your text editor of choice; Notepad works. Start a new line in the .Sync Ignore file and type the name, including the extension, of the file you want BTSync to ignore.


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