It’s taken me over a month to write this.
It should be awesome then!
Nah sorry, just more of the same old crap.
In Syncing with Foldershare part 1 I outlined what I was using FolderShare for. I’ll now outline my reactions after using the service for a while.
FolderShare advertises three main features. Sync My Folders, Share With Friends, Access My Files.
Share With Friends – This feature is completely unnecessary. There are literally thousands of ways out there to share a file with your friends. Having a directory synchronized with your friends seems like overkill. As far as the collaborative nature of the feature, collaboration itself belongs on the web. As such there are many online tools such as Google Documents or gliffy provide much better mechanisms for collaborating with others.
Access My Files – This feature scares the crap out of me and if if there is one reason I stop using FolderShare this will be it. It allows you to access every file on any of your computers that is currently connected to FolderShare. This means if someone gains access to your FolderShare account they can access everything from the web.
Surely you mean only the files or directories you’ve told FolderShare to share?
Nope sorry, Everything. A big downside to FolderShare in my mind is the fact everything is configured from their website. You can add a new computer to ‘sync’ with and add sync points right from the website if you have access to the account.
Sync My Folders – This is the only feature I find useful and frankly the only feature I want FolderShare to provide. This allows you to pick (different) folders on two (or more) different computers and sync their contents over the web. They synchronization is recursive so if you have seperate partitions for data feel free to sync the entire partition.
FireFox profiles -Firefox keeps some files in your profile locked whenever it’s running. If you have the (synchronized) profile open on more than one computer you will start to get notices that FolderShare cannot copy a certain file. Your only options are ‘retry’ or ‘exit.’ If you choose retry it will obviously fail unless you close FireFox. Choosing to close firefox means you will need to wait several minutes before resuming your work. If you choose exit FolderShare itself exits and you lose your synchronization completely. This didn’t bother me to much I just got in the habit of making sure I closed FireFox on my laptop before attempting to use it on my PC.
After a few weeks however; my PC and Laptop started to get out of sync and at some point Firefox (or Windows I’m not sure which) decided it would be a good idea to reinitialize my entire profile and I lost everything on my laptop. At this time I determined the headaches FolderShare was giving me synchronizing Firefox profiles wasn’t going to work for me. I need a new solution so if someone has one please share. Note that I’m looking for a way to synchronize everything including plug-ins not just settings and history (what Google can currently offer)
iTunes Music Library – As I don’t use iTunes all that often on my home PC this feature is working excellently. However; it suffers the same problems as the Firefox profile synchronization in that the two PCs cannot both run iTunes at the same time.
Security – FolderShare uses your normal Microsoft login. This means that if your MSN account is compromised it instantly exposes all of your personal files on your home computer. This is very scary to me. To make me a bit more at ease FolderShare needs to add some local security features.
- Only Files and Folders shared Locally (from the PC itself) should be exposed to FolderShare
- To add a PC should require some sort of authentication from one of the PCs already part of the synchronization
Usefulness - FolderShare seems to be incredibly useful to synchronize data. That being said it seems fundamentally flawed for synchronizing application data that needs to be used very often. The fact that FolderShare synchronizes over the internet as opposed to network connectivity is awesome. This means that even if I’m on the go, when I make a change to a file I’m synchronizing it gets backed up at home.