Syncing with FolderShare (part 1)

FolderShare syncIf you use more than one PC on a regular basis you know how much of a nightmare it is to manually keep everything in sync. Using primarily web tools helps greatly in that respect but it doesn’t solve everything. Whatever the solution you chose you want it to be automatic and simple. I’ve been using FolderShare to keep my laptop and home PC in sync for about a month now and I finally feel I can share the ins and outs I’ve discovered along the way.

This will be a two part post and first I’d like to describe what I’m currently syncing and why, as well as what my future plans for FolderShare are.

My FolderShare LibrariesWhat I’m currently syncing:

  1. All my music regardless of format. I’d love to be able to stream my music using a service like Anywhere.FM (previously posted here) or mediamaster (shared by Barak) but I like to be able to purchase songs and add them to my library wherever I am. I’m using FolderShare to overcome a shortcoming of iTunes itself. If iTunes hosted my music on the web and allow me to purchase songs so that I could download them later, I’d be all set.
  2. My iTunes library. This is due to another shortcoming of iTunes itself. It doesn’t auto detect media. Therefor unless I want to run a tool to auto detect the newly synced media or import files each time I purchased new songs on the other computer I need to keep the actual library synced. A problem with this is iTunes uses absolute paths in their library so I needed to have the directory path of the synchronized music exactly the same (in my case E:music) which meant setting up a partition on my laptop.
  3. My Firefox profile. I use a lot of extensions for Firefox and tend to change them in and out pretty often. It gets to be a pain because I’ll find a setup I really like but I need to install all the extensions and configure them on every PC. Including my work PC this really sucks. Syncing my Firefox profile alleviates all of these problems. You also get the added bonus of synchronized bookmarks and history although that doesn’t really matter to me as I don’t use them.

My future plans are:

  1. Syncing my Windows User Profile. One of the great things about Vista is they finally got the separation of application and data correct despite some applications tendency to corrupt the user space. All the data including your desktop is now under your user profile. I use my desktop as my workspace by keeping files on it that I’m currently working with. This can be anything from videos, documents, software I’m working on or Images. Syncing my user profile will mean regardless of which PC I’m sitting at I’ll have access to the same workspace.
  2. Syncing my Windows Sidebar. I’m not sure how this is going to work, or if its even possible but we’re going to find out. I change the applications on the sidebar out quite frequently, trying different setups. For the same reason I’m syncing my Firefox Profile I’d love to keep the same setup for my sidebar widgets on both PCs.

That’s it for my current uses and future plans. Stay tuned for my next post regarding my lessons learned about FolderShare.

Your Music Your Way

Anywhere.FM LogoI read about Anywhere.FM a while back and even added it to my Daily Notes. I never took the time to look into it until today. Holy crap I wish I had! It’s an awesome service. It lets you upload your entire music collection and listen to it anywhere you want. At the moment there is no storage limitation but the site is still in beta so they say that might change. I was originally hesitant when I heard about it because I thought it was going to be a service you had to run on your computer at home to share your library over the web. Since I have recently gotten rid of my home server I wasn’t looking forward to running another service.

There is also a client side application which allows you to sync your entire iTunes library. They claim to be working on a winamp and Windows Media Player syncing as well.

Don’t worry you’re not stuck listening to your own music either. What would a website be today without a built in social network? Anywhere.FM is no different. They allow you to add friends and listen to their music and playlists. They also have a very large repository music available for free. Plenty of raw music for you to discover. You can even browse other people’s music and play that as well. I’m not sure whether you get access to all of everyone’s music or if it has to be shared somehow but at this point I’m very excited.

Apparently this is all legal thanks to paying royalties to the artist through ASCAP, BMI and SESAC, the three performing rights organizations. I’m sure the artists are happy about this because they get paid for songs which have already been paid for assuming you actually do own the rights to the music you’re playing. It’s just paying income tax and sales tax.

This leads me into another topic… I’ve gone legit. That’s right I’ve started weeding out my questionable music and getting legit copies of music I really enjoy. That being said I currently have a lot of whole albums. That has stopped. I’m now only getting the songs I really want. I think the desire to obtain a whole album is a hold over from the days of purchasing CD’s. Its time to move into the 21st century and only pay for what I want. It will increase my overall quality of music as well. To that end I’ve also begun a weeding out process on my Ipod. This weekend I went from somewhere around 4-5k songs down to only 300.

Ironically the very thing that caused me to get into this legit kick is something not so legit. About 2 weeks ago Nick let me in on a loophole for free iTune songs from facebook. It took some time but I managed to build up 250 free songs before they closed the hole. Yay for me :).