Monday, February 8, 2010

Mobile Me iDisk and rsync

I’ve been using Mobile Me since 2002. (Then it was called .Mac). One of the features I really like is the iDisk. This is really convenient when you have to transfer large files. Also, I use it to keep a set of files I need again and again for my work as an agile coach. To make the access transparent and fast you can keep a copy of your iDisk on the local Macintosh HD and use it like any other drive. There is a sync process running in the background taking care of the data syncing. Very nice and convenient. In the beginning I could put a symbolic link into the local iDisk to reference a folder with the files on my local hard drive. Then the files were synced onto the iDisk in the cloud and I could access them from anywhere.
However, with the release of Leopard this stopped working. Well, rather annoying but not a real big problem. I just created a folder which I kept up date manually. But, since the iPhone has an iDisk app I started to read and re-read certain documents while on public transport. As you can guess, it happened again and again, that I forgot to do the manual update and therefore could not read important documents.
rsync to the rescue. With rsync you can keep folders in sync. I use it to keep the folder on the iDisk an exact copy of the folder containing the documents.
Well, next problem. Now, I have the copy process automated but I still need to run the script manually. The fix for this is crontab. Crontab is a list of scripts to be executed by the cron demon at certain times. I cannot tell you how much I like that OS X is Unix based. A nice UI with the power Unix underneath, what a great combination.
Now at midnight, the documents are automatically synced from the local folder on my hard drive to my iDisk. There I can access them using my iPhone or my notebooks. (iDisk also has a Windows client).
If you run into the same problems, then hopefully this shed some light onto it.

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