Working off of network drives (MobileMe, thumb drives...)

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Packet
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Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:29 pm Post

For what it's worth, I've been keeping my primary Scrivener projects on Dropbox for the better part of two years, and I've only had a sync conflict once. I used to have considerably more trouble keeping my Scrivener files on iDisk.

(And I should note that one Dropbox sync issue was entirely my own fault; I went and wrote on the MacBook Pro at a coffeeshop that had no WiFi, came home and didn't open the laptop to let Dropbox sync before trying to open the file on the Mac Pro. Oops...)

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AmberV
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Tue Oct 26, 2010 6:10 am Post

That's probably the number one mistake with Dropbox: forgetting to let your computer sync up before you go and open a project and edit it. Fortunately it can be relatively easy to fix this using DB's version roll-back features.
.:.
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Jenny_Y8S
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Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:04 am Post

Hey I'm confused...

I've been using Scrivener with dropbox since (my) day 1 and never had an issue, but after reading this thread (and other mentions of the issue) I have just spent a few hours moving everything out of my dropbox folder and only using dropbox as a backup.zip destination.

I would much rather keep my live files in dropbox and not just the backups (Which could be half a day or more out of date if I don't cmd-s and wait the 40+ secs for the backup to run). The backups take time to run, and the single zip files take a little while to upload to dropbox.

I'm not editing the project on several machines, I was just using dropbox as a near-realtime "backup" location to supplement mozy + timemachine + manual copies to my NAS.

Assuming dropbox doesn't break and start syncing bad files (Never happened to me). Can I store my scrivener projects in a dropbox folder, and "normally" expect them to be intact, in-date and readable?

My experience said I could, but I'd really appreciate a "definitive" answer to this, as there does appear to be a bit of a mixed message as to what you should be able to do around waiting for it to sync etc.
Feed me chocolate, I'm developing Scrivener for iOS.

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xiamenese
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Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:15 pm Post

I guess the answer is how much risk are you willing to take. I was, I believe, one of the first to say that I had lost work through keeping the live project file on DropBox and working on two computers, an MBA that I was carrying around and an MBP which was my "portable desktop". Currently, I'm working only with the 17" MBP and lugging that around — even using a back-pack my aged frame is suffering! People here just don't believe how much by back-pack weighs ...
You say you only use one computer for working on Scrivener. I think issues you must ask yourself are: (1) what is your machine ... for instance, if it's an iMac or whatever that sits in the same location, the risk is much lower than if you use an MB/MBA/MBP and carry it around and use it in different locations with and without WiFi; (2) if you're using a non-moving computer, do you leave it on and connected to DropBox all the time ... if you do, the risk is lower as you don't have to remember to wait for Dropbox to sync before you switch it off and walk away.
All that said, I realised only today, that for, I believe, the whole of this year or nearly — ever since the administrators of the Great Firewall of China decided that Dropbox was a danger to social stability — I have been storing a couple at least of my live projects in folders that are set to sync automatically by a similar, though Linux originated and UI-style, cloud system called SpiderOak. In SpiderOak you don't have a single dedicated sync folder like Dropbox, but you can set up any folders you wish on your machine to sync automatically ... an advantage in some ways, but that is the root of how I ended up with live projects in sync'd folders. For 6 months I was using it between the MBP and the MBA, but I have not had any problems. Since realising this, I am having to decide whether to continue, or change my system.
I think I'll look into the auto-back-up system in Scrivener 2, and maybe keep the live projects in their current locations but have an automatic back-up set to a different, non-sync'd location on my internal hard disk ... plus other back-ups of course.
I guess, if you want to keep your live project on Dropbox, you should be sort of Irish about it: Back-up early and back-up often.
Good luck!
Mark
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Hugh
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Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:33 pm Post

I can only support what Mark has written above -- and add that the automatic back-up in Version 2 is pretty good for your purposes, Jenny. You can choose your Dropbox folder as the recipient of your zipped back-ups, select the number of back-ups you want to keep, and check the points at which you want the back-ups to take place. Then set and forget.
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Jenny_Y8S
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Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:10 pm Post

I'm using a single MBP, and it will always be fully synced before disconnecting and taking with me. I fully switch off dropbox when on the go as it always uses 2 or 3 % of CPU which is pointless if I have no WiFi.

So... I think I would be safe, but will stick with my "live outside of dropbox" and "backups in dropbox" setting for a week or two at least. Now I've made the change there's little reason to go back anyway.
Feed me chocolate, I'm developing Scrivener for iOS.

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iguano
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Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:03 am Post

I've decided to try the opposite, actually. I work between two computers and don't want to constantly have to restore from backup when I switch computers. So I'm going to work inside Dropbox and have my backups outside Dropbox. If anything happens, at that point I will restore from the most recent backup that is on one of my computers. This way, I'm not constantly uploading huge backup files to Dropbox and I am only uploading my incremental changes every time I click Save. Which is a lot. Also, fyi, I never shut down a computer (or put it to sleep) until Dropbox is done synching. Always a good habit to keep.

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rharryw
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Fri Oct 29, 2010 2:09 pm Post

iguano wrote:I've decided to try the opposite, actually. I work between two computers and don't want to constantly have to restore from backup when I switch computers. So I'm going to work inside Dropbox and have my backups outside Dropbox. If anything happens, at that point I will restore from the most recent backup that is on one of my computers. This way, I'm not constantly uploading huge backup files to Dropbox and I am only uploading my incremental changes every time I click Save. Which is a lot. Also, fyi, I never shut down a computer (or put it to sleep) until Dropbox is done synching. Always a good habit to keep.

That has worked fine for me for a year. I'm also compulsive about using multiple backup strategies including carrying a shirt-pocket hard drive around that is the Time Machine drive for my notebooks.

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RonBailey
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Sat Nov 06, 2010 12:09 pm Post

Due to the way Scrivener works with a project file, and the manner in which most of these technologies keep themselves up to date, it is not recommended that you use these methods to work on active projects. Unlike many file formats, Scrivener projects are actually composed of many small files (sometimes this can range in the hundreds), which depending on how you work, are updated nearly continuously as you arrange, write, edit, and sort the material in your book. This level of complexity in combination with the number of network connexions required to keep everything up to date can dramatically increase the probability of suffering lost work, and corrupted projects.

I have been using Dropbox for a couple of years with Scrivener and am now somewhat anxious about how vulnerable I might be.
Are we saying that the Syncing now built into Scrivener 2 and illustrated in the tutorials is not 'safe'? What would be the pattern of 'saving' files if I don't use my Dropbox? Would I just save it to a local drive and then sync it with Dropbox? but if I do that how is my Dropbox version ever synchronised with the version I have saved on a local drive.

Sorry if I am missing something obvious here.

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KB
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Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:32 pm Post

What sync is demonstrated in the tutorial? I'm not sure what you mean there.

But in general, you'll be fine with Dropbox. As mentioned up-thread, this thread is general in focus and so the problems with Dropbox have been exaggerated. I don't think anyone has lost data by saving .scriv files in Dropbox. The only thing you really need to be aware of is:

1) Ensure you don't accidentally open the same project on another computer if it is already open somewhere else. If you try to do this, Scrivener will warn you.

2) If you do accidentally do so, Dropbox may rename some of Scrivener's internal files (the files inside the .scriv package).

3) I that happens, Scrivener 1.x may not be able to open your project. Scrivener 2.x should still open the project, though, but it is still possible it might not be able to find some internal files if Dropbox has renamed them.

In the worst case scenario of (3), you just need to contact me and I can help you get things renamed internally so they work again.

To be extra safe, I just recommend you make sure you make regular zipped backups. Do that, and try to ensure you don't open the same project in two places, and you're really safe with Dropbox; and if the worst happens, you shouldn't lose data and it should be fixable. But don't quote me on that if your computer blows up, caveat emptor, etc, etc.

All the best,
Keith
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RonBailey
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Sat Nov 06, 2010 6:35 pm Post

I was referring to the Scrivener 2 Basics - Folder Sync tutorial on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVzmMFRG ... er&list=UL

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KB
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Sat Nov 06, 2010 6:40 pm Post

That's entirely separate and has nothing to do with the issues discussed here. Hopefully my careful answer above addressed your concerns.
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RonBailey
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Sat Nov 06, 2010 6:49 pm Post

Thanks Keith!

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KB
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Sat Nov 06, 2010 8:58 pm Post

No problem - as I say, you should be good, so just drop us a line if you ever have problems.
All the best,
Keith
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Da
Darren
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Sun Nov 14, 2010 4:20 am Post

Hello

I have read everything in the forums and this thread in particular about using network drives (in my case DropBox) in order to synchronize between two (or more) Macs. However, in the end, I have become lost as to what is the best practice after all. Could Keith provide a sort of definitive summary as to what to do in the following case:

(1) Scrivener is installed on two Macs (a "work" and a "home" Mac) as well as DropBox.
(2) I want to work alternatively on both Macs on the SAME Scrivener project. For example, I want to work on my "work" computer and then at a later time continue work on the same project this time on my "home" Mac. And continue to do so the other way around as well.

What are the detailed steps to follow to achieve this?

I know these questions have been answered in the thread, but because of all the different advice, I am totally lost as to what to do. I am starting the write up of my PhD dissertation and want to work with a system that is the most stable.

Looking forward to your guidance! :D

Cheers! :D

Darren McDonald
Tokyo
Darren M. McDonald
Professor (Human Resource Management)
Daito Bunka University
Tokyo

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