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

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Sirmausalot
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Mon Mar 16, 2009 4:50 pm Post

Although we have been warned against this, I've been doing it in blissful ignorance for the past couple of months. From what I can tell, the dangers in real world practice are no more than in regular disk based computing. People make boneheaded mistakes with their files whether on thumbdrive or harddisk and on Drop Box (and hardware fails as well). it's not clear from the posts that DropBox necessarily causes more problems as projects open and save just fine. You just have to make sure the little check mark is good before you shut down the computer. There is even an argument that Drop Box creates more backups for you.

I think if one backs up frequently, then Drop Box should be fine. Also remember the best backup is a hardcopy. Too often people forget that and should print out at least once a month. It seems cumbersome, but it's worthwhile (from someone who has made his share of boneheaded computer mistakes)

D

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Wock
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Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:20 pm Post

I myself don't make a lot of "hard copies" because of all the paper and ink. But I do burn copies on CD as Read Only backups from time to time that way I am not fully trusting a magnetic based storage system or a flash based one solely as my means of back up. Nothing beats a good backup. Also storing an offsite copy is rather handy too in case of an act of God like floods, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, or an angry wife. :-)
The wheel is turning but the hamster is still dead.

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xiamenese
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Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:44 am Post

While I agree totally with Sirmausalot that problems with keeping the active copy on a cloud drive like DropBox come from pilot-error 99 percent of the time, s/he -- I've been bitten by that one before -- seems to be fortunate enough not to live in a location that is plagued by random network problems ... like the two days it took to upload a small number of "files" ... actually a Scrivener project being one ... to DropBox when I first started using it! I can only assume my transfer was being slowed down to around 5 bits/sec by the Great Firewall of China. I have also had the network stall in the middle of an upload. Fortunately, I was aware of both of those ... the first one made me think very seriously of abandoning DropBox.

For the rest, definitely user bone-headedness.

Mark
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ni
ninjaturtlepez
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Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:22 pm Post

I use Dropbox, but I keep my active file on my mac, and at the end of my session I use the Backup Project To... feature (apple-shift-S) and dump a copy into a Dropbox folder for writing backups. Works great. Occasionally I'll empty out the older backup files on Dropbox to clear some space.

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Stike
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Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:46 pm Post

I heard that the next step in the Dropbox update is support for file system specific oddities, such as Mac OS X´s package file formats... as soon as they figured that out, it should be relatively safe to use it even on Scrivener files.

Let´s hope for the best - and be prepared for the worst ;)
- Fiat justitia et ruant coeli -

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AmberV
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Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:07 pm Post

That shouldn't really change anything. Supporting the HFS+ bundle bit is irrelevant because Scrivener doesn't use that. Like most bundle formats these days, they are determined in real-time by the Finder using a database of extensions. If a directory has an extension that matches up with its list of known bundle formats, it automatically treats it like a file.
.:.
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Stike
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Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:47 pm Post

Argh... :( Good thing I was prepared for the worst... :P
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AmberV
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Mon Mar 23, 2009 6:04 pm Post

Yeah, it's a pity, but really you probably wouldn't want DropBox treating a Scrivener Project as a single file anyway. For me, the average upload would be 20-50mb every time the file changes, rather than the 10 kilobytes or whatever of what actually changed.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

om
omsc
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Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:40 am Post

Hi everyone

I have read through this entire thread and STILL have a question. I want to make sure I get this right. I understand about not working with a live .scriv project in Dropbox, etc. What I would like to do is what some here have suggested: use the backup to... feature to upload a zip file to Dropbox.

So, my project is just under a gig. I make a zip and choose dropbox as the destination. It takes forever; this is fine the first time. But I wonder (perhaps the answer is obvious) if when each time I work on my project and then make a zip, put it in dropbox, I will be faced with waiting for it to load the entire thing all over again? This seems to be the case, but from some other posts I cannot tell (perhaps people who do this are working with small projects?).

One user put it like this:

"by Jaysen on Thu Dec 11, 2008 1:28 pm

Right. Not zipped. The idea is that you let drop box keep the zipped copies. when you want to work on a project you copy it to a non-dropbox folder, un-zip it, then work on it there. Once you are done, you zip it (back it up in scriv) then move the zip back into the drop box folder.

I hope that makes sense."

This indeed makes sense, but it sounds like each time you do this an entirely new zip file needs to be made; in my case, since it's large, this will take awhile each time.

Last question: Once the zip has finally been copied to dropbox I then open my second computer and hope to see it there. But it too takes a long time--it's as if the zip is being downloaded from the cloud and onto the second computer (this might be just what is happening).

I may be doing something wrong or not understanding; I have no pride about this so feel free to point out the err of my ways. If I am right this seems like a real waste of time.

Thanks a lot

Hu
Hugh
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Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:13 am Post

Hi omsc

You have indeed described the procedure that I use and which I think jaysen and others were describing. With - for me - one difference: my Scrivener files are very much smaller and the backup-via-Dropbox process almost instantaneous. I think files of the size you're describing will inevitably take much longer, whatever you do. (And also turn out much more expensive; you'll quickly hit the Dropbox "free" limit.)

What this suggests to me is that alongside your own writing your files contain a lot of research, probably including media files. If I were in your position, I'd slim them down, by selecting only the most vital or currently useful pieces of research for inclusion, or by keeping all research externally and referencing it with links (and backing it up separately from my working Scrivener files). I'd ask myself what files and folders I could reconstruct if necessary if I lost my live working Scrivener files, and what - apart from my own writing - I could not.

H
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om
omsc
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Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:45 pm Post

Hugh

Thank you. You're exactly right and this is indeed what I need to do. I keep just about everything in DevonThink Pro Office but had dumped a bunch in Scrivener in order to work in one app only. But this is simply not practical with Dropbox. Last night I got rid of all the research material to see how small the project would be w/o it. It's now 2.5MB and syncs very quickly. So, while not what I had hoped for not so bad either. Too bad the "live" syncing appears risky as I'd really like to sync my DevonThink DB, but it's far too large to zip up and load to Dropbox each time I make a change.

Best wishes

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Jaysen
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Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:52 pm Post

omsc,

Here is a slightly different take that might work for you. Not the key word. Note step A3 and B2.

On computer A
1. Store scriv project in a non-dropbox folder. We will call this Folder0
2. Work on project.
3 QUIT SCRIVENER
4. Copy project from Folder0 to dropbox folder.

On Computer B
1. Make sure you have NOT worked on project. If you have go no further. You will lose work
2. QUIT SCRIVENER
3. Copy project from dropbox folder to Folder0
4. This computer is now computer A.

Some points you need to understand
• You can not merge local changes with dropbox. This is a simple file copy sync much as you would do with a flash drive, just a bit easier.
• You should get the advantages of low level sync (only files changed) but you may not. You'll have to test on your own.
• When uploading from A to drop box DO NOT delete the local copy until that system becomes the B target. If you do this you may lose data to bad uploads.

Let me know if this makes sense or not.

And yes, I am looking to script this, just too busy to get it done. That and I keep getting distracted with the whole merge problem. I need to think that through.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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om
omsc
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Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:10 pm Post

Thanks and this does indeed make sense--mostly. I have been been working in a non-Dropbox folder and doing what you say--copying the project, only after finishing, over to Dropbox. That said, unless I am mistaken, it sounds like you're suggesting quitting and then doing the backup to Dropbox rather than using backup to... while scriv is open. Are you still suggesting zipping it? I assume so. My apologies if I have misconstrued your meaning--especially as I realize you're one of the several people who posts frequent how tos for those of use a little (a lot!?) confused.

Thanks again

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Jaysen
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Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:27 pm Post

omsc wrote:Thanks and this does indeed make sense--mostly. I have been been working in a non-Dropbox folder and doing what you say--copying the project, only after finishing, over to Dropbox. That said, unless I am mistaken, it sounds like you're suggesting quitting and then doing the backup to Dropbox rather than using backup to... while scriv is open.

This method does not use the backup to for the dropbox copy. I would still encourage you to do that but you might consider this for local backup (flash, external drive, CD) instead of sync purposes.

osmc wrote:Are you still suggesting zipping it? I assume so. My apologies if I have misconstrued your meaning--especially as I realize you're one of the several people who posts frequent how tos for those of use a little (a lot!?) confused.

Using this method do not sip the archive destined for dropbox. If you zip you will dramatically increase remote file space consumption as well as upload time. By NOT zipping the file you leverage the "only upload what actually changed" aspect of dropbox to decrease allocation consumption and upload times.

We all have our areas of experience. Mine happens to be low level system/network junk (that is a term frequently used to describe things I am involved with). I figure that if I can clear the fog for a few shipmates, the time will come when they lead this blind beggar through a fog of his own.

Let me know if you need any more info. Feel free to use a PM.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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om
omsc
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Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:02 pm Post

Perfect--thanks a lot. When you write:

"By NOT zipping the file you leverage the "only upload what actually changed" aspect of dropbox to decrease allocation consumption and upload times."

This is indeed what I would like to be able to do. Best wishes