Managing multiple computers at home

Brian Hawkins brianhks at
Sun Mar 26 17:17:13 MST 2006

I've had the same problem.  I started down the same path as you but 
found I spend more time managing the synchronization system than getting 
what I wanted to do done.  My solution is simple, thumb drive.  I 
purchased a sandisk drive a while back but was unsatisfied with the 
speed.  I just recently purchased a 1 gig drive from ocz

I sports dual channel memory that is really fast.  It is fast enough 
that I can build and run my apps right from the drive.  Now my data goes 
where I go, even my work computer which is a possibility you left out of 
your scenario.


ross at wrote:

> So I'm moving next week and, in preparation, I'm contemplating how I 
> want to have my computers set up, and so I'm interested to hear how 
> the pluggers manage their own configurations.
> I have a Mac Mini, a Windows laptop, and a Linux desktop machine, each 
> of which I use on a regular basis for varying tasks: web browsing, 
> email, coding, chat, games, listening to music, and watching videos 
> (hooked up to the TV).
> The biggest issue is that of sharing data. Some data can be stored and 
> accessed remotely (mp3s, for example) and streamed to whichever 
> computer wants to use that data at the particular time. Other files 
> would preferably be cached locally (videos, for example, which at high 
> resolutions can hiccup if streamed--or perhaps even programming 
> projects I'm working on, since compilation, editing, and searching 
> through large codebases goes faster with a local copy). Others will 
> need to be capable of merging changes (if I'm coding on the road on my 
> laptop, for example).
> Samba seems like the solution of choice for filesharing from a central 
> server (which would more than likely be the always-on Linux box), but 
> I'm not sure about the rest of it.
> It seems like what would be coolest would be something where I could, 
> for example, have everything stored on the Linux box as a central 
> server, and then each computer could "subscribe" to a subset of 
> directories, which are then cached locally and changes mirrored. For 
> example, the Mac Mini might subscribe to a directory of digital 
> photos. If I plug my digital camera into the Mac Mini and copy photos 
> into that directory on the local hard drive, that night they'll 
> automatically get mirrored to the server. If I plug my digital camera 
> into my Linux box and copy photos onto its local hard drive, that 
> night they'll automatically get sent to the Mac Mini.
> My Windows laptop could be "subscribed" to a different set of 
> directories, for example a directory containing a bunch of Windows 
> games. If I'm on the road and download a new game, when I get home 
> that night I can sync up and that game will be stored on the server. I 
> could even have my Windows laptop also subscribe to my digital photos 
> directory, maybe to edit some of the pictures or take them over to 
> someone's house. While subscribed, any new photos I downloaded to the 
> Mac Mini would automatically get mirrored to both the Linux box and 
> the Windows laptop as well. If I was running short of disk space on 
> the laptop, I could unsubscribe to the photos directory and everything 
> would be deleted locally, but I could sleep soundly knowing that all 
> the photos were safe on the server. If I ever needed them back on the 
> laptop I could simply resubscribe and wait for everything to copy back 
> over.
> Does anything like this exist? Would something rsync-based work, or 
> would it break whenever (a) the clocks got off-sync, or (b) multiple 
> changes happened to a single file? Do any of you use something 
> similar, or do you have an entirely different (and perhaps superior?) 
> arrangement?
> Thanks!
>     ~ Ross
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