Sync Stories: Open Source Developer By Day, Dragon Slayer By Night
Sync Stories is a column dedicated to our users. Each week, we showcase a different use case for BitTorrent Sync and the personal stories behind it.
In this week’s edition: Software Developer Evan Sims shows us how he uses Sync to code better at work and game quicker at home.
Meet Evan Sims
I’m a software developer working within the open source community, non-profit technology sector and video game industry. I started teaching myself programming at 11 so I could build my own video games, which coincidentally also introduced me to open source at an early age. I picked up web development along the way, and ever since then, I’ve sort of had a foot in each of those worlds – web apps and games. You’d be surprised how often those two spaces cross over these days.
My Sync Story
Anyone can relate to the horror that comes over you when you think about losing hours of hard work to a stupid mistake or an act of nature. For a software developer, that usually means a failed hard drive and a forgetfulness to commit to version control. One of the reasons I adopted BitTorrent Sync so deeply into my workflow was that it takes these factors out of the equation. Anytime I save a change to my source code, it is transparently synchronized between all my machines. Best of all, when it’s time for a change of scenery, I can just pick up my laptop and head to the coffee shop or park — no needing to push half finished code and break a build, or dealing with pulling down the changes I was in the middle of before I go offline. Sync keeps my work, well, in sync.
Like most PC gamers, I have a mammoth Steam library full of games (about 10% of which I’ve actually played! Steam sales, amirite?) One of my favorite uses for Sync is to automate backups of my Steam library between my gaming desktop, laptop and HTPC. Games are very large these days – often tens of gigabytes in size – and my metered Internet plan means I like to save bandwidth usage wherever I can. Sync doesn’t store anything in in the cloud and has no arbitrary storage size limitations, so keeping a few hundred gigabytes of games synced across my network is both economical and painless. If a machine dies and I need to install a fresh copy of my OS, I just install Sync, pop in my Steam library code and boom: all my games are locally installed again, ready to play. No backups, external hard drives or fuss necessary. This also makes it very easy to deliver game patches locally and avoid redundant downloads; one machine auto updates my games and syncs those updates to all the others.
But what if something awful were to happen to all of my machines at once, like a flood or fire? For this, I use Sync with a dedicated backup machine nestled quietly away in my home. It pulls in all my family photos, via Lightroom catalogs, Plex video libraries, music collections, documents and source code projects from other machines and uses Arq to upload any changes every hour to Amazon Glacier. Glacier is fantastic – unlimited storage, incredibly cheap and perfect for long-term storage that you don’t need to access frequently. (note: Glacier can take up to 5 hours to pull backups off of their storage systems, so you might prefer to use Amazon S3 if it’s data you’ll need to access quicker than that. Arq supports both, and other cloud storage services too). Arq also encrypts everything with my personal keys before storing it, which is incredibly important to me.
Sync has really made my life as a software developer and gamer infinitely easier, and I can’t recommend it enough.
If you’d like to reach Evan, you can find him at @evansims. And If you’ve got an epic Sync idea, use-case or how-to, shoot us an email at sync[at]bittorrent.com.