Our lives revolve around gadgets. Today, we solely depend on them to get most of our work done. And truth be told, in this digital era there is nothing much you could do without their help. But as awesome and useful they are, it is very likely for us to get lost in the midst of the fanciness of our devices and spend hours playing games than to do any actual work.
One of my favorite technology journalists, Walt Mossberg, in his interview with WSJ Digits gave some very handy tips on how to stay productive on iPad and Android tablets. But as cited in the talk, most of us tend to waste time switching devices than doing any significant work. So it has become a thing of utter importance to find a way to collaborate all these devices and utilize their computing power to get all of our work done.
Best solutions to sync files and documents
One of the easiest way to do so is synchronizing our devices so that no matter what device we pick, whichever operating system that device runs on, we could resume our work from where we last left. With most of us moving our data to cloud, syncing has become even easier. Here is a list showing you how to sync various kinds of your data.
Sync using Google Drive
We recently did a story on how you can sync your documents to edit office files using Google Drive. Summing it up, there are two ways to edit documents in Google Drive; one is visiting their website, creating/uploading a file, and then making further changes to it. This obviously requires you to access your web browser. The other way is to install the Google Drive software on your system, and then making modification to the documents placed in your Google Drive folder. And as soon as you connect to the internet, it will automatically update the file.
Sync using SkyDrive
The office pioneer, Microsoft, too has a cloud solution – a web-based editor for accessing documents. Microsoft Office Web Apps facilitate SkyDrive that lets you edit, as well as share Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote documents. To use this feature, visit SkyDrive.live.com and select the kind of document you want to create (or simply upload). To sync the entire folder you can use a nifty tool called SkyShellEx that integrates itself with SkyDrive, it also adds a shortcut entry in your Windows menu.
Sync using Dropbox
If you prefer using Dropbox over SkyDrive and Google Drive, don’t be disheartened as there is something for you as well. Though there isn’t any direct way to let more than one person edit the same document, that is, what is preferred for document syncing; but, thanks to a great service named DropItToMe, which provides a password protected web space where you can share a document with two or more people, it is possible now. To set it up you will need to integrate this feature to Dropbox. For doing that, visit its website and sign up for it using your Dropbox credentials, and authorize every prompting pop-ups.
Despite being aware of the elevation in cyber-crimes, most of us still don’t hesitate sending off confidential material over an unsecured network to our peers. We highly recommend you to make a habit of encrypting at least your confidential informationg before sending it. To do that, you can use a dazzling service named Cloudfogger which encrypts your data using a 256-bit AES algorithm. It provides support for most cloud services including Dropbox, Drive and SkyDrive. Alternatively, you can also use Norton Zone which does the same task as CloudFogger and gives 5 GB data usage for free account.
Sync using FreeFileSync
FreeFileSync is yet another way to sync your data over a vast array of devices. An impressive thing that separates it from the rest is how thoughtfully it detects changes in names of folders and files, and updates the content accordingly.
Sync using SpiderOak
If you are really worried about privacy, and you don’t want to complicate things by integrating too many services, SpiderOak is what you should be using. It is a very handy alternative of Dropbox or any other cloud service. It provides 2GB of free space to every free account and encrypts all your data upon uploading and then syncs it with all your devices as well. In addition to that, it assures you that every data you are putting up in their cloud will forever remain private.
Pretty much like the rest, you have to download its client, and then place your data in a specified folder. Another useful alternative is Bittorrent Sync, read our guide to know how it works.
Now that we know how to take care of our documents, let’s figure out a way out on how to keep our contacts in place. For Android users they can easily integrate their Gmail accounts, and save all the contacts there, since all the contacts get saved to that registered email ID, it can be used to retrieve it on any other device or same device if required. Apple too has similar functionality to deal with such information. But not everyone uses Android or iOS running devices, so for there rest, here is how they can get their work done.
Fruux syncs your to-do list, contacts and calendar
If your life revolves around more than one operating system, and you have tons of to-do lists to collaborate, bring into line your contacts, and blot your calendar, then Fruux is the app you should be using. Alan Henry of LifeHacker explains how useful this app could come if you have to manage more than one email client, more than one device to talk to people, and how tidy it becomes when you are constantly switching from one OS to another.
Soocial syncs your contacts on your phone, email and PC
Update: Sadly, Soocial has shut down.
With Soocial you can easily integrate your mobile phones and save all the contacts and store all of it to an email ID. Soocial is available for both Android and Blackberry. If your mobile runs on any other OS, no need to worry, you can hover to their website and get the same job done.
Resume your work on any device
Now for the real business, suppose you are working on your friend’s computer, you have opened several webpages, created few documents, now how about saving everything just as it is at that particular instant and resuming the work from any other computer? Yes, we finally have a great service named CupCloud that makes it possible. Not just for resuming your work on another device. If you have to reboot your system for some reason and you want to spare the pain opening all the tabs of your browser and other office documents, you can use the same service, and after reboot, just load them all in matters of seconds.
The app is currently available for both Windows and Mac OS. You can click “Cup” from its client and save the state of your work. Go to some other computer, click “UnCup” and it will unleash all the content. As of now, the application supports Chrome, IE and Safari, Microsoft Office, Apple iWork, Mac Finder, Adobe Acrobat reader and Microsoft Explorer. The team behind this is working on extending their support for more services.
Sync text messages
Mightytext, the application that lets you send and receive text messages from your computer and also check on the data inside your phone, has released an add-on named GText. GText basically brings your SMS functionality to your Gmail account.
If you too are frustrated using many note taking apps and find it hard to manage them all and wish there was a way to collaborate them with each other and your other cloud services, there is good news for you. Mac users now have a very handy tool called Notesdeck, which lets you write notes faster and sync them with Drobbox, SimpleNote and Evernote.
Sync across browsers
If you are anything like me, you will have thousands of bookmarks saved in your browser, which is all great but as soon as you have to switch devices or reinstall the browser for some reason, every information will evaporate into thin air. Thankfully, Google Chrome is nothing less than a knight in a shining armor. Not only the bookmarks, but Chrome lets you sync your search history, extensions, settings, apps and many other things. To enable syncing in Chrome, go to the Settings, under the Settings pane, Click on Connect your Gmail. Once done, you will be asked what kind of content you want to sync. For troubleshooting and more features, you can head over to Google Sync
To sync content in Firefox, you need to go to the Options, again, click on its Options, go to the Sync tab and click on Set up Firefox Sync. Click on I want to create a new account. To select what content you want to sync, from the left bottom, click on Sync Option.
Syncing data across different browsers
Syncing data across two different browsers is not that simple. First of all, you can get the option to import information at the time of installation of the second browser, but that often leaves out many crucial things. To solve this problem, we have a very nifty 3rd party app named Xmarks which comes as an extension. It is super easy to install, once you have done that you will be required to sign up for it which you can do from within its dialogue box or you can also head over to My Customize Xmark Page to have a web interface for that.
Sync photos across devices
Though you can easily sync photos between your devices using DropBox, Google Drive and SkyDrive, there are many other nifty tools that are meant for doing just that. Remember Flickr? Yahoo recently bought the service and gave the site a little make over and it looks better! Besides, Flickr is now giving a whopping space of 1TB free storage to every account holder, so if you want to sync your photos, don’t forget to check Flickr. Another similar service is PiPe which lets you backup and share images from your Facebook, Picasa, Flickr and other services.