I’ve written previously on struggles with data management and looking for ways to keep good electronic records. I recently discovered DropBox. It synchronises all data placed in the local dropbox folder between multiple subscribed Mac/PC machines. Syncing is in real-time (i.e. continuous not periodically scheduled) and very fast. A copy of the contents of your folder are kept in your account at the web interface (getdropbox.com) and this is versioned, enabling you to revert to previous versions of the file if necessary. It is much faster and more responsive than using my USB drive (because I’m modifying a local copy of the file on my HD).
I have now added my folder of perl scripts, bibliography/reference database files, manuscripts in progress, Journler lab book, and a few other things. Seems to work very well, a simple reliable user interface. I am really happy with it. It is a very simple solution for syncing data. Finally my electronic lab book is synchronized between home and work. Even when I can’t remember to quit programs and have them running on work and home machines simultaneously it seems to cope just fine probably because syncing is continuous so avoiding many conflicts.
Dropbox is a beta application but seems reliable. 2 gigs of storage for free for beta testers- which apparently won’t expire even when the commercial version is launched. Use is by invite only at this stage, I have invites to give away, email me and I’ll send you one.