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An experiment with BitTorrent Sync

I've been finding more applications for BitTorrent Sync, which is a peer-to-peer file sharing utility that works much like Dropbox, without storing the files on a central server.

I've been looking for a reliable way to back up the S3 bucket that serves the content for I want to maintain a copy on one of my servers and desktop computer. I'm also working with a university library to create a permanent archive of the site. That's an interesting project because the site is changing all the time, as I add new blog posts, so we need a sync protocol, not to just save off a snapshot.

Chuck Shotton suggested using BitTorrent Sync, and I set it up and it's really nice. As an experiment, I want to share this content with anyone who reads this site.

For new BT Sync users

Download and install BitTorrent Sync.

Launch the app.

This dialog should appear.

Click on the I Have a Secret radio button, and enter this string below it.


In the next dialog, choose a folder where the contents of will be stored.

As soon as you click Next, BTS will start downloading the archive.

If you already have BT Sync

Click on the Folders tab in the BitTorrent Sync app.

Click the + icon in the lower left corner of the window.

A dialog opens.

A picture named addFolderDialog.gif

Where it calls for you to enter a "secret key" enter this string:


Choose a location for the folder to receive the content of

Click OK.

What will happen

There may be a delay of a minute or two before it starts downloading the content.

You can see the progress in the History panel.

It takes about 50 minutes to download the full contents of the folder, which is 2.2GB with 71,819 files.

Update #1

It's pretty cool, 10 people have hooked into the BitTorrent Sync archive for this site.

When I post this update, they will all get updates to this file, and to its parents.

Let's see if it works!

 11/22/2013; 3:22:57 PM.

Idea: A simple Dropbox-based web service

The scenario

A sub-folder of my Dropbox folder is named My Website.

It contains two files: index.html and hippieVan.gif.

The HTML file just displays the GIF.

But of course it could be a richer, complex website.

The hypothetical web service

I go to a website which I access with my Dropbox credentials.

A list of my folders shows up. I click on the checkbox next to the My Website folder.

At the bottom of the page, I click on the Make Public button.

A dialog appears, confirming that I want to give this folder a public URL.

Once confirmed, a dialog appears giving me the URL.

How it works

I'm not sure. It could be a server itself that does real-time caching of the contents of this folder. When a request comes in for an item in the folder, it does a HEAD request on the file, if it hasn't changed, it serves out of its cache.

Or it could keep the contents of the folder in synch with a folder in an Amazon S3 bucket, or some equivalent service that runs the server that accesses the content.

It could be a for-pay service. I would happily pay a few bucks for a year's worth of set-and-forget web access.

And for a few more bucks, a custom domain.

Positioning statement

Super-lightweight post-Web 2.0 web hosting.

The CMS lives elsewhere.

It just serves up the content.

Why I want it

I want to build on this feature in my software.

Let me know

If you know of a service that does this, please let me know.

If it doesn't exist, we have to create it.

I'd much rather use yours. And maybe invest in it.

A picture of a slice of cheese cake.

 11/22/2013; 10:11:02 AM.

I was alive when JFK died

I was eight years old, I think I was in third grade?

I remember my teacher crying in front of the class and saying we were all going home early. My mom came, and as we walked home she explained what had happened. I didn't understand. Kennedy had been the only president I was aware of. I had been too young when Eisenhower was president to even understand what a president was.

I asked who would be president now. She said "Johnson." He wasn't even a person to me. Who? I couldn't comprehend this. In my mind Kennedy was the president. It hadn't occurred to me that wasn't a permanent thing.

It's so weird, but I remember exactly where this conversation took place.

We spent days watching TV. I remember tiny little bits of it but mostly I remember not understanding.

 11/22/2013; 8:56:42 AM.

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