In addition to developing and writing, I speak at conferences. A lot of conference. I use multiple machine, and travel with no less than three. Here is my current lineup:
- Lenovo W530 - my workhorse. 16 GB ram, 8 cores, 1 TB of HDD. It’s rock solid except for one thing – it’s a nightmare to project to an external display from the W530. Which leads me to machine number 2
- Lenovo Yoga. Touch device with enough memory and hard disk space to present.
- Surface Pro. Newest machine in my line up, it’s really growing on me, and I used it to give one of my talks at CodeStock last week.
Why does this matter? It matters because I need to have access to all of my slide decks and sample projects from all three of my machines. I was using Dropbox for this for a long time, but there are two recurring issues. The first is that I’ve had more than one demo fail because of “foo-(phils conflicted copy).dll”. This is a failure common occurrence with drop box and Visual Studio projects – at least it is for me.
The other bigger issue that I was having with Dropbox was problems with my slide decks. On more than one occasion I had to do slide by slide comparisons between several decks because of the “conflicted copy” issue. SkyDrive resolves the PowerPoint issue by handling multiple edits and merges. It’s not perfect, mind you, but it works pretty darn good.
So I installed the desktop software and selected where I wanted my SkyDrive folder to reside. I’m a stickler for directory structure (in an old school way), and not a fan of using MyDocuments for anything. So I selected my “D:” drive to host my SkyDrive folder. All seemed well for a day or two, but then I noticed a whole host of sync problems between my (two) machines (at the time).
Around this time I was invited to be a SkyDrive Insider. I have been a Microsoft MVP for a long time, and really appreciate the interaction I get with the teams through the MVP program. So I accepted, and thought to myself “my problems are over”!
I exchanged several emails with the team, but never got any resolution. This literally went on for months. I ended up copying all of my decks and projects to a thumb drive immediately prior to my conference sessions, and copying the files to my presentation machine. Big step backward.
I uninstalled, reinstalled, manually copied files to the cloud, manually downloaded them, all to know avail. I couldn’t get reliable syncing to work.
On a whim (and as a last ditch effort), I uninstalled SkyDrive, reinstalled it, accepting the default location. I have been running essentially issue free for over two months now. I get occasional sync issues with a single file – usually a word document – but all I need to do now before a show is make sure I connect my Yoga to the internet long enough to get all of the changes.
I never did find out why I was having the issues when I chose a non-default location, but at the end of the day, I’m just happy it works. If you are having the same issues, try reinstalling with all of the defaults. It might just make your problems go away.