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Content Sync is a mess

We have about 100 gigs of music on my home server. All of the speakers in our house are connected to this server in one way or another.

My new laptop has a 160 gig drive but I have lots of other stuff on it and as a result I don’t carry my entire mp3 collection on my laptop.

So I create a “bijan macbookpro” uber playlist. Copy just the subset of the tunes from the server to the MacBook Pro I want and then from there I create a variety of playlists and smart playlist so the tunes work on my iphone. If I neglect to copy the songs I want than I end up streaming from my home server thru Simplify Media.

But my collection is growing. I mostly buy music these days from Amazon – either a physical CD or from the Amazon mp3 store. I add them to my laptop and then every week-ish I then copy those files to the home server. If I want the Sonos to pick it up right away I have to VNC into the MacMini that runs the sonos desktop app and tell the app to scan my server or wait for the nightly scan.

If I add the files directly to the server then I have to copy the files to my laptop as well.

This problem is compounded because we have multiple laptops in the house and multiple ipods.  I even get notes from my daughter about putting tunes on her ipod (she’s 8 years old). I’m the sys admin, music librarian and household DJ.

There needs to be a better way to sync my media better across all of my devices.

Apple’s “Smart Playlists” work great for one way sync from a computer to an ipod. But there is no way to sync multiple macs and have their music sync. iTunes specifically doesn’t allow this because they built the system assuming that all file sharing was illegal and protected by DRM. Well I buy my music w/o DRM so why does my player assume otherwise?

We need a smarter content synchronization system. I want to buy a song or album on one device and it should be automatically distributed to my server and my various devices.

(I remember reading a post by Dave Winer about how much syncing sucks a few months ago. He’s so right – I wish I could find that post. Update: just found it here.)