Revisiting apps that sync

I’ve been bitching about syncing forever. Syncing my iPhoto libraries – nightmare. Syncing an iPod or iPhone with different Macs – impossible. Family calendar and work calendar with my wife and work schedule – fussy. Contact sync between gmail and MS Exchange – frustrating world of dupes.

Then one day, a few years back, i realized i gave up on sync. I just lived without it because I lived with my data streaming from the cloud. Gave up on MS Exchange and went with gmail. Photos moved to flickr and tumblr. Music streams from the network.

This was satisfying but I still quietly yearned for content sync. Having a local copy of your data is extremely useful and important. 

And while sync still sucks with many apps there are a number of apps that have absolutely nailed it.

1. Dropbox – This is one of my all time favorite products. It just works. My documents, family videos, kids scanned art, report cards, everything, all live in Dropbox. All of that content is sync’d to every Mac I own perfectly. And it even sync’s with iPad and iPhone in a sorta magical way. 

2. Kindle. Reading books on the iPad with the Kindle app is a joy. Kindle nails the sync perfectly. Content I purchase show up on any kindle app and it keeps track of all sorts of useful things along the way too (ie current page) . 

3. Evernote. I’m a new Evernote. Well, I’m new to trying to again. I first gave it a shot when it first came out but it felt big and buggy. But I decided to give it another try after reading Albert’s post the other day. Evernote is basically a way to keep structured notes of every kind in the cloud and it syncs perfectly across devices. I use it on my iPhone and iPad and it works fast and easily. I keep track of board mtg action items, family notes, vacation planning, recruiting, and much more.

In a world where we use more connected devices than less, I believe that streaming will continue to play an important role in content distribution and consumption. But I haven’t given up on content sync yet either. And these 3 apps – dropbox, kindle and evernote, are showing that it can be done.