Firefox and Dropbox syncronization for Bookmarks and Passwords

EDIT: Mozilla Weave is OK now and I fully use it. No hacks anymore, so the rest of this post is here for historical reasons: Just use Mozilla Weave.

After upgrading from Mozilla FireFox 3.0 to 3.5 I tried Mozilla Weave for syncing my bookmarks and passwords in all my computers. I was using version 0.8 (1.0b1 is out now), but despite working more or less, most of my bookmarks where misplaced, put out of order, moved to unsorted bookmarks… a mess. Tiding up the bookmarks on one browser doesn’t mean that it would be ok on another, so after only 5 days of use, I thought that there is probably a better solution, and I found it.

The solution is to use Dropbox https://www.dropbox.com/referrals/NTE1NTQzMTA5, the FireFox Addon SyncPlaces: http://www.andyhalford.com/syncplaces/ for synchronizing bookmarks and passwords. It works as it should. It doesn’t mess with Bookmarks, the order is kept, Icons are kept, and passwords are synchronized without any issue.

So, what are the steps:

– Install Dropbox and create an account.

– Install the Syncplaces add-on for Firefox

– Create a directory for storing Firefox information on your Dropbox folder, for example: mkdir ~/Dropbox/Firefox

– On your Firefox menu, goto Bookmarks->Syncplaces->options

– Select the Server tab and then select on the Connection sub-tab, the protocol File

– Select now the Syncronization tab, and define the path for the files: prefix the suggested name with /home/primalcortex/Dropbox/Firefox. So it should look like

JSON PATH: /home/primalcortex/Dropbox/Firefox/syncplaces.json

If you want, you can output also in HTML and XBEL format. Use the same path for the files.

– For synchronizing passwords select the check-box passwords, and input a strong password. The password path is like the previous ones: /home/primalcortex/Dropbox/Firefox/passwords

You’re set. So down on the FireFox status bar, there is now an icon with a blue and red lines/circles, right click on it and select Send Bookmarks/passwords. Make sure that on the Dropbox Firefox folder files where created. Now DropBox synchronizes these files into the “cloud”, and they are available to your other Dropbox computers.

On the other computers, just repeat the configuration process (Install Dropbox, SyncPlaces, same configuration) but this time select on those computers on the SyncPlaces icon, the Receive Bookmarks/passwords option. (Make sure that you use the same password for the password export/impor feature in all computers).

Voilá, full no fuss workable synchronization! You just decide now which is the master machine, if you want to, namely by tweaking the merge options of the Syncplaces Addon. Also to avoid bookmarks duplication, I recommend that the BookmarkDD addon at http://bookmarkdd.mozdev.org/installation.html be installed and set not to do pop-ups when duplicated bookmarks are found. This way, during import, no duplicate bookmarks are imported.

Now you can automate the synchronization process by just configuring Syncplaces to synchronize at a specific time, or periodically/automatically and your set.

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The Cloud, the AVCHD and backups

Most developments and news are around the “cloud computing” phenomenon…

Ubuntu will have it: Ubuntu One, and there are a lot of players on the market, namely dropbox, skydrive to name a few.

While you can buy a lot of space on these “clouds” to make sure that you follow the backup paradigm 3-2-1 (three copies, two different media types, and one copy offsite), and use the cloud as the offsite backup for photographs, digital documents, and other small files, backing up AVCHD media into the cloud is not yet a sound proposition… Files are HUGE, in the GB area, and backing up into the cloud would take hours if not days…

So for this kind of critical files, I’ve not yet found a solution than copy them into a pen and move them offsite by “sneaker” net….