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! 🙂

About Dave Winer

Dave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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