On iFolder…

On iFolder….

After meeting up with Calvin and Brady in Boston for the GNOME Summit, I promised to blog about my usage of iFolder
and things of that nature, and pass along ideas and stuff as I ran into
them. So, we've been running an iFolder simple-server at work for about
4 months now, and Adam has set
up his own server and we've been giving it a good workout. Ryan,
Gordon, Aaron Thul, and myself also had an excellent iFolder discussion
over the world's best lamb chops at Lashish.

Whenever I explain iFolder to people I always use the wallpaper
folder as an example. Everyone loves cool wallpapers, so the most
popular iFolder we have is of course, the Wallpaper one. It contains
over 1,200 wallpapers from around the web. When you have a group of
friends, it's nice to have them all signed up to the one cool wallpaper
folder. The nice thing is, as people find cool wallpapers from around
the web, they just plop them in there and it ends up on everyone's

So how would I improve iFolder? Well, as it happens, working with a
bunch of programmer types ends up with lots of brainstorming ideas that
border on insanity. So we came up with some oddball ideas that might
apply to iFolder:

  • Torrent: This comes up a lot. Take the number of people in your
    iFolder, let's say 40% of them are on laptops on travel or something.
    User A plops the Ubuntu DVD .ISO in an iFolder. If you were to add
    bittorrent as a “transport” to iFolder, with the existing server acting
    as a tracker, would it be more efficient?
  • Email/Hula integration: Email attachments suck. So, what if iFolder
    was just another piece of “Groupware”? Not just added in, but
    integrated. As far as the user is concerned, the same “emailing an
    attachment” metaphor would be nearly the same, but it would be bad ass
    if Evolution, the Hula Server, and iFolder were integrated in a way
    that all that happened was an iFolder “invitation” event of some kind.
    So check this out, since this happens to us ALL the time in IT. User
    gets an attachment … user opens it in Outlook/Evo/whatever. The user
    makes changes, clicks save, the mail client retardedly saves it to /tmp
    or some other crap location that the user doesn't know about. They come
    in the next day and all their changes are gone. They call their IT guy
    and to his horror, the user has been using his temporary directory for
    all his work. Of course, the user gets called an idiot for “doing it
    wrong”. I think that's crap, this is so fixable. So, figure
    out someway to keep the documents in the iFolders, and associate a
    relationship with an email, fallback to the old way if worse comes to
    worse, but please, someone get those 50mb powerpoints out of my
  • I think an enterprising person/group of people should sell iFolder
    hosting. Charge me by the gigabyte, and if the client comes free with
    my distro … and I don't want to set up a server …
  • People want Boyd's Firefox thing, badly.
  • I've been toodling with bzr
    for version control, it would be totally cool if iFolder had revision
    control. If I give Jim read/write access and I disagree with his
    change, it'd be nice to just roll that badboy back.
  • So, if I'm in linux and I edit a file in my “Source Code” iFolder,
    and then my Windows using friend goes and messes with it, I end up in
    ^M hell. Ouch. Right now you're going “In the last bullet you said
    you're using bzr for SCM, now you tell me you're using iFolder as a
    cheap replacement.” Yeah, I am.
  • I want to iFolder “meta” stuff, like … “My Podcasts” or …. any
    part of my “profile”. Maybe I will invite you to check out my
    bookmarks, my playlist or whatever. This works good in groups. We all
    know Andrew is the science geek, we like listening to Science podcasts,
    but not as hardcore as Andrew does, so let's all just sign up to his
    podcast iFolder on the subject and have him manage it. For bonus
    points, he's adding in links, documents, and all the other media out
    there. Wouldn't it be nice in a work setting to just have the Python
    expert manage a “Python iFolder Area” that updates your Python
    bookmarks, documentation, and multimedia? You could break it all down
    into tags or something.

So that's my short list of crack … the iFolder roadmap
has a pretty good set of ideas going, so keep an eye on it. If you've
got some other ludicrous iFolder ideas or think my ideas are dumb, post
below, there's so many uncharted places to go with this …  [jorge @ whiprush.org]

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