Tip how to manage files on mobile device

Ooops, do I have a backup of my files? Question is usually asked when it is too late (: Does anybody have a backup of files stored on mobile phone?

What was the problem?

I do not have any other copy of files stored on my mobile phone or PDA, I do not like this. Mobile devices are tended to be lost, sink, squash, etc (: I hate to lose my music or book collection. Second, each time I want to upload something useful to the device, I must find cable-which-is-always-not-here, connect it, etc..  Vice versa when file from mobile device are needed on the computer.

The solution

Bi-directional file sync. How it works? Easy I have a local folder on my hard drive named after my device
d:\device\htc_tattoo
this folder contains exact copy of all file structure of mobile device. Since most devices allows them to be mounted like a USB flash drive it is easy to maintain. File sync software compares this local folder with mounted mobile device and propagates any file or directory changed from left-to-right and from right-to-left, including new files, modified files and deleted files. It simple keeps my device and local folder locations in identical sync. This way I can upload new files to the local folder and on the next sync they will be transferred to the mobile device, all at once. I can defer sync as much as I want if this is not urgent or do it immediately.

Usage scenarios

Backup

First, I have a backup copy of all my files. In case something happens to device I can upload all info once again to the new one.

Podcasts

I like listening podcasts. Unfortunately mine Nokia 3110 does not support RSS 🙂 with media attachments. Usually while browsing podcast RSS in Google Reader I save interesting podcasts to the local folder and it gets synced with mobile device. Even more, when I am done with podcast I delete it from mobile device and this deletion is propagated back to local folder on the PC.

Music

I fill up my music collection on the desktop, by downloading, converting, etc... On the next sync it is going to be on the device.

Audio-books

Usual source of these books is internet, and it is much more convenient to look for them on the desktop.

Books

I always get something interesting in FB2 on the Internet. Just drop into local folder.

Photos

All photos and videos taken by device camera are on my HD for browsing because of two way syncing.

Cleaning

Remove old files, sort files and check space usage it much-much easier on the desktop computer. The Software I use GoodSync, it has nice GUI and very easy to use. It handles conflicts well, when file was modified on both ends. It creates additional _gsdata_ folder to help with more precise sync. It was free some time ago and I still old use v.7-2-9-5, Built: Jul 11 2008  17:06:18 which seems to be portable and survived several OS changes  🙂 You may download newest version of official site http://www.goodsync.com/ it is only $30
You may also try unison open source command line sync.
Any other alternatives ? I am eager to hear something more modern, like Dropbox over 3g (:

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