Jan 5, 2011

What's in a name? Sync vs. Sink

When Xmarks announced that they were closing shop a few months ago I decided to use a different utility to keep my Firefox browser bookmarks in sync across the multiple machines that I use. Man, am I glad that they merged with whoever it is, and decided to stay around for a while.

In the interim I was using the Firefox Sync plug-in.  It worked OK for the most part but yesterday it behaved more like Firefox SINK, if not Firefox STINK.  After spending lots of time cleaning up bookmarks on my desktop machine I instructed it to stink up sync up my bookmarks to their server. Then I went over to my laptop and deleted all bookmarks so that it did not attempt to merge the sloppy collection of bookmarks over there with the clean collection. Then I told the browser on the laptop to sync up with the server.  The intent here would have been obvious to Xmarks but what do you think SINK decided to do?  Yes, it synced the empty list of bookmarks to the server then synced the empty list on the server to my desktop!

It was then that I realized that in addition to this poor interpretation of what the user (that's me) was trying to do there was no recovery features and no support at all! It seemed that all of my bookmarks on both machines were gone.  How's that for automation?!

Thank goodness that my, long unused, account on Xmarks was still active.  I reinstalled the client on my browser and logged in.  They first thing Xmarks did was issue a warning that basically said: "Hey, there is a lot less data on your machine than there is on the server. Do you want to proceed or restore?"  It didn't say it in those words but when I clicked the appropriate options to restore my bookmarks it actually gave me a choice of restore points to go back to.  A few clicks more and I was restored to the state I was in when I last used Xmarks.

Even though it is a free service I will sign up for a "premium" account as a thank you.

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