Is Airdrop safe for transfers

I just got back my repaired 13" mac air which was made 2010. I have an 11" that I have been using Scrivener on and it is a 2011 model. Both have Lion and fully updated Scrivener/Lion etc. Can I safely save my work to my desktop as a zip,close the program, and Airdrop it to the other computer. Then open it and work on it there and send it back the same way when done. I guess a thumb drive would be best, it bothers me that it is not backed up as often. When the file is on my computers, I back it up to both of them, an external hard drive, and two usb drives. I almost always have one of them with me when I leave so a stray nuke could hit my house and my work would be safe. I HOPE!!!

I may keep both computers, but haven’t decided yet. I like one for certain things and portability, also the backlit keyboard. I like the 13 for many things like Scrivener so it’s not a simple choice.

Thoughts and ideas that I am not looking at are welcome.

I guess I could also save all versions to one desktop folder and airdrop it back in forth instead of the latest version only. Would this work?

I just tried airdropping a zipped Scrivener Project to my Air. It worked fine. (Also airdopped nearly 400 photographs; that took a little longer.)

As far as I know, AirDrop is nothing new when it comes to actual protocol and means of moving files across a network. It’s using the same technology used when you manually mount another computer’s share point and access it like a disk in Finder. AirDrop is just a convenience method for the whole setting up the transfer aspect. So it should, once the acquisition is made and the handshake is done, be identical to any other network transfer. The main source of unreliability in my experience is wireless vs. wired. If you plug your computers into the home network it will be faster and safer. For wireless transfers (unfortunately, all that is possible with the Air), using .zip will be considerably safer. And to be perfectly clear, wireless is pretty safe. I’m just speaking in the SATA is safer than Firewire is safer than USB is safer than 40ft of Ethernet cable is safer than radio waves, sense. :slight_smile:

I am about to use airdrop with Scrivener. I never figured out exactly how I should do this. Airdrop seems to send a copy and not the file it self. I also have notes saving with my project.

Do I send the whole folder that scrivener is backed up in, or do I send the last saved version of notes and scrivener. Then do I simply open them on the other computer and save and then airdrop both back. Please think about this and let me know. How scrivener saves is confusing to me and I really don’t want to lose what I am doing.

Or would drop box work better. I have read it has weak security and has had some issues. Airdrop seems safer and more in my control.


I’m not sure what you mean here. AirDrop is for transferring bytes from one computer to another. There is no such thing as moving data between computers. There can only ever be copying between computers. I suppose you could simulate moving something by deleting the project from one of the machines after a successfully copy, but frankly I don’t see the point in that. You might as well have two copies around in case one computer melts down.

That’s up to you, it depends on what you are attempting to accomplish. If you wish to have a complete repository of your work on both computers so as to have a redundant store, then sure, copy everything over. If you just want to grab some work for the coffeehouse on your way out the door, then copying every single project you’ve ever worked on up to five versions in depth might be overkill. :slight_smile: I feel like you might be asking something else though and I’m not parsing what you mean.

You won’t lose anything by copying files. Unless you overwrite files when copying, but even that can be safe if you know why and what you are overwriting.

Perhaps you’re thinking of this as being more complicated than it really is? The way Scrivener works is really no different than the way most other programs work. If you edit a .doc file on Computer B, and want to work on Computer A, you copy the .doc file to Computer A. When you get back home you copy the new updated .doc file back to Computer B. That’s all you need to do, and most of what needs to be done is just common sense. You don’t overwrite Computer A’s copy with the old Computer B copy when you get home—you update Computer B with the latest updates. It wouldn’t be any different with Scrivener.

If all you want to do is copy files between computers, AirDrop is probably better. Anything that requires the use of the Internet to function is going to be less secure than something that uses your home network exclusively (though, do be sure your wireless network is password encrypted, otherwise you are publicly broadcasting everything you do like a radio station!). On top of that, anything that uses the Internet to transfer data to some other entities computers and stores your data on machines you do not control or own is going to be less secure than only storing data on equipment you own.

To be clear, again, I’m speaking relatively as in my cable vs. air example above. Using Internet storage is inherently less secure than managing your own network, but in the grand scheme of things it’s pretty safe if you make the right choices! Dropbox isn’t bad, SpiderOak is probably better for security, but I wouldn’t call Dropbox security “weak”; that would be a bit hyperbolic.

So you are correct, AirDrop is safer and entirely controlled by you. Every bit you send with it stays in your control (granted, any time you broadcast bits over radio frequencies you lose control of them—but that is why you need to use an encrypted home network so that the broadcast data is scrambled).

Sorry if some of this is overly technical. Just think of Scrivener projects as files because that is what they effectively are. True, they are folders in disguise and all that, but a lot of the stuff on your Mac that looks like files are folders in disguise, so for everyday usage that isn’t something to worry about. Zip files work better over a network because they are optimised. For the same reason they take up less space on your computer—they are better for wireless broadcast. If you want to use the last .zip file that is created by Scrivener when you shut down the project—that’s great—that’s how I work myself. You can copy your whole backup folder each time if you want to take the time to do so—that’s fine too and you’ll certainly have better data redundancy. Personally I’d call it overkill, but you could do that, it won’t hurt anything but it might make things a little confusing with all of those dozens of versions laying around.

Okay, not a Mac user so had to look up what Airdrop is. I watched a nice video online.

So, consider Dropbox for a second. This is equivalent to setting up a shared folder somewhere that you can access from other computers (either using it like a folder if you have set that up previously, or using a web brwoser if you haven’t). It’s great for aiding collaboration, and for backing up files as they are stored on an external server somewhere.

Airdrop is completely different, and is equivalent to simply emailing files to a specific computer, just using wireless protocols instead of internet ones.

For what you are after (if I have read it correctly: work on the same files from several machines + back-up), Dropbox would seem to me to be the better solution.

Airdrop may be more in your control, but that’s simply because you actually have to manually manage all of the updates and transfers between machines. Unless you have very careful version control (and even the most attentive of us slip up on this every now and again - most typically when really busy or otherwise in a hurry) this would seem to create more opportunities for failure.

That’s close, though it is really more like setting up Sharing on Computer A, and then mounting a network drive on Computer B, then dragging the file over to the network drive to copy it to the remove computer (or in inverse, to copy something down from a remote shared user folder). AirDrop just makes the whole thing a million times easier by doing all of the setup+network discovery+mount+authentication+file drop+unmount stuff for you. It’s direct file sharing protocol transfer that requires an 802.11n WiFi chip, not an intermediary agent like e-mail, which leaves a tertiary copy on the intermediary server. So therein lies the small security gain: the only copies in existence are A and B. With e-mail and Dropbox, a C copy is instantiated, which is in all reality probably mirrored several times over by the corporation’s backups, redundant RAID drives on the server, etc etc—but we can think of the copy on the e-mail server or Dropbox server as being “C”.

But again this is all rather technical. An analogy between the two would be: AirDrop is you handing a letter to a friend in a sealed envelope. Dropbox is you putting the letter in a security deposit box and giving the key and entry protocol to your friend who then goes down to the bank and retrieves the letter personally.

As you can see, both are, in an absolute sense, quite safe, provided you all follow protocol carefully.

How is that any different to my analogy?!?! :smiley:

E-mail requires Computer A to talk to Computer C (which is presumably owned and operated by some huge corporation, or at the very least a small ISP), send your e-mail to Computer C with .zip file in tow. Computer C stores .zip file in e-mail container format. Computer B logs on to Computer C and asks if there is any new mail. Computer C says, “Yes!” and sends Computer B a copy of the e-mail and .zip file that Computer A sent.

So now you’ve got e-mail on A, B and C, where C is acting like a security deposit box for your data.

AirDrop, on the other hand, is looking for another computer within wireless range of itself that has a complaint wireless card itself capable of establish direct ad hoc connections. Once a connection is established, a mini personal network that exists nowhere else and sends no packets to any other machines—not even your personal modem. The only thing more secure than this is plugging to computers together with a crossover cable, establishing a network between the two computers, and sharing files that way (well, okay, there are more secure ways, but they are outside of the realm of what the average consumer would do, like Faraday shielding and such, ha).

Thus my analogy of meeting your friend and personally handing the letter to them. That’s just about the most secure way to send your letter. It’s less convenient though, because you both have to be in the same location. Stuff like Dropbox lets you outsource the distribution of the letter, making it more convenient as you do not have to be around for the letter to be delivered, and in a relatively secure fashion, as does an e-mail account. Both let you destroy copy C once the transfer is complete—but both must have a copy C in order for them to function. AirDrop requires no Copy C. Data from A is directly transferred and turned into Data B.