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This is already week 5 of the do-over in which Kristin is participating, but it is really about the third major segment of the technology do-over that I am doing to get a better arrangement for all of the digital materials that are part of the family archive.  The main activity of this segement was having a vendor scan some large photos that are too big for the 8 1/2 by 14 scanner that I've got.  At the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) meeting in San Antonio last summer, we stopped at the booth for Image Retrieval, a scanner supplier and scanning service that is an easy drive from home.  I dropped off all of the oversize materials and got a call a few days later that it was all available and that I could stop by with a drive to copy the materials off of their server (they can provide a drive, but it is a lot cheaper if you provide the drive). 

I dropped the drive off, and watched one of the operators use the Windows copy/paste graphical user interface (GUI) to copy the files--all 110 Gigabytes (I specified high resolution for scanning). All of the operators grew up in the post-command line era, and clearly don't know that there are some command line utilities that make this process easier and more reliable.

If you have to copy a large number of files , it is likely that a network error will occur, or the machine will go to sleep or something else will cause the transfer to fail.  Rsync is a command line utility that makes this process much more reliable, as it has restart capability; if the file transfer is interrupted, it will restart where it left off--a big help for a multi-hour or multi-day file transfer.

When I got home, I used the command

rsync -arvzpogt /Volumes/Image /Volumes/RAID_0_Media/Image_Retrieval_2015_02

in a shell script to copy the files from the USB drive that I took to Image Retrieval on the mirrored RAID array that I created in week 1 of the do-over.  To verify that the command completed a couple of days later, I re-ran it to get the following output:

macmini:Image_Retrieval_2015_02 userID$ sudo ./
building file list ... done

sent 26533 bytes received 20 bytes 53106.00 bytes/sec
total size is 108517958726 speedup is 4086843.62
macmini:Image_Retrieval_2015_02 userID$

Now I know that all of the files were copied correctly; if they had not’or there were new files’I would see a listing the files being transferred.

Rsync is available on Windows via Cygwin Unix/Linux utiltities and on OS X via the MacPorts set of utilities. Grsync is a GUI client that is available for both Linux and OS X (via MacPorts) and Windows. There are also native Windows and OS X clients available. If you are working with large archives of digital files, finding and learning an rsync utility can make you life much easier.