CopyAgent

CopyAgent automates and streamlines back-ups, as well as speeding-up your work-rate. The great thing about it is that, unlike many file-management utilities, it caters for individual users, rather than for vast networks. At Macworld, we fire files across a 10BaseT ethernet network. My machine is at the centre of this data maelstrom, and the process can be painfully slow – especially as traffic peaks as deadline looms. Anything this affordable that speeds up the process is to be welcomed with open arms. Speed boost
Connectix claims that Network Copy, which ships with CopyAgent, is 200 per cent as fast as the OS at copying across a network. My file-copying time trials showed that transfer times were more like 125 per cent as fast. Although well shy of Connectix’s extravagant claim, this is still a speed boost worth having. The other good thing is that, by copying a Network Copy extension to the System folders of your network colleagues, the same speed-boosts apply when they copy files to you. Another appealing feature is Copy Scheduler. This allows you to specify what, where and when you want to copy. For cyclical copying, this is ideal. We archive Macworld on CD every month, a process that usually sees me trawling though people’s machines to collect relevant files from that month’s issues. With Copy Scheduler, I can set it to perform this task at a specified time each month – so it can then copy files simultaneously while I’m at lunch. Just make sure everyone you’re copying from has File Sharing switched on. But what I liked most about CopyAgent was not its eponymous copying prowess, but its keyboard-shortcut functionality – courtesy of TurboKeys. Like CopyAgent, TurboKeys appears as a Control Panel, via which shortcuts can be created for repetitive tasks. These can include toggling through applications, as well as inputting text – such as work and home addresses, and the current day’s date. Now, I can switch from any one of my many applications by hitting the alt key plus the letter that the given app begins with. I’m also using TurboKeys to speed-up my HTML work. For example, when inputting HTML script for links within Macworld Online content, I now hit alt-C, instead of manually typing it in. A word of caution: make sure your keyboard shortcuts don’t mirror those you already use. If you use -X for opening XPress, for example, then it will open whenever you use the usual shortcut for cutting text. TurboKeys also allows for drop menus to be accessed with user-configured key combinations. I can’t see the point of this, because most menu items already have keyboard shortcuts. Connectix also makes great play of CopyAgent’s Synchronize, SmartReplace and SmartMerge features, but I found these less useful. When copying something to a location that’s already home to an identically named file, these features are offered as extra options to Mac OS’s Cancel or Replace. Of the three, Synchronize is the best – making certain that identical folders compare and copy content by date and time, so that the the two folders contain only the most recent versions of files, as well as any additions. SmartReplace copies only files that are new or that have changed, while SmartMerge leaves files and folders in the destination folder – even if they have been removed from the source folder. CopyAgent also offers Wastebasket features, that allow you to select items to be trashed, as well as making deleted files irrecoverable.

OUR VERDICT

If your job involves production work across a network, then you stand to get most out of CopyAgent. However, if you long for shortcuts for routine and massively repetitive tasks – and are not a master AppleScripter – then you’ll also welcome much in this utility.

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