Strongspace 2.0

A little over 5 years ago [Jason Hoffman](http://twitter.com/jasonh) of [TextDrive](http://weblog.textdrive.com/) announced [Strongspace 1.0](http://weblog.textdrive.com/article/128/strongspace-10). TextDrive has since merged with [Joyent](http://www.joyent.com) and focused on [Smart](http://www.joyent.com/technology/smartplatform/) cloud computing and less on applications. In June of 2009 Joyent [sold](http://joyeur.com/2009/08/13/joyent-sells-strongspace-and-bingodisk-to-expandrive/) Strongspace and [Bingodisk](http://www.bingodisk.com) to [ExpanDrive](http://www.expandrive.com) so that we could continue to develop the service and better serve the existing customers.

ExpanDrive has a long history with Joyent and its customers. We first met Joyent’s CEO Dave Young back in 2006 because Strongspace customers were using ExpanDrive en masse to mount their Strongspace as an external drive – which was awesome. We worked with Joyent to let their customers get our [ExpanDrive](http://www.expandrive.com) client installed and set up straight from the Strongspace dashboard. Following that, we collaborated on and produced Joyent [Slingshot](http://joyeur.com/2007/03/22/joyent-slingshot/), a hybrid online-offline Ruby on Rails framework that was a precursor to [Google Gears](http://gears.google.com/) and [HTML5 offline caching](http://diveintohtml5.org/offline.html). Dave and Jason have been invaluable as we’ve taken the reins to launch the long-promised Strongspace 2.0.

I’m proud to announce that we’re now [open for business](https://www.strongspace.com/plans) and taking new customers again. Strongspace 2.0 keeps the best parts of the original – [SFTP](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SSH_File_Transfer_Protocol) and [rsync](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rsync) running on Joyent [SmartMachines](http://www.joyent.com/technology/smartmachines/) with [ZFS](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZFS), the most advanced filesystem in the world. We continue to use secure open standards so you can backup and access your data with your favorite SFTP client or library rather than a crappy half-baked solution that bogs down your laptop and eats up all your RAM.

On top the Strongspace core we’ve built an awesome webapp to browse, manage and share your data. Getting data securely into and out of Strongspace has never been easier. Strongspace now provides top-level folders called, called Spaces, to which you can easily give others web and SFTP access. In addition we provide a public folder whose contents are automatically shared, as well as the ability to grab a secure link to any file in your Strongspace to share with whoever you’d like. And this is just the beginning.

Start a 30 Day Free Trial!

… One more thing: all active accounts come with a free copy of ExpanDrive.

ExpanDrive 2.0 for the Mac

We’re excited to release [ExpanDrive 2.0](http://www.expandrive.com/mac) for the Mac [[release notes]](http://www.expandrive.com/mac/release_notes.html)!

It’s EXTREMELY fast.

Over the past year, we’ve put together an entirely new SFTP engine, based on a hybrid of OpenSSH and Python. Expect more than double the performance when transferring large files, and we’ve completely re-written our metadata caching architecture. Browsing around is even faster. Oh – we also now detect edits that have been made on the server. Awesome.

S3 support

In addition, we’re introducing support for [Amazon S3](http://aws.amazon.com/s3/) as a filesystem type in ExpanDrive. You can now mount you buckets and drag and drop files to them from Finder. We’ve even built a contextual menu plugin to the Finder so you can set permissions on those keys. Certain technical limitations make S3 difficult to implement well as a filesystem, notably that you have to upload full files AND know the size beforehand, but we’ve got it working pretty well. Please continue to send great feedback to [email protected]

FTP/FTPS grows up

FTP/FTPS support is no longer in beta and has many important fixes and compatibility updates to help it work with the plethora of buggy FTP servers that are in wide distribution.

GUI refresh

We’ve also spent a lot of effort refreshing the GUI:

ExpanDrive is [available](https://secure.expandrive.com/store) for $39.95, $19.95 upgrade — free upgrade if you’ve purchased in the past 60 days.

ExpanDrive v1.3.1

This bug-fix release is now available on the auto updater and the ExpanDrive [website](http://www.magnetk.com/expandrive). As always, release notes are [here](http://www.magnetk.com/expandrive/release_notes.html).

If you’re using an RSS reader you can subscribe directly to our [release feed](http://www.magnetk.com/expandrive/expandrive.appcast.xml) or our our [beta release feed](http://www.magnetk.com/expandrive/beta.expandrive.appcast.xml)

ExpanDrive 1.3: the awesomest ExpanDrive ever

### FTP Drives:
They said we couldn’t do it. They said we [__shouldn’t__](http://stevenf.com/archive/dont-use-ftp.php) do it. _I_ said we shouldn’t do it. But we did it. Why did we do it? To prove how tough we are? To make a pile of money? Just because it was there? I can’t say for sure, but it’s done now. In version 1.3 __ExpanDrive supports connections to plain ftp (and ftp/ssl) servers.__

We’re calling it “beta” for now because we expect that there are still some bugs to shake out, but so far it looks pretty good. No, it looks __very good__. Good like streaming two movies over a local wireless connection at the same time good. That said, the ftp “standard” isn’t quite as standard as one might like if one were writing a filesystem for it, and there are a lot of different ftp servers out there. If you have an ftp server that ExpanDrive can’t connect to and you can give us a temporary login to that server, then we’ll send you a generous ExpanDrive coupon for your trouble. (And we’ll use the temporary login to try and make ExpanDrive work with your server.)

### New trials for everyone:
We want everyone to love ExpanDrive as much as we do. That’s why we have a free 30 day trial period. For version 1.3 we’ve reset everyone’s trial, and we’ll continue to automatically reset the trial after every major version release. If you tried version 1.1 and it didn’t grab your fancy, then give it a try again. (We’ve also decrease the intrusiveness and frequency with which we nag you to register.)

### Reconnect:
It’s not all about the new features. There also always needs to be “bug fixes and performance improvements”, and we’ve got those too. We’re mildly embarrassed at how far we let our SFTP reconnect feature slip. You know what I’m talking about: your server turned into a folder that didn’t do anything. We didn’t talk about it because we knew we were going to fix it _any day now_, and no one wants to draw attention to a feature that used to work. Well, I’m happy to say that not only did we fix it, we made it much better.

ExpanDrive used to guess when you’d lost a connection when it took a long time to hear back from a server. (“Hello? Server? Are you still there? Can you hear me, server? Hello…”) We now use OS X system notifications for network availability. ExpanDrive knows when the internet disappears and reappears, when your IP address changes, and when your computer is going to sleep or waking up. This means that server reconnect is faster and more reliable than it used to be, and also that you shouldn’t ever experience a “-36 error” just because you have a laggy connection.

### Localizations:
ExpanDrive is currently available in German, French, Danish, and Romanian. Spanish and Japanese will be in our next release. (Many thanks to [Jannis Leidel](http://jannisleidel.com/), [Nicolas Doualot](http://slubman.info/), CasperT, and [Sebastian Pascu](http://ic3berg.de/), ). We’d [love some help](http://blog.magnetk.com/2008/09/09/want-expandrive-in-your-favorite-language/) with other languages!

### Beta Updates:
Finally, we’ve got a lot of things cooking right now that are going to get released in the near future. If you’re like me, then you want to use the new stuff as soon as you can get your hands on it, even before the stodgy, uptight Magnetk QA department doesn’t want to give it up yet. If that’s the case then you can now choose to automatically update to the latest beta release. Our beta updates will contain no _known_ bugs when they’re released, and they’ll be reasonably tested, but they’ll definitely be beta.

### Download:
Get the latest version over at the ExpanDrive [page](http://www.magnetk.com/expandrive) or right [here](http://www.magnetk.com/expandrive/ExpanDrive.zip)

Using SftpDrive to access your iPhone

For Windows users who saw Cosmo’s [Turn Your iPhone 3g into a Wireless Hard Drive](http://blog.magnetk.com/2008/07/22/turn-your-iphone-3g-into-a-wireless-hard-drive/) and were wondering how to do the same thing on Windows, check out a good post from [David Learns Games](http://www.davidlearnsgames.com/?p=3). It describes in detail how to accomplish the same task using [SftpDrive](http://www.expandrive.com/sftpdrive) on Windows, and also enters quite a bit of detail about how to setup the networking and get your phone configured [ample screenshots]. This could come in useful if you’re having any trouble making Cosmo’s instructions work using your Mac.

ExpanDrive+TextMate+ReMate

[TextMate](http://www.macromates.com) is one of the most popular editors to use in conjuction with ExpanDrive. TextMate does not have SFTP support built in, but with ExpanDrive you can edit remote projects directly from within Textmate, as if they were on your hard drive. There is no distinction between what is local, and what is remote.

TextMate has an interesting habit of refreshing the metadata on every file in a current project every time the window regains focus, even if the file isn’t open. It is checking if a file has been changed or deleted by some external process. When those files are on local hard disk, you don’t notice this additional overhead. However, on a higher latency drive, like a network drive, it has the effect of sending out a request over the network for each file checked. If your project has a large number of files, there is a noticeable delay in gaining window as Textmate issue hundreds of requests that get piped over a network.

[ExpanDrive](http://www.magnetk.com/expandrive) employs a variety of caching techniques that alleviate this delay. However, if you have HUGE projects, like an entire rails tree, even ExpanDrive might show a small delay. In this case, consider installing the [Ciarán Walsh’s](http://ciaranwal.sh/) [ReMate](http://ciaranwal.sh/remate/) plugin. ReMate allows you to selectively disable the automatic refresh when gaining focus, effectively removing any delay you might experience.