The software that we use for linguistics and Bible translation is constantly being updated. Fonts get new special characters added, software gets new options to export content to the web, features get added, bugs get fixed. For the language technology specialist, it is a difficult job keeping everyone up to date, especially if a poor internet connection makes it difficult to download the 150 Megabyte installation file during working hours when someone is in your office needing help.
A long time ago, I attempted something called the Language Technology Toolkit that I wrote about. The idea was that a master copy of all the tools would be kept in a repository, and that you could run a script from a USB thumbdrive that would download all the content onto it. It would detect which files were out of date and would only update those files. It worked beautifully, but for one great flaw. Who would keep the master repository updated so that people would get timely updates of all the tools? I tried to keep it up to date, but I soon got behind. All it took was for me to travel for a couple of weeks to get hopelessly behind.
Enter Jim Henderson. Jim figured out how to make a repository that would update itself by checking the individual websites of all the various tools and then downloading new updates when available. Jim's tool is called LangTran. It was great, but a bit difficult to set up. And so recently, we came together to try a new bit torrent download method. So far the results are fantastic. After I install the bit torrent client, all I have to do is to tell the client what directory to receive the files in, and then I enter a password key. All of the files (currently 12.5 Gigabytes) get downloaded to that directory, and they stay up to date.
I can't wait to set up all our users at Outilingua in Togo next week! We are combining this method with a high speed thumbdrive that can install files quickly on the computers we work on.