Old Mac iDisk Connections

I started with Zotero about 5 years ago (before they had on-line storage!) and I was keeping PDF copies of my papers in Mac's iDisk so I could access them on multiple computers. With the sands of time, Apple discontinues iDisk, Zotero adds on-line storage and I moved my PDF paper file from iDisk to DropBox. Today, I store papers on-line with Zotero but ... everytime I open Zotero I need to click through about a dozen warnings saying my connection to the (now) non-existant iDisk (There was a problem connecting to the server "idisk.mac.com".) is unavailable. I know it's the roughly 1,000 previous links to papers that are now in DropBox and not on iDisk. Is there anyway to erase these connections on mass without destroying the references or destroying links to my current Zotero on-line storage? If I have to do it one at a time, I'll cry out in anguish. Help me Zotero-Forum, you're my only hope.
  • I believe Zutilo can change linked attachment paths en masse. See "Modify attachment paths" on that page.
  • Just to be clear, though, these are linked files, right? If that's the case, it's not related to Zotero File Storage at all, because linked files don't sync.
  • Or maybe you're saying that you store new files on Zotero's servers but you've moved your old files that were on iDisk to Dropbox? If that's the case, Zutilo should be able to help you.
  • I'm actually not 100% sure Zutilo will be able to help you, since your old iDisk links may be stored in the database in an old Mozilla-specific format instead of as regular file paths (e.g., /Volumes/iDisk/...). It depends how Zutilo goes about doing the find-and-replace. But you can try using /Volumes/iDisk/whatever as the search path and see what happens.

    If that doesn't work, an alternative is to fake the old hierarchy by recreating your folder structure under /Volumes/iDisk using regular folders and copying all the files from Dropbox there. (You might need to use admin permissions for this.) Then you could go to the Advanced -> Files and Folders pane of the Zotero preferences and set Zotero's linked attachment base directory to /Volumes/iDisk, which will (hopefully) convert all of those paths to relative paths in the database. Then if you changed that setting to point to Dropbox instead (assuming the same hierarchy), the file links would still work. This method would depend on the folder structure being the same between iDisk and Dropbox.
  • Thank you! I'm not sure if it was Zutilo or your tip of Advanced>Files and Folders>Link Attachment Base Directory ... it seems to have worked. When I went to Link Attachment Base Directory and set it to the new path I had to click through about 400 error messages (which I assume was fixing the problem one paper at a time), but then it was fixed. I had to do it for both the Firefox version and stand alone, but it works in both cases. So, lot's of button clicks later ... problem solved. And thanks again!
  • What were the error messages, out of curiosity?
  • The unhelpful error message was a pop-up box, probably from the OSX system saying ... "There was a problem connecting to the server "idisk.mac.com". Please contact your system administrator." and included a "dismiss" button.
  • Dan,

    Maybe you can help me out with a problem that's similar to MFSchar's. I'm getting the same error message ""There was a problem connecting to the server "idisk.mac.com". Please contact your system administrator." I'm using Zotero 4.0.12 for Firefox on an Mac running OS X 10.8.4.

    I HAVE set up data syncing with Zotero's servers, but, as far as I know/can tell I have never set up file syncing. I may have a few files in a group library that are synced but those would be on the Zotero servers NOT on my old idisk account.

    I tried to follow the message thread between you and MFSchar but I'm either (a) having a different problem or (b) not understanding what the problem is in the first place and how to fix it.

    I have checked the "Advanced" settings under my Zotero preferences and I do not appear to have a "Linked Attachment Base Directory" selected. With regards to my "Data Directory Location" I am using a "profile directory." I selected "Show Data Directory" and got the following path: User Name/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/nhuqnud0.default/zotero

    I have poked around in the "Storage" folder within the data director and found a few PDFs but I'm not sure how they might have gotten there.

    If you could help me sort this out I'd be grateful. Alternatively, if I wanted to just uninstall Zotero, delete the entire directory and reinstall and populate the new version with the information on Zotero's servers would this be possible?

  • so there is no reference to idisk in the sync panel of the Zotero preferences?
    Don't re-install Zotero, that's almost certainly unnecessary and might not even help.
  • Yea, I would not re-install iDisk. To be clear, the fix I had didn't work continuosly. I still get the error message. I "Revert ot Aboslute Paths," then re-establish a link to the new file and click through 200 error messages. This fix lasts about two weeks and then the error messages appear again. Zutilo did not help. We are being encouraged to switch to Mendeley ... and this is making it harder to resist.
  • ...though if you want to keep your links, switching to Mendeley would likely not solve the problem, would it?
    @MFSchar - how about moving the files via Zotfile? That would actually overwrite the old link rather than trying a search&replace as Zutilo does. (You'd specify where to move files, select the items and then direct Zotfile to rename files, which also moves them).
  • edited September 10, 2013
    The issue is that you have linked files that still point to the old iDisk path, and OS X pops up a dialog when those are accessed. Zutilo can batch-convert paths, but I'm guessing it won't fix paths that old, which were stored in a different format. Will, the author of Zutilo, could probably fix that.

    I suggested another possible workaround above: creating a dummy /Volumes/iDisk, copying files there (so they're at the same location they used to be), pointing the base directory to make all of those paths relative, then changing the base directory setting back to your current location and deleting the /Volumes/iDisk folder. If you're not comfortable with that, you can try asking your IT people for help. It might be a little hard to do without following Zotero's debug output, but in theory I think it would work, without your having to click through any dialogs at all.

    Or just try to convince Will to update Zutilo to support the old path format.
  • edited September 10, 2013
    I'd actually be curious to see a Debug ID for an attempt to open one such file. It's possible we could put in some sort of special handling for this.
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