Sharing and Synchronization

What's the difference between sharing and synchronization?

Sharing is the exchange of information with another Merlin user having a Kahuna ID different from yours. Synchronization is the exchange of information with other devices you own or control, having the same Kahuna ID. Sharing and synchronization can be in one direction only, or both ways.

What can I share?

You can share anything, including contacts, events , files and much more. Or nothing at all. Merlin gives you refined and detailed control over what's shared and with whom.

Is sharing secure?

Yes, not only is everything in Merlin encrypted as soon as it is entered or imported (known as 'encryption at rest'), it is also encrypted when it is shared with another Merlin user (known as 'encryption in transit'). This includes contacts, files, notes, events and everything else in Merlin. Nothing ever exists inside your device, in transit or inside the recipient's device that is not encrypted. The only time something inside Merlin is decrypted is when you view or edit it on screen, and then only to memory, never to disk. The same holds for synchronization.

How do I set up sharing?

Adding a friend in Merlin is easy! Simply create a contact for that person (the usual stuff, like name or nickname, etc.) and enter their Merlin ID. Then press the 'Invite' button next to their ID. This will send an invitation to them for sharing and social networking. Once they accept it, you can add that person to your different social network 'Clusters', which are like groups, only smarter. You can both then share anything you like, exchange secure IMs, or make encrypted voice calls.

How do I get someone's Merlin ID?

There are two ways. The easiest is to ask them in person, by phone or by some other independent means. The second method is to see if the person you want to reach has voluntarily listed an invitation contact address on the Merlin website, to which you can send an email requesting their ID. You can't obtain Merlin IDs directly in Merlin because by design Merlin is a private and completely anonymous system. If Merlin had any sort of look-up function, the presence or absence of a person's ID could be used to guess at whether or not they use Merlin.

That said, if you decide to make yourself 'discoverable' in your client profile on the Merlin website, you can add your name or nickname to a searchable list that has a 'Contact Me' email address. People who might want to invite you to their Merlin network clusters can use that email address to send you a note asking you for your Merlin ID, or send you theirs.

Of course, you are free to respond to or ignore such requests, or to list one of your other Personas instead of your primary Persona, or not to list yourself at all. Participation in this public system is entirely voluntary and the data in it is entered and maintained entirely by the customer.

Is the information in Merlin synchronized between my devices?

Yes. Synchronization can be completely automatic, or you can do it on demand. You can also decide which types of information are synchronized, and review a complete sync history at any time. Go to the system folder and open 'My Devices'.

How can I tell if I have shared an item?

Simply right-click or tap on the item and select 'Sharing History' to see a list of all the people, groups and clusters with whom you've shared it. This works for any item or selection of items in Merlin, not just files. You can also see the item's Sync History the same way. You can limit the list by the type(s) of items and by when they were shared. The list will also show you when or if the item was accepted by each person.

Can I share things with people who are not currently on line?

Yes. Items you share with other people, groups or clusters are automatically encrypted (as always) and cached in the Merlin network until the recipient signs in, they do not have to be on line at the time you decide to share something. You can also turn this feature off, allowing Merlin to share only at times when both you and the other person are on line simultaneously.

How do I synchronize my devices?

Open the folder 'My Devices', select the device you want to share with (authorize it first, if need be), and then select the types of data that you want to synchronize (contacts, calendars and events, etc.). Keep in mind the capacity of the device – larger devices such as desktops and laptops can usually hold many more and larger files than portable devices.

The amount of 'secure capacity' available on each of your devices is shown next to the device name (which you can also change, so long as it's unique among your devices). The amount of secure capacity can be changed only on the device itself.

For devices with very limited storage, such as smart phones, it's probably best to allow them to synchronize files to larger devices, but not the reverse.

I don’t want to receive documents from someone, can I restrict that?

Yes. Select that contact, and then select Configure Sharing. You can decide what types of information you are willing to receive from them, including files. This is where you also set what types of information you are willing to send to them.

How many of my own devices can I synchronize with?

Up to 256 of your own devices. So far we've not heard of anyone with that many.

How can Merlin sync between devices or people if they are never on at the same time?

When you enable synchronization between your devices, Merlin periodically sends new and changed information from each device to every other device on your sync list using the Kahuna™ Network. This works the same way when you share data, only then it's to a different person's device. 

Kahuna™ stores the item to be synchronized until the destination device signs in (or an ultimate expiration is reached). This is perfectly safe because each item is encrypted using the public key of the device it's sent to… Only your recipient has the keys for the data you send them (and likewise, only you have the keys for the data they send you).

The same is true for your devices. Additionally, in order to protect even the metadata of each sync or share, the entire communication is wrapped in a second layer of encryption just before it enters the Kahuna™ Network.  This prevents anyone from even telling who is sending to whom.

Does Merlin have a Virus Scanner?

No.  Here's why...

When you receive files from other Merlin users they remain encrypted inside Merlin, protected from prying eyes. This works both ways – for so long as a file remains in Merlin it's isolated from the operating system, so a file that happens to be infected can do no harm. If you open that file using any of Merlin's built-in viewers and editors it is likewise isolated and can also do no harm. 

The exception to this is if you intentionally export a file from Merlin to your operating system (some folder in Windows, say). At that point the operating system can see it, and it can see the operating system. In such instances it's wise to scan the file with your regular virus scanner before opening it. 

This holds true for email attachments as well: so long as you view or edit them inside Merlin, should one happen to have a virus it can't access the operating system to cause any harm. It also can't cause any harm to other items in Merlin because each one is encrypted separately.  Merlin has been tested and works well with all major virus scanners.