Life Without Dropbox

A few months ago, I decided it was time to reinstall Xubuntu 12.04 LTS on my system for a fresh install. I made the mistake of making system changes and installs without testing results in a VM first. This time would be a clean install, keeping it as bare bones and optimized as possible. Only tools that I use or need would be included, and to determine need, I would only install a tool or application once I had to boot a VM and install it first. If I had to boot the VM once or more a day, then I would install the application on my main system. So far, two months have gone by, and I have yet to even install Dropbox in my VM.

Dropbox has its place, but for me, it seems to be more of a headache than it was worth. I like to be in possession of my data. I have more than enough space on USB keys, and removable hard drives to be able to have my data mobile. Dropbox has been hacked a few times this year, and just doesn’t hold the wow-factor it once did for me.

Cloud Storage has been around for so many years, but got re-branded as something special. I have used FTP servers since the 90’s and I have my own FTP server running at home on a random port, dynamic DNS, and watch my logs. I prefer to be the one to hold the keys to my data, and its known that Law Enforcement has before gained access to contents of Dropbox accounts. I hate the argument “If you have nothing to hide, then there is no problem who watches” because that inherently means we are all untrustworthy. In this country, you are supposed to be assumed innocent until PROVEN guilty, and it seems that companies would rather bow to law enforcement than fight for their customers.

I would rather not have my data instantly synchronized across all my computers, and need to carry a USB key or two, than to have to worry about hackers, or law enforcement being able to gain access to it.

I simply want to make this argument as food for thought. Do you REALLY need instant access to your data over the net? or is it something that can reside on your local storage?

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One response to “Life Without Dropbox

  1. I realize this is an old blog post but I randomly found your blog and started reading some of it. I think a mix of local backups and the cloud is where it’s really useful. True, it’s no different than FTP servers of 20 years ago.

    Where it shines though is the effortlessness of automation. It’s a lot easier to have key files sync themselves then to manually schedule them across multiple devices. And the real key feature is the same as having an offsite bank safe box or storage unit – if your house burns down and all your local backups are destroyed, that’s it.

    But if you combine local backups with cloud services that’s not so. It seems almost contradictory to only put your “most valuable” files on a cloud where you no longer have complete control, but encryption is more than adequate. So for certain files like encrypted password databases to all your accounts, or for certificates that you would not be able recover, the cloud is an excellent source of backup that won’t burn down with your house. You simply have to take extra measures, as uploading “password.txt” to any cloud would just be stupid.