I’m all for online storage; you can never have too many backups. Frankly if you’re not using some form of online backup you’re bordering on madness; you can get enough free storage to cover most data scenarios (movies aside), so not taking up the option seems plain stupid to me. I’ve been using Microsoft mesh (now LiveSync) since it’s first betas and it’s been excellent; just select a folder and add it to your Mesh, and you can sync it to the cloud and selected other machines. It’s a simple sync between me, the cloud and my laptop. I also have a paid Mozy account because, well, discs are evil and crash when you most need them.
I’ve also got a DropBox account, which I setup because a client was using it and it just made things easy to share files. But I hate the central folder – the one true place – that their methodology forces you to adopt. “Here”, they say, “have some free storage, we’ll synchronise it automatically for you. You want multiple folders? No, sorry, we only support a single folder. Move all of your folders into that one. It’s free, what more do you want?” Yeah, right, that’s what I want, to be forced to organise my files under your folder. I suck it up because that’s what the client used, and it’s a great price, but I have my own structure – clients, projects, etc – so now I copy between them, my local folder structure and DropBox, which kinda ruins the seamless experience.
Now Microsoft release a SkyDrive application, which synchronises with free 25gb of storage online. Ooh, nice; I already use SkyDrive too, so that’ll fit nicely, thinks I. But no, it’s the same as the DropBox model, a single folder and one that’s not even integrated with LiveSync. Really, I just don’t get it. You’ve this sweet sync technology that allows you to select folders to synchronise and to which machines and you force me to use a single folder. I’ve already got a folder structure, neatly set out in my anal OCD way, but no, that’s not good enough, I now have to have everything I want synchronised under a single folder. Really? A single folder? You didn’t think that, maybe, I’d have files and folders scattered around my disc? You didn’t think that a good way to differentiate yourself is to do something different rather than copy the competition? You’ve already got a multi-folder sync technology, one that’s been working happily for years, but no, let’s not use that, let’s pick the restrictive way of doing things.
And while I’m ranting, why can’t LiveSync and SkyDrive be combined? I get that SkyDrive is the consumer friendly model, but it seems odd, wasteful even, that you have two technologies providing almost the same features, but not the same enough to combine them. There seems to be a lack of vision here, the view that since people already accept the single folder view, that’s good enough for everyone.