Dropbox is not the first network application for storing your data in the “cloud”–that’s been relatively easy to do for decades, using UNIX networking tools–but it does seem to be the first to gain much traction outside the *NIX sysadmin cohort.
With Dropbox I can stick working files in a networked folder that I can access from any of my computers, from networked devices like my iPod, or from any connected computer via the web; it’s great, and I don’t need to go into the details here. Reddit came up with an amusing post about Dropbox, Why is Dropbox more popular than other tools with similar functionality? – Hilarious answer, which also links to some more useful (and some amusing) items.
But I have been stumbling across interesting articles about how to use Dropbox, or how to recreate a Dropbox-like setup on your own, or Dropbox-like applications that might be worth looking into. Here they are:
- For Linux-lovers, consider Ubuntu One, which looks a lot like Dropbox, but with that Ubuntu flair. I suspect it would be especially useful for syncing things like bookmarks, that might be a bit tricky in some cases.
- Wuala looks much like Dropbox et al, but you can have only 1Gb with the free account, and it’s bundled with LaCie products. Mentioned favorably in the Reddit post.
- Here’s an article about 5 Unusual Ways to Use Dropbox You Might Not Have Thought Of. Worth looking at for some ideas.
- my.brain looks intriguing; I found it on Reddit, here: Reddit, I made an open-source notebook webapp, kind of like Evernote. Want to give it a try ?. This one isn’t exactly Dropbox-like, but it’s a homegrown app that puts your notebook into the cloud, similar to Evernote, but with everything under your own control.
Right now, Dropbox seems to be the flavor of the month for cloud storage. It’s funny, because this kind of application should have been flourishing for at least a decade by now–especially since Microsoft and Apple and many other companies have tried offering something like it for a long time. The biggest problems with these kind of services are:
- consumer acceptance of having someone else in control of access to their data
- concerns over privacy of that data
- concerns over whether or not the provider will still be in business next week/month/year
Time will tell.