Quitting Dropbox

When I wrote earlier this year about not using free products, one of my major points of friction was Dropbox. I don’t use more than the free 2GB tier so space wasn’t an issue, and to make the jump to the “pro” level was steep, $100 for 100GB. Not to mention that I don’t need to sync that much stuff.

That layered with a new personal interest in privacy and personal data security (thank you NSA), I have been more determined than ever to quit my Dropbox usage. I own my data, and if I own how they sync, then I don’t have to worry as much about someone letting a three-letter-agency get at my data. Yes, it means that I have the burden of protecting my data and backing it up, but that is a trade off I am willing to make.

I have settled on using BitTorrent Sync to ferry my information across my computers and to and from my phone. It is not perfect yet, but it is perfectly usable.

I have given up on Dropbox sync’d apps for one of two reasons:

  1. I don’t use them nearly as much as I would have thought
  2. The data is too valuable.

An example of item 1 is Text Expander for iOS. In my mind, I would use it all the time. Every app would use my Text Expander snippets and I would be a productive machine. In reality I hardly use it, I don’t have too many apps on my phone that use it, and more often than not, auto-correct kills the snippet abbreviation. Writing apps are another example. I think that I would write on my phone, but I’m no Patrick Rhone.

The perfect example of item 2 is my 1Password database. I know it is wrapped in copious layers of protection, but if Dropbox leaves the barn door open again or more comes of this I don’t think using Dropbox for my most valuable data is worth the risk. I am now syncing my 1Password database over USB every couple of days. It isn’t like the passwords that I am using are changing that regularly.

The nice thing about using BitTorrent Sync is that I can create my own version of the FileTransporter for significantly cheaper. I can build them cheap enough that I can send one to my parent’s house, and my mother in law’s house to provide myself an off site synced backup.