A Gentle DropBox Rant

logoSo let me get this straight… Dropbox.com is supposed to save me trouble by maintaining duplicates of files stored in the My Dropbox folder on all machines which I have the app installed, and on their website.  That seems like an awful lot of redundancy already. But wait, it also keeps a local cache on each machine in a hidden directory and with no way to change settings for its size and expiration.

So, a 100MB file, “shared” across 3 machines takes up 3 x 100MB + DropBox storage (lets ignore backups on their end for now, but they do exist) = 400MBs, and then each machine has a copy in the (hidden) cache which brings this up to 700MBs (assuming that they don’t cache multiple versions). Even if all this makes sense, that seems like a big waste of space, doesn’t it?  And lets not forget the bandwidth.  The same file has to be uploaded, then downloaded to each My Dropbox folder. Then copied to the cache directory on each, etc.  All this seems very wasteful.

Oh, and the memory usage of the app running in the background is currently 75MBs, and all of my files are in sync. What’s it doing that requires so much memory? (Outlook requires just a tad more and we know what a hog that thing is.)

There must be a better solution to keep stuff in sync.

Whatever,… I guess I have a love-hate relationship with Dropbox since I do use it.

But maybe a better approach is using ExpanDrive and keeping all of the files you need to access from multiple destinations there, in a single location. Size limitations are much less of a consideration, but you do need to setup an FTP server and have it running around the clock.  Unless you just get hosting somewhere and you’re good to go. (By the way, ExpanDrive version 2, currently available for Mac only, supports S3. So, you get an S3 account, install ExpanDrive on all of your Macs and you have access to the same files. True, all access goes over the wire and will be slower, and you won’t have access to anything offline, but its worth considering.)

By the way, if you do want to try out DropBox please do so by clicking this link and sending a referral credit my way: