Tuesday, October 26, 2010


For a variety of reasons (professional, largely) I run a Microsoft OS. I have been running Ubuntu at home for a few years as my main system, with XP sitting on a creaky old box. That box has all but died, so I replaced it, and set about exploring Windows 7

I’ve been using DropBox on all my PCs for ages. It’s delightful. It has a very small surface area, and it just works. I login, and it copies files from the cloud back into my dropbox folder. Anything I put into the dropbox folder gets copied up into the cloud. Because the files are local, I can work on them directly. The DropBox folder, on Linux, Mac or windows, works in exactly the same way.


I was quite excited when I saw skydrive. 25GB of space is a tasty amount (Blush- I am on the free dropbox, still). And there’s a 5GB “sync” folder, which sounds like DropBox, sitting in the wings. Or is that 5GB part of the 25. Anyway. I played.

The only way into this seems to be up and download. Once uploaded, I can’t find a way of moving the files around. Nor can I map it, reliably. I can map it using DAV, but the URL is horrible, and who’s to say it won’t change? And can I legally do it?

So I slowly shifted interest to the 5GB of “synced” storage. Only MS have discontinued Live Mesh, or whatever it’s called, for XP and, of course, there was never a product for Linux or anything else.

So, I have 25GB of “free” space which has such limited connectivity it’s useless, and 5GB of synced storage which will only sync with Windows 7 (and, presumably Vista). And, at the moment, I have a file in my synced folder which hasn’t appeared in the cloud. Who knows why?

Sorry Guys. DropBox wins hands down. It’s a simple idea, well executed which works on all platforms.

It’s been interesting coming back to look an Microsoft’s desktop products after a year or two in Linux land. The stuff that works for me is simple, orthogonal (works the same way on different platforms) and rock solid reliable. Products which are driven by sales and marketing just evolve in a different way. They have to be feature driven, and the features have to change. Most users I come across are in what I call the “One Micron club”. If their desktops change icons by more than one micron, they ring support.


Oh, and Windows 7 reports itself as Windows 6.1 internally. I guess the dreaded vista was 6.0