If I have learned one thing over the last couple of weeks is that although all good things in life are free, free doesn’t always last forever. With the sudden demise of Google reader (and the associated apocalypse for all of my fancy social-media-autoposting scripts) I’ve decided that my trust in ‘free cloud services’ is something that no longer comes by default. Lets face it : In any free online product that offers you a service without any visible revenue model, YOU are the product .. not the client. Its like that with Facebook, Google+, Gmail and so forth. You are in some form or another the “product” they brior whatever else they might think of : You make THEM money and THEY have no obligation whatsoever to keep the service (and your dng into the service in order to make money for their “Clients”. (Usually advertisers) If this is in the form of adds, your personal information ata/information/etc) available to you. Add to that that some of these services thread loosely around issues like “Privacy” and you need to start wondering : Would I not be better of doing this on my own.
One of these services that personally springs to mind is : Dropbox. Its free online storage offering us a cross platform solution for herding our files across multiple systems. But meanwhile that data also resides on “some server” “somewhere”. Equally tied into my workflows like “Google Reader” the loss of Dropbox would be a serious problem. Any alternatives ?
Owncloud is a beautiful solution that gives you just that. Run your own owncloud server and have clients on most operating systems. Access your files, contacts and (private) calendars from anywhere. Free and open source it has the downside of being a little tech-intensive when you want to set it up. (You need an Apache server and there is some tinkering involved when it comes to securing your traffic).
BUT : Now there is Bittorrent Sync and the setup is quite simple. You sync folders on your different machines using the power of Bittorrent. Yes the same protocol that rushes Linux ISO’s and illegal copies of pron dvd’s our way now helps us to get our files across.
HOW : Install the client on your different machines (all flavors of Linux, Windows and OSX are supported) and tell it what folder to sync. You will be offered a “secret password” that you will need to use when you ‘add’ a machine to your sync cloud and voila : there are your files.
No Cloud required : The good ? : No cloud required : you sync files between YOUR machines without the need for cloud storage with a third party. I would recommend choosing a “master system” that is always online to make sure a recent copy of “everything” resides at least somewhere. The bad ? : This stuff is pretty new, so I would not recommend using it for personal or financial data until it “matures” a bit.
Free : What are you waiting for : Head on over to http://labs.bittorrent.com/experiments/sync.html and give it a spin and TELL US what you thought of it in the comments section.