Category Archives: Ramblings

SugarSync – The Black Cloud

About, well, exactly this time last year I had a look at SugarSync, a competitor in the cloud storage space. They had a deal of 49.99 for 60GB of space for a year. I was reminded of this today when I got a billing receipt for $99.99 for my next year of service. This is the only communication concerning this account for the year other than the general marketing blurbs about their new and improved 2.0 beta. To further place them in the halls of evil, the receipt actually came from my billing service so I have still never been notified by the company. Neither reminder/notice before the transaction, nor even a receipt after. Nothing.

This situation is in direct contrast to DropBox, a company that sent out a nice reminder of my subscription with actual information about what would be happening, when it would happen, and how to easily make any changes as to exactly what would happen. Others such as Apple, and Skype also sent me reminders so it’s really not an unreasonable expectation.

So, I decide to dump SugarSync and proceed to their website. Looking through the options, the answer to the question “how do I cancel my account” is to email them or use the support portal. Clicking the support portal link and selecting email allows me to input the problem. Clicking submit asks me to see if my question is answered by the note “how do I cancel my account” which directs you to the support portal. We will see if they ever get back to me. This is seeming like one of those impossible to escape billing scams I had been lucky enough to avoid so far.

To at least get the account settings right for future, I then try to downgrade my account to the basic free one. This offers a warning that if I consume more space than the maximum I will be charged another $99.99 or whatever they feel like never notifying anyone about when they initiate the secret ninja billing again in 365 days. The question as to why I might be allowed to casually exceed maximum disk space is an incidental imponderable. So, to get the space down below the “limit,” I go to delete things. I had basically used the service to back up my iTunes and never touched it again so there were huge numbers of files and directories. Apparently you can see 20 of those files at a time (which is apparently not adjustable), you can “select all” and “delete” them. Okay, so now the space used is unchanged. This is because the items just went to the “deleted items” folder. Great! Just empty that? No, no, no, no, no. You can see the “deleted items” … 20 files at a time, “select all” and “delete them permanently” after clicking the pop-up asking if you really want to do that. Every click of every page, waiting for reload, and more clicking has given me plenty of time to write this consumer report … and there is plenty more clicking left to do.

Conclusion: Avoid SugarSync like the plague and use DropBox instead. SugarSync does not integrate well with iOS apps I use, and DropBox works with most everything. SugarSync billing practices border on slimy, while DropBox notifies customers in advance of any activity. It’s really not worth it to deal with a company with so little regard for customers when there are others doing it right. It’s a shame because SugarSync does offer some promising features such as the ability to sync specified folders external to a central sync directory without the linking workaround required by DropBox.

[It should be noted that I have no affiliation with either of these companies, but if you feel like checking out DropBox and sign up with this link we’ll both get some permanently free additional space.]

UPDATE: SugarSync support promptly issued a refund, but then stated that they don’t issue any notifications “because you can check on the website.” Great! My opinion has entirely solidified.

SingTel Mystery Fail

I was humming along on the internet last Tuesday when the ‘next page’ link didn’t work for some reason. That’s not so unusual so I tried another site. Nothing. I rebooted. Nothing. I rebooted the router/etc. Nothing. I repeated this for hours. Nothing. I tried my mobile phone internet to see if there was some reported problem with SingTel. There was no internet there either. I tried calling support and the call failed. After dozens of attempts the call connected but the line sounded like a modem from days gone by. I finally had to borrow a Starhub phone from a friend to get through to SingTel support to be told that there is no problem with anything. Of course we had to reboot everything again and again to have a tech sent out … on Saturday! This was my first week of a class that is incredibly dependent upon being able to connect to the net!

On the side of the mobile phone at least, it suddenly started working around lunchtime on Wednesday. According to the Strait’s Times the SingTel 3G network was out for most of the country for a day and a half. And the “customer support” line just lied. On a hilariously infuriating note, after getting through for a few seconds and being disconnected, I got an immediate SMS asking me to kindly rate their service! It would have been considerably less slimy if the largest and most stable phone company in this country would have thought to send some sort of notice to their subscribers (by SMS which worked through everything) rather than lying and causing everyone somehow suddenly out of communication to try reinstalling their phone and other destructive behaviors.

Back to the internet. We have high speed fiber. All of the router lights were green. I would have been happier if they were red since that would be more believable. The tech confirmed, what they didn’t want to believe when speaking to them, that even the admin interface to the router was inaccessible when directly connected to it while all lights still happily smirked green. He replaced the router and it worked. Then it didn’t. Replug. Reboot. Works. Doesn’t. Hard-Reset. Okay. Happiness. I feel a bit bad for the tech since we still don’t know what was wrong, why it was wrong, and how on earth the lights were green despite everything being wrong. He promised to write up the whole situation in their records to that if (when?) this happens again someone might believe me. I somehow doubt they will.

For now, the lifeblood flows …