Tag Archives: dropbox

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.

Bandying Big Files

First, some background. I often used a service called sendyourfiles.com to move my own large art files to United Media (my syndicator), to my publisher (Andrews McMeel Publishing), and other business associates. I also used the service to send large photos and videos that e-mail couldn’t handle. Every person who received a large file from me in this convenient way said some version of “Hey, I could use this myself.”

via Scott Adams Blog: Dilbertfiles.com 11/11/2008.

This Dilbert blog entry reminded me of the problem of getting files too big for email out and about. I haven’t used sendyourfiles.com because, as the comments to the above post reflect, there are free options available without having to resort to ftp servers and such that some are unable to grok. If you don’t mind paying for the simplicity (and the “cute” watch video/animation/comic strips while uploading factor in the case of DilbertFiles.com) more power to you.

It looks like the free version of Pando lets you send files up to 1GB from mail and some chat clients to others, as well as posting to Blogger, WordPress, Facebook, Myspace and podcasts and rss feeds. It’s all graphicy and “exciting” looking.

Streamfile has a no-nosense (in a very good way) interface where you put in an email address (comma separated), pick a file (up to 2GB) and click “steam your file.” Nothing animated or distracting here.

The last and most interesting (and actually exciting) option is Dropbox, which is in beta. It professes to allow you to “store, sync, and share your files online.” It’s available for mac, linux, and windows. You download the client and it makes a … dropbox. It’s a regular folder that you can access anywhere that syncs up instantly everywhere (including web availability). To share with others you copy the URL for the file or folder you desire and paste it to mail or blog or whatever. You can invite others to share a folder with you and transfer back and forth just by sticking things in the folder. For a photo gallery, you do the same – put pictures in the photos folder and say who can see them. This thing even keeps track of versioning and does it’s syncs incrementally (only transferring the delta) so it’s wicked fast about the updates. It will maintain a free version as well as a larger file size premium tier structure (currently for the beta the limit is 2GB.) Now this is what innovative thinking breeds!