May 2009

MobileMe vs. SugarSync vs. DropBox

I now have tested MobileMe, SugarSync, and DropBox for quite a while to decide which service to buy for syncing my “electronic life” between my Macs (soon I’ll be managing two OSX Server blades, one Mini, and two MBPs!). After this period, there is no doubt to me: I’m syncing my iCal calendars and Address Book content via Google, my bookmarks with XMarks, and everything else via DropBox.

MobileMe’s iDisk is nothing more than a pain and a piece of junk, which I honestly did not expect. After all the problems they had last year launching Me.com, I thought they would have by now created a working service. But the iDisk and syncing my PIM (Personal Information Manager - I still use Yojimbo, as Evernote’s and Together’s handling of encryption are pure patched add-ons) was just a [bad] joke: You even need to buy extra software if you want to do file syncing, as iDisk’s “offline” sync is so slow and error prone I could not believe Apple dares to offer something like that. So you need to either use Lingon and rsync to sync to your online mode iDisk which doesn’t win a medal for simplicity, or buy something like ChronoSync - and that takes hours (!!!) to ensure 10 GB of data in about 30-40k Files are synced, every time. All the more, ChronoSync may be the fastest and safest syncer in the wild! What finally got me mad was the sync agent using 90% CPU all of the time, at times virtually locking you out of your own machine, while performing almost nothing. Finally, if you ever try to navigate that online iDisk, get yourself a cup of tea, you will have plenty of time to drink it up until that file is open…

Compared to SugarSync, DropBox with its simplicity and real versioning of files is significantly better performing than SugarSync, espcially if we talk upload and real volume, and if you ever tried SugarSync, it is a resource hugger (not as bad as iDisk, but it will stop your workflow). So in the end the choice for me was based on “mutual exclusion”, there is simply still no service that can hold the candle to DropBox - and just got me Pro account. As I am writing this, I am syncing up dozens of gigs of data to my 50 GB DropBox, and I hardly notice it happening!

Oh, if you get yourself an account for DropBox, either the free 2 GB or a full Pro account, I would appreciate if you register via this link, as it creates me some 500 MB extra space for referring you :o).