The Cloud is Not Your Friend, Brain Meltdown Edition

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Sorry for the brief radio silence over the past couple of hours. I’ve been in a state of minor meltdown.

Here’s the story. About a month ago I went looking for a draft of a magazine article I was writing and discovered it was gone. In fact, my entire folder of Word documents was gone. I blamed it on Windows, restored from backup, and forgot about it.

Today, I went looking for an image, and eventually discovered that several thousand files were missing from my folder of images. After a bit of sleuthing, I discovered that other files and folders were gone too. The culprit, it turned out, was SugarSync, a program I use to keep all my files synced between computers. Last Friday, after a long period of nonuse, I opened up my notebook computer and apparently SugarSync went nuts. At 4:45 it began deleting a seemingly random bunch of folders. At 4:55 it went to work on my images folder and deleted 4,661 images. At 5:55 it stopped.

I’ve restored them all. However, after a bit more looking around I discovered a couple of old folders missing. Apparently they were deleted so long ago that they’re no longer on any of my backups. I just didn’t notice it. And since all of my computers are synced, they’ve been deleted everywhere.

As you can imagine, there was minor panic involved in all of this, and I’ve been frantically looking around, trying to figure what other stuff might be missing. I also turned off SugarSync, but just discovered that it had turned itself back on while I was out of the house getting a blood test.

No permanent harm has been done. The old folders have stuff I don’t need, and the newer ones were all backed up. But obviously I need to find a new syncing program. I certainly don’t trust SugarSync anymore. Anyone have any suggestions? Does Dropbox allow you to sync existing folders, or does it still require you to put everything in its special Dropbox folder?


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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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