Dropbox replacement

Because reasons I had to get off my free Dropbox account. (Sad Face)
Dropbox, evil or not, is just so convenient. It is a software cloud of your files. You map it to a drive letter (usually c:) and it syncs your files in the background.
What it meant for me was that I could keep my Opto Software the same across the 4-6 computers that I use almost daily to do my job.
Anyway, not to be… so, my quest then, unexpectedly and suddenly became ‘find a self hosted replacement’.

I did what any good geek does and phoned a friends…. Gary and Dan.
Both had the same idea, Gary suggested QNAP, Dan suggested NextCloud.
Thinking I did not really have the time to spend with NextCloud, I hoped I could buy my way out of the mess with a QNAP hardware device…. but, sad face, it was going to cost 750 bucks for one of the better models. Ouch.

Terry wants in on the self hosted cloud as well, he needs to store stuff that he can get global access to, and Dan and I thought about backing up to each others cloud, and I could also offer space for my Dad as an offsite backup for his files as well, so the time invested would be well worthwhile with many people benefiting, but still, $750 cleans out my savings…. So after talking with Terry, we figured the cost of trying Nextcloud is 50 bucks for a Raspberry Pi. Much better.

Yeah, well, I will save you from the tail of woe, but enough to say, it worked pretty good at home, but over the network, just hopeless. It kept losing its style sheet, so the site would break and I could not keep it connected or copy files from a mapped drive.
About 5 hours in I called it DOA. (Dead On Arrival). People clearly get it going, but I am just not skilled enough… The last straw was when I, after a lot of digging into my issues, found that the native setup it comes with is not robust enough for more than 1 user and a few files, in order to make it strong, the install/setup was above my pay grade. (yet another sad face)

QNAP, It is basically a computer with custom software and some hard drives, in other words, a NAS, Network Attached Storage with a cloud component.
I looked on Craigslist of all places and there was 1 for sale. Just the one and it was a good price, 300 bucks for about the level of the 600 dollar unit. Half price. Sure, a bit of a risk getting it used, but worth it in my mind.
3 hours grind through traffic and it was all mine!

So, here I am, about 5 hours in and its not working.
The NAS part is working fine, but do you think I can get the cloud working. Nup. As soon as I leave the house, I just can not get the cloud sync working.
At the moment, it creates the files, but they are all zero bytes. Not very helpful… and I have no idea how to fix it such that it actually writes the data after creating the file.

Now, the frustrating part of all this is that Dropbox is 100 bucks a year, so I am now in the pocket for 3.5 years of dropbox, which ‘just works’ and I have nothing….. and this does not count my time, at roughly 10 hours, it’s lucky I work for free.

The joys of being not just a baldgeek but thebaldgeek.


One Response to Dropbox replacement

  1. Back in the day when your in-house backup was boxes and boxes of cards with holes punched in them,
    and your off-site backup was reels of magnetic tape in the vault at the local bank,
    we had never heard of “Dropbox”.

    Ahhh – for the good old days again.