I gave up on using my local law school network to store my computer files when I discovered Dropbox a few years ago. I find RDC clunky and slow, whereas I could access Dropbox effortlessly wherever and on whatever I had a web browser. As I began to rely more and more on my iPad, that became an even more important consideration.
As a Mac user, however, I now find myself using both iCloud and Dropbox. Work stuff and Office documents generated at home are on Dropbox. Music, video, photos--all the iTunes and iPhoto stuff--is on iCloud.
I'm wondering whether I really need Dropbox anymore or if iCloud can be a complete one-stop storage service. In pondering that question, I came across a helpful post that explained:
Dropbox embraces the past for current computer users with years of experience, whereas iCloud is the future of file management for consumers in a Post-PC world.
So to get everyone up to speed, iCloud is the service in iOS (iPads, iPhones, iMacs, etc) that automatically syncs your documents. You edit using Pages on your iMac and it syncs to Pages on your iPad. The defining feature of iCloud when compared to Dropbox is that the documents are in a virtual “silo” per app. Meaning your Pages docs are only available in your other copies of Pages, on your other Apple devices. Your Keynote presentations on your Mac sync to your Keynote app on your iPad. It all works seamlessly in the background.
Dropbox is different. It is a folder on your hard drive that syncs to a virtual folder than in turn syncs to another folder on another device you have. Basically it is a large folder “in the cloud” that apps can tie in to and you can have on most all your devices and computers. It is the most flexible and least inventive. iCloud is the most inventive and least flexible. ...
Apple is aiming to do away with file systems. I agree that this is the best path. Tablets and computers should do the heavy lifting and make things easy for you. You should not need a degree in computers to operate any device these days.
I love the possibilities iCloud thus offers. The ability to seamlessly work on any platform is very attractive. The problem as I see it is that the rest of my world isn't ready for me to embrace iCloud:
- In the classroom, I have to run PowerPoint off the law school network on a PC machine, so I can't simply run a Keynote presentation on my iPad that will show on the class projector. Getting the Keynote Presentation off my iMac or iPad and onto the Windows network as a PowerPoint presentation seems non-trivial.
- Law reviews and book publishers still use MS Word files. If I work in Pages, how much of a hassle will it be going back and forth between Pages and Word, especially when we get to the editing stage and are exchanged versions with tracked changes, comments, etc....
- My coauthors are all MS Word/Windows people (not that there's anything wrong with that).
- The law school network is Windows-based. Getting documents off the network and into Dropbox is easy. Not sure it'll be that easy with iCloud.
I'm sure there are other problems I'm not even seeing yet. So I wonder what other law professors who are facing the same question are doing?