Recent revelations about the NSA, plus the shut down of my beloved google reader (RIP), have led me to become a lot more uncomfortable trusting my data to someone who isn't me. In light of that I've switched to using BitTorrent Sync for my inter computer file syncing instead of dropbox. Setting things up was pretty simple. I have 3 nodes most of the time (my home server, my laptop and my phone) and I'm working on getting a 4th hosted in a VPS somewhere so I have some offsite backup.
But the main point of this blog post is to talk about ownership. I don't like it when I don't have options as to who to trust with my data when doing something online. Email is a good example of a service that has LOTS of choices. I use gmail, but I don't have to if I don't want to. File syncing is another area that has lots of choice. I've mentioned Dropbox and Bit Torrent Sync, but there is also a ton more.
Social networking is one area that does NOT have a lot of options. I mean, yes, there are quite a few social networks, but I can't pick one and expect it to be useful unless my friends are there. This isn't the case with email (it's completely inter-operable), or file syncing (it's mostly individuals or small teams). I like the idea of diaspora and, but I'm concerned that they aren't really seeing much adoption. How come? I wish I new the answer to this. Email is basically a social network, but it is designed form the ground up to be decentralized. Facebook is the opposite of that. Was it just a matter of timing? Email was created when computers were rare, so you couldn't really trust one to be up all the time somewhere else. When facebook was launched dependable servers were not amazing. Is it just a matter of interface? A website is sort of designed to come from a single server, but there's no reason that it couldn't be like blogging.
Evernote was the cause of this post. I really really like the interface and the syncing abilities (although I REALLY wish they had a linux desktop client), but I dislike that the data has to live on Evernote's servers. I wish I could host the files on my own, or that I could encrypt my notes before they were sent to evernote. I don't mind loosing the ability to have images converted to text, and I don't think that evernote needs to index the notes to do search, since that could easily be done client side.