Dropbox Re-visited

Dropbox logoA while ago I wrote favourably about Dropbox and the way that it copies files of your choosing to one or more other computers automatically. I am still using it all the time to ensure that I have the latest versions of important files with me on my netbook when I am visiting clients. There are two things that I would like to add:

  • There have been concerns that Dropbox is not as private as we might like. Their previous privacy policy suggested that employees of Dropbox were not able to view files stored using Dropbox (the files are stored on Dropbox’s servers as well as distributed among your own computers). It now appears that that is not the case and that they would reveal our data to relevant authorities (in the USA) if subpoenaed to do so. Moreover, since Dropbox do have the ability to view files it means that customers’ files are vulnerable to mistakes or malpractices of its own employees. See here for a good exposition of the situation. Like the writer of that blog, I am considering leaving Dropbox, but am reluctant to do so as I have come to rely on its usefulness.
  • I recently password-protected an (existing) Excel 2010 spreadsheet and then promptly forgot what password I had used. Although I definitely had unprotected backups, they were not current. Then I remembered that Dropbox keeps previous versions of files. By logging on to my Dropbox account I was very easily able to restore an unprotected version of the spreadsheet from just before the time I locked myself out of it. Magic! That’s another reason I won’t drop Dropbox easily.

Email Netiquette Re-visited

Some aspects of what is considered polite and proper in emailing are important – such as not revealing email addresses in the “CC field” when the recipients do not know each other (see Shouty Emails and Email Address Fields for my previous posts on this). Others are less so. I was recently amused by an article on the BBC website about how we greet each other and sign off our emails. Reading through the mountain of comments that the article attracted, I concluded that there is no universal way of either starting or ending emails that will not offend or upset someone. It seems that every single variation has its supporters and detractors.

For instance, some people say it is only common politeness to start an email with “Dear Fred” (assuming, of course, that it is Fred you are emailing). Others say that that is an archaic and irrelevant hangover from letter-writing, and someone else even thought that that form suggested an intimacy that may be inappropriate. Likewise with ending emails: some people like to sign off with “Cheers”, whereas others (including me) loathe that word in that context.

I have concluded that there is no generally accepted manner of either opening or closing emails, so I will carry on as I have always done – which is to adjust my wording slightly depending on the situation and to stick with forms that do not make me squirm with embarrassment if I see them again two weeks later.

……. and, finally

If you would like to re-visit any of my newsletters/blog posts (they are the same thing, the newsletter being the emailed version of new blog posts), the easiest way to find what you are looking for is to look at the sitemap on my website. Just scroll down the page to the “Posts” section, where the links are listed with the title and publication date (in chronological order).

One Response to “Dropbox and Email Netiquette Updates”

  1. I am interested in your comments about how to start and end emails. I tend to use the same rules as though I was using snail-mail. However, looking at the the emails I receive, it appears to be totally random. Even worse is more and more mail is sent via smart devices, and people cannot be bothered to even open and close an email. It is just like receiving a text.

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