Howard Marks

Network Computing Blogger

Upcoming Events

Where the Cloud Touches Down: Simplifying Data Center Infrastructure Management

Thursday, July 25, 2013
10:00 AM PT/1:00 PM ET

In most data centers, DCIM rests on a shaky foundation of manual record keeping and scattered documentation. OpManager replaces data center documentation with a single repository for data, QRCodes for asset tracking, accurate 3D mapping of asset locations, and a configuration management database (CMDB). In this webcast, sponsored by ManageEngine, you will see how a real-world datacenter mapping stored in racktables gets imported into OpManager, which then provides a 3D visualization of where assets actually are. You'll also see how the QR Code generator helps you make the link between real assets and the monitoring world, and how the layered CMDB provides a single point of view for all your configuration data.

Register Now!

A Network Computing Webinar:
SDN First Steps

Thursday, August 8, 2013
11:00 AM PT / 2:00 PM ET

This webinar will help attendees understand the overall concept of SDN and its benefits, describe the different conceptual approaches to SDN, and examine the various technologies, both proprietary and open source, that are emerging. It will also help users decide whether SDN makes sense in their environment, and outline the first steps IT can take for testing SDN technologies.

Register Now!

More Events »

Subscribe to Newsletter

  • Keep up with all of the latest news and analysis on the fast-moving IT industry with Network Computing newsletters.
Sign Up

See more from this blogger

Dropbox Redux: They Don't Really Own Your Stuff

As I blogged last week, I was until recently an enthusiastic Dropbox user. I've therefore been sitting on the sidelines and watching with amazement as a kerfuffle of unusual size has been brewing among Dropbox users. Now articles and blog posts with titles like "Dropbox Updates Terms Of Service - Now Owns All Your Stuff" and "All Your Files Are Belong To Them" and the rabid comments they generate are driving more users away from the still popular service.

Frankly, Dropbox management has no one to blame but themselves on this one. They not only had the poor judgment to release new terms of service less than 10 days after leaving their users' data accessible without password protection, but doubled down by issuing the changes on the Friday before a three-day holiday weekend. That allowed the echo chamber of the tech blogosphere to have a field day with the company's little update.

In an even bigger mistake, Dropbox execs let the lawyers write the new terms of service. So, the same people who would happily argue that loading an application from disk into memory would qualify as a possible copyright violation if the publisher didn't grant you that particular license are now in charge of protecting their client, Dropbox, from possible lawsuits from you, the actual customer and presumably copyright holder.

So, the terms of service say, "By submitting your stuff to the Services, you grant us (and those we work with to provide the Services) worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free sub-licenseable rights to use, copy, distribute, prepare derivative works (such as translations or format conversions) of, perform, or publicly display that stuff to the extent we think it necessary for the Service. You must ensure you have the rights you need to grant us that permission." I think we can all agree that to store, backup and let me retrieve my stuff, Dropbox would need a license to use and copy that stuff. That license should be non-exclusive--I may want to license someone else, too--and royalty-free since having Dropbox pay me for the right to store my stuff doesn't seem like a good business model.

I have a bit more of a problem with performance and public display licenses, but I'm sure some lawyer thought retrieving a file over the web at a public kiosk constituted a public performance. The key here is the phrase "to the extent we think it necessary for the Service." While I'm not an attorney, I've worked with enough of them to know that if Dropbox took the photo of your puppy and used it in an advertising campaign, as one blog comment suggested, an expensive lawsuit would ensue. Try anything a reasonable man wouldn't consider necessary to run Dropbox and lawsuits will run rampant.

Page:  1 | 2  | Next Page »

Related Reading

More Insights

Network Computing encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Network Computing moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing/SPAM. Network Computing further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | Please read our commenting policy.
Vendor Comparisons
Network Computing’s Vendor Comparisons provide extensive details on products and services, including downloadable feature matrices. Our categories include:

Research and Reports

Network Computing: April 2013

TechWeb Careers