I’m now officially a DropBox fan and it took only one tryout for me to decide. DropBox is a cloud storage system, which means that you get an Internet harddrive you can access from any Internet device you have.
You get 2 GB for free when you sign up, but you should sign up using my friends referral link so both you and she get 250 mb extra.
Upon signing up for DropBox, you download the client software and set it up on your Mac or PC and then you get an extra folder called “My DropBox”. It’s smooth sailing from there as any files you drop in that box are now instantly beamed to the cloud. If you wanted to, you could then install the client software on your work computer and then your files would be accessible to you from work as well. If you have a smartphone, you can use the webbased interface to download and upload files. It’s smooth.
It’s Quite The Useful Tool
I use DropBox as a would-be replacement for my documents folder. That means I drop stuff I know I’ll need both home and away. Stuff such as:
- My ever-expanding collection of unused (i.e. scrapped) designs
- My collection of UI widget templates and browser chrome for mocking up
- A bunch of settings files for various software (brushes, site definitions, et. al.)
- The latest project I’m working on
- My growing collection of instructional PDFs I send to clients once in a while
I’ve also recently dropped my WordPress plugins SVN folder in DropBox. I’m the only one working on them after all and this just makes everything easier. This is probably not a good idea if you’re not the only one working on your project though so in that case beware.
And There Are Tricks
With a little tweaking and trickery, you can bend your DropBox to do sneaky things.You can actually make your “My Documents” folder into your DropBox folder. That’s simply a matter of choosing where your DropBox folder is to be located when you install the client software. The main benefit of this would be that many softwares plug into this folder by default. On the flipside, you’d probably want more than the 2.25Gb you can get for free, as this folder tends to grow.
A sneakierer trick would be to make symbolic link folders or files in your DropBox — folders that proxy to a different folder elsewhere. With a little creativity, you could sync software settings such as your website-programming-app site-definitions or other profiles.
It Could Be Better
DropBox’ boons are easily spotted. The software is transparent, fast and pretty userfriendly. On the flipside, it’s quite expensive if you need more than the total of 3Gb you can get for free. 50Gb costs $9.99 per month, compared to Googles storage plan which will set you back $5 per year for 20Gb or $20 per year for 80Gb. Obviously Google doesn’t support cloud storage for arbitrary filetypes just yet, but DropBox would certainly be even more bliss if the pricing was suddenly ridiculously inspired by Googles deflated invoices.
Another thing would be to embrace the cloud fully. While DropBox is your harddrive in the sky, files are still copied, then beamed down to any computers running the client (which makes synchronization a recurring issue). Why not ditch the download altogether and open files from the cloud, rather than from a local copy? After all, it’s only software.