Dropbox. File syncing that works

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dropboxForget iDisk, forget FTP, Dropbox is the easiest way to store, share and sync your files on the internet.

I was pretty content with using email to send files to clients and had tried to use iDisk or a thumb drive to make my files relatively portable. All was well and good until my thumb drive went through the washing machine, my iDisk stopped syncing and my client’s mail server rejected my attachment because it was too large.

Now to be honest I didn’t really give a lot of thought to these issues. It was just one of the usual if somewhat frustrating things that you encounter in this profession. I just accepted that it was wasted time and got on with the job. I set up FTP for my client and uploaded files manually, bought a new thumb drive and decided that I had had enough with iDisk and promptly binned it.

Recently however I was introduced to Dropbox via a recommendation from Von Glitschka (www.vonster.com) on Freelance Radio (www.freelanceswitch.com). Von was raving about it so I thought I better give it a whirl and let me tell you it is by far and away the best solution I have seen for sharing, syncing and storing your files online. Plus your first 2GB of storage is completely free.

It works like this. You head on over to www.dropbox.com, download an application for your mac (or PC if you are that way inclined). Install it and Dropbox then appears in your finder.

You access it just like you would access a file on your filesystem .. drag and drop .. nothing new to learn here. But behind the scenes, Dropbox is copying your file into it’s secure systems on the internet. It’s like iDisk, except, unlike my experience with iDisk, this actually works.

Now what’s really cool is that, while still in the finder (or explorer on windows) you can right click on the file and choose “Copy public link” .. then open up your email program and just send the link to your client. Very very simple. Very very effective.

You can also create shared folders so you that you and your client can store files in the same place as well as a myriad of other options.

You could even use Dropbox as an online backup solution, maybe not for your whole system (thank’s telecom for our draconian broadband setup) but certainly for backing up any essential documents you have.

All in all … I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s refreshing to have a product like this that actually does what it says it will do and gets out of your way when you don’t need it.

Thanks Dropbox. I’m converted.

2 Comments

  1. Jesse Archer

    Thanks for your post. I have noted a few other friends who work in online media using it.
    I’m going to give it a go… What is it like as an international service – are there speed issues as the server is hosted overseas (and we all know our terrible New Zealands international connections perform…)

    Jesse

  2. Markos

    Hi Jesse,

    Thanks for your comment. I haven’t noticed any speed issues but it will depend on your broadband upload speed and the international connection at the time.
    My understanding of the services is that once the file has been uploaded, if you make any further uploads of it (revisions, changes etc) it only uploads the differences in the file .. much like an incremental backup.

    But certainly give it a whirl .. you get 2GB to play with for free so that’s a reasonable chunk of space 🙂

    Cheers

    Mark

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