Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dropbox is jaw dropping wonderful

I downloaded a little application to Preciousss here today that may have the potential to revolutionize the way we do business, communicate, share information and generally collaborate over distance.

It's called Dropbox and works with either PC or Mac, interfacing between the two platforms if necessary.

Essentially, it's a secure way of backing up your own personal data to a web interface OR a way of mirroring that same data in other locations.

For example. Say I have some files on my computer which I copy to my Dropbox folder on my desktop. I go away without my computer. Someone wants something that I think..Oh.. I have that file. I get on another computer, go to the web interface, put in my email and password to log into "My Dropbox" page and voila! There is my file, which I can then download and do whatever I need to with.

The mirroring of files is VERY useful if you wish to share a file with someone on the other side of the world. Don't worry...your computer is safe. Dropbox uses 128 SSL Encryption. That person can ONLY see the files you have in the shared folder for which you have given them permission to view. They can't edit anything else on your computer. You have the option of choosing whom you wish to share files with. They download the file from the shared folder in the Dropbox web interface onto their computer, can edit and add to the document/file and within minutes, the updates will show in your own folder!

I sent a .zip folder of data which amounted to an excess of 72 megabytes to bat today - he lives in Europe remember and I'm in SE Australia! That's quite a hefty distance and a real PITA for posting data on discs and flash-drives! However, with Dropbox, he was able to access and use that data in less than 10 minutes. This is pretty much impossible using email, and I soooo wasn't looking forward to burning it to disc and packaging it up for the post.

The free version of Dropbox is a very generous 2 gigabytes with a paid version of 50gig for approx USD$100.00 per year thereabouts. But for on the fly file sharing for business managers and writers, 2 gig is probably going to be ample - at least if the shared folders are regularly cleaned out.

There are other little tricks that are important to know about dropbox. On the Mac, you can use Growl to notify you of changes made to shared folders. Not sure what the notifiers are in PC these days sorry, I'm sure there are plenty *grin*. It's also important to copy files across (alt+drag on the Mac) to the dropbox folder or you will be physically moving the file to Dropbox and it won't reside on your local disk anymore. Templates for application sharing can also be a bit tricky... don't lose your templates folders!

If other people don't have Dropbox, you can still share files with them. By slipping files across to the public folder in Dropbox, it will assign each file its own URL and you only need to provide that link in an email, which your colleagues can access from there.

It seemed a bit overwhelming this tech for about 3 minutes. But when it worked, I was beaming like a cat who licked cream! I couldn't get over the speed, efficiency and the really easy interface. For collaborative projects, Dropbox could perhaps prove to be among THE applications of the decade!

So far so good. Oh...and btw...I am not getting paid for this bit of free advertising for Dropbox! hahaha When I find something incredible, I simply share it with the world and today...this was jaw droppingly incredible to me! I can't wait to use it for a joint project.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Some reviews from the web:
http://www.pcworld.com/article/149049/article.html
http://www.theblog.ca/dropbox-review
http://www.asktheadmin.com/2008/04/dropbox-review.html