Saturday, 20 March 2010


This is one of a series of posts about time management.

I thought I'd sneak this one in about Dropbox. I work across a  number of computers that, may or may not be connected to the internet or other networks at different times. Here's a quick inventory - I don't think it's anything special - many of you will have a similar list:

Netbook - connected at home, mobile broadband sporadic on train.
My laptop - always connected to home broadband.
Office - always connected to work network. Includes my documents on networked drive.
Enquiry desk - (x2) regularly work on physical enquiry desk and our virtual enquiry service - connected to work network.
Hotdesks - one of any of about 4 desks when at our other campus for meetings etc. - connected to work network.

Until now, file syncing between these has been a nightmare. Even at home between netbook and laptop I've had "issues" - I've got a network drive but getting  it to sync between different machines has proved impossible. From home I can access the work drives to download files but can't save any changes. From work I can't access files on my personal computers. Sod's Law states that no matter what computer I'm on, the most up-to-date version of the document I'm working on is on another machine.

Dropbox is solving alot of this grief. Basically, you register and download the client on to any computers that you use. It creates a folder (the default is within your My Documents folder). Any files that you save within that folder will be automatically updated on the other machines.

The beauty is that the local copies on each machine are updated. This means if I work on a document on my way to work on the netbook, as long as I get a blim of internet connection before I shut it down (which I normally do), I can log into my work computer and start working from the same doc. Without usb sticks, emailing files to myself, or any other shenanigans my files are synced.

Another nice feature is that previous versions are saved. If (and I say if because this hasn't happened yet) you accidentally revert to an old version you can still retrieve the correct version from the web.

In short, I'd recommend Dropbox to anyone working across more than one machine. It's free upto 2gig of files and it just makes life easier. Give it a go!


  1. Yes, discovered Dropbox a little while ago when wanting to send a video file to an author, but needing a sensible way to do this. Love the way you can share your Dropbox files with other people as well, they don't even need a Dropbox account themselves!

  2. Someone used my recommendation code to start a Dropbox account, and even though I had maxed out on space, they added another .25GB. What a great company. I would happily pay an annual for Dropbox, and I am cheap.

  3. Dropbox has become one of my fav software for sharing file...
    After dropping few referral I have almost 4.5 Gb of space..Most of the time I use it to share files and folders with my friendly quickly...

  4. I love the idea of Dropbox... sadly, as with any other "file backup and storage" (websense category) sites, it is blocked in my workplace. Grrr. Really not sure what our IT department thinks is so terrible about dropbox, Google docs, Flickr, Slideshare, and the like...

  5. @carolineroche - I've not used it for that yet but yes, v.useful feature - will have to look into it...
    @candyschwartz @harshagrawal I was hoping for some referral memory but guess I've missed the pyramid on that one :-(
    @woodsiegirl - That sucks. They suck. Syncing files between work and home is one of the main benefits for me.