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Dropbox – the perfect computer utility

Ever get tired of sending attachments to people? You write the email, click “add attachment”, browse, find, upload, wait, AND, send. Blah, that’s annoying just to think about.  I got tired of it a long time ago. That’s why I’ve been using this service called Dropbox for probably two years now, as soon as I heard of it. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it in this blog before, but anyway, you want to check it out and get it. It’s truly one of the best online services ever created. And it’s in both free and pay premium versions.

Simple instructions here, visit getdropbox.com and download their utility.  It works on Windows, Mac and Linux. Install and it makes a networked folder in your computer that will sync up with the Dropbox server. Files dropped in there are automatically archived on the internet for you. Dropbox let’s you share 2 Gigabytes of files free, and you can pay a small fee for even more storage.

To share a file, move or copy it into your Dropbox public folder (create subfolders inside if you like) right-click and choose to Copy public link. Paste this link URL into your email and you can share the file with somebody without having to attach anything, (and without them needing to detach it.)  Here’s an example of the public link you’d be pasting into your email:

http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/000000/foldername/filename.jpg

As a designer, it’s been a great tool to use because I can quickly update a file on my desktop and it re-synchronizes and my client can just revisit the original email I sent for the link. They will always be downloading the most recent file.  Just remember if files are big you’ll watch them sync with the server, the little icon next to the file will indicate when it’s done synchronizing.

Dropbox also archives versions of files and let’s you revert to them. It’s not infinite versioning, but it’s an added bonus that can help you in case of an accident.  If your PC goes down, you can also install dropbox on the new or refreshed pc and it will sync it back for you. Those files will only delete if you actually delete them from your folder.  I also use it to share files between my PC and Mac, so no worries if I’m on or off my home network.

Just get it, and start taking advantage of this perfect utility’s exquisite convenience. Oh and if you had the idea that you might be able to share files over the internet with a second person, you can definitely do that, you could share your login with a person, (which works but might not be what Dropbox intended) or add users within the service as documented.  The free service is great, the pay service is worth it.

getdropbox.com

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September 29, 2009 at 11:19 pm | computers, design, gadgets, mac, tools | No comment