24 Nov

Dropbox tricks

logo.pngI really like the online backup service and sharing system Drop Box.

For one, it’s simple to use. You install it, and then it disappears mostly. It creates a folder anywhere you please. Anything you put have in that folder is backed up to Drop Box.

But here’s where it shines: there’s no software that you have to set up and say ‘sync every X hours, or sync this.’ It’s just, if its in that folder, it gets synced as quickly as your internet connection can do it.

And it gets better, instead of being an online folder that you mount, Drop Box is mirroring that folder to its online location. There’s still a local copy. So when you’re offline, those files are still safe. You don’t have to have Drop Box connected.

Even better: Drop Box has versioning, so you can check out some older versions of your file.

I’ve been using my Drop Box folder with Scrivener, so that an automatic, versioned off-site backup off whatever I’m writing is automatically saved without me having to think about it. But now I’m making Drop Box do some other tricks.

On my Mac, if I go into your Drop Box folder, I can create an ‘alias’ folder, that tunnels into the Drop Box. So I’m working today on moving all my desktop folder’s contents into Drop Box. Then I’ll create folder aliases, drag them to my desktop, and replicate my whole desktop look and feel, but they’ll really be backed up Drop Box mirrors.

After that, I’ll do the same to my photos library.

I’m pretty close to living in the cloud here, people. All my notes and PDF documents use Evernote, so I can access them all on a laptop/iphone/ipad quickly. My email uses IMAP, so its synced across those same devices. My RSS reader uses Google reader, and is stored off site. My blogging is done on a server with a desktop client. Most of my music is via Pandora or Last FM. I stream movies via Netflix or Amazon Video on Demand.

Now I’m going to take the contents of my user directory and mirror them to Drop Box so I can access them on the fly anywhere I wish, and do the same to my photo library.

Only one thing is not mirrored: my music library. I’ve got a copy synced to my iPhone, but other than that, I view a computer as a window into my interconnected world of data and not a local storage device.

Oh, if you’re interested in using Drop Box, use this link. If you set it up and use it, we’ll both get an extra 250MB storage.