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Summary:

I’ve recently been trying a number of file synchronization solutions and Dropbox is currently at the top of my list. It supports all of my devices, both PC and Mac, plus it provides a very useful shared folder function I use for collaboration. Word on the […]

DropboxI’ve recently been trying a number of file synchronization solutions and Dropbox is currently at the top of my list. It supports all of my devices, both PC and Mac, plus it provides a very useful shared folder function I use for collaboration. Word on the street is that Dropbox is about to open the floodgates, but Cybernet has a link and code to get you in now. I highly recommend trying the service if you own multiple devices. So far, it’s been pretty unobtrusive, doesn’t hog up computer resources and has a simple web interface. Plus, and this is key for me, there’s a file revision history so you can restore older versions of a file.

  1. How does dropbox handle synchronization? For example, I have multiple computers, Windows and the Mac, and I’d like to keep the Documents tree synced among them all. Will Dropbox do that? On the surface it seems to me that it only syncs files in the My Dropbox virtual drive it creates but maybe I’m missing something.

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  2. It syncs files and folders that are in the My Dropbox path. You can’t specify a folder outside of My Dropbox to be synched. You’d have to store your docs in a Documents folder within My Dropbox in the scenario you mentioned. You could always change your default save locations for those chunky desktop apps you use. ;) Make them default to a subfolder of My Dropbox.

    You actually could sync files and folders outside of My Dropbox on a Mac, but it’s a tweak. Found on their FAQs which also state that in the future you’ll be able to specify which files and folders you want synched.

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  3. Unfortunately the link http://www.getdropbox.com/beta/outsidethebox goes to a page which states “Sorry, that beta code has expired.”

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  4. Well I’ll be filing this one under our “Useless Info” category now. Bummer. I’ll drop the Dropbox folks a line and see if we can snag a generous handful of invites. Our reader base is the perfect audience for providing beta feedback on a file sync service IMO.

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  5. Kevin, go for it! I’ve been waiting for my Dropbox invite for a long time. Then again, I don’t get invited to much anyway :-(

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  6. Turn that frown upside down and check your e-mail. ;)

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  7. Kevin, you are the best!

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  8. Hopefully you can grab some invites. Once I saw the twitter post I headed right over. Too bad all the invites were gone. This looks like a great app to sync. all my files on my Mac’s and PC’s.

    You guys always find all the cool apps out there. Keep up the great work.

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  9. I have been following Kevin’s entires for a while now because I am interested in working more in the cloud. I am tired of local management on multiple computers, and I want to have access to my stuff no matter where I am or what happens to one of my local machines (such as happened to James with his MacBook Pro).

    I guess I said all that to say I would be very interested in any extra invite you might have, so I could evaluate the possibilities with DropBox. Take care, and keep up the great work!

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  10. So how does this differ from something like Foldershare that actually allows you to sync any folder (on both PC and Mac) and also allows you to share said folder or folders with others?

    I am using this on my Favorites, notebooks and general files and it works a treat. Also as it is peer to peer, if the machines are sitting on the same network (say at home), sync is at LAN speed as the files are not bounced off a central server.

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  11. firstly, gotta say i read ur blog religiously and i love the work u’re doing! great reviews, info and tidbits to keep the world abreast of tech stuff!

    having said that, how about a beta invite for dropbox.

    p.s. james, i’m a hp 2710p user as well! and a n800 AND n810. oh, did i mention i have the sony ux as well (old model ux-270, not the spanking new ones with SSD)

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  12. @ Mark:

    It seems like there a couple of key features that distinguish dropbox from FolderShare (which I also use btw). First, if you ever need to access your files from another computer, your FolderShare computer would have to be on and connected to the internet. Dropbox actually stores a copy of the file on the web so you could access the files in your dropbox regardless of your host computer’s state. The second feature I saw was file versioning which I think is sweet! Of course if you are running Vista, file versioning is built in, but have access to different versions (including deleted files) can be a life saver. This leads to the collaboration features. Even though FolderShare allows you to create public libraries, the fact that you have the files stored online in combination with file versioning, makes it that much easier, in my opinion.

    That being said, I’m with James on this one. FolderShare seems to work better for me at this point since I can actually sync files using my existing folder structure. With Dropbox, I would have to move my entire structure to the Dropbox folder which would not really work for me. I still want to test out the service since I’m sure I could leverage it for projects requiring collaboration, but until Dropbox adds the feature that Kevin mentioned, I’ll stick to FolderShare for my syncing needs…until Live Mesh that is =)

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  13. Curtis Carmack Thursday, May 22, 2008

    I have used FolderShare, SugarSync, and Dropbox. Each has its strengths. I had the most trouble with FolderShare. I sync my files tree between a Mac and a PC. FolderShare unpredictably would leave certain files unsynced. No amount of trouble shooting ever fully resolved that for me. Also, even over a LAN it is not nearly as fast as SugarSync or Dropbox. In fact for speed, nothing touches Dropbox.

    That said, I use SugarSync now on a day to day basis. It allows me to choose how I sync. Each machine is fully synced to the SugarSync online storage (I choose the folders to sync), and then selected folders are synced between the PC and the Mac. This is a nice solution, as it allows me to avoid syncing folders like “My Bluetooth Places” that only have relevance on one machine or the other. SugarSync also has versioning, plus it allows a web archive — folders stored on the service that stay there and are essentially offloaded from the PC or Mac.

    I still use Dropbox, though. I keep it around for those times when I’ve just finished working on some large documents on the Mac and want to run out with the Windows laptop. Though files sync much more quickly using SugarSync than FolderShare, it’s virtually instantaneous with Dropbox.

    Hope that helps some of you.

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  14. I agree Curtis as I use SugarSync & its great. Easy to use & reasonably fast. Can access all my files from PC, laptop & N95 phone.

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  15. SugarSync does seem to incorporate the best of both worlds but for a free tool, FolderShare isn’t bad.

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  16. For those that didn’t get to the invite link on time, here’s another one with open invites. I just managed to download from it 5 mins ago. Enjoy…

    http://getdropbox.com/beta/go

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  17. Thanks, Olof Naas. Just registered. :)

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  18. Sweet! Thanks for the link Olof!

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  19. Thanks U Rock!

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  20. John in Norway Thursday, May 22, 2008

    This is to Stephen because Kevin never answers my questions:

    Sugarsync works on a Nokia as well?

    I remember looking at the website but it only mentioned the usual suspects.

    And it’s free?

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  21. Thanks Olaf Naas, that code worked for me.

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  22. If you have any more codes I would really appreciate one! Thanks!!

    Martin
    compboss17 *at* yahoo *dot* com

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  23. i would really appreciate a dropbox invite.

    se7se7se7@gmail.com

    thanks so much!

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