Being a web developer, I usually use several different computers on different operating systems across the lifetime of any project. Personally, I have 5 computers plus one server: Access to a Vista PC, a Windows 7 virtualized installation, my main Mandriva Linux desktop, a Eee 701 PC with Eeebuntu, a Mandriva Linux laptop, and a FreeBSD development server.
Moving files from one computer to the next used to be a time-consuming and ultimately prohibitive process. If I wanted to, say, take a break from working on my PC and work at the Red Brick Cafe for a few hours, I’d have to download my work files to a USB memory card then export the MySQL database and do the same transfer again to the USB memory card.
Or, I could burn a CD. Of course, how does one get the updated files back off the laptop and onto the PC when arriving back at home? This arduous process basically meant that freedom of choice in the work environment was severely hampered and was often more trouble than it was worth. But not any more.
Dropbox is a free service that is basically a shared folder in the cloud. It makes sharing files amongst any computer, whether it be Mac, Linux, or Windows, easy as drag and drop. And I really mean that. I love things that speed up my work processes because the less time I spend in administration mode the more time I can accomplish tasks in programming mode. Dropbox exemplifies this manifesto.
Any file you put in the Dropbox folder on a computer will instantly be available on any computer that install Dropbox on. Even better, revisions are kept so if you make a mistake with a file and don’t have backups, you can pull the file in question from the archives to restore it. What makes Dropbox different from any other revision or archiving setup is that this is all done without any administration by the user. Literally if you drag a file into the folder, all this stuff is done for you. No committing changes, no crazy hoops to jump through.
Oh, and the 2GB storage starter account is completely free. It’s the one I use daily. I don’t even think I’ve hit 25% capacity yet.
4 thoughts on “Cloud Folders Increase Productivity”
I’ve since signed up for a 50GB account at $9.99 / month USD. It’s just too good of a deal to pass up. Besides Gmail, this is the best application I’ve ever used. It has literally saved me hundreds of hours.
It’s also a lot of fun to have your music collection stored in the cloud. Every laptop, PC, and other device has access to the same music anywhere. The cloud really truly does offer complete freedom from device lock-in.
This is made even better with the fact that Dropbox runs great on Mac, Linux, and Windows. Platform independence is a big deal to me as I can never guarantee which device I’ll be using next.
Comments are closed.