Ever since Microsoft’s failed “briefcase” concept on Windows 3.1, it seems the whole world has been crying out for a better way to work on different computers. I’ve got USB sticks, VPN networks, shared network drives, a web based FTP and I even used Yahoo’s briefcase until they killed it off last year. So it was great to discover Dropbox this Christmas.
Dropbox is pretty much everything you ever wanted in a web disk in the clouds. It just DOES what you want. It feels like a local folder on your computer. Indeed, it IS a local folder on your computer. So even if you are offline, you can update and work on files in your Dropbox folder. Doing it this way is great, because there is no worldwide wait problems. Whenever a file is updated on your computer, Dropbox encrypts it, zips it, and syncs it with your cloud based Dropbox folder on Amazon’s s3 servers – all in the background.
It’s simply brilliant!
Yesterday I found myself doing a spreadsheet on my Mac, which wasn’t connected to my printer. I had a Windows machine on the desk fired up. I saved my spreadsheet on my Mac, ready to put the file onto a USB stick, but Dropbox worked faster. In the time it would have taken to save the file, it was aready there on my Windows machine. I printed it off without a second thought.
Then, later, I took the printout to the pub (Taking spreadsheets to pubs is a whole different problem for me) and gave it to a colleague. He didn’t have his reading glasses… so no problem. I just took out my iPhone and showed him the file directly from the phone.
Brilliant. Simply Brilliant.
I like that the data is encypted, hosted on decent SSL server.
I like that even Dropbox employees can’t even read the files without your username and password (which they don’t have)
I like that, once installed, you don’t have to enter your username ever time (although this as a preference option might be good)
I’ve tried it on my Mac, Widows XP, Windows Vista, my iPhone and through the web. It works on Unix machines too.
I like that it keeps a changelog history – so I can always role back up to 30 days for any file. Brilliant!
I like even better that it is free for the first 2GB of space, but if you register using THIS LINK, you’ll get an extra 250MB free (and so will I, so please use the link!)