Dropbox: likes and dislikes. Mostly likes.

Posted: September 23, 2009 in backup, computers, Mac OSX, software, Windows
Tags: , , ,

I have been using and abusing Dropbox for a while now (i’ll expand on the abusing later) and for the most part its been a handy way to transfer smaller files to buddies and a place to keep files that i may need later or even backups of files i would be lost without should anything happen to the original – my PasswordMaster backup for instance.

One of the things that i find it really handy for is transferring files, photos for instance, rather than emailing them or burning to disk, etc. throw them into your Dropbox and share them with those you choose.  The annoying thing i found out is that the shared folder, whether yours or your buddies, counts towards your total allowed space.  i know! i said “huh?” too when i found that out.


This seems a little troubling because you don’t necessarily have control over what someone puts in their dropbox that they have shared with you.  So i guess you have to be careful what you share and also take time to review what is being shared with you by others.  If their files get too big, you may no longer have room for your own.

One little trick you can use to get you more space is to invite others to join.  Make sure you are actually sending an invite though and not merely sharing a folder with someone who does not yet have a Dropbox account.  You may wonder “what’s the difference?”  Well, actually, there is a big one, and one you will want to take advantage of.  If you share a folder with someone, they will get an email inviting them to see your files you shared, and also tell them a bit about Dropbox and what it is and encourage them to get an account.  Whereas if you send them an invite, once they accept you will both get .25 gig more room in your dropbox.


The really sweet part about this is that you can do this a few times and get the 250 meg additional free space from each new person you invite that accepts your invite and installs Dropbox.  As for the abusing part, i sent an invite to myself (and accepted of course) under a different email address simply because i wanted to be able to share files easily between my Mac and my Windows PC without having to worry about copying to thumbdrive or emailing them.  And because it was from an invite, i got the additional space added at each end.  Sweet!

Now, don’t go sending invites to yourself just because you have a couple dozen email addys and think you are gonna max out the system.  You have to install the Dropbox app on a computer to get the extra space, so unless you have a computer to go with each email address its not gonna work.

Once you have installed the app you will have an icon in your menubar (or your system tray if using windows) that gives you quick access to your files and settings.  The syncing of the files is very fast and i’ve never had an issue with any of the files i am sharing slowing me down, although a buddy of mine did but that was to do with the syncing rate being set very low to not use a lot of resources.  Do remember though that when you drag a file from your pc to your dropbox, it actually moves the file, since the Dropbox is actually on your pc as well as being in the clouds.  So you may want to copy the file into the Dropbox instead, unless you like storing your original files in your Dropbox.

All in all, this is a great little app and its free which is wonderful for those of us who hate to spend money just to try something out.  If you decide you need more space and inviting people is not gonna get you the room you need, then there is a paid upgrade option to buy more space.  For me, 2.5 gig is doing fine – it should have been more mind you, but i shared folders via email instead of inviting like i should have done.  live and learn they say.  learning from other’s mistakes:  even better.



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