One of the most frustrating things for me when it comes down to computers, is keeping copies of important files up-to-date across my small army of PCs. I recently found a utility called Dropbox and figured this would be a good time to share my findings.
What is Dropbox:
Essentially, Dropbox is an application which will backup a portion of your files online and then distribute them among your computers; either PC, or Mac and even the IPhone. All communications between this service and your devices is securely encrypted and you have the added feature of user name and password. The free service allows you up to 3 gigs of storage space and you can increase this amount by parting with some of your hard earned cash.
How does it work?
First thing you want to do is sign up for an account. Do this by visiting:
here, you will find a short form to fill out. Click submit and you're on your way. For more information on form filling, revisit "Jaws Tip #9: Forms Mode and A Few Quick Navigation Keys".
Okay, Now What?
Now you download the application. It should start downloading automatically. If it doesn't, find the "Restart Download" and press enter. A dialog will come up asking you to either save or run. I would choose run and wait a few seconds. Next, your paranoid PC will ask you again whether it's a good idea to run this program. Choose run again. Choose install and let it do its magic.
This is where the fun starts. Yeah I know, my idea of fun is a bit skewed sometimes. The next few dialog boxes are not voiced completely. You'll need to use your Jaws cursor to access things. So let's route the Jaws cursor to the PC cursor. You accomplish this by pressing JAWSKEY+KEYPAD_MINUS; the minus key is at the top right of your keypad. On a laptop, this is accomplished by pressing CAPSLOCK+P. Now use the UP and DOWN arrows to find the following: "I already have a Dropbox account?
Once there, press the Jaws Left mouse button which is second from the left on the top row on the keypad. In other words, the divide key on the keypad. Laptop equivalent will be CAPSLOCK+8.
Now, go back to the PC cursor, TAB to the "next" button and press ENTER. the PC cursor is reached by pressing the Plus key on the number pad; that's the second down on the right of the keypad.
Laptop alternative is CAPSLOCK+semicolon.
Now press TAB until you hear email. Type in the email that you previously filled out on the form. Press TAB to password. Type in the password you filled out on the form.
TAB again and you find yourself on computer name. No need to tinker with this. TAB to "next" and press ENTER.
Next 2 Screens:
This is an upgrade screen. Just find the "next" button with the steps mentioned above and left mouse click it, Jaws style. Upgrading is much easier via the web page. The second screen gives you an option of getting a tour, but reading my jottings is much more fun, isn't it? <smile> Just left mouse the "Skip tour and Finish" button.
We're almost done here. There are 2 check boxes on this screen. The first gives you the option of having a shortcut which will point you to your Dropbox folder. Check it if you want this functionality.
The second checkbox is to choose where the Dropbox folder will be placed. By default, it will be placed under the "My Documents" folder. I prefer to have it off of the root folder, for example "c:\". If you check this button, the "Change" button will appear. Press ENTER on it. You can then TAB to the edit field and type in the path. Alternatively, you can TAB to the Tree view and choose the folder from there.
Once done, TAB to the "OK" button and you'll be returned to the previous screen. You can then TAB to the "Finish" button and press ENTER.
DropBox is now installed. Repeat the above steps to install Dropbox onto another computer that you wish to sync files with. You can now start copying files into the Dropbox folder. Whatever you put in that folder will now appear on the other computer; as long as all computers/devices are connected to the internet, of course. You can even share folders with your friends and colleagues. Using a public computer and want to access your Dropbox files? No problem, there's a web-based access to your Dropbox as well. Play around a bit with this application and you'll soon wonder how you lived without it.
Happy Dropboxing! That sounds violent somehow. <smile>
You can get extra space on your Dropbox folder by recommending Dropbox to your friends.
Find more information under referrals on the main Dropbox page.