I actively work with two computers, a desktop for stationary, computationally intensive work (and play) and a Dell XPS M1330 for portability. This setup is well suited to the kinds of work I do in the different places I use computers (laptop in class for note-taking, web, and lab work while the desktop stays home to do photo processing, gaming, and movies). However, there is overlap in the workload as well, for example class notes and lab reports. I generally prefer to work on my desktop when at home, so it’s essential that I have my files on both computers. Enter Dropbox.
It wasn’t until I started using Dropbox that I had an efficient way to synchronize my files between two computers. Dropbox is installed a small client service that runs at all times. In its current form, simply set up a synchronized folder and everything and anything that gets put into that folder will be synchronized with the online storage at Dropbox and any other machines that have the Dropbox client installed. All files can be accessed through a web interface. The free version of Dropbox gives users 2GB of storage, which is far more than enough for me.
Used: 1.5% of 2GB = 30MB
Dropbox also has a simple versioning system in case you modify or delete a file by accident. Furthermore, a news feed-like list is kept of recent activity on the Dropbox account. Presumably, for multi-user scenarios, one would be able to see at a glance what has changed recently. Photo and file sharing capabilities are built into Dropbox. I don’t use any of these extra features and rely solely on the folder synchronization function. It’s simple and works well.
Dropbox’s simplicity is also a limitation. By forcing the user to put all the folders and files they wish to synchronize into a single folder, it means instead of accomodating the existing file structure the user has, the user must rejig their storage system somewhat. I normally keep all my school work in a separate folder on my hard drive, but I’ve since consolidated the folder into the Dropbox folder as I have little other choice. For this reason, I’ve started dabbling with other folder synchronization applications, such as Live Mesh and Live Sync.