Honestly, I am surprised I have never wrote about DropBox. Why? Perhaps I was so excited when I started using it so I completely forgot to share. Now that I have two accounts running on the same laptop I am twice excited. I even missed it from my Decade Technology Roundup!
I will assume everyone and their mothers are now know what DropBox is: it is a drop-dead solution to share your files between all your computers (Windows, Linux and MacOS are supported) without even thinking about it. Free account allots you 2GB of space. Additionally, there’s a free iPhone app to dig into your DropBox. It actually is very cool, you can stream music from it and do other fun stuff – within the limits of iPhone, of course. For those of us who crave Android app – it’s in the works already.
The good news this week is that DropBox, who also has a referral program (just like everyone else these days) has allowed to earn up to 8GB of free space for referrals in total – it used to be 3GB only. Since I almost maxed out my own referrals before – this was a welcome change. For those who will register using this link I will send a direct link to download a DropBox Portable, developed by one of the DropBox fans. Saves you a bit of time searching for the latest version yourself – a kind of a thank-you from me. The Portable DropBox runs alongside as many copies of itself as you want, so if you got friends and colleagues in separate boxes – you can stay updated with both.
If you haven’t yet used DropBox – go ahead, try it – you will be surprised how easy it is.
Last few months I was hunted by some weird problem on my laptop‘s Firefox – random broken images. What was even more strange is that on the same page after each reload a new image (or group of images) could be broken. The issue was solidly recurring, but affecting random images and random web sites.
Uninstalled both Firefox 2 and Firefox 3 from my laptop, wiped caches and other leftovers and installed Firefox afresh. Same issue. Again!
On the verge of dumping Firefox in favor of something else (Chrome/Opera/IE?) I realized that there’s a number of Firefox plug-ins that might have a say in this issue. Once I remembered a list of plugins I have been restoring from the backup every time – I got the rogue plug-in almost instantly.
LiveHTTPheaders, when POST is set to “Fast” dumps some of the slow-loading images. It doesn’t mean that only large images affected – I had spacers lost and design all messed up with hours spent hunting down bugs in old web site designs.
Live HTTP headers config screen – That’s where the problem is!
So, if you have a similar problem of Firefox not displaying all the images on a web page and you are using LiveHTTPheaders plug in – set the LiveHTTPheaders POST setting to “Full” (or uninstall the extension if you don’t really need it) – and your Firefox automagically will be healed!
It has just occured to me that I don’t know any single small web development suite (from UltraEdit all the way to Dreamweaver) that would have a simple version or revision control. Of course, there are SVN, CVS, Visual SourceSafe and that monstrous Team Foundation Server, but they are not the solution.
But what a small business owner to do? Or a freelancer? Or a team of less then ten-twelve people? All these creatures seem a bit… overpowered. It’s like purchasing a freight truck instead of a van. For a team of ten hardcore programmers – it’s a great tool. For web designer, couple of coders, technical writer and their project manager – it’s the common pain in their individual necks.
So what I want to see is the tool that can:
- integrate into popular HTML editors, like Dreamweaver, UltraEdit or others
- act as a standalone application
- take “snapshots” of selected folders
- produce list of new/altered/deleted files between any two snapshots or current files
- export full or partial set of files based on selected snapshot and provided criteria
- produce delta between various file revisions (at least plain text files and documents)
- produce various simple reports based on criteria selected
- work on both Windows and Mac OS X platforms
- be integrated into client-server environment
This, the way I see it, is a huge potential niche for someone who can throw such software into it. Traditionally, small businesses or freelancers relied either on multiple copies of files or backups. Another culprit is that most of version control systems designed by programmers and for programmers, so average person would have a hard time figuring things out (which is why it isn’t worth it).