Dropbox Rocks!

I decided to take Dropbox for a spin and I was blown away. Dropbox allows you to simply and easily share files across multiple computers. It doesn’t matter if you have a Windows, Linux or Mac computer or even an iPhone. It just seamlessly works! Shared directories and files appear within a Dropbox folder and are accessible like any other local file folder. Shared directories and files are also accessible via a web browser using dropbox.com.

I delayed checking out Dropbox since I have been an avid Google Docs user and I didn’t understand the advantage of Dropbox. Lets start off with an example. I tried using Google Docs to manage the master copy of my master encrypted password file. I update the password file from multiple computers so the process became download the latest copy from Google Docs, update it and re-upload to Google Docs. This was a laborious process and occasionally I would forget to start with the most update-to-date copy and lose changes.

I decided to use Dropbox to simplify maintaining my master encrypted password file. I installed Dropbox and set up a Dropbox folder. I pointed my password software to the encrypted master password file stored in my Dropbox folder. I now make changes as needed without worry. All computers are kept up-to-date without any manual intervention.

The next scenario I used Dropbox to simplify was the storage of my .emacs file along with all the required dependency files.

Ubuntu 9.10 Installation

1) sudo emacs /etc/apt/sources.list and add the following lines
deb http://linux.getdropbox.com/ubuntu karmic main
deb-src http://linux.getdropbox.com/ubuntu karmic main
2) gpg –keyserver pgp.mit.edu –recv-keys 3565780E
3) sudo apt-get update
4) sudo apt-get install nautilus-dropbox
Dropbox installation successfully completed! Please log out and log back in to complete the integration with your desktop. You can start Dropbox from your applications menu.
5) Logout, login and open Applications > Internet > Dropbox
6) Complete a few steps (using the defaults) to configure Dropbox
7) ~/Dropbox is ready to go

Configure .emacs file and dependencies to use ~/Dropbox folder

1) Move .emacs file and dependencies to ~/Dropbox folder
mv -r ~/.emacs* ~/Dropbox/
2) Symbolic link .emacs file to version stored in ~/Dropbox folder
ln -s ~/Dropbox/.emacs ~/.emacs
3) Symbolic link dependencies stored in .emacs.d folder
ln -s ~/Dropbox/.emacs.d/ ~/.emacs.d
4) Emacs now uses Dropbox master for configuration across computers

Backup Your Dropbox Data

1) Create ~/backup_dropbox file
date=`date -I`
tar -czvf dropbox-$date.tgz ~/Dropbox
2) Make file executable
chmod a+x ~/backup_dropbox
3) Run backup via
4) Automate backup (for 4:05 pm) by adding the following to cron via crontab -e
05 16 * * * ~/backup_dropbox
5) Automate clean up of old backups to avoid running out of disk space.

One thought on “Dropbox Rocks!

  • March 24, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Dropbox does rock! I use it to keep my work/home computers in sync for all of my development work. I store my entire development directory in Dropbox. This allows me to have the exact same setup in both places. It’s great!
    I also store all my rubygems in Dropbox and symlink them to my home directory. Works great!
    One bonus is that it automatically versions every file change. This came in handy last week when I accidently blew away a file that I hadn’t commited to my git repo yet. I just went to the Dropbox webpage and told it to restore it. It was immediately pushed back down to my computer.
    Sharing a directory between multiple Dropbox users is also very handy.
    I could go on and on about how much I love Dropbox, but I won’t.

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