Like many folks, I have separate computers for work and home. To make life even more complicated, my work system is a PC while my personal computer is a Mac. Over the last few years, I feel like I’ve been constantly prowling about for a good solution to sync files between those two systems and also the Windows XP virtual machine that is a guest on the Mac. I’ve tried a myriad of solutions that range from manual to automated, commercial to cobbled and just plain hacked. Most worked to one degree or another, but I found most to be more trouble than they were worth.
Yesterday, though, Sam Larbi, via Twitter, turned me on to Dropbox. I was absolutely stunned by the introductory video and asked Sam for one of his invites. He hooked me up and I started playing with the tool last night.
Dropbox did not disappoint. I’ve now hooked up my Mac, its Windows XP guest OS and my work laptop to sync a few critical files that I use regularly. It could not be any easier or any faster (the tool only syncs the binary delta of changed files). Dropbox epitomizes the statement, “It just works.” Kudos to the team for creating such a useful tool.
It’s also worth mentioning that there’s a web interface that provides access to your files even if you’re not on a linked computer. Through that web interface, an additional feature is available: access to deleted files. That’s right, Dropbox offers a lightweight versioning mechanism, as well. It’s not robust, but for this use case, it’s a very nice value-add.
According to the FAQ, Dropbox will host both free and paid accounts. Although only Mac and Windows clients are available at this time, a Linux client has been promised. If you find yourself regularly moving between computers and wanting to keep files sync’d across them, I haven’t found anything better. And I’ve looked.