Take Control of Dropbox – Book Review

Take Control of Dropbox
Author: Joe Kissell
Publisher: TidBITS Publishing, Inc.
Price: $10.00
82 pages, ebook
ISBN: 9781615424214


Dropbox is the ubiquitous application that allows users to sync and share their files, and access them from computers, smart phones, and tablets. If you’re reading this review you probably are already a Dropbox user. Are you using Dropbox to its fullest potential? Do you have a hard time trying to explain the Dropbox concept to potential new users? Are you still a little confused about how Dropbox works? Answers to all those questions, and more, can be found in Joe Kissell’s new Ebook, Take Control of Dropbox.

Take Control of Dropbox is a quick read, and it’s chock-full of useful information. Kissell starts off explaining what Dropbox is and isn’t, and why everyone should be using the service. He continues the discussion with:
• Sync Your Files
• Share Files and Folders
• Recover Older and Deleted Files
• Work with Photos and Videos
• Work with Apps
• Manage Your Account
• Do Cool Things With Dropbox
• Teach This Book

Everyone should read Sync Your Files. In this chapter Kissell explains the basics of Dropbox: setting up an account, using the Dropbox web site, and accessing Dropbox from a computer or mobile device. This chapter also informs readers of how to set preferences, choose which folders or files to sync, and how to monitor Dropbox.

One thing that always confused me about Dropbox was shared folders. If I delete a file in a shared folder, does that mean the file is deleted for everyone or just me? If I’m part of a shared folder and I want to leave do I simply delete the folder from my Dropbox account? What happens if I move files around within a shared folder? Take Control of Dropbox answers those questions for me, and lists step-by-step directions on how to correctly work with shared folders. (Spoiler: it’s not difficult.)

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to attend MACWORLD|IWORLD 2013 with a few other MyMac.com writers. Each of us recorded interviews with various vendors and software developers. Guy Serle, co-host of the MyMac podcast, wanted to incorporate those interviews into the podcast. The easiest way to get those interviews to Guy was through a shared Dropbox folder. Not only was Guy able to access the interviews, as could any of us, but the interviews were backed up in the Dropbox cloud, allowing us to delete the originals from our devices and freeing up storage space. Since reading Take Control of Dropbox I’ll know how to work with our shared folder more effectively in the future.

Many third party iOS apps take advantage of Dropbox’s capabilities. I use Dropbox to backup 1Password and sync changes across all my devices. Take Control of Dropbox describes how third party apps use Dropbox and how to authorize an app to access your Dropbox account.

A wonderful bonus feature of Take Control of Dropbox is the one page “cheat sheet,” available as a sharable PDF. It covers the basic points of Dropbox, sharing files, recovering files, and photos and videos. This cheat sheet is indispensable for a Dropbox newbie, and a great memory trigger for the more experienced user. Another value-added bonus is a free, downloadable simplified presentation for teaching a course in Dropbox. This presentation goes into more detail than the cheat sheet, and is another excellent way for a user to have key points at his or her fingertips.

There’s one fact missing from Take Control of Dropbox, something I found out the hard way. When you place a file in Dropbox, the actual file is moved to the Dropbox; it’s not copied. If you want to share a photo, for example, and keep a copy for yourself, simply hold the Option key while moving the file to the Dropbox folder. Now there will be two copies on your computer: one in the original location, and one in the Dropbox folder. If the recipient removes the file from the Dropbox folder you still have the original.

I’ve always been a huge fan of the Take Control series, and Take Control of Dropbox doesn’t disappoint. If you use Dropbox or are thinking about trying it, make sure you have a copy of Take Control of Dropbox. It will be $10 well spent.

MyMac.com Review Rating: 9 out of 10

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