I have, in the past, been critical of Dropbox. I was a confirmed SugarSync enthusiast but I have to admit that for relative newcomers to online sync-n-storage services Dropbox is one of the simplest, working as it does straight out of the, er, box, so to speak. Given my criticism re security, referrals to the FTC, miserly 2gb of free space compared to SugarSync, Google Drive etc, why am I reviewing a book on Dropbox, a book that I actually paid for, it’s not a review copy?
If Dropbox is that simple to use why would anyone want to part with hard cash and read a book on it, Well, The Infinite Dropbox by Robert Maxey contains a wealth of information that even I as a long time Dropbox “knower-abouter” if not full time user of the service found both fascinating and useful. The reason I reactivated by Dropbox use is because I have switched to Postbox for my email client and this has the facility to send Dropbox links instead of email attachments to recipients. So instead of clogging up bandwidth sending huge attachments, people can click on a link and download it direct from Dropbox. But that’s a side issue.
Maxey’s book guides the Dropbox virgin through the initial stages of signing up, downloading and installing the client software and getting up and running. He explains succinctly how folders work and how to share the content of predefined folders and how to create your own and share content. So far, so easy and maybe even so what! The critical key to the book comes with the subtitle Complete Guide To Greatly Extending The Capabilities Of Dropbox With Add-ons, Plug-ins And Web Tools.
Flesh On The Bones
The vanilla Dropbox that comes off the web is a very simply beast but where the developers have scored is by allowing a host of third party developers to plug into its API and greatly enhanced its flexibility. So if you are well and truly familiar with Dropbox you can skip the earlier parts of the book and jump straight to chapter eight which is where the flesh is put on the bones.
You can use Hygeia.Hazel or Belvedere with Dropbox to automate many of your monotonous day to day tasks. There are links with Dropbox and WordPress blog plugins than you can shake a witch doctor’s rattle at and if, like me, you have more than one cloud sync-n-store-n-share service you can link them all with something called Otixo (memo to self, check this out).
The Infinite Dropbox is easy to read, striking a happy medium between an idiot’s guide and leading you gently by the paw through some of the more sophisticated and powerful bolt ons.. There were times early on when I thought the book was too simple for me but then as you skim through the basic tutorials Maxey hits you with some seriously heavyweight hints and tips.
All in all Maxey has provided us with a great reference tool that enables Dropbox users to choose their own level of use and it is one I will be keeping on my Nexus 7’s Kindle app to dip back into.
You can buy the book through this affiliate link.