Dropbox rockson September 18, 2010 at 12:01 am
I use two computers for my personal projects. One is an aging Motion Computing LE1600 TabletPC. It’s portable, but not powerful. The other is a desktop PC with a higher-resolution monitor. It’s powerful, but not portable.
I recently relettered Lore #9-11 in Manga Studio EX 4.0. I also drew two new covers for Lore #9-12. As luck would have it, I spent a portion of each day away from home during that time period. I looked for a way to use both of my machines and backup the data.
In the past, I would have used a USB flash drive and tried to remember to backup the files periodically. However, I’m lousy about manual backups. I’ve also had USB drives fail or go missing in the past, which made me skittish about entrusting my project to a USB drive.
So, I gave Dropbox a try.
Dropbox is a service that synchronizes files over the Internet. I signed up for a free 2GB Dropbox account, installed the Dropbox software on both computers, and set the Dropbox folder software on each machine to my account.
When installed, the Dropbox software creates a folder called “My Dropbox.” Any changes within one machine’s Dropbox folder are mirrored to the “My Dropbox” folders on other machines synched to the same account. The “My Dropbox” folder acts like a single shared folder between machines. In addition, Dropbox will store the past 30 days’ worth of changes on its own servers. So in addition to mirroring my files across two machines, I had online backup as well.
For me, the experience was seamless. As long as I had an Internet connection, Dropbox synched and backed up my files every time I hit “Save.” I’d reletter comics on my portable machine, go home and continue working on the desktop machine without a hitch.
Dropbox also came in handy when I accidentally deleted the wrong image sequence while rushing to prep files for Ka-Blam. Because Dropbox keeps 30 days’ worth of backups, I was able to restore the files from the Dropbox server. I had to wait for them to download, but it was still quicker than reaching for one of my “undelete” utilities.
In addition to speeding up my workflow between machines, Dropbox also proved useful for storing sketch ideas and reference material. No matter which machine I used, I always had access to the same data.
I’ll definitely keep using Dropbox for my most current comics projects. Even if I did all my work on one machine, Dropbox’ backup provides peace of mind.