Homemade Dropbox

With Dropbox’s recent change to their Terms of Service (ToS), many people are up in arms over what appears to be a rights grab. Honestly, I’m not sure either way. But, it got me thinking…

You see, I use Dropbox primarily for two things. I toss stuff up there that I want to be able to access from our iMac and our Dell Mini netbook. That’s mostly how I move photos, when traveling, onto the iMac, where I process them.

I also use Dropbox for getting things onto my Asus Transformer Android-powered tablet. It’s significantly easier than plugging it in for transferring files. I have an alias on my iMac’s desktop to a subfolder inside my Dropbox. I simply drop a file I want on my tablet, onto the alias.

Then I easily navigate to the Dropbox app on my tablet, which is just like using a file manager, and find the file I want. Selecting the file will download it right away and open it in the correct app. For future use, the file has been downloaded to a folder on my SDCard, called “dropbox”. It’s that easy.

Current method for moving desired files to my tablet, with Dropbox and an alias.

This system worked quite well for me in brainstorming for a Father’s Day sermon I prepared a few weeks back. I was able to create mind-maps of the brainstorming and the actual manuscript, all on the tablet. By saving or moving the new content into the “dropbox” folder, the app would automagically sync it back to my Dropbox account, and presto it was on my desktop.

Nothing new here, I know.

What my original statement got me thinking was whether or not I could do this, with my already existing Amazon S3 account. Interesting tidbit of info is that Dropbox uses Amazon S3 for their data storage. I’m already using them too, for backing up all the media I store on my Drobo. So why not use it for moving data between my desktop and my tablet?

Setting up easy applets on the desktop was easy, with the use of Transmit, the self proclaimed “ultimate Mac OS X FTP + SFTP + S3 app”.

Desired method for moving files to my tablet, with Transmit's applets connected to my personal Amazon S3 acct.

On the desktop, there really isn’t much of a difference. When I drop a file onto the applet, Transmit opens up and I can follow the progress bar, along with standard calculations, until the file is complete. Then Transmit automagically closes.

On the tablet I don’t really think it’s any easier or more difficult in getting the new file. It’s different, but that’s all. I researched a bit, and found a decent app in the Android Market specifically for syncing with one’s Amazon S3 acct. It’s called S3Anywhere.

Screenshot of the necessary fields for setting up your S3 acct. (Click to see it larger)
What you see after you're all set up. Yes, it's designed for a phone not a tablet. But it works! (click to see it larger)

I choose my file, and select “download”. Kinda makes sense, no?

This particular exercise was an effort in me getting a simple, short video onto my tablet. I recorded my Ukulele teacher playing a new strumming pattern. I don’t practice at the computer desk, so I need to be able to watch the video and practice it in pieces. Hence the tablet. My last screen shot is of the video. Quite perfect!

My Ukulele teacher showing me a new strumming pattern. (click for larger view)
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Author: TREVOR

Leukemia survivor. Son of The Most High. Father. Man.