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Dropbox Officially Supports Mac OSX Preview Icons

I’m a HUGE fan of Dropbox, the file syncing/sharing/versioning service that does an amazing job while completely getting out of the way. One annoyance, though, is that in order for Dropbox to put status icons on top of file thumbnails, the thumbnail previews in OS X were disabled. This made it frustrating to work on files stored inside of a Dropbox synced folder. A while ago, I wrote about some manual tweaks I had found that could get your icon previews back.

Today the official Dropbox Twitter account posted a tweet linking to this post on the Dropbox forums, announcing a new beta build that brings official support for Quicklook preview icons in OS X while retaining Dropbox status badges. I loaded it up and in the few seconds I’ve clicked around my Dropbox files everything seems to be working perfectly.

Old Dropbox with no preview icons

Dropbox with status badges and preview icons

This change makes it so much easier to work within my Dropbox synced folders, and I can’t express how happy I am that the Dropbox team pulled it off. If you haven’t checked out their service before, please head to their website and watch their video ASAP.

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Regain Preview Icons with Dropbox in OS X

[UBER Update: Dropbox now officially supports preview icons in OS X!]

[Update: Unfortunately, after a few days running this modification, I have random files getting the green checkbox again. I hope this may serve as a good starting point for others to figure out how to get around the issue though.]

I completely love Dropbox. It has literally changed how I work and manage my project files between my computers. There has been a thorn in the side of this system for a while though, at least in OS X. The icons Dropbox overlays on your file thumbnails to let you know which files are syncing, synced, and excluded from syncing are useful, but they rob the system of the ability to give you preview thumbnails. For instance, take the graphic below of a folder of JPEGs in Dropbox. Instead of a preview of each graphic, you get a blank document icon with a green checkbox. I’ve been making extensive use of “Quick Look” (one of my favorite features brought to the table by Leopard) and the Coverflow folder view to get around this. Unfortunately, it’s still added clicks and keystrokes that just add friction to my workflow. So I’d really like to get rid of these icons and get my previews back. Sure, you lose the ability to see which individual files are syncing, but you can still watch the menu bar icon for Dropbox to see when things are done syncing. If you have Growl notifications enabled, that will be another indication. I think it’s very possible to live without the status icons on each file. Continue Reading

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Dropbox for Mobile Safari

As Dropbox gets closer to launch, new features keep popping up. I have been hoping for a mobile version of the site for a while, but didn’t realize until I popped into the Dropbox forums this morning that one already exists. I’m not sure how long it’s been up, but I imagine it’s relatively new.

When you go to www.getdropbox.com (use https:// for a secure connection) on your iPhone or iPod Touch, the site automatically detects that you’re using Mobile Safari and loads a mobile version of the site. The interface has three tabs: a Home tab that shows you recent account activity (with thumbnails), a Files tab that lets you dig through your folder structure, and a Photos tag that lets you access your photo galleries, complete with thumbnails and full-screen photo view.

Dropbox has a great mechanism for sharing files. When you drop files into your “Public” folder, the files are uploaded to the Dropbox servers and given a unique public URL that can be accessed by anyone, without needing a Dropbox account and shared folder access. I use this all the time for sharing screenshots or quick mockups of projects I’m working on, or pretty much any other file I’d typically e-mail as an attachment. The only thing really missing, to me, in the mobile version of Dropbox is access to this public URL. I’d like to see a link along the lines of “e-mail this file”, where the site would dump the file’s public URL into a blank message in Mail.app. This small addition (that I’m confident we’ll see) would really round out the functionality of Mobile Dropbox as I need it.

I haven’t loaded the site up on my Windows Mobile phone yet to see if there is a PocketIE friendly version of Dropbox yet, please leave a comment if you have any info on this. If you haven’t made it into the Dropbox beta yet, don’t worry, because it looks like it will be going public any day now!