Online File Storage: How To Use Dropbox On BlackBerry And Ubuntu

Dropbox has made it way onto the BlackBerry. This online "cloud" has received lots of praise for its simplicity and ease of use. Dropbox works on Mac, PC, and Linux. Dropbox's versatility has made it very popular among many computer users. Dropbox is bringing its versatility onto the mobile platform. Dropbox is now available on Android, iPhone, and BlackBerry. Dropbox on BlackBerry is not as full featured as the desktop client. Despite missing some features, Dropbox is still a valuable app to have on your BlackBerry. Let's look at the desktop client and compare it to the BlackBerry client. We'll also take a look at how it performs on Ubuntu.


Dropbox open on Ubuntu
Dropbox open on Ubuntu

Install Dropbox On Your Computer

Dropbox installs easily on the desktop. Visit the site and choose which version to install. Usually you will have a choice to install a 32 or a 64 bit version on your operating system. After installing on your computer, run Dropbox. For Ubuntu users, your Dropbox folder will be located at $home/Dropbox. When Dropbox is not running, the files and folders will look normal. When Dropbox is running, you will see a green check-mark on the icons in the folder. This green check-mark tells you that the files and folders are synchronized.


Dropbox main screen on the BlackBerry.
Dropbox main screen on the BlackBerry.

Install Dropbox On Your BlackBerry

Visit the Dropbox website on your BlackBerry and install the BlackBerry version. After installing, you will need to log into your Dropbox account on your BlackBerry. You will see all of your file listed. Move a file on your computer to your Dropbox folder. Hit menu and "refresh" on your BlackBerry and see the file you just moved. On you BlackBerry, go to your Photos folder. I made a folder here called "BlackBerry". From here, just hit menu and and "upload a photo". You can upload a photo from your camera or choose from photos you've already taken. This is where some problems start.


Limited to only photos.
Limited to only photos.

Only Pics

When you upload a photo from your gallery, you can only view 2 thumbnails at a time. This is very inconvenient. Not only is this annoying, some pictures take a while to load making a simple task more frustrating. Want to upload your whole gallery? Forget about it. As of now, there is no option for batch or multiple uploading. You have to upload one photo at a time. I found it easier to connect my BlackBerry to my computer and copy my photos all at once. After that, I wouldn't mind uploading my photos as I take them. Want to upload a Word or Excel document? You can't!


Only 2 thumbnails at a time?!
Only 2 thumbnails at a time?!

That brings me to my main problem with Dropbox. Currently, you are only allowed to upload picture from your BlackBerry. Really? Sadly, yes. I'm not exactly sure what Dropbox was thinking. Yeah uploading pictures is good and all but we're talking about BlackBerry here. I want to upload and sync my resume, written articles, pdf's and Excel spreadsheets. Those are important things to synchronize. Syncing pictures is nice but it's a novelty. We are not the only users affected. Android and iPhone users are also limited to uploading pictures.


Why?

Why are we only limited to uploading pictures? That I don't know. However, I can speculate. I think Dropbox is offering smart phone users a free app in order to push a paid version in the future. Lots of developers do this. Pandora and Slacker radio streams music with limited feature and offers a full featured version when you pay or upgrade your account. It's almost like offering a trial version of a software. I hope they add more feature and leave it free. If I fill up my 2 GB limit on my basic account, I would gladly pay for a Pro account. If I have to buy a full featured app on top of a Pro account, I would be upset. We'll have to wait and see. 


"Dropbox on the desktop remains rock solid"

Despites its shortcomings, Dropbox on the desktop remains rock solid. I've not had any problem with it at all. The Dropbox for BlackBerry app compliments the desktop version nicely, but it could use improvements. The desktop Dropbox app for Ubuntu is perfect. Everything installs without a hitch. When you start Dropbox, you get a small icon on your task bar telling you it's running. You can share folders and have other Dropbox user collaborate with you. For example, I share a folder called "Ebooks" with some friends. I put all the ebooks I have in that folder and if my friends likes any of it, they are welcomed to access it. Likewise, if they want to add to the folder, they can copy an ebook into that folder and I will have access to it in a matter of seconds. This can work for any type of collaboration. Pictures, music, videos. You name it.


Another nice thing about Dropbox on Ubuntu is its integration with Nautilus. It works seamlessly with Ubuntu. Some programs that are cross platform do not feel right. For example, Google's Picasa on Ubuntu works fine but its nothing more than a WINE program. Dropbox, on the other hand is native and works flawlessly. I have to take my hat off to the developers at Dropbox for making this program. The developers work very hard to make Dropbox look the same on all platforms. This means if I want to sync my file from a Windows computer, Dropbox will look the same on Windows as it does on my Ubuntu computer. Same thing applies to Macs. A great job indeed.


Seamless integration with Nautilus. Copy and paste works perfectly.
Seamless integration with Nautilus. Copy and paste works perfectly.

Account Types

As far as account types go, when you sign up, you start off as a Basic account. You have access to all of Dropbox's features but you are limited to 2 GB of space. They offer 2 more account types. A Pro 50 and a Pro 100. Pro 50 accounts give you 50 GB of space for $9.99 a month or $99 yearly. Pro 100 accounts give you access to 100 GB of space for $19.99 or $199 per year. 2 GB is not much space but it's good for a free account. They offer a referral program that gives you 250 MB(up to 8 GB) extra for each person you invite to join Dropbox. A pretty sweet deal!


All Is Not Lost!

Dropbox on the desktop and laptop is great. On the BlackBerry, it's not so great. Their app only allow you to upload pictures. If you try to go through your browser to upload files, forget it. It won't work. I've tried it. Is there any hope? Hold on. There is a work-around. It's called Sendtodropbox. Sendtodropbox is an online app that connects to your Dropbox account. After you let it connect, you will get a unique email address and a new folder called "Attachments". With this email address, you can attach files and email them. Once you email is sent, it will appear in your Attachments folder shortly! Save this email to your contacts. If you have any bad feelings about giving this app privilege to your Dropbox account, you can easily remove it. Log into your Dropbox account from the website, go to "Account" and click "My Apps". Remove it from there. I hope this helped! If you have not already, learn more about Dropbox here.


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Comments 2 comments

Sbu Biyela 4 years ago

This was very informative and helpful. I've been looking for a way to upload docs from my Blackberry and found the solution right here.


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RonElFran 3 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

As Win XP nears end of life, I'm checking out Ubuntu as a possible alternative for our church's computers. Dropbox is an integral part of our setup, and it's great to see that it's available on Ubuntu. Thanks for this info.

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