Dropping DropBox? — Not so fast

Welcome to the first very first blog.   We will start (very) light, just to test the waters.

DropBox - CC BY-SA 2.0

DropBox – CC BY-SA 2.0

Do you use DropBox?  No?  Well, you should.  It is a brilliant little offering that makes a serious difference again and again.  In fact, every time I think I have exhausted the ways that I can use DropBox, a new use comes up.  DropBox makes communication easier… It’s that simple.

I depend on DropBox, so imagine my horror when my DropBbox stopped Synching?  The desktop icon and all my old files were there, but a new folder that I had added with the name “Share with Jeff A.” did not synchronize.  I could see the folder on the web-interface page, but the synch feature was not work and no synching was happening from the folder.

Frustrations were mounting and I started contemplating a shift to either one of Google omnipresent services (Google Drive, perhaps?) or a quality offering such as Nomadesk.

As any quasi-techie would do, however, I held of on dropping DropBox, and went to the trusted Internet for assistance, and, as usual, I found lots of advice, which, also as usual, was ill-informed and. of course, wrong.  After having undertaken a number of “recommended” – and, ultimately fruitless – steps, including re-installing the application on my desktop, I finally went into experimentation mode and discovered (with no help from DropBox’s rather silly help features, thank you not so very much!!) that a folder created via the web-interface page and containing a period does not synchronize.  Changing the folder from “Share with Jeff.” to “Share with Jeff” immediately solved the problem.

Dropbox is great, but it is not a bullet-proof application.   When you define a folder in the web-interface, the application will painstakingly tell you that characters such as “?” and “*” are not allowed, but it will make no mention of the fact that the use of “.” will cause synchronization to fail.   And oddly enough, although the web-interface imposes rules and regulations for folder names, the desktop application does not, and so it is possible to create folders using verboten characters in the desktop application and access these folders from the web-interface.

So, advice of the day…. if your DropBox stops synchronizing, do not throw the application out quite yet.  Instead simplify the folder names and see if the problem resolves itself.

Sigh… Another day in Technolistan……

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