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Category Archives: reviews

As mentioned in my KeePassX article, Dropbox is a great file syncing/backup service.  It supports all three major platforms (Windows, Mac, and Linux) and makes file syncing a snap.  To get Dropbox, go to http://www.getdropbox.com/ and download the client.  If you are on Ubuntu, you may want to add the repositories and install it with sudo apt-get update and then sudo apt-get install nautilus-dropbox.  To do so, add the repositories listed below to your /etc/apt/sources.list.

deb http://linux.getdropbox.com/ubuntu jaunty main
deb-src http://linux.getdropbox.com/ubuntu jaunty main

Once you have the client installed, you have to log out and log back in.  Then go to your Applications menu and launch Dropbox.  It is in the Internet section.  Complete the steps that follow.  Once you have your account created and Dropbox running, you can access it by going into the Dropbox folder in your home directory.  You can also use the web interface by logging into the Dropbox site.  Now you can add files to your Dropbox and the files will be sent to their servers and synced to your other computers instantly (as long as they have Dropbox installed).

Dropbox

Dropbox is a great service.  It is stable, it looks professional, and essentially replaces the USB stick.  I have had no problems at all so far.  I’m actually considering the upgrade to 50gb of storage space which only costs $9.99 a month, even though the free 2gb service is working great.  You can actually get more storage for free if you tell your friends about Dropbox.

Syncing works fine.  You put a file in the Dropbox directory and in seconds, every computer you have Dropbox installed on has the file.  The public folder support, which allows you to publicly share files is slick too.  I don’t have a use for it myself, but it could be just what you’re looking for.  If you put files in Dropbox’s Photos directory, you can have a photo gallery online as well.

Dropbox is not perfect.  It does have some really minor issues.  One of them is RAM usage.  Dropbox uses about 32mb of RAM idle.  While this is by no means huge, it could be an issue on certain netbooks that have limited RAM available.  Also, Dropbox only supports Nautilus, the GNOME file manager.  Thunar and Dolphin are not supported.  Hopefully Dropbox will add support for them in the future.  My last “issue” with Dropbox is the lack of many storage options.  They have great prices ($9.99 a month for 50gb is really cheap), but I think people would want options for sizes like 5gb or 10gb as well.  I would gladly pay $1.99 a month for a 5gb option, which is what most people need.

If you haven’t already, you should get Dropbox.  There’s no reason not to.  It gives you 2gb of storage for free.  That alone is worth the download in my opinion.  Dropbox is the best file syncing service available and is a great application for people with multiple computers.

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Pros: Clean interface, fast, renders pages well, a lot of cool features like user script support

Cons: Unstable (crashes randomly)

Score: 6/10

Summary: Great potential, but too unstable at the moment for regular use.

There are a ton of web browsers on Linux.  I’m starting to wonder if there are too many actually.  A few stick out in the crowd though.  Firefox (obviously), Epiphany, Opera, and Konqueror just to name a few.  One browser, called Midori (which means “green” in Japanese), might be included in this group in the future if development continues.

Midori is a GTK+ 2-based browser, that uses the WebKit (formerly KHTML) engine to display web pages.  This means two things.  One, Midori looks great on GNOME and XFCE.  It also means that Midori is fast—really fast.  Pages load quickly in Midori and usually render correctly.  The browser is written entirely in C, so the program itself is lightweight and quick.  It has support for user scripts (like Greasemonkey for Firefox) and styles (like Stylish for Firefox) too.

Midori Running on Xubuntu 9.04

You’re probably wondering, if Midori is so great, why did you rate it so low?  Well, Midori is the most unstable web browser I have ever seen.  For example, I went to Google in Midori and after that, I attempted to go to Engadget.  Immediately after I pressed Enter to go there, Midori crashed with no warning at all.  The worst part is, the crashes are random.  You cannot predict when they will happen.  Sadly, this makes the browser unusable at the moment.  The browser is in the early alpha stages though, so this should be expected.  The web site does say that these crashes are the fault of WebKit, not Midori, while the FAQ says that the issue could be caused by Glib 2.16 and says that an upgrade to 2.18 could fix some issues.

Overall, Midori is a great web browser, if you can overlook the crashes.  This will obviously be fixed in future releases, so it should be relatively stable in a while.  Right now, I would stay away, but it is definitely a project to keep an eye on.

You can find more information about Midori at http://www.twotoasts.de/index.php?/pages/midori_summary.html.