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“Take Control of Dropbox” Helps You Learn and Teach Dropbox

We’ve long been huge fans of the Dropbox file-sharing service, relying on it every day to collaborate on Take Control manuscripts with our authors and editors. Dropbox is fast and reliable, and while it’s easy to use for basic tasks, we’ve uncovered plenty of devils in the details over our years of living with Dropbox. Now we’re pleased to share our expertise with you in the form of Joe Kissell’s latest ebook, the $10 “Take Control of Dropbox.”

Whether you’re already among the millions of people who sync and share files with Dropbox or you plan to join their ranks soon, Joe has the real-world advice you need to go beyond the basics. He shares the best practices for using Dropbox effectively and securely on your own or with a group, explains how to avoid common mistakes and irreversible settings, describes what’s involved with mobile devices and Dropbox-savvy apps, and tips you off to unusual uses of Dropbox.

For instance, did you know you could use Dropbox to control your Mac, publish a blog, automate Web activities, sync with other cloud services, and even publish a book like this one? (See “Push-button Book Publishing with Leanpub,” 26 April 2013.)

Perhaps you do know all that, but since Dropbox shines brightest when sharing files with friends and colleagues, we’re trying something new with this book: a short “Teach This Book” chapter that points to downloadable materials you can use to help your collaborators use Dropbox effectively. Our goal is to help people with technology, and sometimes that involves providing you with the tools you need to help others — which may also make your life easier!

First, there’s a single-page PDF handout that distills the key information about Dropbox from the book and is suitable for sending to someone you’re introducing to Dropbox by inviting them to a shared folder. It’s also ideal as a printed handout for a Dropbox-focused class, and to help you teach such a class, our second piece is an 18-slide PDF presentation that hits the high points in the book. To present it from a Mac, open it in Preview and choose either View > Slideshow or View > Enter Full Screen, after which you can use the arrow keys to navigate between slides. It should also present well from an iPad or iPhone, especially via AirPlay to an Apple TV.

(If you’re a consultant or trainer who would like to buy a generic presentation in Keynote or PowerPoint format that you can modify, brand with your own logo, and use to teach in conjunction with discounted classroom copies of the book, contact us for a quote. And for the ultimate option, you can hire Joe to give a completely customized presentation, either live or via online video.)

Other useful advice in “Take Control of Dropbox” includes how to:

  • Recover an accidentally deleted or revised file. You’ll find help with a few non-obvious controls and a discussion of the Packrat option for Dropbox Pro users.

  • Work with photos and videos in your Dropbox folder and learn how to share collections with Dropbox’s new photo album feature.

  • Use Dropbox to store and automatically sync data used by Dropbox-savvy apps on all of your devices, whether they’re running Mac OS X, iOS, Android, Windows, or Linux. You’ll get a better idea of what’s going on behind the scenes and how to manage app authorizations.

  • Check a few important account-related details to make sure you’re set up optimally. These include security settings and methods of getting more storage space.

Be sure to check out Joe’s short intro video!

Two final notes, since we like to give you peeks behind the curtain at Take Control. First, you’ll notice that “Take Control of Dropbox” sports an elegant new cover design and logo, both created especially for us, and the new design is reflected in the interior as well. You’ll be seeing more of these covers in the future, in a variety of colors.

Second, if you like reading on a Kindle, the Mobipocket version of this book will be available in your Take Control library immediately after you purchase, thanks to the Leanpub publishing system. The book looks great on a Kindle Fire or Paperwhite and is entirely acceptable on older and less-capable Kindle models. Between this new publishing system and a new technique we’ve developed for our existing publishing approach, we hope to make Mobipocket files available simultaneously with other formats going forward.

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