TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Local File Transfer on the Easy

Volume Number: 23 (2007)
Issue Number: 03
Column Tag: Network Administration

Local File Transfer on the Easy

Your clients, and their mail server, will love it

By Allen Hancock, ACTC

Introduction

Hello again, and welcome to another article about my favorite software. This month: DropCopy.

DropCopy by the fine folks at 10base-t.com is a quick and simple application that will allow a user to easily transfer a file or files to another user in their workgroup. It is free for groups of three or less computers, and $25 gets you a license good for larger networks.

Users look for the easiest way to get a job done, we know this. When one user needs to send a file to a colleague, the tool they tend to migrate to is e-mail. This is not a huge problem, but if you are anal like me you know that now they have a copy stored in their home directory, a copy in their outbox, a copy in their colleagues inbox, and one more wherever the document is supposed to end up. Multiply this by lots of files, and that one megabyte .pdf is just wasting too much space. Then, if their email server is hosted elsewhere, that is a lot of time wasted uploading and downloading files. The best is when that file is a 15 MB PowerPoint document they are sending back and forth... five times in a day... you get the idea.

Alternatively, they will put a file on the file server telling their colleague "its there". At this point, the colleague needs to stop what they are doing, go find that file, and are they going to remove it from the server? Not usually. Now we have extra files strewn about the server in various stages of completion, and no one person who really knows when it is OK to clean up all the detritus.

Enter DropCopy , saving the day with its little circle:


DropCopy's Drop Zone.

Drag a file there, look for your destination's name in the drop zone, and watch the file move. The file is sent from one computer directly to the other (over port 5052 for anyone running a firewall). The transfer is point to point, sparing both the mail and file server the wasted bandwidth and storage, and delivering the file to the proper colleague in an instant.

But how best to implement DropCopy? Let me begin from the beginning. As with so many applications, if we were to simply install DropCopy and let it go, it would work, but with a little extra setup and tweaking, DropCopy's true strengths shine.

Let's take a trip to www.growl.info. Using Growl will make help our users send files with the knowledge that their files made it safe in a graceful, unobtrusive fashion. Growl is a notification framework, for those of you unfamiliar, and all the cool applications are taking advantage of these good-looking notifications.


A basic growl notification
patiently waiting for me to acknowledge the file.

When I get a file, DropCopy has been instructed to let me know who it is from, and the name of the file. Oh, and did I mention there is no real limit to the size of a single file sent via DropCopy? Very cool. Once I receive a file, I will know just where to find it because of my preferences setup. We will get to those details soon.

Once you have Growl installed, DropCopy's next launch will notify you that it has registered itself with Growl. Take a quick trip to your system preferences, find the Growl Preference Pane, and let's configure the notifications as such:



My preferred growl settings to get the most of DropCopy

The reasoning behind my oh-so-picky setup? I like a good Speed Racer analogy as much as anyone, but once I know DropCopy is running, I don't want to see its ad every time I restart my computer, so let's turn "go" off. The "incoming" notification, on the other hand, is vitally important. This is the way we are going to know we have received a goody. Let's check the Sticky box here, so that if we are too busy to go look at the file, we can leave the incoming notification on the screen as a reminder we have more work to do. As far as "sent" goes, it is nice to know that we have sent a file, but there is no reason to have to click the notification away, so we are going to leave that notification at the default "only when idle" setting.

This brings us to DropCopy itself, and its plethora of choices..


General Prefs, bring 'm on!

The first page is all good. Let's turn all of these on. Launching at login is always good for handy tools. We never need to actually switch to DropCopy, so lets' get it out of our dock and Application Switcher. If we are away from the office or burning the midnight oil with no one around to send files to, there will be no reason to see the dropzone, and my favorite preference in DropCopy: "dropzone always on top."

Why is this my favorite? Because if I can see the dropzone at all time, I can use my all time favorite tip: ProxyIcon support.


With the dropzone always visible, just grab your current file's icon and Drop Away!

Once I hit save on my masterpiece, and need to transfer it to someone else, I no longer have to switch to the finder to send a file. Save, then grab that little icon from it the document's Title Bar (the "ProxyIcon"), and drag it over to the dropzone. DropCopy will show you all your available destinations, and away you go. I love this tip: ProxyIcon's rock. Thanks OS X!

There are three more prefs on that first page. The next two, location of the destinations and progress window color, really are just personal prefs. That last one though, can make or break a user's enjoyment of DropCopy.

I have made it a habit to help users gain control over their desktops by creating a " Downloads" folder. Did you see the leading space there? Now when they are looking at their Desktop in a window, this folder is waiting at the top, ready to go. By creating a specific folder for users to refer to for DropCopy'd files, they don't have to go searching for which file on their desktop was just sent over. This can go one further though, I then offer to update Safari, Firefox, etc to put their downloads in there as well. Chicks dig it. For extra brownie points, set the " Downloads" folder to sort by date modified, and add it to their sidebar. No wonder I like the Mac so much.

Ok, onto prefs page 2


Prefs page 2, as I declare they should be!

When I got started with DropCopy, there was only one noise available. To this day, I like "whistler" best. Showing feedback is always nice, Growl support is a must, as I have mentioned. Coreimage? Take it or leave it, personally I think they are cool. As far as confirmations, I will always want to be asked if someone can have my clipboard, but the rest of the notifications are best handled by Growl, so turn those off lest you be bothered by modal dialogs (a la 1989).

Now page three's prefs are very interesting indeed. Normal users will never have to venture into here, but I have really enjoyed some of these options. Have two computers on your network with your name on the current user? Rename one! You can see in earlier screenshots I have one called "Accounting". How about calling that MacMini of yours "Media Center" and you can send your encoded, home made, movies to without ever having to mess with file sharing. There are a number of cool things you can do with these preferences, especially in concert with the DropCopy menu.

Text messaging? Clipboard sharing? Look in DropCopy's Tools menu for SFTP locations too. How cool!

I could go on, but this is enough to get the point across about what a great tool DropCopy is. The only thing that could make this better would be cross-platform support. There is hope though, the developers have documented the protocol and have given it others. So if you like this, and have the wherewithal to code a nice windows or linux application, drop them a line and let's see if we can get broader platform support to this wonderful, simple to use application.

I always believed that it is the little things that make all the difference, and time after time my clients have told me that this little gem is that difference.

Happy DropCopying!


Allen Hancock has been providing on-site and remote based support based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana since 1997. When not being persnickety over details, he spends time with his wife and son. Of course, they might want to know just when that is ;-) He can be reached through his website www.hancockconsulting.net.

 
AAPL
$94.72
Apple Inc.
+0.78
MSFT
$44.83
Microsoft Corpora
-0.01
GOOG
$594.74
Google Inc.
+5.27

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Airmail 1.4 - Powerful, minimal email cl...
Airmail is a powerful, minimal mail client.It was designed to retain the same experience with a single or multiple accounts and provide a quick, modern and easy-to-use user experience. Airmail... Read more
Macs Fan Control 1.1.12 - Monitor and co...
Macs Fan Control allows you to monitor and control almost any aspect of your computer's fans, with support for controlling fan speed, temperature sensors pane, menu-bar icon, and autostart with... Read more
A Better Finder Rename 9.37 - File, phot...
A Better Finder Rename is the most complete renaming solution available on the market today. That's why, since 1996, tens of thousands of hobbyists, professionals and businesses depend on A Better... Read more
MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 2.9 - Fo...
MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update is recommended for MacBook Air (Mid 2011) models. This update addresses an issue where systems may take longer to wake from sleep than expected and fixes a rare issue... Read more
FileZilla 3.9.0.1 - Fast and reliable FT...
FileZilla (ported from Windows) is a fast and reliable FTP client and server with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface.Version 3.9.0.1: MSW: Fix installation issue with locked DLLs... Read more
OS X Yosemite 10.10 DP4 - Developer Prev...
Note: This is a Developer Preview. You must be a registered Apple Mac Developer to download this update. OS X Yosemite is Apple's newest operating system for Mac. An elegant design that feels... Read more
FinderPop 2.5.6 - Classic Mac utility, n...
FinderPop is a Universal preference pane that extends OS X's contextual menus using a FinderPop Items folder much as the Apple Menu Items folder used to do for the Apple menu. It has other features... Read more
SpiderOak 5.1.7 - Secure cloud backup, s...
SpiderOak is a multi-platform secure online backup, storage, access, and sharing solution engineered for the consumer and small businesses. You must first sign up to use SpiderOak. Running natively... Read more
Espionage 3.6 - Simple, state of the art...
Espionage offers state-of-the-art encryption and plausible deniability for your confidential data. Sometimes, encrypting your data isn't enough to protect it. That's why Espionage 3 goes beyond data... Read more
calibre 1.45.0 - Complete e-library mana...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Celebrate Summer With a Cat in the Hat L...
Celebrate Summer With a Cat in the Hat Learning Library Sale Posted by Ellis Spice on July 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
MyTaskList Review
MyTaskList Review By Jennifer Allen on July 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: EFFECTIVE IF PLAINUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad It’s not the most stylish of task management apps, but MyTaskList has all the features you could... | Read more »
FlyCraft Herbie: Crazy Machines Review
FlyCraft Herbie: Crazy Machines Review By Jennifer Allen on July 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: TRICKY FLYINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad A tough game of careful thrusting and navigation, FlyCraft Herbie: Crazy Machines... | Read more »
MTN Review
MTN Review By Jessica Fisher on July 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: ADORABLE, SERENE, AND AMUSINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad MTN is an adorable, talking pet mountain that is less game and more zen garden.   | Read more »
Fly High with Ninja UP! Now Available o...
Fly High with Ninja UP! Now Available on the App Store Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Bio Inc. Review
Bio Inc. Review By Nadia Oxford on July 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: SICKENING - IN A COMPELLING WAYUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Bio Inc is about orchestrating the medical destruction of a single person. If that doesn’... | Read more »
HELMUT Review
HELMUT Review By Andrew Fisher on July 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: TRUNDLE SIMULATOR 2014Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad HELMUT is a fun, fleeting time-sink that offers a momentary distraction and nothing else.   | Read more »
Walkr Review
Walkr Review By Jennifer Allen on July 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: ORIGINAL WALKINGiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad Walking is a bit more exciting thanks to this planet building/discovering sim reliant... | Read more »
Zombie Commando Review
Zombie Commando Review By Jennifer Allen on July 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: MINDLESS SLAUGHTERUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Briefly fun but ultimately forgettable, Zombie Commando will scratch an itch then be... | Read more »
Swords & Poker Adventures Review
Swords & Poker Adventures Review By Jennifer Allen on July 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: SOULLESS POKER PLAYUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Swords & Poker Adventures is a mishmash of Poker and RPGing, but it lacks... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

15-inch 2.0GHz MacBook Pro Retina on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 15″ 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1829 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $170 off MSRP. B&H will also include free copies of Parallels... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished Mac minis for up t...
The Apple Store has restocked Apple Certified Refurbished Mac minis for up to $150 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 2.5GHz Mac... Read more
Twelve South HiRise For MacBook – Height-Adju...
If you use your MacBook as a workhorse desktop substitute, as many of us do, a laptop stand combined with an external keyboard and pointing device are pretty much obligatory if you want to avoid... Read more
Why The Mac Was Not Included In The Apple/IBM...
TUAW’s Yoni Heisler cites Fredrick Paul of Network World whoi blogged last week that the Mac’s conspicuous absence from Apple and IBM’s landmark partnership agreement represents a huge squandered... Read more
Save $100 on 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros, plu...
Adorama has 13″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: - 13″ 2.4GHz/128GB MacBook Pro with Retina Display: $1199 - 13″ 2.... Read more
Blurr it 2.3 for iOS – Quickly Blurs Selected...
Hyderabad, India based TouchLabs has announced a new update of Blurr it 2.3, their photography app for iOS users. Blurr it allows you to blur part of the image to hide potentially sensitive or... Read more
MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP, start...
Best Buy has the new 2014 MacBook Airs on sale for up to $100 off MSRP on their online store. Choose free home shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Prices valid for online orders only... Read more
Amazon Announces Kindle Unlimited: Unlimited...
Amazon.com has introduced Kindle Unlimited — a new subscription service which allows customers to freely read as much as they want from over 600,000 Kindle books, and listen as much as they want to... Read more
New Linksys Wireless Range Extenders Boost Wi...
Linksys has announced its new lineup of Linksys Wi-Fi Range Extenders. Consumers often experience a weak wireless signal in some parts of their house or apartment caused by blocking elements such as... Read more
MacBook Airs available starting at $719
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2013 & 2012 MacBook Airs in stock today starting at $719. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: 2013... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Sr *Apple* Engineer - IT - Requisition #: -...
For more information about TIAA-CREF, visit our website . The Apple Engineer will provide engineering and third-level incident support for 300- 500 MacOS desktop/laptop Read more
*Apple* Systems Administrator - DISH (United...
…satellite service provider, and Dish is currently looking for an experienced Apple /Mac Systems Administrator. Apple systems administrator will be responsible for Read more
*Apple* Systems Administrator - DISH (United...
…satellite service provider, and Dish is currently looking for an experienced Apple /Mac Systems Administrator. Apple systems administrator will be responsible for Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.