How to use Dropbox with two or more accounts (aka. running two or more instances of dropbox)

I love dropbox.

I think i wrote about that in a previous post already.

Recently, I had to access two dropbox accounts simultaneously (it’s a long story).

However, Dropbox doesn’t officially allow you to run two instances of dropbox.

After searching on the web, I found a solution but it was really time consuming. However, in that solution, i found the secret:

HOME=/Users/$USER/.dropbox-alt /Applications/Dropbox.app/Contents/MacOS/Dropbox

What this does is change the “HOME” directory to a hidden folder called “.dropbox-alt” in your HOME directory, so that when Dropbox runs it starts a whole new instance. It’s that simple.

However, i want to be able to use this as an application and not type it into the command line each time. Enter Automator:

Open Automator by Typing “Automator” in spotlight, or clicking on “Applications” | “Automator”

Then click on “File” | “New” and choose “Application”

Image

Type “run shell script” on the left under “Actions” and drag it over to the workflow on the right. Then type in our one line shell script as follow (You can change .dropbox-alt for any other folder name you want)

HOME=/Users/$USER/.dropbox-alt /Applications/Dropbox.app/Contents/MacOS/Dropbox

When you are done, it should look like this:

Image

Now save it under /Applications with whatever name you want. I choose “DropboxAlt”.

Now if you want it to launch on startup, just open “Settings”  | “Users & Groups” and click on “Login Items” on the top right. Then the “+” button, and find your new Application to launch. Image

(PS. you might have to click on the bottom right lock icon & enter your password to make changes”

And that’s, it – you can now run more than 1 account with Dropbox @ the same time


Please Rogers. Stop being Evil

I’ve been a Rogers customer for the last 12 years. no Joke. Almost half my life. I’ve been loyal to them through the ups & downs, and through broken promises, one person saying one thing & seeing on my bill another.

So, I got a new iPhone 5 on sep 21.

The best part, is they needed me to change to a new plane that cost 150% more and essentially gave me less. Wonderful.

Now, I want to make sure I don’t go over my “unlimited” 6 GB data plan.

However, when I use rogers.com, they tell me that since I’ve made changes in the middle of my billing cycle, they can’t track it…. wait, what? really? there’s NO way you can track it?

Fine.

So i use my iPhone’s built-in tracker, from Apple.

My iPhone 5 says I’ve used 7.9 GB of data (Settings | General | Usage). Rogers.com comes on the other day & suddenly says 18GB.

I call to dispute this, as i’m in the middle of my billing cycle & still need to use data, customer care says to talk to technical support. Technical support tells me they can’t do anything & need to talk to customer care about charges. This goes on 2 more times. I’m serious.

Finally, i talk to a manager in technical support who confirms they can’t do anything, cause nothing is technically wrong with the phone. I then go to a customer care agent, who “Transfers” me to a manager. i say this in quotes, because after waiting 15 minutes, the call drops. I call back in & do the rogers *611 dance & wait for a manager. 30 minutes later (no joke), “kelly” comes on & sounds like she will actually hear my problems.

Nope. She basically says this:

Rogers.com is what they use. If i want to use an apple sanctioned “app” (no kelly, not an app. the o-p-e-r-a-t-i-n-g s-y-s-t-e-m), That’s my choice but they will always refer me to rogers.com.

I tell them i tried at the beginning, but rogers.com didn’t work. And then suddenly jumped to 18GB, even though my iPhone says I used 7.9GB.

Lovely.

At my old data usage counter of $0.05 / MB, this equates to almost $600 in data overage charges… Not including my bell already.

Earlier, i had asked another customer care agent if they could just stop my data plan after i reached my max. They said no – they were not “legally” allowed to. Really?!?!

Finally, I also asked why i didn’t get a text message before my overage limits got hit, like i had for the past year. They said that was a priveledge to customers and that i shouldn’t rely on it.

Please rogers.
1) Listen to your customers – especially ones who have been with you for the last 12 years. you don’t want to put them in endless & useless call loops, where even managers don’t understand or empathize with
2) Up your technology, so users don’t lose rogers.com data tracking the second they add something to their plan. Give them up to date (by the day) data usage, so they can see what they’re doing
3) take a hint from Google & Don’t BE EVIL. Not allowing customers to stop getting charged when they go over, or not giving them up to date information on their own usage, or not listening to them when their device usage (measured at the base level of the cell phone) differs from yours, is plain evil. You don’t get loyal customers who love your brand & share it with others. You get customers who write long posts about how fed up they are with you. You get customers, who at the first chance of a viable alternative will switch.


Good job Google+ and YouTube integration!

For the longest time, I’ve always felt the collaboration between Google products was a bit, let’s say rough.

So you can imagine how I was super impressed this morning w/ Google, when i logged into my YouTube account, was met with this:

(EDIT: the original image i copied into wordpress, but wordpress did not upload it and instead returned a blank image.. so i found one online to use from Ron http://ronangelo.com/your-full-name-on-youtube/  – thanks ron)

It always felt a little awkward signing into youtube with my Google account, but still using my old youtube username (chewchewchewtrain – don’t ask)

I can’t get over how clear it is what is going on – I knew the second i saw it, without even reading the specifics, what was happening. For those who don’t, they can read the details in text a little more.

I also like how they easily allow you NOT to user your full name, since I can see a lot of people wanting to stick to their old YouTube username which they have become known for. I, however, don’t mind confusing the 1 or 2 people who follow my youtube account by linking it to my Google+ profile

Clicking Next, I got the 2 of 3 steps (again, very clear from the design of the top heading).

Look how great the red circles & arrows are @ distinguishing what specifically will change on your appearance. bonus points for using an actual video i uploaded!


How I got 3GB of Free Lifetime Dropbox space for hosting your photos

src dropbox

I love Dropbox.

I remember back in the day I was always looking for the perfect sync solution. Microsoft’s Live Mesh was just starting out when I was an intern there & I was able to test out the Mac Beta’s at the time. Before that, I was using FolderShare & a slew of other synching apps. I even tried my own custom rsync solution one time.

But none of them are as simple & fast to use as Dropbox. Who knows, maybe I just admire Drew Houston & his team so much (you can read about how Drew started Dropbox as a video, because he believed once people wouldn’t realize the problem they had until they saw the solution)

But when I first heard about Dropbox’s new “Camera Upload” feature – namely, the ability to load your device’s pictures onto dropbox when you plug it into your dropbox-enabled machine – I wasn’t too excited. I personally use the free version of dropbox, which starts me @ 2GB of free data, so I knew my photos would easily push me over this limit.

However, I was pleasantly surprised to find out Dropbox is giving away up to 3GB of free storage space (for lifetime too), if you start using Camera Upload!!

The conditions are:

  • You get 500 MB of free Dropbox space fore very 500 MB you upload, to a total of 3GB

Here’s how I got it to work on Mac:

  1. I had a dropbox account. If you don’t have one, feel free to use my referral link: http://db.tt/X142b5E
  2. After installing the client on my mac, I plugged in my iPhone
  3. Click “Start Import” and it will automatically import all the photos of your device onto a Dropbox folder called “Camera Uploads”

That’s it! Just sit back, and wait for them to sync with Dropbox’s servers. Every time you upload 500 MB , you’ll get another 500MB  added to your account!

Check the dropbox official FAQ if you have any questions: https://www.dropbox.com/help/287

PS. If you want to earn even more Dropbox here are two easy ways:

  1. For another way to get 1GB of free lifetime space, finish the official Dropbox DropQuest by June 2, 2012. I did it w/ Vicki on a friday night and it took us more than 3 hours (we may or may not have gotten help from the inter web in some parts)
  2. Invite friends to dropbox using your “referral link”. For example, mine is: http://db.tt/NIXjCqg To get yours, simply go to https://www.dropbox.com/referrals

How to view Wikipedia during the 24 hour SOPA Blackout (FYI – i still don’t support SOPA)

So in my attempt to research “dependency injection” tonight, I was met with this wikipedia page:

Don’t get me wrong – I totally support Wikipedia in raising awareness as so many of my friends had no idea WHAT SOPA was, and why it was harmful to the internet as we know it (ironically, check out this wikipedia link, which of course works during this 24 hour black out, to learn more)

But in case you still needed to view the wikipedia article (as was the case for me) I found a quick workaround:

Just before the data is finished loading for the wikipedia page you want to go to, simply click on “ESC’. Yup. It’s that easy.

On safari, you can tell as the blue bar in the URL is almost done loading:

As a caveat, it worked for me on Safari 5.0 on a macbook air running mac osx Lion – YMMV.

As for SOPA, the idea to stop piracy is definitely good. However, I believe the private sector is much more equipped @ solving this issue (think iTunes, Netflix, Hulu) then simply legislation that could cripple so many potential web startups. I like what Alexis Ohanian (reedit co-founder) said on CNBC:

“I just can’t understand why congress can’t seem to agree on anything the matters in this country, whether employment or the deficit – they’re totally deadlocked. But when Hollywood lobbyists pay them $94 million dollars to write legislation, people from both sides of the aisle line up to co-sponsor it?”

Here’s the CNBC link w/ ads
Here’s the YouTube link w/ out ads (which would be illegal if SOPA happens)


My take on the iPhone 4S and how to turn on Siri in Canada

So to my surprise, our family was interrupted w/ a loud “Package for Jonathan Chui!” through our front door @ 9:30 AM this morning.

I had been following the UPS delivery status of my iPhone4 since Wed, when it left China, then hit Hong Kong & landed in Anchorage, Alaska.

 

The nice UPS delivery man told me I was the third person to receive it on his truck & that he had 40 others to deliver. One person even ordered 10 (i don’t know how that’s possible, but whatever). I was so happy I took his picture:

Photo on 2011-10-14 at 09:32.jpg

One of the first things I tried to use was Siri, the famous voice assistant and 1 of 3 reasons to get the 4s (the other two being an A5 processor, 8 MP camera with 5 “amazing” lenses – I’ll talk about them in another post).

I was surprised when I held down the Home button, just like the demo, and I got the regular old Voice Control!! I searched “Siri not in Canada” & found this link from Gary Ng on iPhoneInCanada, which had suggestions from people who had spoken w/ apple PR reps who said it wouldn’t be available.

Let me dispel all rumors & myths & say, it definitely works in Canada. However, not by default: you have to enable it in Settings, under General & Siri:

Phew.

Furthemore, some features in US don’t work in Canada (more later).

I was also a bit surprised they didn’t have English (Canada), but did have English (Australia)!?!?

So how well does it work? Well, for the most part, okay.

My first attempt to send a text message to Vicki went something like this:

Hmm…. interesting that it doesn’t know it’s own name is in fact “iPhone 4S” not “iPhone Ass”.

Other than that, I asked it what time it was, to call/txt people, to set reminders & alarms, and finally to check Apple’s stock prices, etc. All the usual stuff. It’s probably the best Voice Recognition software I’ve used so far (compared to Dragon Dictation iPhone app & the windows tablet speech recognition stuff)

In general, it seems to give funny/vague/witty answers to some specific questions:

Me: “Where are you made?”
Siri: “I’m not allowed to say, Jonathan”

Me: “What’s the meaning of life”
Siri: “I don’t know, but i think there’s an app for that”

Cons:
- When I asked it “what good movies are out”, i got the response:

“Sorry jonathan, I can’t look for places in Canada” – nuts.

- When I asked it to route me to “Calgary”:

“Sorry Jonathan, I can’t provide maps & directions in Canada” – really? even though I can open up maps & search that?

- However, when I asked it “show me directions to apple”, it actually opened up the maps app & directed me to apple! (i guess cause it’s not in Canada).
- “Read my emails” – simply tells you how many unread emails. it can’t read it yet.

- When I asked it to open an application, it said:

“I’d like to, Jonathan, but I’m not allowed to. Sorry about that” – polite, but doesn’t make it any more useful, haha.

Other cons: It doesn’t seem to read text messages automatically – you have to specifically ask “read my text messages”.

All in all – pretty fun. Will be playing with it more.


I hate email. A note to my readers..

I know the title is terrible.

And after a year of not writing any blog posts to come back with such a hate-filled title is not very nice… i probably just did it to get your attention. ;)

Or maybe just because, I thought this blog was getting 0 readers but I just found out today that I’ve been getting plenty of readers – not only have they been reading, they’ve been commenting!!! Over 15 comments were “waiting to be approved” in my wordpress console today.

So the next question: How did i not know?

I’ll tell you why. My inbox is a freakin war zone.

An image is worth a thousand words: (or in this case, 10,749 unread emails)

Fast forward to today: In addition to Grow Conference being awesome, a fluke accident caused me to look in my “all mail” box, and saw this comment I got today on my blog post.

Little did I know, there have been >15 comments from REAL people, who enjoyed my posts & took out there time to comment.

It’s ironic no? Blogging & commenting, a technology created to democratize communication – needed a new technology to combat the spammers who abused that channel of communication. Only to have this technology get rid of the very people whom I wanted to hear from.

Anyways – in summary, you may have commented on my Facebook Map, or another post & I am finally reading & responding to them today!

Please reach out & let me know if my writing, stories & coding projects are helpful in this blog.

Some of the topics I’m thinking of writing on:
- my recent Facebook & Google Product Manager interviews (those always seem to be informative)
-my current job leading iPhone development @ Invoke Media, projects there like the Eat St. iPhone app I developed that is going to hit 250,000 downloads this week,
- my personal hacking projects
- the vancouver startup scene, local startups & other tech startupy stuff

Let me know which ones you’d like to hear in the comments below. And this time, I’m gonna make sure I get those email notifications! ;)


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