Weekly wrap-up and more on Dropbox


I’m a writer – okay – I’m a novelist. I feel so much better, finally getting that off my chest.  Writing involves weeks of field research (more, if I can get away from the computer and all that editing and rewriting my editors insist on),  a lot of hunting and pecking on line, and months of plotting and planning. And then I mix all of that together and tell a story. It’s what some folks like to call lying for fun and profit. Well, fun for you, anyway. I hope. Profit? Ahh, not so much.

Just like everyone else who works with computers for a living, I depend on the software I work with to do what it was designed to do, without errors. I need software that works, period. A nice, well laid out, easy to understand ergonomic user interface is good, too. There is a lot of good stuff out there, designed and written by people who know their jobs and love what they do.

I started work in computers in 1971, for Control Data Corp, in Atlanta, Georgia, as an entry-level database programmer. Without going into a lot of ancient history nobody really cares about, I’ll just say that I love the software industry and the people who make it what it is today. Good on yer!

Dropbox (www.dropbox.com) is a very good example of this. Drew Huston is a man who thinks outside the box. In 2006, he was waiting at a bus stop and thinking of the code he was planning to write on the bus when he realized he’d left his USB drive at home. With all of his data. So the code he began to write on that bus trip didn’t have anything to do with the project he started his day with. Instead he worked on what would become Dropbox on its release in 2008.

There are other such products on the market today, some  hit the market a few years before and some after the Dropbox release. I don’t care all that much about the history or the financials around this piece of software or that. I don’t write software reviews for investors. I write these reviews for people like me, who need dependable, easy to use applications that will fill a need for them. My reviews focus on the use-ability of the applications, not the money they might make for the investors.

I tell you what works for me, based on my current needs and my years of experience in software development.

Dropbox fills my need for an easy to use tool for collaboration with my editors. Man, is it easy. No muss, no fuss, no unnecessary bells and whistles and lots of actually useful features. It doesn’t cost you a penny to register, and you get 2 GB of storage up front. It’s also free to invite others to access your Dropbox. Anyone who does join Dropbox from your invitation gets you another 250 MB of storage space. That’s a deal you can’t afford to ignore.

So don’t ignore it.

“Twisted Key”, my third novel, is moving along. The first third of the story is rock solid and back at the editors for their final comments. I don’t anticipate any major changes in the story line at this point, so I am going to forge ahead on the next few chapters. With any luck the first complete draught should be done by January of 2011.

I’ve got a two-day event this weekend. I’ll be at the Orange Park Fall Festival, selling and signing. Somebody has to pay for all this software.

Have a good weekend. You’ve earned it.

About Gary Showalter

Gary Showalter was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He lived in Aruba, Florida and the Panama Canal Zone before joining the U.S. Army during the 1960s. Following his discharge from the Army, Mr. Showalter picked cotton in East Texas, baled hay in Ardmore Oklahoma, sold light bulbs in Los Angeles, California, and built cattle pens in Fallon, Nevada (during a blizzard, of course). After settling in Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Showalter worked as a professional gardener before turning his hand to furniture making. In 1981, he moved to Israel, married, and raised four children while working as a furniture maker, silversmith, goldsmith, and ornamental wood turner. He served in the Israel Defense Forces Reserves for sixteen years, and when not on active duty he worked in government and private security. He has also served in senior management positions in two software development companies in Israel. During his time in Israel, Mr. Showalter published articles dealing with international terror and the Israel-Arab conflict in the Jerusalem Post, Israel national News and several political science web sites. Mr. Showalter returned to the United States in the fall of 2003, to care for an elderly parent. He published his first novel, “The Big Bend”, in the fall of 2008. His second novel, “Hog Valley”, is now in print. Mr. Showalter's third novel, “Twisted Key”, was published in the fall of 2011, and his fourth novel, "Lonesome Cove" is now available in Kindle format and should be published in paper near the end of 2012. Those words were written a few years ago. Frankly speaking, the literary well has dried up. I now live in Dunnellon, Fl, where I amworking as the caretaker on a horse farm and looking to build a workshop here on the property where I can get back to building furniture. With any luck I will be sinking piers some time early in November and hope to have the floor joists ready for flooring by the end of the month. I'll get back to you on that.
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