One of the first posts that Amy wrote for ProfHacker asked “Why use a blogging client?” It’s a good question since, after all, every blogging platform that I’ve ever tried (and I’ve tried a lot of them) allowed you to write perfectly nice posts within a web form. The real strength of a blogging client, Amy wrote, only becomes apparent when you’re managing or contributing to multiple blogs. A blogging client allows you to post materials quickly to many sites at once (imagine class announcements).
Amy wrote an update on blog editors a few short months later, and described why she had changed from her precious client—ecto—to MarsEdit. (Both of these tools are Mac only, but Amy recommended the Windows-only Windows Live Writer 2009 or the cross-platform Qumana as well.) Based on Amy’s recommendation and my increasing use of blogging in my job, I purchased MarsEdit this past summer.
Once I started using a blogging editor, I found another great reason to use them was to save copies of the posts that I was working on. If you’ve ever had a browser crash in the middle of writing a brilliant blog post (as all of my lost ones are), then you can imagine that being able to save drafts to your hard drive rather than entering them into a web-based form is incredibly comforting. Of course, an alternative to losing things in a web form is to use the Firefox plugin Lazarus, one of the tools recommended in last week’s post about your favorite applications.
Of course, saving local drafts of what you’re working on is great until you find yourself switching to a different computer. And since I use three different computers on a daily basis, using MarsEdit to manage drafts wasn’t as clear cut as I had hoped it would be. I started saving drafts to my blogs from one computer, then pulling those drafts down to my other computers. It wasn’t hard but it wasn’t convenient either. What I really wanted, in other words, was for me to be able to sync the local drafts between all of the different computers I own.
Fortunately, we here at Dropbox central ProfHacker have a tool that we like to use for syncing. You may have heard us even mention it every now and again. It’s called Dropbox. And it’s really as life changing as we make it out to be. I’ve found that many Mac applications have been making use of Dropbox to help sync files between computers. Ryan mentioned this ability in his review of the to-do list manager Things as well as his post on using text expansion software. Unfortunately, at the moment MarsEdit does not have built-in Dropbox support.
But as luck would have it, we ProfHackers like Google almost as much as Dropbox. And with a little bit of hunting around, I found a search string that led me instructions on the MarsEdit forum for syncing my different installations. Andrew Jaffe spells out in very plain terms how to use the Terminal on your Mac to start syncing in less than 2 minutes. You can simply copy and paste his lines of commands on one computer and then another.
I don’t know how many of our readers this tip will help, but if there’s even someone else it assists, then I’m happy. More important is the reminder that there are lots of other hackers out there—Prof- or otherwise—and they might have already written instructions for what you’d like to do.
What applications do you sync using Dropbox? Is that support baked into the application or did you have to find a work around? Let us know in the comments!