With the recent launch of Google Drive I started doing a lot of comparisons to Dropbox – a service we’ve been using for about 18 months now and a service, for the most part, that I’m thrilled with. How does the newly minted Google Drive stack up, well let’s find out.
Web Interface – Dropbox wins
GDrive has a great, seamless transition from Apps into GDrive which is nice. It all feels the same as what we’re used to in Apps. Dropbox is however a much nicer/cleaner interface with their recent changes.
Photo Support – Tie
Pretty close call here – probably too close to pick actually. I somewhat prefer Dropbox but when you put GDrive into thumbnail view you get some pretty big images and it’s pretty easy to browse. Dropbox’s mobile app for viewing pictures destroys GDrive (in Dropbox you can just scroll picture/picture/picture – in GDrive it’s slow and one-at-a-time). That being said for browser photo browsing it’s pretty much a tie.
Sharing – Dropbox wins
Both have similar sharing systems via the web (almost dead even here). However with Dropbox you can share right from Explorer/Finder making it much easier (as you don’t have to go to a web page).
Integration with desktop applications – Tie
Mixed here – the great thing about GDrive is that it integrates explorer into Google Apps such that if you double click a file (say a spreadsheet) it’ll open it directly in Apps in the Browser (a very nice touch). Dropbox is extremely similar since everything is just on the filesystem the native app opens fine. If we were going to fully drop Office (which I see no way we can do) this would be a great solution.
Mobile Device support – Dropbox wins
Pretty simple here – Dropbox wins at the moment. No iOS app for GDrive yet (of course it’s coming and I’m sure soon). I also think the mobile app for Dropbox is far better than GDrive currently – it allows for auto-uploading of photos and in general browsing your data via the Dropbox app seems faster and smoother than GDrive. The Dropbox app also has built in editors for various file types. And Dropbox feels much faster on my phone than GDrive.
Storage space – GDrive wins
Another easy one – GDrive wins. Not just for price but for space. I’m currently paying roughly $1200/year for 2.2TB with Dropbox Teams and for $800/year we could get a whopping 16TB with GDrive. If money/space was an issue Gdrive is the easy win.
Backup / restore – Dropbox wins
A little hard to tell on this one as I haven’t used Spanning extensively against Apps (Spanning is a portfolio company that handles Google Apps backup/restore). From playing with both I have to say Dropbox’s interface for restores is superior to Spanning. I can easily see all versions of any document with a simple click and I can restore any version of a document that I want. In Spanning I have to choose a specific date/time and restore a file from that. I just restored a file from Spanning and it showed up in the web interface quickly (but confusingly the one I deleted and the restore are there) but after 60 minutes that restore hasn’t replicated to my GDrive folder on my machine. In contrast Dropbox restores have always taken less than 5 seconds to replicate down and have (knocking on wood) never failed me. I’ve done dozens of Dropbox restores over the past year and they’ve saved our bacon more than once. Also note that for a nominal fee ($3/month) Dropbox will store every version of every file forever.
Desktop Client – Dropbox wins
Pretty much a tie here – with a slight lead going to Dropbox given the really nice right-click sharing integration into Explorer/Finder. For that one simple reason I have to give Dropbox the nod.
Administration – Dropbox wins
This one pretty much only affects administrators and is a bit of a toss-up too. Dropbox’s system for provisioning accounts and remote unlinking/removing data is pretty sweet. GDrive (via Apps) will let us remote wipe a mobile device but I see no way to remote remove data from a device in the event a laptop is lost or stolen.
So for my purposes Dropbox is currently crushing Google Drive. Crushing it. That being said we all know how quickly Google can rev products when they want and I suspect over the next 6-12 months this comparison will change considerably. I love the thought of consolidating everything into Google Apps and as we move away from traditional OSes and into a browser driven world Google Drive will become a much more compelling product.
How’s that for a title? This is one of the best dishes I’ve ever eaten, let alone made. The mix of southern creamy sweetness is very well balanced with the touch of southwestern flair. I dare you to make it and tell me it isn’t fantastic.
5 whole corn on the cob (husked)
2 small shallots
6 gloves garlic
1/4 red bell pepper
1/4 green bell pepper
2 TBsp salted butter
3/4 pint half and half
First dice shallots, garlic and bell pepper very finely (I use a quick chopper). Saute in butter until translucent (don’t burn). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Meanwhile grill the corn, about 3 minutes per side – turning four times (totally of 12 minutes). You want to char it but not burn it so medium/low heat.
Once everything is sauted begin adding the half and half a bit at a time allowing it to reduce down (turn up the heat to medium-high). When the corn is done hold with tongs and slice off kernels and add to pan. Once all the corn is added continue reducing it down until you’ve used all the half and half (about 20 minutes or so). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Let it cool a bit before eating – the cooler it gets the more the sweetness from the corn will come out. I had it with some simple grilled BBQ chicken which dressed the meal up a bit.
Today I got the new MKVII extruder for our Makerbot. The new extruder uses much thinner plastic (1.75mm vs. 3mm) so it should print with higher resolution (and as a side benefit it’s faster too). Like all things Makerbot you have to build your new parts.
First I had to remove the old extruder and build the new one. Fortunately the new extruder is much simpler than the old one (evident in the picture to the left). Once assembled installing it in the Makerbot is pretty simple – only 2 bolts to hold it into place. The new platform is built to hold 2 (and 3 down the road) extruders so you can print multiple colors at once (they aren’t quite there on the software just yet). Next up was to assemble the Safety Cutoff board (and by assemble I mean solder all the components to it the old fashioned way!).
Once that’s assembled and installed (by installed I mean zip-tied to the side of the unit) you wire everything to the motherboard that’s in the belly of the beast. Once you have it all wired up you then have to update the firmware on 2 of the boards in the bottom (which means removing the panel to get o them). Once that’s all done you’re ready to calibrate.
Calibration can be hugely time consuming so for now I’ve just done the quick calibration to tell the bot where the top of the Z axis is (where the nozzle I just installed is). A few minutes after that and I fired up my first print – a small chess piece that I’d been printing on the old extruder so I could do an A-B comparison.
And so here they are – can you tell which one is from the new extruder? I bet you said the one on the right, didn’t you? Well nope, that’s actually from the old, lower resolution one! Remember I haven’t done all the calibration yet (I will) but I’ll admit I was a little disappointed by the results. On the plus side it’s now easily twice as fast as it used to be (these pieces took about 25 minutes before and about 12 now). So progress none the less.
While 3D printing clearly has a long way to go before becoming truly mainstream the Makerbot is a great first step to that goal. It’s a blast to print with and everyone loves watching it create things. I’ve even made something useful, Jason needed a coat hook so rather than buy one I printed him one!
If you haven’t seen yet today we released the music video Jason’s been working on for a long while, I’m a VC. Jason did an outstanding job with the music and video and asked that I create a few custom ringtones from the song. So here they are and here’s how to get them working with your iPhone or Android.
For Android you’ll want to download the the MP3 of the ringtone (right click and choose Save As). Then create a folder on the root of your SD card called “ringtones” and copy the song into there. You can then go select it from the list in settings as it will now show up.
iPhone users will want to download the M4R of the ringtone (right click and choose Save As). You’ll then import this into iTunes into the “Ringtone” section to the left near where Music, Videos, etc. are. Once you’ve done that sync your phone with iTunes then go into settings on the phone to select the ringtone you just added.
This past weekend I drove in my second race and my first full 24 hour endurance race. I won’t keep you in suspense, our team finished in 2nd place. 10 laps behind first and only 2 laps ahead of third. Over a total of 1030 laps. That’s a margin between 1st and 2nd of .1% and from 2nd to 3rd of .2% Over 24 hours. Yes, it was close.
I’ve been driving on tracks for about 5 years now. I started in a Nissan 350Z and then moved to a Subaru Legacy Spec.B that I heavily modified for the track (she was a really fun car). My current track car is a Lotus Exige, basically a race car that is street legal and is completely amazing on the track. I do mostly open lapping days, where you go drive at race speed but don’t actually race (I wouldn’t want to risk hitting another driver in my Lotus). I also do a number of club events (BMW, Z Car, Lotus, etc) where I instruct students of all levels. Only last year did I finally get a chance to race wheel-to-wheel in a 24 Hours of Lemons race. It wasn’t a full 24 hours (9 day one, 6 day two) and was much more about the fun/party than the competition. The being said the thrill of racing wheel to wheel definitely infected me and I’ve been looking forward to doing it again ever since.
Enter Chump Car. The idea is you buy a $500 car and turn it into a racer. You spend what is required to make the car safe: a full roll cage, racing seat, harnesses, fire extinguisher, etc. You’re obviously required to wear a helmet and are also required to wear some sort of head and neck restraint system. I, and a large percentage of drivers, wear the HANS device (Head And Neck Safety) that was designed after Dale Enrehart was killed in a NASCAR race. While it’s uncomfortable I wear it in my Lotus as well and won’t drive hard without it. So while you can upgrade safety equipment in any way you’d like you aren’t allowed to spend more than $500 to “make it go”.
When building the car you are allowed to do things to make it faster that don’t cost money. Essentially you strip everything from the car, and I mean everything. Carpets? Nope. Headliner and door panels? No thanks. You take it all out, all wires, windows, weather stripping, everything. In goes the roll cage and safety seat/harnesses and that’s it. You can easily remove up to 1000+ lbs out of a car by doing this. That completely changes how the car handles as now you have a very light car with a relatively powerful engine (when compared to it’s weight). Our Chump Car racer, the beloved Smurf, is a 1984 BMW 325e. There are two very important bits of information in that name, first the “25e”. That means the motor is a 2.5 liter inline 6 cylinder engine. The “e” stands for economy and if that doesn’t sound good for racing you’re right, it isn’t. With a scortching 121hp (when new, 27 years ago – she now has less than 100hp) and a redline of 4500 rpms (a friends mini van has a 6500 rpm redline) she’s not exactly over powered. The good news however is that “3″, meaning this is a BMW E30 chassis car, one of the best chassis ever built and still raced in many series worldwide. But virtuallly never with the “e” motor (the “i” or “is” is far more desireable).
You are allowed to make minor, inexpensive upgrades based on your car and it’s condition. Difference series have different rules and yes, there are teams that cheat and either run cars that are above $500 or upgraded in hidden ways. Many times this does the teams no good as they have mechanical problems and lose valuable time or can’t even finish the race. This is the beautfy of Smurf, she just goes and goes and goes. She’s consistantly quick, just not fast. Teams can be assested penalty laps by the judges if they deem the car to be outside the rules and spirt of the race. And that spirit really is a bunch of guys having fun where it’s not the team with the deepest pockets that wins. We stayed very much legal as an E30 BMW is considered a $500 as is – so no upgrades are allowed at all. Brakes are considered safety items so you can run pretty much any pads you’d like. There are also limits on tires, basically good summer performance tires are all that’s allowed (no racing slicks).
The first thing you realize when auto racing is that it is very much a team sport. Your mechanic is quickly your best friend. Lee, our resident genius, had the car in fantastic condition when we arrived. Whlie we did have 2 minor mechanical issues (faulty ground wire and a throttle cable came loose) Lee expertly handled both issues in a matter of minutes. Seeing him upside down in the car fixing the throttle cable with a ziptie was great. Remember, this is Chump Car.
The racing. The racing is amazing. Yes, the speeds are much lower than I drive in my Lotus. But since we are all on a fairly level playing field the racing is extremely close. There are 2 basic classes of teams. Competitive and the guys simply having fun. No matter which camp you are in you’ll have an amazing time. Teams that have cars break on the 10th lap still have a great time. Most teams have a theme and while the racing is real no one takes it too seriously. We fell into the competitive group but as we rarely take anything seriously the main focus was on fun.
This race was several firsts for me. My first 24 hour endurance race. My first time driving in Smurf. My first time driving on Pikes Peak International Raceway. My first time racing at night. It all made for the most exciting 24 hours of my life. As there were 4 of us on the team each of us drove 6, 2 hour shifts. My slots were 1-3 p.m., 9-11 p.m. and 5-7 a.m. I was glad my first laps were in the daylight so I could learn the track. The track is a 1.3 mile “roval” – we used part of the NASCAR oval (about 2/3 of it) then you duck into the infield of the track for a 6 corner road course then back onto the oval. It took my first session to really get the track under me and honestly I was disappointed that I wasn’t picking it up quicker. After talking with our fast driver, Frank Amoroso, I realized I simply wasn’t pushing the car hard enough (was being too nice to Smurf). My next session began with a tiny bit of daylight remaining. The last thing I asked the team as I left the pit was “why aren’t my headlights on?”. Unfortunately for my next 2 hours they were…
Driving at night was amazing. After talking with Frank I knew where and how hard I could push – and push I did. I dropped my lap times by 5 seconds and was now running faster than almost everyone. In fact I was killing the field as everyone slowed way down at night as it was rather, well, thrilling. Coming off the oval in the daylight I could see the entry roughly 1000 feet away. At night, with my horrible headlights I could see maybe 100 feet in front of the car, maybe. There were only 5 small cones with a 2″ reflective band around them to tell you where the corner was. Sometimes I’d catch a car there and could use their headlights to see where to go. I generally don’t think of this sport as ballsy (nor of myself) but there is no doubt about it – it took balls of steel to drive flat out in the dark. Smurf also loved the night. The cool air breathed new life into her and all of a sudden she had extra power letting her pull out of corners so much better. In my 2 hour session I was only passed a total of 4 times (and lapped most of the other 20 cars 3-4 times). It was simply fantastic.
As we did 2 hour driver stints (the longest allowed) at each change there is work to do. The driver getting out of the car is helped by the driver getting in the car (disconnecting the radio, harness, etc). The exiting driver throws his helment and gloves off to then help the new driver get all set. Seat, radio cable, harness, HANS. All the while another person in full fire gear fuels the car and the 4th stands ready with the fire extigunisher. You aren’t allowed to do anything to the car while it is being fueled, other than change drivers. Once fueling is done you can do anything else necessary; changing tires, checking the oil, fixing minor issues, etc. If you take fuel you’re required to spend at lesat 5 minutes (fueling takes about 3.5 minutes) so you can easily change 2 tires in that time.
As it came time to my 5 a.m. stint I was getting rather tired. I’m not a napper and as there was something to do every 2 hours I didn’t have much time anyway. Frank drove the stint before me and moved us from 5th to 3th place. 15 seconds after getting in the car I wasn’t tired at all as you become so completely and totally focused on what you’re doing everything else is tuned out. Are you hot, yes. Are you uncomfortable from the extremely tight harnesses, yes? None of it matters, the only thing that matters is driving. When I came out of pit lane I slotted in front of one of the Porsche 944s. Does that sound like a $500 car to you? Something that my little Smurf could actually race? Well Smurf and I rose to the challenge. For 1 hour and 45 minutes straight that 944 tried to get around us. For 1 hour and 45 minutes it failed. Remember, cheaters never prosper.
As the sun rose and I could see slightly better I started turning my fastest laps. I was able to move us from 3rd to 2nd place and put us 1 lap ahead of 3rd. Smurf was alive and and as the sun rose I handed her off to Lee. He killed it and moved us up by another lap over 3rd place. Going into the final session we were roughly 20 laps out of first and our faithful anchor, Gene, held our 2nd place spot extremely well (with a slightly less powerful Smurf as it was warming up). After the race Gene piloted Smurf into victory lane for inspection by the judges (final cheaters check). All finishing cars were legal (a Saab turbo rocketship came in first) so we moved onto the award ceremony. Our 2nd place trophy is a welded nuts and bolts warrior on a brake disk and it went home with our amazing 5th team member – Smurf. We also won 2 bottles of wine and $575 in prize money meaning that I am now offically a professional racing driver (riiiight). I am looking forward to the wine.
The entire experience was a death bed memory. From the racing to the friendships to the shear jackassery it was all amazing. I feel incredibly fortunate to be involved in this sport and hope I have many years of driving and racing ahead of me. If this sounds at all interesting to you I’d suggest finding a local driving club and going to a track day with them. You’ll be safe, you’re car will be safe and you’ll have an amazing time. My first day was with the BMW club (whom I now instruct with) and I suppose it’s where I caught the addiction. As I told a friend recently: “Do drugs instead. They’re cheaper and you won’t loose your life to them”.
One of the biggest thing I don’t like about OS X is the Finder. I think it’s a far cry from the Windows Explorer (which I love). So I’ve been on the search to find plugins for it to make it work a little more the way I like. My first good find, TotalFinder.
TotalFinder adds a few things that I love, namely tabs in Finder (keeps my desktop much less cluttered) and my favorite feature (and the reason I sought it out) – sorting of folders. In Windows Explorer will keep all folders sorted together at the top of the list, then files sorted after that. Finder just sorts everything in one list, mixing folders and files (unless you sort by type which I don’t like either). TotalFinder “fixes” this by sorting the folders first then the files second.
There are a few other great things about TotalFinder – like being able to bind a hotkey to bring up a huge Finder window anytime (solving another thing I missed – The Win+E shortcut to open Explorer on Windows).
Hi, I'm Ross Carlson, a 15 year technology expert from Boulder, Colorado. An Atlanta native, I attended Georgia State University majoring in saxophone performance. I enjoy hiking, biking, gaming and auto racing.