Dropbox Dropped the Ball, but They Are Working to Recover it.

Blog Date: 
Tuesday, March 26, 2013

By Amy Mason

 

Broken.  Dropbox is broken.  More specifically, the Dropbox desktop client is broken.  I am just a little heartbroken, or possibly a lot.  
All right, let me back up the truck here, for those of you who don’t know what Dropbox is, it is (when it’s accessible,) a marvelous tool that allows users to store documents on the internet, and have them pushed to all of their devices.  Mac, PC, iPhone, Android, and Linux are all supported.  (I know I am actually forgetting a few other platforms here, but you get the point).  When folks are collaborating  on a project, or want to share something with friends, Dropbox allows them to set up general sharing folders, or ones specifically for sharing just between the collaborators.  It’s a great program that has been favorably received by massive swaths of the population, both sighted and blind.  

When it is installed on a computer, Dropbox creates a local folder which contains all of the information in a user’s online Dropbox, and keeps this synced with all the user’s other machines, so although it looks to a user as though they are working on only the local copy of their document, as soon as they hit save, it is beamed to the rest of the user’s devices.  This part is still accessible.
However, as of version 2.0 of the software, (which is more or less the latest version) the Dropbox client software is no longer exposed to screen access software on the PC, or the Mac.  A user is unable to see how much space they have remaining, set user preferences, view the list of most recently changed files, or even open the folder from their System tray.  (These were all features that could be utilized in the older Dropbox client).  Nor can they take advantage of any of the new features of the client, like the ability to accept invitations to shared folders without going to the website.  

I was about to start saying scathing things, as I was pretty upset by these facts, as I love my Dropbox, and feared for its continued existence.  However, on a visit to their page to finish up this post I discovered two things that make me very happy.   
1.  A user can downgrade to older versions of the software.  
2.  They are working actively to fix the screen access bug, so hopefully they will have it up and running for us all on the latest, version, but until then, we have a workaround, and can keep using the service.
If you have upgraded to version 2+ and need to downgrade, you can re-install Dropbox 1.6.18 (accessible) until the problem is fixed.  The only thing that you should be aware of is that according to the announcement for the 2.0 client  “You will also have to disable "Include me on earlier releases" from the web settings otherwise you will get auto-updated.”

I’m sorry to see the client broken, but I am deeply grateful that the Dropbox team is working to fix the problem and has given us an option for rolling back so that we can keep using the software.  I look forward to getting to enjoy the new features, and hope they can get the accessible interface out to us soon.