Scrivener comparison: Dropbox vs OneDrive

Dropbox vs. OneDrive smiley_abxe

I recently upgraded my laptop’s hard drive, swapping out the stock 5400rpm spinner for an SSD. Despite the 3Gb SATA motherboard connection, vs the SSD’s own 6Gb SATA capability, the new setup flies in the Dell 3531.

About a 30% improvement in battery life too, quite noticeable.

What does this have to do with Scrivener? Like most I’m sure, I use a cloud synced project file between two computers.

New hard drive means reinstalling the operating system, Windows 8.1 in this case. It’s kind of grown on me, enough to bide my time for the free Windows 10 upgrade. (Win 7 still my fave so far :D)

So let’s get to it, Dropbox vs. OneDrive:

– Both are cloud based and save files locally on the computer, in a folder, just like all Window’s users know. There’s an important OneDrive setting concerning Windows 8.1 but we’ll ignore it and you’ll see why.

– Both are cloud synced. A change to a file on Computer 1 will migrate to all other computers housing that same file, under the same profile/login.

Here’s where it detonates, specifically with Windows 8.1, and, I strongly anticipate, with Windows 10. (this is not actually an issue with Win 7)

You need to LOGIN to your computer with your Live account. It’ll be that info, that profile, that cloud sync across multiple computers.

“Hey, all that sounds great, what’s your malfunction dude?”

Simple, the damn re-install absolutely REFUSED to accept the correct password, insisting that it was wrong. So what did I do? On another computer I logged into my Live account, using the password the login kept rejecting, to change the password. Done.

Does it accept the new password? Nope. I even created an entirely new Live account as a form of getting past the login stage. Right? Nope.

Oh, new install too, did I mention that? Yeah so there are no other profiles to log in with. You have to restart in Safe Mode, use the root Admin to log in, create a ….. forget it, not germane to this discussion.

But, as you’re guessing, without that PARTICULAR login there is no access to your current OneDrive on Windows 8.1. There is no standalone OneDrive program (like there is for Dropbox), to THEN login. OneDrive is built in to 8.1 and that’s just how it is.

With Windows 7 there IS a OneDrive install and you can use it just like DropBox.

“Well just apply the solution that Microsoft has posted.” Good luck finding it.

There is no solution folks, I looked, and I knew it was terminal when I tried that brand new profile.

You’re probably wondering why it worked with the original install but not the re-install. I still wonder that as well.

Anyway, once I used the Cheater Pipe of Victory to force a new profile into Win 8.1, the same sort of profile one would use with Win 7 and before, I set up Dropbox and migrated my stuff onto it. Even after applying the various Windows updates I haven’t even bothered to try to login again with the Live account. I’m not going to risk losing access to my Scrivener projects, even temporarily.

Dropbox is still set up to have it’s own login, making it entirely independent of the computer profile login.
The second reason is that Scrivener’s forthcoming iOS app syncs through Dropbox.

Those two reasons alone are why Dropbox is better.


Working Split Screen in Scrivener

I searched around the net for an answer to this one.
I wanted to rewrite a chapter while looking at it, but without changing it.

What? Speak English man.

Basically I wanted to follow along on my old chapter while rewriting the new one.

Working Split Screen in Scrivener
Working Split Screen in Scrivener

If you ever tried to rewrite as you go you know that keeping track of your thoughts gets logarithmically more difficult after the first three sentences are rewritten.
This way I could go split screen and keep the old chapter in front of me (without printing out a copy).
Just hit the Split Screen graphic in the upper right of the active window n’est-ce pas?

Sort of. You end up with two screens of the current chapter. The moment you change something in the right window it shows up on the left window.

That’s when I took to the net. But the answers were wordier than this is getting to be.

The solution is simple.

Duplicate your chapter and rename it by adding OLD to the name.
Just right-click on the chapter, Duplicate, and presto, same chapter. But to Scrivener it is different.
Go back to your split screen. The active window has the chapter name underlined. Click on the title bar of your left window, go down your left hand chapter list and click a chapter. You’ll see the ACTIVE window change to the new chapter, while the other one remains on the other chapter.

That’s it. Click the title bar of the window, go over and click your chapter, click the OTHER window title bar, click the OTHER chapter.

‘Chapter’ and ‘Chapter OLD’ are now next to each other. 😀


Laptop review – Dell Inspiron 15 (3531 model)

Out of the blue last week I decided to check out the website.


I was blindsided with a $250 price on a brand new laptop. 😀

Inspiron 15 1632_1023

This will be mostly about the ergonomics of living with, and using, the non-touchscreen laptop as a writing tool.

Executive Summary (specs at the bottom)

If you’re looking for a basic, inexpensive laptop for text based productivity I can recommend this model.

* Price
* Battery life
* Thinness
* Upgradability
* Weight
* Price. “You said that.” Yeah, it’s worth mentioning twice.

Potential Cons:
* Wideness
* Keyboard positioning as a consequence of having a number pad

(Dell website Screenshot from Feb 2, 2015)
Dell Inspiron 3531 dell site 1

I started checking out the specs, though I knew deep down I would already be buying it lol. But the car needs tires!

The specs were rather generic … but that price!

Still it was fine for what originally sent me on the search saga … a dedicated writing tool.

I began reading reviews and watching youtube videos for the Dell 3531 (forget the videos, they’re crap).

It had enough goodies to suffice; the speedy 802.11n wifi, a built-in SD card slot, two USB 2.0 ports (plenty of speed), an HDMI Out port, a stereo headphone jack, no fan so it’s very quiet annnnnnnd :drumroll: …. a 6 hour battery life.

Yeah, not bad, not bad at all quite frankly. When it comes to a portable, wireless device battery life is king.

And this 3531 model is near the top of the mountain for battery life.


Alas there were no options available. This is the Model-T of laptops. No SSD hard drive option, which was my specific desired option.

But hark! Changing the hard drive is very simple indeed. (those particular youtube videos are worth watching)

No media of any sort comes with the laptop. There is the Dell program for creating a backup and recovery disk but physical media from the factory was better.

Turns out you can request it from Dell. I got on the Chat thing on their site, gave the tech my service tag number and presto, arrived yesterday. It’s even shipped on a USB stick. That simplifies things since the laptop doesn’t have an optical drive either (no big loss there).
Dell tells me that the key/serial number is built into the motherboard.

The SSD hard drive gets rid of the last moving piece. The drive that comes with the laptop is your typical 500gb 5400rpm spinning hard drive.

So with the SSD you gain a bunch of data transfer speed and lose the moving parts. Very tempting.

The catch? An SSD of equal capacity is nearly the same price as the entire laptop. I suppose a 250gb SSD would be ok.

Another change one can make is to switch the single 4gb RAM module for one 8gb RAM module.
So far the 4gb is adequate.

Moving on … the system is running my key programs, such as Photoshop 7 and Solidworks 2007 engineering CAD, just fine so far. Those two are, of course, legacy programs of sorts but they work well for my purposes.

The ultimate writer’s tool, Scrivener, runs fine as well.

Oddly enough, the modern versions of WEB programs struggle a bit. Probably due to the Java. The browser based iCloud Pages, Facebook, Twitter, etc … I suppose these are heavy on the Java/Flash type algorithms. They stutter at times.

Maybe the 8gb RAM module would help in that respect.

Physically the laptop runs rather wide, a full 15″. You’ll need the laptop bag for 15.6in models (or larger).
Like most 15.6in screen laptops out there in computer land this one has a full number pad on the right. It’s a rather roomy keyboard, basically a 2/3 version of a desktop keyboard/numpad.

A consequence of this positioning is that your hands are offset to the left a bit. They position the touchpad slightly left to accommodate that positioning.

I’m still getting used to it. All the laptops I’ve used in the past were just the keyboard, no number pad.

The keyboard itself is not backlit. That would have been nice.

The keys have a nice, tactile press to them. You don’t feel compelled to hammer on the keys to get the keystroke to register on screen. The keys are rather quiet. You could type away in a quiet room without overly disturbing anyone.

Overall I give the keyboard a 8.5/10. If you’re a spreadsheet and data entry person you’d likely give it an 11/10.

The touchpad has two separate buttons at it’s base and the click rather loudly ‘KA-CHAK’. The surface is slightly rough, not the smooth-rough of an Apple touchpad.
There is a Dell program built-in that allows for multiple gesture options which is very nice. The gestures don’t respond as smoothly as on an Apple laptop, possibly due to the speed of the system vs any actual issue with the touchpad or control program.
I give the touchpad a 7.5/10.

The fanless design means you have a silent laptop. You can feel the ‘hum’ of the spinning hard drive, and if you put your ear on the laptop you can hear the drive but otherwise that’s it for sensory inputs from the laptop.

The screen is nothing to write home about, again ‘adequate’, but not something that would impress a photographer/videographer.

Though, due to the width of the computer, the screen is 16:9. Movies work perfectly on the laptop. I installed iTunes and downloaded some of my HD movies and they looked just fine at full brightness. It wasn’t real HD as the screen maxes at 1366×768 but it did look good.

The screen/lid is really thin, as is the computer base. When you close it up the laptop is nice and slim, just one inch thick. It’s rather nice really.

It’s a pretty neat Model-T.

Overall I think I’ll keep it and throw in the SSD in a month or so 😀

Specs (click for larger)

Dell Inspiron 3531 dell site 2

Dell Inspiron 3531 dell site 3

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