From The Tips Box: Multiple Dropbox Accounts, Twitter Notes And More

Readers offer their best tips for running multiple instances of Dropbox at once, using Twitter to jot down notes and ideas for yourself, and using Google Docs to manage money between friends.

About the Tips Box: Every day we receive boatloads of great reader tips in our inbox, but for various reasons — maybe they're a bit too niche, maybe we couldn't find a good way to present it, or maybe we just couldn't fit it in — the tip didn't make the front page. From the Tips Box is where we round up some of our favourites for your buffet-style consumption. Got a tip of your own to share? Add it in the comments or email it to tips at

Running Multiple Dropbox Instances

Photo by Jean-Baptiste M.

Tino shows us a workaround to have multiple Dropbox accounts running at once:

Dropbox client does not allow you to run multiple instances concurrently but you can get around with this issue by running it as different Windows User Accounts. With a little help of Dropboxen by Dale H, you can easily run multiple instances of Dropbox client concurrently.

Get a copy of Dropboxen here if you haven't. You need to unzip the files into your Dropbox installation folder. The default installation folder is C:Users[Your User Name] AppDataRoamingDropboxbin or C:Program FilesDropbox depending on your OS.

You will need to edit the file Dropboxen.xml but before doing that, you need to create a Windows User Account for each Dropbox account that you will be using (it has to be an Administrator account, not Standard User). For Windows XP, go to Control Panel > User Account > Create a new account, remember to set a password for your account. For Windows Vista or 7, go to Control Panel > User Accounts and Family Safety > Add or remove user accounts, remember to set a password for your account. You will need to login to your new account and install Dropbox client, do this for every single User account. After done with creating User Accounts and installations, log off and switch back to your main account. Let's edit Dropboxen.xml, you can open it with any text-editor:


<?xml version="1.0"?> <root> <accounts> <account username="(windows user account name)" password="(windows user account password)" /> <account username="(windows user account name 2)" password="(windows user account password 2)" /> </accounts> </root>

Now you need to fill in your user accounts and passwords. This is how my Dropboxen.xml looks like:

<?xml version="1.0"?> <root> <accounts> <account username="TinoTK" password="somepassword" /> <account username="Dropbox1" password="pass1" /> <account username="Dropbox2" password="pass2" /> </accounts> </root>

Now go ahead and click on Dropboxen.exe to start Dropbox client again, there should be multiple instances of Dropbox client according to how many accounts you put in Dropboxen.xml. Now you can use multiple Dropbox accounts at the same time. The last thing you need to do is create a shortcut for Dropboxen.exe in your Startup folder.

Using Twitter as a Personal List

Drew gives us a clever use for Twitter:

Use a private twitter account and its RSS feed to easily add personal notes to your RSS reader, particularly useful for those who have a RSS reader on the go. Can be used for to-do, reminders, or maybe hearing yourself think.

I can see this being really useful for "hearing yourself think" — ideas that you don't want cluttering up your workspace or to-do lists, but ideas that you think of on-the-go and want to come back to later on.

A Tab System for Google Docs

Michael shows us how he keeps track of expenses with multiple people involved:

I'm one for efficiency and productivity tools, and I prefer the lifehacker mindset: spend a long time on solutions that will save time. Even if I end up using more time than I saved, I've learned something and created a product as well.

I know that there are many web- and iPhone-based solutions that look pretty cool for this type of thing, but I wanted to make one using Google Docs. The version I came up with has four people in it and allows you to enter up to 100 transactions per person. Under a transaction, enter the amount spent and a 1 under the column of every person who the amount should be shared with. You can use it to share something four ways or for 2- or 3-person splits or loans. Now that we have it, we will regularly pick up dinner for each other and "bill" each other on the tab system. This version also calculates how to settle the tab.

Try it out here, and if you like it, open the read-only version and go to File -> Make a Copy to copy it to your own Google Docs. And please, let me know if you end up using it or making any improvements!

Michael also mentioned that this is all Creative Commons material and encourages other people to use and build upon it.

Deleting Exchange Calendars from the iPhone

swsboarder366 gives us a workaround for deleting calendars off the iPhone:

When I started using the push support of Google calendars on my phone (via Exchange) I was disappointed to find out that I could not delete calendars on my iPhone. Deleting local calendars from iCal, and even unchecking "Sync iCal Calendars" in iTunes still did not remove my old calendars. A quick Google search and I found a working solution in an Apple support forum. The solution was originally for Mobile Me, but works just the same for syncing Google Calendars over the air:

This assumes there is no calendar information that lives only on your iPhone that you want to keep.

On your iPhone, in Settings-Mail, Contacts, Calendars, find your Mobile Me account (or Exchange account), turn off "Calendars". Exit the settings application (hit the button to go back to the home screen), or the next sync will fail.

Temporarily create a calendar in iCal called "Temp" or something. In iTunes under your phone-Info, "Sync iCal calendars", select just that calendar (unchecking the option to sync iCal calendars won't clear out the stranded ones).

Under "Advanced" on the same screen (you might have to scroll down to see it), check "Calendar" under "Replace information on this iPhone"


On iTunes, uncheck "Sync iCal calendars"


On your Mac, delete the temporary "Temp" calendar you created

If you are using Mobile Me (or Exchange):

On your iPhone, go back to Settings-Mail, Contacts, Calendars, find your Mobile Me account, turn "Calendars" back on.

This should leave you only with the Mobile Me (or Exchange) calendars on your iPhone.


    You can actually use the windows "runas" command to spin up multiple instances of DropBox on Windows 7 and Vista (had trouble getting dropboxen working on later version of Windows... plus why install something extra if you don't need too.. :)

    Here's an article describing the method:

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