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How to use Dropbox to sync photos and videos to a DockMaster Work Order


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Dropbox

In today’s fast pace world where details are often missed or forgotten because we all have so much on our minds, the cameras in our smartphones and tablets are becoming in effect our second brains.  When we see something we want to remember like a book, bottle of wine, recipe or new boat, simply taking a picture or recording a short video can help memorialize the event or object for us.

The advent of tools like Dropbox, Google Drive and iCloud have brought the power of the cloud and seemingly unlimited storage to the masses.  Not only do these tools do a great job of backing up all of our critical files in the cloud, they also work on a whole host of devices from Macs to Linux and Windows PCs, and all types of mobile devices including iPhones, iPads and Android devices.

In a busy boatyard or marine service center, it is becoming really important to take before and after photos and often times video footage of boats, engines and other repairs that are taken in.  Using a smartphone or tablet, in conjunction with a tool like Dropbox, you can capture photos and videos of jobs you are working on and sync those to your computer automatically where they can be linked to a DockMaster Work Order.

This tutorial assumes that you already have DockMaster functioning in your marine business.  I will walk you through the steps to configure Dropbox and use it with the DockMaster Service module.

Step 1: Set-up Dropbox on your Mobile Devices

The first thing you need to do is make sure that Dropbox is set-up on any mobile device that will be syncing photos.  You can download Dropbox from the App Store or Google Play.  

iPhone/iPad: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dropbox/id327630330?mt=8
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dropbox.android

NOTE: It is likely that more than one person at your company will be interested in using this feature.  So the first thing that needs to be determined at your company is whether everyone is going to use a common Dropbox account or if each person will have their own version of Dropbox.  This will work either way.  If everyone logs into the same account there is no need to share folders.  This tutorial will address what needs to be done to set this up using multiple Dropbox accounts.

Step 2: Configure Dropbox on your Desktop Computers

Let’s assume that everyone who is using the photo sync feature on their mobile device has set-up Dropbox with their own personal account.  We recommend that a company Dropbox account be created that is used solely for sharing company information.  You can use a common email address to do this like admin@mymarina.com.  It is important that someone at your company can receive email using this address.  Download Dropbox to your desktop computer and log in using this company account.

You will want to create a Shared Folder that everyone who will be syncing photos will have access to.  One of the easiest ways to do this is by logging into Dropbox from a browser.  This way regardless of what Account you use on your computer for Dropbox, you will be able to share folders that are managed by the company account with anyone.  For this tutorial I have Dropbox running on my Mac logged into my personal account as shown below.

@camcollins Dropbox Account

But from a browser I logged into our corporate Dropbox account as follows:

@exumatech Dropbox Account

From this account you will want to create a shared folder.  I created a shared folder called “Work Order Images”: 

Dropbox Share a folder 

You then share the folder with everyone on your team that needs access to these images:

Dropbox Share with others

The other Dropbox users (including yourself if you have your own personal copy of Dropbox on your computer) will get an email saying that they’ve been invited to a Dropbox shared folder. 

@camcollins Dropbox shared folder

Click on “View folder” and you will be prompted to accept the invitation and then your browser will access that folder.  

NOTE:  If you don’t see the pop-up below then it is likely that you have not signed off of your company Dropbox account.  Log off of the company Dropbox account and then try clicking “View folder” again.  You will know if you haven’t logged off if you get a message saying that you are already a member of this folder.

 @camcollins Shared folder invitations

Ok…at this point Dropbox should be completely set-up on your computer and if you are using “Selective Sync” the shared folder is now likely in your File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac).  A good way to configure these shared work order folders is to create folders for each work order using the work order number.  This is not a requirement as some people put the work number at the beginning of the name of the photo or video.

Here is an example of this folder in both MacOS… 

@camcollins Work Order images

 

and in Windows…

Windows Work Order images

The last step in the set-up process is to ensure that you have enabled the camera import.  Click the Dropbox icon at the top right of your screen and select “Preferences”.  In Preferences make sure that ‘Enable Dropbox camera import’ button is checked.

Enable Dropbox camera import   

Step 3: Syncing Photos to your Desktop Computer

For the purpose of this tutorial, I will use some photos I took of a 22′ Glacier Bay on a lift.  Let’s say that the owner wanted to bottom paint this boat.  When taking photos of the vessel I noticed a long scratch in the side above the boot stripe.  To ensure that it is documented with a timestamp that the boat arrived this way, I took a number of photos of it.  I also took photos of the tannish water line so I can validate with the customer that the bottom paint should be at or slightly above this line.

Glacier Bay

Your smartphone or tablet will sync with your computer when it is plugged in via a USB cable.  When the device is plugged in you may see a pop-up like this.

Save Your Photos to Dropbox

Simply click ‘Start Import’.  The photos (and videos) on your device will sync with a folder in your Dropbox folder called “Camera Uploads”.  Depending on how many photos are on your device, this could take some time.  One of the nice things about the camera upload feature is Dropbox names the photos by date and time.  This way it is relatively easy to pick out which photos should be attached to which jobs.

Since we created a shared folder for each work order, you can now move the photos from Camera Uploads to the appropriate work order folder.  In the example below note that the photos have been moved to the appropriate folder and renamed to reflect what the photo represents:

Upload Work Order image

Step 4: Add Photos to the Work Order

The example below shows a Work Order I created to paint the bottom.

DockMaster Work Order

Now go into the Work Order in DockMaster and select “Attach Photo(s)” from the selection of buttons on the left.  Clicking the little box in the center with the three dots […] will bring up the Picture Locations window allowing you to browse your photos and videos.  At this point we will want to browse to the shared Dropbox folder called “Work Order Images” and then to the work order number pertaining to this job.  

DockMaster Picture Locations

Search for the photos that you want to add to this operation and click Open.  It is necessary to attach photos one at a time.  You can also add a description of the photo to the right.

DockMaster Attach Photos

Future Considerations:  There are a number of improvements that we can make to the “Attach Photo(s)” feature.  For starters the word “photos” is a misnomer because you can attach any file type (e.g. Word, Excel, PDFs, etc).  It would be nice to be able to add more than one photo (file) at a time.  Also we should provide some type of preview function or to launch the file in the appropriate app.  For instance, if the file is a photo it should launch your default photo browser and if its a video your favorite video player.  

Be on the look out for some of these additions in our upcoming 8.0 release.

Important Daily Tasks for your Business


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Marine Business Checklist

 

Part of any organized business includes a standard set of tasks that must be completed on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.  To make the job of management easier, it is a best business practice to have an established list of tasks per department and all the way down to the position level.  As part of our Client Services implementation process, we ensure that those daily, weekly and monthly tasks are taught to each department to effectively manage their DockMaster or RVMaster system.

Unfortunately there is often turn-over in businesses and sometimes those daily, weekly and monthly tasks are not passed down to new employees, thus breaking down systems meant to keep your business running at its most efficient level.  In this blog post we are going to review some of the most important daily tasks for the departments in your business.

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How I get things done


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Today, yesterday, and tomorrow words on blackboard

Like most people I struggle with time management.  I’ve read lots of different books and techniques on how to find more time, be more effective and how to incorporate a system to manage time.  It wasn’t until I read Getting Things Done by David Allen that I think I finally made some sense of it all.  That’s because Allen comes right out and says “you can’t manage time”.  Time is going to march on, with or without you.  What you can manage is your inbox.  All of the crap thats in your head, on your desk, stuffed in draws, in your email inbox, on your phone, files on your computer, etc, etc.  This is the only thing you can manage.  Are you letting crap stack up that is getting unattended to, or do you have a process for managing all of the stuff that comes to you.

The second aha moment for me was Evernote.  I have had an Evernote account for a while but I never really used it effectively.  But when I stumbled across a series of videos called The Secret Weapon   These videos show you how to use Evernote to manage your inbox and actions in accordance to the GTD principles.  I have modified and extended some of these ideas to a process that works well for me.  For instance, I did not like the way they diverged from GTD in terms of how they file actions.  I have adapted my process more closely to the one recommended by Allen.

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How we converted our mobile app to iOS 7 in 7-days


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ios-7-big-logo

I stumbled on it quite by accident. I was aware that the 2013 Apple WW Developer Conference was happening but I really had no intention of checking it out.  However on Monday, June 10th, I was having trouble focusing, so I decided to go ahead and join the streaming session where I caught the Jony Ive video about iOS 7 and the subsequent demo given by Apple’s VP of Engineering, Craig Federighi.

We had just released our first mobile app a few months ago in the Apple App Store.  We are preparing the Android version of our app for release and now after watching the sleek new “flattened” departure from skeuomorphism, my thought was crap, we now have yet another platform to build for.

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How to make better employee decisions in your marine business


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employee management marine business

Employees are often both our largest cost in business as well as the most important asset to effectively manage. As any business owner knows, the management of this important asset is one of the most complex aspects of running a business. I recently heard Rand Fishkin speak about the difficulties of management in a technology start-up and realized the principles he was working on in a fast growing start-up were the same as what we deal with in the RV and Marine industries on a regular basis. Some business problems are the same, across all industries and it made me want to know how others have dealt the age old problem of how to best manage a team of smart, hard working people in order to get maximum efficiency and profitability for our businesses.

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Top five things to consider before building a mobile app for your business


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building a mobile app

Lightning struck close to our house the other day and our internet went out. When AT&T arrived the service tech pulled out his iPad, plugged it into the cable box and started running diagnostics tests on our system. Five years ago mobile apps consisted of Emojicons and simple games, today mobile apps are becoming ubiquitous business tools that help organizations stay connected and productive regardless of location.  Getting our first app in Apple’s AppStore was a learning experience for us in terms of working with remote developers and patiently working through the app submittal process. We are proud to be the first company to make a mobile app available in the AppStore that is completely dedicated to marina operators. But as I reflect back on the experience, I thought it might be useful to consider whether a mobile app is really for every business, all the time.

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Can Content Marketing and Social Media help my marine business?


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marine business

Welcome to Part 3 of our series on Internet Marketing 101. This post is going to explore a specific technique of Online Marketing commonly referred to as Content Marketing. This title is a large umbrella that covers specific strategies including content creation and distribution on social media channels to spread your marketing message across the internet, and in turn drive traffic to your website. The creation of content is meant to communicate with your potential customers using valuable, non-sales based information.

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Internet Marketing 101 for your Marine Business – Paid Search


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marine business paid search

Welcome to Part 2 of our series on Internet Marketing 101, where we talk about paid search marketing for marine businesses. After we recently offered a free Online Learning Summit class about Internet Marketing, we had great interest from our customer base, so we thought we would outline the information for those of you that couldn’t attend with a blog post. The class was two hours long and contained quite a bit of information, so this post is going to be broken out into 3 parts over the next couple of weeks. Part 1 covered organic search engine marketing.

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Internet Marketing 101 for your Marine business – Organic Search


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Internet Marketing for Marine Business

We recently offered a free Online Learning Summit class about Internet Marketing.  In the past when we did these type of classes, we had great interest from our customer base, so we thought we would outline the information for those of you that couldn’t attend with a blog post.  The class was two hours long and contained quite a bit of information, so this post is going to be broken out into 3 parts over the next couple of weeks.  The first post is about organic search engine optimization and will cover the basics that any marketing person or business owner should know about their website.

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Exuma online training is evolving! Learn about the upcoming ExumaU.


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Exuma online training

For the past couple of years, Exuma has offered online training to our DockMaster and RVMaster customers through our Online Learning Summit.  This has included webinar style classes held twice a week, saving our customers time and money from traditional onsite training options.  They have been wildly popular and have provided great value to our customers as they hire new employees or just want existing staff to know how to utilize the system better.  We are excited to announce the development of the next generation of online training, ExumaU.

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