Tech Tip Tuesday – Web-based storage

June 25th, 2013

So I like to tinker with technology.  Mostly technology that can help me and others increase productivity or simplify lives.  One of my favorite tech tools and lifesavers for the past few years is Dropbox.

Dropbox[1]Why did I fall in love with Dropbox?  It is easy.  Easy to install and mindless once installed.  I can access and share files stored in Dropbox from my home (PC) computer, my Android phone, my iPad or any web-connected device any place, any where.   I can also add files to my Dropbox from any web-connected device any place, any where.  I have the app on my Android phone set to automatically sync all photos taken on my phone to my Dropbox.  It keeps copies of my files on it’s cloud based servers.  I use it as my file back-up in place of Mozy or Carbonite back-up systems.  You may be asking if your files are secure on Dropbox.  A username and log-in is required to access your files in Dropbox.   They use bank-level encryption security.  That is not to say there will never be a  security breach as there have been with Dropbox but there also have been security breaches in major banks and the White House.

What is Dropbox?  It can be defined as a  file hosting service operated by Dropbox, Inc., a San Francisco based technology company.   Dropbox offers cloud storage and file synchronization across platforms . Users downloads software from the Dropbox website which creates a specified folder on their computer.  The folder (labeled Dropbox) can replace the Documents folder so when you save a file, you save it to the Dropbox folder.  It is a physical folder which lives on your computer’s hard drive.  Dropbox then synchronizes so that it appears in the same folder (with the same contents) regardless of which computer/web-enabled device is used to view it.   You can think of it as a virtual thumb-drive.

How much does it all cost?  Dropbox offers all users 2GB of storage free.  If you refer friends or colleagues, they give the referrer and referee 250MB bonus.  All links to Dropbox in this post will give new Dropbox users the bonus 250MB.  Users receive 250MB for each new referee they refer up to 16GB.  Yes, 2.25GB of storage may not seem like much but it is great to get you started and to test out the program.  If you think about it, you are only storing files on your Dropbox not software or programs.  (I do not back-up my music through Dropbox.  My music is backed-up through iTunes. ) You can purchase additional space.  100GB of storage is $99 yearly.  My Dropbox has 63GB.  I am only using 42GB.  I have never paid.  Huh, how?  In addition to offering bonus space for new referrals, Dropbox offers users specials from time to time.  Currently, Samsung mobile users can receive 48GB of free space for activating the Dropbox app on their mobile device.  The Samsung / Dropbox promo is valid until 11/20/2014.  There are numerous other ways to increase your Dropbox by getting free storage.

So you can add files to your Dropbox from your computer, your tablet and your phone but you can also add files to your Dropbox using email through  Send To Dropbox.  You give permission for Send To Dropbox to connect to your Dropbox account.  Once connected, they provide you with a personalized email address.  Whenever you find something you want to save to your Dropbox, you email it to your Send To Dropbox email.  You can also give other people your Send To Dropbox email address when they need to send you a file.  Once it is received by your Dropbox account, you can access the file by your computer or any web-enabled device.  Pretty cool?

If you are new to Dropbox, check it out.  Once you have had some experience or if you are a veteran Dropbox user, please let us know what you think.  What has your experience been?  Have you found any other cool ways to add to or access your Dropbox?

Portions of this post are excerpts from Wikipedia and the Dropbox website.

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