Dropbox is certainly not a new product. The company was founded back in 2007. It has grown steadily and for some of us, it has become something that we rely on in our every day lives. For me it is a critical part of how I do things whether it is sharing document with others, or making sure that I can access it anywhere I go. In addition it would difficult to bridge the gap between Windows and the file handling lunacy of IOS. It is a simple program at heart, but the tasks it performs is extremely important to many of us. It is mind boggling to me why companies like Microsoft and Apple did have some like this long ago that works seamlessly across so many platforms.
What is Dropbox?
To realize the importance of Dropbox, you need to understand what it does. Imagine a small piece of software that you install on your client, that attaches to your documents folder and creates a folder called “Dropbox”. Whatever files you copy to that sub folder would automatically get uploaded to your account and synchronized to all your devices regardless of platform, and all for free. If that sounds good to you then Dropbox is for you.
Here are a few ways that I use Dropbox to put its usefulness into perspective.
- I use it as a default capture directory for things like SnagIt and other programs. I do allot of screen captures so I set the default capture directory for all my computers to a Dropbox folder so I never have hunt around to find my files. Everything ends up in a common location so it is easy to find things.
- All things I work on routinely are copied to Dropbox for file portability, as it is safer and more flexible than USB stick. Since all you have to do is save a file, you no longer need to carry USB sticks. When you go to friends or a business meeting, you do not have to worry that you do not have the right files with you.
- Folder Sharing – Setting up a share folder between your friends or associates is easy and seamless. Just drop a file in your shared folder and they get it without worry of emailing, attachment sizes or versioning.
These are just a few uses but I think you get the idea. Below are some sample screen shots to give you a perspective of using Dropbox on three different devices. The PC, iPad, and iPhone.
PC Desktop Version
One of the main things for me is carrying files around so I that I have instant access to them whether it be on another computer or another device.
The iPad version is very powerful and definitely fills in the void in the way IOS handles files. It helps you go a bit outside of the extreme limitations of Apple’s approach. Not only can you easily port your files with you, you can copy things to it, link it to other third party applications, and of course launch any associated apps right from inside Dropbox.
Attach Dropbox to you photo libraries.
The iPhone version is similar to the iPad version without the benefit of the extra screen space that you can use for previewing the files. You can still launch third party apps, link to other applications, and of course carry you files with you.
I guess if I have to give this a one word description I would have to say it is essential. This program is useful and functional on every level. One of the great things is that you can use free with up to 2 Gigs. Of course as your storage requirement increase, you may have to purchase some additional storage, however if you keep in perspective you probably will never have to add storage. I have been using it for almost t two years and as you can see from the image in the first section, I am only using 38% of my 2Gig storage. Remember it is not a cloud backup but it is cloud solution that deals with the portability of your key files. You have no risk in trying it so I would suggest you try it for yourself. I am sure that you too will find this an essential tool for your toolbox and something that you will find invaluable.