When Marie and Heidi asked for reading input for Thursday Things, I immediately thought of my current obsession – my Dropbox account. Dropbox is a cloud computing site offering free space for you to save files, pictures, musics, etc. The “cloud” basically refers to Web storage space located outside of your computer in a location you can access from any device on which you have Web access. This includes computers, as well as phones and various ithings. (If you have seen those annoying “to the cloud” commercials, this is what they are talking about.)
So how does it work? When you install Dropbox you get a folder added to your computer. Then it is as easy as dragging and dropping files into the Dropbox folder. In addition to your main folder, there are subfolders for content you want to share (that others can access if you give them a URL) or for photos (to allow folks to look at your pictures, download copies, etc. Again, only with a URL). By logging in online, you can access these files anywhere. Or you can install a Dropbox app on your iphone, etc and connect to them that way.
So why am I obsessed with this? First off, I got my account after reading an article by Jane on the Dear Author site. Jane is a guru of all kinds of techie ebook things. She recommended using Dropbox as a place to store an ebook library so you can access it remotely. It also gets your books saved where you can control them, rather than on B&N or Kobo’s site, etc. So how does this work? I use Calibre (another awesome free program) as my ebook library. Following her instructions, I moved my book library to Dropbox. Now using the Dropbox app for my iphone, I can read all my books wherever I am. This comes in so handy when I find myself out with an unexpected 10 minutes. I can just open up my book and start reading! Plus, I can access my books from any computer, anywhere.
But Dropbox is not just good for books. I work from a Mac desktop but often have to use my PC laptop for certain work programs. I save my active documents in my Dropbox folder. Then I can switch back and forth between computers and my files are all accessible in both places in real time. I could obviously use a thumb drive and keep physically moving files back and forth. But this is so seamless, it makes working between multiple devices so easy. And obviously this also works if you wanted to share files between other devices (desktops, laptops, phones, ithings, etc).
I also used it on vacation. Rather than printing out all my travel plans, I moved them to my Dropbox folder and then I could access everything from my phone. I had all my reservations, schedule, touring plans, etc with me all the time. I also “shared” them so the people we were with could access them too.
Dropbox was also my saving grace when I unexpectedly needed to leave my Mac at the store for repair. I quickly saved all my key documents into my Dropbox folder right there at the store, and when I came home I had full access to everything I needed. Yeah!
Dropbox offers 2 GB free space to store your files. If you get others to sign up, you can increase your space incrementally up to 10 GB (both the referrer and the new account get extra space). You can also pay a monthly fee and get more space. I have the basic free account and I have tons of files and about 150 pictures saved and I have plenty of room left.
Anyway, I am so pleased with this right now, I just had to share (hey, it is not hot man porn, but it is something!). If you want an account, just go to http://www.dropbox.com and sign up. If you feel like giving me credit for the referral, use this link instead. If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer.