Files files everywhere!

I’m a busy guy, and frightening as though it may seem, most of my professional (and personal) life is digitized. Sometimes I work on my laptop, on my home desktop, on the computer in my office, or even on my smart phone. Sometimes I work in a computer lab, or at the library. I have files stored on flash drives, external hard drives, network drives, and in my email account as file attachments. I have digital files floating around all over the place. Ahhhhhhh!

So, when I need to work on something, I always have to think ahead to make sure I have access to the files I need, at whatever location I’m going to be working from. If I’m not on top of things, I can end up wasting time. But I’m sure this problem is exclusive to me, because I’m special. Right? Riiiiight.

How can we easily and efficiently share files between multiple computers and maintain a high level of productivity, without creating duplicates and confusion?

There are many solutions to this problem. Today, I’m going to share one such solution that I just started using, and have found quite effective. The tool is called DropBox, and it’s a free online service.

DropBox creates a special “My DropBox” folder on your computer, and when you copy or move files into that folder, they are automatically uploaded to your personal storage area online at DropBox.com. You can repeat this process on another computer, and access that same folder from a new location! You can even access those files from your web browser, and designate files that are publicly accessible for friends or family who do not have a DropBox account (for all those times when you’re trying share a file with someone, but it wass too big to email!).

To get started, simply visit www.DropBox.com and sign up for a free account. You will then be prompted to install the DropBox folder. To learn more, visit their website and check out the very cool video on their tour page: https://www.dropbox.com/tour.

Before you jump in, I just have two warnings for you: (1) Keep in mind that your files are being copied to DropBox.com’s servers, so I would read their service agreement carefully and think twice before storing highly confidential files there. (2) The free version of their services restricts you to 2gbs of storage, which should be enough for storing documents and presentation files. If you need more, you will have to pay monthly fee.

Does this sound like something you will try out? Have tried other solutions? Do you have a system of your own? Let us know by leaving your comments below!

3 responses to “Files files everywhere!

  1. I have used this service for some time and found it to be invaluable. Since it creates a folder right on my computer, I am able to have certain files synced across computers seamlessly.

    As you mentioned I also like being able to share certain files and I can update those files without having to resend the link (as long as the filename remains the same). Here is an example of a picture I have in the public folder: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/9516699/ctl_logo1.gif

  2. I have used DropBox to share video and pictures with colleagues who had a subscription so they could store loads of files. At first I loved the service, however I soon realized that my computer was automatically downloading all the files my colleagues placed in the DropBox on their computers. This quickly created a storage issue and the quickest way I could think of to remedy it was to uninstall DropBox and discontinue using it until I understood it better or had a larger hard drive. I really like what it does though, so I’m sure I will use it again soon.

  3. Yes Matt, I understand your situation. The installed DropBox folder (if you share your login info with another party) will appear the same for everyone accessing it. I’m thinking that instead, you might have made only those specific files that you wanted to share with someone else “public,” and then sent them only those links. For more complex sharing, like applying different passwords to different files, for example, you’d probably have to use a different tool. From what I have seen, DropBox’s primary function is to allow one person to share files between all of their computers (or through any web browser). Good luck!

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