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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Review - Dropbox: Share and Share Alike

Review time once more, and if, like me, you move files around between your devices and computers, you'll know what a pain it is.

Find a USB or memory stick, plug it into the computer, transfer the files to it, unplug it and plug back into the other PC, drag the files off and continue.  What a faff!!

The antidote for this - an application called Dropbox.  Launched just over 2 years ago, Dropbox removes the need to dig around and find a memory card.

The premise is simple.  Drop the file you want to transfer onto a folder on your PC or laptop, and retrieve it on another device, within seconds.

The application is free to download, on as many devices as you like.  For example, setup Dropbox on your laptop, PC or iPad.

Dropbox is also available on iPhone, Android and BlackBerry mobile phones.

So, I can create a file on my laptop (or download photos from my camera).  I can then move them into the Dropbox folder, and, hey presto, I can now access these files on any of the other devices.

When working on the files, such as word documents or spreadsheets, when you save them, they will automatically sync, keeping a single document up to date in multiple places.  A log of all the changes is also available; so if necessary, you can revert to an earlier version.

There are a huge number of benefits, not least the fact that the documents are stored in "the cloud", which means they are protected; and with 2Gb of storage available when you sign up, that's quite a lot of space.  If you need to, you can buy additional space.

Another big benefit is the ability to share folders or files.  Businesses can share files easily with their staff in the field, photos can be shared with family and friends.

You don't even need to worry if you need to access your documents on a public PC, such as in an internet cafe or the local library.  Those folk at Dropbox have created a simple website where, once logged in, you can access the files there.

It's an ingenious method of transferring and sharing files; which also removes the need to email files to yourself, colleagues or family, and whilst the memory card / USB stick isn't about to become obsolete, it does mean you don't need to carry one with you all the time.

In summary, file-sharing / storage is not the most exciting of subjects, but nevertheless, Dropbox is totally free to download and use; including the initial 2Gb of storage; which for most people is more than enough.

Sharing has never been so easy.
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