Friday, February 12, 2010

Dropbox is a sync

In my post about password managers, I mentioned Dropbox, possibly the slickest file sharing app out there. It's cross-platform, it's easy, it's useful, and it just works.

It works like this. You install Dropbox on your computer, and a Dropbox folder is added to your Documents folder. If you put something in that folder, it syncs to the cloud. When you are on another computer logged into Dropbox, changed files synced automagically. I use it with Windows XP, Mac, Ubuntu and my iPhone.

So storing and moving files is pretty useful, but you can also share folders with other Dropbox users. Here's some of the ways I've used Dropbox, which just scratches the surface, I'm sure. Kinda walking through their feature list:

* File Sync: Users get 2G of space for free, with pay plans for more. I don't use nearly that much. I'm mainly throwing files there to move from computer to computer, but as I mentioned in the earlier post it works great for my KeePass database. I point the password manager to that one shared file so I'm always updating and using the latest one.

* File Sharing: I have a couple of cohorts in my Boy Scout Troop that have Dropbox, and we put documents and other files in a shared folder so we all have access to them. If we were editing the documents all the time, I'd probably use Google Docs. Dropbox can include all types of files, like software installs, photos, whatever. (I hear Google Docs will share other files, too, but I haven't tried that.)

* Online backup: I haven't had to use it yet, but Dropbox stores previous versions of files, and you can even restore deleted files.

* Web Access: It's very handy to just log into the dropbox website and pull down a particular file.

* Security: As I've stated before, I'm not a security expert, but I know files are encrypted and you have to have your password to access them. Once you've logged in, you stay logged in.

* Mobile: With the iPhone app, you to read your documents and files that the phone supports. You can also take photos and add them to Dropbox, though I haven't tried that.

OK, this almost sounds like a commercial, but all I can say is I use Dropbox every day.


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