Last week I talked very abstractly about “The Cloud.” I summed up the cloud as Internet services that exist completely on the Internet such as email, file sharing and web streaming.
Today I want to talk about one such service that has completely changed how I use my computer. It’s called Dropbox.
Dropbox is a free application that you run on your computer. When it is installed, it creates a folder called a “Dropbox.” To your computer it resembles a regular folder; you can copy files to it, save and run documents and even some applications (like Firefox portable).
When you copy a file to the Dropbox, it uploads a copy up to the cloud automatically, then copies that file to your home computer, cell phone, iPod, Macintosh computer, Linux computer, or any other device that has Internet and drop-box enabled.
Most teachers have a network that they save their files on; here in Greenwood it’s our “U” drive. The only problem is that accessing this U drive outside of school is difficult to impossible and for most people accessing their networks from home means downloading the file from your browser and uploading it again when you are done. Or it means using a flash drive to back your files up and hope that you have the latest copy of your file.
The dropbox means that wherever I am, I will have access to my stuff, and that it will be the same stuff, and that it will have been backed up and safe, even if I run my flash drive though the laundry.
I can also ‘share’ folders in my dropbox with co-workers so that they can see my files and save to them no matter where they are; a shared drive accessible from anywhere.
Think of a file that you use all the time, that you are updating and using all the time and really should be backed up in more than a few places. It belongs on your Dropbox.
Dropbox is a free download and it gives you the first 2 gigs for free. For the 50 and 100 gig options you have to pay a monthly fee.