Getting to know Dropbox

Using the statement “Before this class I never knew” is how I seem to start many of my blog posts but it is true. This class has introduced me to many new social media tools I have never heard of. I swear to you I didn’t live under a rock. However, I was born in 1964 so that puts me at the very tail end of the Baby Boomers so that may explain my lack of knowledge of many of these tools. Unlike some Boomers though, I am eager to learn as much as I can about this technology as not only does my job as a librarian depend on it but it fascinates me. Following is the latest tool I just learned about and I wanted to share it with you in case you too begin a lot of your sentences with “Before this class I never knew . . .”

In 2007, Dropbox had its humble beginnings in a Boston train station when one of its founders, MIT student Drew Houston, forgot his USB stick at home. Now Dropbox serves users in 200 countries.

Their About Page describes Dropbox as a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. This means that any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to your computers, phones and even the Dropbox website. The Dropbox online tour describes it as follows “Dropbox works hard to make sure that all your files are the same no matter where you’re working from. This means that you can start working on a computer at school or the office and finish from your home computer. Never email yourself a file again!”

Dropbox also makes sharing very easy. You can invite your friends and family to any folder in your Dropbox. You can also send people links to specific files in your Dropbox. Dropbox keeps your files safe even if your computer crashes. You can also undo mistakes even undelete files.

I’m glad I was introduced to this tool as I will definitely be using it in the future. There’s been many times when I’ve had to stop work on a project because I was away from my PC and only had my laptop and didn’t have the files I needed. I just wish I had known about it sooner!

While trying to learn more about Dropbox I found an interesting article titled “10 Things You Didn’t Know Dropbox Could Do” by Matt Petronzio, which appeared on Mashable.com on October 26 2012. I hope these tips help you get more out of Dropbox. Following is the list:
1. “Favorite” Files for Offline Reading”
a. If you “favorite” images or text documents on your mobile device using the Dropbox app, you can access those files later, even if you’re not connected to Wi-Fi or cellular service.
2. Use Dropbox as Your Default Documents Folder
a. To conserve memory and time, you can save files directly to Dropbox from your computer programs. This requires simple commands in Terminal for Mac OS or a small settings change for Windows.
3. Email Files to Dropbox as Attachments
a. When you don’t have access to Dropbox, it comes in handy to have an alternate way to update files. If you create an account at SendToDropbox.com you can send files to a custom email address as attachments. The files will automatically appear in your Attachments folder in Dropbox.
4. Get More Storage – For Free
a. If you’re a free user of Dropbox, you can immediately access 2GB of space, but you can get more storage without having to pay for an upgrade. Dropbox offers 500MB for every friend that you refer to the service, 250MB for completing a “Getting Started” checklist, 125MB for connecting social media and several other options to earn more space.
5. Maintain Firefox Settings Across Multiple Computers
a. It’s difficult to maintain specific preferences or add-ons in Firefox when you use the browser on multiple computers. However, you can download Firefox Portable and store it in Dropbox. Since Firefox Portable can be used anywhere, your settings and add-ons will be synced.
6. Upload Files to Dropbox via URL
a. URL Droplet allows you to upload links straight to your Dropbox folders. All you need to do is take a link (this especially works well if the link leads to a PDF or similar document) and paste it into the URL Droplet form.
7. Download Torrents Remotely
a. Note: This Dropbox tip is intended for legal use only. If you’re away from your personal computer and you’d like to download bit torrent files, ready by the time you get home, Dropbox is a perfect tool. Just adjust the settings in your torrent program (uTorrent, BitTorrent, etc.) to automatically load your torrent in Dropbox.
8. Maintain Two Dropbox Accounts (Advanced)
a. This one can get tricky, so it’s intended for advanced users (using Mac OS). See article for directions.
9. Back up Your Website
a. You can easily back up your website and data on Dropbox which is useful if you’ve spent a lot of time and effort building your site or you’re concerned about your servers.
10. Host Web Pages
a. Want a website, but don’t want to pay for a domain? Want an online portfolio, but don’t know HTML? Dropbox can help. By using services like DropPages or Pancake.io, you can create a small and simple website with minimal effort.

Kathy

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One thought on “Getting to know Dropbox

  1. kallierees

    I’ve been meaning to reply for a couple of days since I first saw your post. I had just finished telling my 13yo daughter that I really needed to find a good, reliable cloud storage site to backup all my SLIS files when about 5 minutes later, I read your post. And then today a friend of mine on Facebook sent me an offer to join Dropbox so she (and maybe I) can get extra mb of storage. I think someone’s trying to tell me something… like my computer’s about to crash.
    Thanks for the detailed post. I will join tomorrow.

    Reply

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