Friday, July 23, 2010

Free Secure Online File Sharing and Storage

Have you have had that problem where you were given a company laptop to use, but you’re your main files were on your computer at home? Sure you could thumb-drive them over or email them to yourself, but then what if you updated the files on your home computer? You’d have to then email it to yourself and replace the one on the company laptop, or the opposite, all over again. Or say you have a Smartphone and want to bring up a picture that’s on your computer.
Dropbox has a solution to all of this. Instead of going through all this time-consuming trouble, you can now access your important files via the web to any computer or Smartphone, even somebody else’s if necessary. Let me explain:
First, download Dropbox's software and create a FREE account, which gives you 2 GB of space. Dropbox will put a special folder on your computer. Next, simply drop files into this folder, and they will instantly be available on any of your other computers, and the web.
If you need to access your files from someone else’s computer, simply login to www.dropbox.com. You can view, download, and upload your files securely from any web browser. Anything you put into this folder will automatically sync to your other computers with Dropbox installed, as well as get safely backed up online.
Check this out though too: You can also share any folder in your Dropbox with friends or colleagues, even if they use a different operating system from you, or don’t have Dropbox installed! In your Dropbox folder is a “Public Folder”. Any file you put in this folder gets its own internet link so that you may share it with others- even non-Dropbox users! And since your files are saved online, these links work even if your computer’s turned off.
This is especially good for when you’re blogging. For example, I was talking with a buddy the other day about something. Now I’ve got a bunch of notes on this topic on my computer, but I don’t want to copy and paste them all onto my blog for him (it’d be a really long post). But I also don’t want to just email him the files, because this is good information…others can benefit from it, too. So I simply drop my file (notes) into the Public folder, right-click/control-click the file, then choose “DropboxCopy Public Link”. This copies the internet link to my file. Now I can just paste the link to my blog post and share the file with others. I can also paste the link into emails, instant message conversations, etc.!
And something else I just discovered, for every friend who joins Dropbox, you both will receive 250 MB of bonus space, up to a limit of 8 Gigs!
If you’d like some more information on Dropbox, or like me, would like to check reviews before trying it out for yourself, here are a few trustworthy links:
CNET
OnlineBackupDeals
PC Magazine
For use with Android

I'd like to add something to this:  
For the past week, my wife and I have been using Dropbox, and we really like it.  Besides the reasons I've mentioned above, another neat thing we can do is share files with others ANYWHERE.  For example, my sister in law lives in another country. She takes a lot of pictures of her toddler daughter, too many to send via email. So instead, she downloaded Dropbox, transferred (or copied) her pictures to her online Dropbox, gave my wife her pass codes for her online Dropbox, and now my wife is able to not only view the pictures, but also save some to her computer, and do the same with our pictures.  It's like online file-sharing.  Really cool!
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