The wonders of Dropbox have been discussed a few months ago here in Twenties Hacker, albeit briefly. Since switching to an iPhone from Blackberry, I’d gotten more organized with my digital life. One of my short-term missions is to move to “the cloud” and slowly detach myself from a bunch of physical entanglements. Dropbox makes this easy for me.
Okay, cards on the table: In the abundance of cloud services, Dropbox is the storage service of choice. It has a great API which allows for easy integration with a lot of other apps and services we use daily. It runs on multiple platforms and devices which makes it just about as accessible as air. So you see, Dropbox isn’t just another online file storage service. Let’s count specific ways!
Even though I am a big fan of Evernote, I find it to be a tad bit too heavy for quick thought-scribbling. On my iPhone, I use a combination of Simplenote and Drafts. While Simplenote uses its own servers, there’s an option to use Dropbox for synchronization. I have both apps connected to Dropbox, and all my notes are saved into specific folders for accessing elsewhere. This works really well for me because my notes are saved as either plain or rich text, which means I can work on them later on my work (Windows) or home (Mac OS) laptop using my editor of choice.
How many times have we all said, “I have the file in an e-mail attachment, let me just get to my e-mail…”? A lot, I’m assuming. I had set up my Gmail to download all attachments to a Dropbox folder using IFTTT: if this, then that. An operation in IFTTT is triggered whenever an action occurs in Gmail (in this instance, an e-mail with an attachment) and voila, the file goes straight to my ‘Attachments’ folder.
Disclaimer: IFTTT is a third-party service that does the actual operation of transferring files to Dropbox. It will have complete access to your e-mail. Read the terms and figure out if you want to trust them before using the service!
I had cajoled my fiancé into creating his own account. At first it was only for the purpose of earning me bonus storage, but he’d gotten into it as well. As a couple planning their wedding, we thank heavens for Dropbox for folder sharing. It is quite instrumental in checking off items in our long, long list of pre-wedding tasks. We are accessing a single repository right from our desktops and phones. Any update one makes to our documents is immediately available to the other. Dropbox is already helping our marriage!
Dropbox also lets you share links to all your files and folders. A URL is generated for whatever file you want to share. Got a photo you want to show your friend real quick? Simply share the custom link!
Added Security Measure
To be completely honest, this article had sat unfinished in my drafts pile for a few weeks now. I suppose it’s a blessing in disguise as Dropbox recently announced the implementation of a two-step login verification process, so we have a cool new feature. If you enable this option, your account won’t be accessible using a password alone. A security code will be sent to you through SMS, or obtain one using a mobile authenticator app by scanning the barcode (I use Google Authenticator for iOS).
These are Dropbox’s features I find most useful these days. It’s more than just a backup service! I will definitely upgrade when I run low on storage space, but the 5GB is more than enough if you’re only storing and sharing things like cameraphone photos and documents. If you don’t have a Dropbox account yet, sign up! It’s well worth a try. If you’re already on board, what’s your favorite feature?
Image credit: Dropbox Press.