If we've talked computers vis-à-vis in the past, you've probably heard my spiel on investing in an external hard-drive, which is a fantastic way to keep a backup of all your documents and photos at least once.
Okay, you've probably heard my rant on backing up your files on more occasions than I'd like to admit, but the truth is, you need better backup than simply letting your really precious data just sit on your computer/laptop hard drive.
Stuff happens, and I can't tell you how many times I've had to try help save the really important stuff for friends and family before their computer either kicked the bucket or went through a factory restore. I've lost count.
If you don't have the funds or if you find having one more piece of machinery taking up valuable desk space is just too much, I've got a simple and easy solution for you.
Let me introduce you to Dropbox.com.
You might have heard of the cloud? You know, that invisible space that everyone talks about, and are always on? Now's your chance to be one of those cool kids by working in the cloud too!
Dropbox can get you your first home away from home right on that cloud. Think of it as an online hard drive, where you can store all of your important files securely (SSL encryption), while maintaining easy access to those files for you (and anyone you want to share those files with! No more trying to email multiple 5MB photos!).
And its not just easy access on your desktop either. If you also have an android smartphone and/or tablet, or multiple computer systems in your household, you can have one central cloud space that will make those files accessible any time you need them on any computer that you need them. Heck, you can open the same file on two different computers at the same time, and keep up with any changes made.
For instance, by day I'm a website developer. I'll build sites, develop WordPress plugins, create graphics, etc and you would think one computer would be enough for all of this work, but its not. I'm on the go all the time, and occasionally find myself sitting among would-be authors, typing their greatest works at any given Starbucks in Toronto.
(Side note: I'm actually starting to wonder what the ratio is between students, writers, bloggers and computer programmers as coffee house patrons who utilize their tables as their home office.
I'm so guilty of this. And did you know that Starbucks is no longer building seating areas for any of their new locations??? le sigh
But I digress...)
Before my avid use of Dropbox, I would stress and hope that I saved all the files I needed in either: email attachments, USB keys, external hard drives, etc so that when I was scheduled to work on either my laptop or tablet, I would have all the files I needed from my desktop to work "out of office". And when I was finished with those files, I would need to make sure that those documents were updated on my desktop for further use when I was finally back home to work "in office".
And then there were those times where I just didn't want to sit in my office to do that work, and would bring my laptop in the living room to work on my comfy couch.
Like right now. 😉
The point is, Dropbox lets me work on the exact same files regardless of whether I'm working on my desktop, laptop, tablet or even my smartphone, without having to do any leg work. I don't have to re-upload files to my cloud drive, as I'm already working on those files while they're in the cloud.
I don't need to think if I'm working on the right files, 'cause its all the same on all the tech I use.
This Is How Dropbox Works
Once you sign up for an account, you would then:
- download a nicely stable program provided by Dropbox to all of your devices that you want to work with. Chances are, your android devices already have Dropbox pre-installed! This program will be your sync between your computer and your dropbox account.
- It will ask you to create a folder on your computer's hard drive, and once you do, you'll start to save all of your files into that folder.
- And honestly? That's it, you're done. Any of the files you save in that folder can be accessible anytime you're online.
Those simple steps have helped me save so much time and energy in trying to determine if I have the right files, or even the most recent versions of the files in need. I don't have to wait until I have access to my desktop for most jobs now (save for need of Adobe Illustrator, as I've yet to purchase that baby for my laptop.)
Here's a list of all accessible tech with Dropbox:
- Android devices
- iPhone/iPad devices
- (and yes, even your) Kindle Fire
Seriously, this one little image says it all, lol: