A nice item to have in your geek toolbox is a way to share files on the Internet. Sending large photos or videos through email is simply not possible so you need another way. There are a number of sites that allow you to do this, but there is one that I’ve been using that has some unique features. It’s Dropbox.
Dropbox is a file sharing site that works on the Mac, PC, Linux, and even through your browser. You go to GetDropbox.com and sign up for a free 2 GB account. You download and install the program on your computer and it creates a Dropbox folder where you simply copy the files you want to share. Anything placed into the folder is sent to the “cloud” and can be accessed by you on other computers or after logging on to the GetDropbox.com website. You can also place files in the Public subfolder and send the unique URL through email or place it on your blog to share photos, videos, and documents. There’s even a mention of using the Public folder in Dropbox to host a small website.
If someone you know has a Dropbox account, you can send them a link to a folder you want to share on your computer. When they accept the shared folder, it appears in their Dropbox folder. Any items placed into the shared folder appears in the other’s shared folder. It’s a great way to share project files.
I’ve been using Dropbox to make some documents and photos available so I can access them later and as a way to move them between my Mac and PC computers. Since it keeps older copies of files you place in your Dropbox folder, it’s a great way to keep backups of your important data and you can even access files deleted from your Dropbox folder.
One word of caution about storing anything sensitive in your DropBox folder. In theory only you have access to the files, but this is the Internet, so it’s possible that others could gain access. I would encrypt any file containing sensitive data before placing it in the Dropbox folder.
If Dropbox is free, how are they making money? Well, the site is still very new but for the moment they are offering two additional storage accounts for those who find the service useful but need more storage. They offer a 50 GB account for $9.99 USD a month, and 100 GB for $19.99 USD a month.
You can sign up for DropBox by going here. Using this link will give you 2 GB of free storage plus an extra 256 MB as a bonus (you won’t get the 256 MB bonus if you go directly to the GetDropbox.com site). As a disclaimer I must mention that if you use my link for the bonus data, I get credit in the form of extra storage in my account.
There are a number of sites offering free cloud storage and there is nothing stopping you from signing up for a few. You never know when they may come in handy.