Popular cloud-storage and file-sharing service Dropbox announced earlier this year that it’d be ending its Public Folder option. These special folders allow Dropbox users to link directly to a file, without having to use a special URL generated by creating a sharable Dropbox link. The advantage of storing files in a Dropbox Public Folder is that users could easily link to those files thru third-party apps and services. But it’s likely that this function was misused by Dropbox users in ways that the service never really intended.
In a recent e-mail blast, Dropbox reminded its users that the Public Folder option will be terminated on September 1st:
This is a reminder that your Public folder links will become inactive on September 1. On that date, your Public folder will become a standard Dropbox folder, and your files will remain safe in your account. If you want to share those files again, you’ll need to use shared links instead.
The Public folder was the first sharing method we introduced, and since then, we’ve built more sophisticated ways for you to share securely and work together with your team. In addition to shared links, we have a number of sharing options designed to make collaboration easier and give you more control.
In the e-mail, Dropbox acknowledged that this change will be inconvenient for some users. Dropbox has created a support page to help users switch from sharing via the Public Folder to the standard method of sharing files thru Dropbox.
Cloud storage and file sharing service Dropbox has become an integral tool for the freelance work I do. The service makes it incredibly easy to share large media files with clients. After using Dropbox since its early days, I finally upgraded to a Dropbox Pro account last year, as my needs began to outpace what the basic, free version had to offer.
I received an e-mail yesterday from Dropbox stating that the Pro service I’ve been using is being renamed Dropbox Plus:
The name of your current plan, Dropbox Pro, is changing to Dropbox Plus.
Don’t worry—the name is the only change we’re making. You’ll still get the same 1 TB of space and advanced features—like stress-free sharing and remote device wipe—at the same price.
For more info, read the Dropbox Plus overview in our Help Center.
Many Dropbox Pro users first used Dropbox Basic, our free plan. In the past, we’ve had users express confusion about the Pro plan name when upgrading. For example, some people assumed it was only intended for use at work.
While there are some great additional features on Dropbox Pro, for many users the 1 TB of storage space is the most important feature, and the main reason they choose to upgrade.
We simply updated the name to “Dropbox Plus” to better reflect that this plan offers more storage than Dropbox Basic, plus helpful sharing features.
Dropbox has pointed out multiple times in these communications that this is a change in name only. Dropbox Plus users will continue to have access to all of the same features we’ve enjoyed under Dropbox Pro.
For the most part, this name change appears to be for clarity and marketing purposes only.
Disappointing news for people who are using Mailbox and/or Carousel. Dropbox has announced that they will be shutting down both products.
Dropbox posted that they acquired Mailbox in 2013 because they believed in the way the product was making mobile email better. Dropbox launched Carousel as a new way to experience and share photos. The overall goal seems to be to extend the simplicity of Dropbox to other parts of user’s lives. It is that focus in simplification that has led to the decision to shut down Mailbox and Carousel.
The Mailbox Blog states that when Mailbox joined the Dropbox team, it was intended to be the means to an end to solving the email problem. Dropbox has since realized “there’s only so much an email app can do to fundamentally fix email”. They now believe that the best way to improve people’s productivity is “to streamline the workflows that generate so much email in the first place.” Details about how Dropbox will be winding down Mailbox can be found on a Mailbox FAQ.
The Carousel blog notes that “over the past year and a half, we’ve learned that the vast majority of our users prefer the convenience and simplicity of interacting with their photos directly inside of Dropbox”. It assures users that all of the photos that they have stored in their Carousel timeline will remain safe in their Dropbox where they always have been. They suggest you visit the Carousel Help Center for instruction about how to save photos you received through shared conversations or shared albums.
Mailbox will be shut down on February 26, 2016. Carousel will be shutdown on March 31, 2016. Dropbox will continue to communicate details directly with users of both apps in the coming days.
Dropbox introduced something new that went into effect September 30, 2013. According to their blog, “all the screenshots you take can automatically be saved straight to your Dropbox”. It appears that the purpose is to give people a way to keep their computers a bit more organized. Instead of having screenshots on your desktop, for example, they can be stored in your Dropbox. It also gives people an easy way to share their screenshots.
There is a step-by-step explanation that people can follow if they would like to begin storing screenshots in their Dropbox. I linked to the instructions for Mac. You can also get a “how-to” for WinXP or Vista/Win7.
In short, you take a screenshot, then select to save that screenshot to your Dropbox. A window will pop up that gives you the option of saving that screenshot to your dropbox. (If you changed your mind, there is a “No, Thanks” button). Choose wisely:
From now on, whenever you take a screenshot, the application will automatically save it to a folder named Screenshots in your Dropbox folder. It will also copy a link to the screenshot that you can immediately paste anywhere, such as an email message or Facebook post. Anyone who clicks on the link will see your screenshot on a preview page on the Dropbox website.
In the same post, Dropbox also gives instructions about how to turn off the automatic saving of screenshots to your Dropbox folder. You can opt-out whenever you choose. In addition to using your Dropbox to store, and share, screenshots, there is another new feature for Mac users. You can now copy your entire iPhoto contents to your Dropbox. A new folder will be created for each of your iPhoto events.
A lot of people use Dropbox as a convenient way to transfer large files from one person’s computer to another. I find it to be extremely helpful for podcasters who need to send an audio file of their voice track to an editor who puts everything together. Today, I learned something rather unexpected about who, exactly, can see the files that are in my Dropbox.
My husband and I are both podcasters. We have a podcast that we do together. I do a couple of other podcasts without him. He edits some of the podcasts that I do and some podcasts that I am not a part of. As such, both of us use Dropbox to move audio files around.
The computer I use, and the one that my husband uses, are on a home network. He has admin level access to my computer. We find this to be helpful for many reasons – one being that it makes it easier for him to grab the audio file of my voice track for a podcast that he will be editing. Obviously, he and I are both aware that his admin status means that he can access anything on my computer.
It turns out that the admin status also allows him to access my Dropbox. He discovered today that he can use his admin status to gain access to my computer and that it also allowed him to access my Dropbox. He was able to open folders, look at the contents, and remove files.
Now, some of the folders that I have been invited to are the same ones that he has been invited to. For example, today he was editing a podcast that I am involved with. He and I already had access to that particular folder. He could access that one from his own computer.
Surprisingly, he was also able to access folders that he had never been invited to. There is a podcast that I do with a friend of mine. That friend does the editing. My husband has no need to be invited to that particular folder. Even so, my husband was able to open that folder, look at the contents and remove files. He could have put files into that folder if he chose to do so.
Typically, people are very careful about who they allow to access their computer. Admin status should never be given out on a whim. We only give that to people we trust. Before this little experiment, I had no idea that giving a person admin status to your computer also gave that person complete access to your Dropbox.
For me and my husband, this isn’t really an issue. We trust each other. Our network is at home and secure. That being said, it made us both wonder about the potential risks involved with work computers that are accessible by multiple people within one company or business.
Dropbox is perhaps the most widely-known and popular cloud storage service on the market though it is far from the only option. It faces stiff competition from the likes of Box, SkyDrive, Google, Amazon and others. In an effort to stay in front, the company has been releasing regular feature updates, and today brings the latest of those.
The new sharing feature brings — now when you want to share a link to any doc, photo, folder, or any of your stuff in Dropbox, just right-click it, and select “Share Dropbox Link”.
The new context menu displays an option for “Share Dropbox Link”. Just Control-v or Command-v to paste your link wherever you want, and you’re good to go.
The update is quick and easy. Nothing complicated here, but it is a big edition in its own way. Is ti enough to keep the service ahead of its closest rivals? That remains to be seen.
In this computer day and age, you want to make sure pictures, documents and more are backed up on a daily basis. Especially with hard drives that fail every day and notebooks that get stolen every day. Even if you get your stolen computer back, the thieves might have done damage like wiping the hard drive or dropping the machine altogether.
I back up my machines to different sources. I have 2 home backups and one cloud backup. The cloud backup can also be a great way to share pictures through an iPhone, Android or iPad application. Nonetheless, if my computer drive dies, if there is fire or water damage, if someone steals my computer, I don’t lose the data.
Advantages to Cloud Based Backup
Off-site data retention
access to data from multiple computers or mobile devices
software that will start backing up files when computer is idle
High encryption on backup
Cloud based service runs their own backups – Your data gets backed up by them, too!
Prices are low – There are some services that are free to a certain level.
So here are Five cloud backup solutions you can employ now:
MyPCBackup was ranked #1 by Top 10 Online Backups. With unlimited backup, you can make sure all your pictures, documents and more are safe. They have an option to sync multiple computers through a folder on the machine. They also offer a money back option and full customer support.
Mac users won’t be able to use this program, which is a major downfall to this program. The “1 PC, 1 Mac” per household ratio is growing. There is also no mobile application so you can view your backup files.
Carbonite Online Backup
One of the more popular online backup systems is Carbonite, this unlimited backup lets you view your files from any computer, or through an iPhone, Blackberry or Android application. Carbonite also has accidental deletion option, which means if you delete a file that was backed up, you have 30 days to restore it.
Carbonite also works on PC and Mac systems. Therefore, you could backup all your items from the old computer, switch the program to Mac and download the files. There is full customer support if needed.
Mozy Online Backup
Mozy online backup is also a PC or Mac backup. You can access your data from an iPhone and Android (no Blackberry) application. They also offer on-site backup, which means you can set up a USB hard drive and Mozy will backup to that as well. Full support and they also offer the ability to restore a file up to 30 days after deleted.
Mozy does not offer unlimited backup, though. $5.99 /month for 50 GB and $9.99 for 125 GB. For a standard computer, you might not fill that spot – unless you take tons of pictures or create video like myself.
You might not think of Dropbox as a online backup. However, with their open API, there are a lot of things that Dropbox can become. You can use it to sync with other computers, so it’s a great collaborative tool.
Keep in mind, it doesn’t tout itself as an online backup. You do get some great options, like short-term backup recovery.
They do have a free service for the first 2 GB, then pricing options after.
iBackup is a backup for not only PCs and Macs, but also Servers. You can also back up your MySQL, Linux box Exchange, Oracle and iPhone. Therefore, it’s a full corporate backup solution. It gets pricey fast, but if you need 1.5 Terabytes of data that has to be backed up, this is a great solution.
They also have a “30 version” backup – If you change a document 29 times, then realize you need to start from the beginning, you can go into your account and pull up the first version. That can help if someone messes up a document and you don’t realize it right away.
Since it’s your data, you should research each program and see if it’s right for you. But if you have important data and need to back it up, then these options might help you with that solution.
There are also some great software solutions if you want to backup your computer to another computer. If you are on a Mac, then Time Machine is a feature you can set. Everything from backing up folders to making a full image of your computer to restore at a moments notice.
Most important – Back it up now, because you never know if you’ll get a chance to back it up later.