Have you ever had the need to share large files but were limited by your email space? In my search for a great program I stumbled upon a program called Dropbox. The program is free with 2 gigs of online storage and can even be updated to 16 Gigs of free online storage by following a few simple tasks. The paid options offer 50 gigs of online storage for as little as $99 a year or even larger capacities in Terabytes are available for team collaborations.
Dropbox offers some very handy features such as the ability to share a folder with anyone; sync the online folder not just to all your computers but also with your cell phone. The ability to instantly sync my cell phone picture folder with my computers is a very handy feature and quick way to transfer pics to my main computer.
The user interface is quite easy to learn and get around in. I chose a custom installation and folder name/path which was located on my desktop to make access to the online folder quick and easy to use from within my desktop. If you view the online help guide you are instantly rewarded with more free storage space. The program can also be synced with Facebook and Twitter allowing easy shares with users of those services.
Below is a screenshot of the main online storage folders currently setup for my installation. Installation and setup time was quick. I uploaded 450 Megs of data in less than 20 minutes using drag and drop from within the windows environment. My internet provider is Road Runner Plus for speed reference. Learning the software and features took me less than 10 minutes.
Screenshot of the main online folders created at Dropbox
I added my cell phone to the list of devices which can access the online folder by downloading the free Dropbox app for Android phones. It asked during installation if I wanted to sync my phone picture folder with the online storage; I chose yes and was rewarded with an additional 500 Megs of free storage. The phone immediately began uploading all pictures to the online folder. *Warning* if you have a limited cell phone data plan be sure you understand how much data you will transfer. I have an unlimited data plan through Sprint so keeping the cell phone synced with the account will not add additional costs to my cellphone bill. All pictures taken in the future will be automatically synced with the online storage folder. This is an extremely handy feature and allows me to free up space on my cell phone storage card. The software also includes an online picture browser which is very convenient. Some screenshots of the cell phone image folder in next two images below:
Screenshot of the Cell phone uploading pictures to a folder automatically created in acocunt for the android based phone
Cell phone pics folder as viewed from Dropbox
I think Dropbox is a very useful free or paid application, which is handy not just to share large files, but also to offer access to one’s files from any location in the world. It comes in handy for those of us who do AP work and wish to share large TIFF files with other people from within the astrophotography community. The Dropbox software uses 256 bit encrytion and offers a secure way to back up your critical data online. Furthermore, your online files can be recovered if you ever have the need to recover files. I would highly recommend Dropbox to those looking to either share large files or have access to files they use often from anywhere in the world. Click Here for link to the Dropbox blog to learn more. A few more screenshots below:
Free capacity upgrades available notice ballon in lower right of my cell auto uploading to the server
Page where one can share a link with anyone to data on your online drive instead of using shared folder