Unless you have some perverse infatuation with hard drives, you know cloud storage is the way to go.
Seriously: I know few people will disagree with me on this point but it’s kind of hard to hate Dropbox.
Yes, there were some security issues in the past, but Dropbox has learned from its mistakes and is positioning itself to replace your hard drive. Dropbox prudently decided to redress its wrongs by beefing up security; however, a bevy of experts remain dubious about its ability to protect your files.
For example, Jake Williams of the CSR-group published a 42-page slide deck illustrating how Dropbox provides a command and control channel that can be exploited to propagate malware. In addition, security researchers Dhiru Kholia and Przemyslaw Wegrzyn published a 7-page technical whitepaper revealing how to hi-jack Dropbox accounts.
But despite the criticism and bad press, I still like Dropbox. Mainly because it’s just so freggin’ easy to use.
And this Friday evening, I want to show you 5 ways to get even more value out of America’s favorite cloud service.
Check it out:
1. Drop it likes its hot
Dropbox beautifully integrates itself into your Windows environment. It subtly places itself in your favorites and appears like a local folder; however, all files saved inside are actually stored in the cloud.
But what happens when you’re away from your beloved computer?
Let’s say you’re soaking up the sun on the beloved archipelagos of Bora Bora. Midway through the day, you stroll in from the beach and sit down in the lobby to do some work.
Your brother said he was going to post photos of his newborn son on Dropbox. Is there an easy way to take a look?
You ask the front desk if they have Chrome and the front desk manager blanched as if he had just seen a ghost.
“Sir”, he replies. “We only use Chrome. Once upon a time we used Internet Explorer; however, it annoyed our customers too much so we removed it”
Relieved, you sit down and deftly install the EasyDrop Chrome extension so you can swiftly access your account directly from Chrome.
2. Receive files with ease
Despite the ubiquity of Dropbox not everyone knows about it (or even has an account). There are still swaths of people sharing files via email (yuck) or worse, snail mail. In some cases, emailing attachments works but most email servers can’t provision attachments greater than 12MB.
What happens when someone you trust needs to send you something but the file is too large for email? In addition, let’s say this person isn’t technically adept and doesn’t want or have a Dropbox account. Is there an easy way for them to drop stuff into your Dropbox account?
SupplyDrops offers a free service that provides ephemeral drop zones that expires after two days. In other words, you can create a temporary place where friends and family can drop stuff into your account.
Simply login to SupplyDrops with your Dropbox account and create a default DropZone.
In the graphic below, you can see I have one existing DropZone named “My DropZone” and I’m about to create another called “Drop it likes it’s hot”
Yes grammarians can cringe with the errors in the above phrase but I’m sticking with it anyway.
After creating the Drop Zone you’ll see a little timestamp denoting when it expires. Clicking the blue Share link option on the far right zips you away to your Drop Zone.
Just copy the URL in address bar and send it to the person who wants to give you the goods.
3. Share on click
Dropbox’s simplicity makes it pretty hard to botch your file shares and it’s now easier than ever to share stuff.
By default, Dropbox lets you channel your stuff to the cloud by simply right-clicking a file or folder and choosing Move to Dropbox.
If you don’t see this, make sure you install the Dropbox client first.