As described in more detail below, among other things Dropbox: (i) allows me to securely sync office documents between my PCs and Mac at any location; (ii) unchains me from my office PC; (iii) liberates me from coding on a single PC; and (iv) allows me to draft and maintain my Windows Live Writer blog posts from any of my PCs situated anywhere.
- Sync: Dropbox synchronizes your key files between any number of Internet-connected PCs, laptops or Macs, effortlessly and instantaneously.
- Access Your Key Files Anywhere: Synced files are also maintained on the Dropbox servers. You can login to your account from any web-enabled computer to securely access your files (download or upload).
- Security: All file transmissions occur over an encrypted SSL channel. All files stored on Dropbox servers are encrypted using AES-256 encryption accessible only by you with your account password.
- Backup: Because your files are synced across at least two PCs, your files are effectively backed-up.
- Real-Time Offsite Backup: Because your files are also copied to the Dropbox servers, they are effectively backed-up, off site, in real-time.
- Undo/File Recovery: Remarkably, Dropbox maintains a 30 day history of every change made to your files so you can undo changes or undelete accidently deleted files.
- Shared Files & Folders: You can share files and folders with other drop-box users. For example, you could set up a shared folder of photos accessible only by friends and family through their Dropbox accounts.
- iPhone App Coming Soon: You can view all your Word, PowerPoint, Excel, PDF, etc. files using the free Dropbox iPhone App coming soon (see iPhone, Blackberry and other Dropbox mobile details here).
How I use Dropbox
- Office Document Use: As a lawyer I access, edit and annotate Word documents and pdfs all day, every day. When I move from my PC to my laptop, I save the file I’m working on and by the time I shift to my laptop, the changes made to that file are synced to my laptop. Similarly any edits made on the laptop are instantaneously synced back to the desktop. No longer do I have to email the document to myself, save it to a USB key, copy to/from network drives. I simply open and save files on whatever PC, laptop, or Mac I’m using, and the latest version is instantly available on the other synced devices.
Since purchasing my iPhone back in August 2008, every time I connected my iPhone to my PC (originally Vista, now Windows 7 RC), iTunes would automatically start the Windows ‘Import Pictures and Videos’ wizard (“IPVW”), regardless of whether or not there were any new pictures on my iPhone to import.
Since I connect my iPhone to iTunes every day (to update my podcasts, backup data, install new apps etc.), I had to cancel out of the IPVW every time I connected. This was a daily frustration!
Along the line I had collected up some 30ish pictures in my iPhone’s ‘camera roll’ for the following reasons:
- Originally, I had not set the ‘delete from iPhone when importing’ option in the IPVW, so those pictures remained on the camera roll even after syncing; and
- For some good pictures, I just wanted to keep a copy on my iPhone for viewing.
Strangely, there is no way to move pictures from the iPhone’s ‘camera roll’ to an album in the iPhone’s native Photos app.
Most of the time I want pictures to be copied off my iPhone when I sync. As a result I had set the IPVW’s Import settings (see link in picture above) accordingly. To my mind, the iPhone should only automatically pop-up the IPVW when there are new pictures that a user might want copied over to the PC. That is not how it works.
When adding contacts into each of the iPhone and Outlook 2007, there are built-in, distinct ‘home’, ‘work’/’business’ and ‘mobile’ telephone number fields. Yet, surprisingly, Outlook 2007 does not provide built-in, discreet ‘home’, ‘work’ or ‘other’ email address fields. Yet, the iPhone does!
As a result of this disparity, you can get very odd results when synchronizing your iPhone and Outlook 2007 contacts. Unless you are aware of, and properly handling, how the syncing works, it will seem as if the iPhone randomly categorizes email addresses originating from Outlook 2007 as either ‘home’, ‘work’ or ‘other’.
Happily, as described below, the Outlook and iPhone email fields do sync in a predictable way. With little effort, you can make sure that ‘home’, ‘work’ and ‘other’ email address fields are properly synched between Outlook 2007 and your iPhone.
As you can see from the picture below (after the break), when adding new contacts in Outlook 2007, there are no built-in, discreet ‘home’, ‘work’, ‘business’ or ‘other’ email address fields. The only choice you have is the default non-numbered ‘E-mail…’ field, and the ‘E-mail 2’, and ‘E-mail 3’ fields (available from the pull-down menu).