Alvin Poh

The Top Free Backup/Sharing Service (With Some Ingenius and Creative Ideas!)

I wasn’t a Dropbox convert until recently, because I didn’t understand what the big deal was with it, but I’ve tried it recently because of a school project, and it’s like I’ve seen the light!

When I first signed up for the service (it’s free), I just used the web-based interface. However, I needed to share files, and the web-based interface was just too clunky. It was just after one day that I installed the Windows application. Normally, I have a disdain of installing programs on my system because I don’t like the additional clutter and resources used, so it takes a lot for me to like a program to install it.

dropbox logo

I like the Dropbox program. In fact, I fell in love with it instantly. It’s lightweight, fast, and non-obstrusive.

Since I collaborate with 5 other team-mates, we update and create files all the time, and Dropbox acts as a simplified versioning system. There’s a small notification window everytime a file gets updated, and what’s great is that everything is done automatically and in the background! There’s also no worry that someone will accidentally delete or overwrite a file, because Dropbox maintains old versions of your files too!

Since then, I’ve been looking at more ways to use Dropbox. With it’s cross-platform support (Linux, Mac, Android, iPhone, iPad!), that’s not hard. Here are just some great ideas to get you started!

1. Share Music

This is one of the most obvious methods – depending on the size of your music collection, you can share your music files and access them on any computer or device that you’re on!

2. Share iTunes Libraries

On the same note, if you’re using iTunes, Dropbox is a great way to ensure that your iTunes libraries are synced across your computers. You just need to move your iTunes library. To do so, just follow these three steps:

  1. Cut and paste your existing iTunes library folder into your Dropbox folder
  2. Start iTunes while holding on to the Shift key (or the Option key on Mac OSX)
  3. A dialogue box will popup. Just browse to the location in your Dropbox folder and hit ok!

3. Share Photos

With the same logic as sharing music, except better, because Dropbox supports creating photo galleries too. Just share whatever folder your photos are in, and give the public gallery link to whoever you want to share the photo gallery with.

4. DIY Security Camera

Use a free application such as WebCamFirst or YawCam, have it setup to take photos (YawCam even has a motion detection mode), and have the photographs saved to your Dropbox folder. Dropbox will do the rest and you’ll get the photographs. No worries about the intruder deleting the photographs too – Dropbox saves a copy of all deleted files!

5. Simple Versioning System

If you want a simple versioning system, like CVS/Git/SVN, but don’t want the hassle and deal with simple files (word processing, photos, etc), Dropbox is for you. Versioning system are used primarily by the software development industry because it’s the best way to keep your code in sync with multiple people, branch out in your development, and have automated backups all in one. However, it’s a bit more complex than the average user requires.

This is where Dropbox comes in. If you work on Word documents or other Office documents, or even media files, with a team of people, then Dropbox works fantastic. Every file will get backed up, and synced with everyone automatically. You will even know, and be protected, if you’re saving your file over someone else’s newly uploaded work (Dropbox will save a “conflicted” version of the file).

Don’t have Dropbox yet? Well, what are you waiting for? Get Dropbox now.

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