With the advent of cloud computing, the Web is no longer used only as an application, but as a data provisioning system. Dropbox is one of the most popular tools available today for online file saving and syncing, and is one of the first steps towards full-scale cloud computing (true cloud would have the computer as only an input-output device; with Dropbox the storage and processing of your files happens on your own computer, and copies are saved online).
Dropbox allows its users to store at least 2 GB of free data, and has a number of incentives to add more free storage. In addition, there are paid data plans as well, with 50 GB costing $99 (Rs 5,425) per year. You can access your data from any device connected to the Internet, using the Dropbox clients for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and even the mobile clients for iOS, Android and BlackBerry phones. Here are things you don’t already know about Dropbox.
Saving on the server: Dropbox allows its users to store at least 2 GB of free data. Raajan/ Mint
Back up your email
• As an alternative to the Dropbox clients, you can also email stuff directly to your Dropbox. Just get your unique email address from www.sendtodropbox.com by connecting your Dropbox account with it, and forward your emails to that ID. The emails (attachments and/or text) will now be automatically available in the Attachments folder of Dropbox. It also provides you with other features like automatic archive unzipping and plain text or html message copying.
• Another such tool is MailDrop. It checks your email account via Imap (Internet message access protocol), and any email attachments in the specified folder (or label in Gmail) are then directly saved to your Dropbox. This way you automate the process of grabbing attachments from your mail.
• Alternatively, you can use the Attachments.me Chrome extension to save attachments from your Gmail account directly to your Dropbox. Whenever you open an email with attachments, a toolbar appears on the right-hand side of the browser window which lets you save the attachments directly to your Dropbox by clicking on “Save to Cloud”. iPhone users can download Attachments.me on their devices to automatically save email attachments to Dropbox.
Share with URL
• No more attachments! Send your friends the link to the file you wish to share. Dropbox lets you create links for any files or folders, and these can be sent to anyone for viewing videos, images and documents. You can disable the links whenever you’re done with them.
• What if someone wants to send you a huge file but cannot because of size limitations? DROPitTOme comes to your rescue. It’s an online application that lets you create a password-protected link, where you and your friends can upload files, so your friends can drop stuff into your Dropbox from anywhere.
Saving to Dropbox
• If your existing Dropbox folder is a mess, SortMyBox is a nifty little service that organizes your files for you, based on rules that you define. You can choose to organize files by extension, date or file name. Put all your unsorted files into your Sortbox folder inside your Dropbox folder, and SortMyBox will automatically move the files into the appropriate folder for you.
• Akira is a command prompt application which uses Dropbox to access a computer remotely. You can grab files from anywhere on the remote computer, take a screenshot of the screen and save it in your Dropbox folder, run applications, shut down the PC, or even launch a website in the default browser.
• Run torrent downloads remotely. Configure your BitTorrent client to monitor a Dropbox folder and initiate downloads of new .torrent files in the folder. Then copy a torrent file to that folder from any other device to initiate the download. Start the torrent from anywhere and when you reach home, you can enjoy the content straightaway.
• Basically, any application that lets you create a watch folder is fertile ground for Dropbox. Be it Adobe Photoshop, or HandBrake, you can automate their functioning by configuring them to watch a folder in Dropbox. This way you can run processes on your mothership while being away from home.
•Set up remote printing using Dropbox. You can print from any device connected to the Internet— you need a Visual Basic Script (VBS) for this one, but you don’t need to know programming, just download the VBS from http://img.labnol.org/files/dropbox_printing.html. Run the script on the computer with the printer, and choose a folder in Dropbox for it to monitor. After that, any document file that you copy to the folder will be printed automatically.
And so much more
Get more out of the box. Use the inherent features of Dropbox to do more than usual.
• It automatically syncs your media files when you connect a camera or a smartphone to your computer via USB. You can also choose to auto upload all your camera pics to your Dropbox (doing so can get you an extra 3 GB of free space!).
• Web developers can store “local” copies of files they’re working with on live servers in a Dropbox folder. As you edit those files from other locations/devices, they’ll synchronize, so you’ll always have current copies to work on.
• Put your saved game data in Dropbox for complete portability. Then, no matter what computer you’re on (as long as you have the game installed), you can resume your game anytime.
• Set up a universal productivity and personal organizer that can be edited with any software using plain text files and Dropbox.
If your productivity tool uses its own file fomat then you can’t use the files with other tools. On the other hand, .txt files are OS agnostic, and tools like Todo.txt let you manage your tasks in a plain text format that syncs between your desktop and mobile phone using its apps for iOS and Android, all using Dropbox.
And the list is endless. These little tips will help you customize your Dropbox experience and enhance functionality.
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