The memory stick was an invaluable addition to peripheral marketplace that made it possible for us to forget about floppy discs and forgo burning a CD of that presentation for the big meeting. Cheap memory and the need for every accessory to "say something about who I am" has led to the creation of cute and not-so-cute memory stick iterations that are limited only by the imaginations of folks looking to cash in.
But what happens when you lose the memory stick? When you drop it on the sidewalk and accidentally step on it ?(I've done this) When you accidentally use it to stir your coffee on one of "those" mornings? (I have not done this). Depending on the kind of information you keep on it, the memory stick is a liability -- and it's a pain to carry around. There are a number of ways to untether yourself from the memory stick and more efficiently manage your information. Today we'll look at a couple.
Dropbox, a relatively new service that is still in beta, offers convenient cross-platform, cross-computer file-syncing with a relatively low barrier of entry. Just download the desktop application to the machines you want to use Dropbox with and add files to your Dropbox folder. When you make changes to the files in the Dropbox folder, they are instantly updated on other machines. While the files and folders are accessible to only you, Dropbox also has a public folder that allows you to share files with friends via unique URLS. Additionally, you can share complete folders with other Dropbox users. The best part, in my opinion, is that Dropbox allows you to access your files via the web in addition to the local desktop application. You can also use the web interface to recover files that you deleted on local machines. Watch all the bells and whistles in this short video. Because Dropbox is in beta still, you need an invite to join. If you're interested, email me, and I'll share one of my invites.
The Dropbox model seems to be a value-added approach to the fairly robust file-hosting services that have sprouted up everywhere in the last couple of years. These services allow you to upload files from your local computer and download them from the web on any other computer using a unique URL assigned to the resource. Many of them offer both free option (with a limit to the file size and number of files you may upload) as well as a premium service that affords space for bigger files, more files, and faster upload and download speeds. Some of the most popular are Mediafire, Rapidshare, Badongo, and zSHARE-- and I'm sure a couple more came on the scene as I'm typing this. Need a powerpoint on a regular basis and you don't want to keep emailing it to yourself? Upload it to Mediafire and download it anytime and anywhere you need to access it.