My daughter went overseas to teach ESL in Taiwan. She’d been there only a week or so when one day, in a matter of moments, she lost her operating system and every speck of data (it’s a PC, not a MAC, for those interested in such details). That’s a heart-churner in the best of circumstances, but even harder when you are in a place where there is no English-speaker in sight, your class plans are on that machine, and another day facing students starts in a few hours. There’s no need to clutter your reading with the details, but with a wonderful application that I’ve used now for almost four years she did manage to save something of high importance to her. Prior to leaving for Taiwan in mid-August, she had gone on a 7-month road trip all across the nation—mostly in the South, Southwest, and West Coast—and had a photo record of that trip. That’s hundreds and hundreds of photos.
Guess where they were?
Well, a couple of years ago I convinced our daughter to sign up for Dropbox. We have some shared folders. In one of those folders is where she had wisely deposited all these photos. The way Dropbox works, you place items in your Dropbox folder, which works just like any other folder on your hard drive, and it’s nearly instantly also placed in your Dropbox folder on every device you own, as well as in your Cloud-based Dropbox account. In addition, if it’s a shared folder, everyone who is connected also gets the documents on their hard drive.
This is painless! I use Dropbox daily. It’s effortless. When I have edited a document for the office while at home, next day when I opened my folder at work, the updated document was just there. Version changes are tracked and you can go back and see what the document looked like at an earlier time.
You start with 2 Gigs of space, free. You can add space by asking people to sign up. By doing that, I have gained over 5 Gigs of extra space, so I now have over 7 in my account.
In fact, if you want to join, you can do so by clicking this link. If you do, I’ll get extra space and so will you!
I hardly know what a flash drive is anymore. Dropbox has essentially made them superfluous for me.
One more thing:
Whether you use Dropbox or not, there is no such thing as too much backup! Do it! The more automation and the more regularity, the better. For Mac, a couple of options are Timeline or SuperDuper. I use SuperDuper, and my OS drive and documents drives get backed up automatically 3 times a week.
Tell us what unique benefit you have gained from Dropbox, or tell us how disciplined backup has saved your bacon. Or, if you can stand reliving the trauma, let us know one of your no-backup hair-pulling stories. For you PC users, what backup application do you recommend?