Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: D is for Dropbox

The “Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge” continues, and D had me wondering just what to write about. Descendants? Diaries? my Desk? Each of them I’m sure is worthy of a post, but for D I have chosen to write about Dropbox.

D is for Dropbox

I know Dropbox has a lot of users (or should I say devotees) already, but some of you may not know about it, so I’ll tell you a little about it. Though I am really a newbie, I’m a total convert to Dropbox, and I wanted to share it with you. In the few months I’ve been using it, it has proved itself to be so useful, I’m not sure what I’d do without it now.

The definition …
Let’s start with the term “cloud computing”. This was something that was always sounded scary to me – but it simply means that it saves a copy of your data off of your computer and out “in the clouds” online. Dropbox is one of the “cloud computing” companies. The definition in Wikipedia states that “Cloud computing entrusts services with a user’s data, software and computation over a network. End users access cloud based applications through a web browser or a light weight desktop or mobile app.” So you simply log on, and can access your files.

The use …
My job has me working at three separate locations, and in the process I use a number of different computers. Having the ability to drag and drop folders or files into Dropbox, to then be able to access from another computer has proved invaluable, and so much easier than remembering to copy on to a flash drive, use it, and then remembering  to recopy the updated one back on to the flash drive afterwards. Or emailing files which is something I also used to do – but unfortunately many were too big.

The syncing part …
I have Dropbox installed on all of the computers I use at home and work. Having files stored on Dropbox allows me to be able to access them from ANY of these computers whenever I need. I simply use the same login for each computer, and whenever any file is changed, it syncs with Dropbox on the other computers and updates it, so I know I’m always using the latest copy.

The genealogy part …
As mentioned this is immensely useful for my work, but also great for my family history, as I use it as part of my backup plan. I now have an entire copy of my genealogy files, photos and scans saved onto Dropbox, which is comforting since I have had two computers stolen, and two others have hard disk crashes. So having a copy that is off my computer, and not in my house is wonderful, but I still don’t leave that as my ONLY copy. I make sure that I have copies on a flash drive as well, and Mr Lonetester being the wonderful computer-geek he is, also does daily backups of my computer which is saved on a server somewhere.

Time to give it a go …
So D is for Dropbox. If you haven’t tried it, give it a go, you’ve got nothing to lose because when you sign up you get 2GB of storage space free, try it now!

6 Responses to “Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: D is for Dropbox”

  1. Frances says:

    Thanks, Alona, this is so useful and easy to understand.

  2. Sharon says:

    Thank you for your post Alona. I have learnt something new and will be looking into Drop Box.

  3. Alona says:

    Frances and Sharon thank you for your comments. Sometimes I’m not sure if what is in my head makes it out into words others understand, so I do appreciate the feedback. 🙂

    One thing I omitted to go into in the post was that Dropbox lets you create as many folders, and sub-folders as you want – just like on your regular computer. And a wonderful use for it is demonstrated by someone I know in Australia, who is corresponding with a distant family member in England. Both are using Dropbox, and are scanning photos, articles etc to send each other, but rather than emailing them one-by-one, they simply save them into a ‘shared’ folder, which means whenever something is placed in there (from either person), both get to see it. It certainly saves clogging up emails, and is much quicker to just save them all into a single folder.

  4. Catherine says:

    Great post Alona!… yep I’ve found “Dropbox” to be a dream … My children introduced it to me and, along with 11 & 15yr old grandchildren, we share photos etc, as you’ve described. I now need to use it to back up my Family History files. Thanks for the reminding.

  5. Pauleen says:

    Great post Alona making it all so clear. I’ve been intending to use Dropbox for some time -I think I may even have an account 😉 Without an urgent reason to use it, I just haven’t got in the groove. Good prompting to get it done…thanks!

  6. Alona says:

    Go for it Pauleen – you’ll love it!

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