The popular file sharing and synching service known as Dropbox has been receiving some heat lately for changes the company made to its Terms of Service (TOS). For many, the point of concern was a section about compliance with law enforcement, in which Dropbox outlined situations where it would feel compelled to fork over personal data about its users. This sparked a bit of outrage among fans of the service, so Dropbox decided to set the record straight in a lengthy blog post explaining the changes.
Dropbox is quickly turning into a Silicon Valley success story of epic proportions. In January 2010, the cloud-based file syncing and sharing service had attracted 4 million fans, an impressive number for a startup that, at the time, was less than three years old. And now? Dropbox today announced that more than 25 million people are using the service to save more than 200 million files every day.
Dropbox is, in a word, awesome. From its humble beginnings back in 2007, the robust cloud-storage service has grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years. Now, in addition to its browser-based interface, the service boasts clients for Windows, OS X, Fedora, Ubuntu, as well as smartphone support provided you’re rocking either an Android or iOS-based handset. With the low, low starting price of absolutely free, and an interface with one of the lowest learning curves in the business, its hard find an argument for why anyone wouldn’t want to give Dropbox a spin. To help get you started, we’ve put together ten tips on how to make one of our favorite cloud-storage solutions even more functional than it already is.
Keeping a list of complex hacker-vexing passwords is an absolute must for every computer user’s security plan. It’s also a royal pain in the neck. As we visit more and more sites, we consequently collect more login credentials, making for a motley collection of username and password combinations. In a bid to save their sanity, some PC owners opt to use the same login information for every site they frequent. Others resort to recording all of their login information on a piece of paper or pasting it into a Word document. With insecure stop-gap measures like these for keeping track of the keys to your digital kingdom, you may as well send hackers your personal information via email and be done with it.
Dropbox has announced today that their desktop sync software has reached version 1.0. In addition to all the bug fixes, this new version brings new features to the table. First and foremost, users will notice that file syncs happen much faster now. The entire client-side sync engine has been redesigned to be faster and lighter weight. Memory usage should only be 50% of what it was with older versions. Dropbox has also redesigned the UI of their program on all platforms to be more intuitive.
When you checkout the sync settings, you may also notice a new option called Selective Sync. With this feature, you can control which Dropbox folders are synced to that specific device. There is also better resource fork syncing for Mac users.
Dropbox accounts are free, and come with 2GB of free storage. If you are a current user, and haven't updated your Dropbox software in a while, head over to the site and get the new version. We’re a little sorry to say ours was very out of date.
Microsoft has never had a unified approach to online storage and sync, but it appears as though this is finally going to change. In the latest beta release of Windows Live Essentials 2011 Microsoft released a utility called Live Sync to help users manage folders across more than one PC, but this is going to be renamed yet again to Live Mesh before the final release later in the year. Just in case you’re having a hard time following the name changes, and we wouldn’t blame you if you did, Live Sync and Mesh until recently were two very different approaches to the common problem of maintaining folder sync across the Internet.
The indecision within Microsoft over which product would end up being their long term sync solution drove many users such as myself into the arms of Dropbox, but perhaps this official show of commitment will be enough to convince others like me to give it another try. It sounds as though the original concept for Mesh will remain intact, but it will be receiving a storage bump up to 5GB along with various performance enhancements.
Oddly enough Mesh.com still sports a full page ad advising users to go checkout Live Sync, but I suppose we can’t expect them to get their act together overnight now can we?
We're already smitten with Dropbox, the cloud-based backup software that makes easy work out of synchronizing files across different locations and PCs, but now we're nothing short of love struck. With the release of Dropbox Anywhere for Android, iPad, and BlackBerry, the developers have kicked things up a notch in a huge way.
"With the innovation and growth in mobile computing, the industry is shifting from a PC and desktop centric model to one where our daily computing experience spans multiple devices and locations," said Drew Houston, CEO and founder of Dropbox. "By providing seamless and ubiquitous access to users' files and media in the most popular phones and tablets, Dropbox Anywhere helps deliver on the promise of the new mobile model, and makes using these devices more productive and fun."
Dropbox was already available for the iPhone, and now users of other mobile OSes can access, manage, and share files from a variety of devices. It also includes developer capabilities so that Dropbox's file-access and syncing features can be baked directly into their mobile apps, the company said.
Dropbox for Android and iPad are available now, with the BlackBerry app expected to ship this summer.
Do you want space or do you want security? That's the fundamental question posed by this weeks' spotlight Firefox addon, Gspace. If you think about it for a moment, you can probably get a pretty good inkling of what this addon actually does. If not, here are a few clues. It's USB week here at Maximum PC. But not all of us have access to a USB stick (or a Dropbox account) at all times. And it's not like you can just hunker down and email yourself a 100MB file at once--even Gmail itself has a pesky 25MB attachment limit for anything you send.
The point I'm trying to get at is that sometimes you just need a little extra oomph in the online file storage department. And that's exactly where Gspace comes into play. This simple addon opens up a gateway to file storage via your Gmail account, all handled through an FTP-like display directly in your Firefox browser. No longer will you use your Gmail merely for sending and receiving emails. No, it's now its own file server--free for you to grab and take files anywhere you have access to Firefox and the Gspace addon. Of course, you can also access the gmail address you assign to Gspace through a standard Web client and download (as attachments) any files you've uploaded under 19MB in size--anything larger gets split into Gspace-only archives.
Neat, huh? As always, that description is but the tip of the Gspace iceberg. Click the jump to see what else this awesome addon can do!
It's difficult to envision a life without email. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing. Suffice, digital messaging is just a fact of geek life that we all have to deal with on a daily basis. Whether your inbox gets flooded with messages like the Nile during rainy season, or it's barren as one of those outback wastelands that Bear Grylls likes to visit, you probably aren't using your email client of choice to its fullest potential.
That's ok. Neither was I before undertaking the research for this week's open-source and freeware roundup. But now that I have seen the light, as it were, I would never go back to the ol' vanilla installations of Outlook, Thunderbird, Gmail, or whatever one's particular email utility of choice happens to be. There are just too many interesting ways to tweak and alter the normal email experience to better enhance your ability to read, organize, and shuffle your messages.
That's kind of "the big point" of the roundup this week--making your email work better for you. Click the jump, and I'll show you five apps and utilities for taking your email processing to the next level!
When you get right down to it, Dropbox is a pretty simple app. It syncs folders—that’s it. But what makes Dropbox amazing is the sheer number of different ways you can use that functionality, by itself or in conjunction with other programs, to improve your computing experience. We like Dropbox so much that we’ve written about it severaltimesbefore, and we still haven’t gotten to every cool thing you can do with the program.
That’s why, in this article, we’re going to share with you a whopping 15 things that we think everyone should know about Dropbox, from how to get extra storage for free to how to use Dropbox to control your Bittorrent client.
For example, do you know how to hack Dropbox to accept email attachments?