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Getting The Most Out Of DropBox

Over the years I accumulated quite some private documents, files, important pictures and so on. I use to make backups every now and then but one can never really feel safe.

  • Burning things on a DVD: beware of the limited lifespan! I had several DVDs not being readable anymore already.
  • External HD: great for many files. But needs quite some energy, needs to be hooked up and in case your house burns down or there are thieves not that good a backup in the end.
  • USB sticks: very handy. So far my favorite, since I could carry them around. But that’s also the drawback. I lost two of them already and I hope nobody ever found them.

When cloud space providers appeared I soon switched to one of them. The concept is to use a server somewhere in the internet with access to a space only possible for you. I went with Microsoft Skydrive, since it offered 25Gb. The additional software Gladinet was a superb companion since it seamlessly integrated into the Explorer allowing Drag and Drop. I could get multiple Skydrive accounts and have all my data saved.

Lately Gladinet has developed some hickups. I cannot save folders anymore, only files, which is currently in the fixing but I asked around a little and the world has turned as always, and the new star is DropBox. Over the weekend I signed up to give it a try. Quite disappointingly there are only 2Gb free. Coming from 25Gb that’s a big change. Big plus: the integration. Like Gladinet one has great Explorer integration (lacking a meaningful progress monitor or upload prioritization though) and it works across devices. I quickly copied an audio book to my dropbox and then streamed it from my mobile while jogging. Nice!

So, 2Gb is a start, I didn’t want to invest money, so what are the options?

  • One is easy. Complete the getting started (+250mb).
  • Then connect to Facebook and Twitter, follow them there and post a short comment through the feedback channel (+500Mb). Afterwards I simply removed the app from Facebook again, unfollowed and was back to where I started with the additional memory still there.
  • The next step is to install the mobile app and upload a picture. Now, for every 500Mb you upload from the phone, you get another 500Mb plus up to 3Gb. So I simply recorded my ceiling with highest quality for 10 minutes until I had a 1Gb video file on the phone and uploaded it from my local WLAN. Repeat this until you are maxed out and delete the files afterwards (+3Gb).
  • The final and somehow most difficult step is to invite friends. One could think about setting up One Time Mailboxes and signing up from a newly booted virtual machine to get a different IP but that would not be very sporty. I invited some real friends, one replied so far (+500Mb).

By now, I am at 6.2Gb which is a good start for day-to-day exchange and I love it. If you want to give it a try, click here: Try DropBox.

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