Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dropbox Anyone?

I'll confess right up front that I'm terrible about backing up my documents. I was using a memory stick for a while but only remembered to do it once a month or so. Then there was the emailing-novel-to-myself phase. I remembered to do that about twice a month. I checked out some of the online services that you pay for (mozy, etc), but I'm so cheap I just can't stand paying for things if I don't have to. (Actually, I think they offer 2 gigs free now.)

But still, I thought there must be another way.

I just discovered dropbox. I'm not terribly tech-saavy, so this may be old news, but I'll share anyway. You go to dropbox, download it, and a folder will appear on your computer. Anything you put in this folder can be accessed from any computer connected to the internet.

They market dropbox as a way to organize your files across multiple computers, phones, etc, but all of the files you drop in your dropbox folder are also instantly uploaded to the internet. So, if your computer breaks and your phone bursts into flames, you still have access to your files via "cloud computing."

Now, when I sit down to write, I open Chapter 18 from the dropbox folder and work on it. When I hit "save," the doc is saved not only on my computer but also on the internet. I don't have to remember to back up. I don't have to do anything special. I'm loving it.

So, what do you use to back up your writing and how do you like it? Ever tried dropbox? Have concerns I haven't thought about?


rodgriff said...

Yes, it certainly works.
If I'm sitting in front of the TV working with my MAC Air I can walk through to my office and just beat Dropbox to it, but if I add in the time to copy to and from a memory stick at both ends, then drop box wins. It's quicker than bluetooth.
Did you want to know that - probably not. Certainly a life saver if you are working away from home.

Scott said...

I just recently started using Dropbox. The great thing: I can create a link to the file and share that with my beta readers. Woo-hoo. No more sending emails with attachments. I just send the link.

My normal back-up every time I work on a document: hard drive, flash drive a, and flash drive b. I used to have an online service and I'd backup everything once per week.

Now that you've provided more info about Dropbox, hmmmmm . . .



Lisa said...

Rod - It is quick if you're working with one or two files at a time. But when I dropped my entire novel, complete with notes and character profiles, etc in dropbox, it took a long time to upload.

I'm thinking it'll be very helpful for printing. Most of us probably only have printers hooked up to our desktops. But we work from our laptops. Hello, dropbox!

Scott - beta readers...that's perfect. I was just trying to wrap my brain around how we might be able to use dropbox for our critique group. But that might get complicated with comments. How does that work with your beta readers? Do they write comments and save it as a separate file, or can multiple people make comments on one doc?

I've thought that we (the slushies) might be able to use google docs for critiques, since many people can make comments at the same time and it all appears instantaneously. But Word files on google docs don't do track changes. Alas...

Terry Odell said...

I've been using Dropbox for nearly a year. I love it. I can share files with family (like photos) and right now, I'm working on the laptop in the living room, picking up the manuscript where I left off after working most of the day on my office PC.

I've never noticed any serious lag time.

Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Lisa said...

That's great Terry. I'm seeing how it can be useful on so many levels. I've got a friend who uses it to share music. He sends out a new song each day and over 100 of his friends subscribe to the Music Fix.

Nora MacFarlane said...

I'm the flash drive queen. I save everything to the flash drive and keep one current copy on the hard drive. I'm getting an external hard drive (for Christmas?) so I can activate Time Machine on my MAC. Once my manuscripts get to the point where I think I'd cry if I lost one, I email them to myself too. I've not used Dropbox.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lisa .. I came over via Elizabeth Spann-Riley's blog .. and am interested in drop box; thanks for the information and for the comments .. I wondered if anyone was using Evernote .. and whether there's a comparison?

Thanks - Hilary