Pedro MartinezPedro is a Technology Leader, former CIO/CTO and co-founder, speaker, father of 3, former paratrooper and US Army veteran.  He counts with 19 years of experience in Tech.  Follow Pedro for valuable information about Cloud adoption and overall Digital Transformation.

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Got Dropbox?

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Dropbox

Photo: Dropbox process. Photo courtesy of Dropbox

A few months ago, I’ve found this neat tool called “Dropbox.” Dropbox is a software client that synchronizes (syncs) your files across computers, whether they are running Windows, Mac or Linux operating systems, and they can also be accessed from just about any mobile device (Blackberry, iPhone, Netbook, etc.) with internet access using Dropbox’s website. This application (app) also allows files to be automatically backed up to Dropbox servers or another computer. Once the files are synced and backed up, they can be shared with friends or teammates across the web. Seems like a dream come true, doesn’t it!?

I’m mostly working from my home office, but there are times when I work from multiple locations, if I’m not just simply traveling, depending on current projects. I’ve used to carry around 3 different USB thumb drives (2GB, 8GB and 16GB) for months at a time, and to be honest, I can’t remember how many I have lost along the way. I’ve tried Google Docs and Microsoft Office Live Workspaces, but both online services were limited on file types one can upload since the intended purpose is for document collaboration, not data syncing or backup.

I’ve also tried Drop.io (hold your breath before you scream), and it’s definitely more than what I needed. Drop.io is another neat software I’ve been testing for a few weeks now and it is amazing for collaboration, but didn’t serve my purpose here. This app is an online private sharing and real-time collaboration service. It claims to be simple, which it is for a real-time collaboration tool, but not as simple as Dropbox in terms of files synchronization and data backup.

You should also give Syncplicity a test drive. This app is very similar to Dropbox, but it’s a little bit more comprehensive, for lack of a better term. In addition to the features Dropbox currentoy offer, Syncplicity supports online applications such asZoho, Scribd, Picnik, Google Docs and Facebook. According to their website, they are offering 2GB of space and synchronization between 2 computers for free, and a free upgrade of space up to 5GB total, when a few referred friends sign up for their service.

Dropbox offers 2GB and the chance to get additional space, up to 1GB of additional space; 3GB total free space. Correction: up to 3GB of additional space and 5GB total free space; paid accounts can double that.  I’ve emailed Dropbox support asking for clarification on whether the 3GB was of total space or additional space after getting the initial 2GB free space, but didn’t get a response. I’ve received a response on Sep 22, 2009, after posting this blog entry.  Dropbox’s pricing plans are posted on their site. The same depicts 3 different plans, Basic (2GB for free), 50 Pro (50GB for $9.99 per month), and Pro 100 (100GB for $19.99 per month). Once I’ve installed the app on my Mac computer, I was given the option of upgrading to a 25GB plan for $7.99. I’m not sure if this is something they forgot to update, or some type of secret or bonus option for current or new members.

One of the complaints I’ve read, while searching for details about the product, had to do with the fact that Dropbox allows you to assign a specific folder (My Dropbox) in the desired location, and you must used that folder for synching your files. I see that as an advantage for me. It will constantly remind me that anything I put in My Dropbox’s folder will be synched. It makes restores and file structure cleaner, a plus when adding additional computers.

I do not consider this blog entry a product comparison, but simply a product review and recommendation. I recommend Dropbox for its simplicity and its consistency in keeping a clean design, easy-to-use operation and low learning curve, SO FAR. It helped me get organized and gave me a sense of security knowing that my data is been backed up effortlessly. Regardless of the software of your choice, I encourage you to test them all and provide feedback to its developers. I’d love to hear from you as well.

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