As long as people have worked with multiple computers, they’ve always had to find ways to transfer files between them. Back in the old days, we used square plastic things called “floppy diskettes” to store data and recall it on any convenient computer. They could hold an amazing 1.41 megabytes worth of files. Back when everything was plain text, that was workable.
Nowadays, people still use sneakernet, though the medium of choice is now USB flash drives and occasionally an external hard disk. But the idea remains the same: You have files you’re working on, and you want to access them on more than one computer; so you load the files onto a drive and bring them with you. Perhaps you want to take your work home, or you want to smuggle some music into your workplace or school. Maybe you’re writing a novel and you want to continue to write while you travel.
Dropbox does away with the need to manually copy files from place to place. All you have to do is tell the software which files it should sync, and those files are mirrored in “the cloud,” where any of your linked computers can access them. You can view documents on your iPhone/iPod, edit them on your laptop, or work with them on someone else’s computer.
It’s really cool. If you put active projects into your Dropbox, you no longer have to worry about which computer the files are on. They’re on the computer you’re using. They’re everywhere.
Need to share a file with someone? Don’t email it to them, put it in your Public folder or mark it as shared, and send the link along.
The Dropbox software runs on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. There is also a web interface to access your files in situations where you cannot install the sync software. The service is free, so long as you have less than 2GB worth of synced files. Otherwise you’ll have to look into their paid plans.
Take a look, you won’t regret it. (Also, if you sign up with this affiliate link, we both get an extra 250MB of storage. How cool is that?)