Dropbox File Sharing for the Musician

by

in Software Tools

Dropbox is a free software appliance for sharing files among different computers. I've been using it extensively for several months now. I giving it two thumbs up for ease of use and functionality.

File sharing between your home and work computer has always been a bit of a pain. Dropbox has made that incredibly easier.

It's just another folder on your desktop and toolbar. Quick instant access through windows explorer on the PC or any other operating system. Windows, Linux, Mac, iPad/iPhone, and other mobile phones, are all supported. There's also a sharing option which I'll get to in a moment.

How it Works

Once you install and create your account you have a folder either on your desktop or in your documents folder. You can create folders and drag files into and out of the folders just like you would any other files on your computer.

You have 2 GB of free space you can use and can subscribe to get to 50GB for $10/m or maximum of 100GB for $20/m. However, there's a way to add additional space for free by making recommendations to your friends.

The files are then securely uploaded in the background when you are idle, as to not slow down your computer. There is also a nice feature which allows only the changed parts to be loaded reducing bandwidth requirements.

All updates are done in the background and you get a notice on your other computers when they have been successfully updated with any changes.

Also your files are available from the main Dropbox website from any computer should you need to get a file at a friends house. You'll just need your user id and password. Check out the Roboform post for managing passwords.

Sharing

With the sharing feature it was become even easier to share your music files and notation or other documents with others. They only have access to this one folder so no worries about prying eyes.

I share a folder with my wife and have access to anything we want to put out there directly through a shared folder. It does take up some of your free space usage. If you share a link with your friends that haven't yet signed up each of you can get an additional 250 MB of space (up to 8 GB), making it a lot easier to make that shared space viable.

You'll also see the other persons changes to files through the notification system. Click on the notification and you'll be taken directly to the new file.

Mobile Devices

Above I mentioned that dropbox is available on mobile devices. I've been using it on my iPad with excellent success. You'll probably stumble a few times trying to figure out the integration, but I've been able to download off websites right into one of my Dropbox folders.

The thing about mobile devices is that it only retrieves the index of files until you want to access the file. Thus you won't be using up a lot of air time until you actually need the file.

Security

Security is always a question and I don't typically put files into the web space that are sensitive like financial information.  Dropbox uses the AES-256 encryption with Secure Socket layer, thus you can rest assured that your files are safe.

One feature that I hadn't thought much about is that you have a one-month history of work/files that is kept even after you delete or modify your files. That little reassurance is nice to have. It's as simple as undo to get those files back.

Summary

My test run with Dropbox has me convinced that this is the way to go. The only problem you might have is organization. It's just like any other folder/file you can add to your PC or Mac. So create an organization scheme and stick to it.

I occasionally scan the folder and move unused or unneeded files out to free up space and keep only current working or share files that I really need.

Go here to Dropbox and claim an extra 250 MB of free space for yourself when you get your account.

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