Skip to content

Archive for

What is Dropbox?

What is Dropbox?

Dropbox (www.dropbox.com) is a file sharing program created in 2007 by two MIT students who thought of a good way to share files.

With Dropbox you can share documents (and pictures) with others, either to collaborate on a project or to send a file too large to email. Dropbox is easy. It works on Windows and Mac computers, as well as tablets and smartphones. It is free.

Once you create a Dropbox account and download the program, you will see a Dropbox folder on your computer and you will have your own storage area on the Dropbox website. Any document you drag and drop into your Dropbox folder will be uploaded to the Dropbox website, which you can access from any computer by visiting dropbox.com.

To send someone else a document — either to collaborate or as a one-way document transfer — create a “shared folder” on the Dropbox website and invite someone (or a group of people) to join. This gives them access to the contents of the folder.

The recipient(s) will receive an email inviting them to share your Dropbox folder. If a recipient wishes just to download a shared document, he/she does not need to have a Dropbox account. But, if a recipient wishes to modify the document and upload it back into the shared folder, he/she will need a Dropbox account.

If you are using Dropbox to collaborate on a project, you and your recipient(s) must have the same software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc). If you are simply sending a document for someone else to download (but not edit), you should convert the document to a .pdf format and upload the .pdf to Dropbox to be sure the recipient can open/read it.

In order to use Dropbox on a tablet or smartphone, you will need to download a free app called “CloudOn.” Once you give CloudOn your Dropbox information, you will be able to access the contents of your Dropbox folder. CloudOn even gives you the ability to edit documents, a feature not readily available in these mobile devices.

Of course, you can always email yourself a file and pick it up from another device — this might be most efficient for just one file — but for multiple files, large files, and for sharing files, Dropbox is a great tool. Check it out.

Note: Dropbox is not the only file sharing program available; GoogleDocs and Windows SkyDrive are similar. You will need to have a gmail account to use GoogleDocs and a Windows account to use SkyDrive. Both are free and easy to use.

The Word “Default”

A “default” sounds like a bad thing. And for good reason. Many of its definitions are about failure:

  • Failure to act; inaction or neglect: They lost their best client by sheer default.
  • Failure to meet financial obligations.
  • Law. Failure to perform an act or obligation legally required, especially to appear in court or to plead at a time assigned.
  • Sports. Failure to arrive in time for, participate in, or complete a scheduled match.

But there is one definition of “default” that isn’t about failure at all. It’s the computing definition of the word:

  • ┬áThe preset selection of an option offered by a system, which will always be followed except when explicitly altered
  • (as modifier) : Default setting

Huh?

The default settings in your computer are the settings that the programmers decided are the most typical computing choices you will make. Default settings can be modified, either by setting a new default or by making a one-time-change.

For example:

  • On your printer, the “default” settings are “one copy, 8.5″ x 11″ paper, portrait orientation, and single sided” because that is likely what most of your printed documents require.
  • When you open a new Word document, the “default” text is set to an easy-to-read font (usually Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman) and to a readable size (11pt or 12pt). The “default” color is black.
  • The “default” setting for time on your device is the 12-hour format (AM and PM). If you prefer 24-hour military time, you can change the setting.
  • Your computer’s Task Bar (Windows) or Dock (Mac) is positioned by “default” along the bottom of your screen. If you prefer it along either side instead, you can change the setting.

Now when you hear the term “default” in reference to your computer, you will not think you have failed it. For once, it is not “de-fault” of the user. How refreshing!

Getting Rid of Old Gadgets

Happy New Year!

When I decided to write about getting rid of old gadgets — a popular topic at this time of year — I learned that CNN already wrote it better than I could.

(CNN) — If you received shiny new gadgets for the holidays, you probably have some older device that is now unwanted or obsolete. If you can’t regift your old computer, tablet or TV, make sure you get rid of it the smart way by selling, donating or recycling it.

Click on the link below to read the article:

(CNN) — Get Rid of your Old Gadgets

Look for an upcoming ITmail that discusses how to be sure your personal data is removed from your device before you part with it.