At first, Drop Box (download here) seems like nothing more than a web-based service that lets users store files on the cloud. That’s not to say that it’s not useful, because Drop Box is actually very cool. It’s available as both a free and a paid service, and for mobile operating systems like BlackBerry, iOS and Android.
What’s truly interesting about the service is that there are tons of possibilities, many of which you may not have even known were possible.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do with Drop Box that you may not have even known you could do:
1) Syncing Your iTunes Library Between Multiple Computers
For this, you will simply move your iTunes folder into Dropbox, and then tell the iTunes Application where the folder is located. The upload may take a while, and the Dropbox file size limit is 2GB, so you may be in for a long wait. Don’t forget to create a backup just in case. It’ also worth noting that you can only use the playlist on one computer at a time, so you will need to quit iTunes on a machine when you leave it.
2) Sync Your Passwords Across Computers
You will need a password management application on your computer. You will save your password database file in Dropbox. Now you will open the password manager on your other computers and direct them to the database saved in Dropbox.
3) Game Saves
Install your game on all your computers and have them set up to save and open saved games from your Dropbox. That means that you can now play a game on the living room computer, save and continue your progress later on your bedroom computer.
4) Podcast Creation
When podcasting with sites I’ve written for in the past, we typically have each person record their part of the audio, and one person with audio editing software and know-how does the editing work. Once it’s ready, someone uploads it to the server so that it can be downloaded by listeners. This is made easier when each person saves their individual audio files to Dropbox, then the editor grabs and edits. From there, the file can be taken by someone else to the server for upload.
5) Download Torrents from any Computer
Say you want to download a torrent, but you aren’t home. Besides, who wants to do that while they’re home? Here’s a great solution. Direct your torrent client to open files found in a folder within your Dropbox. Now, while you are bored at work, you can add the torrent files from your work computer through the Dropbox web application.
Band can work together from miles apart with Dropbox. For instance, using music software such as Reason, users can put their necessary sound samples and ReFills in Dropbox. Their bandmate across the country can do the same. When they open their song file, they can have access to the same sound library. When finished editing, they can save the updated version of their song to Dropbox so that the other collaborator can open it up and add their own pieces.
7) Listen to Your Music Anywhere
Did you forget to bring your iPod or iPhone to work today? Well, that’s okay, because luckily you’ve saved your music in Dropbox. Now all you have to do is open up the Dropbox web interface and go to your music folder. Unfortunately, you won’t have playlist management and other such features through the Dropbox interface, but you will have access to individual songs from your library through your browser.
8) Create a Public Gallery
This is a standard feature, but it’s largely overlooked. It’s very easy to miss, and most people are so used to other image hosting sites that they may not even be aware that this one exists. You create an folder of photos within the “Photos” folder of Dropbox. Now, right click > Dropbox > Copy public Gallery. That will give you a link that you can share with friends. The contents of that folder will be viewable.
9) Use Dropbox as My Documents
You can do this so that files you save are automatically synced to your Dropbox account. This can be accomplished in Windows 7 and in Vista by right-clicking on the Documents and select properties. On the location tab, direct the file path to Dropbox and click Move.
10) Take Portable Applications With You
So long as your applications don’t need to be installed, you can add the portable apps to Dropbox. Sync then across your computers and you can access them from any PC. Your preferences should also be synced.
11) Save IM Logs
Create a folder for IM logs in Dropbox and redirect your IM client to save to that folder.
12) Know What’s Happening Across Your Computers
You can setup a keylogger that can run in the background and direct the saves to Dropbox. If someone starts using your computer, you will know what they are doing and where they are going with your computer.
Dropbox can do some amazing things if you just figure out some clever uses for it. Most of these tips and tricks just come from tinkering around with the software and moving folders to new locations. Applications that use some sort of directory can almost always be synced to Dropbox for use across various computers. Of course you should always make backups of anything before moving it to dropbox, just in case. Still, there is plenty out there to figure, and as users try to find fixes for their everyday computer problems, they will continue to invent new ways to use the applications they are given.