Dropbox - file storage and syncing for travelers and students

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by DrG, Feb 22, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. DrG
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    DrG Gold Member

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    As a graduate student, I have been an avid user of Dropbox for a couple years now and find it an indispensable - and wanted to recommend it to all here. At first, I started using it to easily share files between Windows/Mac/Linux platform computers. Soon, I completely eliminated the need to carry USB drives around with my projects or travel documents. The ability to restore/recover files has saved me a number of times. It is great to know that you are never without your files.

    The free basic Dropbox account provides 2GB of storage. This can be more than enough for most documents while traveling. Here are some tips for increasing the free storage space if you want a bit more.
    • Sign up via a referral link (extra 250 MB) - Here's Mine ( http://db.tt/ip1nrtO ) :)
    • Complete steps such as the tour to become a "Dropbox guru" (extra 250MB)
    • Complete Dropquest 2011 (+ 1GB) - Seems to have ended in January
    • Complete Dropquest 2012 (+ 1GB) - (More Info)
    • Connect Dropbox to social media (up to 640MB) - dropbox.com/free
    • Register .edu email address (extra 500MB)
    • Refer other users (extra 250MB each)
    • Refer fellow students (extra 500MB each) - dropbox.com/edu
    Their pay plans are reasonable too (ie. 50GB for $99/yr). I have heard that if their advertised plans do not fit your needs, email them and they may have a pay plan that fits.




    Also, be sure to search Dropbox tricks or hacks on google and lifehacker for some other clever uses.

    See my post below for using a TrueCrypt encrypted drive for sensitive travel documents.

    Thank you to anyone who signs up via my referral link at http://db.tt/ip1nrtO
     
    G_G, miloki, arkleseizure and 5 others like this.
  2. CrankyScott
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    Great recommendation!

    I have been using DropBox for over a year and its awesome. Excellent way to both backup files and keep synced between computers (laptop and desktop),

    the 2GB free account will meet a lot of needs....
     
  3. ArizonaGuy
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    Crud. Guess I can't get the extra 500 for changing my registered email address to my .edu address. I tried, nothing changed. :(
     
  4. mhf
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    DropBox is cool, but I've been using SugarSync lately. It seems to have more features (any folder can be backed up/synced to multiple computers, music streaming, kinda crappy photo gallery) and I think the free account size was 5GB.

    http://www.sugarsync.com
     
  5. Miles
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    Miles Silver Member

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    I also love DropBox. My only concern is that, if someone grabs my laptop and trashes everything in Dropbox, all those documents will disappear on all my computers. Is there a way to "pull things out of the trash" at Dropbox?
     
  6. Miles
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    Miles Silver Member

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    The penultimate words of the video are "Try it free for 30 days."
     
  7. mhf
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    mhf Silver Member

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  8. wanderlust
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    wanderlust Silver Member

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    There is some "undo" functionality in dropbox. [1] As long as you can access your dropbox within 30 days, the files should be recoverable. Still, your concern highlights the need for alternative backup for vital files.
     
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  9. Miles
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    Thank you very much, wanderlust! This eliminates my greatest concern about DropBox.
     
  10. DrG
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    wanderlust is correct. With the free account, you have up to 30days to recover deleted files. Also, you can revert file changes back to a version up to 30 days old. The paid accounts have unlimited file recovery duration.
     
  11. DrG
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    DrG Gold Member

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    Some have expressed concern with putting sensitive travel documents such as passports and credit cards on their Dropbox.

    Firstly, I want to point out that Dropbox encrypts all files with AES-256 before being sent to their servers over an SSL connection (similar to when you make a credit card purchase online). This however may not be enough, especially if your laptop is lost or stolen.

    For added security, I rely on TrueCrypt ( found at http://www.truecrypt.org/ )

    TrueCrypt allows you to create a virtual encrypted disk within a file which can be mounted on your computer as an ordinary disk. This virtual encrypted disk mounts is stored in your Dropbox as a standard file that can be mounted as a drive when needed or automatically with the Truecrypt software. The encryption adds to the read/write times (depending on the level of encryption), but it is worth it for the added security. There are also some tricks for hiding undetectable encrypted disks within a TrueCrypt volume.

    Lifehacker has a good tuturial on TrueCrypt at - http://lifehacker.com/#!178005/geek-to-live--encrypt-your-data
     
  12. Grace
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    Grace Silver Member

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    I was able to put mine in just fine. I had just signed up for DB last week though.

    Did you get the verification e-mail and verify the address?
     
  13. ArizonaGuy
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    Been using Dropbox for the better part of a year. It sends no verification email to my edu address and the site doesn't seem to be requiring it.
     
  14. ArizonaGuy
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    Unlimited should be a choice for paid subscribers. I'd prefer the company lose all possible record and securely wipe old data at my request.
     
  15. Grace
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    Hmm. I initially signed up last week with gmail. When i saw the student thing I entered my .edu e-mail address and got this:
     
  16. ArizonaGuy
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    Figured it out. I was able to go to dropbox.com/edu and find a link to force send a verification email.

    Didn't realize that also means referrals give you 500mb, not 250mb per referral. Nice.
     
  17. Let's not forget the Dropbox App for iPhone/iPad, Android and BlackBerry. Also you can find third party Windows Phone 7 Apps in the Zune Market Place.
     
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  18. nomflyer
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    nomflyer Silver Member

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    Thanks OP! I've been using dropbox for over 2 years and didn't know about those extra ways to get more storage. I just went from 3.25 GB to 4.75GB in about 5 minutes. I just wish I heard about Dropquest before it ended.

    The best thing I like about Dropbox: Being able to share files with family (who are not Dropbox users). Beats attaching large files to emails.

    Here's a link to the feature: http://www.dropbox.com/help/167
     
  19. Miles
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    Miles Silver Member

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    In the past I thought that a person sharing my Dropbox folder had to sign up for a (free) Dropbox account. Is that still the case?
     
  20. nomflyer
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    nomflyer Silver Member

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    I believe you and I are actually talking about 2 different things. :)

    Folder sharing (which is what you seem to be referring to) is done between multiple Dropbox users. Any file(s) added to this folder is synced to all users who share this folder. As far as I know, each user still needs to have a Dropbox account.

    What I was referring to was being able to create a "Sharable link" for any file or folder in my Dropbox. I can then email this link to any person I want to share with. This allows them to see a preview of the file(s) and download it without needing a Dropbox account.

    Hope that clears it up!
     
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  21. Miles
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    Yes, that is just what I needed to know. Thank you, nomflyer!
     
  22. CrankyScott
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    Excellent point - and this is another reason anyone who travels with a laptop should have an encrypted drive. Its to easy to loose a laptop and the thought of information be out in the open is scary.

    I have used the open source free TrueCrypt. I am not paranoid, but I want my information secure. I use the whole disk encryption and don't see any performance issues and know my laptop is 100% secure.
     
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  23. arkleseizure
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    Thanks a ton for posting this. I just started using Dropbox and have been able to add 1 GB of extra storage with these tips today.
     
    DrG likes this.
  24. Spangenberg
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    Spangenberg Gold Member

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    I agree. I love dropbox. I use it daily. I have just over 20gb of free space. Utilize those tips and especially the referrals. With the .edu account you get 500mb per person. Talking to students, you would be surprised how many of them are happy to signup
     
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  25. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    I am not currently a DropBox user (have my own private cloud, but am looking at adding DropBox for some data). TrueCrypt is a good recommendation, but I think (if I understand your recommendation right) it's also worth mentioning that a truecrypted file in DropBox makes it inaccessible from mobile clients like iPhone or Android that don't have TrueCrypt support.
     
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