One useful tool to have for your virtual office is Dropbox. It is a file hosting service that offers file synchronization, and cloud storage but its basic use is for creating a special folder on a computer that can be accessed from different computers and smartphones. This makes it perfect for backing up and sharing files, or accessing them on the go. There are other less obvious uses of Dropbox which are quite nifty too. Here are a few.
1. Share Sensitive Files
The basic use of Dropbox is to share files. What people don’t know is that once a file is uploaded, it is encrypted and downloaded over a protected HTTPS connection, making Dropbox the perfect way to share sensitive files like bank account information, passwords, or those incriminating photos from your awesome spring break.
2. Monitor Your Computer
If you need to check on your PC at home, you can do it using Dropbox, a screenshot tool and a way to automate it. This also works for checking your PC’s IP or physical location.
3. Remotely Launch Applications and Tasks on Your PC
You can remotely run applications and programs on your PC through Dropbox. There are a lot of tutorials on the subject available, and reading up on them is the first step to having full control of your computer when you are away. One example would be to have documents remotely printed by using a script that monitors folders for incoming documents and then printing any existing ones.
4. Quickly and Wirelessly Install Apps and ROMs
Apps can be downloaded and installed to smartphones simply by saving the installer in the Dropbox folder, then accessing it from your smartphone and directly installing it.
5. Keep the Same Settings, Apps, and Passwords on All PCs
For multiple PC’s, Dropbox is an excellent way to keep the same settings and files for all of them. This way, you are comfortable wherever you work because the PC will have a familiar feel to it. You can sync your settings separately, like maintaining the same Microsoft Word library or having the same profiles for your browsers or IM applications, or you can use a portable app to save the settings of the entire PC. You can also use Dropbox to keep your passwords, so that they are protected but available at any time.
6. Make Your Own Cloud Music Library
If you’re too lazy to looking into getting a new cloud based music service, you can actually let Dropbox sync your music for you. Your entire library will be shared between the different devices and the cloud, allowing you to play your music from any computer or smartphone using a smartphone app like BoxyTunes or a web based player like Drop Tunes. This requires a large amount of space so make sure you have enough.
7. Host a Website for Your Browser
Dropbox is also a handy tool for those who have built a website and are looking for a way to host it. DropPages or a similar service will not only allow you to have your site hosted for free but you can sync it to your other PC’s and make it the start page when you open your browser.
8. Convert and Automate Your Files
A neat way to use Dropbox is to have it convert your files and automatically upload it to wherever you want. Tools like Wappwolf or DropboxAutomator allow you to convert different files from one format to another (like PDF to TXT), ZIP and upload to them to any desired site, like Facebook, Flickr and Kindle.
If you don’t use Dropbox, don’t worry. Most of these things can be done with other file sync tools like SkyDrive, Google Drive, or Cubby.