Friday, December 7, 2012

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Dropbox (App Recommendation for Academic Students)

I have a 'cautionary tale' for you (this is a story which describes a problem you should avoid).

Last year, while I was doing my M.A. course, one of my classmates got into some trouble. He was working very hard on his dissertation. He had been working on it for a couple of months and it was about 15,000 words long. The deadline was 12 noon (midday) on a Friday. He didn't sleep any of Thursday night because he was still working hard to finish his dissertation on time.

At 9 a.m. (3 hours before the deadline) his computer crashed. It died. It stopped working. Unfortunately he didn't have time to get the computer fixed before the 12:00 deadline. He missed the deadline and when he did get the computer fixed, he printed his assignment and submitted it to the university. However, because it was late, it only got the minimum pass of 50 (the lowest possible pass score).

The problem for my classmate was this:

Universities do not accept ‘computer failure’ as a reason for late work. 

What can you do to avoid this?

Well, I don’t worry about this problem because I use Dropbox. When you put Dropbox on your computer it creates a new Dropbox folder. Anything you put into that folder will automatically be saved online.

If my classmate friend had Dropbox, he could easily have gone to another computer, downloaded the essay, printed it and he probably would have gotten 60-70%.

What else can Dropbox do?

Dropbox will keep every version of your documents. So, for example, if you have a 5000-word document and then you accidentally delete half the words and save it again, Dropbox will keep copies of the 5000-word version and the 2500-word version.

Most importantly, if you have a smartphone, a laptop and a tablet, Dropbox can be on all three computers and that means you don’t need to worry about USB drives and you don’t need to remember which computer has which file.

Here is a short video to demonstrate:

If you think this is something that would help you, click on the Dropbox icon below or follow this link.

I prefer Dropbox but there are other systems you can use, like Microsoft’s SkyDrive or Google Drive. The important thing is to make sure that you are never in a situation where your computer has the only copy of important documents you need.

Hope this helps a few of you.



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