Information accessable from all over the world? Just drop it in a Box.

Well, I just found out that my group member Fanny Sia just uploaded an article on the same topic as I worked on. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to do research and to write a new article. What is good about her article is that she also related it to possible usage in businesses and how it can be possible to encrypt data before uploading. That is why I would highly recommend to read her article as well. Thanks Fanny.

I can remember times when I had an important assignment or a thesis to write. You are constantly concerned that your computer hard drive might collapse. Then you save the file on a USB stick. And to make sure to still have the file in case you lose your USB stick you save an additional file by sending it to your own email address. Well, keeping track of files turns out to be very complicated, especially at a time where data is spread over many different places (mobile, netbook, iPod, desktop…).

There is a program which can solve these problems and make your life much easier. It is called Dropbox and was founded in 2007. It is a web based file hosting service which allows you to store your data online and access it from all over the world. The following youtube video gives a short introduction to how Dropbox works:

In the beginning I was very skeptical of Dropbox because I was not sure about the safety conditions, but eventually I was convinced by this technology. Still, I would not upload my private data on their servers but I have to say that Dropbox is such a good tool to use for university purposes. At school we have so many presentations and group work to do. When you work on a power point presentation for example, it was so much of a stress to send the presentation around, then everyone made adjustments and in the end you had to put all the different parts together again. It could not be more annoying and time consuming. Using Dropbox allows everyone who has access to the shared group folder to access the files from his or her computer or client (it works for iPhone too). Everyone can make changes to the presentation and at the day of the presentation, when everyone has lost the USB stick with the presentation on it, you can still get the file easily from your computer at school. Doesn’t this make your life easier?

But let’s get back to the security topic I talked about before. As I said, I don’t really trust these online servers and therefore would never upload private content. During my research on this topic I was confronted with a recent issue concerning Dropbox’s security standards. Referring to this article it as said that Dropbox employees would not be able to access and see the uploaded files without the user’s passwords, which would mean that the user has the key in his hands. But it is stated that Dropbox just recently changed their terms of services so that the staff now actually has access to the files.

Information about this case can be found here or here

What does that basically tell us? We should be aware that every piece of information that we share on the internet is not save and could be accessed by anyone. That is why one should think about what kinds of data will be uploaded. In my opinion, Dropbox is still a very good tool for group work at school or similar activities. But everything beyond is probably too risky…

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4 Responses to Information accessable from all over the world? Just drop it in a Box.

  1. Lisa says:

    Hey Julia,
    In our last course on Wednesday you said something about ‘dropbox’ and I noticed that in my planner because I wanted to know what it is. I’ve never heard about it before. Than, 2 day later, my sister send me a link… and what was is? An invitation to use ‘dropbox’ ! I asked her to give me her new music and she uploaded it on ‘dropbox’. And today I found your article about it. So funny, isn’t it? Towards one single week I’ve learned so much to this tool! At first I heard about it, than used it and now I read your post as a summery! All steps of learning…!
    I totally agree with you that it is a great tool to work with. Especially for people who always forget something (USB stick, cd, etc.) and I am such a person! No more fear before a presentation- I’ll definitely upload all I need for it before!
    And the transfer of information is so much easier. Great! I’ll invite many of my friends to use ‘dropbox’ as well!

    Good job, Julia! Informative and interesting post. I liked reading it!

  2. mengmei says:

    hey,
    actually I was also thinking about this topic not long before, but I did not get any good ideas of how to write it in good ways, so I just gave it up. But now, when I see your title, it catches my eyes.
    “Just drop it in a Box.”Great explaination! when I first saw it, I just cannot help thinking how clever you are that you came up with the idea of splitting the word “Dropbox” into a sentence,and cannot stop asking myself why this good idea did not come to my mind.
    Absolutely, I think this software is a very good one to share resources with others. It is much more convenient than email or other similar ones to do the connections, especially for us to finish the teamwork presentation, term paper and so on.

  3. Sarah says:

    Hi Julia,

    Great article!
    Nadja told me about Dropbox a couple weeks ago I could not quite imagine that it is as great as she told me. Since saturday I am using Dropbox and I gotta say: this program is just amazing. It makes it so easy to work on a presentation or team-termpaper together. Wow! It allows you to save a lot of time and work because sending files back and forth can be very annoying.
    I have not thought of Dopbox as a storage for my files though but it is a great idea. I also appreciate the background information about the company.
    I found some interesting articles online. If you are interested you can check them out:
    http://www.netzpolitik.org/2011/dropbox-hat-wohl-die-nutzer-belogen-was-die-sicherheit-betrifft/ (this article conerns safety issues) and the second article exlains what different ways Dropbox offers to upload files :http://www.edushift.de/2011/02/19/dateien-senden-an-die-dropbox/.

    I am looking forward to reading more
    Sarah

  4. Dian Stefanov says:

    Hi Julia,

    I first want to congratulate you for the choice of topic. I think every person using computer nowadays experiences the problem of file saving and sharing. How you illustrate in your blog post there are some possibilities that can make the file sharing easier, like DropBox, or how we learned last semester from Self management course – Google Docs does the same job. But of course there exists the big issue with the security of our information. I think that DropBox can really come in hand when it comes to doing some group assignment, such as group term paper or identical, but when it comes to sharing confidential or personal information it can not be trusted. And this article proves what I just said: http://www.tuaw.com/2011/04/19/dropbox-under-fire-for-security-concerns/

    It was pleasure to read your post!

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