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dropbox

If you’re looking for a way to store your files online, it can quickly get confusing trying to find the best app. We recently rounded up a number of great apps for syncing your files to your other devices and the cloud, then followed up with a list of apps for sharing files online. There’s a bit of crossover between the two, and among each category many of the apps share very similar features. If you don’t already have a file sharing or syncing app you love, it can be rather tough to decide which is the best for you.

But then, why would you need both an app to sync files and an app to share files? Wouldn’t one be enough?

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One of the things that is a catch twenty-two with me is the fact that I love to find shortcuts and an easier way to do something. Although it does come in handy, there are times, when it comes back to bite me. But, you have to admit, when it comes to your workflow, if there is a way to cut down on time, we are all for it. I know my time is precious, and I want to maximize it the best that I can.

That is why when an app like Wappwolf comes around, I get pretty excited. Wappwolf has a suite of apps that connect to certain cloud services where you can create automations to help with your workflow. I have been using it for the past week or so and I have definitely loved the different ways that I can use it to help me in my every day life.

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When Google threw its hat into the cloud storage ring a few weeks ago with Google Drive, it added another good service to a quickly growing niche. With Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, Skydrive, Amazon Could Drive, and more, it’s tough to choose which is the best. Dropbox is the long-time favorite, and many of us already use it. Then, the tech heavyweights – Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon – have all jumped in as well.

File sync isn’t anything new in 2012, but it’s increasingly needed as we’re using more devices and sharing files with others more often than ever. At its core, file sync is file sync, but there’s still a lot of other factors to consider when looking for the best file sync service for your needs. Here, we’ll take a look at these services in detail to see which you should go with.

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There’s dozens of writing apps out there, ranging from the basic plain text editors built into your OS to advanced note apps that can store all your text notes, as well as PDFs and a zillion other things. Even if you’re looking for a minimalist writing app, there’s so many right now, it’s hard to choose the best one.

A native app for plain text writing will usually let you edit any plain text file on your computer, and save new or edited files in any folder as you’d expect. You can then copy the file onto a flash drive, edit it in another app, post it on your website, or anything else you want. That’s the beauty of plain text: it works anywhere, and you’ll never have to worry about losing what you wrote as long as you have the files.

Most writing apps online, however, store your text in their own database, making it hard to save what you’ve written as a plain text file and almost impossible to sync to your computer and edit in other apps without resorting to copy and paste. TextDrop is a new web app that turns this totally around, letting you edit and create plain text files in your Dropbox account, right in your browser. All your files are safe and synced with Dropbox, and you’ve got all the benefits of a minimalist writing app in your browser. It’s like a writer’s dream come true.

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It has been a long time rumor that Google was going to release some kind of cloud stoage product akin to the likes of Dropbox or iCloud. It does make sense, after all; Google was the company that changed email by offering an unprecidented 1GB of storage for email all the way back in 2004- storage that they’ve been increasing steadily ever since. With Google Music, you get a crazy 20GB of space for your music. You can upload documents to Google Docs and store them forever. What about all files? Well last Monday Google officially launched Google Drive.

Before we get started, I’ve got to say that while I am a Google fanboy, I absolutely love Dropbox. I’ve been using it for a long time and have told lots of people about it as it’s definitely the best way to share files and folders. Let’s see how Google Drive stacks up against it.

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Blogs are supposed to be about writing. Real, authentic, personal, heartfelt writing. The very word blog comes from the words web and log, a log of your thoughts on the web. But by and large, blogs have gotten complicated. 15 million widgets, word clouds, flashing ads, and more drive most people to just use social networks and forget the mess and confusion of blogging.

If installing WordPress on your hosting account or tweaking a Tumblr account to your liking sounds like more trouble than it’s worth just to publish your thoughts on the web, then get ready for a breath of fresh air. How about just saving plain text files with Markdown formatting to a folder in Dropbox, and having them published directly online? That’s what Calepin offers.

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Cloud-based storage services have made sharing large files easier. In the past, most people had to copy files to Zip disks or burn documents to a DVD or save them to a flash drive. Alternatively, you can send your files via FTP, or attach it to an email message if it’s small enough. These solutions are great, but the average Internet users might not understand FTP and most mail servers reject large files.

Dropbox has become the most popular cloud-based storage service for a number of reasons. We use it to store all sort of files and share folders with others, but not everyone use DropBox. That’s where AirDropper comes in. It’s a simple application that lets you request files using a special link that you can send by email, or a personalized web page. The recipient then hits that link to upload their file using the AirDropper website; the file will be saved in your Dropbox account. It’s a great solution to an age-old problem of sending large files, so let’s take a look and see if this will be a fit for your team’s file sharing needs.

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Have you ever tightened a screw in with a key? Or pried a nail out of wood with pliers? Or, perhaps, made a stand for a book or iPad out of a hanger? Chances are, at some time or another, most of us have improvised when we needed a tool but didn’t have one on hand. We’ve emailed files to ourselves before Dropbox, or use the to-do list in Gmail to save quick notes, or pasted text into the search box in a browser to keep it for a few seconds. Just like a monkey stacking boxes to grab a banana, we’re pretty ingenious at getting stuff done with whatever we’ve got at hand.

It’s always interesting to see how others put apps to use. Odds are, each of us use Gmail and Dropbox and other popular tools in slightly different ways. Here’s some of my favorite unique ways to use web apps in ways they weren’t originally designed for. If you’ve got another great way to use a web app in a unique way, we’d love to hear about it in the comments at the end!

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When Dropbox was founded in 2007, many people assumed it would be a flop along with the dozens of other file sync and sharing apps that had cropped up since the internet bubble of the ’90’s. Today, however, more people than ever rely on cloud sync and sharing services to keep their digital lives in order. From making sure you can get to that important file from your smartphone to sending PSDs to your colleague on the other side of the globe, keeping your files synced in the cloud can be very useful.

Dropbox is far from the only syncing service that’s popular today. Some recent security concerns with the service have brought increased focus on SpiderOak, a privately encrypted file sync service. Then, services like Skydrive and Box.net continue to be popular with others. Additionally, computer backup services like Backblaze, Mozy, and Carbonite continue to gain popularity with people who want to make sure they never lose any files.

Syncing individual files and folders may become outdated, however. Apple promises to do more than just sync files with their upcoming iCloud service. Instead of syncing traditional folders, iCloud promises to keep the same data in your apps, automatically. On the other hand, high quality web apps like Google Docs, Lucidchart, and more let us create and store files directly in the cloud, without ever having files on our desktop to sync.

So how about you? Do you keep all of your documents in Dropbox, or do you backup regularly with Backblaze? Or are all of your files in online apps already?

Unfortunately, for the Apple-consuming public, iCloud won’t be hitting us until the fall. That means we’re going to have to wait several months because all the cloud-based syncing magic becomes a reality for us. However, either for those going crazy in anticipation, or those who oddly despise Apple, there’s a range of online services that offer similar functionality.

In today’s article, we’re going to take a look at some of the apps you can grab right now to help build up an iCloud-esque ecosystem for yourself. (more…)

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