This story starts when someone tried to steal my truck a couple of weeks back. No, this story really starts when I followed someone’s link on Twitter to get free extra storage space if I signed up for Dropbox, a cloud storage service. I signed up for Dropbox almost a year ago and got my extra space. I’m still just using the free service, but Dropbox does offer paid accounts with 50GB and 100GB of storage.
So, what about the truck? Well, this summer I bought a beautiful, used Ford Ranger. I call him The Green Dragon. I’ve been driving it to work for 4 months. A couple weeks ago some idiot tried to steal my truck. This genius used some kind of tool to make a mash of the passenger door lock and the ignition. I couldn’t even get a key into the ignition to start it. This was especially distressing because I had planned to drive to give a presentation at the New Mexico Library Association Mini-conference in Gallup a couple of hours west of Albuquerque.
I did manage to find someone who would work on the locks the day before the conference. Trouble was, I was in meetings all day. I finally got through with meetings at 4:20 and had to rush off to get the truck before the mechanic closed at 5:00 p.m. (This is becoming a long story.) I didn’t even go back to my office to gather my things. Turns out, however, UNM was on Fall break. The library closed at 6:00 p.m. I didn’t make it back before closing. (I should note here that no one but a select few even have a key to the building.)
The problem was that I didn’t have my PowerPoint presentation that I planned to use at the conference. Luckily, I thought, I have the file stored in Dropbox. Right? I had been told that Internet connectivity might be out during the conference. So, I went home, connected to Dropbox and saved the file on a Flash drive (in addition to the laptop itself). The only Flash drive I could find around the house was actually an SD memory card drive with a USB connector. It’s a little wider than a typical Flash drive.
When I got to the conference, I discovered that the computer in the presentation room had a case where the USB ports were in a narrow space. My drive wouldn’t fit! No worries. Once again, Dropbox to the rescue. The Internet networking was working. I logged into Dropbox and downloaded the file again. After all that I also had issues with getting the projector to work! Turns out one of the connections was loose. Check those connections.
The moral of this story is that the cloud is a great way to get at your digital material when you don’t want to be tied to a particular piece of hardware. Cloud storage like Dropbox can give you access no matter where you are and whether or not you have access to you own computers. I’m thinking about upgrading to a paid account. In truth, I’d like more storage space than 100GB. I already have more than 100GB of material on my various PCs. A terabyte or more would be better. Imagine storing all your music and video and text files in the cloud. That’s my new fantasy.