Friday, January 13, 2012

Webinar Follow-Up: Answers to Your Questions (Part I)

Again, thanks to everyone who attended "Free Tech Tools for a More Productive New Year." We packed a great deal of content into that one-hour webinar. There were some great questions in the chat area. Some we were able to answer during the webinar.

Today's post is part 1 of 2 to answer some addition questions.First of all, the drawing for the free book I am offering will be at 9:00 CST this Sunday night. Remember, there are 3 ways you can become eligible.

Now, on with the questions:

1. How secure are Dropbox and Google Docs?

Here is a good article on Google Docs. It is a bit on the technical side, but should relieve any concerns you may have. Dropbox provides this article about its security. This article provides a question/answer with Dropbox. All transport of file data and file metadata occurs over SSL. All files are encrypted with AES-256 before being stored on the servers at Dropbox. These standards are the same that banks and the military use to protect their data.

As always, the greatest security threat comes at the user level. Sharing passwords, leaving passwords lying around, choosing passwords that are easy to guess, and using one password for everything continue to be the real threats to security.

2. Why do school systems often block Dropbox?

Here is a good discussion on that point. My take is that a system administrator does not have control over a person's Dropbox account, and therefore a person could download or upload illegal material from a school computer via their Dropbox account. The easiest way to prevent this problem is to ban Dropbox.

3. How do you get Dropbox on your phone or tablet?

The best place to go is wherever you download other apps for your particular device. In other words, if you use an iPhone, go to the iTunes store from your iPhone or your iPad and search for "Dropbox." Android users would go to the Android Market. BlackBerry users would go to Blackberry App World. If you use the BlackBerry Playbook as your tablet, you will search for "Bluebox," which is currently the closest thing to a Dropbox app currently available.

4. If you install the Dropbox on your personal computer, can you pull it up from your work computer without having to download it?

Yes. Simply go to Dropbox.com and log into your account. You can open any of your files.

In that particular format, however, the file is going to be "read only," just like when you open a file attached to an e-mail message. If you want to make changes, you would have to save that document to your computer. Be sure to save it with the same name it had originally. Now, you can upload the new version to Dropbox, and it overwrites the old version. You would follow this same procedure, for example, if you were on a trip and had to get to your information from the computer in the hotel business center.

As you see, it's easier if you have downloaded that "My Dropbox" folder to your computer. That way, your files automatically sync every time you save.

5. Can you put a Dropbox gadget on your iGoogle page?

The answer used to be "yes." In fact, in one of the slides you saw during the webinar, it actually showed a Dropbox gadget on my iGoogle page. Dropbox had made some changes that have now caused that gadget to no longer work.

6. Not sure I understand the essential folders in Dropbox and how you organize them.

I am going to put together a very short "e-book" that will explain in detail how I set all of this up. The thing I find is that many people have a Dropbox account, but because they don't really have a clear picture of how it can work, they don't really use it. Check back next week for that e-book.

7. Is there a way to back-up Dropbox just in case?

Dropbox actually serves as a backup to what you have on your computer, and vice-versa. Anything in your "My Dropbox" folder is saved to the cloud as well as to all of your other devices. If your computer were to crash, you could get to those files from your other devices. If you lost all of your devices due to a fire, tornado, or robbery, you could go to any computer, log into your Dropbox account, and view or download any of your documents.

Thanks for your questions! Tune in again Monday for answers to questions on iGoogle, Google Docs forms, and reQall.
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