Showing posts with label dropbox. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dropbox. Show all posts

Saturday, June 30

Google Drive: Who Owns Your Stories?

Writers are constantly on the look out for ways to make writing more convenient. We have all experienced the pain of having a great idea for the story we're working on but been unable to access it because our saga has been left left at home, or on the office computer, or ...

Dropbox is a great way to keep your story a click away no matter what device you happen to be toting around. Up until recently Dropbox was the solution that stood head and shoulders above the rest but now there is a new gunslinger in town by the name of Google Drive. * Cue cheesy western music *

Google Drive does everything Dropbox does, but costs less. Of course, since it's Google (or as I think of it nowadays: Benign Overload In Training), folks are going to have security concerns, but Nilay Patel of The Verge says that, this time at least, Google is shooting straight with users. (Sorry, I should kill that metaphor.) He writes: 
[A]ll web services should be subject to harsh scrutiny of their privacy policies — but a close and careful reading reveals that Google's terms are pretty much the same as anyone else's, and slightly better in some cases. Let's take a look.
. . . .
Here's the section from Google's terms of service that's causing all the controversy today, with my emphasis in bold:
Some of our Services allow you to submit content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.
When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones.
That's a lot of rights to give Google, on the face of it — in fact, it's basically every right you can give to Google as a copyright holder. But think about how limited Google's services would be if it didn't have permission to use, host, store, modify, communicate, publish, or distribute your content — it couldn't move files around on its servers, cache your data, or make image thumbnails, since those would be unauthorized copies. It couldn't run Google Translate or Google Image Search. It would be illegal to play YouTube clips in public. In short, Google is giving itself all the permissions it could possibly need to run all of Google services, with the specific limitations that it doesn't own anything you upload and it can't use your data beyond running its services.
Google actually responded to Nilay Patel's request for comment and clarification. Gotta say, point for Benign Overlord Google. Not many huge corporations have the PR savvy to do something like that. Here is Google's response:
As our Terms of Service make clear, "what belongs to you stays yours." You own your files and control their sharing, plain and simple. Our Terms of Service enable us to give you the services you want — so if you decide to share a document with someone, or open it on a different device, you can.
To read more of N. Patel's article click here: Is Google Drive worse for privacy than iCloud, Skydrive, and Dropbox?

I've taken the plunge and installed Google Drive on my devices. If you're considering doing likewise--or even if you're not--here is a comparison chart of the different store-it-in-the-cloud solutions such as Dropbox and Google Drive:

This graphic is from the article, Google Drive vs. Dropbox, SkyDrive, SugarSync, and others: a cloud sync storage face-off. It was published April 24th 2012 so it's a wee bit dated now, for instance, Google Drive has an iOS app out, but the article is still a great resource for anyone researching the different cloud solutions for storing and sharing data.

By the way, for mobile device users, CloudOn is a great tool for editing the text documents you store in programs such as Dropbox or Google Drive. CloudOn allows you to open such documents up and edit them seamlessly.

Before I used CloudOn I would open up a Dropbox document, save it in Pages, do my edits, mail it back to myself, and then manually update the document in Dropbox. So, yes, the document was available wherever I was, but the experience wasn't what I would call seamless. With CloudOn I just open up my document, make whatever changes I want, and they are automatically saved back to the underlying document. Much less work.

Related articles:
- Why Dropbox Is A Writer's Best Friend
- Evernote: the everything app

Friday, May 18

Why Dropbox Is A Writer's Best Friend

My brand new wonderful computer isn't working. I try to boot it up and electricity starts to surge, willy-nilly, through its circuits. That's never good.

Due to my computer being temporarily out of commission, I wasn't able to meet a writing deadline because my completed, vetted, manuscript (A Night In The Country) was on the malfunctioning machine and therefore inaccessible. If my story had have been on Dropbox -- and after this ALL my stories are going on Dropbox -- this wouldn't have happened. I have another computer--the one I'm using to type this post, one I've had since the stone age--and it works just fine. I could have used this computer to access my manuscript on Dropbox and meet my deadline.

But enough about me and my woes. I think Dropbox is the perfect solution for writers, even if you don't travel a lot, or have multiple devises you shuttle between each day. Because, as I'm experiencing right now, you never know when your machine is going to go down. (And yes, if I had backed up my work, I wouldn't be in this fix either. I know, I know.) But, again, enough about me.

Dropbox is free up to 2 gigabytes of storage and 2 gigs of stories is a lot. If you're Stephen King you might go over and have to pay, but if you're Stephen King I think you could afford 9.99 dollars a month!

In case anyone is unfamiliar with Dropbox, it allows users to store files in cloud storage and provides file synchronization across devices. My favorite feature is that it keeps a one-month history of your file revisions and any of those revisions can be undone. Here's a complete list of Dropbox features.

Note: I wrote this post yesterday and (* loud cheers *) my computer is working again. I'll be publishing the next installment in my A Night In The Country series later today.

Saturday, January 7

Evernote: the everything app

Passive Guy writes:
Passive Guy likes Evernote because it helps him never to forget anything.

If you’re not familiar, Evernote is like a giant bucket into which you can pour anything from almost any device and find it when you need it.
. . . .
For writing purposes, Evernote can easily become your writing notebook. You might start a notebook for a new book with tags like Character Sketches, Settings, Jane, Bob, etc. If you see a photo of someone on the web who would make a great Jane character, you can clip it, drop it into Evernote and pull it up to help when you write Jane’s description. If you’re stuck in traffic, you can dictate notes into a smartphone and send those directly to your notebook in Evernote.
- Evernote: The Application That Becomes an Obsession
Honestly, I hadn't seen the need to use something like Evernote but after reading PG's article, I'm reconsidering. One thing that I wasn't clear on was the difference between Dropbox and Evernote, so I did a quick Google search. Apparently, and contrary to what I had thought, the two apps do not seem to be in direct competition.
These two great applications seem to have a lot in common. They both save information in the cloud and synchronize the information for you seamlessly on all your computers and mobile devices.

They serve very different purposes though.

Evernote is perfect if you want to easily capture ideas and things you see while you are online or out and about and access them from any computer. It is different from Dropbox in that it is a much more a note-taking application. It is also for syncing docs, notes/txt and webclippings, and photos of things. The OCR (optical character recognition) of Evernote makes finding the information back very easy. Even text found in photos will be recognized and thus found!

Dropbox is superior for syncing files, backups and storage. It creates a local folder on your harddisk of your PC or laptop, and synchronizes it with the online folders of Dropbox. This makes it easy to access by your mobile devices. Dropbox acts as if it is part of your computer, while Evernote really acts as program. This gives Evernote the advantage for finding stuff, categorizing them with tags and notebooks.
- Dropbox vs Evernote
Although I'm not going to quote from it, another interesting article is: Evernote and Dropbox: Why I Use (and Love) Both. Great reading for anyone interested in the topic.