Get your work on the cloud: Dropbox

Dropbox is simple and intuitive.  Make a folder on your computer that is automatically backed up to a cloud storage account.  Suddenly, the files you work on and the data you access syncs across devices, at home and at work.  Plus, you can dropbox folders with others.

Screen Shot 2013-05-18 at 5.04.58 PM

Write at home, go in to work, and the latest version is on dropbox without passing it between USB sticks.

Collaborating on a manuscript?  Keep the current manuscript and reference library in a shared folder.  No more emailing files back and forth (and, most frustratingly, losing comments or edits as versions are passed back and forth.  In theory, Microsoft Skydrive should be the ideal solution for this sort of thing, as it boasts seamless editing of word files as google drive does.  Unfortunately for both of these services, I wasn’t able to get it to seamlessly integrate as well without doing the word processing on the web interface.  Fun fact: if it doesn’t work easily for the boss, it isn’t going to happen.

Fortunately, collaborators tend to be elsewhere in the world, and while I’m a night creature, my advisor writes in the morning.  This means we aren’t all trying to edit the same Dropbox shared document at once.

Another nice use for papers is syncing my Papers library.  I wish that Papers had this kind of service automatically, but it’s a nice work around.  Keep your papers library on dropbox in a secure location, and you can sync it between macs.  Just be careful to close down Papers when you are done with it – otherwise, you’ll get conflicting libraries.

There are a million other uses for Dropbox, but these are the ones I regularly take advantage of.


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